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Full text of "Life on the Mississippi"

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■'" " ^ k'Hiu^r 



The Mississippi 



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WORKS BY MARK TWAIN. 



THE ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYER. With i 
IlluuiBiioni. SouJl B<o. dmh txm, 71. &/.— CHur Edition, il 



THE INNOCENTS ABROAD; or, The New P%im's 
Proanss : beina ionic A«ODnI of the Sleamihip ' Quaker CHiy's' 
Pleuiin Eicunion ta Karope and the Holy Land. With >u 111"*- 
iniicns. Crown Svo. cloih utti. ji. 6^— Cheap Editioh. poH 8vo. 



A TRAMP ABROAD. With 314 IIlnstTatioiis. CtowD 8vo. 



CHAITO & WINDUS, Piccdilly. W. 



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Life on the Mississippi 



MARK TWAIN 




ititiiai/fi Stmmiati a/ Fifty Ytan Aga 



WITH OVBH 300 ILLVSTRATIONS 



CHATTO & WINDUS. PICCADILLY 

^*«5 „. A,oo3ic 



■~r 



S. L. CLEMENS. 
^ Mark Tw 



)i 



>. Printm. Hno-ilriii Sinmrt, Leiti/t 



T .001^1: 



■ THE 'BOpY OF THE NATION.' 

T>T}T the batin of tht Mitrittg>]n it the Body of ibb Nation. All 
the other parts are but memben, important in themaelTes, jet 
more important in their relations to this. ExclwuTe of the Lake 
basin and of 300,000 square miles in Texas and New Mexico, which 
in many aspects form a part of it, this basin contains about 1,350,000 
aqnare miles. In extent it is the second great valley of the world, 
being exceeded only by that of the Amazon. The valley of the 
frozen Obi approaches it in extent ; that of the La Plata comes next 
in space, and probably in habitable capacity, having about | of its 
area ; then comes that of the Yenisei, with about j ; the Lena, 
Amoor, Hoang-ho, Tang-tae-kiang, and Nile, J- ; the Ganges, lees 
than \ ; the Indus, less than \ ; the Euphrates, | ; the Bhine, ,'^. It 
exceeds in extent the whole of Europe, exclusive of Russia, Norway, 
and Sweden. It teovld contain Auttria four timet, Oermany or 
Spain Jive tiane*, France nx timet, the Britiih I^jult or Italy ten 
timet. Conceptions formed from the river-basins of Western Europe 
are rudely shocked when we consider the extent of the valley of the 
Mississippi ; nor are those formed from the sterile basins of the 
great riven of Siberia, the lofty plateaus of Central Asia, or the 
mighty sweep of the swampy Amazon more adequate. latitude, 
elevation, and rainfall all combine to render eveiy part of the 
Mississippi Valley capable of supporting a dense population. Ai a 
direllijig-piaee for dxHited man it is by far the first «j»oi( owr glube. 

Editob'b Table, Harpet'a Magimne, Fehruaiy, 1863. 



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CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER I. 

THX BITER AND ITS HWTORV. 

The HiasUaippi u Well worth Beading alKiDt — It ii Bemaikable — In- 
Btead of Widening towuds its Month, it growe Nanower— It GmptieB 
fanr hundred and six million Tons of Mad— It was Pint Seen in 
1S42 — It U Older Qua «otne Pagea in European History— De Soto 
baa tbe Foil— Older than the Atlantic Coast— Borne Half-breeds dilp 
in— L» Salle Thinb he will Take a. Hand 

CHAPTER n. 

THE BIT£B ABD ITS EZPLOBEBS. 

La Salle again Appears, and ao does a Cat-fish — Buffaloes also — Some 
Indian Paintings ore Sean on the Rock« — ' The Father of Waters ' 
does not Flow Into the Paoifio — More History and Indians — Some 
Coriona Perfonnances, not Early English — Natchei, or the Site of it, 
is Approached 

CHAPTER ni. 

FBESCOES FBOM THE PAST. 

A Uttle History— Early Commerce— Coal Fleets and Timber Bafts— We 
start on a Voyage — I seek InformatioD — Some Unaic — The Tronble 
begins— Tall Talk— The Child of Calamity— Qroand and lofty 
Tumbling — The Wash-np — Bnsineas and Btatastics — Mysterions Band 
— Tbander and Lightning — The Captun speaks— Allbright weeps — 
The Uyitery settled— Chaff— I am DiBOOvered— Some Art-work pro- 
posed — I give an Accoont of UyseK—Beleaaed . . . ■ . i - 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER IV. 

THE BOYB' AKBinOK. 



Ite Boj3' Ambition— Village Scenes— Steamboat Pictntes— A Heavy 
Swell— A Bunftway 



CHAPTER V. 

I WAHT TO BE A CUB-PILOT. 

*A Traveller—A Lively Talker— A WiW-cat Victim 

CHAPTER VL 

A CDB-PILOT'S El^PEBtENCE. 

Besi^ng the Hlot- Taken along— SpoiliBg a Kap— Rshing for i 
Plantation — ' Points ' on the Biver — A OoTgeoiis Pilot-hoose 

CHAPTER VII. 



Kiver Inspectors — Cottonwoods and Plum Point— Hat-Island CrosBing- 
Touch and Qo~It is a Qo— A Lightning niot .... 



CHAPTER VIII. 

iPEBPLEZINO LESSONf). 

A Eeavy-Ioaded Big Otm— Bbaip Bights in Darkness- Abandoned to bis 
Fate — Scraping the Banks — Learn him or Kill him . . . . 

CHAPTER IX. 

CONTINUEI) PER7LEZITIEH. 

Shake the Beef- Reason Dethroned- The Face of the Wat^— A 
Bewitching Soene — Bcuoauoe aad Beauty 



CHAPTER X 

irr EDDGATION. 

Putting on Aira — Taken down a bit — Ltaxn it u It ia— The River 

Bising 95 

CHAPTER XI. 

THE RIVBB BISES. 

In the Tract BoBinetu— BSeete of the Else — Plautationa gooe—A Mea- 
■urclen Sea— A Somnambntist ritot — Sapemataral Piloting — Nobod; 
there— All Saved 108 

CHAPTER Xn. 



Low Water— Tawl Bounding — Bdo^b and Laatenu—Caba and Soundings 
—The Boat Snok— Seeking die Wreaked 

CHAPTER XIII. 

A pilot's nxkds. 

A pilot's Memoiy— Wages loaring— A Univeraal Qiasp— Skill and 
Nerve— Testing a ' Cnb '— ' Back her for Life ' — A Qood Lesaon 

CHAPTER Xrv. 

RANK AND DIOHITT OF PILOTING. 

Pilots and Ci^tt^nB— High-priced ^oto— Pilota in Demand— A Whiatler 
— A diesp Trade — Two-hondied-and-Gfty-dollar Speed 

CHAPTER XV. 

TBB pilot's UONOPOLY. 

New Pilots nndennining the FHota' Aaaodation — Crntchet and Wage* — 
Patting on Alia— The Captains Weaken— The Aaaooiation lAagha— 
The Secret Sign — An Admirable Bjitem— Rough on Oataiders — A 
Tight Monopoly — No Loophole — The Railioada and the War 



CHAPTER XVI. 

RACIHQ DATS. 

All Aboud — A G-lorione Staxt— Loaded to Win— Bands and Bogles — 
Boats and Boats— Bacen and Racing ' , 

CHAPTER XVII. 

CnT-OF?8 AUB BTKPHKN. 

Cnt-ofb — Ditohing and Shooting— Mississippi Changes — A Wild Night 
— Bwearing and GneBaing— Stephen in Debt— He Confuses bis 
Creditors— He makes a New Deal— WiU Fay them Alphabeticallj . 

CHAPTER XVIII. 

I TAKB A FBW EZTBA LEB80NB. 

Bbaip Scbooling — Shadows — I am bspected — Where did jom get them 
Shoes f- Poll her Down— T want to kill Blown— I trj to run her- 1 
am Complimented 

CHAPTER XIX. 

BBOWN AND I BZCHANaB COHPLIIIENTS. 

A Question of Yeradty— A Little DnpleasantuesB— I have an Audience 
with the Captain— Mr, Brown Retires 

CHAPTEE XX. 

A CATABTROPHX, 

I become a Passenger — We bear the News — A Thnnderous Crash — They 
Stand to their Post* — In the Blaring 8nn — A Omeaome Spectacle — 
His Hour has Stnic-k . 

CHAPTER XXI. 

A SECmOK IN HT BIOGOAFHT. 

I get my License— The War Begins — I beeome a Jack-of- all-trades 



CHAPTER XXII. 

I BETDBK TO MY MUTTONS. 

I trj the AUm Bnainws — Begiou ol Goatees — Boots begin to Appeu— 
Thft BiTer Han is Hissing— The Tonng Man i« Diaooniaged— Bpeci- 
men Water — A Fine QiuUilf of Smcdce — A Sapreme SUstake-^We 
Iiupact the Town— Desolation Way-tiafflc^A Wood-yard . 

CHAPTER XXin. 

TBATZLLINQ 1NCX>0MT0. 

Old French Settlements — We start for Hemphis — Yoang' Idkdies and 
Bosda-Ieather Bags 

CHAFTEB XXIV. 

XT INCOGNITO IS K2PI.ODED. 

J receire some Information — AUigater Boats — AUigator Talk — She was 
a Battler to go — I am Found Out 

CHAPTER XXV. 

TBOK CAIRO TO HICKMAN. 

The Devil's Or«n and Table— A BDmt>8hell falls— No Whileirasb— 
Thirty years on the Biver — Mississippi Dniforma — Aoddente and 
Camalties — Two bundled Wrecks — A Loss to Litwatnre — Bnnday. 
Schools and Brick Masons • 



CHAPTER XXVI. 

■ UNDBB FIRE. 

Wat Talk — I TUt orer'Baokwuds— Fifteen Sbot-holes— A Pl^n Story- 
Wars and Fends— Damatl tm-ttti Watson— A Gang and aWoodpile— 
Weat«ni Grammar- Birer Changes — Hew Madrid — Floods and 
Falto . .(,000. 



CHAPTER XXVIL 



Tonriats and their Note-books— Captain Hall— Uis. Trollope's Gmo- 
tioDB — Hon. Charles Aofiutaa MarraT's Sentiment — Captain 
Mairyat's Sensationa— Alexander Mackay's Feelings — Mr. Paikman 

CHAPTER XXVIII. ■ 

tJBCLB XUKFOKD tNLOASa. 

Swinging down the BiTer—^Named for He— Ham Point agalD— Lights 
and Snag Boats — Infinite Changes — A Laivleea Bivet — Changes and 
Jetties —Uncle Uimifoid Teotifiea— Pt^Cging the Biver— What the 
Government does — The Commissiou Men and Theories. * Had them 
Bad ' — Jew» and Prices 260 

CHAPTER XXIX. 

A FEW BPECIXIM BKICKS. 

Unrel's Qang — A Consummate Villain — Getting Bid of Witnesses- 
Stewart turns Traitor— I Start a Bebellion— I get a New Suit of 
Clothes— We Cover our Tracks — Flnck and Capacity — A Qood Sama- 
ritan City— The Old and the New 372 

CHAPTER XXX. 

8EETCHBB BT THE WAY. 

A Melancholy Hctnre — On the Move — Biver Gossip— She Wrat by 
a-5parklin' — Amenitiee of Lite— A World of Misinformation — Elo- 
quence of Silence — Striking a Snag — Photf^raphically Exact — 
Plank Side-walks 285 

CHAPTER XXXI. 

A THUHB-PBIST AND WBAT (lAJtB OF IT. 

HnlJnoaB I«ngnage — The DeRd-houa* — Cost-iicoi Oerman and Flexible 
English— A Dying Han's ConfessioD- 1 am Bound and Qagged — 
I get Myadf Free — I Begin my Search — Tbe Man with one Thumb — 
Bed I'ainl and White Pflf)er— He Dropped on his Knees— Fright and 



COHTENTa. 

Gntitnde— I Pled thnxigh tbe Woods—A Qiielf Bpedaole— Shoat, 
Man, Shoot — A Look of Snrprise waA Triamph — The Muffled Qotgle 
ot ft Hooking Laogh— How ftnngel; Thlngi hftppeu— Tho Hidden 

CHAPTER XXXII. 

THB DtSFOBAI. OP A BONAKZA. 



CHAPTER XXXni. 

BXTBUBKBIfn AND BIHIG8. 

Question of DiTuion — A Fl»oe wbeia there was no Uoence — The 
Oalboon l4Uid Company — A Ootton-pUnter's' Estimate — Halifax and 
Watmnetons — Jeirelled-np Bar-keepera 

CHAPTER XXXIV. 
TOUOH Yixm. 



CHAPTER XXXV. 

TICKflBOKQ DnBINQ THK TBOUBLX. 

[gns and Bean — Oannon.Uiiindar Bagea — CBTe-dwellera — A Continual 
Sunday— A ton of Iron aad no CHua— The Aident ia SaTed— Mole 
Heat— A Natitnial Oemeteir— A Dog and a Shell^Bailioads and 
Wealth— Wharf^e Boonomy- Tieksbiug mriai The ' Oold. Dnat '— 
A Nairattre in AntidpatioB 

CHAPTER XXXVI, 

THE FBOnSBDK's TAKH. 

le Profeeaor Spins a Tam — An Bnthnriaet in Oattle~He makes a 
''loporitlan — TiOadIng Beerea at Ao^oloo — He wasnt Boised to it — 
He ia Boped In— Hia Doll Bjea Ut Up— Fotu Aoee, 700 Aaa t— He 
doamt Oara f ot the Ooiee t .ito'' 



CHAPTEH XXXVII. 

THI Xin> OF THE 'OOLD DUST.' 



CHAPTER XXXVm. 

THK HOVBZ BZAOnrUL. 

Ur. Dickens bus & Word — Best Dwellings and their FnndtDta — Altninu 
BJid Mnsio — Fantelettea and Conch -^ellB—Sngar-CMtdr BabUtg and 
Photogn^B—Eone-haii Sofu and SanfEen— Bag Caipeta and Bridal 
CfaambeiB 3 

CHAPTER XXXIX. 

KANUFACTUBES AHD ItlSCBSAKTB. 

BowdiM and Beanl^ — Ico u Jewellery — loe Mannfacture — More Ste- 
tistica — Some I^mman — Olaomaigailne vertat Butter — Olire Oil 
term Cotton Seed — Hie An^wei was not Caught — A Terrlflo Bpi- 
sode — A Salphoroua Canoi^—The Demona ttt War — The TerriUe 
OamitlBt ; 

CHAPTER XL. 

CABniES Am) CULTUBB. 

In Flowers, like a Bride— A White-washed Castle— A Bontbem Fn^oo* 
tuB — Pretty PictnrOB — An AlUgatot's Heal 

CHAPTER XLI. 

THE KETBOFOLIg OF THE WCTH. 



CHAPTER XLH. 

HTQIEKX ABD HBNTIHXNT. 

Betnitifnl OraTO-yaids — Chameleons and Panaoaaa — Tnhmwtimi ^^^ 
Infectioii— Uoitali^ and Bpidemica— nw Coat U Fnnaials . ?ii 



CHAPTER XLin. 

TH< AKt OP IKBUlUTIOir. 

I meet an Aoqnaintaaoe — Ooffiiu and Swell Honsea — Hn. O'Flaberty 
goes One Bettai— Bpidemicfl uid Embamming — Six hundtad (or a 
Good Case— Joyfnl High Spirits 

CHAPTER XUV. 

CITY SIOHTB. 

Frend) and Spaniali Ruta of the Cit7 — ISz. CbUb and the Ancient 
Qnartei— Cabbagea and BcmqnetH — Com and Children — The Shell 
Boad— The West End— A Good Square Heal— The Fompano— The 
Broom- Brigade — Hiatoiical Painting — Sonthem Speech—Idgni^pe . 

CHAPTER XLV, 

BOVTBXBS 8P0KTS. *- 

* Waw ' Taft— Cook>FightIug— Too mnoh to Bear— Fine Wiiting— Mnle 
Bsdng 

CHAPTER XLVL 

SrCKUmilHT ASB ENGHAITTXBS. 

Naid!-Ora»— The Myrtle Crewe~Bez and BeliCB— Bir Walter Soott— 
A World Set Back— Titles and Decorations— A Cbaage . . ' 

CHAPTER XLVIL 

CNCLX REMUS AKD KB. GABLX. 

CJiude Boniw— Tbe Children DiH^^dnted- We Bead Aloud— Hi. Cable 
and Jean oh Poqnelin— InTolnntair Treapaw— The Glided Age— An 
Impoosible Comtnnotion— The Owner MaterialiseB, and Protests 

CHAPTER XLTIIL 

SVOAB AND FOeTAGK. 

Cisbt Onrla and Sfoingr St^ie— &leBm-plo>iighs— 'No. l.'Sngar- A Frank- 
enMatn Lang^ — Sptiitnal Postage — A Place where there are no 
Batdiers ot Flnmben — Idiotio Spasma . . . . , . ^ • 



OHAPTEE XUX. 

KPIS0DB8 IK FILOT LITB. 

PUot-Faimeis — Working on Bhares — Oocsequenoe* — Men who Btlok to 

tbeir Poato— He »w what he would do— A Day after the Fair . . 436 

CHAPTER L. 

IHB 'OKIaiNAI. JACOBS.' 



CHAPTER LI. 



A F^aah ■ Cab ' at the Wbeel — A Yallej Storm— Some Bemarka on Ood- 
■tniotion — Sock and Bnakin — The Han yiho never played Hamlet — 
I got Thintf— Bnndaf Statiatica U9 

CHAPTER LU. 

A BUKHINQ B&AND. 

I Collar an Idea— A Qradnate of Harvard— A Penitent Thief— Hie StOTj 
In the Pnlplt — Bomething Bynunetrlcol — A Liteiar; Artist — A Uodel 
Bpiatlft— Pomp* again Woridng— The' Nnb' of the Hote . . . 4GT 

CHAPTER T.TTT , 

HT boyhood's BOKK. 

A Haat«rly Betreat— A Town at Beet— Boyhood's PrankB— Frienda 
of my Toath — The fiefoge for Imbecdlee — I am Presented with my 
Heaaure 470 

CHAPTER LTV. 

PAfn AKD 7&EHENT. 

A Specdal Judgment — Celeatlal Intereet — A Night of Agony- Another 
Bad &ttaek— I beoome Ctmnleacent — I address a Sondajr School — 
A Uodel Boy . *n 



00STSNT8. 



CHAPTER LT. 

L VJUUKri'A AMD OTHBH THINGS. 



A aeoond Oenentioti—A hundred thousand Tona of Saddles — A Dark 
and Dicadfol Secret — A I^^e Fajoil; — A G«ldeu-haiied Darling — 
The HTBterions CroM— H7 Idol ii Broken— A Bad Beason of ChiU« 
and Fe*«r— An Interesting Ckre 



CHAPTER LVI. 



Perverted HUtoi; — A Onilty Conscience — A BappcwtitioiiB Cue — A 
HaUt to be Cultivated— I Drop my Boiden— DiSnence In lime , 49S 

CHAPTER LVIL 

AN ABCHAMOXL. 

A Model Town — A Town that oomes np to Blow in tlie Bommer— The 
Soue-crow Dean — Bponting Smoko and Flame—An Atmoephere that 
tastes good — The Snnaet Land 498 

CHAPTER LVIU. 

ON THE UPPER BITES, 

An Independent Baoe — Twentr-four-honr Towna — Enchanting Scenerr 
—The Home of the Plough— Black Hawk—Flnctnating Secoritie* — 
AjContraat—Blectric Lights S0< 

CHAPTER T.TTf . 

LBOXIfDS AlfD BCSNZBT. 

Indian n^ditions and Battlesnakee — A Three-ton Word — Chinmcf Book 
— The Panorama Man— A Qood Jump — The UDdying Head — Peboan 
and Se^wnn SI4 

„,. A.oogic 



CHAPTER IX 

SPB0UU.TION8 ANI> OONCLUBIONB. 

lie Haad of NavIgatiOD — From Boms to Snow— Climatic Yaooination— 
A. Long Bide— Bohm of Poverty — The Fioneer of CiTilisodon — Jug 
of Em[£re — Siamese Twins — The Bng&r-biuli — He Wiiu his Bride — 
The Mystery aiwnt the Blanket— A City that is alwajm a Noralty— 
Home again i 



APPENDIX. 

A. — Voyage of the Times-Democrat's Belief Boat throngli the laondated 

Begione 636 

B— M4 

C— BecepUon of Captain Basil Hall's Book in the United States , . 548 

D.— The Undying Head 561 



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TiiE 'Batos Bodok' 
H188ISBIFFI Stkajiboat or Fiitt 

Tkabb Aqo , . TWipagi 

View ok thk Bivbr 

A HlOB-WATKB SKBTCH 

La Saixx Caboedio 
Dk Soto Sua it 
Cuiemrrma theik OFrapBiKO 
BuBiAL OF Db Soto 
CA^tADUJi IinnAse 

. InVXDAnOB SCBKB . 



I^ 3AU.X CMf Ttnc Ice . 
CoSBBCKATnro IKK Bobbery 
The Tchflx Wall 
The Lonblt Biveb . 
Kablt Natioatiob 
^ LuKBBR Raft 

I SWON ALONG THE RAFT 
Se JtmPCD VP IB THE AtR 

-VVKar ABomro ui a Cibclb . 

X^B KaOOKED THEM SpRAWLlK 



An Out-riMmottKD Breaedowh . 28 

The Mtsterioos Barrkl ■ . . 80 

SOOH TBSBB WAS A REGVLAB 

Stoku BZ 

The LioHTBina Killed Two Men 38 

Gbabbed the Ltttlb Child 84 

Eo OOT UP Mad 86 

' Who arb You ? ' . . , .86 

'CHABLSa WiLLUM ALLBBIOHT, 

Sm" 88 

Ovbrboabd 89 

Odb Pkbiiameht Ambition . . 40 

Wateb ftrBEBT Cleres. • • 41 

All Go HoBBTcia to the Wiiatip 42 
Thk Towk Dbitkeabd Asleep 

Ohcb Mobe 44 

A SmMiEia Hero . . . . 4G 

Dat Dreahb 46 

BoBEv WITH Travelling . . 48 
'Tell He whebe it is— I'll 

FETCH it' 4S 

Sublime in Pbofanitt . .6! 

His Teabs Dbifped ufon the 

68 

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LIBT OF ILLTTSFRATIONB. 



The Chalk Pipe .... I 
He Eabilt Bobbowsd Six Doi-IiAiui I 
BssiEoato THE Pilot 

' TnU la NlHE-HILB POIKT ' 

'Comb! tvkh oot' . . 

A HlBVCB Latbb 
Tou'ke a Suabt Ode 
Gbt a MBHORArocM Book 
A StTMPTVOtis Temple . 
VLvao AKD Gajibs 

BlVBB InSPBOTOBS . 

A lAXoixa KnOT 

InUaSlDLT THET Dbew Toobthek ' 

Stand By, irow t . 
Shoulder to Shouldbb . 
'OVBB She tioKgl'. 
LoADnta AND FiBUfd . 
Chasoiho Watch . 
All Well— Btrr Mb . 
Lbaekiho thb Biveb . 
LEAB:t Hr OB Kill Mb . 
'That's A Rbbt' . 
' Sbt Hkb Back ' 
Mb. Bixbt Stbfped imto View . 
I Stood Like OltE Bewitched 
BiraiET Views ..... 
Wrabiho a Toothpick . 
' Do Yod bbe that Stomp 7 ' . 
DRirmo Looa 
Tub Orator of the Scow 
Gamblixo down Bblow 
Tow-boat Suprehact 
Tbact DrnRiBtmiio 
Tellow-fackd Hubbablbs 
On A Shobelbss Ska 
Tub Fhahtom Assumed xni 
Wheel 

NOBOOr TUERK .... 
DABK PlLOTRtO 

Sovuddo 

Oh, how Awful I . 



Hauled Aboabd 
Ok Somniiaa . 
A Cmr SiRBBT . 
Let a Lbadsmaii c 

TwADt ! • 
Oh, I Knsw Him 1 . 
So Full of Lauob I 
Soared to Death 
Whebb is Mb. Bixbt? . 
If You Love Me, Back » 
Back her, Back hbrI . 
Veivt Brief Authobitt , 
Trbatbd wlth Mabkbd ] 

You Task Mt Boat . 
No Fooufl't . 
Wemt to Wuistldki . 
Steamer at Night 

tar DTTO A FcRt . 

Rbsdbbbctbo Pilots 
The Captain Stormed 
The SioK of Mbmbbrship 

POSTIBO HIS BePOBT ■ 

Added to the Fold 

A JusrtriABLB Adtahce . 

Steamboat Time . 

DbOWBT ESOtKRESS . 

Bbass Bands Brat 
Thb Partino CHORoa 
Bacr of the Leb 

Natches 
Dasqerous DiTcniMO 



Dbluqbd abd Caree»bd . 

The Spectre Btbambb . 

■My, What a Bacb I'vb Had I' . 

Beamiho BBHionAirrLT . 

The Dsbt>Patbb . . . . 

Pilot Brown 

■Abb You Hoeacb BiossT'e 
ClB?' 

,„■.. A.OO;jle 



. 159 

. 163 

. IG5 

. XGT- 



■ 172 
. 174 
. 175 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS. 



a THAT IcB-PrrCBEB' 

* Fm.1. HER Dowa ' 

I Eqxed Bbowr Evebt Nioht . 

HOBUED HB AcROeS TOS HOOSK . 

Eiixnra Broitii 

I Bit BROmr a Qood Hohest 

Bloit 1! 

Thk Racxbt bad Bbouoht 

EVEKISmiT TO THE DeCK . 
' So ToV HATE BBHS PlflHTIHO 1 ' 

Ax Ehascipatbd 61AVE 

HeERT AXU I SAT CHATnHa 

Ehptubo the Wood-tut . 
The EzrixwioN—A Btartled 

Eai.br Save* ku Fldte 

The Foib Dbove the Axemeh 

The Bospital Wabd 
Fdebbal Wbeaths 
The Lasd of rnu. 'Goatees' 
Statior Loavebs 

0BriElt AH AUA« 

' Do Tod DROnc rmm Slubk t ' 
SovHD-AautBr Stbamboats . 

Aai-EEr, IE SODXDLERB VAOAKCY . 

Dkad Past REsiiBBECnDM 
Tbe Wood-tabd Mak , 
Waitdio pdb a Tbip. 
The Elbctrio Liaur 

A LAEDtNO . 

A Cmme ImTEcnoB 
Saownio the Belu . 
Air AxuoATOB Boat 
AtuoATim PtLon 
Tkb Sacred Bird . 

CoDXTTHS THB VoTR . 

' Here I Tod Takb Hbb ' 
Boai^thatbllbbb 
Okaed Town. 



Illisom Gkouhd 
His HArostr Batt^b 

MiOHTT WABM TIUBS 

' Whekk did Tou See 

FlOHT ? ' 

Darxsll v. Wxthos . 
Thet Ebtt on Shootuo 

ISLASD No. 10 . . . 

Flood on the Sivkr . 

A DiBMAL WlTMBSB . 

The Steahbb 'Habk Twau 

A GOVEERMEHT LAMF 

ARTinoiAi. Datliort 
0EICI.E UtmroBD 
Talkieo otbs tub Sitl'atic 
The Tow .... 
A Soin^-Hovino T11.1.A1.1 , 
3KLUao THE Neoro 
COCBAIiBD IB THE BBAKB 

A Hah caxe in Sioht . 
I Shot Him thbouoh the ] 
Another Tictih 
PlEASANTLl Situated . 
Ubkpbis-^ Labdinq Staqe . 
Natitu at Dinner 

A LlOHT-KEEPRR 

Negro Trateli,bbs 
' Ant Boat oone vet' 

A WoRIJ> of HUtBFURMATION 

A Fatal Blow .... 

Elaboratb Sttlr . 

The Nioht Approach 

Napoleob IE 18T1 . 

The Nad's Etbs opbhbd blowlt 2 

They buhmaord tuk Cabin 

Ob thr Bioht Tback . 

THCHR-PBIBTa 



A.OO' 



'iV^ 



Liar OF ILLVSTRATIQSa. 



I 



Hk Dbopfed OS BIS Kinma . 
tax. Tbaobdt ... 
In tbb Hobove 

Wb bsqar i« oo<h> off 
'Am'r i«AT •o, TaoMPiraiV' 
Hz IS Hafft whebe He is . 
Wabmxd vr nrro a Quabeei. 
Napoleoh ab rt is . 
Caviho Baeki . 
Th£ CoNMuaion Dbalee 
The Ubaslitb . 
The Bar-keefeb . 
A Pljuh Giu, . 
A 'WATraiaixioa' 
HoaQurrou . . . • 
A Bad Eab .... 
FAiatnia Himself 

VldEBBUBO . . ■ ■ 

The Rivzs wab Uhdistubbed, 
The Gate Dwelurs . 
bbimomo the cuildbeb . 
Wait and Uakb Cbbtaih 
'MuLB Meat?' . 
Native Wild-woods . 
Mr Fbome-vaur . 
A Bhobt Stout Bao 
The Doob was A-cback ■ 

'FiTB HmiDBED BeTTEB' 

'Beeb Lauso fob 

An ExpLoeioE 

Alt Ikteriob .... 

CUtAKBIEO ThKHSELVBS 

Natchbe 

DBVMXItKH .... 

■ Smbu, Thbh, Taste Thbh ' 
Coldhbia Fbhalb iTOTiTirrE 
The Gkaoeful Palhebio . 
HiQH Water 
The Whabvei 
Casal Stbebt . 



Waar Ean 

Thb Cbmxtbbt . 

Imhoktei 

Beucs n7 ' 

He CHUC1LI.EP Ml I 

' Wkt, Just Look at w I ' . , Ml 

Ahbitkm m ' 

An EzrLAHATiuM . . . >W , 

The 8t. Ckabi,es Hotel , . , M 
The Shell Boad . . M 

Sfasihh Fobt >M 

The Bhooii Bbioasb . .400 

•Wbah Tou WAS?' . .Ml 

Fob Laoviaffb . Mt 

LAOIOArFB 40S 

' Waw ' Tali Vtl 

Cock-pit «» 

Qumra 4U 

Absencs of Habhoni . . . 414 

COLLISIOIt 416 

UABDI-41BA8 417 

Chitalbt 41& 

Tools of thb Tbadk. . . 4S1 

Dhcle BsHtis 498 

We Bbad Aloud . . . 4C4 

A BiTBa Lamdiho .... 4S5 

Toe Caftaoi 4ST 

Pilot Towx 481 

SXOKS AHD QOSIF . . . 431 

Thb Ibtzbview .... 4B4 

Ovm THE BREASrDOAKD . . . 4SS 

Thobkbuboh's Cctb . . 440 

He Clumq to a Comm-BAUt . . 441 
A Chill Fell Thebb . . . 446 
Sellebs's HoEUMBin . . U7 

I AN AxEions About the TmK . 4fil 

SrAaB-aTBuoB 4W 

' Look bebe, Havb Too got that 

Dbuk VBr f ' 4&5 

WiLLiAHS Puss His Thadk . . 4M 
,„■.. A.OO;jle 



irar OF ILLUSTRATIONS. 






Hs PCLLBD •■ 

ThkCkuu .... 

Mmuoir Wouc .... 

WiLUUU 

Thk DiTt or LoKO Aoo . 

A Pbacttcai. Jokb . 

FooiA FOB St. Louib . 

' I SAT or or Bkd QuAKisa' 

'All KioHT, Dctoht — I 

Wi ALL Flew Horn. 

RAIIDOli RUBBISB 

Tas CosncBAnto Emfe . 

A Cbkat abd Pitiful Buih. 

A Bad CiUb of Soakki . 

I Tamtsb with Ht (jasuxta<x . 

H T BtTBDm 18 LlFTBD . 

Bad Drxamb 
Ukxbt Clay Dkah 



The Houbs Beoab t 






PF1.AUSB eOl 

A FOBMXB REaiDETT .606 

l.fDEFE.'ojBaT Sam . . . 507 
The Had wtth a Tbadb-mask . SOB 
Majisttc Bluff* ■ . MO 

' Ni"nt'B,' BAXB Smith . . . M2 

QuBB!i's Bluff 51G 

CiuiafBr Sock .... 6tS 
The MAiDBn'a Rook . . . 617 

The Lsciukeb .... 919 

»r. Paul 6S4 

An Kablt PosnusTiK . . . 6S6 
The FiBST Abbival . . . . SST 
HonrBArouB Atn> the Falls of 
St. Akthomt . . 6!S 

The Hixtubk 681 

An Abkainab BivBB Post Office 681 

IVDIAN OBBAMBim . . .561 



D.3l.za..y Google 



c.y Google 



LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 



CHAPTEE r. 

TBE RIVBK AND ITS BI8T0RV. 

Tbe Misaiamppi is well vorth reading 'about. It is Dot a oommon- 
place river, but on tbe contrary is in all wafs temarkable. Conmder- 
ing tbe Miasouri its main branch, it is tbe longest river in tbe irorld 
— four thooB&nd three hnndt«d miles. It seems safe to say that it 
is also the crookedest rivet in tbe world, since in one parti of its 
Jonmey it usee up one thousand three hundred milee to cover the 
same grotmd that t^e crow would flyover in six buiidred and eeventy- 
Sve. It diecharges ihrvo times as much water as the St. lAwreiuje, 
twentrf-five times as much as the Rhine, and three hundred and 
thirty-eight times as much as tbe Thames. No other river has so 
vast a drainage-basin : it draws its water supply &om twenty-eight 
States and Tetritoriee ; from Delaware, on tbe Atlantic seaboard, and 
from all the country between that and Idaho on tbe Pacific slope — 
a spread of forty-five degrees of longittide. The MissiflBippi receives 
and carries to the Gulf water from fifty-four subordinate rivers that 
are navi^^de hy steamboats, and &om some hundreds that are navi- 
gable by flats and keels. The area of ite drainage-bean is as great as 
tlie comtnned areas of I!ngland, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Traace, 
Spain, Fortogal, Germany, Austria, Italy, and Turkey ; and almost 
all this wide r^^n is fertile ; the Mississippi valley, propw, is ex- 
ceptitmally so. 

It is a remarkable river in this : that irtstead of widening toward 
its rooutb, it grows narrower ; grows narrower and deeper. EVom the 



2 LIFE ON THE MISStSSIPPT. 

joDCtion of the Ohio to n. point h&lf way down to the sea, the width 
averages a mile in high watei- : thence to the aea the width steadilr 
diminifihes, imtU, at the ' Faases,' above the mouth, it is but little 
avae half a mile. At the j unction of the Ohio the Miiisiasippi's depth 
is ei^ty-seven feet ; the depth increases gradually, reaching one hnu- 
dred and twenty-nine just above the mouth. 

The difference in rise and fall is also remarkable — not in the 
upper, but in the lower river. The rise is tolerably uniform down 
to Natchez (three hundred and sixty miles above the mouth) — about 



montn only two and one bait. "^ i 

An article in the New Orleans ' Times- 
Democrat,' based upon i-eports of able engineers, states that the riv^ 
annually mnptiee four hundred and six milUon tons of mnd into the 
Gulf of Mexico — which brings to mind .Captain Martyat's rude name 
for the Missiaeippi — < the Great Sewer. This mud, solidified, would 
make a mass a mile square and two hundred and forty-one feet high, 

Hie mud deposit gradually extends the'.land — but only gradually; 
it has extended it not quite n third of a mile in the two hundred 
yean which have elapsed since the river took its place in history. , 



THE BIVER AND ITS HISTORY. S 

The belirf of the sdeiitifo people !■, that the month oeed to be at 
Baton Bonge, where the hills cease, and that the two'himdred miles 
of laad betveen there and the Gulf was built by the river. This 
gives ua the age of that piece of country, without any trouble at all — 
one hundred and twenty tbousand yean. Yet it ia much the 3'outh- 
fullest batch of oonntry that lies around there anywhere. 

Hie MiaBJaaippi is remarkable in still another way — its dispodtaoD 
to make prodigious jumps by catting through narrow necks of land, 
and thus straightening and shortening itself. More than once it has 



effects : 'davj have thrown "' 

several river towns out into the rural districts, and built up sand 
bars and forests in front of them. The town of Delta used to be 
tiiree miles below Vicksburg : a recent cutoff has radically dianged 
the poflition, and Delta ia now Uco miU» oiotM Yickaburg. 

Both of these river towns have be«i retired to the country by that 
cnt-off. A cut-off pla^ havoc witii boundary lines and jurisdictions : 
for instaooe, a man is living in the State of MissiBappi to-day, a cnt- 
off occni* to-nigbt, and to-morrow the man finds himself and bis land 



4 LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

over on the other aide of tfan river, within the bonndftries and sabject 
to the lawa of the State of Lotiiaiana I Such a thing, happening in 
the npper riTer in the old times, oould have tranaferred k elare &om 
Miasonri to niinoia and made a free man of him. 

The MiaBiaaippi doee not alter ita locality \>j cnt-ofb alooe : it ia 
aJways changing ita habitat hodUy — ia&lwaya moving bodily «tdewi*e. 
At Hard Times, Ia., the river ia two miles west of the region it uaed 
to occupy. Aa a resnlt, the original tiu of that settlement ia not 
now in Louisiaiui at all, hut on the other aide of the river, in the 



State of Misaisaippi. Nearly tfta tahoU of that one ihoutand thrte 
hundred mUet of old Mitnaaippi Jttver which La Salle fioaltd domn 
in kit earwet, two hundrtd yeart ago, is good tolid dry ground now. 
The river lies to tlie right of it, in places, and to the left; of it in other 
places. 

Althongh the Miaaiasippi'B mud builda land bat slowly, down at 
the mouth, where the OulTs billows interfwewith its work, it builda 
fitst enough in bettsr protected n^na higher up : for instance. 
Prophet's laland contained one thousand £ve hundred acies of land 



THE BIYEB AlfD ITS fflSTOBT, B 

thirty jeue ago ; sinoe then the river has added seren hundred anres 
to it. 

Bot enough of theee examplee of the mi^ty Btreem'H ecomtriaties 
for the {weeent — I will give a few more of them further along in the 
book. 

Let ns drof tite Minuaii^i'B physical history, and say a word 
about it^historical histoty— «o to ipeak. We oas glance briefly at 
its slnmKous first epoch in a oonple of short ctu^tsrs ; at its seooncl 
and widtt^inike qioch- in a couple more ; at its flnsheet and wideet- 
awftke e^ioch in a good many succeeding chapterB; and then talk 
about its comparfttiTBly ta«nquil present epoch in vtut shall be left 
(£ the book. 

The woiid and the books are so accustomed to use, and orer-tue^ 
the mad ' new ' in oonnection wiUi our country, that we early get 
and pamanentl J retain the impraaioo tliat there is nothing old aboat 
it. We do of coutee know that tiieie are sereral oomporatiTely old 
dUee in Jfrneiican history, but the mere figures convey to our minds 
DO juat idea, no distinct isalisati<m, of tlie stretch o£ time whidi they 
represent. To say that De Soto, tlie first white man who ever saw 
the Missianppi Biver, saw it in 1542, is a remark which states a &ct 
witfaont intspretdng it : it is something like giving the dimensions of 
a sunset by sstrononucal meAsnremente, and cataloguing the colours 
by their sdentific names ; — as a result, yoa get the bald &ct cf the 
Bunset, bat you don't see the sunset. It wonld have been better to 
paint a picture of it. 

The date 1542, standing l^ itself means little or nothing to us ; 
bat when one groope a few nedghbouring historical dates and &cts 
anHind it, be adds perspective and colour, and then realises that this 
is one of the American dates which is quite respectaUe for aget 

For instance, whoi the MissisBippi was first seen by a white man, 
lees than a quarter of a century had elapsed since Francis I.'s dcAat 
at ^via ; the death of Raphael ; tiie death <d Bayard, »atu pet4r et 
gain Tvproehe ; the driving out (£ the Knights-HoBpitallexs from 
Bbodea by the Turks ; and the placarding of the Kinety-Five Kt>poBi- 
tiicm^ — the act which began the B^ormation. When De Soto took 
his ^impse of the river, Ignattus Loyola was an c^ieoare name ; the 
order of the Jesuits was not -^et a year old ; Michael Angejp's paint 



6 LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

yns not yet dry on tfae Last Judgment in the Sistine Chapel ; Mary 
Queen of Scots was not yet bom, but would be before the year cloeed. 
Catherine de Medici wob & child ; Eliuheth of England was not yet 
in her teens ; Calvin, Benvenuto Cellini, and the Emperor Charles V. 
were at the top of their fiune, and each was mano&oturing history 
after his own peculiar &shion ; Maigaret of Navatre was writing tlie 
* Heptameron ' and somo reli^ons books, — the first stirvives, tiie 
otlien are fbigottcu, wit and indelicacy being aometimea better 
literature 



and the tournament were 

the &«quent pastime of titled fine gentlemen who could fight 
better than they could spell, while religion was the passum of 
their ladies, and classiJying their offipring into children of fall 
rant and childien by brevet their pastime. In bet, all arooud, 
religion was in a peculiarly blooming condition : the Council of 
Trent was being called ; the Spanish Inquisition was roasting, and 
racking, and bnj*ning, with a free hand ; elsewhere on the continent the 
nations were being persuaded to holy living hy the sword and fire ; in 



THE RIVER AND ITS HISTORY. 1 

England, Henr^ Till, liad suppressed the monasterieB, burnt Fiaher 
and another bishop or two, and was getting his English refonnatJon 
and bis harem affectively started. When Da Soto stood on the banks 
of the MisdeaipjH, H was still two years before Luther's death ; eleven 
j'eaiv before the burning of Servetus ; thirfy years before the St. Bar- 
tholomew slaughter; Babelaiawas uotyertpnbliahed; 'Dod Quixote' 
was not yet written ; Shakspeare was not yet bom ; a hundred long 
years must still elapee befora 
would hear the 



which considerably mellows and modifies ^il '< 

the shiny newness of our country, ajid '' 

gives her a most respectable outside-aspect of rustinese and antiquity. 
De Soto merely glimpsed the river, then died and was buried in 
it by his priests and soldiers. One would expect the priesta and the 
soldiers to multiply the river's dimensJonB by ten — the Spanish custom 
of the day— and thus move other adventurers to go at once and ex- 
plore it. On the contraiy, their narratives when they reached home, 
did not exdte tiiat amount of curiodty. The Miswssippi was left nn- 
Tisit«d by whit«8 daring a term of years which seems incredible in 
our energetic days. One may ' sense ' the interval to his mind, after 



8 ttFS O.V THE MISSISSIPPI. 

a fiebion, by dividing it up in this way : After De Soto glimpsed tbe 
riTer, a fraction short of a quarter of a century elapsed, and then 
ahakspeare was bom ; lived a trifle more than half a century, then 
di»i ; and when he had been in his grave oonsiderably more than half 
a century, the tecond white man saw the MiacdsBippi. In onr day wtt 
don't allow a hundred and thirty yearB to elapee between glimpaes of 
a marvel. If somebody should discorer a creek in the county next to 
the one that the North Pole is in, Europe and America wonld etart 



BUBIAL OF DB SOTO. 

fifteen ooetly expeditions thither : one to explore tbe creek, and the 
otlier fourteen to bunt for each other. 

For more than a hundred and fifly years there had been whit« 
aettlements on onr Atlantic coasts. These people were in inttmatt* 
oommumcation with the Lidians : in the south ihe Spaniards were 
robbing, slaughtering, emslaving and converting them ; higher ap, the 
Knglish were trading beads and blankets to them for a consiil«Btion, 
and throwing in dvilisatjon and whiskey, ' for lagniappe ; ' ' and in i 
Canada the French were schooling them in a mdimentarj' way, mis- I 



Tim RIVER AXD ITS HISTOUY. > 

sionaryisg among them, and drawing vhole populations of them at ft 
time to Qoebec, and later to Montreal, to buj furs of them. Neoee- 
sarily, then, those Tarious clusters of whites must have heard of the 
great river of the br west ; and indeed, they did hear of it raguely, — 
BO TBgnely and indefinitely, that its course, proportions, and locality 
were hardly even goeasable. The mere mysterionsnees of the matter 
ougbt to have fired cnrioaity and compelled exploration ; but tliis did 
not occur. Apparently nobody happened to want such & river. 



CANADUM IXDUMB. 

nobody needed it, nobody was curious about it ; so, fbr a century and 
a half the Hisaissippi remained out of the market and undisturbed. 
When De Soto found it, he was not banting for a river, and had no 
prewait occasion for one ; consequently he did not value it or even 
take any particular notice of it. 

But at last Ia Salle the Frenchman conceived the idea of seeking 
out that river and exploring it. It always happens that when a 
man aeixes upon a n^lected and important idea, people Inflamed 
with the same notion crop up all around. It happened n in this 



10 LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

Vatunillf the qoeation Buggeete itoelf, Why did theee people want 
the river now when nobody had wanted it in the fiv« preeeding 
^eneratione 1 Apparently it was becauHe at Hae lat« day they 
-thought they had discovered a way to make it use^ ; for it had 
-come to be believed that the MiaBiaaippi emptied into the Golf of 
Califbmia, and therefore afforded a short cat &om Canada to China. 
Previously the supposition had been that it emptied into the Atlantic, 
or Sea of Yii^inia. 



c.y Google 



CHAPTER II. 

THS BIVER AND ITS BXFLORBBB. 

La Saixe himself saed for certain high priTile^iei, and the^ Tare 
graaawij accorded him. b^ Louie XTV. of infl&ted memory. Chi«f 
among them waa the privilege to explore, br and wide, and build 
forte, and stake out continente, and hand the same over to tim king, 
and pay Ihe ezpensee himself ; receinng, in retm^, some littJe advan- 
tages of one scRt or another j among tiiem the monopoly gf boffiJo 
hides. He spent seveial years and about all of his moaey, in making 
perilooB and painAit trips between Montreal and a fort which he had 
boilt on the ZUinoie, before he at laat succeeded in getting his expedi- 
tion in such a shape that he oould strike for the MieaiasippL 

And meantime other parties bad had bettor fortone. In 1673 
-)oliet tlie merchant, and Marquette tiie priest, crossed the country 
and readied the banks of the MississippL The^ went by way of the 
Great Lakes ; and &om Qreen Bay, in canoes, by way of Fox Siver 
aad tbe WieoonHin. Marquette had solemnly contracted, on the feeat 
<rf tlie Immaculate Conception, that if the Virgin would permit him 
to dtsoo^er the great river, he wonld name it Conception, in her 
bonoor; He kept hia word. In that day, all explorers travelled 
widt an ontfit of priests. De Soto had twenty-four with him. Ia 
Salle had several, also. The expeditions were often out of meat, and 
scant of clothee, but tiisiy always had tbe furniture and other requisites 
for the mass ; th^ were always prepared, as one of the quaint 
chrouideKS of tbe time phrased it, to ' explain bell to tbe salvages.' 

On tba 17tb of June, 1673, the canoes of Joliet and Marquette 
and their five subordinates reached the junction of the Wisoonon 
witb the MisidsdppL Mr. Farkman says : ' Before them a wide and 



12 LIFE OX TUB MISSISSIPPI. I 

n^Id current oonrsed athwart their way, by the foot of h^y hraghts 
wrapped thiak in forests.' He continues : ' Taming southward, tfaej 
paddled down the stream, throngh a solitude unrelieved by the &intest 
trace of man.* 

A big cat-fish collided with Marqnette's canoe, and startled him ; 
and reasonably enough, for he had been warned by the Indians tha.t 
he was on a foolhardy journey, and even a fatal one, for the river 
contained a demon ' whose roar could he heard at a great distance. 



CBO»SI,NO THB L^KKS. 

and who would engulf them in the abyss where he dwdt.' I have 
seen a Mississippi cat-fish tixat was more than six feet long, and 
weighed two hundred and 6ftj pounds ; and if Marquette's fiah was 
the fellow to that one, he had a fidr right to thinlc the river's roaring 
demon was come. 

' Ax lengtb the boffido began to appear, graang in herds on the 
great prairiee which then bordered the river ; and Marquette deecribes 
the floxie and stupid look of the old bulla ae they stared at the 
intnukn throngh the tangled mane which nearly blinded them.' 



THE RIVER AXD ITS EXPLORERS. 18 

The Tt^agen moved caaldously ; ' landed at night and made a 
fire to oook their evening meal; then extinguished it, embarked 
again, paddled some my &rther, and anchored in the stream, ke^nng 
a man on the iratch till morning.' 

"niay did this day after day and night after night ; and at the end 
of two weeks they had not seen a human being. The river waa an 
awful solitude, than. And it is now, over moat of its stretch. 

But at the close of the fortnight they one day came npon the foot~ 
prints of men in the mnd of the weetwn bank — a Robinson Oraaoe 
ezperieuoe which carries an electric shiver with it yet, when one 



ANCHOBED IM THE STBBAH. 

stumtdea on it in print. They had been warned that the river 
Indiana were as ferocious and pitiless as the river demon, and de- 
stn^ed all comers without waiting for provocation ; but no matter, 
Joliet and Marqoette struck into the country to hunt np the proprie- 
tors of the tracks. They found th«n, by-and-bye, and were hospitably 
received and well treated — if to be received by an Indian chief who 
has taken off his last rag in order to appear at his level best is to he 
received hospitably ; and if to be treated abundantly to fish, porridge, 
and other game, including dog, and have these things forked into 
one's mouth by the migloved fingers of Indians is to be well treated. 



1* LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

Is the moming the chief and six hondred of his tribesmen escorted 
the Ficochmen to the river and bade them a Mendly farewell. 

On the rockfi above the preeent dty of Alton they found some mde 
and &DtaHtic Indian paintings, which they deecribe. A short distance 
below ' a torrent of yellow mud mshed furiously athwart the calm 
Uue carrent of the Mississippi, boiling and surging and sweeping in 
its conrselogs, branches, and uprooted trees,' This 



J 

its gentle sister.' " 

Bf-and-bye they passed the mouth of tlie Ohio ; they passed cane- 
bnkes ; they fought mosquitoes ; they floated along, day after day, 
through the deep silence and loneliness <^ the river, drowsing in the 
scant shade of makeshift awnings, and broiling with the beat ; they 
encountered and exchanged civilities with another party ot Tndij.f| « ^ 
and at last they reached the mouth of the Arkansas (about a moDtl) 



THE RIVES AXD ITS EXPL0BEB3. 1ft 

out from their' stardng-point), where a tribe of war-whooping savt^es 
Gwarmed oat to meet and murder them ; but they appealed to th» 
Tiigin for help ; bo in place of a fight there wae a feast, and plentjr 
of plfwrniTit palaver and fbl-de-rol. 

13iej had proved to their satiahction, that the MiBrisaippi did not 
emp^ into the Gulf of California, or into the Atlantic. They 
believed it emptied into the Gulf ctf Mexico. They turned back, now, 
and earned their great news to Canada. 



I.A SALLB ON THK ICE. 

Bnt belief is not proof. It was reserved for Ia Salle to furniab 
the proof. He was provoldngly delayed, by one misfortone after 
anotfao', but at last got his expedition und» way at the end of the 
year 1681. In the dead of winter be and Henri de Tout?, son of 
Lorenuo Tonty, who invented the tontine, hie lieutenant, started down 
the niinoia, with a following of eighteen T"'^iftn'! brought from Kew 
England, and twenty-three Frenchmen. They moved in proceasion 
down the surface of the frozen river, on foot, and dragging tbeir 
canoee after them on sledges, ,,,., ,t^,oo>^le 



IC LIFE ON THE SllSSlSaiPPI. 

At Feom I^ke they struck opeu water, aad paddled thence to 
the Mississippi and turned their prows soathward. They plonked 
through the fields of floating ice, peat the mouth of the Misaotiri ; 
past the mouth of the Ohio, by-and-bye ; ' and, gliding by the wsstw of 
Ixndemig swamp, landed on the 21th of Februai; near the llurd 
Cluckftsaw Blnfis,' where they halted and built Fort Frudhonune. 

'Again,' says Mr. Ru*kmait, ' they embarked; and with erary 
stage of their adventuroos {vogress, the mystery of this vast new 
world was more and more unveiled. More and more they entered 
iim realms dS spring. The hazy sunlight, the warm and drov^ air, 
the tender foliage, the opening flowers, betokened the reviving life of 
natore.' 

Day by day they floated down tiie great bends, in the shadow of 
the dense fbrasta, and in time arrived at the mouth of the Arkansas. 
Fiiat, th^ were greeted by the natives of this locality as Marquette 
had before been greeted by them^with the booming (£ tbs war drum 
and the flourish of arms. The Virgin composed the diffioolty in 
Marqaetto's case ; the pipe of peace did the same office for Ia Salle. 
Tlie white man and the red man struck hands and entertained eod 
other during three days. Then, to the admiration of the savages, Xa 
Salle set up a cross with the arms of France on it, and took p 
of tiie whole coontry for the king — the cool Esshiou of the t 
while the prieet piously consecrated t^ robbery with a hymn. Tbe 
priest explained the mysteries of the &itii ' by signs,' for tiie saving 

of the savages ; thus compensating them with possible j miiiiiiiin in 

Heaven for the certain ones on earth which they had just been 
robbed at. And also, by signs, La Salle drew &om these simple 
children of the forest admowtedgmenta of fealty to Louis the Patrid, 
over the water. Kobody smiled at these oolosaal ironies. 

Theee performances took place on the site of the future town of 
ITapoleon, ArltunaM, and there the first conflscatioa-cross was mised 
on the banks of the great river. Marquette's and Joliet's voyage of 
discovery ended at the same spot — the site of tite future town t£ 
Napoleon. When De Soto took his fleeting glimpse tS the river, 
away back in the dim early days, he took it from that same spot — the 
dte of the future town of Napoleon, Arkanaaa Therefbre, three onl 
of the four memorable events connected with the discovery and ex- j 



THE RIVER Ah'D ITS EXPLORERS. 17 

[Jontion <d tJie mighty river, oocurred, by acddeut, in one and the 
«ame ^aae. It ia a most curious distinctioo, when one comes to look 
at it and think about it. France stole that vast country on that 
spA,, the fitture Napoleon ; and by and by Napoleon himself was to 
give the ooiuttry back again t — make reetitution, not to the owaers, 
but to their white Amflrican heirs. 



COHSaCRA.TINa THE BOBBEBX. 

The voyagers journeyed on, teaching hereand there; 'passed the 
sites, since become historic, of Vicksburg and Grand Gulf;' and 
Tifiited an imposing Indian monarch in the Teche country, whose 
capita] city wai a Bubetantial one of sun-baked bricks mixed with 
straw — better bouses than many that exist there now. The chiefs 
house contained an audiotce room forty feet square ; and thore he 



18 LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

received Tontf in State, surrounded by axtj old men clothed in 
white cloaks. There vas a temple m the town, with a mud wall 
about it omamettted with skulls of enemies sacrificed to the sun. 

The Toyagen Tiat«d the N'atchez Indians, near the ato ot the 
present city of that name, where they found a ' religious and political 
deapotiam, a privileged class descended fi^om the sun, a temple and a 
sacred fire.' It must have been like getting home again; it was 
home with an advantage, in fact, for it lacked Louis XIT. 



swiftly by, and Ia Salle stood 

in the shadow of his confiscating cross, at the meeting of the waters 
from Delaware, and from Itaska, and from the mountain ranges close 
upon tlie Facifie, with the waters of the Gulf of Merioo, his task 
finisheJ, his prodigy achieved, Mr. Parkman, in closing his &scina' 
ting narrative, thus sums up ; 

' On that day, the realm of France recraved on parchment a stu- 
pendous accession . The fertile plains of Texas j the vast basin of tbe 
Bippi, from its froren northern springs to the sultry borders of I 



TEE BIVER JJfI> ITS jSXPLORB&S. 19 

the Qnlf; firom the woody ridgee of the AJlegh&mee to the bare 
peaks <rf the Bocky Mountains — a region of savannas and forests, sun- 
cracked deaerte and grassy prairies, watered hy a thousand riven, 
ranged hj a thousand warlike tribes, passed beneath the sceptre of 
the Sultan of Vereailles ; ajid all by rirtue ol a feeble human Toice, 
inaudible at half a mile.' 



)ji.:...i. Google 



LIFE ON THE MI83I88TPPZ. 



CHAirrER III. 

PRESCOEa irROU THE PA9T. 



Apparently the river was ready for boBJaesB, oow. But no, the 
distribation of a population along ite bonkB was as calm and 
deliberate and tunB-deTouring a procees ae the discovery and explo- 
ration liftd been. 

Seventy yeani elapsed, after the exploration, before the river i< 
borden had a white population worth considering ; and nearly fifty 
more before the river had a commerce. Between Ia BaUe's oponing 
of the river and the time when it may be said to have become the 
vehicle of anything like a r^ular and active commerce, seven 
sovereigns had occupied the thnme of England, America bad become 
an iudepetldent nation, Louis XIV. and Louis XY. had rotted and 
died, the French monarchy had goae down in the red tempest of Hbe 
revolotifHi, and Napoleon was a name that was beginning to be talkevl 
about. Trnly, there were snails in those days. 

The river's earliest commerce was in gree-t bargee — keelboats!, 
broadhonis. They floated and sailed from the upper rivers to New 
Orleans, changed caigoea there, and were tediously warped and poled 
back by hand. A voyage down and back sometimes occupied niaoe 
months. In time this commeroe increased ontil it gave empl<^meait 
to hordes of rough and hardy men ; rude, uneducated, brave, Bofiering 
terrific hardships with sailor-like stoicism; heavy drinkers, oonrse 
feolicken in moral sties like the Natcbez-under-ttte-bill of tliat day, 
heavy fighters, reckless Edlowe, every one, elephantinely jolly, fonl- 
witted, pro&De ; prodigal of their money, bankrupt at the end of the 
trip, fond of barbaric finery, prodigious braggarts ; yet, in the main, 
honest, trustworthy, bithful to promises and doty, and often pie- 
tureequely magnanimous. i>j AxOO^Ie | 



FRESCOES FROM THE PAST. 21 

By and by the Htoomboat iDtanded. Then fi>r flfleeQ or twenty 
yean, these men continued to run their keelboats down-etream, eni 
the gteMoen did all of the np->tre&m buaneee, tlie keelboatmen Belling 
their boats in New Orleans, and returning home as deck passengers 
in the eteamers. 

Bat after a vhile tlie steamboat ho increased in number and in 
speed that they were able to absorb the entdie commeroe ; and then 
keelboating died & permanent death. The keelboatman became a 
deck hand, or a mate, or a pilot on the steamer ; and when steomei^ 
bertha were not open to him, he took a berth on a Pittsburgh coal- 



d 

the sources of the Mississii^i. 
In the heyday of the eteamboating prosperity, the river from end 
to end was flaked with ooal-fleets and timber rafts, all managed by 
hand, and employing hosts of the rough characters whom I have been 
trying to describe. I remember the annual prooeesious of mighty 
I'aftA that used to glide by Hannibal when I was a boy, — an acre or 
M] of white, sweet-smelling boards in each raft, a crew of two dosen 
men or more, three or fbur wigwams scattered about the raft'e vast 
level space for storm-qnarteiti, — and I remember the rude ways 
nnd the tremendous talk of their big crews, the ex-kedboatmen and 



23 LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

Hkot adminngly poittemiiig Bncoeasora ; for we used to swim out ft 
quarter or third of a mile and get on theee rafts and hare a ride. 

By way of illustrating keelboat talk and mannen, and that now- 
departed and hardly-remembered rafb-life, I will Uirow in, in this place, 
a chapter &om a book which I have been working at, by fits and 
atartB, during the past five or six years, and may poanbly finish in 
the course of fire or aiz more. The book is a story which details 
Bome passages in the life of an ignorant village boy, Huck Finn, son 
of the town drunkard til my time out west, there. He has ran away 
from his persecuting &ther, and from a persecuting good widow who 



A LVHBEK BAFT. 

wishes to 'make a nice, tmtb-telling, reepectable boy of him ; and 
with him a slave of the widow's has also escaped. They have found 
a fragment of a lumber raft (it ifi high water and dead summer tame), 
and are floatang down the river by night, and hiding in the willows 
by day, — bound for Cairo, — whence the negro will seek freedom in 
the heart <tf tibe free States. But in a' fog, they pass Cairo without 
knowing it. By and by they begin to euapect the truth, and Hack 
Plnn is persuaded to end the dismal suspense by swimming down to 
a huge TsA which they have seen in the dietanoe ahead of them, 
creeping aboard under cover of the darkness, and gathering the 
needed information by eaveedropping: — t iiO'^k' 



FRESCOES FROM THE PAST. 33 

But joa know t, joaag person cnn't wait very well wheo he it impktient 
to find ft thing ont. We talked it over, uid bj and by Jim Bud it wuaach 
a bUck night, now, that it wouldn't be no risk to swim down to the big raft 
ud cnwl aboard and listen— they would talk about Cairo, becanae they 
would be calculating to go a^ore there for a spree, maybe, or anyway they 
would aend boata eahore to buy whiskey or frmh meat or something. Jim 
had a wonderful level head, for a nigger : he could meet always start a good 
plan when you wanted one. 

I stood up and shook my rags off and jumped into tbe riveT, and struck 
out for the nft'i light. By and by, when I got down nearly to her, I eased 
up and want alow and cautious. But eTarything was all right — nobody at 
the aweepB, So I swum down along the raft till I was most abreast the 



'I BWOM AI.OMG TUB lUlTT.' "^"^^ "^ l*""^** "' 

shinglea on the weather 
side of the fire. There was thirteen men there — they was the watch on deck 
of course. And a mighty rough-looking lot, too. They had a jug, and tin 
cups, and they kept the jug moving. One mas was singing— roaring, you 
may say ; and it wasn't a nic« song — for a parlour anyway. He roared 
rhrough hia nose, and strung out the last word of every line veiy long. 
Wben li« was done they all fetched a kind of Injun war-whoop, and then 
another was sung. It begun :-~ 

■ There was a woman in oar towdn, 
In onr towdn did dwed'l (dwell,) 
She bred her husband dear-i-lee, 
But another man twyste as wedl. 



2i LIFE Olf THE MKSI8SIPPI. 

Singing too, litoo, liloo, riloo, 

Iti-too, riloo, rilaj- e, 

She loved her biubiuid dear-l-]ee. 

But another maa twysto as wedl. 

And BO on — fourteen venee. It waaklnd of poor, and wheu lie waa goiu^ 
to start on the next veTse one of than said it waa the tuna the old cow died 
on ; and another one said, ' Oh, f^ve un a rest.' And another one told him 



— ' and said be could lame any ttiierin the lot. 

They wag all about to make a break for him, but the bi^ieat man there 
jumped up and saja — 

'Set whar you are, gentlemen. Leave him to me ; he's my meat.' 
Then he jumped up in the air Ihree times and cracked his heels together 
avery time. He flung off a buckskin coat that yi&a all hung with fringes, 
and saya, ' You la; thajr tell the chawin-up'a done ; ' and flung hia hat 



FRESCOSS FROM TBB PAST. 8» 

down, which was all orer ribbons, ud u;a, ' You lay tiiar tell hia Bofferint 
the air and cracked hU heela together agun and 

'Wboo-oop! I'm the otd original iron-jawed, bra»-niount«d, copper- 
bellied eorpee-maker from the wilda of Arkaiuaw I — Look at me I I'm 
the man tbaj call Sudden Death and General Desolation I Sired by a 
hnxricane, dam'd hj an earthquake, half-brother to the cholua, nearly related 
to the emall-poz on the mother's tide 1 Look at ma I I take nineteen alli- 
gatcra and a barl of whiskey for break&at when I'm in robust health, and 
a bnsbel of rattleanakee and a dead body when I'm ailing ! I aplit the 
everlasting rocks with m j glance, and I squench the thunder when I speak I 
Wfaoo-oop 1 Stand bock and give me room according to my strength I 
Blood's my natural drink, and the wvls of the dying is music to my ear 1 
Cast youreye on me, gentlemen! — aodlaylow and Loldyourbreath,forl'm 
bout to turn myself loose! ' 

AH the time he was getting thia off, he was shaking hts head and 
looking fierce, and kind of swelhag around in a little circle, tucking up his 
wriat-boDds, and now and then straitfhteningup and beating his breast with 
his fiat, saying, 'Look at me, gentlemen!* When he got through, he 
jumped up and cracked his heels together three times, and let off a roaring 
'whoo-oop I I'm the bloodiest «on of a wildcat that livee I * 

rben the man that had started the row tilted his old slouch hat down 
over his right eye ; then he bent stooping forward, with his hack sagged and 
hia south end sticking out far, and hia fiats a-shoving out and drawing in in 
front of him, and so went around in a little circle about three times, swelling 
himself up and breathing hard. Then he straightened, and jumped up and 
cracked his heels together three times, before he lit again (that made them 
cheer"), and he hefrun to shont like this — 

' ~Whoo-oop ! bow your neck and spread, for the kingdom of sorrow's 
a-^joming I Hold me down to the earth, for I feel my powers a-worUng I 
wboo'oop I Tm a child of sin, don't let me get a start t Smoked glass, 
here, for aQ I Don't attempt to look at me with the naked eye, gentlemen ! 
When I'm playfiil I use the meridians of longitude and parallels of latitude 
for a aeine, and drag the Atlantic Ocean for whales I I scratch my hend 
-mth the lightning, and purr myself to sleep with the thunder I When I'm 
cold, I Idle the Oulf of Mexico and bathe in it ; when I'm hot I &n myself 
with an equinoctial storm ; when I'm thirsty I reach up and snck a cloud 
dry like a sponge ; when I range the earth hungry, famine follows in my 
tracks I Whoo-oop t Bow your neck and spread t I put my hand on the 
sun's face and make it mght in the earth ; I bite a piece out of the moon 
and huny the aeasons ; I shake myself and crumble Uie mountains I Con- 



36 LITE ON THE MISSISSIPPI 

template me through leather — dot{t use the naked eye I I'm the man with 

ft petrified heart and biler~iroii boweta 1 The maastLCie of isolated commuDi- 

tiM is the patrtime of mj idle moments, the destruction of nationalities the 

aerioui buaiiiesa of mj lUe I The boundless vastness of the great Americui 

desert is mj enclosed property, and I bury my dead on my own premises 1 ' 

He jumped up and cracked his heels together three times befoni he lit (they 

cheered him again), and as he ooma 

down he shoutod out ; ' Whoo-oop ! 

bow your neck and spread, for tha 

pet child of calamity's a-comingl ' 

Then the other one went to 
swelling around and blowing again 
— the first one — the one they called 
Bob ; next, the Child of Calamity 
chipped in again, bigger tlian erer ; 
then they both got at it at the samu 
time, swelling round and round eeicb 
other and punching their fists raoet, 
into each other's bees, and whoop- 
ing and jawing like Injuns; then 
' Bob called the Child names, and the 
Child called him names back again : 
next, Bob called him a heap rougher 
names and the Child come bock at 
him with the very worst kind of 
language; next, Bob knocked the 
Child's hat off, and the Child picked 
^ it up and kicked Bob's ribbooy hat 
about six foot ; Bob went and got 
it and said never mind, this wam't 
going to be the last of this thing, 
because he was a man that never 
foi^t and never forgive, and au 

.the Child betUr look out, for there 

•WKNT ASOVND IS A CIRCLE.' ■ ■ _ 

was a tune a-coming, just as sure as 
he was a living man, that he would 
have to answer to him wiih the best blood in his body. The Child said no 
man was wiUinger than he was for that time to come, and he would giTe 
Bob fair warning, nam, never to cross his path again, for he could never net 
till he had waded in his blood, for such was his nature, though he was 
sparing him now on account of his &DiiIy, if he had one. 

Both of them was edging away in diferent directions, growling and 



FRE8C0BS FROM TSE PAST. XI 

phaking tb^ heads uid going on ^bout what they was going to do; hut a 
little Usck'-whiBkered chap skipped up and says — 

' Oome hack here, you couple of chicken-liveied cowards, and III thrash 
the two of yet' 

And ho done it, too. He snatched them, he jerked them this way and 
that, he booted them around, he knocked them sprawling futer than they 



'HE KNOCKS D THEM BPKAWUNa 

could get up, Why, it wamt two minutes tQl they begged like dogs — and 
how the other lot did jell and laugh and clap thor bands all the way 
throi^h, and shout ' Sail in, Corpse-Maker 1 ' ' Et I at him agvn. Child of 
Calamity I ' ' Bnlly, for you, little Davy I ' Well, it wag a perfect pow-wow 
for a while. Bob and the Child had red uoses and black eyes when they got 
throng little DaTy made them own up that th^ were snea^and cowards 



38 LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

And not fit to eftt with a d<^ or drink with a aigger ; then Bob and the 
Child shook hands with each oth«r, ver^ solemn, and wid the; had alwaja 
respected each other and was willing to let bygones be bjgonee. So th^i 
tbej waahed their faces in die river ; and jost then there was a load otder 
to stand bj for a crossing, and some of them went forward to man the 
sweeps there, and the rest went aft to handle the afte^^weepa. 

I laid Btill and waited for fifl«en mmutee, and had a smoke out of a pipe 
that one of them left in reach ; tlien the croeeing' was finished, and thej 



BBEAK-DOWN. 

stumped hack and had a drink around and went to talking and singing again. 
Next they got out an old fiddle, and one played and another patted juba, 
and the rest turned themselves loose on a regular old-fasbioned keal-boat 
bi:eak-down. Thej couldn't keep that up very long without getting winded, 
so by and by they settled around the jug again. 

They song 'jolly, jolly raftman's the life for me,' with a rousing chorus. 

and then they got to talking about differences betwixt hogs, and their different 

kind of habita ; and nest about women and their different ways : and next 

about the best ways to put out houses that was afire ; and next about what 

„:■ .. A'00;jle I 



FRESCOES FROM THE PAST. M» 

ought to In done with the Injuna ; uid next about what a king had to do, 
and how much be fratj and next about how to make cata fight ; and neTtt 
about what to do when a man has fits ; and next about diffsrencee betwixt 
dear-water rivere and muddy-watfir onee. The man the; called Ed nid 
the moddy Mii w B ^n ppi water was wholesomer to drink than the dear water 
of the Ohio ; he «aid if jou,let a pnt of this jailer MiwsMp[H water settle, 
you would have about a half to three quarters of an inch of mud in the 
bottom, according to the stage of the river, and then it wam't no better 
than Ohio water — what you wanted to do was to keep it starred up — and 
when the river waa low, keep mud on hand to put in and thidien the water 
up the way it ought to be. 

The Child of Calamity said that was BO ; he said there was nubitiousness 
in the mud, and a mui that drunk Mississippi water could grow com in his 
stomach if he wanted to. He says — 

'Yon look at the graveyards ;' that t«Us the tale. Trees won't grow 
worth chucks in a Oincinnatd graveyard, but in a Sent Louis graveyai)] they 
grow upwards of eight hundred foot high. It's all on account of the water 
ihe peo]Ae drunk before th«y laid up. A Cincinnati eorpoe don't richea a soil 
any.' 

And they talked about how Ohio water didn't like to mix with MissiS' 
sippi water. Ed laid if you take the Histdssippi on a rise when the Ohio is 
low, joull find a wide band of dear water all Uie way down the east side 
of lii« Miseismpju ibr a hundred mile or more, and the minute you get out it 
quarter of a mile from Aon and pass the line, it is all thick and jailer the 
rest of the way across. Then they talked about how to keep tobacco from 
^tting mouldy, and from that they went into ghosts and told about a lot 
thst other folks had seen ; but Ed says— 

' Why don't you tell something that you've seen yourselves P Now let 
me have a say. Five years ago I was on a raft as lag as this, and right 
along here it was a bright moonshiny night, and I was on watch and boss of 
the Htabboard oar forrard, and one of my pards was a man named Dick All- 
bright, and be come al<mg to where I was ntting, forrard — gapng and 
stretching, he was— and stooped down on the edge of the raft and washed 
his face in the river, and come and set down by me and got out his pipe, and 
had just got it filled, when he looks up and says — 

' " Why looky-iere," he says, " aint that Ehujk Miller's place, over yander 
in the bend?" 

'"Y««,''«ayBl, "it is— why P" He laid his pipe down and leant hjs 
head on his hand, and says — 

' "1 thought we'd be finder down," I says — 

"•Ithoi^t it too, when 1 went offwatch"— we was standingaix hours 
on and six off—" but the boys told me," I says, " that the raft didn't seem 



30 LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

to btrdl^moTe, for the last hour," B&ya I, "though ahe'a b dipping along 
all right, now," saye I. He give b kind of a groan, and saja — 

' " I've aeed a raft act so before, along here," he Mje, " ^>ean to me the 
current hu most quit aboTO the head of Uils bend doiin' the last two years," 
he says. 

' Well, he raised up two or three tdmee, and looked away off and around 

on the water. That started me at it, too. A hodj is always doing what 

he sees somebody else doing, though then mayn't be no sense in it. Pretty 

eoon I eee a black something floating on the water away off to atabboftrd 

and quartering behind ae. 

I see he was looking at it, 

'" What's that P" He 

says, sort of pettish, — 

' " Tain't nothing but 
an old empty hor'L'' 

' " An empty bajl ! " 
says 1, " why," says I, " a 
spy-glass is a fool to your 
eyes. How can you t«U 
it's an emp^ harl t " He 

' " I doot know ; I 
reckon it ain't a barl, but I 
thought it might be," eays 
be. 

'"Yes," I says, "eo it 
nugbt be, and it might he 
anything else, too ; a body 
cant t«ll nothing about it, 
euch a distance as that," I 

' We hadn't nothing 
else to do, BO we Iiept on watching it. By and by I says— 

'"Why looky-here, Dick Allbright, that thing's ^^foining on us, I 
faeliere." 

' He never sud nothing. The thing gained and gained, and I judged it i 
most be a dog that was about tired out. Well, we swung down into the 
crossing, and the thing floated across the bright streak of the moonshine, 
and, by George, it wo* a barl. Sajs I — 

' " Dick Allbright, what made you think that thing was a bail, when it 
was a half a mile off," says I. Says he — 



THB MYBTKBIODB BABSBL. 



PRESCOEa FROM THE FAST. 31 

'"liMtfaww." Sftfd — 

'"TonteUin6,IHck AlHwight." He says— 

'"Well, I knowed it wu a Iwrl; I've aeen it before ; lota luu «eeu it ; 
thsf My* it'i & luimted bkrl." 

' I called the net of the wateb, uid they come vd stood then, and I 
told them what Dick uid. It floated right along ahreatt, now, and didn't 
gain any more. It was ahout twen^ foot off. Some was for having it 
aboard, but the rest didn't want to. Dick Allbright said rafts that had 
fooled with it had got had luck by it. The captain of the watch aaid he didn't 
believe in it. He laid he reckoned the barl gained on ua because it waa in a 
little bettor current than what we wit. He said it would leave by and by. 

' So them we went to talking about other things, and we had a aong, and 
than a breakdown ; and after that the captain of the watch called for another 
aong ; bat it was f^lnml-iTig up, now, and the barl stuck right thar in tite 
same place, and the song didnt seem to have moch warm-np to it, somehow, 
and ao they didnt finiah it, and there wamt any cheers, hut it sort of 
dropped flat, and nobody said anything for a minute. Then everybody 
tried to talk at once, and one chap got off « joke, but it warn't no use, they 
didnt laugh, and even the ehap that made the joke didn't laugh at it, 
which unt ueoal. We all just settled down glum, and watehed the barl, 
and was onea^ and oncomfortahle. Well, sir, it shut down black and still, 
and then the wind begin to moan around, and next the lightning begin to 
plaj and the thunder to grumble. And pretty noon there was a regular 
etorm, and in the middle of it a man that was running aft stumbled and fell 
and sprained his ankle so that he had to lay up. This made the boye shake 
thor haada. And every time the lightning come, there waa that har'I with 
the bine lig^ta winking aronnd it. We was always on the look-out for it. 
But liy and by, towards dawn, she was gone. When the day come we couldnt 
see her anywhere, and we wamt sorry, neither. 

'But next night about half-past nine, when there waa songs and high 
Jinka going on, here she comee again, and took her old rooston the stabboud 
aide. There warnt no more high jinks. Everybody got solemn ; nobo^ 
talked ; yon couldn't get anybody to do anything but set around moody 
and look at the barl. It begun to cloud np again. When the wat^di 
changed, the off watch stayed up, 'stead of turning in. The storm ripped 
and roared aronnd all night, and in themiddleof it another man tripped and 
sinained his ankle, and had to knock aB. The barl left towaids day, and 
nobody aee it go. 

' Everybody was sober and down in the mouth all day. I don't mean 
the kind of aober that comes of leaving liquor alone— not that. Tbey waa 
quiet, but they all drunk more than usual — not together— hot each man 
adled off and took it mvate, by himsel£ 



82 LIFE ON TBB MISSISSIPPI. 

' Xtter duk the off wfttch didn't turn in ; nobody aung, nobod; talked ; 
the bofs dido'i scAtter around, neither ; they sort of huddled together, for- 
rard ; und for two houta thej set there, perfectly still, looking steady in tlie 
one direction, aod liearinfr a sigh once in a wliik. And then, here comee 
the barl agwn. She tfo^ op ^*' old place. She staid there all night ; no- 
body turned in. The storm come on again, after midniglit. It got awful 
dark ; the rain poured don~n ; hail, too ; tlie tliunder boomed and roared 



HBRB W4B A BEOULAB 8T0BM.' 



and bellowed ; the wind blowed a hurricane ; and the li^tniog spread otct 
' erer^'thing in big sheets of glare, and showed the whole raft as plun as day ; 
and the river lashed up white as milk ax far as you could see 4r milee, and 
there was that barl jiggering along, same as ever. The captain ordered the 
watch to man the alter Bweepe for a croaMng, and nobody watild go — no 
more sprained ankles for them, they said. They wouldn't ervn waOi mlt. i 
Well then, just then the sky split wide open, with a crash, and the lightniiw 
„. A.lHWif 



FRESCOES FROM THE PAST. 

killed two mea of the after watch, and cripplttd two more. Crippled thi 
how, u;a you P Why, gained their atOdes ! 

* The W1 left in the dark betwixt lightnings, towards dawn. Well, i 
a body eat a bits at brenkfa«t that momipg. After that the man loal 
aiouod, in twos and threes, and talked low ti^thar. But none of thi 
haided with Dick Allhright. 
They all g^ve Mm the cold 
ahake. If he come around where 
any of the men was, they split 
up and sidled away. They 
would n't man the sweeps with 
him. The captaia had all the ehifla 
hauled up oa the raft, alongside 
of his wigwam, and wouU n't let 
ilia dead men be took ashore tu 
be planted ; he did n't believe a 
man that got ashore would come 
back ; and he was right. 

' After night come, you could 
see pretty plun that there was 
going to be trouble if that barl 
come again; there was such a 
muttering going on. A good 
many wadted to kill IKck All- 
briglit, because he'd seen the bai'l 
on other trips, and that had an 
ugly look. Some wanted to put 
tiim ashore. Some said, let 'a all 
go sahore in a pile, if the barl 

' This land of whiqien was 
Mill going on, the men being 
bunched together forrard watch- 
ing for the barl, when, lo and 
behold you, here she comes again, 
Down die comes, abiw and steady, 
and settles into her old tracks. 
You could B heard a pin drop. Then up conies the captain, and says : — 

'"Boys, don't be a pack of children and fools; I don't wont this barl to 
be do^^g na all the way to Orleaos, and you don't; well, then, how's the 
beat way to stop it P Burn it up,— tiat's the way. I'm going to fetch it 
aboard," he aaya. And before anybody could say a word, in he v 

;( 



A.IHW 



34 LIFE 02f TBS MISSISSIPPI. 

'He swum to it, and u become ptuihing it to the raft, the men spiettd to 
one aide. But the old man got it aboard and busted in the head, and then 
was a baby in it I Tee, sir, a stark naked baby. It was Dick Allbrigfat's 
baby ; be owned up and said u>> 

' " Yes," he «ay8, a-leaning OTcr it, " yes, it is my own lamented darling, 
my poor tost Charles William Allbright deceased," says he,— for he could 
curl his tongue around the 
bulliest woids in the lan- 
guage when he was a mind 
to, and lay them before tou 
without a jint started, anv- 
. wlieres. Yes, be said be used 
to live up at the head of this 
bend, and one night he choked 
bis child, which was crying, 
not intending to kill it,— 
which was probly a lie, — and 
then be was scared, and boned 
it in a barl, before bis wife 
got home, and off be went, 
and struck the northern trail 
and went to rafting; and this 
was the third year that the 
barl had chased him. He 
said the bad luck always begun 
light, and lasted till four men 
was killed, and then the burl 
did n't come any more after 
that. He said if- the men 
would stand it one more night, 
— and was a-going on like 
, ^-^ that, — but the men had got 

*^ enough. They started to get 

• ORABBSD THi LITTLE CHILD.' out a boat to take him aahon 

and lynch him, but he grabbed 
the little child all of a sadden 
and jumped overboard wit^ it hn^ed up to bis breast and shedding tears, 
and we never see him again in this life, pooT«ld suffering soul, nor Charles 
William neither.' 

< Who was ahedding tears P ' says Hob ; ' was it AUbrigbt or the baby P ' 
' Why, Allbrigfat, of courae ; didn't I tell you the baby was dead F Been 
dead three years— bow could it cry P ' 

„..■ A.OO;jle I 



FRESCOES FROM THE PAST. 36 

'Well, nerer mind bow it could cty — how could it keap tSi that tameP ' 
saya Davy. ' Tou answer me that.' 

' I don't know how it done it,' aaya Ed. ' It doQ« it tliough — that's all 
I know about it.' 

' Say— what did they do with the barl ? ' says the Child of Calamity. 

' Why, they hove it oTerboard, and it suak like a chunk of lead.' 

' Edward, did the child look like it waa choked F ' says one. 



statiatics, Edmund P ' says Jimmy. 
' Say, Edwin, was you one of the men that WBB killed by the lightoingP ' 
says Davy. 

' Him P O, no, he was both of 'em,' saya Bob. Then they all haw- 

' Say, Edward, don't you reckon you 'd bettor take ft fall P You look 
l>ad — dont you feel pale ? ' saya tbe ObUd of Oftlamity. 

' O, come, now, Eddy,' says Jimmy, ' show up ; youmiut a kept itart of 



86 LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

thftt barl to prove tlie thing by. Show ub the bunghole— <{ii — and we 11 
sU believe yuu.' 

'S&J, boyBi'Mjs Bill, ' lesa divide it up. Tliar's thirteen of ub. I can 
ffwaller a tbirteentli of the yarn, if juu can worry down the mat.' 

Ed got up msd and said they could all go to some place which be ripped 
out pretty savage, and then walked off oft cusaing to himself, and they jelUo;; 
ajid jeering at him, and roaring and laughing so jou could hear them « 

'Boys, well split ' —Tlf 



" '~---:l-~~^ '' wm, boys — there's a anake here as big 

- ^ ^ . as a cowl' 

So thej run there with a lantern and 
ctowded up and looked in on me. 

' Come out of that, you beggar 1 ' aays one. 
' Wbo ue you P ' says another. 

' What are you aftar here P Speak up prompt, or overboard you go.' 
'Snake him out, boyB. Snatch him out by the heela.' 
I l>eg»n to beg, and crept out amongst them trembling. They looked ml 
over, wondering, and the Ohild of Calamity says — 

' A cussed thief I Lend a band and le«B heave hi™ overboard I ' 



PRESC0X8 FHOU THE PAST. 37 

' Na,' e*^ ffig Bob, ' leM get out the paint-pot and punt him a aky Uue 
all over from Iiedd to beel, (utd then heave bim over ! ' 

'Good ! that's it. Oo for the paint, Jimmj.' 

When the paint come, and Bob took the bmili and wu just going to 
beftin, the Dth«ra laughing and rubbing their handa, I begnn to cry, and tlut 
ami of worked on Davy, and he saye— 

"Vast there! He's nothing but a cab. 'Til paint the num that 
tcrtcbea him I' 

So I looked around on them, and some of tiiem grumbled and growled, 
and Bob put down the paint, and tbe others did n't take it up. 

' Come here to the fire, and lesa see wbat you're up to h^,' says Davy. 
' Now set down there and give an account of youiaelf. Haw long have you 
been aboard here P ' 

' Not over a quarter of a minut«, nr,' says I. 

' How did yon get dry so quick f ' 

* I don't know, dr. I'm always that way, mostly.' 

' Ctti, you are, are you F What's your name P ' 

I wam't going to teQ my name. I didn't know what to say, so I just 

' CbarlM 'WHliam AUbright, rir.' 

Tbeo they roared — the whole crowd ; and I was mighty glad I said that, 
because maybe lauding would get them in a better humor. 

Wien they got done laughing, Pavy says — 

' tt won't hardly do, Oharles William. Tou couldn't liave growed this 
much in five year, and you was a haby when you come out of the har'I, you 
know, and dead at that. Come, now, t«ll a stnight atory, and nobodyll 
hurt you, if you ain't up to anything wrong. What m your name F ' 

' Aleck Hopkini, air. Aleck Jamee Hopkins.' 

' Well, Aleck, where did you come from, here P ' 

' From a trading scow. She lays up the bend yonder. I wns bom on 
her. Pap has traded up and down here all his life ; and he told me to swim 
off here, because when you went by he said he would like to get some of 
you to speak to a Mr. Jonas Turner, in Cairo, and tell him ' 

' Oh, come ! ' 

' Yea, sir, it's as true as the world ; Pap he says ' 

' Oh, your gruidmothei I ' 

They all langhed, and I tried again to talk, but they broke in on me and 

'Now, looky-here,' says Davy; 'you're scared, and so you talk wild. 
Honest, now, do you live in a kow, or is it a lie F ' 

' Tes, sir, in a trading scow. She lays up at the head of the bend< But 
I wam't bom in her. It's our first trip.' 



88 LIFE OX THE MISSISSIPPI. 

'Now you're talking I What did you come aboard here, forP To 
ataalP' 

' No, sir, I didn't. — It was only to get a ride on the mft. All boys does 
that.' 

' Well, I know that But what did you hide for F ' 

' Sometimes they drive the boys off.' 



'OHABLES WILLIAM ALLBBIOHT, 8111.' 



< So they do. They might steal. Lookf -here ; if we let yon off thi^ 
time, will you keep out of tlieae kind of scrapes hereafter P ' 

' Deed I will, boas. You try me.' 

'All right, tiien. You ain't but little ways from shore. Orerboard 
with you, and don't you make a fool of yourself another time this way.-^ 
Blast it, boy, some raftsmen would rawhide you till you were black and 
blue!' 

,„■.. A.OO;jle 



FRESCOES FROM THE PAST. 39 

I didn't wait to kka good-lije, but went OTerboaid and broke for shore. 
TMien Jim come along by and by, the big raft was away out of wjht 
anitmd tbe point. I swum out and got aboard, and was mighty glad to see 
home Bgsiu. 

The boy did not get the information he was after, but his uiven- 
tore has fumiahed the glimpse of the departed raftsman and keelboat- 
man irhich I desire to offer in this place. 

I now come to a phase of tbe MiasiBaippi Biver life of the flush 
timee cf steamboating, which seems to me to warrant full examina- 
tion — tiie marrellous scienoe of piloting, as displayed there. I believe 
there has been nothing like it elsewhere in the world. 



D.3l.za..y Google 



LIFE OX THE-SfT.SSISSIPJ'f. , 



CHAPTER IV. 

THE boys' ambition. 



Whek I WW) a boy, there waa but one permanent ambition among 
my comrades in our village' on the west bank of the Misslasippi 



■OUU PEBUANKNT AUBITIOK.' 

River. That was, to be a ateamboatman. We bad transient ambi- 
tions of other aorte, but they were only transient. When a circus 
came and went, it left ub all burning to become clowns; the fitst 
' Hannibal, MiBsouri. t.jl)O0k' 



THE BOYS' AJfBTTIOJV. 41 

D€^TO minstrel show that came to onr section lefl us all suffering to 
try that kind of life ; now and then we had a hope that if we lived 
and were good, God would permit as to be pirates. These ambi- 
tions {aded out, each in its tom ; but thn nmbition to be a steam- 
boatman always remained. 

Once a day a - ' ' 

cheap, gaudy packet 
arrived npward from 
St. Louis, and an- 
other downward from ' 
Keokuk. Before 
these events, the day 
was glorious with ex- 
pectancy ; oRer them, 
the day was a dead 
and empty thing. 
Not only the hoys, 
but the whole village, 
felt tiua. After all 
these years I can pic- 
ture that old time to 
myself now,juBt as it 
was then : the white 
town drowsing in the 
sunshine of a sum- 
mer's morning; the 
streets empty, or 
pretty nearly so ; one 
or two clerks sitting ''' 

■ «_ . r ji. TIT I ' W4TBE-STBEBT CLERKS.' 

in front M the Water 
Street stores, with 

their splint-bottomed clmrs tilted back against the wall, chins on 
breasts, hats slouched over their &ces, asleep — ^with shingle-shavings 
enough around to show what broke them down ; a. sow and a litter of 
pigs loafing along the sidewalk, doing a good bnsiness in watermelon 
rinds and seeds; two or three lonely little freight piles scattered 
about the ' levee ; ' a pile of ' sldds ' on the slope of the stcne-paved 



42 LIFE OK THE MISSISSIPPI. 

wharf, and the fragrant town drunkard asleep in the shadow of tbem ; 
two or three wood flala at the head c^ the wharf, but nobody to listen 
to the peaceful lapping of the wavelets against them; the great 
Miesisuppi, the majestic, the magnificent Mississippi, roUing its mile- 
wide tide along, ph '"'"g in the sun ; the dense forwt away on the 
other side ; the ' point ' abore the town, and the ' point ' beloir, 
bounding the river-glimpse and turning it into a sort of eea, and 
withal a very still and brilliant and lonely one. Freeently a film of 



dark smoke appears above (me of those remote ' points ; ' in^tautly a 
ne^TO drayman, &mou8 for his quick eye and prodigious voice, lifts 
up the cry, ' S-t-e-a-m-boat a-comin' I ' and the aoene changes I The 
town drunkard stirs, the clerks wake up, a furious clatter of drays 
follows, every bouse and store pours out a human contribution, and 
all in a twinkling the dead toyn is alive and moving. Drays, carts, 
men, boys, all go hurrying from many quarters to a common centre, 
the wharf. AsEembled there, the people fiiaten their eyes upon the 



THE BOYS' AMBITIOX. 48 

roming boat ae upon a wonder the^ are aeemg for the first time. And 
the boat it rather a handaome eight, too. She is long and sharp and 
trim aod pretty; she haa two tall, bncj-topped chimneyB, with a 
gilded device <£ some kind swong betweoi them; a &aciM pilot- 
houae, aU glaas and ' gingerto'ead,' perched <xa top of the ' tezu ' deck 
behind them ; the paddle-boxee are gotgeoas with a picture or with 
gilded rays above the boat's name; the boiler deck, the hurricane 
deck, and the texas deck are fenced and ornamented with dean white 
railings; there is a flag gallantly flying &om the jack-steff; the 
fiirnaoe doora are open and the firea glaring bravely ; the upper decks 
are black with passengers ; the captain stands by the big bell, calm, 
imposing, the envy of all ; great volumes of the blackest smoke are 
rolling and tumbling out of the chimneys — a husbanded grandeur 
created with a bit of pitch jnne just before arriving at a town ; the 
crew are gronped on the forecastle ; the broad stage is run far out 
over the port bow, and an envied deck-hand stands picturesquely on 
(be Old of it with a coil of rope in his hand; the pent steam is 
screaming through the gange-oocks ; the obtain lifts hia hand, a bell 
rings, the wheels stop ; then they torn back, churning the water to 
foam, sold the steamer is at rwt. Then socb a scramble as there is 
to get aboard, and to get ashore, and to take in freight and to dis- 
charge &eight, all at one and the same time ; and such a yelling and 
cursing as the mates fadlitate it all with ! Ten minutes later the 
Btaamer is under way again, with no flag on the jack-staff and do 
black smoke issuing from the chimneys. After ten moi-e minutes 
the town is dead again, and the town drunkard asleep by the skids 

My father was a justice of the peace, and I supposed be possessed 
the power of life and death over all men and oould hang anybody that 
ofiended him. This was distinction enough &r me as a general 
thing ; but the desire to be a steamboatman kept intruding, neverthe- 
less. I first wanted to be a cabin-boy, so that I oould oome out with 
a wbito apron on and shake a table-cloth over the side, whwe all my 
old oomradea oould see me ; later I thought I would rather be the 
deck-hand who stood en the end of the stage-plank with the coil of 
rope is his hand, because he was particularly conspicuous. But these 
were only day-dieams, — they were too heavenly to be oontemplated. 



44 LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

aa real poasibiUties. By and by one of oar boys went away. He was 

not heard of for a long time. At last he turned up as apprentice 

«ngineer or ' striker ' on a steamboat. Thia thing shook the bottom 

out of all my Sunday-school teachings. That boy had been notori- 

onsly worldly, and I just the reverse; yet he was:exalt«d to thu 

eminence, and I left in obecnrity and misery. There was nothing 

generous about this fellow in bia greatness. He would always manage 

to have a rusty bolt to 

scrub while his boat 

tarried at onr town, 

and he would sit on th« 

inside guard and wmb 

it, where we could all 

see him and eavj him 

and loathe him. And 

whenever bis boat was 

laid up he would come 

home and swell around 

the town in his blackest 

and greatest clothes, ao 

that nobody could help 

remembering that he 

was a steamboatman ; 

and he used all sorts of 

steamboat technicalities 

in his talk, as if he were 

90 used to them that he 

'THE TOW» ORVNKARD ABLGKP ONCB foigot COmmOU peOpl« 

MOBS.' could not understAQd 

them. He would speak 
of the ' labboard ' side of a hone in an easy, natural way that would 
make one wish he was dead. And he was always talking about ' St. 
Looy ' like an old citizen ; he wonld refer casually to occasions 'when 
he ' was coming down Fourth Street,' or when he was ' passing by the 
Planter's House,' or when there was a fire and he took a tarn on the 
brakes of ' the old Big Missouri ; ' and then he would go on and lie 
about how many towns the size of ours were burned down there that 



THE BOYS' AMBITIOK. 45 

day. Two or three of the boys had long been persons of cooEddeistioD 
Bw>fmg UB because they had been to St. Louis onoe and had a vague 
general knowledge of its wondeis, but the day of their glory was over 
now. They lapsed 
into a hnmble silence, 
and learned to dis- 
appear when the 
ruthlees ' cab '-engi- 
neer approached. 
This fellow had 
nton^, too, and h^ 
oiL Also an ignorant 
olver watch and a 
showy brass watch 
chain. He wore a 
lather belt and used 
no EUBpenders. If 
orer a youth was 
cordially admired and 
hated by his oom- 
radee, this one was. 
No girl could with- 
stand his charms. 
He 'cut out' every 
boy in the vilUge. 
When his boat blew 
up at last, it diShsed 
a tranquil content- 
ment among as such 
as we had not known 
for monthfi. Bat 
when be came home 
the next week, alive, 
renowned, and ap- 
peared in churt:^ all battered up and bandaged, a shining hero, stared 
at and wondered over by everybody, it seemed to ub that the partiality 
of Providence for on undeserving reptile had reached a point where it 
was open to criticism. 



46 LIFE ON TBE MISSISSIPPI. 

This cre&ture'a career could produce but one reeolt, and itspeedily 
follonred. Boy aft«r boy mana^^ed to get on the river. The minister's 
fton became an engineer. The doctor's and Uie poBt-master's aona 
became ' mud clerks ; ' the wholesale liquor dealer's son became a hu^ 
keep«- on a boat ; four eons of the chief merchant, and two eons of 
the county judge, became pUots. Hlot was the grandest poeitioQ of 
all. The pilot, even in those days of trivial wages, had a princely 
salaiy — ^&om a hundred and fiify to two hundred and fifty dollars a 
month, and no board to pay. Two months of bis wages would pay a 
preacher's salary for a year. Now some of us were left disconaolate. 
We could not get ou the river — at least our parents would not let iis. 

So by and by I ran away. I said I never woald come home 
again till I was a pilot and could come in glory. But somehow I 
could not manage it. I went meekly aboard a few of the boats that 
lay packed tc^ether like sardines at the long St. Louis wharf, and 
very humbly inqaired for the pilots, but got ouly a cold shoulder and 
short words from mates and clerks. I bad to make the best of this 
sort of treatment for the time being, but I had comforting day- 
dreams of a future when I should be a great and honoured pilot, 
with plenty of money, and could kill some of these mates and clerks 
and pay for them. 



) J I.:., .y Google 



CHAPTER T. 

I WANT TO BE A CUB-PILOT. 

^oirrH8 afterward the hope vitbin me Btroggled to a reluctant death, 
and I found mjeelf without aa ambition. But I was ashamed to go 
faome^ I was in Ciucinnati, and I set to work to map out a new 
career. I had been reading about the recent exploration of the river 
Amazon by an expedition sent out \>j oar government. It was said 
that the expedition, owing to difficulties, had not thoroughly explored 
a part of ihe countrj lying about the head-watere, some four thousand 
miles &om the month of the river. It was only abont fifteen hundred 
miles from Cincinnati to Jlew Orleans, where I could doubtless get a 
ship. I had thirty dollars left ; I would go and complete the explorer 
tion of the Amazon. This was all the thought I gare to the subject. 
I never was great in matters of detail. I packed my ralise, and took 
passage on an ancient tub called the 'Paul Jones,' fbr New Orleans. 
For' the sum of sixteen dollars I had the scarred and tarnished 
splendours.of ' her ' main saloon principally to myself, for she was 
not a creature to attract the eye of wiser travellerB. 

When we presently got under way and went poking down the 
broad Ohio, I became a new being, and the subject of my own admi- 
ration. I was a txuTeller I A word never had tast«d Bo good in my 
moath before. I had an exultant sense of being bound for mysteriouH 
lands and distant dimee which I never have felt in bo uplifting a 
degree since. I was in such a glorified condition that all ignoble 
feelings departed out of me, and I was able to look down and pity tlie 
nntravelled with a compassion that had hardly a trace of contempt in 
it. Stall, when we stopped at villages and wood-yards, I oonld not 
belp lolling caz«leealy npon the nulings of the boiler deck to ei^oy the 



48 LIFJi ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

eayy of the couatiy boje ou tUe bank. If they did not seem to dis- 
oover me, I presently sneezed to Attract their attention, or moved to 
& poeition where ttiey could not help seeing me. And as Boon as I 
knew they exw me I gaped and stretched, and gave other signs of 
being mightily bored with travelling. 

I kept my hat off all the time, and 

I ' ' ' wind and the snn 

I because I wanted to 

I and weather-beaten 

traveller. Before the 
I half gone I experi- 

enced a joy which 
filled me with the 
pureat gratitude; for 
I saw that the skin 
had begun to blister 
and peel off my face 
and neck. I wished 
that the boya and 
girla at home oould 
see me now. 

We reached Louis- 
ville in time — at least 
the neighbourhood cS 
It. We stuck hard 
and last on the rockt 
in the middle of the 
river, and lay there 
four days. I was 
DOW beginning to 
> BOBBD WITH TBAVELLiHO.' fsol a stTong sense of 

being a part of the 
boat's family, a sort of infant son to the captain and younger brother 
to the officers. There is no estimating the pride I took in this 
grandeur, or the affection that began to swell and grow in me for 
those people. I could not know how the lordly steamboatman scorns 
that sort of praenmptioD in a mere landsman. I particularly 



■TELL MB WHBRB IT II 



c.y Google 



7 WA2fT TO BE A CUB-PILOT. 61 

longed to iwqiiire the least trifle of ootke from the big gtormy 
mate, aod I was on the alert ftM- an opportunity to do him a service 
to that end. It came at laat. The riotous powwow of Eietting a Bpar 
was going on doirn .on the forecastle, and I went down there and 
■tood aronnd in the way — or meetly shipping out of it — till the mate 
sadd^f roared a genetal order for somebody to bring him a capstan 
bar. I sprang to his side and eaid : ' Tell me where it is — I'll fetch 
iti' 

If a rag-picker had offered to do a diplomatic service for the 
Emperor of Bussia, the monarch could not have been more astounded 
than the mate was. He even stopped sweariiig. He stood and 
stared down at me. It took him ten seconds to scrape his disjointed 
remains together again. Then he said impressively : ' Well, if this 
don't beat hell I ' and turned to his work with the air of a man who 
had been confronted with a problem too abstmse for solution. 

I crept away, and courted solitude for the rest of the day. I did 
not go to dinner ; I stayed away from supper until everybody else 
had finished. I did not feel so much like a member of the boat's 
fiunily now as b^ore. However, my spirits returned, in instalments, 
as we pnrsoed our way down the river. I was sorry I bated the mate 
so, becaose it was not in (young) human nature not to admire him. 
He was huge and muscular, his &co was bearded and whiskered all 
over; he had a red woman and a blue woman tattooed on his right 
arm, — one on each side of a blue anchor with a red rope to it ; and in 
the matter of pro&ni^ he was sublime. When be was getting out 
cargo at a landing, I was always where I conld see and hear. He 
felt all the majesty of his great position, and made the world feel it, 
too. When he gave even the simplest order, be dlBcharged it like a 
blast of Ughtning, and sent a long, reverberating peal of profanity 
thundeting after it. I could not help contrasting the way in which 
the average landsman would give an order, with the mate's way of 
doing it. If the landsman should wish the gang-plank moved a foot 
&rther forward, he would probably say : ' James, or William, one of 
yon push that plank forward, please ; ' but put the mate in his place 
and he would roar out : ' Here, now, start that gang-plank for'ard ! 
Lively, now 1 What 're you about 1 Snab^ it I vnatck it ! There ! 
there I Aft again I aft again 1 don't you hear me ! Dash it to dash ! 



62 LIFE OJf THE MISSISSIPPI. 

are you going to aUep over it ! ' Vast heaving. Tart faeaTing, 1 tell 
you 1 Going to heave it dear astern I WHERE 're you going with 
that barrel I forward with it 'fore I malce you swallow it, you dtu^- 
dash-da8h-f£(MA«2 split between a tited mud-tartle and a crippled 

• el' 



worn off, I be^an timidly to malce up to the humblestofficial connected 
with the boat — ^the nigbt watchman. He snubbed my advanoee &t 
first, but I preeently ventured to offer him a new chalk pipe, and that 
Boftened him. So he allowed me to sit with him by the big bell on 
the hurricane deck, and in time he melted into oonversation. Be 



I WANT TO BE A CUB-PILOT. fiS 

ooold not well Iwts helped it, I huag with ench homa^ on his words 
and BO plainly showed that I felt hononred hy bis notice. He told 
me the names of dim capes and shadowy ialandfi as we glided by them 
in the solemnity of the night, nuder the winking stars, and by and 



^^ 



'HIS TBABS DRIPPED VPOM TUB 



by got to talking aboat himself. He seemed over- sentimental for a 
man whose salary was six dollars a week — or rather he mi^t have 
seemed so to an older per.<<on than I. Bnt I drank in his words 
hungrily, and with a faith that might have moved mountains if it 
had been applied jndiciously. What was it to me that he was soiled 



B4 LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

and eeedy and fragrant with gini What was it to me that his 
grammar was bad, hia construction vrone, and his profanity bo void 
of art that it was an element of weaknefls rather than strangtli in 
his convereation I He was a wronged mau, a man who had seen 
trouble, and that was enough for me. As he mellowed into his 
plaintive history his tears dripped upon the lantern in his lap, and I 
cried, too, from sympathy. He said he was the eon of an English 
nobleman— eithw an earl or an alderman, he could not remember 
which, but believed was both ; his father, the nobleman, loved him, 
but his mother hated him from the cradle ; and so while be was still 
a little boy he was sent to ' one of them old, ancient colleges ' — he 
couldn't remember which ; and by and by his &ther died and his 
mother seized the property and ' shook ' bim as he phrased it. After 
his mother shook him, members of the nobility with whom he was 
acquainted used their influence to get him the position of ' loblolly- 
boy in a ship ; ' and from that point my watchman tJirew off all ti&m- 
mets of date and locality and branched out into a narrative that 
bristled all along with incredible adventures ; a narrative that was go 
reeking with bloodshed and so crammed with hair-breadth escapes 
and the most engaging ajid uaconscious personal villainies, that I sat 
speechless, enjoying, shuddering, wondering, worshipping. 

It was a Bore blight to find out afterwards that he was a low, 
vulgar, ignorant, sentimental, half-witted humbug, an untravelled 
native of the wilds of Illinois, who had absorbed wildcat literature 
and appropi-iated its marvels, untO in time he had woven odds and 
cuds of the mess into this yam, and then gone on telling it to fledg- 
lings like me, until he had come to believe it himself. 



c.y Google 



CHAPTER VI. 

A CUB-PILOr'fl EXPEBIEKCZ. 

What witli lying on the rocka four days at Louisville, and some other 
(lel&yB, tlie poor old ' Fanl Jones ' fooled away about two weeka in 
making the voyage finm Cincinnati to New Orleans. nUs gave me 
a cbaitoe to get acquainted with one of the pilots, and he taught me 
how to ebxT the boat, and thus made the fascination of river life more 
potent than ever for me. 

It also gave me a chance to get acquainted with a youth who had 
taken deck passage— more's the ]iity ; for he easily borrowed ax 
dollars of me on a promise to return to the boat and pay it back tome 
the day after we should arrive. But he probably died or forgot, for 
he never came. It was doubtless the former, nnce he had said his 
parents were wealthy, and he only travelled deck passage because it 
was cooler.' 

I soon dificovared two things. One was that a vessel would not 
be likely to sail for the mouth of the Amazon under ten or twelve 
yeaiB ; and the other was that the nine or ten dollara still left in my 
pocket would not suffice for so imposing an exploration as I had 
planned, even if I could afibrd to wait for a ship. Therefore it 
followed that I must contrive a new career. The ' Paul Jones ' was 
now bound for St. Louis. I planned a siege against my pilot, and at 
the end of three hard days he snrrendered. He agreed to teach me 
the Mississippi Kiver from Kew Orleans to St. Louis fdt five hundred 
dollara, payable oat of the first wages I should receive after gradu- 
ating. I entered upon the small euterpriae of ' learning ' twelve or 
thirteen hundred milee of the great Mississippi Biver with the eaay 
' ' Deck 'paasage^i.e. steerage paasagp, l.jl)O0k' 



06 LIFE OJV' THE MISSISSIPPJ. 

confidence of my time of life. If I bad really known what I was 
about to require of my faoulties, I should not have had the coiuage to 
begin. I supposed that all a pilot had to do was to keep his boat in the 
river, and I did not conMder that that could be mudi of a tricky since 
it was so wide. 

The boat 
backed out from 
Ifew Orleans at 
four in the after- 
noon, and it was 
' our watch ' until 
(a^t. Mr. Bixby, 
my chief, ' statygfat- 
eoed her ap,' 
plowed her along 
past the stems of 
the other boats 
that lay at the 
Levee, and them 
s^d, ' Here, take 
her; share those 
ateamships as cloee 
as jou'd peol an 
apple.' I took the 
wheel, and my 
heart-beat flut- 
tered up into tbe 
hnndrods ; tot it 
seemed to me that 
about to Kiape tbe 
'ery!)ship in the iioe, 
we were so close. I hdd my 
* HE KABiLT BbBBOww, SIX DOLLABS.' breath and began to daw the 
boat away from the dangeo-; 
and I had my own opinion of tbe pilot who had known no better 
than to get us into such peril, but I was too wise to express it. In 
half a minute I had a wide margin of safety intMn'ening between 



A CUB.PILOrS SXPESZBNCE. »7 

the ' Paul Jon«s ' and the ships ; anil within ten Seconds more I was 

seife aside in disgrace, and Mr. Bizby was going into danger again and 

flaying me alive with abuse of my cowardioe. I was stong, but I 

was obliged to admire the easy confidence with which my chief loafed 

from side to side of his wheel, and trimmed the ships so closely 

that disaster Beemed ceaselessly imminent When he had cooled a 

little he told me that the easy water was cloee ashore and the current 

outcdde, and therefore we must hug the bank, up-stream, to get the 

bene6t of the 

former, and stay -=■- 

well ont, dowQ- 

atreem, to take 

advantage of the 

latter. In my own 

niind I resolved to 

be a down-stream 

ptlcrt and leave the 

up-streaming to 

people dead to 

prudence. 

Now and then 
Mr. Bizt^ called 
my attention to 
certain things. 
Said he, "This is 
Six-Mile Point' I 
assented. It was 
pleasant enough 

information, bnt I could not see the bearing of it I was not ood- 
Bcious that it was a matter of any interest to me. Another time he 
said, ' This is Nine-Mile Point.' I^ter he said, ' This is Twelve- 
Mile Point.' They were all about level with the water's edge ; they 
all looked about alike to me ; they were monotonously unpictureaqne. 
I hoped Mr. Bixby wonld change the subject. But no ; he would 
crowd up aronnd a poiqt, hugging the shore with affection, and then 
my : ' The slack water ends here, abreast this bunch of China-trees ; 
now we cross over.' So he croned over. He gave me the wheel 



68 LIFE ON TBE MISSISSIPPI. 

once or twice, but I had no lock. I eitlier came near chipping off the 
edge of a sugar plantation, or I yawed too fiir from shore, and so 
dropped back into disgrace ag»iii and got abused. 

The watoh vas ended at last, and we took supper and went to bed. 
At midnight the glare of a lantern shone in my eyes, and the night 
watchman said — 



understand this extraordinary procedure; so I prearaitly gave up 
trying to, and dozed off to sleep. Pretty soon the watchman was 
back again, and this time he was gru£ I was annoyed. I said : — 

'What do you waat to come bothering around here in the middle 
of the night for t Kow as like as not I'll not get to sleep again to- 
night.' 

The watchman said — i^ , l,,oo>"'le 



A CUB-PILOT'S EXPERIENCE. B9 

' Well, if this ttn't good, I'm blevt.' 

The 'off-watch' waa jast turning in, and I heard aome bmtal 
laughter &om them, and such remarks aa ' Hello, watehman ! an't 
the new cub turned out yet } He's delicate, likely. Give ^ifn aome 
su|^ in a tag and send for the chambermaid to sing rock-a-by-baby 
to him.' 

About this time Mr. Bixby appeared on the scene. Something 
like a minute later I was climUng the pOot-house steps with some of 
my clothes on and the rent in my arms. Mr. Bixby was close behind, 



' (xjuuueiiifuig. nera was Bomuuung insah 

— this thing of getting up in the middle 
of tlie night to go to work. It was a detail in piloting that had 
never occurred to me at all. I knew that boats ran all night, but 
somehow I had never happened to reflect that somebody had to get 
up out of a warm bed to run them. I began to fear that piloting 
was not quite so romantic as I had imagined it was^ there was 
something very real and work-like about this new phase of it. 

It was a rather dingy night, althoagh a fair number of store were 
out The big mate waa at the wheel, and he had the old tub pcanted 



«0 LIFE ON TEB MISSISSIPPI. 

&t a fitar and was holding her straight up the middle of the river. 

The shores on either hand were not much more than half a mile apart, 

bnt thej seemed irondeifully 

far away and ever bo vague and 

indistinct. The mate said : — 

' We've got to land at 
Jones's plantation, sir.' 

The vengeful spirit in me 
exulted. I said to myself, 1 
wish you joy of your job, Mr. 
Bixby; you'll have a good 
time finding Mr. Jones's plan- 
tati<m such a night as this: 
and I hope you never wUl find 
it as long aa you live. 

Mr. Bixby said to the 
mate: — 

' Upper end of the planta- 
tion, or the lower ] ' 

' Upper.' 

' I can't do it. The stumps 
there are ont of water at this 
stage. It's no great distance 
to the lower, and yoall have 
to get along with that.' 

'All right, sir. If Jones 
don't like it he 11 have to lump 
it, I reckon.' 

And then the mate left. 
My exultation began to cool 
and my wonder to come up 
Here was a man who not only 
■ i. HiNUTB uiTBR.' propoaed to find this planta- 

tion on such a night, but to 
find either end of it you preferred. I dreadfully wanted to aak a 
question, but I was carrying about as many short answers as my 
cargo-room wonld admit of, so I held my peace. All I desired to ask 



A CUB-PILOT'S SXPERIElfCE. 61 

Mr. Bixby was the simple qoeetioii wb«tber be was asa enon^ to 
really imagiiLe he waa going to find that pltmtaition on a night 
when all pUntatioDa were exactly alike and all the same colour. 
But I held in. I nsed to hare fine indurations of prudence is 
those days. 

Bir. Bixby made for the ehore and soon was scraping it, just the 
same as if it had been daylight. And not ouly that, but ainging — 
' Father in heaven, the day is declining,' etc. 

It seemed to me that I had put my life in the keeping of a peculiarly 
recklees ontcast. Presently he turned on me and said :^ 

' What's the name of the first point above New Orleans 1 ' 

I was gratified to be able to answer promptly, and I did. I said 
I didn't know. 

' Don't know t ' 

This manner jolted me. I was down at the foot again, in a 
moment. Bat I had to say just what I had said bdbre 

' Wdl, you're a smart one,' said Mr. Bizby. ' What's the name 
of the next point } ' 

Onoe more I did'nt know. 

' Well, this beats anything. Tall me the name of ant/ point or 
place I told yon.' 

I studied a while and decided that I couldn't. 

' Look here ! What do you start out from, above Twelve-Mile 
Point, to crcoB over 1 ' 

' I — I — don't know.' 

< You — you — don't know t ' mimicking my drawling manner of 
speech. ' What do yon know t ' 

' I — I — nothing, for certain.' 

' By the great Cnsar's ghost, I believe yon ! You're the stupidest 
dimderhead I ever saw or ever heard of, so help me Moeee 1 The 
idea of j/ou being a pilot — you I Why, you don't know enough to 
pilot a cow down a lane.' 

Oh, bot his wrath was up 1 He was a nervous mao, and he 
flhuffled &om one side of his wheel to the other as if tlie floor was 
bot He would boil a while to himself, and then overflow and scald 
meagain. „,, „ A.OO^JlC 



SS LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

' Look here ! What do you suppose I told jou the names of 
those points for ) ' 

I tremblingly considered a moment, and then the devil of temp- 
tation provoked me to say : — 

'' Well — to — to — ^be entertaining, I thought' 

This was a red rag to the bull. He raged and stormed so (he 
was crosdug the river at the time) that 1 judge it made him blind. 



Mnt lip a volley of red-hot profanity. Never was a man so gratefal 
as Mr. Bixl^ was : becaiiso he was brim full, and here werf 
subjects who would talk back. He threw open a window, thrusi 
his head oat, and such an irruption followed as I never bad beard 
before. The fiunter and &rther away the scowmen's cnrsee drifted, 
the higher Mr. Bixby lifted bis voice and the weightier bis 
o^ectives grew. When he closed the window he was empty, Yod 



A CUB-PILOT'S EXPERIENCE. 63 

coold have drawn a aeine through hia system and not caught cnises 
enough to diBtnrb yovir mother with. Freaently he said to me in the 
gentlest way' — 

' My boy, yon mnet get a little memorandum book, and every time 
I tell you a thing, put it down right away. There's only one way to 
be a [olot, and that is to gat this entire river by heart. You have 
to know it jnst lite ABC 

Kiat was a disma' -"~>'- 
tion to me; for my 
was never loaded wj 
thing but blank 
cartiidgee. How- 
ever, I did not feel 
dJBCQuiBged long. I 
judged that it was 
best to make some 
allowances, for 
doubtless Mr. Bii- 
by was ' stretching.' 
Presently he pulled 
a rope and strack a 
few strokes on the 
big bell. The stars 
were all gone now, 

and the night was as black as ink. I could bear the wheels ohum 
along the bank, but I was not entirely certain that I could see the 
shore. The voioe of the inviuble watchman called up from the hurri- 
cane deck— 

< What's this, sir!' 

' Jones's plantation.' 

I said to myself, I wish I might venture to offer a small bet that 
it isn't. But I did not chirp. I only waited to see. Mr. Bixby 
handled the engine belle, and in due time the boat's nose came to the 
land, a torch glowed from the forecastle, a man skipped ashore, a 
darky's voice on the bank said, ' Gimme de k'yarpet-bag, Mars' 
Jones,' and the next moment we were standing up the river again, 
all serene. I reflected deeply awhile, and then said — but not aloud — 



fii LIFE ON TBS MISST8SIPPI. 

Well, the finding of that plantation ires the Inokieet aoddent that ' 
enrer h^)p6ned ; bat it couldn't happ«ai again in a hundred yeara.' j 
And I folly helieved it uku an accident, too. 

By the time we had gone seven or eight hundred milea up the 
river, I had learned to be a tolerably plucky npstream Hteersmati, in 
daylight, and before we reached St. Louis I had made a trifle oS 
progress in night-work, but only a trifle. I hod a note-book that 
&irly bristled with the namee of towns, ' pointo,' bars, islands, bends, 
reaches, etc j but the information was to be found only in the note- 
book — none of it was in my head. It made my heart adie to think 
I had only got half of the river set down ; for as our watdi was four 
hoars off and four houn on, day and night, there was a long fbur- 
hour gap in my book for every time I had slept since the voyage 
began. 

My chief was presently hired to go on a big New Orleans boat, * 
and I packed my satchel and went with him. She was a grand 
affiiir. When I stood in her pilot-house I was so for above the water 
that I seemed perched on a mountain ; and her decks stretched so £sr 
away, fore and aft, below me, that I wondered how I oould ever have 
conudered the little ' Paul Jones ' a large craft. There were other 
didfeiences, too. The ' Paul Jones's ' pilot-house was a cheap, dingy, I 
battered rattle-trop, cramped for room : but here was a samptuonti ' 
glass temple ; room enough to have a dance in ; showy red and gold 
window-curtains; an imposing sob; leather cushions and a back to i 
the high beach where visiting pilots sit, to spin yams and ' look at 
the river ; ' bright, fanciful ' cospadorea ' instead of a broad wooden i 
box filled with sawdust ; nice new oil-cloth on the floor ; a hospitable 1 
big stove for winter ; a wheel as high as my head, costly with inlaid | 
work ; a wire tiller-rope ; bright brass knobs for the bells ; and a ' 
tidy, white-aproned, black ' tesas- tender,' to bring up tart« and ices I 
and coffee during mid-watch, day and night. Now this was ' some- I 
thing like ; ' and so I began to take heart once more to brieve that ■ 
piloting was a romantic sort of occupation after alL The moment we I 
were under way I b^^ to prowl about the great steamer and fill I 
myself with joy. She was as clean and as dainty as a drawing-room ; * 
when I looked down her long, gilded saloon, it was like gazing I 
through a splendid tunnel; she had an oil-picture, by some gifted I 



A CUB PILOTS EXPERIElVCi:, 



■ogn-painter, on eveiy Btate-room door ; slie glittered witli no end of 
priam-fringed ohandeliers ; the clerk's office was elegant, the bar was 
mitrvellouB, and the bar-keeper had been barbered and upholstered at 



as spacioue as a oburch, it seemed to me ; 
» with the forecaetle ; and there was no pitifnl handful of deck- 
bands, firCTien, and roust-abouts down there, but a whole battalioD 



66 LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

of men. The fiires were fiercely glaring ftom a long row of furnaces, 
and ovei' them were eight huge boilers ! This wan unutterable pomp. 
The mighty engines — but enough of this. I had never felt eo fine 
b^ore. And when I found that the regiment of natty servants 
respectfully * sir'd ' me, my satisfaction was complete. 



c.y Google 



CHAPTER VII. 

A DABINO DEED. 

When I returned to the pilot-house St. Louis was gone and I -was 
lost. Here was a piece of river which was all down in m; lNx>k, bat 
I coold make neither head nor toil of it : you understand, it was 
tnmod around. I had seen it when oomiog up-etream, but I had 
never faced about to Bee how it looked when it was behind me. My 
heart broke again, for it was pl&ia that I had got to learn this trou 
bleeome river both troy*. 

The plot-houae was full of pilots, going down to ' look at the 
river.' What is called the ' upper river ' (the two hundred miles 
between St. Lonis and Cairo, where the Ohio oomea in) was low ; and 
the MiBKimiippi chan^|ee its channel so constantly that the pilots used 
to always find it necessary to run down to Curo to t&ke a &esh look, 
when their boats were to lie in port a week ; that is, wlien the water 
was at a low stage. A deal of this ' looking at the river ' was done 
I7 poor fellows who seldom had a berth, and whose only hope of 
getting one lay in their being alwaj« freshly posted and tiierefore 
ready to drop into the shoes of some reputable pilot, for a single trip, 
on account of such pilot's sudden illness, or some other neceeaity. 
And a good many of them constantly ran up and down inspecting the 
river, not because they ever really hoped to get a berth, but because 
(they being guests of the boat) it was (Reaper to ' look at the river ' 
than stay ashore and pay board. In time these fellows grew diuntj 
in thdr tastes, and only iniestod boats that had an established r^uta- 
taon for setting good tables. AH visiting pilots were useful, for the^ 
were always nady and willing, winter or summer, night or day, to 
go out in the yawl and help buoy the channel or assist the iLioat's 



68 LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

pilote in any way they could. They were likewise welcome becaust^ 
all pilots are tireleea talkers, when gathered together, and a^ they 
talk only aboat the river they are always understood and are always 
intereaUng. Your true pilot cares nothing about anything on earth 
but the river, and his pride in his occupation surpasses the pride of 
Mugs. 

We had a fine company of these river-inspectors along, this trip. 
There were eight or ten ; and there was abundance of room for them 
in our great pilot-house. Two or three of them wore polished silk 
hate, elaborate shirt-fronts, diamond breastpins, kid gloves, and 



with a dignity proper to men of solid 
means and prodigious reputation as pilots. The others were more or 
lees loosely clad, and wore upon their heads tall felt cones that were 
suggestive of the days of the Commonwealth. 

I was a cipher in this augiist company, and felt eubdoed, not to 
aay torjad. I was not even of sufficient consequence to assist at the 
wheel when it was necessary to put the tiller hard down in a harry : 
the guest that stood nearest did that when occasion required — and 
this was pretty much all the time, because of the crookedneas of the 
channel and the scant water. I stood In s corner ; and the talk I 
listened to took the hope all out of me. One visitor said to another — 



A BASING DEED. 69 

' Jim, how did yoa run Flam Point, Doming up t ' 

* It was in the night, there, and I ran it the w&y one of the boys 
on the " Diana " told me ; ntarted out about fifty y arda above the 
wood pile on the hlse point, and held on the cabin under Plum Point 
till I raised the reef — qnart«r Ie«B twain — then straightened up for 
the middle bar till I got well abreast the old one-limbed ootton-wood 
in the bead, then got m; stem on the ootton-wood and head on (he 
low place above the point, and came throngh a-booming — nine and a 
half.' 

' Pretty sqaaie crossing, an't it 1 ' 

' Yes, but the upper bar's working down fast.' 

Another pilot spoke up and said — - 

' I bad better water than that, and ran it lower down ; started 
out &om the false point — mark twMn — raised the second reef abreast 
the big snag in the bend, and hod quarter lees twain.' 

One of the goigeoue onee remarked — 

' I don't want to find fault with tout leadsmen, but that's a good 
deal of water for Kum Point, it seems to me.' 

There was an approving nod all around as this quiet snub dropped 
on the boaster and ' settled ' him. And so they went on talk-talk 
talking. Meantime, the thing that was romiing in my mind was, 
' Now if my ears hear aright, I have not only to get the names of all 
the towns and islands and bends, and bo on, by heart, Uit I must 
even get up a warm personal a cquaintanoeehlp with every old snag 
and one-limbed ootton-wood and obaoure wood pile that ornaments 
the banks of this river for twelve hundred miles ; and more titan 
that, I must actually know where these things are in the dark, nokes 
these gneete are gifted with eyes that can pierce through two miles of 
solid blackness ; I wish the piloting business was in Jericho and I 
had never thought of it.' 

At doak Mr. Bixby tapped the big bell three times (the signal to 
Land), and the captain emeiged from his drawing-room in the forward 
end of tlie tezas, and looked up inquiringly. Mr. Bixl^ said — 

' We will lay up h«« all night, captain.' 

• Very well, sir.' ' 

That was all. The boat came to shore and was tied up for the 
ni^t. It seemed to me a fine thing that the pilot could do as he 



70 LIFE ON IHB MISSISSIPPI. 

pleaaed, without asking so grand a captain's permissioD. I took mj 
Bopper and went immediately to bed, discouraged by my day's obeer- 
vationfi and experiences. My late voyage's note-booking was but a 
coniu^n of meaningless names. It had tangled me all up in a knot 
every time I had looked at it in the daytime. I now hoped for res- 
pite in sleep ; but no, it revelled all through my head till sunrise 
again, a frantic and tdrelees nightmare. 

Next morning I felt pretty rusty and low-spirited. We went 
, booming along, taking a good many 

; chances, for we were anxious to ' get 

out of the river ' (as getting out to 
Cairo was called) before night should 
overtake ns. But Mr. Bixby'a 
partner, the other pilot, presently 
grounded the boat, and we lost so 
much time in getting her off that it 
was plain that HarlmwiH would over- 
take UB a good long way above the 
mouth. This was a great misfor- 
tnne, especially to certain <^ our 
visiting pilotu, whoee boats would 
have to wait for their return, no 
matter how long that might be. It 
sobered the pilot-house talk a good 
deal. Coming up-stream, pilots did 
not mind low water or any kind of 
' A TAKOLED KNOT." darknees ; nothing stopped them but 

fog. But down-stream work wae 
different ; a boat was too nearly helpless, with a stiff current pnahing 
behind her; so it was not customary to run down-stream at night in 
low water. 

There seemed to be one small hope, however : if we could get 
through the intricate and dangerous Hat Island crossing before nij^ht, 
we could venture the rest, for we would have plainer sailing and 
better water. But it would be insanity to attempt Hat Island at 
nigbt. So there was a deal of looking at watches all the rest of the 
day, and a oonstont ciphering upon the speed we ware maVing • Hat 



A BARINQ SEED. 71 

IsJiuid was the et«mal subject ; sometimes hope was hi^h and some- 
timea we wne delayed in a bad crosemg, and down it went again. 
For honn all hands lay onder the burden of this suppressed excite- 
ment ; it was even communicated to me, and I got to feeling so 
solidtoDB about Hat Island, and under such an awful presBim of re 
gponsibilitj', that I wished I Eoight have five minutes on shore to draw 
a good, full, relieving breath, and start over af^in. We were etanding 
no regular watches. Each of oar plots ran such portions of the river 
Bs he had run when coming up-stream, because of his greater &miliaritjr 
with it ; but both remained in the pilot-bouBe constantly. 

An hour before sunset, Mr. Bixby took the wheel and Mr. W 

stepped aside. For the next thirty minutes every man held his 
watch in his hand and wae reetleee, silent, and uneaay. At last some- 
body s«id, with a doomful sigh — 

' Well, yonder's Hat IsUnd — and we can't make it.' 

All the watcbea closed with a snap, everybody sighed and muttered 
something about its being ' too bnd, too bad — ah, if we could only 
have got here half an hour sooner ! ' and the place was thick with the 
atmoephere fA disappoiotment. Some started to go out, but loitered, 
hearing no bell-tap to land. The sun dipped behind the horizon, the 
boat went <m. Ijiquiring looks passed from one guest to another ; 
and cnte who had his hand on the doc^-knob and had totiied it, waited, 
then presently took away bis hand and let the knob turn back again. 
We bore steadily down the bend. More looks were exchanged, 
and nods of surprised admiration — but no words. Insensibly the 
men drew together behind Mr. Bizby, as the sky darkened and one 
or two dim stars came out. The dead silence and sense of waiting 
became oppreeeive. Mr. Eixby pulled the cord, and two deep, mellow 
aotea &om the big bell floated ofi on the night. Then a pause, and 
one more note wsa struck. The watchman's voice fallowed, from the 
hurricane deck — 

' Labboard lead, there I Stabhoard lead ! ' 

The ciiee of the leadsmen began to rise out of the distance, and 
were gmfflj repeated by the word-passers on the hurricane deck. 

* U-a-r-k three I . . . . M-a-r-k three \ . . . . Quarter-less three ! 
, . . . Half twain ! . . . . Quarter twain 1 . . . . M-a-r-k twain ! 
. . . . Quarter-lMs * uy ■ A.OO^Ie 



72 LIFE OA THE MISSISSIPPI. 

Mr. Biiby pulled two betl-ropee, and waa anawered by faint 
jinglingB &r below in tbe engine room, and our speed slackened. 
The steam began to wbistie through the gauge-cocks. The cries of 
the leadsmen -w&ii on — ftnd it is a weird sound, always, in the night. 
Every pilot in the lot was watching now, with fixed eyes, and taltdng 
under his breath. Kobody was calm and easy but Mr. Bizbj. He 
wonld put his wheel down and stand on a spoke, and as the si 
swung into her (to me) atterly invisible marks — for we seemed t< 



sea — he would meet and fasten h«* 
there. Out of the murmur of half-audible talk, one caught & coherrait 
sentence now and then — such as — 

' There ; she's over the first reef all right ! ' 

After a pause, another subdued voice — 

' Her stem's coming down j ust exactly right, by George I ' 

' How she's in the marks ; ov^' she goes I ' 

Somebody else muttered — 

'Oh, it was done beautiful — beautiftii/' ^•iMglL' 



A DARJNO DEED. 73 

Now tlM engines were stopped altogether, and we drifted with 
"the camnt. Not that I could see the boat drift, for I could not, the 
stars being all gone by this time. This drifting was the diam&leet 
work; it held one's heart still. Presently I disoovered a blacker 
gloom than that which surrounded us. It was the head of the island. 
We were closing right down upon it. We entered its deeper shadow, 
*nd 80 imminent 
seemed the peril 
that I was likely 
to soffocato; and 
I had the strong- 
est impulse to do 
something, any- 
tbinf , to save the 
Teael. But still 
Mr. Bixl^ stood 
by his wheel, si- 
lent, intent as a 
«at, and all the pi- 
lote stood shoulder 
to shoulder at his 
back. 

' She'll not 
make it I ' some- 
body whispered. 

The water grew 
sho&Ier and ahoal- 
or, by the leads- 
man's cries, till it 
was down to — 

'Elghtand-arhalf!, . . . . E-i-g-h-t 
.... Seveo-and ' 

Mr. Bisby said warningly through his speaking tube to the 
en^neer — 

* Stand by, now ! ' 

' Aye-aye, sir I ' 

'Seven-and-a-half J Seven feet I Six^nA— 




. E-i-g-h-t foetl 



.oo;jle 



74 LIFE OX THE MISSISSIPPI. 

We touched bottom ! Instantly Mr. Bizbj set a lot of bellR rmging, 
shouted through the tube, * ^ow, let her have it — evoiy ounce youVe 
got ! ' then to his partner, ' Put her hard down ! snatch hur ! auatcb 
her!' The boat rasped and ground her way tbrough the sand, 
bong upon the apex of disaeter a single tremendous instant, and 
then over she went ! And sucb a shout as went up at JUr. Bixby's 
back never looeened the roof of a pilot-house before ! 

There was no more trouble after that. Mr. Bizby was a hero 
that night ; and it was some little time, too, before his exploit ceased 
to be talked about by river men. 

Fully tn realise the marvellous precision required in laying the 
great steamer in her marks in that murky waste of water, one shonld 
know that not only must she pick her intricate way through snag!: 
and blind reefs, and then shave the het4d of the island so doaely as to 
brush the overhanging foliage with her stem, but at one place she 
must pass almost within arm's reach of a sunken and invisible wreck 
that would snatch the hull timbers from under her if she should 
strike it, and destroy a quarter of a million dollars' worth of steam- 
boat and cargo in five minutes, and maybe a hundred and fifty human 
lives into the bargain. 

The last remark I heard that night was a compliment to Mr. 
Bixby, uttered in soliloquy and with unction by one of our guests. 
He said — 

'By the Shadow of Death, but he's a lightning pilot 1 ' 



)ji.:...i. Google 



)ji.:^..iGoo<^le 



c.y Google 



CHAPTER VIII. 

PKBPLEXINQ LESB0K8. 

At the end <^ wh&t seemed a tedione while, I had managed to pock 
my bead fall of islands, towns, b&re, 'points,' and bends; and a 
carional}^ inanioiate mass of Inmber it was, too. However, inasmuch 
as I eoold ahnt mj eyes and i^ off a good long string of these names 
without leaving out more than ten miles of river in ev^y fi^T) I 
beg^an to feel that I oonld take a boat down to Kew Orleans If I 
could nUike her skip thoee little gape. Bnt of conrae my complacency 
oould hardly get start enough to lift my nose a trifle into the air, 
he&tre Mr. Bixl^ would think of something to fetch it down again. 
One day he turned on me suddenly with this settler — 

' What is the shape of Walnut Bend 1 ' 

He might as well have asked me my grandmother's opinion of 
protoplasm. I reflected respectfully, and then said I didn't know it 
ba^ any particular shape. My gunpowdery chief went off with a 
b&ng, of course, and then went on loading and firing until he was out 
of adjecttves. 

I bad learned long ago that he only carried JQ§t ao many rounds 
of onminmtioD, and was sore to subside into a veaj placable and even 
remoiBefbl old smooth-bore as soon as they were all gone. That word 
' old ' is merely affectionate ; be was not more than thirty-four. I 
waited. By and by he said— 

' My boy, you've got to know the afiapi <rf the river perfectly. It 
is all there is left to steer by on a very dark night. Everything else is 
blotted out and gone. Bnt mind you, it hasn't the same shape in tbe 
night that it has in the day-time.* 

* How on ettrth am I ever going to learn it, then)' oo^^k' 



78 LIFE ON THE illSSISSIPFl. 

' How do you follow a ball at home in the dark I Because you 
know the shape of it You can't see it.' 

' Do you mean to say that I've got to know all the million trifling 
variations of shape in the banks of this interminable river as well as 
I know the shape of the front hall at home 1 ' 

' On my honour, you've got to know them better than any man 
ever did know the shapee of the halls iu hia own houee.' 

' I wish I was dead 1 ' 



■LOADINO AND FIBIKO.' 

' Now I don't want to discourage you, but ' 

' Well, pile it on me ; I might as well have it now as another 

'You see, this has got to be learned; there isn't any getting 
around it. A clear starli^t night throws such heavy shadows that 
if yon didn't know the shape of a shore perfectly you wonld daw 
away horn every bunch of timber, because you would take the black 
shadow of it for a solid oape ; and yon see yon wonld be getting 
soared to deaUi eveiy fifteen iiunnt«G by the watch. You wonld be 



PERPLEXINQ LESSOXa. 79 

fifty yards from shore all the time when you ought to be within fifty 
tesA of it. You can't eee a snag in one of those shadows, bat you 
know exactly where it is, and the shape of the river t«lls yon when 
yon are coming to it. Then there's your pitch-dark night ; the river 
is a vny diflerent shape on a pitch-dark ni^t from what it is on a 
starlight night. All shores aeem to be straightlinee, then, and mighty 
dim ones, too; and yon'd run them for stnight lines only yon know 
better. Ton boldly drive your boat right into what seems to be a solid, 
straight wall (you knowing very well that in reality there is a curve 
there), and that wall fiUls back and makes way for you. Then there's 
yosr gray mist Ton take a night whan there's one of Uieee grisly, 
driizly, gray mists, and then there isn't any particular shape to a 
shovei A gray mist would tangle the head of the oldest man that 
ever lived. Well, thmi, difierent kinds <£ mootdight change the shape 
of the rivw: in difiereift ways. Ton see ' 

' Ofa, don't say any more, please J Have I got to learn the shape 
of tbfl river according to all these five hundred thoosand difierent 
imjn% If I tried to earry all that cargo in my head it would make 
me stoop-shooldered.' 

' Xo ! yon only learn the shape of the river ; and yon leam it 
with such absolute certainty that you can always steer by the shape 
that's tn your head, and never mind the one that's before your eyes.' 

' Yeiy welt, HI tay it ; but after I have learned it can I depend 
OD it } WUl it keep the some form and not go fooling aroond 1 ' 

Before Mr. Bixby could answer, Mr. W came in to take the 

watch, and he said — 

' Bixby, youll have to look oat for President's Island and all that 
country clear away up above the Old Hen and Chickens. The banks 
are caving and the shape of the shores changing like every^ng. 
Why, yon wouldn't know the pcant above 40. Ton can go up imdde 
the old sycamore-snag, now.' ' 

So that question was answered. Here were leagues of ehore 
changing shape. Myspiritewere downin the mud again. Twothings 
seemed pretty ^tpannt to me. One was, that in order to be & pilot a 
man had got to team more than any one man ought to be allowed to 

CI explain that 



80 LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

know; and the other was, that he must leamitall over ag&in in a 
different way every twenty-fout hours. 



>QDjirtertwam'is2^faUioma, 13i feet. 'U«k three' i 

,„■.. A.OO;jle 



PEBPLEXIXG LESSONS. 81 

' Yee, I thought it was makiog ijowu a little, ket bip. Meet any 
boats)' 

■ Met one abreast the head of 21, bat she wan away over hugging 
the bar, and I couldn't make her out entirely. I took her for the 
' Siumy South ' — hadn't any skylights forward of the chinLneya.' 

And BO on. And as the relieving pilot took the wheel hiff part- 
ner ' would mention that we were in such-and-sach a bend, and say 
we were abreast of snch-and-such a man's wood-yard or plantation. 

This -wan courtesy j I supposed it waa neees»ity. But Mr. W 

<«roe on watch fuU twelve minutes late on this particular night, — a 
tremendons breach of etiquette ; in fact, it is the unpardonable sin 
among pilots. So Mr. Bixby gave him no greeting whatever, but 
simply snrrendered the wheel and marched out of the pilot-house 
without a wwd. I was appalled ; it was a vUlainoua night for 
blackness, we were in a particularly wide and blind part of the river, 
where there was no shape or substance to anything, and it seemed in- 
credible that Mr. Bixby should have left that poor fellow to kill the 
boat trying to find out where he wafi. But I resolved that I would 
stand by him any way. He shoold find that he was not wholly 
friendlees. So I stood around, and waited to be asked wh^ we 

were. But Mr. W plunged on serenely through the solid 

firmament of black cats that stood for an atmoephere, and never 
opened his mouth. Here is a proud devil, thought I ; here is a limb 
of Satan Uiat would rather send us all to destmction than put him- 
self under obligations to me, because I am not yet one of the salt 
of the earth and privileged to snub captains and lord it ov^ every- 
thing dead and alive in a steamboat. I presently climbed up on the 
bench ; I did not think it was safe to go to sleep while this lunatic 
was on watch. 

However, I must have gone to sleep in the course of time, because 
the next thyig I was aware of was the fact that day was breaking, 

Mr. W gone, and Mr. Bixby at the wheel again. So it waa 

foor o'clock and all well — but me ; I felt like a skinful of dry bonee 
and all of them trying to ache at once. 

Mr. Bixby asked me what I had stayed up there for. I confessed 



' Partner ' ia technical for ■ the other pilot.' 



l..tH\0 



8S LIFE Off THE MISSISSIPPI. 

that it was to do Mr. W a bonsTolence, — tell him vhere he 'wae. 

It took five minutes for the entire prepoitterouBDeBs of the thing to 

filter into Mr. Bixbj's system, and then I judge it filled him nearly 

up to the chin ; because he psjd me a compliment — and not much of 

a one either. He 

'WeU, taj{- 
ing you by-and- 
large, you do 
seem to be more 
different kinds of 
an asa than any 
creature I ever 
saw before. 
What did 70a 
suppose he 
wanted to know 
fori' 

I said I 
thought it might 
be a oouTemenoe 
to him. 

'Conveni- 
ence ! D-nation '. 
I that a man's got 
<r in the ni^t the 
ow his own &ont 

' the trojA hall in 
M tJiie front hall ; 
me down in the 

. .. ^ ,„^ _„^ and not tell me 

' ALL WELL— BUT UB.' which hall it b ; how am / to know 1 ' 
' Well, you've got to, on the river ! ' 

' All right. Then I'm glad I never said anything to Mr. W ' 

' I should say so. Why, he'd have slammed you through the 
window and utterly mined a hundred dollars' worth tii window-aash 
and stuff.' "-■■■ A'OO^Ie 



PSRPLEXItfe LBS80XS. 83 

I was glad this dama^ had been saved, for it would hare made 
me unpopnlar with the owners. They always hated anybody who 
had the nam« (^ being carelees, and injuring things. 

I went to work now to learn the shape of the river ; and of all 
the eluding and ungraspable objecte that ever I tried to get mind or 
hands on, that was the chief. I would foston my eyea upon a ebarp, 



into 

of me, and go to laboriously 

photogr^hing its shape upon my brain ; and just as I was beginning 
to Buooeed to my satis&ction, we would draw up toward it and the 
exaspOTating thing would begin to melt away and fold book into the 
bank I If there Had been a conspicuous dead tree standing upon 
the vary point of the oape, I would find that tree inconspicuously 
merged into the general foreet, and occupying the middle of a 



84 LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

straight shore, when I got abreast of it ! No promineot hill wotild 
stick to its sh&pe long enough for me to make up my mind what its 
form really was, but it was aa dissolving and diangefol as if it had 
been a mountain of butter in the hottest comer of the tropica. 
Nothing ever had the tame shape when I was coming down-streaiu 
that it had borne when I went up. I mentioned these little difficulties 
to Mr, Bixby. He said — 

' That's the very main virtue of the thing. If the shapes didn't 
change every three seconds they wouldn't be of any use. Take this 
place where we are now, fc^ instance. As long as that hill over 
yonder is only one hill, I can boom right along the way I'm going ; 
but the moment it splits at the top and forms a V, I know I've got 
to scratch to starboard in a hurry, or I'll bang this boat's brains out 
against a rock ; and then the moment one of the [ffoogs of the V 
swings behind the other, I've got to waltz to larboard again, or I'll 
have a misuDderstanding with a snag that would snatoh the keelson 
out of this steamboat a^ neatly as if it were a sliver in your hand. 
If that hill didn't cluuige its shape on bad nights ther« would be as 
awAil steamboat grave-yard around here indde of a year.' 

It was plain that I had got to learn the shape of the river in all 
tlie difierent ways that could be thought of, — upside down, wrong end 
first, inside out, fore-and-aft, and ' tiiortships,' — and then know what 
to do on gray nighta when it hadn't any shape at alL So I set aboui 
it. In the course of time I began to get the best of this knotty lesson, 
and my self-complacency moved to the front once more. Mr. Bixby 
was all fixed, and ready to start it to tbe rear again. He opened on 
me after this &8hion — 

' How much water did we have in the middle crossing at Holo-in- 
tJie-Wall, trip before last 1 ' 

I considered this an outra^. I said — 

'Every trip, down and up, the leadsmen are singing through Uiat 
tangled place for three quarters of an hour on astretdi. How do yon 
reckon I can remember such a mess as that 1 ' 

* My boy, jrou've got to remember it. You've got to remsmber 
tiie exact spot and the exact marks the boat lay in when we had the 
shoalest water, in every one of the five hundred shoal plaoes betweoi 
St. Louis and New Orleans ; and you mustn't get the shoal soundings 



PBBPLBXIJfO lESSOJfS. K 

and marks of one trip mixed up with the ahoal Boandicgs and marks 
of another, edther, for tbe/re not often twice alike. You mnst keep 
them separate.' 

When I came to myself again, 1 said — 

' Whem I get so that I can do that, I'll be able to raise the dead, 
and then I won't have to pilot a steamboat to make a living. I want 
to retire frtna this busineBS. I want a slush-bucket and a brush; 
I'm only fit for a roostabout. 1 haven't got brains enough to be a 
pilot ; and if I had I wouldn't have strength enough to carry them 
around, unless I went on crutches.' 

' Now drop that ! When I say 111 leam ' a man the river, I 
mean it. And you can depend on it, I'll leam him or kill him.' 

' ' Teach" is not in the river vocabnlatj. 



D.3l.za..y Google 



LIFE O.V THE XISSISSIPPI. 



CHAPTER IX. 

) PEBFLEZITOa. 



Thbbx was DO use in ar^^iDg with a person like this. I promptly 
put audi a stnun on my memoiy that by and I7 even the ahoal 
water and the countless crossing-niarks began to stay with me. Bat 
the reeatt was jiist the same. Z nerer could more than get one laiotty 
thing learned before another presented itself. Now I had often seen 
pilots gazing at the water asd pntoiding to read it as if it were a 
book ; bnt it was a book that told me nothing. A time came at last, 
howerer, when Mr. Kxby seemed to think me far enough advanced 
to bear a lesson on water-reading. So he began — 

' Do you see that long slanting line on the &ce of the water 1 
Now, that's a reef. Moreover, ifs a bluff reef. There is a solid 
sand-bar under it that is nearly as straight up and down as the side 
of a house. There is plenty oS water close up to it, bat mighty 
little on top of it. If yon were %o hit it yon would knock the boat's 
brains out. Do you see where the line friogefl out at the upper end 
and begins to fade away ) ' 

' Well, that is a low place ; that is the head of the reef. You 
can climb over there, and not hurt anything. Cross over, now, and 
follow along close under tiie reef—easy water thc9«— not much 



I followed the reef along till I approached the fringed end. Then 
Mr. Bixby said — 

' Now get ready. Wait till I give the word. She won't want to 
mount the reef ; a boat hates shoal water. Stand by — wait — waii — 
keep her well in hand. Now cramp her down 1 Snatch her I snatch 
her!' nj' .. A.OO^jle 



CONTTNUED PERPLEXITIES. BT 

He seized the other side of the wheel and helped to spin it kroimd 
nnti] it waa h&rd down, and then we held it so. The boat resisted, 
&Dd refoaed to answer for a while, and next she came surging to atar- 
bosrd, mounted the reef, and sent a loi^, angry ridge of water foaming 
away from her bows. 

' Kow watch her ; watch her like a cat, or shell get away from 



Tou. When she fights strong and the tiller slips a little, in a jerky, 
greasy sort of way, let up on her a trifle ; it is the way she tells you 
at night that the water is too shoal ; but keep edging her np, little 
by little, toward the point. You are well up on the bar, now ; there 
is a bar under every point, because the water that cornea down aronnd 
it forms an eddy and allows the sediment to ank. Do yon see those 



88 UFB ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

fine linee oa the face of the water that branch out like the ribs of u 
laa % Well, those are little reefe ; you want to just mise the ends of 



to emell it; look sbarp, 1 t«ll 
ytm 1 Oh blazes, there jou go I Stop the starboard wheel 1 Quick ! 
Ship up to back ! Set her back ! ' < , 

Theengine bells jingled and the engines answered pFomptl^iBhooting 



CQKTWUBD PERPLEXITIES. 8» 

white colvunus of steam far aloft out of the 'scape pipee, bat it was 
too lat«. The boat had ' amelt ' the bar in good eexneet ; the foamy 
ridges diat ndiated Jrom her bows suddenly disappeared, a great dead 
swell ouue rolling fbrward and swept ahead of her, ahe caieened far 
orer to larboard, and went tearing away toward the other shore as if 
Bhe were about scared to death. We were a good mile from where 
we ought to have been, when we finally got tiie upper hand itf her 
again. 

During the afternoon watch the next day, Mr. Bizby asked me if 
I knew how to mo. the next few miles. I said — 

' Go inside the first snag above the pcdnt, outside tlie next one, 
start out from the lower end of Uiggins's wood-yard, make a square 
croemng aod-^ — ' 

' That's all right. Ill be back W<:«e you close op on the next 

But he wasn't. He was still below when I rounded it and entered 
apoa a piece of rirer which I had some mt^vings about. I did not 
know that he was hiding behind a chimney to see bow I would per- 
form. I went gaily along, getting prouder and prouder, for he had 
nerer left the boat in my sole charge such a length of time before. 
I even got to ' setting ' her and letting the wheel go, entirely, while I 
yaingloriously turned my back and inspected the st«ni marks and 
hammed a tune, a sort of easy indifierence which I had prodigioiialy 
admired in Bixby and other great pilote. Once I inspeoted rather 
long, and when I &ced to the front again my heart flew into my 
mouth so Buddenly that if I hadn't clapped my teeth together I 
should have lost it. One of thoee frightful bluff reefs was stretching 
its deadly length right across our bows I My head was gone in a 
moment ; I did not know which raid I stood on ; I gasped and could 
not get my breath ; I spun the wheel down with such rapidity that 
it wore itself together like a spider's web ; the boat answered and 
tamed square away from the reef, but the reef followed her ! I fled, 
and still it followed, still it kept — bright across my bows I 1 never 
looked to see where I was going, I only fled. The awful crash was 
imminent — why didn't that villain come ! If I ooaunitted the crime 
of ringing a bell, I might get thrown oTerboard. But better that 
than kill f>he boat. So in blind deeperation I started such a rattling 
' shiTaree' down below as never had astounded an engineer in this 



•0 LIFE ON THS MISSISSIPPI. 

world before, I fane?. Amidst the frenzy of the bella the engines 
begAD. to back and fill in a furious way, and my reason forsook its 
throne — ^we were about to crash into tiie woods on the other aide of tbe 
river. Just then Mr. Bizbj stepped calmly into viev on the hurricane 
deck. My soul went out to him in gratitude. My dietrees Taoished ; 
I would have felt safe on the brink of N^iagara, with Mr. Bisby on the 
hnrricane deck. He blandly and sweetly took his tooth-pick out of 
his month between his fingers, as if it were a cigar — we were just in 
tbe act of dimbing an overhanging big tree, and the pasEengers were 
ecudding astern like rats — and lifted op these commands to me ever 
80 gently — 

' Stop the starboard. Stop the larboard. Set her back on both.' 

The boat hesitated, halted, pressed her nose among the boughs a 
critical instant, then reluctantly began to back away. 

' Stop the larboard. Come ahead on it. Stop the starboard. Come 
ahead on it. Point her for the bar.' 

I Bailed away as serenely as a summer's morning. Mr. Bixby 
«ame in and said, with mock simplicitr — 

' When you have a hail, my boy, you ought to tap the big bell 
three times before yon land, so that the engineers can get ready.' 

I blushed under the sarcasm, and said I hadn't had any hail. 

' Ah ! Then it was for wood, I suppose. The officer of tie watch 
will tell you when he wants to wood up.' 

I went on oonsuming and said I wasn't after wood. 

* Indeed ! Why, what could you want over here in the bend, then t 
Did you ever know of a boat following a bend up-stream at this stage 
of the river ! 

' No, sir, — and / wasn't trying to follow it. I wad getting away 
from a bluff reef.' 

' Ko, it wasn't a bluff reef; there isn't one within three mileii of 
where you were.' 

' But I saw it. It was as bluff as that one yonder.' 

' Jtutt about. Bun over it i ' 

' Do yon give it as an order 1 ' 

' Yes. Run over it,' 

' If I don't, I wish I may die.' 

' All right; I am taking the responsibiliiy.' Cooglc 



CONTINUED PERPLEXITIES. 91 

I was joBt as aimons to kill the boat, nov, as I had been to Rave 
her before. I impressed my orders upon m; memory, to be used at 
the inquest, and 
made a straight 
break for the reef. 
As it disappeared 
under our bows I 
held my breath; 
bat we slid over 
it like oil. 

' Now don't 
jou see the diSe- 
reooe 1 It was n't 
anything but a 
tcind reef. The 
wind doee that.' 

'So I see. But 
it is exactly like 
a bluff reef. How 
am I ever going to te 

' I can't tell you. 
By and by you wi 
i:ni»o one from Uu 
never will be able t 
how you know them 

It turned out t 
face of the water, ii 
wonderful book — a 
dead language to tb 
senger, but which tol 
without reserve, de 
cherished secrets as 
uttered them with i 
was not a book to 

thrown aside, for it had a new story ^^ ^ btbpped into view. 
to tell every day. Thoughont the long 
twelve hundred miles there was never a page that was void of interest, 



92 LIFE OA' THE MISSISSIPPI. 

never one that you conld leave noretul without loss, never one that 
70U would want to ekip, thinking you could find higher enjoyment ia 
some other thing. There never was so wouderfal a book written 
by man ; never one whose interest was so absorHng, so unflagging, so 
Bparklingly renewed with every re-perusal. The passenger who ooulJ 
not read it was charmed with a peculiar sort of faint dimple on 
its surface (on the nre occasions when he did not overtook it alto- 
gether) ; but to the pilot that was an italicized passage ; indeed, it 
was more than that, it was a lE^end of the largest capitals, with a 
string of shouting exclamation points at the end of it ; for it meant 
that a wreck or a rook was buried there that could tear the life 
out of the strongest vessel that ever floated. It ia the faintest and 
simpleet expression the water ever makes, and the roost hideous 
to a pilot's eye. In troth, the peasenger who could not rend this 
book saw nothing but all muiner of pretty pictures in it painted by 
the aun and shaded by the clouds, whei.'eas to the trained eye these 
were not pictures at all, but the grimmest and most dead-earnest of 
reading-matter. 

Now when I had mastered the language of this water and had 
come to know every trifling feature that bordered the great river as 
familiarly as I knew the letters of the alphabet, I had made a 
valuable acquisition. But I had lost something, too. I had lost 
something which could never be restored to me while I lived. 
All the grace, the beauty, the poetry had gone out of the majestic 
river! I still keep in mind a certain wonderful sunset which I 
witnessed wheo st«amboating was new to me. A broad expanse of 
the river was turned to blood ; in the middle distance the red hue 
brightened into gold, through which a solitary lug came floating', 
black and conspicuous; in one place a long, slanting mark lay sparkling 
upon the water ; in another the surface was broken by boiling, 
tumbling rings, that were as many-tinted as an opal; where the rnddj 
flush was faintest, was a smooth spot that was covered with graceful 
circles and radiating lines, ever so delicately traced ; theshore on our 
left was densely wooded, and the sombre shadow that fell from this 
forest was broken in one place by a long, mffied trail that abone like 
silver; and high above the forest wall a clean-stemmed dead tree 
waved a single leafy bough that glowed like a flame in the unDbBtruot«d 



CONTINUED PERPLEXITIES. 93 

splendour that was dowmg &om the sun. There were graceful curves, 
reflected images, woody heights, soft diatances; and over the whole 
Kcene, &r and near, the dissolving lights drifted steadil;, enrichiiig 
it, every passing moment, with new marvels of colouring. 

I stood like one bewitched. I drank it in, in a speechless rapture. 
The world was new to me, and I had never seen anything like this 
aX home. But as I have said, a day came when I began to cease 



ihat 
>uld 
nave looKea upon it wicnout mpture, 
and should have commented upon it, inwardly, after this fashion : This 
sun means that we are going to have wind to-morrow; that floating 
lag means tiiat the river is rising, small thanks to it ; that slanting 
mark on the water refera to a bluff reef which is going to kill some- 
body's steamboat one of these nights, if it keeps on stretching out like 
that ; those tumbling ' boils ' show a dissolving bar and a changing 
channel there ; the lines and circles in the slick water over yonder 



9* LIFE OA' THE MISSISSIPPI. 

are a warning that that troublesome place is shoaling up dangerously ; 
that silver streak in the shadow of the fbreet i!B the ' break ' from a 
new snag, and he has located himself in the very beet place he ooold 
have found to fish for steamboats; that tall dead tree, with a single 
living br&nch, is not going to last long, and then how is a body ever 
going to get through this blind place at night without the friendly old 
landmark % 

No, the romance and the beauty were aU gone from the river. 
All the value any feature of it had for me now was the amount of 
usefulness it could furnish toward compassing the safe piloting of a 
steamboat. Since those daya, I have pitied doctors from my heart. 
What doee the lovely flush in a beauty's cheek mean to a doctor but a 
' break ' that ripplea above some deadly disease t Are not all her 
viable charms sown thick with what are to him the signs and symbols 
of hidden decay ? Doee he ever see her beauty at all, or doesn't he 
simply view her professionally, and comment upon her unwholesome 
condition all to himself t And doesn't he sometimes wonder whether 
he has gained most or lost most by learning his trade ] 



...Google 



CHAPTER X. 

COHPLBTINa HT EDUCATION. 

Weohoeter has done me the courtesy to read my chapters which 
have preceded thiis may possibly Tooder that I deal so minutely with 
piloting oe a sdieuce. It was the prime purpose of those chapten ; and 
I am not quite done yet. I wish to show, in Ihe most patient and pains- 
taking way, what a wonderfiil science it is. Ship channelB are baoyed 
and lighted, and therefore it is a comparatively easy undertaking to 
lesm to run them ; clear- water rivera, with gravel bottomB, change 
their channels very gradually, and therefore one needs to learn them 
bat once; but piloting becomes another matter when you apply it to 
vast streams like the Miasiaaippi and the Missouri, whose alluvial 
banka cave and change oonotantly, whose snags are always hunting up 
new quarters, whoee sand-bars are never at rest, whose channels are 
for ever dod^^ng and shirking, and whoee obstructions must be con- 
fronted in all nights and all weathers without the aid of a single 
light-hoQse or a single buoy ; for there is neither light nor but^ to be 
found anywhere in all this three or four thousand miles of villunous 
river.' I feel justified in enlarging upon this great science for the 
reason that I feel sure no one has ever yet written a paragraph about 
it who had piloted a steamboat himself and eo had a practical know- 
ledge of the subject. If the theme were hackneyed, I should be 
obliged to deal genUy with the reader; but since it is wholly new, 
I hare felt at liberty to take up a considerable degree of room with it. 
When I had learned the name and position of every visible fea- 
ture ot the river ; when I had so mastered its ghape that I could shut 
my ejeB and trace it &om St. Louis to New Orleans ; when I had 
> True at the time retetred to ; not trne now (IS83). 



96 LIFE ON THE JflSSISSIPPI. 

learned to read the face of the water as one would cull the news from 
the morning paper ; and fimdly, when I IumI trained my dull memory 
to treasure up an endleoa array of soundings and croesing-markB, and 
keep fast bold of them, I judged that my education was complete: no 
I got to tilting my cap to the aide of my head, and wearing a tooth- 
pick in my mouth at the wheel. Mr. Kxby had his eye on theae airs. 
One day he stud — 

' What is the height of that hank yonder, at Burgess's 1 ' 
' How can I tell, dr 1 It is three quarters of a mile away,' 

' Very poor eye — very poor. 
Take the glass.' 

I took the glass, and pre- 
sently said — 

' I can't tell. I suppose 
that that bank is about a foot 
and a half high.' 

■Foot and a half! That's 
a six-foot bank. How high 
was the bank along here last 
trip?' 

' I don't know ; I never 
noticed.' 

•You didn't* Well, you 
must always do it hereafter.' 
.— _, 'Whyf 

'WBAKiNo A TOOTHPICK." ' Becauso you'll have to 

know a good many things that 
it tells you. For one thing, it tells you the stage of the river — tells 
you whether there's more water or leas in the river along here than 
there was last trip.' 

' The leads tell me that.' I rather thought I had the advantage 
of him there. 

' Yea, but suppose the leads lie ? The bank would tell you so, 
and then you'd stir those leadsmen up a bit. There was a ten-foot 
bank here last trip, and there is only a six-foot hank now. What does 
that signify r 

' That the river is four feet higher than it was lapf^^i^' 



COMPLETiyO MT EDUCATION. 97 

' Very good Is the river risiiig or filing | ' 

' No it un't.' 

' I gaesa I am right, sir. Yonder is some driA-wood floating down 
the stream.' 

' A rise tUxrU the drift-wood, bat then it keeps on floatiiig a while 
after the river is done rising. If ow the bank will tell jon about this. 
Wait till yon come 
to a place where it 
shelves a little. Now 
here ; do yoa see this 
narrow belt of fine 
sediment I That was 
deposited while the 
water was higher. 
You see the drift- 
wood begins to str&nd, 
too. The bank 
helps in other ways. 
Do you see that 
stomp on the false 
point r 

' Ay, ay, sir.' 

' Well, the water 
is just up to the roots 
of it. Yon must make 
a note c^ that.' 

'Whyt' 'DO toyj bek that btumpI' 

'Because that 
means that there's seven feet in the chute of 103.' 

' But 103 is a long way up the river yet,' 

' That's where the benefit of the bant comee in. There is water 
enough in 103 now, yet there may not be by the time we get there ; 
but the bank will keep us posted all along. You don't run dose 
chutes on a falling river, up-etream, and there are predous few of ^em 
that you are allowed to ran at all down-stream. There's a law of the 
United States against it. The river may be rising by the time we 



98 LIFS ON TSS MISSISSIPPI. 

get to 103, and in that case wel] run it. We aie drawiog — how 
mocbr 

' Six feet aft, — Bix and a half forward.' 

' Well, you do seem to know something.' 

' But what I particularly want to know is, if I have got to keep 
up an everlasting meaauriug of the banks of thia riTer, twelve hundred 
milee, month in and monl^ outt' 

' Of conree 1 ' 

My emotiimB were too deep for words for a while. Presently I 
said— 

' And how about these chutes t Are there many of them } ' 

' I should say so, I fancy we shan't run any of the river this trip 
aa you've ever seen it run before — bo to speak. If the river begins to 
rise again, well go up behind hare that you've always seen standing 
out of the rivn, high and dry like the roof of a house ; we'U cut acrosB 
low places that you've never noticed at all, right through the middle 
of bars that cover three hundred acres of river ; well cre^ through 
CTBoks where you've always thought was solid land; well daii; 
through the woods and leave twenty-five miles of river off to wie 
side ; we'll see the hind-side of ev«y island between New Orleans and 
Cairo.' 

' Tiiieai Tve got to go to work and learn just aa much more river a!" 
I already know.' 

' Just about twice as mudi mca^, as near as you can crane at it' 

' Well, <me lives to find out. I think I was a fool when I went 
into this bnainem.' 

' Tee, that ia true. And you are yet. But youll not be when 
yoa've learned it.' 

' Ah, I never can learn it.' 

' I will see that you do.' 

By and by 1 ventured sgwn — 

' Have I got to leam sll this thing just as I know the Rat of the 
river — shapes and all — and so I can run it at night 1 ' 

' Tea. And you've got to have good feir marks from one end of 
the river to the other, that will help the bank tell you when than is 
water enough in each of these countless places — like that stun^ yon 
know. When the river first begins to rise, you can run half a donn 



COMPLBTJNa MY EDUCATION. 99 

of the deepest of them ; vhen it rises a foot more 7011 can mo another 
dozen ; the next foot vill add a couple of dozen, and so on : so 70a 
see 70a have to know yonr banks and ma^rks to a dead moral 
certainty, and never get them mixed ; for when 70a start throng one 
of those cracks, there's no backiiig out again, as there is in the Ing 
river ; 70u've got to go thiongh, or &ta7 there six months if 70U get 
caught on a &lli&g river. There are about fifly of these cmcks which 
7an can't ran at all except when the river is hrim foil and over the 

' This new lesson in a cheerful prospect.' 

'Cheerful enough. And mind what I've just told 70U; when 
70a start into one of those places you've got to go through. The7are 
too narrow to torn around in, too crooked to back out of, and the 
shoal water ia always up at the head ; never elsewhere. And the 
head of them is alwa7B likely to be filling up, little b7 little, so that 
the marks you reckon their depth by, this season, may not answer for 

' Learn a new set, then, every year 1 ' 

' Exactly. Cramp her up to the bar t What are you standing ap 
throogh the middle o£ the river icx t ' 

The next few months showed me strange thin^. On the same 
day diat we held the oonversatioti above narrated, we met a great rise 
coming down the river. The whole vast &ce of the stream waa 
black with drifting dead \o^ broken bong^ and great trees that had 
caved in and been washed awa7. It required the nicest steering to 
pick one's way through this rushing raft, even in the day-tame, when 
crossing frmn point to point ; and at night the difficulty was mightily 
increased ; every now and then a huge log, lying de^ in tbe water, 
would suddenly appear rig^t nnder our bows, craning head-on ; no use 
to try to avoid it then ; we could only stop the engines, and one 
wheel would walk over Uiat log from <me end to the other, keeping up 
a thandering rai^et and careening the boat in a way that was very 
uncomfortable to passengers. Now and then we would hit one of 
these sunken logs a rattling hong, dead in the centre, with a fuU head 
of steam, and it would stun the boat as if she had hit a continent. 
Sometimee this !<% would lodge, and stay right across our nose, and 
back ttte Mississippi up befine it ; we would have to do a littie craw- 



100 LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

fishing, then, to get awaj from the obetraction. We often hit vAitt 
logs, in the dark, for we oould not Bee them till we were right on 
them ; bat a black 1(^ is a pretty distinct object at night. A white 
Buag is an ugl^ customer when the daylight is gone. 

Of coai'se, on the great rise, down came a swarm of prodigious 
timber-rafle from the head waters of the Misatsaippi, cocJ barges from 
Pittsburgh, little toading scows from everywhere, and hroad-homa 
from ' Posey County,' Indiana, &eiglited with ' fruit and fomitare ' — 
the usual term for describing it, though in plain English the freight 



I 

«ii oi a suauen, on a mnray nignc, a 

light would hop ap, right under our hows, almost, and an agonised 

Toioe, with the backwoods ' whang ' to it, would wail out — 

' Whdr'n the — ^ yoo goin' to ! Cain't you see nothin', yon 
dash-dashed aig^nckin', sheep-stealin', one-eyed son of a stnfifed 
monkey I ' 

Then for an instant, as we whistled by, the red glare from oar 
furnaces would reveal the scow and the form of the gesticulating 
orator as if under a hghtning'flash, and in that instant our firemen 
and deck-hands would send and receive a tempest of missilee and 



c.y Google 



c.y Google 



COMPLETING MY EDUCATION. 103 

proEaoity, one of our wheels would watk o£F with the crashing frag- 
meots of a steering-oar, and down the dead bladcnees would shut 
again. And that flatboatman wonld be sure to go into New Orleans 



tii»t 
the 



and 



' / , ~:w deck. Unce, at nigbt, in one of 

those forest-bordered crevices 
(behind aa iehmd) which steomboatmeD intensely deecribe with the 
phzBse 'aa dark as the inidde of a cow,' we should have eaten up a 
Fowy County bmily, fruit, furniture, and all, but that they h^pened 
to be fiddling down below, and we just caught the eoond of the music 



104 LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

in time to sheer off, doing no Berioiu dtunage, nnfbrtanately, but 
coming BO near it tliat we had good hopes for a momeat These 
people brought ap their lantern, then, of conise; and as we backed 
and filled to get awa^, the predons family stood in the light of it — 
both sexes and Tarions ages — and cursed ub till everytlung turned 
bln& Onoe a coalboatman sent a bullet throngh our pilot-house, 
when we borrowed a steering oar td him in a very narrow place. 



c.y Google 



CHAPTER XI. 



HE RIVER RIC 



DuBiKQ tliis Ing rise these small-fiy craft woto an intolerable nvisanoe. 
We were numing clinte after cliate, — a new world to me, — and if 
there was a particularly cramped place in a ctuto, we would be prett; 
sure to meet & broad-hom there; and if be fiuled to be there, we 
would find him in a still wone locality, namely, the head of the cbute, 
cm the ahoal water. And then there would be no end of profane 
oordialitieB exchanged. 

Sometimes, in the big riva-, when we would be feeling oar wa; 
cautiously along throngh a fog, the deep hush woald sadd^y be 
broken by yells and a clamour of tin pans, and all in instant a log 
raft wonld appear vaguely throngh the webby veil, close npon ns ; 
and tiben we did not wait to swap knives, but snatched our engine 
bells out by the roots and piled on all the steam we had, to scramble 
out of the way I One doesn't hit a rock or a solid log raft with a 
steamboat when he can get excused. 

You will liardly beheve it, but many steamboat clerks always 
carried a large assortment of religious tracts with them in thoee old 
departed steamboating days. Indeed they did. Twenty times a day 
we would be crsmjnng up around a bar, while a string of tlieee small- 
fry rascals were drifting down into tJie head of the bend aw^y above 
and beyond us a couple of miles. Now a skiff would dart away frcoD 
one of them, and come fitting its laborious way across the desert of 
water. It would ' ease all,' in tiie shadow of our forecastle, and Hie 
panting oarsmen would shout, 'Oimme a pa-a-perl' as the skiff 
drifted swiftly astern. The clerk would throw over a file of New 
Orleans jonmsla. If these were picked up withoKt. eommmt, you 



IM LIFE ON TSE MISSISSIPPI. 

might notice that now a dorsai other BkiOs hod been drifting down 
npon us without saying anytliing. You understand, they had been 
waiting to see how No, 1 was going to &re. No. 1 making no com- 
ment, all the rest would bend to their oars and come on, now ; and as 
fast as they came the dark would heave over neat bundles of religious 



tncts, toed to ahinglea. lAe 
amount of hard swearing which 
twelve packsgea of religious lite- 
rature will command when impartially divided up among twelve 
isftsmen's mewa, who have pulled a heavy skiff two miles on a hot 
day to get them, is simply incredible. 

As I have said, the big rise brooght a new world tmder myviHtoQ. 
By the time the river was over its banks we had forsaken onr old 
paths and were hourly climbing over bare that had stood ten fM out 



THE RIVER RTSES. lOT 

of water before ; we were Bhaving stompy eboree, like that at the foot 
of Madrid Bend, whicli I had alwajv oeen avoided before ; we wer& 
clAttering throagh chutee like that of 82, where the opening at the 
foot was an unbroken wall of timber till our nose was almoat at the- 
vBiy spot. Some of these chutes were utter solitudes. The dense, 
untouched fewest overhung both banks of the crooked little crack, and 
one oould believe ^that human creatures had never intruded there 
brf<we. The swinging grape-vines, the graasy nooks ami vistaa 
glimpsed as we swept hy, the Sowering creepers waving their red 
bloBSoms &om the tops of dead trunks, and all the spendthrift ricbnsBe 
of the forest foliage, were wasted and thrown away there. The 
chutes weie lovely plaoee to steer in ; they wcore deep, except at the 
head; the comot was gentle; under the 'points' ^e water waa 
absolutely dead, and the invisible banks so blnff that where Hie tender 
wiQow thickets projected yon could bniy yonr boat's broadmde in 
them as yon tore alcoig, and then you seemed fiurly to fly. 

Behind other islands we found wretched little forms, and 
wretcheder little log-cabins ; there were cnxy rail fences sticking a 
foot or two above the water, with one or two jeans-dad, chills- 
racked, yellow-fooed male miserables roosting on tbe top-rail, elbowa 
on kneee, jaws in bands, grinding tobacco and discharging the resolt 
at floating chips tliroiigh crevices leA by lost teeth ; while the rest of 
tbe &mily and the few farm-animals were huddled together in an 
empty wood-flat riding at her moorings dose at band. In this flat- 
boat the fiunily woold have to cook and eat and sleep for a lesser or 
greater number ci days (or posfdUy weeks), until the river should 
Eall two or three fbet and let them get back to tlieir log-cabin and 
thedr obiUs again — chills being a merciful provision <^ an all-wise- 
pyovidanoe to enable them to take exeffdae withoot exertion. And 
this ant of watery camping out was a thing which these pec^le 
were rat<her liable to be treated to a couple of times a year : by the 
December rise out of the Ohio, and tbe June rise out <^ the Missia- 
sippi. And yet these were kindly dispensations, for tiiey at least- 
enabled ttie poor things to rise &om the dead now and tbxm, and look 
upon life when a steamboat went by. They appreciated the Ueedng, 
too, for they spread their mouths and eyes wide open and made tho 
moet of these occasions. N^ow what oouid theae banished creatnrea 



108 LIFE 0-V THE XTSSISSIPPI. 

-finH to do to keop from dying of the bines during the low- water 
Beoaon! 

Onc6, in one of these lovely isliuid chntea, we fbond onr oourse 
•completely bridged by & great f&Uen tree. This will serve to show 
V some of the chutes were. The passengers had an hoar's 



' TBULOW-FACED MIeeiUBLItS.' 

retxeation in a virgin wilderness, whiljB the boat-hands chopped the 
bridge away; fbr there was no such thing as turning back, you 
i>ompreheDd. 

From Cairo to Baton Bouge, when tiie river is over its banka, you 
have no particular trouble in the night, for the thousand-mile wall of 



TBE RIVER RISES. IW 

dense forest tluit guards the two b&nks all the way is only gapped 
with a fiurm or wood-yard opening at interrals, and so 70a can't ' get 
OQt of the river ' mach easier than you conld get ont of a fenoed 
lane ; bat &om Baton Bouge to New OrleaiiB it ie a different matter. 
The river is more than a mile wide, and very deep — as much as two 
btmdred feet, in places. Both b&nks, for a good deal over a hundred 
milee, are shorn of their timber and bordered by continuous sugar 
plantations, with only here and ttiere a scattering sapling or row of 
ornamental Chiaa-ttieee. The timber is shorn off clear to the rear of 
the plantations, from two to four milee. When the first frost 
threatens to come, the planters snatch off their crops in a fanrry. 



When tiiey have finished grinding the cane, they form the refnse of 
tbe stalks (which they call bagame) into great pilea and set fire to 
them, thonj^ in oth« sugar cooutriea tbe bagasse is used for fuel in 
the fumacee of the sngar mills. Now the piles of damp bagssse bum 
slowly, and smoke like Satan's own kitchen. 

An onbankment ten or fifteen feet high guards both banks of the 
MissisBippi all the vay down that lower end of the river, and this 
embankment is set back &om tbe edge of the shore &om ten to pov 
haps a hnndred feet, according to circumstances i say thirty or forty 
feet, as a general thing. Fill that whole region with an impenetrable 
gloom of smoke tmm a hundred milee of burning bagasse piles, when 
the river is over t^e banks, and turn a steamboat loose along there &t 



110 LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

nudnight and see how she will feeL And see how joa will feel, too ! 
Yon find yooraelf away out in the midst of a vague dim sea that is 
ahorelesB, that fiidea out and Josea iteelf in the murky distances ; for 
you cannot diacera the tJun rib of embankment, and yott are always 
imagining yon see a etrag^ng tree when you don't. The plantations 
themselves are tmnaformed by the smoke, and look like a part of the 
sea. All through your watch you are tortured with the exquisite 
miaeiy of uncertainty. You hope you are keeping in the river, but 
yoQ do not know. All that you are sure about is tiiat you an likely 
to be irithin six f^ of the bank and destruotion, whem you think 
you are a good half-mile from shore. And you are sure, also, that if 
yoa chance suddenly to fetch up against the embankment and topple 
your chimneys overboard, you will have the small oomfort of 
knowing that it is about what you were expecting to do. One of the 
great Ticksbarg packets darted out into a sugar plantAtion one night, 
at such a time, and had to stay t^iere a w(>^ Bat there was no 
novelty about it ; it hod often been done before. 

I thought I had finished this chapter, but I wish to add a curious 
thing, whUe it is in my mind. It is only r^evant ib. that it is con- 
nected with pilotittg. There used to be an excellent pilot on tiie 
river, a Mr. X., who was a somnambulist. It was said tiiat if his 
mind was troubled about a bad piece of river, he was pretty sure to 
get i^ and walk in his sle^ and do strange tiungs. He was once 
fellow-jnlot for a trip or two witb Qeorge Ealer, on a gnat New 
Orleans passenger packet. During a considerable part of the first 
. trip George was uneasy, but got over it by and by, as X. seemed 
ooDtont to stay in his bed wh^i asleep. I^te ooa night the boat 
was approaching Helena, Atkanssa; the water was low, and the 
eroaaing above the town in a very blind and tangled oonditum. X. 
had seen the crossing sinoe Ealer had, and as the ni^t was particn- 
lariy drixzly, sullen, and dark, Ealer was considering whether he had 
not better have X. called to aasiBt in running the place, when tiie 
door opened and X. walked in. Now on veiy dark nighty li^t in a 
deadly enemy to piloting; you are aware that if you stand in a 
lighted room, on such a night, you cannot see things in tJie street to 
any purpose ; but if you put out the lights and stand in the gloom 
you can make out objects in the street pretty well. So, on very 



TBS RIVER RISES. 



dark ui^ts, pilots do not smoke; th^ allow no fire in the pilot- 
bonae stove if &ere is a cr&ck irMch can allow the least ray to escape ; 
they order the fnmaces to be curtained with huge tarpanlins and 
the aky-ligbts to be closely blinded. Then no light whatever issues 
from the boat. The undefiuable shape that now entered the pilot- 



~ I've seen this place ance you 

havei, and it is so crooked that I reckon I can run it mjrself easier 
than I could tell yon how to do it.' 

' It is kind of you, and I swear / am willing. I haven't got 
anotiher drop of perspiration left in me. I have been sinnmng around 
and around the wheel like a squirrel. It is bo dark I can't tell 
which way she is swinging till she is coming around like a whirligig.' 



113 LIFE OS TBE MISSISSIPPI. 

So Ealer took a seat on tlie bench, jmntJng imd breathlees. The 
black phantom assumed the wheel withoat eaying anything, steadied 
the waltcing steamer with a turn or two, and tlian stood at esse, 
coaxing her a little to this mde and then to that, as gently and u 
sweetly as if the time had been noonday. When Ealer observed this 
marvel of ateering, he wished he had not confessed 1 He stared, and 
wondered, and finally said — 

' WeU, I thongbt I knew bow to steer a steamboat, but that was 
another mistake of mine.' 

X. said nothing, but went s«:«nely on with his work. * He rang 
for the leads ; he rang to slow down the steam ; he worked the boat 
carefully and neatly into invisible marks, then stood at the oentze of 
the wheel and peered blandly out into the blackness, fore and aft, to 
veriiy his position ; as the leads shoaled more and more, he stopped 
the engines entirely, &nd tbe dead silaooe and suspense d ' drifting ' 
followed when the ahoaleet water was struck, he cracked on the 
steam, carried her handsomely over, and then b^an to work her 
warily into the next system of shoal marks ; the eame patient, heed- 
ful use <d leads and engines followed, &6 boat slipped through 
without touching bottom, and entered upon the tJiird and last 
intricacy of the crossing ; imperceptibly she moved tivough the 
gloom, crept by inches into her marks, drifted tediously till the 
shoaleat water was cried, and then, under a tremendoos head of 
steam, went swinging over the reef and away into de^ water and 
safety! 

Ealer let his long-pent breath pour out in a great, relieving sigh, 
and said — 

' That's the sweetest piece of piloting that was ever done on the 
Mississippi Bitot ! I wotddn't believed it could be done, if I hadn't 

Than was no reply, and he added — 

' Just hold her five minutea longer, partner, and let me run down 
and get a cup of cofiee.' 

A minute later Ealer was biting into a pie, down in the ' texas,* 
and comfbrtiiig himself with coSee. Just then the night watchman 
happened in, and was about to lumpen oat again, when he noticed 
Ealer and exclaimed — ^ t,.00>"'le 



THE RIVER RISES. 113 

' Wlio is at ihe wheel, sir } ' 

'X.' 

' Dart for the pilot-bouse, quicker than lightoiiig ! ' 

The next moment 
ing 



again ; Ealer seized the wheel, set an engine back with power, and 
held his breath while tlie boat relnctantty swung away from a 



114 LIFB ON THE MiaSISSIPPI. 

' towhe&d ' which Bh« was about to knock into the middle of the Gulf 
of Mexico ! 

By and hy the watchman came back and Boid — 

' Didn't that lunatic tell jou he was aaleep, when he first came up 

'No. 

'Well, he was. I found himwaUdngalongon topof thertdllngs 
juBt as unconcerned as another man would walk & pavraoent ; and I 
put bim to bed ; now just this minut« there he was again,, away 
astern, going through that sort of tight-i-ope deviltry the same as 
before.' 

' Well, I think 111 stay by> nest time he has one of those fite. 
But I hope hell have them often. You just ought to have seen bii" 
take this boat through Helmut crossing. I never saw anything so 
gaudy before. And if he can do such gold-leaf, kid-glove, diamoad- 
brsaBtpm piloting when he is sound asleep, what couldn't be do if he 
was dead I ' 



.1 Google 



CHAPTER XII. 

When the nvee is tci; low, and one's Btetunboat is ' drawing all tbe 
water' there U in the channel, — or a few inchee more, as was often 
tha case in the old times, — one maat be painfully circnnupect in hia 
piloting. We need to have to 'Bonnd' a nnmber of particalafly bad 
places almost every trip when the river was at a vtirj low sta^. 

Sotmdiug ifl done in this way. The boat ties up at the shore, jost 
above the ahoal oroeBing ; the pilot not on watch takes his < cnb ' or 
stoetsman and a picked crew of men (sometimes an o£Soer also), and 
goes ont in the yawl — provided the boat has not that rare and snmp- 
tnoos luxury, a regularly-devised 'eonnding-boat' — and proceeds to 
bant for the beet water, the pilot on duty watching his movements 
through a spy-glaai, meantime, and in Eome instances assisting by 
aignnlg of the boat's whistle, signifying ' try higher up ' or ' try lower 
down ; ' for the sur&ce of the water, like an oil-painting, is more 
ezpreamve and intelligible when inspected &om a little distance than 
TSiy dose at hand. The whistle signals are e£Jdom necessary, how- 
evOT ; never, perhaps, except when the wind conJiises the significant 
riffles upon the water's sur&oe. When the yawl has reached the 
ahoal place, the speed is slackened, the pilot begins to sonnd the depth 
with a pole ten or twelve feet long, and the steersman at the tiller 
obeys the order to 'hold her up to starboard;' or, 'let her fall off to 
larboard ; ' ' or ' steady — steady as yon go,' 

When the measurements indicate that the yawl is approiiching the 
shoalest part of the reef, the command is givm to ' ease all 1 ' Then 
> nie term 'larboard ' is never used at eea, now, to alguif; the left hand ; 
bot was ahrajs need on the river in my time. i, (^ jOOOk' 



118 LIFE Olf THE MISSISSIPPI. 

the men stop roving and the yawl drifte vith tlte current. The next 
order is, ' Stand by with the bnoy ! ' The moment the shalloweet 
point is reached, tlie pilot delivers the order, ' Let go the buoy I ' and 
over she goes. If the pilot is not satisfied, be sonnds the pUoe again ; 
if he finds better water higher up or lower down, he remoTos the buoy 
to that place. Being finally satisfied, he gives the ordar, and all the 
men stand their oars straight np in the air, in line; a blast from tihe 
boat's whistle indicates that the (dgnal has been seen ; then the men 



' give way ' on their oars and lay Uie yawl alongmde the buoy ; the 
steamer comes creeping au^fully down, is pointed straight at the 
buoy, husbands her power for the coming struggle, 'and presently, at 
the critical moment, turns on all her Bt«am and go«8 grinding and 
wallowing over the buoy and the sand, and gains the deep watw 
beyond. Or maybe she doesn't ; maybe she ' strifroB and swings.' 
Then she has to while away several hours (or days) Bporring hersdf 
off- „:■.. A.OO'jIe 



SOUNDiyG. 117 

Sometimea a buoy is Dot laid at all, bnt the yawl goes ahead, 
himtiiig the best veAer, and the eteamer follows along in its wake. 
Often there is a deal of fnn and excitement about sounding, especiaUy 
if it is a gloriouB summer day, or a blustering night. But in winter 
the otAA and the peril take most of the fnn out of it. 

A bnoy is nothing but a board four or five f^t long, witii one end 
turned up J it is a revened school-house bench, with one of the mtp- 
porta left and the othw removed. It is anchGa«d on the shoaleet part 
of the rerf by a rope with a heavy atone made fast to the end of it. 
Bat for the t-esistance of the tumed-up end of the reversed bench, the 
cnnent would pull tJie buoy ander water. At night, a paper lantern 
with a candle in it is fastened on top of the buoy, and this can be 
seen a mile or more, a little glimmering spark in the waste of black- 
ness. 

Nothing delights a cub so much as an opportunity to go out 
Bounding, There is such an air of adventure about it; often ihere 
is danger; it is so gaudy and mau-of- war-like to sit up in the stem- 
aheete and steer a swift yawl; there ie something fine about the 
ezoltent spring of the boat when an experienced old sailor crew throw 
their eonls into the oars ; it is lovely to see the white foam stream 
away from the bows ; there ia music in the rush of the water ; it is 
deliciouely exhilarating, in summer, to go speeding over the breezy 
expanses of the river when the world of wavelete is A^nmng ju the 
sun. It is such grandeur, too, to the cub, to get & chance to give an 
order ; fbr often the pilot will simply say, ' Let her go about I ' and 
leave the i-est to ttie cub, who instant!)' cries, in his sternest tone of 
command, ' Ease starboard I Strong on the larboard I Starboard give 
way ! With a will, men I ' The cub enjoys sounding for the further 
reason tibat the eyes of the passengers are watching all the yawl's 
moveroemte with absorbing interest if ttie time be daylight ; and if it 
be night he knows that those same wondering ^ee are fiistened upon 
the yawl's lantern as it glides out inte the gloom and dims away in 
the remote distance. 

One trip a pretty girl of sixteen spent her time in our pilot-house 
with her ande and aunt, every day and all day long. I fell in love 

with her. So did Mr. Thomburg's cub, Tom . Tom and I had 

been b(»om friends until this time ; but now a coolness began to 



118 LIFE ON THB MJaSISSIPPT. 

arise. 1 told the girl a good many of mj river adventarcs, and nude 
myself ont a good deal of a hero ; Tom tried to make himself appear 
to be a hero, too, and succeeded to Bome extent, bat then he alvays 
had a vay of embroidering. However, virtue ia ita own reward, so I 
was a barely perceptible bifle ahead in the contest. About this time 
something happened which promised handsomely for me : the pilots 
decided to sound the crossing at the head of 21. This would occur 
about nine or ten o'clock at ntght, when the passengers would be still 
up ; it would be Mr. Thomburg's watch, tlierefbre my chief would 
have to do the sounding. We had a perfect love of a sounding-boat 
— ^long, trim, graceful, and as fleet as a greyhound ; her thwarts were 
cushioned ; she carried twelve oarsmen ; one of the mates was always 
sent is bar to transmit orders to her crew, for ours was a at«amer 
where no end of ' style ' was put on. 

We tied up at the shore above 21, and got ready. It was a foul 
ni^t, and the river was so wide, there, that a landsman's uneducated 
eyes could disoem no opposito shore through sutdi a gloom. The pas- 
sengers were alert and interested ; everything was satisfaotory. As I 
hurried throogh the engine-room, picturesquely gotten up in storm 
toggery, I met Tom, and could not forbear delivering myself of a mean 
speedi — 

■ Ain't you glad you don't have to go out sounding ) ' 
Tom was possiiig on, but he quickly turned, and said — 
Now just for that, you can go and get the sounding-pole your- 
self. I was going aitor it, but Td see you in Hali&x, now, before I'd 

'Who wants you to get itt I don't. It's in the sounding* 
boat.' 

' It ain't, either. It's been new-pointed ; and it's been up on the 
ladies' calnn guards two days, drying.' 

I flew back, and shortly ArrlTod among the crowd of watching and 
w<mdering ladies just in time to hear the command : 

' Give way, men 1 ' 

I looked over, and there was the gallant sounding-boat booming 
away, the unprincipled Tom presiding at the tiller, and my chief 
sitting by him with the sounding-pole which I had been sent on a 
fool's errand to fetdi. Then tiiat young girl said to me — 

,„■.. A.OO;jle 



SOVyBINO. 119 

' oil, how awful to have to go oat io that little boat on sach a 
oightl Do 70a think there is any danger 1' 

I would rather have been stabbed. I went off, full of venom, to 
h^p in the pilot-house. By and by the boat's lantern diflappeered, 
and after ay int-Ai-val n. wen inw.Tlc 
^immered u] 
a mile away, 
whistle, in 
ment, backed 
out, and mad 
flew along foi 
slackened 
ste&m and 
went cau- 
tiously glid- 
ing toward 
the spark. 
Presently TA 
burg ozclaimi 

'HeUo, 1 
lantern's out I 

He sto] 



said — 

'Why, tl 
again I' 

So he cam 
the engines < 
and rang for 

Gradually the water ' oh, how awful t ' 

shoaled up, and then 
began to deepen again ! Mr. Thomburg muttered — 

' Well, I don't understand this. I believe that buoy ha^ drifted 
off the reef. Seems to be a little too fer to the left. No matter, it is 
safest to run over it, anyhow.' 

So, in that solid world of darknefis we went creeping down im 



120 . LIFE ON SFHB MISSISSIPPI. 

the light, JoBt as oar bowe were in the ftct of plowing over it, 
Mr. Thombiirg seiied the bell-ropes, rang a Bt&rtling peaJ, and ex- 
claimed — 

' TA.J soul, it'B the Bonodingboat I ' 

A sudden chorus of wild atarme bunt out far below — a panse — 
and then a sound of grinding and crashing fbllowed. Mr. Thomborg 
exclaimed — 

' There I the paddle-wheel has ground the sonnding-boat to loafer 
matches I Run ! See who is killed 1 ' 

I was on the main deck in the twinkling of an eja. Mychiaf and 
the third mate and nearly all the men were safe. Th^ had discovered 
their danger when it was too late to poll out of the way ; then, when 
tiie great guards OTeiebadowed them a moment later, they were 
prepared and knew what to do; at my chiefs order they sprang 
at the right instant, seized the guard, and were hauled aboard. 
The next moment the sounding-yawl swept aft to the wheel and 
was sfcruok and splintered to atoms. Two of tJie men and tiie cab 
Tom, were missing — a &ot which spread lite wildfire ova: the boat. 
The passengers came flocking to the forward gangway, ladies and all, 
anjdons-ejred, white-&ced, and talked in awed voicea of the dreadAil 
tiling. And often and again J heard them say, ' Poor fbUows ! poor 
boy, poor boy 1 ' 

By this time the boat's yawl was manned and away, to aeezah for 
the miacdng. Now a &int call was heard, off to the left. The yawl 
had disappeared in tlie other direction. Half the people rushed to 
one side to encourage the swimmer with their shouts ; the other half 
rushed the other way to shriek to the yawl to turn about. By the 
callings, the swimmer was approaching^, but some said the Bound 
showed failing strength. The crowd massed tbemselves against the 
boiler-deck railings, leaning over and staring into the gloom ; and 
every fidnt and &jnter cry wrung from them such words as, 'Ah, 
poor fiallow, poor fellow ! is there tto way to save him 1 ' 

But still the cries held out, and drew nearer, and presently the 
vcnoe said plnckily — 

' I can make it 1 Stand by with a rope 1 ' 

What a rauaing cheer they gave him I The chief mate took bU 
Btand in the glare of a torch-basket,aooilof rope mhia hand, andlil-^ 



men groaped about him. The next moment the Bwimmer's face 
appeared in the circle of li^t, and in another one the owiter of it waa 



1_;i2L^"— ^^"~ y devil Tom. 
^^ The j-awl crew searched 

eTeiywhero, but fbnnd no 
sign of the two men. They 
probably failed to catch the guard, tumbled back, and were struck 
by the wheel and killed. Tom had never jumped for the guard at 



128 LIFE ON THE ttlaSiaSIPPL 

all, but had plunged head-first into the river and dived under the 
wheel. It was nothing; I could have done it easy anoogh, and I 
said so ; but everybody went on just the same, malring a wondraful 
to'do over that ass, as if he had done something great. That girl 
couldn't seem to have enough of that pitiiul ' hero ' Uie rest of the 
trip ; but little I cared ; I loathed her, any way. 

He way we came to mistake the sounding-boat's lantern for the , 
buoy-light was this. My chief said that after laying tlte buoy he 
fell away and watched it till it seemed to be secure ; then he took up 
a position a hundred yards below it and a little to one side of the 
steamer's course, headed the sounding-boat up-stream, and waited. 
Having to wait some time, he and the officer gut to talking ; he looked 
up when he judged that the Bteamer was about on the reef; saw that 
the buoy was gone, but supposed that the steamer had already run 
over it ; he went on with his talk ; be noticed that the steamer was 
getting very close down on him, but that was the correct thing ; it 
waa her business to shave him closely, for convenience in taking him 
aboard ; he waa expecting her to sheer off, until the last moment ; 
then it flashed upon him that she was tiying to run him down, 
mistaking his lantern for the buoy-light; so he sang out, * Stand by 
to spring for the guard, men ! ' and the next instant the jump waa 
made. 



.■..Google 



CHAPTER Xm. 
A pilot's nkbds. 

But I am wandering from wbat I was intending to do, that is, make 
plainer than perii^n a|^>eara in ^e preriouB chapters, some of the 
^ecoliar requirements of tlie scienoe of piloting. I^rst of oU, there is 
one &caltj whJdi a pilot must inoeesantly cultivate until he has 
tironght it to absolute perfection. Xothing short of perfection will 
lo. That iacnlty is memory. He cannot stop with merely thinking 
1 thing is so and so ; he most know it ; for this is eminmitly one of 
he ' exact ' sciences. With what scorn a pilot was looked upon, in 
(he old times, if he ever ventured to deal in that feeble phrase 'I 
iiink,' instead of the vigoroas one ' I know I ' One cannot easily 
^iae what a ta«mendouB thing it is to know every trivial detail of 
welve hundred miles of river and know it with absolute exactness. 
I you will take the longest street in New York, and travel up and 
lown it, conning ita features patiently until yon know every house 
nd window and door and lamp-post and big and little sign by hearty 
nd know them so accurately that you can instantly name the one 
OU are abreast of when you are set down at random in that street 
a the middle of an inky black night, yon will then have a tolerable 
otioD of the amount and the exactness of a pilot's knowledge who 
uries the Hiasiesippi Blver in his head. And then if you will go 
a until yon know every street crossing, the character, size, and posi- 
on of Uie crosnng-stonee, and the varying depth of mud in each of 
noee nnmberless places, you will have some idea of what the pilot 
lust know in order to keep a MissiBsippi steamer out of trouble, 
'ext, if you will take half of the signs in that long street, and lAanffs 
^ir places oBna & mouth, and still manage to know th^newposi- 



IH ZIFE ON THE MISaiaSIFPl. 

tions accurately on dark oightB, and keep up with these repeated 
changes without ma- 
king any mktakee, yon 
will understand what 
is required of a pilot's 
peerless memoiy by 
the fickle Misossippi. 

I think a pilot's 
memory is about the 
most wonderful thing 
in the world. To 
know the Old and 
New Teetameiit« by 
heart, and be able 
to recite them glibly, 
fi>rward or backward, 
or begin at random 
anywhere in the book 
and recite both wayt 
and never trip oi 
make a mistake, is nc 
eztravagHitt mass o 
kuowledge, and tm 
marvellous fu^lity 
compared to a pilot' 
massed knowledge o 
the MissiBsippi and hi 
marvellous fitcility i 
the handling of it. 
make this oomparisoi 
deliberately, and b 
lieve I am not ei 
panding the trut 
when I do it. Man 
will think my figui 
too strong, but pitol 
• A CITY STBBET.' jvill not. 



A PILOT'S NMEDS. ISB 

And how easily and comfortably the pilot's meiporj does its 
work ; how plaadly effortless is its way ; how uneonKio%idjf it lays 
up its vast stores, ' , 

hour by hour, day 
by day, and never 
loees or mislays a 
single valn&ble 
package of them all ! 
Take an instance. 
Jjet a teadamui cry, 
• Half twain ! haif 
twain ! half twain 1 
jhalf twain ! half 
twain I ' nntil it be- ' 



as the ticking of a 
clock ; let conversa- 
tion be going on all 
the time, and the 
pilot he doing his 
libare <tf the talking, 
and no longer con- 
Bcionaly listening to 
the leadsman; and 
in the midst of 
thia endless string 
of half twains let 
a single ' qaart«r 
twun ! ' be inter- 
jected, without 
emphasis, and then 
the half twain cry 

go on again, just as ■ lbt a leadsman CKr, " half twaik." ' 

before: two or three 

weeks later that pilot can dewribe with precision the boat's position in 
the river when that quarter twain was ntt«red, and give you Buch a lot 
of head-marks, stem-marks, and side-marks to guide you, that yoa 



136 LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

oogfat to be able to take the boat there and put her in that eame spot 
again younelfl The cry of' quarter twain'did not raally take his 
mind from bis talk, but his trained facultieB inatantl; photogiapHed 
the bearings, noted the change of depth, and laid up the important 
details for future reference without requiring any assiatanoe from Aim 
in the matter. K you were walking and talking with a frimd, and 
another friend at your side kept up a monotonous repetition of the 
Towel sound A, for a couple of blocks, and then in tbe midst inter- 
jected an It, thus, A, A, A, A, A, K, A, A, A, etc, and gave the K 
no emphasis, you wonid not be able to state, two or three weeks 
afterward, that the R bad heea put in, nor be able to tell what 
oliiiects you were passing at the moment it was done. But you could 
if your memory had been patiently and laboriously trained to do thati 
sort oi thing mechanically. 

Qive a man a tolerably fair memory to start witii, and piloting 
will develop it into a very ooIobsub of capability. But on^ in the 
matUrt it is daily dritUd in. A time would come when the man's 
fiiculties could not help noticing landmarks and soundings, and his 
memory could not help holding on to them with the grip of a vice ; 
but if you asked that same man at noon what he had had for break- 
&st, it would be ten chanoee to one that be could not tell you. 
Astonishing things can be done with the huaum memory if you will 
derote it faithfully to one particular line of buoness. 

At the time that wages soared so high on the Missouri lUver, my 
<diief, Mr. Bixl^, wont up there and learned more than a thousand 
miks <^ that stream with an ease and rapidity that were astonishing. 
When he had seen each division otux in the daytime and onee at 
sight, bis education was so nearly complete that he took out a ' day- 
light ' license ; a few tripe later he took out a full liotmsi^ and w^it 
to [nlotiug day and ni^t — and he ranked A 1, too. 

Mr. Bixby placed me as steersman for a while under a pQot whose 
featiB a£ memory were a constant marvel to me. However, bis 
incroory was born in him, I think, not built. For instance, some- 
body would mention a name. Instantly Mr. Brown would break 
in — 

' Oh, I knew him. Sallow-&oed, red-headed fellow, with a little 
acBT on the aide of bis threat^ like a splinter under the flcah. He was 



A PILOT'S NEEDS. 18T 

only in the Soathem trade six moDths. That was thirteen years ago. 
I made a trip with him. There was five feet in the npper river then ; 
the " Henry Btake " grounded at the foot of Tower Island drawing 
four and a half; the " George Elliott " aOBhipped her rudder on the 
wreck of the " Sunflower " ' 

'Why, the "Sunflower" didn't sink until ' 

' / know when she sunk ; it was three years before that, on the 
2nd of December ; Asa H^rdy was captain of her, and hie brother 
John was first clerk ; and it 
was his first trip in her, too ; 
Tom Jonea told me these 
things a week afterward in 
, New Orleans; he was first 
mate of the " Snnflower." 'r 
Captain Hardy stuck a nail ^i 
in his foot the 6th of July '~ 
of the next year, and died 
of the lockjaw on the 15th. 
His brother John died two 
years after — 3rd of March, 
— erysipelas. I never saw 
either of the Hardys, — they 
were Alleghany River men, 
— bnt people who knew them 
told me all these tilings. 
And they said Captain Hardy 
wore yam socks winter and 

snnuner just the same, and ' ou, i knbw bim.' 

bis 6ist wifig's name was Jane 

Shook — she was &om Ifew England — and his second one died in a 
lanatdc asylum. It was in the blood. She was from Lexington, 
Kentucky. Name was Horton before she was married. 

And so on, by the hour, the man's tongue would go. He oonld 
not fotget any thing. It was simply impossible. The most trivial 
details remained as distinct and luminous in his head, after they had 
lain there for yeare, as the most memorable events. His wae not 
simply a pilot's memory ; its grasp was universal. If he were ^^^l1^l^T^g 



138 LIFE ON THE MlSSISaiPPI. 

about a trifling letter be had received aeven yean before, he was 
pretty aore to deliTer you the entire aireed from memory. And then 
withoat observing that he Tas departing from the true line c^ his 
talk, he was more than likely to hurl in a long-drawn parentLetioa] 
Inogtaphy of the writer of that letter ; and you were lucky indeed if 
he did not take np that writer's relativea, one by one, and give yon 
their Hugr^hies, too. 

Snoh a memoiy as that is a great misfortune. To it, all occur- 
rences are of the same size. Tte possessor cannot distinguish an inte- 
resting circumstance from 
an uninteresting one. As 
a talker, he i^ bound to 
dog his narratave wltli 
tiresome details and make 
himself an insufferable 
bore. Moreover, be cannot 
stick to his subject. He 
picks up every little grain 
of memory be discerns in 
his way, and so is led aside. 
Mr. Brown would start 
out with the honest in- 
tention of telling you a 
vastly funny aneodote 
about a dog. He would 
■ , be ' BO full of laugh ' that 

■ so FULL or LAuau.' he could hardly bef;in ; 

then hifi memory would 
start with the dog's breed and personal appearance; drift into a 
history of his owner; of his owner's family, with descriptions of 
weddings and burials that had occurred in it, together with recitals 
of congTatulat(n7 Teraes and obituary poety provoked by the same : 
then this memory would recollect that one of these events occurred 
during the celebrated ' hard winter ' of such and such a year, and a 
minute description of that winter would follow, along with the names 
of people who were froien to death, and statistics showing the high 
figures which pork and bay went up ta Pork and lw« would suggest 



A PILOT'S yS£DS. IS* 

cara and fodder ; oom tuod fodder would BOggest oows and hones ; 
oows and horaee wonld suggest the circtu and certain eelebrated baro- 
ba^ riders ; the transitaoti from the drciu to the menagerie was easy 
and natuial ; &oin the elephant to equatorial Africa 'was but a step ; 
then of ooone the heathen savages would suggest religion ; and at 
the and <i three or four houis' tedious jaw, the watch would change, 
and Brown would go out of the [Hlot-bonse muttering extracts from 
seimona he had heard years before about die efficacy of [M^yer as a 
means of grace. And the original first mention would be all you had 
learned about that dog, after all this waiting and hungering. 

A [dlot must have a memory ; bat there are two hi^er qualities 
which be must alao have. He most have good and quick judgment 
and decision, and a cool, calm courage that no peril can shake. Give 
a man ^e merest trifle of pluok to start with, and by the time he Has 
become a pilot be cannot be unmanned by any danger a steamboat 
cangetinto; butonecannotqmte say thesamefc^judgnient. Judg> 
ment is a matter cf brains, and a man must start with a good stock 
of that article or be will never succeed as a pilot. 

The growth of courage in the pilot-house is steady all the time, 
bat it does not reach a high and satia&ctory condition until some 
tame after the yoong |nlot has been ' standing his own watch,' alone 
and under the staggenng weight of all the reeponsibilitieG connected 
yfith the position. When an apprentice has become pretty thoroughly 
acquainted with the river, he goes clattering along so fearlessly with 
his steamboat, night or day, that he presently begins to imagine that 
it is hit coniage that animates him ; but the fiivt time the pilot steps 
oat and leaves him to his own devices be finds out it was the oihtr 
man'o. He discovers that the article has been left oat of his own cargo 
altogether. The whole river is bristling with exigenGies in a moment ; 
he is not prepared for them ; he does not know how to meet them ; 
ail his knowledge finsakea him ; and within fifteen minutes he is as 
wfait« as a sheet and scared almost to deatii. Therefore |»lots wisely 
tnun these cube by various strategic tricks to look danger in the fiu» 
a little more calmly. A Eavonrite way of theirs is to play a Mendly 
swindle upon the candidate. 

Mr. Bixby served me in tins feshion once, and for years afterwanl 
I uaed to blush even in my sleep when I thought of it. I had become 



130 LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

a good steeofimaa ; so good, indeed, that I had all the work to do on 

OUT tratch, night and day ; Mr, Bizby Beldom made a suggestion to 

me ; all be ever did was to ie^ the wheel on partionlarly bad nighte 

or in particoltu'ly bod crossings, land the boat when she needed to be 

landed, play gentleman of leisure nine-tentits of the watch, and collect 

the wages. The lower riTer was about bank-fall, and if anybody had 

questioned my ability to run any crossing between Cairo and Kew 

Orleans withoat help or instruction, I should have felt irreparably 

hurt. The idea of being afraid of any crosBing in the lot, in tlie 

day-time, was a thing too preposto- 

roDB for oontemplatioo. Well, one 

matchlesB summer's day I was 

bowling down the bend above 

island 66, brimful of self-conoeit 

and carrying my nose as bigh as a 

giraffe's, when Mr. Bixl^ sud — 

' I am going below a whila 
I suppose yoit know the next 



This was almost an affitint. 
It was about 'Qie plainest and 
simplest crossing in the whole 
river. One couldn't come to any 
harm, whetlier he ran it right or 
not ; and as for depth, there never 
■~ had been any bottom there. Iknew 

' BOABBD TO DKATH.' all this, perfectly well. 

' Know how to nm it t Why, 
I can nin it with my ^w shnt.' 

' How much water is tiiere in it T 

' Well, that is an odd qnestion. I couldn't get bottom there with 
a church steeple.' 

' You think so, do yon V ' 

The very tone of the question shook my confidence. That was 

what Mr. Bixby was expecting. He left, without saying anything 

more. I began to imagine all swte of things. Mr. Bixby, unknown 

to me, of oonnw, seat somebody down to the fbnoastle with some 



■WHKBE IS MS. BIZBVt' 



...Google 



c.y Google 



A PILOT'S NEEDS. ISS 

mTEtetionB instructiooB to the leeikmeii, Auothw meeBenger waa sent 
to whiBper among the officen, uid then Mr. Bixby \rent into hiding 
behind a smoke-stack where he could ohserre reenlts. Presently the 
fMpfatin stepped oat on Uie horrioane deck; next the chief mate 
ai^wared; then a elerk. Erery moment or two a stragglar wu added 
to my audience; and before I got to the head of the island I had 
fifteen or twenty people assembled down there under my nose. I 
b^;an to wonder what the trouble was. As I started across, the 
captain glanced aloft at me and said, with a sham uneasiness in his 



' Where is Mr. Bixby » ' 

' Gone below, sic.' 

But that did the busioess for me. My imagination b^an to 
conBtruct dangras out of nothing, and they multiplied faster than I 
could keep the run of them. All at once I imagined I saw shoal 
water ahead I The wave of ooward agony that suiged through ipe 
then came near dislocating every joint in me. All my txmfidence in 
that oroming vanished. I s^zsd the bell-rope ; dropped it, ashamed ; 
seized it a^dn; dropped it aax» more; dntehed it tremblingly 
once again, and pulled it so f^bly that I could hardly hear the 
stroke mysell Captain and mate sang out instantly, and both toge- 
ther— 

' Starboard lead there ! and quick about it 1 ' 

'Hiis was another shock. I began to climb the wheel like a 
squirrel ; but I would hardly get the boat started to port before I 
would see new dangers on that side, and away I would spin to the 
other ; only to find perils accumulating to starboard, and be ora^ to 
get to port again. Then came the leadsman's sepuldiral cry— 

' D-e-e-p four t ' 

De^ four in a bottomless crossiDg ! The twror of it took my 
tweath away. 

' M-a-r-k three I . . . M-a-r-k three . . . Quarter lees three ! . . . 
Half twain ! ' 

This was frightful I I seized the beU-ropee and stopped the 
en^neB. 

'Quarter twain! Quarter twain I J/ori twain I ' 

I was helplMB. I did not know what in the world to do. I was 



1st LIFE ON THE MIB8IB8IPPI. 

qnakiiig from heftd to foot, and I oonld have hong 1117 hat on my 
eyes, they stack ont so {ex. 

' Qnarter teea tirain I Nine and a hd^l ' 

We were drawing nine I My hands were in a nerrelesB flatter. 
I oonld not ring a bell intelligiUy with them. I flew to tlie 



ack 

immortal aotd out of her I ' 

I heard the door doBe gently. I looked aronnd, and there stood 

Mr. Bixby, fmiling a bland, sweet fonile. !nien the audience on the 

hurricane deck sent np a thnndei^nst of humiliating langhter. I 

saw it all, now, and I felt meaner than the meanest man in homan 



A PILOT'S NEEDS. 136 

histoiy. I laid in the lead, mA the boat in her marks, came ahead 
on the engines, and iaid — 

'It was a fine trick to play on an orphan, toaan't it I I suppose 
III never hear the last of how I was ass enough to heave the lead at 
the head of 66.' 

' Well, no, you won't, maybe. In fact I hope you won't ; for I 
want you to learn something by that experience. Didn't you know 
there was no bottom in that crossing 1 ' 

' Yea, sir, I did.' 

' Very weU, then. Too shouldn't have allowed me or anybody 
else to shake your confidence in that knowledge. Try to remember 
ihat. And another thing : when you get into a dangerous place, 
don't turn coward. That isn't going to help matters any.' 

It was a good enough leaion, but pretty haardly learned. Yet 
about the hardeet part of it was that for months I so oHem had to 
hear a. phrase which I had conceived a particular distaste for. It 
was, ' Oh, Ben, if you love me, back her I ' 



c^yGoo'^Ie 



LIFE Off THE MISSISSIPPI. 



CHAPTEB XIV. 

RANK AUD DIGNITY OF 

In my preceding chifrterB I have tried, by going into the minittue of 
the science of piloting, to carry the reader step by step to a oompre- 
hension of what tlie science oonatetB ot; and at the aame time I have 
tried io show him tiiat it is a very curiouB and vonduful silence, 
too, and very worthy of hia attention. If I have seemed to love mj 
subject, it ia no Burprising thing, for I loved tlie profcetdon fitr better 
than any I h&ve followed dnce, and I took a measurelesB pride in it. 
The reason b }dain : a pilot, in those days, was the only nnfettered 
and entirely independent human being that lived in the earth. 
Kings are but the hampered servants of parliament and people; 
parliaments sit in chains forged by their oonstitueocy ; the editor of 
a newspaper cannot be independent, but must work with one hand 
tied behind >'im by party and patrons, and be content to utter only 
half or twD-thirda of his mind ; no clergyman is a free man and may 
speak the whole truth, regardless of his parish's opinions; writers of 
all kinds are manacled servants of the public We write &ankly and 
fearlessly, but then we ' modify ' before we print. In truth, evei^ 
man and woman and child has a master, and worries and frets in 
servitude ; but in the day I write of, the MtBtdssip^n pilot had none. 
The captain could stand upon the hurricane deck, in the pomp of a 
ver}- brief authority, and give him five or six orders while the vessel 
backed into the stream, and then that skipper's reign was over. The 
moment that the boat was under way in the riv^, she was under the 
sole and unquestioned control of the pilot. He could do with her 
exactly as he pleased, run her when and whither he chose, and tie 
her up to the bank whenever his judgment said that that course was 



RANK AND DIQNIIY OF PILOTXNQ. 13X 

best TTJB movamente were entirely free ; be consulted no one, he 
raceiTed oommandB from nobody, he promptly resented even the 
merest soggestions. Indeed, tiie law of the United States fiirbade 
him to listen to commands or BUggestionB, ri^tly considering that 
tbe pilot Deoessarily knew better how to handle the boat tlian any- 
body oonid tell him. So here was the 



deetniction, and the aged captain 
standing mutely by, filled with ^prehension but powerieae to 
interfere. His interference, in tliat particular instance, might 
have been an excellent thing, but to permit it would have been to 
establish a most pemidons precedent. It will easily be guessed, 
considering the pilot's boundless anthority, that he was a great 



188 LIFE Qlf THE MiaBJSSIPPI. 

peraonage in the old steamboatmg days. Ee was treated with 
marked courtesy by the captain and with marked deference by aU the 
officers and servants ; and this dederentia] spirit was quickly com- 
mnnicated to the passengers, too. I think pilots were about the 
only people I ever knew who failed to show, in some degree, 
embarrassment in the presence of travelling foreign prinoes. But 
then, people in one's own grade of life are not nsnally embarraning 
-olgeots. 



' TBBATBD WITH MIBKED DBFBBESCE.' 

By long habit, pilots came to pat all their wishes in the form of 
-commands. It ' gravels ' me, to this day, to put my will in the weak 
shape of a request, instead of launching it in the crisp language of an 
ordar. 

In those old days, to load a stoamboat at St. Louis, take her to 
New Orleans and back, and dischu^ cargo, consumed about twenty- 
five days, on an average. Seven or eight of these days the beat 
spent at the wharves of St. Louis and New Orleans, and evcoy aonl 
on board was hard at work, except the two pilots; iheg did nothing 



RAlfX AND DIONJTT OP PILOTING. ISS 

bat pla^ gentleman up town, and reoeire the same wages for it as if 
the^ had been on dut^. The moment tlie boat touched the wharf at 
either city, lihey were aah<»«; and they were not likely to be seen 
again tall the last bell waa ringing and eTerything in readiness for 
anotliier voyage. 

When a captain got hold of a pilot of particularly high repatation, 
he took painH to keep him. When wagee were four hundred dollan 
a montti on the Upper Hisrissippi, I hare known a captain to keep 
such a jnlot in idlenesB, nnder fiill pay, three months at & time, while 
the river was frozen up. And one mnet remember that in thoee 
cheap times four hundred dollars was a salary of almost inconceiTaUe 
splendour. Few men on shore got such pay as that, and when the^ 
did they were mif^tQy looked up to. When pilote from either end 
of the river wandered into our small Uisaonri village, they were 
sought by the best and the fairest, and treated with exalted recfiect. 
Lying in port under wages was a thing which many pilots greatly 
enjoyed and appreciated ; especially if they belonged in the Hissoari 
Biver in the heyday of that trade (Kamiaa times), and gat nine 
hundred dollars a trip, which was equivalent to about ^ghteen 
hundred dollars a month. Here is a convenation of that day. A 
ch^ out <^ the niinoiB River, with a little stern-wheel tub, accosto 
a couple of omato and gilded Uissouii Biver jnlots — 

' Oentiemen, I've got a pretty good trip for the up-oountry, and 
shall want yon about a month. How much will it be } ' 

' Eighteen hundred dollars apiece.' 

'Heav«a)8 and earth! Tou take my boat, let me have your 
wages, and ni divide ! ' 

I will remark, in passing, that Missi8si|^i steamboatmen were 
important in landsmen's ^ee (and in their own, too, in a degree) 
accordii^ to the dignity of the boat they were on. For instance, it 
-was a proud thing to be of the crew of such stately crsA as the 
' Aleck Scott * or the ' Qrsnd Turk.' Negro firemen, deck hands, 
and barbers belonging to those boats were distingnished peraonages 
in tJiar grade of life, and l^ey were well aware of that fiudi too. A 
stalwart darkey once gave od^ee at a n^ro ball in New Orleans by 
putting on a good many airs. Finally one of the managers bustled 
up to him and said — hj A-OOglC 



140 LirS OS THE MISSISSIPPI. 

'Who is you, any wayt Who ta yont dat's Th&t Jirants to 

The offender was not disoonoerted in the least, hut swelled him- 



Belf ap and threw that into his voice which showed that he knew be 
was not putting on all those airs oa a stinted capital. 

' Who is I ) Who w 1 1 I let you know mighty quick who I is ' 
I want yon niggers to understan* dat I fiies de middle do' ' on de 
" Aleck Scott I " ' 

' Door. I,.. „ A.OO'jIe 



SAH/K AyD_ DIGNITY OF PILOTINQ. 



~ lat was sufiicieiit. 
■» barber of the ' Grand Tnrk ' 
gpmne yonng n^ro, who aired 
mporta&oe with balmy com- 
U7, and was greatly courted l:^ 
rcle in which he moved. Itie 
\ coloured popnlation of New 
OS were much given to flirting, 
iligbt, on the banquettes of the 
streets. Somebody saw and 
aomething like the following, 
'ening, in one of those localities, 
iddle-aged negro woman pro- 
her head through a broken 
uid shouted (very willing that 
leighbonrs should bear and 
, ' You Mary Ann, oome in de 
dia minute ! Stannin' oat d^ 
' 'long wid dat low trash, an' 
! de barber off'n de "Gran' 
" wants to conwerse wid yon I ' 
My reference, a moment 
ago, to the fact that a pilot's 
peculiar official pomtian 
placed him out of the reach 
of criticism or command, 

brings Stephen W 

DatonJly to my mind. He 
was a gifted pilot, a good 
fellow, a tireless talker, and 
had both wit and humour 
in him. He had a most 
irreverent independence, 
too, and was delidonsly 
ee^-gdng and comfortable 
in the presence of age, 
official dignity, and even 



148 LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

the most augtiat wealtih. He always had work, he new Baved a 
penny, be was a most persuasive borrower, he waa in debt to every 
pilot OD the riverj and to the n^jority of the captains. He could 
throw a sort of splendour around a bit of harum-BCaram, devil-may- 
oare piloting, that made it almost fasoinating — -but not to eTerybody, 

Ho made a trip with good old Captain Y once, and was 

' relieved ' from duty when the boat got to New Orleans. Some- 
body expressed surprise at the discharge. Captain T shuddered 

at the vase mention of Stephen. Then hifi poor, thin old voice 
piped out Eomething like this : — 

' Why, bleas me I I wouldn't have such a wild creature on my 
boat for tlie world — not for the whole world 1 He aweara, he sings, 
he whistles, he yells — I never saw such an Injun to yell. All times 
of the night — it never made any difi^renoe to him. He would just 
yell that way, not for anything in particular, but merely on aooouut 
of a kind of devilish comfort he goteutofit. I never could get into 
a sound sleep but he would fetch me out of bed, all in a cold sweat, 
with one of those dreadful war-whoops. A queer bang— very queer 
being ; no respect for anything or anybody. Sometiines he called 
me " Johnny." And he kept a fiddle, and a cat. He played 
exeorably. This seemed to distreas the cat, and so the cat would 
howL Nobody could sleep where that man — and his family — ^wos. 
And reckless I There never was anything like it. Now you may 
believe it or not, but as sure as I am sitting here, he broilf^t my 
boat a-tilting down through those awful snags at Chioot under a 
rattling head of steam, and the wind a-blowiug like the vtxj nation, 
at ihatl My officers will tell yon so. Th^ saw it. And, sir, 
while he was a-tearing right down through those snaga, and I &- 
shaking in my shoes and praying, I wish I may never speak again if 
he didnt pucker up his mouth and go to vAxMtling I Tea, sir ; 
whistling " Buffido gals, oont you come out to ni^t, can't yon oome 
out to-night, can't you oome out to^iight; ' and doing it as calmly as 
if we were attending a funeral and weren't related to tlie oorpeo. 
And when I remonstrated with him about it, he smiled down on me 
OS if I was hia child, and told me to mn in the house and fary to be 
good, and not be meddling with my superiors I ' ' 

1 Ocovdeiing a oaptalu^i ostentatioiu but boUow cbieftainship, and a pilot's 



RAlfK AND DIGNITT OP PILOTING. 148 

Once ft [cetty mesD captain oanght Stephen in New Orleans oat 
of work tmd u naoftl out of mooej. He laid steady siege to Stephen, 
who was in aveiy'cloBe plaoe.'and finally persuaded him'to hir& 
with him at one hundred and twenty-five dollars par month, jost 
half wages, the captain agreeing not to dirnlge the secret and so 
' bring down t^ contempt of all the guild upon the poor fellow. But 
the boat was not more than a day cut of Kew Orleans bef<»v Stephen 
diocorered that the captain was boasting of his expltnt, and that all 
the oEGcers had been told. Stephen winced, but said nothing. 
About the middle of the afternoon the obtain stuped out on the 
hurricane deck, cast his eye aroond, and looked a good deal sur- 
prised. He glanced inquiringly aloft at Stephen, but St«phen was 
whistiing placidly, and attending to busnees. The captain stood 
.around a while in evident diaoomfbrt, and once or twice seemed 
about to make a suggestion ; but the etiquette of the river taught 
him to avoid that sort of rashness, and so he managed to hold his 
peace. H^ chafed and puzzled a few minutes longer, then retired 
to his apartments. But soon he was oat again, and apparently 
more pei-plezed than ever. Free^ttly he ventared to remark, with 
deferraice — 

' Pretty good stage rf the river now, ain't it, sir! ' 
' Well, I should say so 1 Bank-full u a pretty liberal stage.' 
' Seems to be & good deal of corrent here.' 
' Qood deal don't describe it 1 It's worse than a mill-race.' 
' Isn't it easier in toward shore than it is out here in the 
middle t' 

' Yes, I reckon it is ; bnt a body can't be too oarefnl with a 
steamboat. It's pretty safe out hrae ; can't strike any bottom here, 
yon can depend on that.' 

The captain departed, looking mefiil enough. At this rate, he 
would jMohafaly die of old age before his boat got to St. Louis. Next 
day he appeared on deck and again found Stephen feithfully standing^ 
up the middle of the river, fitting the whole vast force of the 
A Ti«iiiigp ri, and whistling the same pladd tune. This thing was 
becoming serious. In by the shore was a slower boat clipping along 
real an^ority, there was Bomedung iinpndentlj apt and happy about that way 
ofphwingit ^ l^.CKVle 



1« LIFE ON TBE MISSISSIPPI. 

in the eas^ water and gaining steadily ; she began to malce for e 
island chute ; Stephen stuck to the middle of the river. Speech 'wi 
vymng &om tihe captain. He said — 

' Mr. W , don't that chute cut off a. good deal of distance 1 ' 

' I think it does, but I don't know.' 



' WENT TO WBISTLINO.' 

' Don't know I Well, isn't there water enough in it now to go 
through 1 ' 

' I expect there is, but I am not oeitain.' 

' Upon my word this is odd I Why, those pilots on that boat 
yonder are going to try it. Do you mean to s&y that you don't know 
ae much as they do ) ' 

' They I Why, tA«^ are two-hundred' and-fiftyrdollar pilots 1 But 



RAXK AND DZONITY OF PILOTING. 146 

don't yon be uneasy ; I know as much as any man can afford to know 
for a hundred and twenty-Sye ! ' 

The captain surrendered. 

Five minutes later Stephen was bowling through the chnte and 
showing the rival boat a two-hundred-and-fifty-doUar pair of heels. 



D.3l.za..y Google 



LIFE ON THE XT33ISSIPPT. 



CHAPTER XV. 

THE pilots' monopoly. 

Onb dflf, on board the ' Aleck Scott,' m; diief, Mr. Bixby, was czairl- 
iag carefully through a close place at Cat Island, botlt leads goin^, and 
everybody holding his breath. The captain, a nerroua, apprehensiTo 
man, kept still as long as he could, but finally broke down and Hhoutod 
from the hurricane deck — 

' For gradons' sake, give her st^am, Mr, Bizby I giro her staLm ' 
Shell never raise the reef on this headway 1 ' 

For all the effect that was produced npon Mr. Bixby, one would 
have supposed that no remark had been made. Bat five minutes 
later, when the danger was past and the leads laid in, he barst 
instantly into a consuming fury, and gave the captain the most admi- 
rable cnrsing I ever listened to. No bloodshed ensued ; but that was 
becaose the captain's canae was weak ; for ordinnrily he was not a 
Bian to take coireotion quietly. 

Having now set forth in detaO tlie nature of the sdence of pilot- 
ing, and likewise described the rank which the pilot held among the 
firatemity of steamboatmeo, this seems a fitting place to my a few 
words about an organisation which the pilots osce formed fca the 
protection of thmr guild. It was curious and noteworthy in this, that 
it was perhaps the Qompact«et, the completeet, and the strongeet 
oommsrdal organisation ever formed among men. 

For a long time wages had been two hundred and fifty dollars a 
month ; but curiously enough, as steamboats multiplied and buBincea 
increased, the wages be^an to fidl little by littie. It was ea^ to dis- 
Govw the reason of this. Too many pilots wve being 'made.' It 
was luoe to have a ' cuh,' a steersman, to do all tiia hud work for a. 



THE PILOTS' MONOPOLY. 



couple of Tears, gratis, while his master sat on % high bench and 
smoked ; all pilots and detains had boos or nephews who wanted to 
be pilots. By 'and by it came to pass that nearly eveiy pilot on the 



a pilot's license for him by 
signing an applicaticm directed to the United States Inspector. 
Nothing further vas needed ; omally no qtieetions were asked, no 
prooft of capacity required. 



us LIFE ON THE AfJSafSSIPPI. 

Teiy well, this gro'wmg swarm of new pilots preeentiy began to 
andermme the wages, in order to get bertha. Too l&te — apparently 
— the knights of the tiller perceived their mistake. Plainly, something 
had to be done, and quickly ; but what was to be the needinl thing t 
A close organisatian. Nothing else wonld answer. To compass this 
seemed an impassibility; so it was talked, and talked, and then 
dropped. It was too likely to ruin whoever ventnred to move in the 
matter. But at last about a dozen of the boldest — and some of them 
the beet — pilots on the river launched themselves into the enterprise 
and took all the chances. They got a special charter from the le^s- 
latore, with large powers, under the name of the Pilots' Benevolent 
Association ; elected their officers, completed their organisation, oon- 
tribnted capital, put ' assodation ' wages up to two hundred and fifty 
dollurs at <moe — and then retired to their homes, for th^ were 
promptly disohsiged from emfdoyment. Bat there wace two or three 
unnoticed trifles in their by-laws which bad the seeds of propagation 
in them. Tot instance, all idle members of the aesociation, in good 
standing, were entitled to a pension of twen^-five dollan per month. 
This bc^an to bring in one stiaggler aAer another from the ranks (^ 
the new-fledged pilots, in the dull (summer) season. Batter have 
twenty-five dollars than starve ; the initiation fee was only twdve 
dollaiB, and no dues required from Uie unemployed. 

Also, the widows of deceased members in good standing oould 
draw twenty-five dollars per month, and a certain sum for each of 
their children. Also, the said deceased would be buried at the asso- 
ciation's expense^ These things resorreoted all the superannoated and 
forgotten pilots in the Mississippi Valley. They came from Sums, 
they came from interior villages, they came from eveiywhereh lliey 
came on ovtches, on drays, in ambulances, — any way, so th^ got 
there. They paid in their twelve dollan, and stiaightway beg^ui to 
draw out twenty-five dollars a month, and calculate tb^ burial Inlls. 

By and by, all the useless, helplees pilots, and a doien fiist-daas 
cmes, were in the association, and nine-tenths of the best pilots out q£ 
it and laughing at it. It was the laughing-stock of tJie whole river. 
Everybody joked about tJie by-law requiring members to pay t«n per 
cent, of thdr wages, everyjmonth, into the treasury for the support of 
the association, whereas all the members were outcast and tabooed. 



TEE PILOTS' MONOPOLY. 1« 

and no one would employ them. Everybody was derieiTely giat^nl 
to the BBBOciation for taking «ll the worthlees pilots ont of the way 
and leaving the whole field to the excellent and the deaerring ; and 
everybody was not only jocularly grateful for that^ but for a result 
which naturally followed, namely, the gradual advance of wages as 
the busy season approached. Wages had gone up from the low figure 
of on« hundred dollars a month 
'T^^'- ^ to one hundred and twaity-five, 



a 



to call at tbe 

and have a good time chaffing the 

membera and offering them the charity of taking them as el 

for a trip, BO that they could see what the foi^tten river looked 

like. However, the association was content ; or at least it gave no 

sign to the contrary. Now and then it captured a pilot who was 

' out of luck,' and added him to ita list ; and these later additions 

were very valuable, for they were good pilote ; the incompetent ones 



ISO LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

hiul all been alworbed beEi»«. Afi business freehened, wages climbed 
gradually up to two hundred aitd fifty dollars — ^the association 
figure — and bectune firmly fixed there ; and still without benefiting 
a member of that body, for no member was hired. The hilarity 
at the Bflsooiation'a expense burst all bounds, now. There waa no 
end to the fim which that pow mar^ had to put up with. 

Howerer, it is a long lane that has no taming. Wintw approached, 
buBineos doubled and trebled, and an avalanche of Miaeonri, Illinoia and 
Upper MisaJBaippi Hiver boats came pouring down to take a chance in 
tlie New Orleans trade. All of a sudden pilots were in great demand, 
and were coirespondingly scarce. The time for revenge was oraue. 
It waa a bitter pill to have to accept sssooiatiou pilots at last, yet 
captains and owners agreed that there was no other way. But none 
of UiQse ontcasta offered ! So there was a still bitterer pill to be 
swallowed : they must be sou^t out and asked for thair services. 

Oi^ptain ' was the first man who found it neoesaaiy to take ^e 

dose, and he had been the loudest derider of the organisation. He 
hunted up one of the best of the association pilots and said — 

' Well, you boys have rather got the best of us for a little while, 
so I'll give in with as good a grace as I can. I've come to hire you; 
get your trunk aboard right away. I want to leave at twdve o'clock.' 

' I don't know about that. Who is your other pilot V 

* I've got L S . Why % ' 

' I can't go with him. He don't belong to the asaociation.' 

'What!' 

' If 8 BO.' 

' Do yon mean to teU me that yoa wont turn a wheel with (me ctf 
the very beat and oldest pilots on the riv» because he dcm't bdong to 
your association 1 ' 

' Tee, I do." 

' Well, if this isn't putting on airs ! I supposed I was doing you 
a benevolence ; but I begin to think that I am the party that wants 
a favour done. Are you acting under a law of the concern t ' 

'Yes.' 

' Show it to me.' 

So they stepped into the assodation rooms, and the secretary socn 
sataafied the captain, who said — 

,„ , A.ocwie 



THE PILOTS' MONOPOLY. ISl 

' Well, what am I to dol I h&Te hired Mr. S for the entire 

amBon.' 

' I will proTide for yoa^ said the secretary. ' I will detail a 
|nlot to go with 70a, and.he shall he oa board at twelve o'clock.' 

' Bnt if I dischaige 8 -■ , he will come on me for tiie wh<de . 



■THB CAPTAIN BTORUBD.' 

' Of conzBe that ia a matter between ;on and Mr. S , captain. 

We cannot meddle in your private aSaits. ' 

The captain stormed, but to no purpose. In the end he had to 
discharge 8 , paj him about a thonsand dollars, and take an asso- 
ciation pilot in his place. The laugh was beginning to torn the other 
way now. Every day, thenceforward, a new victim fell ; every day 
some outraged captain dischai^ed a non-association pet, with tears 



LITE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 



uid pro&nity, sad installed a bated associatioQ man in hk berth. In 
a veiy little wbile, idle non-associationiBts be^^ to be pretty plenty, 
brisk as business was, and macb as th^r services were desired. Tbe 
laugh WHS shifting to the other side of their mouths most paJpaUy. 



.uld 

take when the passing busineBs 

'spurt' was over. 

Soon all tbe laughers that were left were the owners and crews of 

boats that bad two non-aesociation pilots. Bat their triumph was 

not very long-lived. For this reason : It was a rigid rule of Uie 

association that its members should never, under i 



THE PILOTS MONOPOLY. 1«B 

whftterer, give mformation about the channel to tmj ' oatoder.' Sy 
this time about half the boats had none but aasociation pilots, and the 
other half had noue but outeidera. At tbe first glance one would 
suppose that when it came to forbidding infonnation about the river 
titese two parties could play equ&Uy at that game; but this was not 
ao. At every good-aized town from one end of the river to the other, 
there was a ' wharf-boat ' to land at, instead of a wharf or a pier. 
Freight was stored in it for transportation ; waiting paasengeiH slept 
ia its cabins. Upon each of these whaif-boats the association 'soffieers 
placed a strong box fastened with a peculiar lock which was oaed in 
no ot^er service but one — the United States mul service. It was ttte 
letter-bag lock, a sacred governmental thing. By dint of much be- 
seeching the government had been persuaded to allow the associataon 
to use this lock. Bvery association man carried a key which would 
open these boxes. That key, or rather a peculiar way of holding it 
in the hand when its owner was asked for river information by a 
stranger — for the success of the St. Louis and New Orleans association 
had now bred tolerably tlmving branches in a dozen neighbouring 
steamboat trades — was the aseodation man's sign and diploma <^ 
membership; and if the stranger did not respond by producing a 
similar key and holding it in a certain manner duly prescribed, his 
question was politely ignored. IVom the association's secretary ew^ 
member received a package <^ more or less gorgeous blanks, printed 
like a bill-head, on handsome paper, properly ruled in columns ; a 
bill-head worded something like this — 

6TEAMBR GEEAT REPUBLIC. 

JOHK SuiTU, Uastbb. 

Pilati, John, Jonet and Thomat Bromn. 



These blanks were filled up, day by day, as the voyage progressed, 
and deposited in the several wharf-boat boxes. For instance, as soon 
as the first crossing, out from St. Louis, was completed, the items 
would be entered upon the blank, under the appropriate headings, 
thus— !-■ A.i)O0le 



1B4 I,IFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

' St. Looifi. Nine and a half (feet). Stem od court-house, head 
on dead cottonwood above wood-yard, until you raise the first vee£, 
then pull up square.' Then under head of Remarks : ' Qo just 
outside the wrecks; this is important. New snag just where you 
straighten down ; go above it.' 

The pilot who deposited that blank in the Cairo box (after adding 
to it the details of every crossing all the way down from St. Loois) 
took out and read half a dozen fresh reports (from upward-bound 
steamers) oonceming the river between Cairo and Memphis, p(st«d 
himself thoroughly, retiuited them to the box, and went back aboard 
his boat again so armed against accident that he ixtuld not poeaibly 
get his boat into trouble without bringing the most ingenious c&re- 
IcHsness to his sid. 

Imagine the benefits of so admirable a system in a pieoe of liver 
twelve or tiiirteen hundred miles long, whose channel was shifting 
every day I The pilot who had formerly been obliged to put up with 
seeing a shoal place once or poesibly twice a month, had a hundred 
aharp eyee to wateh it for him, now, and bushels of intelligent brains 
to tell >iim how to run It. His information about it was seldom 
twenty-four hours old. .If the reporte in the last box chanced to 
leave any mi^vings on his mind oonceming a treacherous crossing, 
he had his remedy ; he blew his steam- whistle in a peculiar way as 
soon as he saw a boat approaidiing ; the signal was answered in a 
peculiar way if that boat's pilots were association men ; and then the 
two steamers ranged alongside and all nncertaintiee were swept away 
1^ tneh information furnished to the inquirer by word of month and 
in minute detail. 

The first thing a pilot did when he raoched Kew Orleans or SU 
Louis was to take his final and elaborate report to iise association 
parlours and hang it up there, — afier whidi he was fi<ee to vimt his 
family. In these parlours a crowd was always gathered tt^ether, 
discusaing changes in the channel, and the moment thtSK was a fresh 
arrival, everybody stopped talking till tiiis witness had told the newest 
newaandsettledthelatestunoertainty. Other craftsmen can 'sink the 
shop,' sometimes, and interest themselves in other matters. Not so 
with a pilot ; he must devote himself wholly to his profession and 
talk of nothing else ; for it would be small gain to be perfect one day 



THE PILOTS' MONOPOLY. 



and imperfect the oezt. He has do time or words to waste if he 
would k«ep 'posted.' 

But the outuders had a hard time of it. No particul&r place to 
meet and exchange information, no wharf-boat reports, cone but 



* POSTING HIB BBPOBT.' infiirmation that was a 

week or ten days old. At 
a &ir stage of the river that might have answered ; but when the 
dead low watw came it was destructiTe. 

ITow came another perfectly logical reenlt. The outsiders began 
to ground steamboats, aiok them, and get into all sorts of trouble, 



1S8 LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

whereas accidenfa Heemed to keep entirelj' away from the aasociation 
men. Wherefore eveo the owners and captains of boats famished 
exclusiTely with outsldera, and previously oonsidered to be wholly 
independent of the association and free to comfort themselTes with 
brag and langhter, bc^an to feel pi'etty nnoomfortable. Still, they 
made a show of keeping up the bnig, until one black day when every 
cafitain of the lot was formally ordered to immediately disoharge hie 
oatsiders and take association jalote in their etead. And who was it 
that had the dashing preeumptiou to do that 1 Alaa, it came Gcom a. 
power behind the throne that was greator than the throne itaelf. It 
was the underwiiterB I 

It was no time to ' swap knives.' Every outsider had to take his 
trunk aHhore at once. Of course it was supposed that there was 
collusion between the association and the underwriters, bat this was 
not ao. The latter had come to comprehend the excellence of the 
' r^Kirt ' eystem of the association and the safety it secured, and ao 
tfaey had made their deciaion among themselTes and upon plain 
boginees principles. 

There was weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth in the camp 
of the outsiders now. But no matter, there was but one oooise for 
them to pursue, and thsy pnrsued it. They came fiH-ward in couples 
and groups, and proffered thdr twelve dollars and asked for nember- 
fihip. They were surpriaad to learn that several new by-laws had 
been long ago added. For instance, the initiation fee had bera ntiaed 
to fifty dollars ; that sum must be tendered, and also ten par oent. of 
the wages which the applicant had received each and every month 
since the foonding of the association. In many oases this amonnted 
to tjiree or four hundred dollars. Still, the association would not 
entertain the application antU the money was present. Even tjien & 
single adverse vote kiUed the application. Evei^ member had to 
vote ' Yee ' or ' No ' in person and before witnesses ; so it took weeks 
to decide a candidacy, because many pilots were bo long absent on 
voyages. However, tiie repentant sinners scraped their savings 
togethei*, and one by one, by our tedious voting process, they wvxv 
added to the fold. A time came, at last, when only about tai 
remained outside. They said they would starve before the; would 
,„ , A.ocwie 



Ti't I rtri HCWf V/ii chff I 



T/IF PILOTS' MONOPOLY. 167 

applf. The}' remained idle a long while, becanse of ooune nobody 
could Tentnre to employ them. 

By and by the assodatioii published the feet that upon a certain 
date the wages would be 
raised to five hundred . ^ '• ; 

dollftrB per month. „____, l| i' ' 1 

All tbe fanneh aasoda- 
tions bad grown strong, 
now, and the Red 
Birar one had advanced 
wages to aevoi hondred 
doUan a month. Be- 
Inctantly the ten ont- 
dden yidded, in view 
of theae thin^, and 
made application. 
There waa fxwAher new 
by-law, by this time, 
which reqaired them to 
pay dues not only on 
all the wages they had 
reottved nnoe tiie asso- 
ciation was bom, but 
also on what tiiey would 
have reoaved if they 
had ocmlinued at work 
up to ^A» time <tf their 
application, instead of 
going <^ to pout in 
idlenen. It turned out 
to be a difficult matter 
to elect them, but it -> 

waa accomplished at ' addkd to thb fold.' 

last. The most viru- 
lent dnner of this batch had stayed out and allowed ' dues ' to accu- 
mulate against him so long that he had to send in six hundred and 
twenty-five dollars with his iq>plication. i. ^.oook' 



IBS LIFE ON IBK MiaSISaiPPT. 

The association had a good bank fux»imt now, and was very 
strong. There was no longer an outsider. A by-law was added 
forbiddiug the reception of any more cubs or apprentdces for five 
years ; after which time a limited number would be taJran, not by 
individuals, but by the association, upon theee terms : the i^licant 
must not be less than eighteen years old, and of respectable Guaily 
and good character; he must pass an examisation as to educfttion, 
pay a thousand dollaro in advance for the privilege of beooming an 
apprentice, and must remain under the commands of the association 
until a great part of the membership (more than half, I think) should 
be willing to sign his application for a pilot's license. 

All previously-articled apprenticee were now taken away from 
their masters and adopted by the association. The president and 
secretary detailed them for servioe on one boat or another, as tiiey 
chcee, and changed tiiem &t>m hoat to boat according to certain rules. 
If a pilot could show that be was in infirm health and needed asds- 
taoce, one of the cubs would be ordered to go with him. 

The widow and orphan list grew, but so did the asflOOiAtion's 
AnandBl reeonroes. The anociation attended its own funerals in 
state, and paid for them. When oocaaon demanded, it sent members 
down the river upon searches for the bodies of brethren lost by 
steamboat accidents ; a search of this kind sometimee cost a thousand 
dollars. 

The association procured a charter and went into tlte insuruiGe 
busineBS, also. It not only insured the lives of its membera, bat tocdc 
risks OQ steamboats. 

The organisation seemed indestructible. It was the ti^test 
monopoly in the world. By the United States law, no man could 
become a pilot unless two duly licensed pilots signed his appIicatioD ; 
and now there was nobody outade of the association competent to 
sign. C<meequently the malting of pilots was at an end. Every year 
some would die and others become incapacitated \fy age asd infirmity ; 
there would be do new ones to take their places. In time, the aaK>- 
ciatioii could put wages up to any figure it chose ; and as long as it 
should be wise enough not to carry the thing too for and provoke the 
natiomd government into amending the licensing system, steambcMt 
owners would have to submit, since there would be no hdp for it. 



THE PILOTS' MONOPOLY. 169 

The owners and captaine were the only obstruction that ky 
between the asBod&tion &nd absolute power ; and at last this one 
was removed. Incredible as It may seem, the owners and captains 
deliberately did it themselves. When the pilots' aesociatioQ an- 
nonnoed, months beforehand, that on the first day of September, 



ownere and captains instantly put 
&eigbtii up a few cents, and explained to the &rmers along the river 
the necessity <^ it, 1^ calling their attention to the burdensome rate 
of wages aboat to be established. It was a rather slender argument, 
but tlie brmers did not seem to detect it. It looked reasonable to 
them that to add five cente freight on a bumhel of com was justifiable 



160 LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

trader the circumstances, overlooking the fact that this advance on a 
cargo of forty thous&nd gacka was a good deal more tliati neceesaiy to 
cover the new wages. 

So, straightway the captains and owners got ap an association of 
their own, and proposed to pot captains' wages np to five hnndred 
dollars, too, and move for another advance in frwghts. It was a 
novel idea, but of coarse an effect which had been produced once 
oould be produced again. The new aasodatifm decreed (for this was 
before all the ontsiders had been taken into the pUota' association) 
that if any captain employed a non-association pilot, he should be 
forced to discharge him, and also pay a fine of five hnndred dollars. 
Several of theee heavy fines wore paid before the captains' organisation 
grew strong enough to exercise full authority over itA membership ; 
bat that all oeaeed, presently. The csfitains tried to get the jslots to 
decree that no member of their oorpOTation should serve undw a mm- 
asBodation captain; but this proposition was dedined. The pilots 
saw that they would be backed up by the captains and the ai>der- 
writers anyhow, and ao they wisely re&wned from entering into 



As I have remarked, the pilots' association was now the compact- 
est monopoly in the world, perhaps, and seemed simply indestructible. 
And yet the days of its glory were numbered. I^rst, the new railroad 
sticrtohing up through MiniBsippi, Tennessee, and Kaituc^, to 
Northern railway centres, began to divert the passenger travel from 
the steamers ; next the war came and almost entirely annihilated the 
steamboating industry daring several years, leying most of the 
pilote idle, and the cost of living advancing all the tame ; theoi the 
treasurer of the St. Loois association put his hand into (lie till and 
walked off with every dollar of the ample fond ; and finally, the nul- 
roads intruding everywhere, there was little for steamers to do, when 
tiie war was over, but carry fr^hts ; so straj^tnvay some genius 
from the Atlantic coast introduced the plan of towing a dosen steMner 
oBTgoes down to New Orleans at the tail of a vulgar little tug^boat ; 
and behold, in the twinkling of an ej'e, as it were, the aseociatitm 
and the noble science of piloting were things of the dead and pathetic 
past I 

,„... A,oo;jle 



CHAPTER XVI. 

aACIMO DAYS. 

It was always the custom for the boats to leave Kew Orleans between 
four and five o'clock in the afternoon. From three o'clock onward 
they would be burning rosin and pitch pine (the sign of preparation), 
and so one had the pictoreeque epectacle of a rank, some two or three 
milee long, of tall, ascending columns of coal-black smoke ; a colon- 
nade which supported a sable roof of the same smoke blended together 
and spreading abroad over the dty. Every outward-bound boat had 
itfl Bag flying at the jack-atafi*, and sometimeB a duplicate on the 
ver^ staff aatoni. Two or three mUee of mat«e were commanding 
and swearing with man than usual emphasis ; countless processions 
of fieigfit barrels and boxes were spinning athwart the levee and 
flying aboard the stage-planks ; belated passengers were dodging and 
skipping among these frantic things, hoping to reach the fareosstle 
companion way alive, but having their doubts about it ; women with 
reldcales and bandbfixee were trying to keep up with husbands 
&«ight«d with carpet-aacks and crying babies, and TnaVi-ng a failnre 
ot ithy losing their heads in ihe whirl and roar and general distrac- 
tion ; drays and baggage-vans wrae clattering hither and thither in a 
wild harry, every now and then getting blocked and jammed together, 
and then during ten seoonds one oonld not see thran for the pro&nity, 
except vagaely and dimly ; every windlass connected with eveiy fore- 
hatch, &om one end of that long array of steamboats to the other, 
was keeping up a deafening whiz and whir, lowering il«ight into the 
h<dd, axtd the half-naked crews d penrpinng negroes that worked 
them were roaring such aongs as ' De Las' Sack I De las' Saok I ' — 
inspired to unimaginable exaltation by the chaos of turmoil and 



1«8 LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

rack^ that tu driTing fsveejitoAy else mad. By this time the 
hurricane and boiler decks of the ateainera vould be packed and 
black with passengers. The ' last beUs ' vonld be^ to clang, all 
down the line, and then the powwow seemed to double ; in a moment 
or two the final warning came, — a ramultaneons din of Cfaiueae 
gongs, with the ory, ' All dat ain't goin', pleafle to git aaho'! ' — and 
behold, the powwow qnadmpled ! People cams Bwarming ashore, 
OTerturning coccited Btragglera that were trying to swaxm aboard. 
One more moment later a long array of stage-planks was being hanled 
in, each with its customary lat«st passenger clinging to the end <^ it 
with teeth, nails, and ererything else, and the eustomary latest pn>- 
crastinator making a wild spring shoreward OTer bis head. 

Now a number of the boats slide backward into the stream, 
leaving wide gaps in the serried rank of steamers. Citizens crowd 
the decks of boAts that are not to go, in order to see the sight. 
Steamer after steamer straightens herself nf, gathers all her stavngth, 
and presently oomes swinging by, under a tremraidons head of steam, 
with flag flying, black smoke rolling, and her entire crew of fironen 
and deck-hands (nsually swarthy negroes) massed together on the 
forecastle, the best ' voice ' in the lot towering Stcaa the midst (being 
mounted on the capstan), waving his hat or a flag, and all roaring a 
mighty chorus, while the parting cannons boom and the mnltdtadi- 
nous i^>ectators swing th^ hats and hn^ I Steamer after steamer 
bSu into line, and the stately procession goes winging its flight np 
the river. 

In the old times, whenever two East boats stat^ out on a race, with 
a big (xowd of people looking on, it was inspiring to bear the crew,-- 
rang, especially if the time were ni^t-fidl, and the forecastle lit np 
with tiie red glare of the torch-baskets. Badng was royal fbn. The 
public always had an idea that racing was dangerous ; whereas thr 
opposite was the case — that is, after the laws were passed which 
Kslaicted each boat to just so many pounds of stcdun to the Kqu&rf 
inch. Kg engineer was ever sleepy or careless when his heart war 
in a race. He was constantly on the alert, ttyiog gauge-oocks and 
watching things. The danguous [^aoe was on slow, plodding bonte. 
where the engineers drowsed around and allowed chips to get into 
the ' doct«r ' and shut off the water supply from the boilers. 



)ji.:...i. Google 



c.y Google 



SACIJfS DAYS. 165 

In the ' flush timee ' of Btoaiuboatmg, a race between two notori* 
ously fleet stecuneis was an event of vast importanoe. The date was 
set for it aeveral weeks in advance, and from that time forward, the 
whole MiEdadppi YaUey was in a state of cousmmng excitement. 
Politics and Hie weather were dropped, and people talked only of the 
ooming race. As the time approached, the two steamero ' stripped ' 
and got readf. Every incumbrance that added weight, or exposed a 
reeisting sur&ce 
to wind or wat«r, 
was removed, if 
the boat could 
possibly do with- 
out it The 
' spots,' and some- 
times even their 
supporting der- 
ricks, were sent 
ashore, and no 
means leA to set 
the boat afloat in 
case she got a- 
groond. When 
the ' EcUpse ' and 
the * A. L. Shot- 
well ' ran their 
great race many 
years ago, it was 
said that pains ' , ' < 

were taken to DKowsr ehqiiiicbrb. 

scrape the gilding 

off the lancdfal device which hung between the ' Eclipse's ' chimneys, 
and that far that one trip the captain left off his kid gloves and had 
' his head shaved. But I always doubted these things. 

If the boat was known to make her best speed when drawing flve 
and a half feet forward and five feet aft, she was carefully loaded to 
that exact fignre — she wouldn't enter a dose of homoeopathic pills on 
her manifest after that. Hardly any passengers were taken, because 



166 LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

they not only add wei^t bnt they never will ' trim boat.' lliey 
always run to the side when thore is anything to see, whereas a 
oonsdentionB and experienced Bteambo&tman would stick to the 
CMitre of the boat and part his hair in the middle with a e^mt 

Ko way-freightB and no way-poasengets were allowed, for the 
laoecs wonld stop only at the latest towns, and then it woold be 
only ' tondi and go.' Coal flats and wood flats were contracted for 
befbrdumd, and these were kept ready to hitch on to ttie flying 
steamers at a moment's warning. Double crews were carried, ao that 
all work oonld be quickly dona. 

The choeen dat« b^g oome, and all things in readiness, tJie two 
great steamers back into the stream, and lie tJiere jockeying a 
momwt, and (q)paiently watohing each other's slightest moranent, 
like sentient creatures; flags drot^Mug, the pent steam shrieking 
through Ba&^-Talves, the black smoke rolling and tumbling from 
the chimneys and daikming all the air. Peoi^ people everywhere ; 
the shorea, the hoaaa-topa, the steamboats, the ships, are packed with 
them, and you know that the borders of the broad Miamseippi are 
going to be fringed with hnmani^ Uienoe northward twelve hundred 
miles, to weLoome these raoers. 

Preeently tall columns of steam burst &om the 'atx^to-pipes of both 
steamers, two guns boom a good-bye, two ted-shurted heroes mounted 
on oe^etans wave their small flags above the massed crews on tbe 
foreoafitlee, two plaintive solos linger on the air a few waiting seconds, 
two mi^ty choruses burst forth — and hen th^ come I Bius bands 
bray Hail Columbia, huoa after huna thunders from ^e shores, and 
the stately creatureB go whistling by like tiie wind. 

Those boato will never halt a mconent between New Orleans and 
St. Louis, azoept for a second or two at large towns, or to hitch 
thiri^-oord wood-boats alongside. Ton should be on board when 
they take a oouple of those wood-boata in tow and turn a swann <tf 
men into each ; 1^ the time yon have wiped your glaans and put ' 
tJiem on, you will be wondering what has become <£ that wood 

Two nicely matched steamers will stay in ai^t of eadi other day 
aSbec day. They might even stay aide by side, but for Uie fact that 
pilobi are not all alike, and the smartest polote will win tJte raoe. If 
,„... A,oo;jle 



RACINB DATS. IVt 

one<tf theboatBhABa'lightmng' pilot, vhoBe 'partner' U a laifle his 
inferior, joa can toll which one ia on watch bj noting whether that 
boat has gained ground or lost gome daring each four-hour stretch. 



- . ' < stern il~ be wants 

BRASS BANDS BRAT. to get up the rirer 

fast. 

Tbve is a great difference in boats, of course. For a long time I 

as on a boat that was so slow we used to foi^t what year it was 

a left port in. But of oonrse this was at rare intervals. Feny- 



LIFE ON THS MISSISSIPPI. 



iKiis. ing ior as to 

got bj. This 
was at still rarer intervals. I bad the documentB for these occur- 



RACIN6 HATS. IM 

teoccB, but through caxdeasaem they bms been misl&id. This bo«t, 
t^ ' John J. Boe,' was bo slow that when she finally sunk in Madrid 
Bend, it was five years before the owners heard of it. That was 
always a confofflog fact to me, but it is according to the record, any 
way. She was dismally slow; stiU, we often had pretty exciting 
times racing with islands, and rafts, and hu<^ things. One trip, 
however, we did rattier well. We went to St. Loois in sixteen days. 
Bat even at this rattling gait I think we ohanged watches three 
timee in Fort Adams reach, which is five miles long. A ' reach ' 
is a piece of straight river, and ctf oonrae the current drives through 
such a place in a prett>y lively way. 

That trip we went to flrand Gulf, &om Kew Orleans, in foor 
days (three hundred and forty miles) ; the ' Eclipse ' and ' Shotw^ ' 
did it in one. We were nine days out, in the chute of 63 (seven 
hundred miles); the 'Eclipse' and 'Shotwall' went there in two 
days. Something over a generation ago, a boat called t^ ' J. M. 
White ' went &om New (Means to Cairo in three days, mx hours, 
and forty-four minutes. In 1863 the ' Eclipse' made the samo trip 
in three daya, three houn, and twenty minutee.' In 1870 the 
* R. B. Lee ' did it in three days and tm« hour. This last is called 
the fiwtost ti^ on record. I will try to show that it was not. For 
this reeuK>n : the distance between New Orleans and Cairo, when the 
'J. M. White' ran it, was about eleven hundred and six miles; 
consequently her average speed was a trifle over fourteen miles per 
hour. In the ' Eclipse's ' day the distance between the two porte 
had become reduced to one thousand and eighty miles ; consequently 
her average speed was a shade under fourteen and three^hthi miles 
per hour. In the ' B. E. Lee's ' time the digtanoe had diminished to 
aboat one thooBand and thirty miles ; consequently her average was 
about fourte^i and one-eighth miles per hoar. Theref(»« the 
' Eclipse's ' was conspicuously the fastest time that has ever been 

< Time di^mtsd. Some aothorities add 1 how and 16 minutes to this. 



c.y Google 



LIFE ON THE UlSalSSIPPI. 



THE BECOHD OF SOME FAMOITS TRIPS. 

iFnm CnuHdrm IMUmgrlM't Abaavtet.) 
FAST TIMB ON THB WKBTBEN WATERS. 



V OKLSUIB TO NATCHEZ— Ma UILES. 



IBIi. Oclauu nuds t 

ai. Rdtorprlw " 
.JIT. Wuhbstoa,, 
1811. Bhetbr 



iHU. BO. oaippaa ,, 



111" 


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h.nu>io 


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1870. K. B. Lm „ 



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YSOtt HBW OBLKAHB TO DQNALDBTILLS— T8 UILBS. 



BACINO DATS. 
TlMB TkBhKB—Continutd. 



FH01£ HBW OHLKASa TO ST. LOT7I8-l,J18 MILBa 




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from St. 


fimu St Look to at. Pnl (WO mtlee) In 1 dan ind M boon. Herer ma beatan. 


In ISU the ■tnmer Polar Star made themn tromfit. Louli to Bt. Joaeph, on the Hlaaoort 
BlTer.iDMbaiui. In Jolr. lUd, the ateamer Jaa. H. Lnoaa. Asdr WlneUai. Uaatar, made 
tbawwniBlntObannaiidirmlnata. The dMuKO between (he pone le «00 mllee, and 



LIFE uy THE 31I3SISSIPP1. 
TiMR TABLsa.— On)fiHH«f. 



THB RUN OF THK aOBBUT K. LEE. 








Left Hew OtleBa>, Thnnday, Joiw SOtli, 1870, at 4 o'slook utd ft miaata*, lun. ; nwbed 






gS^SlS '■'■'■'■'■ IS? 












Collage Point .... S SOt 


Orwnnll, 1 10»S 













































































CHAPTER XVII. 

OtrP-OP78 AMD STXFBEII. 

These diy details are of importance in one pexticular. The^ give 
me an opportnmty of intfodndng one of the MieaiBsippi'B oddest 
peculiarities, — that of shortening its length &om time to time. If 
jaa will throw a long, pliajit apple-paring over your shoolder, it will 
pretty &irly shape itself into an average section of the MissiBsippi 
Biver ; that is, the nine or ten hundred miles stretching &om Cairo, 
niintns, sont^ward to Xew Orleans, the same being wonderiully 
crooked, wiUi & bri^ straight bit here and there at wide interrals. 
The two-hundred-mile stretch from Cairo northward to St. Louis is 
by no means so crooked, that being a rocky countiy which the river 
cannot cut much. 

Tbe water cuts the alluvial banks of the ' lower' river into deep 
horseshoe curves ; so deep, indeed, that in some places if you were to 
get ashore at one extremity of tbe horseshoe and walk across the 
nec^, half or three quarters of a mile, you could ait down and rest a 
couple of hours while your steamer was coming around the long 
elbow, at a speed <d ten miles an hour, to take you aboard again. 
When tbe river is rising &st, some scoundrel whose plantation is 
beck in the counby, and therefore of inferior value, has only to watch 
his fiance, cut a little gutter across the narrow neck of land some 
dork night, and turn the water into it, and in a wonderfully ahart 
time a miracle has happened : to wit, the whole MiBeisaippi has taken 
pcaeession c^ that little ditch, and placed the oountryman's plantation 
on its bank (quadrupling its value), and that other party's formerly 
valuable plantation finds itself away out yonder on a big island ; the 
old watercourse around it will soon shoal up, boats cannot approach 



174 LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

within ten miles i^ it, and down goee ite value to a fourth of its former 
worth. Watches are kept on those narrow necks, at needful times, 
and if a man happens to be canght cutting a ditch across them, the 
chances are all against his ever having another opportunii^ to cut a 
diteh. 

Pray obssrve some of the 
effects of this ditching business. 
Once there was a neck oppodte 
Fort Hudson, Louisisna, which 
was only half a mile across, in \is 
narrowest place. Yoaoonldwalk 
acroBs there in fiflecai minutes - 
but if yon made the journey 
around the cape on a raft, you 
travelled thirty-five miles to ac- 
complish the same thing. In 
1732 the river darted thioogh 
that neck, desert«d its old bed, 
- and thus shortened itself thirty- 
five miles. In the same way it 
shortened itself twenty-five miles 
at Bla<^ Hawk Point in 1699. 
Below fi«d Biver Landing, Bac- 
oourd cut-off was made (fwty or 
fifty years ago, I think). This 
' shortened the river twenty-eight 
miles. In our day, if you travel 
, by river from the southern- 
most of these three cut-o& to 
the northernmost, you go only 
oAHGEBOUB DiTCHiMQ. gg^enty n^,^ To do the same 

thing a hundred and sevenly-mx 
years ago, one had to go a hundred and fifty-eight miles t— a shorten- 
ing of eighty-eight miles in that trifling distance. At some forgotten 
time in the post, out-ofl& were made above Yidalia, Louisiana; at 
island 92 ; at island 81 ; and at Hale's Point. These shortened the 
river, in the aggr^ate, seventy -seven miles. ^,i)0>jle 



CUT-OFFS ±ND STEPHEN. 178 

Sinoe my own day on the MiesiBBippi, cnt-offii have been made at 
Humcaoe Island ; at island 100 \ at N^nleon, Aikansaa ; at 
Walnnt Bend ; and at Conncil Bend. These shortened the rirer, in 
the aggre^te, sixty-seveti milee. In my own time a eut-off was made 
at American Bend, which shortened the river ten miles or more. 

Therefore, the Mississippi 
between Gairc 
Orleans was twe 
and fifteen mil< 
hundred and sevf 
ago. It was ele' 
and ^hty after i 
1722. It was o 
and forty after 
the American 
Bendcnt-ofiC It 
baa lost sLzty- 
aeven miles 
since. Ckmse- 
quently its 
length is only 
nine hundred 
and seventy- 
three milee at 
present. 

Now, if I 
wanted to be 
one <A those ' 
ponderous stdenti 

on' to prove wh .„.. .„ 

the remote past by what had occurred * bciestibt. 

in a given time in the recent past, or 

what will occur in the hr future hy what has occurred in late years, 

what an opportunity is here ! Oeolt^ never bad such a chance, 

Dor such exact data to argue from I Nor ' development of species,' 

either ! Glacial epochs are great things, but they are vague — vague. 

Please observe ;- . ,^^, ^, A,(XVjle 



176 LIFE ON TBE MISSISSIPPI. 

In the tsgoaa of one hundred and seventy-dx years the Lower 
Mississippi has shortened itself two hundred and forty-two miles. 
That is an aTsrage of a trifle orer one mile and a third per year. 
Therefore, any calm person, who is not blind or idiotic, can see that 
in the Old OSlitic Silurian Period, just a million years ago next 
November, the Lower Mississippi Kiver wss apwards of one million 
three hundred thonsand miles long, and stuck oat over the Qnlf of 
Mexico like a fishing-rod. And by the same token any person can 
see that seven htmdred and forty-two years from now the Lower 
MiaaisBifpi will be only a mile and three-quarters long, and Cairo 
and New Orleans will have joined their streets together, and be 
plodding comfortably along undw a single mayor and a mutoal 
board of aldermen. There is something fascinating about science.. 
One getfl such wholesale returns (^conjecture out of suoh a trifling 
investment of &ct. 

When the wat«r begins to flow through one oi those ditches I 
have been speaking of, it is time for the people thereabouts to move. 
The water cleaves the banks away like a knife. By the time the 
dit<ih has become twelve or fifteen feet wide, the calamity is as good 
as aocomplished, for no power on earth can stop it now. When the 
width has reached a hundred yards, the banks begin to peel off in 
slices half an acre wide. The current flowing around the bend 
travelled formerly only five miles an hour ; now it is trdmendously 
increased by tlie shortening of tihe distance. I was on board the first 
boat that tried to go through the cut-off at American Bend, but we 
did not get through. It was toward midnight, and a wild n^;ht it 
- was — thunder, lightning, and torrents of rain. It was estimated 
that the current in the cut-off was mnlriTig about fifteen or twenty 
miles an hour ; twelve or thirteen was the best our boat oonld dt^ 
even in toleiably slack water, therefore periiaps we were foolish to 
tiy the cnt-off However, Mr. Brown was ambitious, and he kept 
on trying. The eddy running up the bank, under the ' point,' was 
about as swift as the current out in tlie middle ; so we wonld go 
flying up the ^ore like a lightning express train, get on a big head 
of steam, and ' stand by for a surge ' when we struck the current tiiat 
was whirling by the point. But all oar |H«parations were tisdesB. 
The instant the current hit us it spun us around lika a top, ^e water 



CUT-OFFS AND STEPHEy. . 177 

deluged the forecastle, and the boat careened bo far over that one 
could hardly keep his feet. The next iostant we were away down 
the river, clawing with might and main to keep ont of the woods. 
We tried the experiment fonr times. I stood on the forecastle 
oompanion way to see. It was astonishing to observe how suddenly 
the boat would spin around and turn tail the moment she emei^ed 
from liie eddy and the current struck her nose. The sounding 



■•■^'^'i -'- - — concussion and the quivering would have 

^»^.^iSv "^ been about the same if she had come full 

, /-', ^ — speed against a sand- bank. Under the 

i'.-^^^;'*^. lightning flashes one could see the planta- 

<^ tion cabins and the goodly acres tumble into 

the river ; and the crash they made was not 

ii bad effort at thunder. Once, when we spun around, we only missed 

IV bouse about twenty feet, that had a light burning in the window ; 

and in tlie same instant that house went overboard. Nobody could 

»tay on our forecastle j the water swept across it in a torrent every 

time we plunged athwart the current. At the end of our fourth 

eSbrt we brought up in the woods two miles below the cnt-off; oU 



178 LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

the oonntary there was overflowed, of oonrse. A day or two later tlie 
cut-off was threeK[uarterfi of a mile wide, and boate passed up thntogb 
it without much di&nlty, and so saved ten milea. 



necoBsaiy wiaa uwi ui^ mignt 
never get oat of that place. As always happens in such caaee, that 
particular prayer ws answered, and the others neglected. So to this 
day that ^antom steamer is still butting around in that deeerted 



CUT-OFFS AXD STEPUEX. 179 

riTcr, ttying to find lier way out. More than one grave watchman 
has sworn to me that on drizzly, dismal nights, he has glanced 
fearfully dawn that forgotten river as he passed the head (f the 
island, and seen the faint glow of the spectre steamer's lights drifting 
through the distant gloom, and heard the muffled cough of her 'scape- 
pipes and the plaintive cry of her leadsmen. 

In the absence of further statistics, I b^ to close this chapter 
with one more reminiscence of ' Stephen.' 

Most of the captains and pilots held Stephen's note for borrowed 
sums, ranging from two hundred and fifty dollara upward. St«phen 
never paid one of these notes, but he was very prompt and verj- 
BS&lous about renewing them eveiy twelve months. 

Of course there came a time, at last, when St^hen oould no 
longer borrow d his ancient creditora ; bo he was obliged to lie in 
wait for new nten who did not know him. Such a victim was good- 
hearted, simpte-natured young Yates (I use a fictitious name, but the 
real name b^^, as this one does, with a Y). Young Yates g/^- 
dnated as & pilot, got a berth, and when the month was ended and 
he stepped up to the clerk's office and received his two hundred and 
fifty dollars in crisp new bills, Stephen was there I His silvery 
tongue began to wag, and in a very little while Yates's two hundred 
and fifty doUars had changed hands. The fact was soon known at 
pilot headquarters, and the amusement and satisfaction of the old 
creditora were large and generous. But innocent Yates never 
suspected that Stephen's promise to pay promptly at tiie end of the 
week was a worthless one. Yates called for his money at the 
stipulated time; Stephen sweetened him up and pat him off a 
week. He called then, according %a agreement, and came away 
sugai^^oated again, but sufiering under another postponement. So 
the thing went on. Yatee haimted Stephen week after week, to no 
purpose, and at last gave it up. And then straightway Stephen 
began to haunt YatcB ! Wherever Yates appeared, there was the 
inevitable Stephezt. And not only there, but beaming with affection 
and gushing with apologies for not being able to pay. By and by, 
whraiever poor Yatee saw him coming, he would tm'n and fiy, and 
drag his company with him, if he had company ; but it was of no 
use ; hie debtor would run him down and comer him. Panting and 



180 LIFE OX THE MISSISSIPPI. 

red'&ced, Stephen would come, with outstretched h&nda and eager 
eyes, invade the conversation, eh&ke both of YaWs arms loose in 
their Bocketa, and begin — 



', WHAT A RACE iVE HADl' 



' M7, what a race I've had I I saw you didn't see me, and so I 
clapped on all steam for fenr I'd miss you entirely. And hei-e you 



CUT-OFFS AJfD STEPHEN. 181 

&F« ! there, jnst Btand so, and let me look at you ! Jost tlie same 
old noble oouatenance.' [To Yates's friend :] ' Just look at him ! 
Lo<de at him! Ain't it just yotx! to look at , him I Ain't it nowt 
Ain't he just a piotnre ! Strme call him a picture ; / call him a 
panorama ! That's what he is — an entire panorama. And now I'm 
reminded I How I do wish I could have seen yon an hour earlier ! 
For twenty-four hours I've berai saving up that two hundred and 
&Fty dollars for yon ; been looking for you everywhere. I waited at 
the Planter's from six yesterday evening till two o'clock this morning, 
without rest or food; my wife aays, "Where have you been all 
ni^t t " I said, " This debt lies heavy on my mind." She says, " In 
all my days I never saw a man take a debt to heart the way you do." 
I said, " It^B my nature ; how can / (dtange iti " She says, " Well, 
do go to bed and get some rest" I said, " Not till that poor, noble 
yonDg man has got his money." So I set up all night, and this 
morning out I shot, and the first man I struck told me you had 
shipped on the " Grank Turk " and gone to New Orleans. Well, sir, 
I had to lean up against a building and cry. So help me goodness, I 
couldn't help it. The man that owned the place come out cleaning 
up with a rag, and said he didn't like to have people cry against his 
building, and then it seemed to m^ that the whole world had turned 
against me, and it wasn't any use to live any more ; and coming 
along an hour ago, sufi'ering no man knows what agony, I met Jim 
Wilson and paid him the two hundred and fiily dollars on account; 
and to think that here you are, now, and I haven't got a cent ! But 
as sure as I am standing here on this ground on this particular 
brick, — there, I've scratched a mark on the brick to remember it by, — 
I'll borrow that money and pay it over to you at twelve o'clock sharp, 
to-morrow ! Now, stand so ; let me look at you just once more.' 

And so on. Yates's life became a burden to him. He could zu>t 
escape his debtor and his debtor's awful enSerings on account of not 
being able to pay. He dreaded to show himself in tiie street, last he 
should find Stephen lying in wait for him at the comer. 

B(^[art's billiard saloon was a great reei^ for pilots in those days. 
Th^ met tber« about as much to exchange river news as to play. 
One morning Yates was there ; Stephen was tJiere, too, but kept oat 
of ught. But by and by, when about all the pilots had arrived who 



182 LIFE O.V TBE MISSISSIPPI. 

were in tovn, Stephen suddenly appeared in the midst, and roshed 
for Yatee as for ft long-lost brother. 

' Ok, I am so glad to see you 1 Oh my soul, the sight of you is 
such a comfort to my eyes ! Gentlemen, I owe all of yon money ; 
among you I owe probably forty thousand dollars. I want to pfty it ; 



'BKAMIKC BBMOHA: 



I intend to pay it — every last cent of it. You all know, without my 
tailing you, what sorrow it ha« cost me to remain so long under such 
deep obligations to such p&tient and geneniua friends ; but the sharpest 
pang I suffer — by for the sharpest — is from the debt I owe to this noble 
young man here ; and I have come to this place this morning especially 
to moke the announcement that I have at last fonnda method, whereby 



CUT-OJ-'FS A.YD STUPHEy. 183 

I can pay off all my debts \ And most especially I wanted him to be 
bere when I announced it. Yes, my butbful friend, — my bene&ctor, 
I've found the method 1 I've found the method to pay off oM my 
debts, and youll get your money!' Hope dawned in Yates's ^e; 
then Stefthen, beaming benignantly, and placing his hand upcm Yates's 
bead, added, ' I am going to pay them off in alphabetical order I ' 

Then he turned and disappeared. The full significance of Stephen's 
' method ' did not dawn upon the perplexed and musing crowd fer 
some two minutes ; and then Yates murmured with a si^ — 

' Well, the Y'b stand a gaudy chance. He won't get any farther 
than the C'a in thit world, and I reckon that after a good deal of 
«temit7 has wasted away in the next one, 111 still be referred to up 
there as " that poor, ragged {nlot that come here from St. Louis in 
the early days ! " ' 



c.y Google 



LTFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI 



CHAPTER XVin. 

I TAKE A FEW EXTRA LBS30N9. 

Ddbing the two or two and a half yetu-s of my apprenticeship, I served 
under many pilots, and had experience of inanj' IdndB of steamboat- 
men and many varieties of Bteamboats ; for it was not always con- 
venient for Mr. Bixby to have me with him, and in such cases he 
sent me with eomelxxiy else. I am to this day profiting eomewhat 
by that experience ; for in that brief, sharp schooling, I got personally 
and familiarly acquaint«d with about all the different types of human 
nature tiiat are to be found in fiction, biography, or history. The 
fact is daily borne in upon me, that the average shore-employment 
requires as much as forty years to equip a maa with this sort of an 
education. When I say I am siill profiting by this thing, I do not 
mean that it hva conBtituted me a judge of men — no, it has not done 
that ; for judges of men are bom, not made. My profit in varioos in 
kind and degree ; but the feature of it which I value most is the test 
which that early experience h&a given to my later reading, Whfoi I 
find a well-drawn character in fiction or biography, I generally take 
a warm personal interest in him, for the reason that I have known 
him before — met him on the river. 

The figure that comes before me ofbenest, out of the shndows of 
that vaaished time, is that of Brown, of the steamer ' Peausytvani&' — 
the man teferted to in a former chapter, whose memoiy was so good 
and tiresome. He was a middle-aged, long, slim, bony, smooth- 
shaven, horse-faoed, ignorant, stingy, malicious, snarling, fault-hunting, 
mote-magnifying tyrant. I early got the habit of coming on vratch 
with dread at my heart. No matt«r bow good a time I might have 
been having with the off-watch below, and no matter how high my 



I TAKE A FEW EXTRA LESSONS. 185 

spirite might be when I started aloft, my soul became lead in my 
body the moment I approached the pilot-hotue. 

I atilt remem.b^ the first time I ever entered the presence of tiiat 
man. The boat had backed out from St. Lonia and was ' sO&ightan- 
tng down ; ' I ascended to tlie pilot-hooBe in high feather, and very 
proud to be eemi-officially a member of the executive family of bo fast 
and Eeudous a boat. Brown waa at the 
wheeL I paused in the middle of the 
room, all fixed to make my bow, bat 
Brown did not look around. I tliought 
he took a furtive glance at me out of 
the oomer of his eye, but as not even 
this notice was repeated, I judged I had 
been mistaken. By this time he was 
picking his way among some dangerous 
' breaks ' abreast the wood-yards; there- 
fore it would not be proper to interrupt 
him; so I stepped softly to the high 
bench and took a seat. 

There was silence for ten minutes ; 
then my new boas turned and inspected 
me ddibeiutely and painstakingly from 
head to heel for about— as it seemed 
to me— a quarter of an hour. After 
which he removed his countenance and 
I saw it no more for some seconds; 
then it came around once mot«, and 
this question greeted me — 

' Are you Horace Bigsby's cub ) ' p,i^j. ^^^^^ 

' Yea, sir.' 

After this there waa a pause and another iuspection, Then — 

' What's your name ) ' 

I told him. He repeated it after me. It was probably the only- 
thing he ever forgot ; for although I was with him many months he 
never addressed himself to me in any other way than ' Here ! ' and 
then hia command followed. 

' Where was you bom t ' ^ I^tOO'^Il' 



« LIFE Oy THE MISSISSIPPI. I 

' In Florida, Miasonri.' 

A pause. Then — i 

* Dtsra (light better ataid there ! * 
By means of a. dozen or bo of pretty direct questions, he pumped 
my &mi]y his- 
tory oat of me. 
The leads 



I did so. 
He stepped 
'ARE Toir HORACE BiosBY's CUB T back, examined 

the shoe mi- 
nutely and contemptuously, scratcbing his head thoughtfully, tiltjn<; 
his high sugar-loaf hat well forward to facilitate the operataon, then 
t^aculated, ' Well, I'll be dod demed I ' and returned to his wheel. 
What occasion there was to be dod deraed about tt is a thing 



I TAKE A FEW EXTRA LESSONS. 187 

which is BtiU as macb of a mystery to me now as it was then. It 
most h&ve been all of fiflcen minutes — GiWn minutes of ^ull, home- 
sick silence — before that 
long horae^face swung 
round upon me again — 
and then, what a diange ! 
It was as red as fire, and 
every muBcle in it was 
working. Now came 
this shriek — 

' Here 1 — You going 
to set there all day t ' 

I lit in the middle 
of the floor, shot there 
by the electric sudden- 
ness of the surprise. As 
soon as I could get mj 
voice I said, apologeti- 
cally : — ' I have had no 
orders, sir.' 

' You've had no 
ordert! My, what a 
fine bird we are! We 
muirfi have order* / Our 
fiLther was a gentleman 
— owned slaves — and 
iK';'v« been to school. 
Yes, uv are a gentleman, 
too, and got to hare 
order* I Orders, is it 1 
ORDEKS is what you 
uant ! Dod dem my 
skin, rU leem you to 

swell yourself up anil ' hold up your foot.' 

tilow around here about 

jour dod-demed iMi/er* / G' way fiom the wheel !' (Ihadapproacheil 
it without knowing it.) i^ , l,,oo>'l 



188 LIFE 0!f THE 3IISSISSIPPI. 

I moved back a step or two, and stood as in a dream, all mr 

by this frantic 
assault. 

' What you 
fitauding there 
fort Take that 
ice - pitcher 
down to the 
texfts - tender — 
come, move n- 
long, and don't 
yon be all day 
about it ! ' 

The mo- 
ment I got back 
to the pilot - 
honse. Brown 
said — 
IS you doing don Ti 

the t«xa£-tender ; 
ly to the pantrj*.' 
ory ! Fill np the 

BO. He iratcbeil 

itly he shouted' - 

hovel % Demdefit 

' — ain't even gut 

lip a stove.' 

ratch thifi sort of 

nd the subeequent 

like it, during a 

8i;rei,cn oi montos. As I have said, 1 

< TAKB THAT ICE PiTCHEE.' soon got the habit of coming on duty 

with dread. The moment I was in the 

presence, even in the darkest night, I could feel thOae yellow eyes 



I TAKE A FEW EXTRA ZESSOXS. 189 

upoD me, and knew tbeir owner wtta watching for a pretext to spit 
out some venom on mo. . Preliminarily he would eay — 

' Here ! Take the wheel.' 

Two minntes later — 

' Wh^re in the nation jou going to t Pull her down 1 pull hei' 

After another moment — 



' S all day t 

Let 1 !' 

Tl 1 bench, 
scatcl her him- 
self, : all the 
time. 

George Kitcbie was tHe othei- pilot's cub. 

He was having good ' pcll her down.' times now ; for his 

boas, George Ealer, wna a.s kindheart«d as 
Brown wasn't. Bitchie had steered for Brown the season before; 

consequently he knew exactly how to entertain himself and plague 



laO LIFE ox THE MISSISSIPPI. 

me, all b; the one opei-atioo. Whenever I took the wheel for » 
moment on Ealer'e watch, Ritchie would dt back on the bench and 
play Brown, with continual ejaculations of ' Snatch her ! sn&tch her ! 
Demdeei mud-cat I ever saw ! ' ' Here 1 Where yoa going note f 
Going to run over that snag 1 ' ' Full her down ! Don't you hear 
met Pull her down ! ' ' There she goes ! Just as I expected ! 1 
told you not to cramp that reef. G' way from the wheel ! ' 

So I always had a rough time of it, no matter whose watch it 
was^ and sometimes it seemed to me that Ritehie's good-oatureil 
badgering was 



'1 KILLED BROWK EVEUV KIGUT.' 

I often want«d to kill Brown, but thii> would not answer. A. cub 
had to take eTerytliing tujs boas gave, in the way of vigorous comment 
and critioism ; and we all believed that there waa a United Stat^ 
law making it a penitentiary offence to strike or threaten a pilot who 
was on duty. However, I could imagine mj'aelf killing Brown ; 
there was no law against that ; and that was the thing I used always 
to do the moment I waa abed. Instead of going over my river in 
my mind as was my duty, I threw busineES aside for pleasure, and 
killed Brown. I killed Brown every night for months; not in old, 
stole, oommonplace ways, but in new and pictnreflque ones, — wap 



I TAKE A FEW EXTRA LEB80XS. 191 

that irere sometimes Burpruingfor freehnees of design and ghastUcess 
of aituation and enviioDment. 

Brown was alioayg watching for a pretext to find faolt ; and if he 
could find no plaoaible pretext, he would invent one. He would 
scold you for shaving a shore, aad for not shaving it ; for hnggiiig a 
bar, and for not htigging it ; for ' pulling down ' when not invited, 
iiad for Tua pulling down when not invited ; for firing tip without 
orders, and for waiting /or orders. In 
a word, it was his invar-*-'" "•'" *" — — ■ 
find fault with everything ; 
another invariable rule o 
throw all his remarks (to 
you) into the form of an 

One day we were ap- 
proaching New Madrid, 

Ifound down and heavily 

kden. Brown was at 

one side of the wheel, 

steering; I was at the 

other, standing by to 

' pull down ' or ' shove 

up.' He cast a fortive 

glance at me every now 

and then. I had long 

ago learned what Uiat 

meant; viz., he was 

tiying to invent a trap 

for me. I wondered 

what shape it was going 'hurled ue acboss thb houhe.' 

to t^e. By and hy he 

litepped back from the wheel and said in his usual snarly way — 
' Here I — See if you've got gumption enough to round her to.' 
This was simply bound to be a success ; nothing could prevent it; 

for he had never allowed me to round the boat to before ; conse- 
quently, no matter how I might do the thing, he could find free fault 

ndth it. He stood hack there with his greedy eye on toe, and the 



192 LIFE ON THE SflSSISSIPPI. 

reeolt was what might have been foreeeen : I loet my head in » 
quarter of a minnta, and didn't know what I was about; I started 
too early to bring the boat around, but detected a gteen gleam of joy 
in Brown'B eye, and corrected my mistake ; I started around once 
more while too high ap, but corrected myself again in time ; I made 
other false moves, and still managed to save myself; bat at last I 
grew so confused and anxious that I tumbled into the very woret 
blunder of all — I got too far doum hefore beginning to fetch the boat 
around. Brown's chance was come. 

His face turned red with passion; he made one hound, hurled me 
across the house with a sweep of his arm, spun the wheel down, and 
began to pour oat a stream of vituperation upon me which lasted 
till he was out of breath. In the course of this speech he called me 
all the different kinds of hard names he could think of, and once or 
twice I thought he was even going to swear — but he had never done 
that, and he didn't this time. ' Dod dern' was the nearest he 
ventured to the luxury of sweating, for he had beem brought up with 
A wholesome respect for future fire and brimstooe. 

That was an uncomfortable hour; for there was a big audience ou 
the hurricane deck. When I went to bed that night, I killed Brown 
in seventeen different ways — all of them new. 



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CHAPTER XIX. 

BBOWN AKD I XZCBAKOE COKPLIMXKTS. 

Two tripa later, I got into eerioas troaUe. Brown was Gteering ; I 
was ' polling down.' Mj younger brothor appeared on the homcaoo 
deck, and ahoated to Brown to stop at some landing or othar a mik 
or BO bdow. Brown gftve no intimation that he had heard anything. 
Bat that was his way : he never condescended to take notice of na 
under clerk. The wind waa blowing ; Brown was deaf (allJioagh he 
always pretaaded he wasn't), and I very much doabted if he had 
heard the order. If I had had two heads, I would have Rpoken ; but aa 
I had only one, it seemed judidoun to take care of it ; so I kept still. 

Presently, snre enough, we went sailing by that plantation. 
Captain Klinefelter appeared on the deck, and said — 

' Let her come around, sir, let her come aronud. Didn't 'Heaaj 
tell yon to land here t ' 

' I sent faim up to do it.' 

' He did come up ; and that's all the good it done, the dod-demed 
fool. He never said anything.' 

' Didn't you hear him 1 ' asked the captain of me. 

Of coarse I didn't want to be mixed up in this businees, but there 
was no way to avoid it ; so I said — 

' Yes, dr.' 

I knew what Brown's next remark would be, before he uttered 

' Shut your mouth I you never heard anytliing of the kind.' 
I closed my mouth according to instructions. An hour later, 
Heniy entered the pilothouse, unaware of what had been going on. 



191 LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

He vas a thoroughly inoffensive boy, and I waa sorry to see him 
come, for I knew Brown would have no pity on him. Brown began, 
straightway — 

' Here 1 why didn't yon tell roe we'd got to land at that planta- 
tion 1' 

' I did tell yon, Mr. Brown.' 

' It'a a Ue ! • 

laaid— 

' Yon lie, yonrael£ He did tell you.' 

Brown glared at me in unaffected anrprise ; and for as much as a 
moment he was entirely epeechleaa \ then he ehonted to me — 

' III attend to your case in a half a minute ! ' then to Hem;, 
' And you leave the pitot-honse ; out with you 1 ' 

It was plot law, and must be obeyed. The boy started ont, and 
even had his foot on the upper step ontaida the door, when jfoown, 
with a sudden access of fury, picked np a ten-potmd lamp <^ coal and 
sprang after him; but I was between, with a heavy etool, and I hit 
Brown a good honest blow which stretched him out. 

I had committed the crime of crimes — I had lifted my hand 
agfunst a pilot on duty I I supposed I was booked fiir the peniten- 
tiary sure, and couldn't be booked any surer if I went on and squared 
my long acoount with this person while I had tlie chance ; conse- 
quently I stuck to him and pounded him with my fists a conadoable 
time — I do not know how long, the pleasure of it probably made it 
secan longer than it really was ; — but in the end he struggled free 
and jumped up and simmg to the wheel : a very natural solicitrade, 
for, all this time, here was this steamboat tearing down the river at 
the rate of fifteen miles an hour and nobody at the helm I However, 
Eagle Bend was two miles wide at this bank-fu]] stage, and corre- 
Bpondingly long and deep ; and the boat was steering hereelf strai^t 
down the middle and taking no chances. Still, that was only luck — 
a body might have found her charging into the woods. 

P^^ving, at a glance, that the ' Pennsylvania' was in no dang^. 
Brown gathered np the big spy-glass, war^ub fashion, and ordtt«d 
me out «f the pilot-house with more titan Comanche bluster. But 
I was not a&aid of him now ; so, instead of going, I tarried, and 
critidBed his grammar ; I reformed hia ferodouB qtoechee for him, 



r BBOWH A 800D HOBBBT BLOW. 



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BROWN AND I EXCHANGE COMPLIMENTS. 187 

and put them into good English, calling his attention to the advan- 
tage of pure English over the bBBtard dialect of the Pennsylvanian 
coUieriea whence he was extracted. He could hare done his part to 
admiiation in a cross-fire of mere vituperation, of course ; but he was 
not equipped for this specdes of controversy; bo he presently laid 
aside hie glass and took the wheel, muttering and shaking hia head ; 
and I retired to the bench. The racket had brought everybody to 



■TUB RACKXT HAD BBOnOHT BVBETBODY TO THE DECK.' 

the hurricane deck, and I trembled when I saw the old cf^tsin 
looking up from the midst of the crowd. I said to myself, ' Now I 
irm done fori' — For although, as a rule, he was so &therly and 
indulgent toward the boat's iamily, and so patient of minor short- 
comings, he eould be st«m enough when the fault was worth it. 

I tried to imagine what he wotild do to a cub pilot who had been 
guilty of ench a crime as mine, committed on a boat goard-deep with 
costly freight and alive with passengers. Our wat«h was nearly 



I9B LIFE ON TBS MI38T3aiPPI. 

ended. I thought I wouM go and hide somewbere till I got a chance 
to elide ashore. So I dipped oat of the pilot-hoaae, and down the 
steps, and around to the tezas door — and waa in the act of gliding 
within, when the captain confronted me 1 I dropped my head, and he 
stood over me in silence a moment or two, then said impraasiTely — 

' Follow me.' 

I dropped into his wake ; he led the way to his parlonr in the 
forward end of the tezas. We were alone, now. He closed the after 
door ; then moved slowly to the forward one and closed that. He 
sat down; I stood before him. He looked at me some litl^e time, 
thensud — 

' So you have been fighting, Mr. Brown 1 ' 

I answered meekly — 

' Yes, sir.' 

'Do yon know tbat that is a very serioos matter 1' 

' Yea, sir.' 

' Are yon aware that this boat was ploughing down the river fully 
five minutes with no one at the wheel t ' 

' Yes, sir,' 

' Did yon strike Mm first t ' 

' Yes, air.' 

•What with)' 

' A stocd, sir.' 

'HardV 

' Middling, sir.' 

' Did it knock him down % ' 

' He — ho fell, Mr,' 

' Did you follow it up 1 Did you do anything further t ' 

' Yee, sir.' 

< What did you do r 

' Pounded him, sir.' 

' Pounded him t ' 

' Yes, sir.' 

' Did you pound him much 1 — that is, severely 1 ' 

' One might call it that, sir, maybe.' 

' I'm deucM glad of it I Hark ye, never menti<m that I said that. 
You have been guilty (^ a great crime ; and don't you ever be guHt^-^ 



SROWN AND 1 EXCHANGE COMPLIMENTS. 199 

of it again, od thia boat. But — lay for him aahora ! Give him a 
good sound thraahiDg, do yott hear 1 I'll pa; the expenses. Nov go 
— and mind you, not a word of this to anybody. Clear oat with 
you 1 — you've bem guilty of a great crime, you whelp ! ' 

I slid oat, happy with the sense of a dose ehave and a mighty 
deUTsraoce ; and I heard him laughing to himself and slapping his 
fat thighs a&ei I had closed his door. 



'BO sou HAVB BBBN FIGHTING.' 

When Brown came off watch he went straight to the captain, who 
was tit^ying with some pasuengers on the boiler deck, and demanded 
that I be put ashore in New Orleans — and added — 

* 111 never turn a wheel on this boat again while that cub stays.' 

The captain said — 

' But he needn't come round when you are on watch, Mr. Brown.' 



200 LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

' I won't even stay on the Bame boat with him. Ons of us has got 
to go ashore.' 

' Very well,' eaid the captain, ' let it be younelf ; ' and resumed 
his talk with the passengei^. 

During the brief remainder of the trip, I knew how an eniand- 



« EHANCIFATED BLAva.' 



pated slave feels ; for I was an emancipated slave myself. While we 
lay at landings, I listened to George Ealer's flute ; or to his readings 
Irom bis two bibles, that is to say, Ooldsmith and Shakspeare ; or I 
played chees with him — and would have beaten him sometomee, only 



CHAPTER XX. 

A CATASTROPHE. 

Wx lay three days in New Orleuu, but the captain did not Bucoeed 
in finfling another pilot ; ao he proposed that I should stand a day- 
li^t watch, and le&ve the night watches to George Ealer. But I 
was a&aid ; I had never stood a watch of any sort by myself and I 
bdieTed I should be sure to get into trouble in the bead of some 
chute, or ground the boat in a near cut through some bar or otlier. 
Brown remained in his place; bat he would not travel with me. 
So the ct^itain gave me an order on the captain of the ' A. T. Lacey,' 
for a passage to St. Louis, and said he would find a new pflot there 
and my steersman's berth could then be resumed. The ' Lacey ' was 
to leave a couple of days after the ' Pennsylvania.' 

The night before the ' Pennsylvania ' left, Henry and I sat 
chatting on a freight pile on the levee till midnight. The subject of 
the chat, mainly, was one which I think we had not exploited before 
— steamboat disasters. One was then on its way to us, little as we 
suspected it ; the water which was to m^e the steem which should 
cause it, was washing past some point fifteen hundred miles up the 
river while we talked;~-but it would arrive at the right time and the 
right place. We doubted if persons not clothed with aathority were 
of much use in cases of disaster and attendant panic ; still, they might 
be of AMne use ; bo we decided that if a disaster ever fell within our 
experience we would at least stick to the boat, and give such minor 
service as chance might throw in the way. Heniy remembered this, 
afterward, when the disaster came, and acted accordingly. 

The ' Laccy ' started up the river two days behind the ' !^Bnnsyl- 



202 LIFE 0!f THE XlSSItVPPI. 

Tania.' We touched at Greenville, Alissiaupp, a couple of days out, 

and BOmebodj shoated — i 

' The " Fennaylvania " is blown up at Sldp Island, and a hundred 

and fifty lives lost ! ' 

At Napoleon, Arkansas, the same evening, we got an extra, 
issued by a Mem- 
phis paper, which 
gave some particu- 
lars. It mentioned 
my brother, and 
said be was not 

Further up the 
river we got a lata- 
extra. My brother 
was again men- 
tioned ; bat this 
time aa being hurt 
beyond help. We 
' did not get fall 
details of the 
catastrophe until 
we reached Mem- 
This is the sorrowful 

t was BLz o'clock OD a 

ununer morning. The 

n^l vania ' was cie^ing 

r, ]](»th of Ship Island, 

— auuut sixty ipilee bdow 

■ HBNBT AKD I BAT CHATTiXQ.' Memphis on a half-head of 

steam, towing a wood-flat 

which was fitst being emptied. 0«orge Ealer was in the pilot-hoos^— 

alone, I ^nk ; the second engineer and a atriker had the watch in 

the engine room ; the second mate had the watch on deck ; Oeorge 

Black, Mr. Wood, and my brother, derks, were asleep, as were also 

Brown and the head engineer, the carpenter, the chief mate, and one 



A CATASTROPHE. 



striker; Captaio Elinefelter was in the barber's cbair, ftnd the barber 

wtis prepKris^ to shave him. There were a good many cabin pasaen- 

geis aboard, and three or four hundred deck paseengei-B— so it was 

said at the time— and not very many of tbem were 



UIFTTIira THE 



The m&in part of the mass, with the chimneys, dropped upon the boat 
again, a monntain of riddled and chaotic rubbish — and then, after 
a little, fire broke out. / ,, 



LIFE ON THE aUSSISSIPPI. 



•who WBB also anhurt) stood a btabtled babbbr. 



A CATASTROPHE. 806 

with one toe projecting over space, still stirring his lather nncon- 
scdoaaly, and sajing not a word. 

When G«orge i^er saw the chimnej^ plunging aloft in front of 
him, he knew what the matter was ; so he mnffled hie &ce in the 
lapels of his coat, and 
pressed both hands 
th«^ tightly to keep 
thia protection in its 
place BO that no steam 
could get to hiB noee 
or moath. He had 
ample time to attend to 
these details while he 
was going np and re- 
turning. He pteaeotly 
landed on top of tile 
nuexploded boilers, forty 
feet below the former 
pilot-house, aooompauied 
bjr his wheel and a tain 
of other stnfi^ and en- 
veloped in a cloud of 
scalding steam. All of 
the many who breathed 
tbftt steam, died; none 
escaped. But Ealer 
breathed none of it. He 
made his way to the 
free air as quickly as he 
could ; and when the 
steam cleared away he 
returned and climbed 

up on the boilers again, baler bavm his flute. 

and patiently hunted 

out each and every one of his chessmen and the several joints of 
his flute. 

By this time the fire was beginning to threaten. Shrieks and 



206 LIFE Oy TEE XISSJBSIPPl. 

groans filled the air. A great many pww>nB had been acaldod, a 
great many crippled ; the ezploeion had driven an iron ortnrbar 
through one man's body — I think they eaid he was a priest. He did 
not die at once, and his enfierings were very dreadiiiL A yoong 
French navel cadet, cX fifte«o, eon of a Ftendi admiral, was fearfolly 
scalded, but bore his t«rt<irea manfally. Both matea were badly 
scalded, but they stood to their posts, neverthelees. Th^ drew the 
wood-boat aft, and they and the ct^otain fought back the frantic hard 
of frightened immigrante till the wounded oould be brought there 
and placed in Bafety finit. 

When Mr. Wood and Henry fell in the water, they struck oat for 
shore, which was only a few hundred yards awayj but Heniy 
presently sMd he believed he was not hurt (what an anaooountable 
error t), and therefore would swim back to tiie boat and hdp save the 
wounded. So t^ey parted, and Henry returned. 

By this time the fire was ni siring fierce headway, and several 
persons who were imprisoned under the ruins were begging pitaously 
for help. AU efibrts to conquer the fire proved fruitless; so the 
buckets were presently thrown aside and the officers fell-to with axes 
and tried to cut the priscaieis out. A striker was one of the cugi&vea ; 
he said he was not injured, but could not free himself; and when he 
saw that the fire was likely to drive away the workers, he begged 
that some one would shoot him, and thus save him from the moio 
dreadful death. The fire did drive the axemen away, and they had 
to listen, helpless, to this poor fellow's supplications till the flames 
ended his miseries. 

Tba fire drove all into the wood-fiat that could be acGonunodat«d 
there ; it was cut adriA), then, and it and the burning steamer floated 
down the river toward Ship Island. They moored the flat at the 
head <tf the island, and there, unsheltered from the blazing sun, the 
half-naked occupants had to remain, witliout food or stimulants, or 
help for thedr hurts, during the rest Oi the day, A steamer came 
along, finally, and carried the unfortunates to Memphis, and there 
the most lavish assistance was at once forthcoming. By tJiis timn 
Henry was insensible. The physicians examined his injuries and 
saw that they were &tal, and naturally turned their main attention 
to patients who oould be saved. 



A CATASTROPHE. 90T 

Forty cf the woancled were placed upon pallets on t^e floor of & 
gKa.% public hall, and among theee was Henry. Tibere the ladies of 
Uemphia o&me every d&y, with floweis, fruits, and dainties and 
delicacies of all kinds, and there they remained and nursed the 



H 7HK AZKNKH A.WAT. 



woonded. All the physicians stood watches tliere^ and all the medical 
stadsnts; and the rest of tite town furnished mon^, or whatever 
else iras wanted. And Memphis knew how to do all these things 
well; for many a disaster like the 'Pennsylvania's' had happened 



208 LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

Tiiaex her doon, and ehe was experienced, above all other citiu os the 
river, in the graoiouB office of the Qood Samaritui. 

The sight I saw wlien I entered that large hall was new and 

strange to me. Two long rowa of prostrate fonoB — more than forty, 

in all — and everv tar» and 

grew- 



THK BOBFI^L WA.RD. 

some Bpectacle. I watched there bix days and nigbto, and a very 
melancholy experience it was. There was one daily incident which 
was peculiarly depressing ; this was the removal of the doomed to 
a chamber apart. It was done in order that the morale of the 
other patients might not be injuriously afiected by seeing one of 



A CATASTBOPRE. S09 

their nomber in the death-agony. The fated one was edwajs carried 
out with M iittle stir as possible, &nd the stretcher was alwaTs 
hidden &om ^ht by a wall of aaaishmta ; bat no matter : everybody 
knew what that cluster of bent forms, with ita muffled Bt«p and 
its alow movement meant ; and aU eyee watched it wistfully, and a 
shudder went abreast of it like a wave. 

I saw many poor fellows removed to the ' death-room,' and saw 
them no more afterward. But I saw our chief mate carried thither 
more tiian once. His hurts were frightful, especially his scalds. He 
was clothed in linseed oil and raw ootton to his waist, and resembled 
nothing homan. He was often out of his mind ; and then his pains 
would make him rave and shout and sometimeB shriek. Then, after 
a period of dumb exhamitioii, his disotdered imagination would 
suddenly tiansform the great apartment into a forecastle, and the 
hurrying throng of nnnes into the crew ; and he would come to a 
bittiDg pcature and shout, ' Hump youredves, Kitmp yonraelvee, you 
petrifactionB, snail-belliee, pall-bearers I going to be all day getting 
that hathl of freight outl' and supplement this ezplomon with a 
firmameut-oblit«rating irmption of pro&nity which nothing conld 
stay or stop till his crater was empty. And now and then while 
these frenzies possessed him, he would tear off ha&dfuls of the ootton 
and expose his cooked flesh to view. It was horrible. It was bad 
for the otiien, of oonrse — this noise and tiieee exhibitdous ; so tbe 
doctors tried to give him morpfaine to quiet him. But, in his mind 
or out of it, he would not take it. He said his wife had been killed 
by that faoncherons dmg, and he would die before he would take it. 
He suspected that the doctors were concealing it in his ordinaiy 
medicines and in his water— so he ceased from putting either to his 
lipe. Once, when he had been without water daring two sweltering 
days, he took the dipper in his hand, and the sight of the limpid 
fluid, and the misery, of his thirst, tempted him almost beyond his 
strength ; but he mastered himself and threw it away, and after that 
he allowed no more to be brought near him. Three times I saw him 
carried to the death-room, insensible and supposed to be dying ; but 
each time he revived, cursed his attendants, and demanded to be 
taken back. He lived to be mate of a steamboat again. 

But he was the only one who went to the deatb-room and 



210 LIFE Oy THE HISSTSSIPPT. 

returned ftlive. Dr. Peyton, a priacipal phyaicUn, and rich in all the 
attributes that go to (»natitute high and flawleeB character, did all 
that educated jadgment and trained skill covdd do for Henry ; but, 
as the newspapers had said in the beginning, his hurts were past 
help. On the evening of the sixth day bis wandering mind butded 
itself with matters &r away, and his nerveless fingers ' picked at his 
coverlet.' His hour had struck ; we bore him to the death-room, 
poor boy. 



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CHAPTER XXI. 

A BECTIOX IN HT BIOGRAPHY. 

In ilae course I got 1117 license. I was a pilot noir, full fledged. 
I dropped into casual employmoita ; no misfortunes resulting, inter' 
mittent woi^ g&ve place to steady and protracted engagements. 
Time drifted smoothly and prosperoualy on, and T supposed — and 
hoped — th&t I was going to follow the river the rest of my days, and 
<lie at the wheel when my mission was ended. But by and by the 
-n'ar come, commerce was suspended, my occupation woe gone. 

I had to aeeb another livelihood. So I became a silver miner in 
Nevada; next, a newspaper reporter; next, a gold miner, in 
California; next, a reporter in San Francisco; next, a spedo) 
correspondent in the Sandwich Islands; next, a roving correspondent 
in Europe and the East; next, an instructional torch-bearer on the 
lecture platform ; and, finally, I became a scribbler of books, and an 
immovable fixture among the other rocks of New England. 

In BO few words have I disposed of the twenty-one slow-drifting 
years that have come and gone since I last looked from the windows 
a£ a pilot-house. 

Let us resume, now. 



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LIFE OK THE MISSISSIPPI. 



CHAPTER XXn. 

[ BETURN TO MY BUTrONS. 



After twenty-one years' abaenoe, I felt a very strong dedre to see 
the river again, and the steamboats, and sadi of the boys as might 
be left ; so I reeolred to go out there. I enlisted apoetforcompaoy, 
and a stenographer to 'take him down,' and started westward about 
the middle of April. 

As I proposed to make notes, with a view to printing, I took 
some thought as to methods of procedure. I reflected tJiat if I wer« 
recognised, on the river, I should not be as &ee to go and come, talk, 
inquire, and spy around, as I should be if unknown ; I rememba«d 
that it was the custom of steamboatmen in tJie old times to load ap 
the confiding strange with the most picturesque and admirable liee, 
and put the sophisticated finend cS with dull and ineffectual fikcto : 
so I conduded, that, from a business pcdnt of view, it would be an 
advantage to diiF^uise our party wiUi fictitious names. The idea was 
certainly good, but it bred infinite bother; for although Smith, 
Jonee, and Johnson are easy namee to rememb^ when there is no 
occasion to remember them, it is next to impossible to recollect them 
when Uiey are wanted. How do criminals manage to keep a bruid- 
new alias in mind 1 This is a great mystery. I was innocent ; and 
yet was seldom able to lay my hand on my new name when it whs 
needed; and it seemed to me that if I had had a crime on my 
oonsdenoe to furtlier confuse me, I could never have kept the name 
by me at all. 

We lefb per Pennsylvania Bailroad, at 8 a.m. April 18. 

' Evgiting. Speaking' of drew. Qrace stidpictureeqiieneaBdrop gisduatlv 
ootofitaa one travels sway from New York.' t..i)0>jle 



J RETURN TO MY MUTTONS. 213 

1 find that among mj noteB. It makes no difference which 
tUrection jou take, the fact remains the same. Whether you move 
norUi, south, east, or weet, no matter : you can get up in the morning 
and gueea how far you have come, by noting what d^ree of grace 
and picturesquenesB is by that time lacking in the coettmies of the 
new passengers ; — I do not mean of the women alone, but of boUi 
sexee. It may be that carriage is at the bottom <^ this thing; and 
I think it is ; for there are plenty of ladiee and gentlemen in the 
provindal dtiea whose garments are all made by the beet tail<»« and 
dressmakeiB of New York ; yet this has no perceptible ^fect upon 
the grand foct: the educated eye never mistakes those pec^le for 
Mew-Ycn-kers. No, there is a godless grace, and soap, and style 



THE LAND OP POLL 'GOATEES.' 

about a bom and bred Kew-Yorker which mere clothing cannot 
«ffect. 

' April 10. Tbia morning, struck into the region of full goatees — some- 
times aecompuued \j a moustache, but only occuionally.' 

It was odd to come upon this thick crop of an obsolete and on- 
comely fashion; it was like running suddenly across & foigotten 
acquaintance whom you had supposed dead for a generation. The 
goatee extends over a wide extent of country ; and is accompanied 
by an iron-clad belief in Adam and the biblical history of creation, 
which has not suffered from the assaults of the scientists. 

' Aftemoan. At the railway atations the loafers carry both bands in their 
breechea pockets ; it was obaen'sble, heretofore, that one bud was sonietimeB 
out of doors, — here, never. This i« an important fact in geography.' 



MU LJFK ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

If the loafei-s detenumed the character of a countiy, it would be 
still more important, of coutw. 

'Heretofore, all along, the Btation-lonfer has been often observed \o 
Dcratch one shin with the other foot; here, these remains of activity arc 
wanting. This hat an ominous look.' 

By and by, we entered 
the tobacco-chewing rc^ou. 
Fifty years ago, the tobacco- 
chewing region covered the 
Union. It is greatly re- 
Btricted now. 

Kezt, boots b^^Q to 
appear. Not in strong force, 
however. lAtor — away 

down the MissiBsippi— -they 
became the rule. They dis- 
appeared from other sections 
of the TTnion with the mud ; 
no doubt they will disap- 
pear from the river %-ilUges, 
also, when proper pavements 

We reached St. Louia. 
at ten o'clock at night. 
At the counter of the hotel 
I tendered a burriedly- 
inv^ited fictitious name, with 
a miserable attempt at care- 
less ease. The clerk paused, 
'_ and inspected me in the com- 

STATios LOAFBRE. psRsionate way in which one 

inspects a respectable person 
who is found in doubtful circumstances ; then he said — 

' It's all right; I know what sort of a room you want. Used to 
clerk at the St. James, In New York.' 

An unpromising beginning for a fraudulent career. We started 

,.,., A.oogic 



I RETURN TO MY MUTTONS. 21 r. 

to the supper room, &nd met two other mea whom I had known 
eleewhere. How odd and unfair it is : wicked impostore go around 
lecturing' under my now, de guerre, and nobody suspects them ; bat 
when an honest man attemf^ts an imposture, he ia exposed at once. 

One thing seemed plain : we must start down the river the next 
day, if petals who coold not be deceived were going to crop up at 
this rat« : an unpalatable disappointment, for we had hoped to have 
a week in St. LouLi. 
The Southern was a 
good hotel, and we could 
have had a comfortable 
time there. It is large, 
and well conducted, and 
its decorations do not 
make one C17, as do 
those of the vast Pal- 
mer House, in Chicago. 
True, the hilliard-tablee 
were of the Old Silurian 
Period, and the cues and 
balls of the Foet-Plio- 
cene; but tiiere was 
refreshment in this, not 
discomfort; for there is 
reet and healing iu the 
contemplation of anti- 
quities. 

The most notable 
absence observable in uhder an alias. 

the billiard room, was 

the absence of the river man. If he was there he bad taken in his 
sign, he was in disguise. I saw there none of the swell airs and 
graces, and ostentatious displays of money, and pompous squanderings 
of it, which used to distinguish the steamboat crowd from the dry- 
land crewd in the bygone days, in the thronged billiard-rooms of 
St. Louis. Id those times, the principal saloons were alwajrs populous 
with river men ; given fifty players present, thirty or thirty-five 



216 LIFE Off TBE MJSSISaiPPI. 

weire likely to be from lie river. But I Bospected that the ranlw 

were thin now, and the steamboatmen ixo longer an aristocracv. 

Why, in my time they used to call the ' bartceep ' Bill, or Joe, or 

Tom, and slap him on the shoulder ; I ^tched fw that. But aooe 

of these people did 

it Manifectly » 

glory that oncn was 

had dissolved and 

vaniBhed away iu 

these twenty-one 

years. 

When I went up 
to my room, I found 
tiiere the yonog man 
called Rogers, crying. 
B(^;et8 was not hi.i 
name ; noitiier wbs 
Joues, Brown, Dex- 
ter, Fei^uson, Bos- 
com, nor Tbompeon ; 
but he anBwered to 
fflther of them that a 
body found handy in 
an emei^am^; or to 
any otiier name, in 
&ct, if he perceived 

that yon meant him. 

■ DO roo DRiBK THiB BLUSH J ' H» Baid— 

' What is a person 
to do here when be wants a drink of water ) — drink this slash t ' 
' Can't you drink it T ' 

' I could if I had some other water to waah it with.' 
Here was a thing which had not dunged ; a score of yeu« had 
not affected this water's mulatto complead<m in ibe least; a score of 
centuries would succeed no better, perhaps. It cranes out of the 
turbulent, hank-caving Missouri, and every tumblerful of it holds 
nearly an acre of land in solution. I got this fkct from the bishop 



I RETURX TO NT MUTTOA'S. 217 

of the dioceee. If 700 will let j^our glass etand balf an hour, you 
CAB separate tiie land from the water as easy &s QeaeKis ; Knd tJien 
yon will find them both good : the one good to eat, the other good 
to driolt:. The land ib very aouriahing, the water is thoroughly 
wfatdesome. Theone appeases hunger ; the other, thirst. But the 
natiree do not take Uttesa 8eparat«ly, bnt tc^ther, as nature mixed 
them. When they find an inch of mad in the bottom of a glaas, 
they stir it up, and then take the draught as they would gniel. It 
is difficult for a stranger to get used to this batter, but once need to 
it he will prefer it to water. This is really the case. It is good for 
steamboating, and good to drink ; hut it is worthless for all other 
pmpoeee, except baptizing. 

Kext morning, we drove around town in the rain. The city 
seemed but little changed. It was greatly changed, but it did not 
seem eo; becanae in St. Louis, as in London and Pittsburgh, you 
can't persuade a new thing to look new ; Qie coal smoke turns it 
into an antiquity tb^juoment yon take your hand off it. The place 
had just about doubled its size, since I was a resident of it, and was 
now become a city of 400,000 inhabitantfl; still, in the solid business 
parts, it looked abont as it had looked formerly. Yet I am sure 
there is not as much smoke in St. Louis now as there used to be. 
The smoke used to bank itself in a denw billowy black canopy over 
lite town, and hide the sky from view. This shelter is very much 
thinner now ; still, there is a suffidency of smoke there, I think. I 
heard no complaint. 

However, on the outskirts changes were apparent enough; 
notably in dweUing-hoose architecture. The fine new homes axe 
noble and beautiful and modem. They stand by thranselves, too, ' 
with green lawns around them ; whereas the dwellings of a former 
day are packed i^^ether in blocks, and are all of one pattern, 
with windows aU alike, set in an arched &ajne-work of twisted 
stone; a sort of house which was handsome enough when it was 
rarer. 

There was another change — the Forest Park. This was new to 
me. It is beautiinl and very extensive, and has the excellent merit 
of having been made mainly by nature. There are other parks, and 
£ne ones, notably Tower Grove and the Botanical Oardens; for 



al8 LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

Ht. Lonis interaBted herself in Buch improremeDts at an earlier d&y 
than did the most of our citlee. 

The firet time I ever Baw St. Louis, I could have honght it for 
six million dollars, and it was the mistake of my life that I did not 
do it. It was bitter now to look abroad over this domed and ateepled 
metropolis, this solid expanse of bricks and mortar stretching away 
on every hand into dim, measure-defying distances, and remember 
that I had allowed that opportunity to go by. Why I ^ould have 
allowed it to go by seems, of course, foolish and inexplicable to-day. 



rtt 11 first glance ; yet there were reasons at the time to justify this 

A Scotchman, Hun. Charles Augustus Murray, writing some 
forty-five or fifty years ago, said—' The streets are narrow, ill paved 
and ill lighted.' Those streets are narrow still, of course ; many of 
them are ill paved yet ; but the reproach of ill lighting cannot be 
i^peated, now. The ' Catholic New Church ' was the only notable 
building then, and Mr. Murray was confidently called upon to admire 
it, with its ' species of Gi-ecian portico, surmounted by a kind of 



I RETURN TO MY UVTTONS. 21» 

steeple, much too diminutive in ita proportions, and aurmounted by 
Bundiy omajoente ' vbich tke uoimagipative Scotchman fonnd him- 
self ' qmt« tinable to describe ; ' and therefore was grateful when a 
Oerman tourist helped him out with the exclamation — ' By — , they 
look exactly like bed-poste ! ' St. Louis is well equipped with stately 
and noble public buildings now, and the little church, which the 
people used to be so proud of, lost its importance a long time ago. 
Still, this would not surprise Mr. Murray, if he could come back \ 
for he propbeeied the coming greatness of St. Louis with stiving 
confidence. 

The further we drove in our inspection-tour, the more sensibly I 



ABLBBF, IN BOCMDLBSil VACAHCV. 

realised how the city had grown since I had seen it lost ; changes in 
detail became steadily more apparent and frequent than at first, too : 
changes uoiformly evidencing progress, energy, prosperity. 

Bnt the change of changes was on the ' levee.' This time, a 
departure from the rule. Half a dozen sound-asleep steamboats where 
I used to see a solid mile of wide-awake ones ! This was melancholy, 
this was woful. The absence of the pervading and jocund steamboat- 
man fit>m the billiard-saloon was explained. He was absent because 
he is no more. K'" occupation is gone, his power has passed away, 
he is absorbed into the common herd, he grinds at the mill, a shorn 
Samson and inconspicuous. Half a dozen liieless st«amboats, a mile 
of empty wharves, a negro fe,tigiied with whiskey stretched asleep, in 



220 LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

a vide and BounqleBs vacancy, where tlie serried hosts o 
used to contend I ' Here was desolation, indeed. 

' The old, old «ea, as ooe In t^srs, 

Corned marmariDg, with ioaaf lips, 



its share in the slaughter and 

spoliation. Remsios of former 

steamboatmen told me, witli wan satis&ction, that the bridge doesn't 

pay. Still, it can be no sufficient compensation to a corpee, to know 

' Capt. MaiTTat,' writing forty-Eve yenrf ago, Bays ; ■ St. Loaie hat 
30,000 inbabitants. Ths rirer abreatt of tha toon U eromded leUh lUambnait, 
liftHff IntKooT three tiert,' ,, .. A jOO'JIl' 



/ RETURN TO MY MUTTOKS. 321 

that the dynamite that laid him out was not of as.'good qoality as it 
h&d been Bupposed to be. 

The pavememts alon^ the river front were bad : the sidewalks 

were rathea- oat of repair; there was a lich abondanoe of mud. AJl 

this was familiar and satisfying ; but the ancient 



1 in 
eim- 



bnst- 
with 
tudes 

pui- 

ilaoes 
aring 
i^ed 



J.. J 18 a 

'■ great and proBperous 

and advancing city 
but the river-edge of it seems dead past resun^ction. 

Miasissppi 8t«amboating was bom abont 1812; at the end of 
tbirtj years, it had groim to mighty proportions ; and in less than 



323 LIFE OX TlIK MISSISSIPPI. 

thirty more, it was dead I A strangely short life for so majestic » 
creature. Of coarse it is not ftlmolutely dead, neither is a crippled 
octogenarian who could once jump twenty-two feet on level ground ; 
btrt as contrasted with what it was in ite prime vigour, Mississippi 
Kteamboating may be called dead. 

It killed the old.&shioned keel-boatmg, hy reducing the &ei^t- 
trip to Kew Orleans to less than a week. The railroads have killed 
the steamboat passenger traffic by doing in two or three days what 
the steamboats consumed a week in doing ; and the towing fleets have 
killed the through-freight traffic by dragging six or seven steamei^ 
loads of stuff down the river at a time, at an espense so trivial 
that steamboat competition was out of the question. 

Freight and passenger way-traffic remains to the steamers. This 
is in the hands — along the two thousand miles of river between St. 
Paul and New Orleans — of two or three dose corporations well forti' 
fied with capital ; and by able and thorou^ly buKness-like manage- 
ment and system, these make a sufficiency of money out of what is 
left of the once prodigious steamboating industry. I suppose that 
St. Louis and New Orleans have not suffered materially by tlie change, 
but alas for the wood-yard man I 

He used to fringe the riv^ all the way ; hie close-ranked mer- 
chandise stretched from the one city to the otJier, along t^e banks, 
and he sold uncountable cords of it every year ibr cash on tJie nail ; 
but all the scattering boats tliat are left bum coal now, and the 
seldomest spectacle on l^e Misdssippi to-day is a wood-pile. Where 
now is the once wood-yard man % 



c.y Google 



CHAPTER XXir. 

TRAVELLING INCOGNITO. 

Mr idea woe, to tarty a wHle in every town between St. Louie itnd 
New Orleans. To do this, it would be necessajy to go fiom place to 
place by the short packet lines. It was an easy plan to make, and 
would have been an easy one to follow, twenty years ago — but not 
now. There are wide intervals between boats, these days. 

I wanted to begin with the interesting old French settlements of 
St. Genevieve and Kaakaakia, sixty miles below St. Louts. There 
was only one boat advertised for that section — « Grand Tower packet. 
Still, one boat was enongh ; so we went down to look at her. She was 
a venerahle rack-heap, and a fraud to boot ; for she was pla3niig 
herself for personal property, whereas the good honest dirt was so 
thickly caked all over her that she was righteously taxable as real 
estate. There are places in New England where her hurricane deck 
wonld be worth a hundred and fifty dollars an acre. The soil on 
lier forecastle was quite good — the new crop of wheat was already 
{springing from the cracks in protected places. The oomp^onwaj 
was of a dry sandy character, and would have been well suited for 
grapes, with a southern exposuro and a httle subsoiling. The soil 
of the boiler deck was thin and rooky, but gtx>d enough for grazing 
pnrposes. A coloured boy was on watch here — nobody else visible. 
We gathered from him that this calm craft would go, as adv^tised, 
' if she got her trip ; ' if she didn't get it, she would wait for it. 

' Has she got any of her trip 1 ' 

' Bless yon, no, boss. She ain't unloadened, yit. She only oome 
in dis mawnin'.' 

He was uncertwn na to when she mlgjit get her trip,^but tl^oiight 



224 Liya ON TUB Mississippi. 

it might be to-morrow or maybe 'next day. This would not auawer 
at all ; so we had to give up the noTBlty of sailmg down the river on 
a farm. We had one more arrow in our quiver: a Vickaburg packet, 
the ' Gold Dust," was to leave at 5 p.h. We took passage in her for 
Memphis, and gave up the idea of stopping off here and there, 
as being impracticable. 
3he was neat, clean, 
and comfortable, We 
camped on the boiler 
deck, and bought eome' 
cheap literature to kill 
time with. The vender 
was a venerable Irish- 
man with a benevolent 
face and a tongue that 
worked easily in the 
socket, and from him 
we learned that he had 
lived in St. Louis 
thirty-four years and 
had never been across 
the river during that 
period. Then he 

wandered into a very 

flowing lecture, filled '^ 

with claeaic names and -i 

allusions, which was 
quite wonderful fbr 
fluency until the feet "^An. 

became rather apparent waitiko poe a trip. 

that this was not the 

first time, nor perhaps the fiftieth, that the speech had been 
delivered. He was a good deal of a character, and much bettar 
company than the sappy literature he was selling. A random re- 
mark, connecting Irishmen and beer, brought this nugjet of informa- 
tion out <rf him — 

'They don't drink it, sir. They can'( drink it, air. Give an 



T&JLVELLIIfO INCOGNITO. 225 

Imhisan lager for » month, and he's & dead maQ. An Irishman is 
lined with copper, and ^e beer corrodee it. But whiskey polisheB 
the copper and 
is the saving of 
him, sir.' 

At eight 
o'clock, promptly, 
we backed ont 
and — croosed the 
river. As we 
crept toward 4^ 
shore, in the thick 
darknees, a blind- 
ing gloiy cS. white 
electric light burst 
suddenly from our 
forcastle, and lit 
up the water and 
the warehouaes aa 
with a noon-day 
glare. Another 
big change, fbin — 
no more flickering, 
smoky, pitt^-drip- 
ping, ine&ctual 
torch -baskets, 
now : thedr day 
is past. Next, 
instead of calling 
out a Boore oi 
hands to man the 
stage, a oonple of 

men and a hatful the electric light. 

of steam lowered 

it from the dorick where it was suspended, launched tt, deposited it 
in just the right spot, and the whole thing was over and done with 
before a mate in the olden time could have got bis profanity-mill 



226 LIFE ON TEE MISSISSIPPI. 

adjusted to b^in the preparatory serviceB. "Wty this new and simple 
method of handlirg the stages was not thought of when the first 
steamboat was built, is a mystery which helps one to realise what a 
dull-witted slug the average human being is. 

We finally got away at two in the morning, and when I turned 
out at six, we were rounding to at a rocky point where there was an 
old stone warehouse — at any rate, the ruins of it; two or three 



-r^^ 



decayed dwelling-houses were near by, in the sheltor of the leafy 
hills ; but there were no evidences of human or other nnimal life to 
be seen. I wondered if I had forgotten the river; for I had no 
recollection whatever of this place ; the shape of the rirer, too, was 
iinfamiliflr ; there was nothing in sight, uiywhere, that I oould re- 
membra ever having seen before. I was surprised, disappointed, 
and annoyed. 

We pat ashore a well-dressed lady and gentleman, and two weli- 
dressed, lady-like young girls, together with sundry Busaia-leatha- 



TRAVELLIX6 I.VCOGSITO. 227 

haga. A Btrange place for such folk ! Ko carriage was n-aiting. 
The part; moved off as if they hod not expected any, and strudc 
down a winding country road afoot. 

But the mystery was explained when we got under way again ; 
for theee people were evidei^tly 
bound for a laige town which 
lay shat in behind a tow-head 
(i.e., new island) a couple 
of miles below this landing. 
I couldn't remember that 
town ; I couldn't place it, 
couldn't call ite name. So 
I lost part of my temper. 
I snspected that it might be 
St. denerieve — and so it 
proved to be. Oheerve what 
this eccentric river had been 
about: it had built up this 
huge nseleeB tow-head directly 
in front of this town, cut 
off ite river communications, 
fenced it away completely, and 
made a ' countiy ' town of it. 
It is a fine old place, too, and 
deserved a better fate. It was 
settled hy die French, and ia 

a relic (rf a time when one * clobb ibbpkctiok. 

could travel from the mouths 

of the Mianarippi to Quebec and be on French torritoty and tmder 
French role all the way. 

Presently I ascended to the hurricane deck and cast a longing 
glance toward the pilot-house. 



D.3l.za..y Google 



LIl-E 02f THE MISSISSIPPI. 



CHAPTER XXIV. 

XT INCOONITO IS EXPLODKD. 



After & close study of the face of the pilot on watch, I was mtdsfiei 
tb&t I had never seen him befbre ; so I went up there. Tbid pilo 
inspected me ; I re-inspected the pilot. Theee cnstomu^ preliminarie 
over, I sat down on the high bench, and be &oed about and went oi 
with his work. Every detail of the pOot-house was fiwn'lJar to me 
with one exception, — a large-mouthed tube under the breast-board 
I puzzled over that thing a oonddouble time ; tiien gave up and aske^ 
what it was {<a. 

' To hear the engine-bells throogb.' 

It was another good contrivance whicji ong^t to have been in 
vented half a century sooner. So I was thinking, when the pilo 
asked— 

' Do you know what fchia rope is fbr I ' 

I managed to get around this qneation, without oommittifl| 
myself. 

'Is this the fint time your were ever in a [olot-hoasat' 
I crept under that one. i 

' Where an yon from t ' i 

' Kew En^^aod.' 

' First tame you have ever been West ! ' ] 

I climbed over tbis one. I 

' If yon take an interest in such things, I can tell yoa what ■ 
these things are for.' 
I said I should like it 
This,' putting his hand on a backing-bell r(^, ' is to sound tl 
fire-alarm ; this,' putting his band on a go-ahead bell, ' is to call 1 



XI INCOQIflTO IS EXPLODED. 229 

texas-tender ; this one,' indicating the whistle-lever, ' is to call tlie 
captain ' — and so he went on, touching one object after another, and 
reeling off his tranqml spool c^ lie«. 

I had Devar felt bo like a passenger before. I thanked him, with 
emotion, for each new fact, and wrote it down in my note-book. The 



pilot warmed to his opportimity, and proceeded to load me up in th« 
good old-feshioned way. At times I was afraid he was going to 
rupture hie invention; but it always stood the strain, and he pulled 
through all right. He drifted, by easy stages, into revealments of the 
river's marvellous eccentricities of one sort and another, and backed 
them up with some pretty gigantic illustrations. For inrtanc^^ 



230 



LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 



' Do 70U Bee that little bowlder atacking out of the wat«r yondert 
well, irLeii I firet came oa the river, that was a solid ridge of rock, 
over sixty feet high and two miles long. All washed away but that' 
[This with a sigh.] 

I had a mighty impnise to destroy him, but it seemed to ma that 
killing, in amy ordinary way, would be too good for him. 

Once, when fm odd-looking creil, with a vast co&l-scuttle ■! anting 
aloft on the end of a beam, was steaming by in the distance, he indif- 



fercmtly drew attention to it, as one n 



to an. object grown weari- 
some through &mih- 
ority, and observed 
that it was an 'alli- 
gator boat.' 

' An alligator boat I 
What's it fori' 

' To dredge out alli- 
gators with.' . 

' Are ^ey so thick 
as to be troublesome 1 ' 
' Well, not now, he- 
cause the OoTemment 
keeps them down. But 
they used to be. Not 
ererywhore ; but in 
&vourite places, here 
and there, where the 
river is wide and shoal 
— like Plum Point, and Stack Island, and so on — pUoes they call 
alligator beds.' 

' Did they actually impede navigation ! ' 

' Years ago, yes, in very low water ; there was hardly a trip, lien, 
that we didn't get aground ou alligators.' 

It seemed ta me that I should certainly have to get oat my toma- 
hawk. However, I restrained myself and said — 
■ It must have been dreadful.' 

' Yes, it was one of the main difficulties about piloting. It was 
so hard to toll anything about the water ; tite damned things shift 
„..■ X.ooqW- 



-3fr INCOGNITO IS EXPLODED. 231 

aronnd so— nerer lie still five minutes at a time. Tou can tell a wind- 
reef^ straight off, bj' the look of it; yon can tell a break ; youcantella 
sand-reef— that's all easy; bntanalligatorreef doesn't show up, worth 
anything. Nine tiiuee in ten yoa can't tell where the water is; and 
when you do see wheie it is, like as not it ain't there when ymi get there, 
the devils have swapped around so, meantime. Of course there were 
some fbw [ulots that could judge of alligator water nearly as well as 
they could ot any other kind, bat they had to have natural talent for 
it ; it wasn't a thing a body oould learn, you had to be bom with it. 
Let me see : there waa Ben Thomburg, and Beck Jolly, and Squire 
Bell, and Horace Bizby, and Major Downing, and John BtevoiBon, and 
Biily Qordon, and Jim Brady, and Geoi^ Ealer, and Billy Yonngblood 



— all A 1 alligator pUots. Ther/ could t«ll alligator water as for as 
another Christian could tell whiskey. Bead it 1 — Ah, oovldn't they, 
though 1 I only wish I had as many dollars as tliey could read aUi- 
gator water a mile and a half off. Yee, and it paid them to do it, too. 
A good alligator pilot could always get fifteaa hundred dollars a 
month. Nights, other people had to lay up for alligators, but those 
fellows never laid up for alligators ; they never laid up for anything 
but fog. They oould »meU the beet alligator water — bo it was said ; 
I don't know whether It was so or not, and I think a body's got his 
hands f\ill enough if be sticks tojnatwhat he knows himself, without 
going around iMuddng up other people's say^eo's, though there's a 
plenty that ain't backward about doing it, as long as they can roust 



282 LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

out something voudecful to tell. Which is not the style of Itobert 
Stjlee, b^ as mach as tliree fothom — ^nuybeqaarter-feM.' 

[My I Was this Bob Styles t— This moustached toA stately 
figure 1— A Blim euoogh cub, in my time. How he has improved in 
comeliness in five-and-twenty years — and in the noble art of inflafjng 
his &otB.] After these mnsingB, I said aload — 

' I shoold think tiiat dredging out the alligators wouldn't hare 
done much good, because they ooold come back again right away.' 

' If you had had as much experience of alligators as I hare, you 
wouldn't talk like that. You dredge an alligator onoe and he's con- 
vimeed. It's the last you he«r of Attn. He wouldn't come back for 
pie. If there's one thing that an alligator is more down on than 
another, its being dredged. BeeideB, they were not simply shored ont 
of tlie way ; the most of the scoopM were scooped aboard ; they 
emptied them into the hold ; and when they had got a trip, they took 
them to Orleans to the OoTeniment works.' 

'What fori' 

' Why, to make soldier-shoes out of their hides. All the Oorera- 
ment shoes are made of alligator hide. It makes the best shoes in 
the world. They last five yean, and they won't absorb water. The 
alligator fishery is a Government monopoly. All the alli^ton are 
Qovemment property — just like the live-oaks. You out downa live- 
oak, and Oovernment fines you fifty dollars ; you kill an alligator, 
and up you go for misprision of treason — ^lucky duck if they don't 
hang you, too. And they will, if you're a Democrat. The bu^aid 
is the sacred Urd aS the South, and you can't touch him ; the alligat^v 
is the sacred bird of the Government, and you've got to let him alone.' 

' Do you ever get aground on the alligators now % ' 

' Ob, no I it hasn't happened for years.' 

'Well, then, why do they still keep the alligator boots in 8«-vice I' 

' Just for police duty — nothing more. Tbey merely go ap and 
down now and then. The {n«eent generation of alligatcoB know them 
as easy as a burglar knows a roundsman ; when th^ see one ooming, 
they break camp and go for the woods.' 

After rounding-oat a.nd ftniHliiiig -ii|ta.Tiilpn HaliiTig jTff ftin alligator 
hmnness, he dropped easily and comfortably into the historioal vein, 
and told of some tremendous f^ts of half-a-dosea old-tiine Btaamboats 



MY INCOONITO IS EXPLODED. 288 

of his acquaintaDce, dwelling at special lengtb upon a certain extra- 
ordinary performance of his chief &voarite among this distinguislied 
fleet — and then adding — 

' That boat was the " Cyclone," — ^laat trip she ever made — ate 
sunk, that very trip— captain was Tom Ballou, ti)e most immortal liar 
that ever Z struck. He couldn't ever 
seem to tell the trath, in any kind of 
weather. Wliy, he wonld make you 
fairly shndder. He uku the moat ecanda- 
lona liar 1 I left him, finally ; I oonldn't 
stand it. Ilie proverb says, " like master, 
like man ; " and if yon stay with tiiat 
kind of a man, yoall oome under suspi- 
cion by and by, just as sure as yon live. 
He paid fint-clau wages ; bat said I, 
What's wages wbm your reputation's 
in danger \ So I let the wages go, and 
&Ose to my reputatdon. And I've never 
r^retted it. Reputation's worth every- 
thing, ain't it 1 That's the way I look 
at it. He had more selfish oi^ans than 
any seven men in the world — all packed 
in the stem-sheets of his skull, of course, 
irhrae they belonged. They weighed 
down the back of his head so that it 
made bis nose tilt up in the air. People 
tbou^t it was vanity, but it wasn't, it 
was malice. If you only saw his foot, 
you'd take him to be nineteen feet high, 
bnt he wasn't; it was because his foot 

waa oat of drawing. He wae intended to the bacbed bird. 

be ninoteMk fbet high, no doubt, if bis foot 

iras made first, but he didn't get there; he was only five feet ten. 
That's what he was, and that's what he is. Ton take the lies out 
of faim, and hell shrink to the size of your hat ; you take the malice 
out <^ bim, and hell disappear. That " Cyclone " was a rattler to go, 
and the sweetest thing to steer that ever walked the waters. Set her 



23* LIFE OX THE MISSIS3IPPr. 

amidshipe, in a big river, and just let her go; it was all you had to 
do. She would hold herself on a star all ni^t, if you let her alone. 
You couldn't ever feel her rodder. It wasn't any more labour to 
steer her than it is to count the Bepublican vote in a Soutli Cart^ina 
election. One momiog, just at daybreak, the last trip she ever made, 
they toot her rudder aboard to mend It ; I didn't know anything 



about it ; I backed her out from the wood-yard and went a-weaving 
-down the liver all serene. When I bad gone about twsnty-three 
milee, and made four horribly crooked crossings ' 

' Without any rudder t ' 

' Ye8-~oId Capt. Tom speared on tiie roof and began to £id &alt 
with me for nmniDg such a dart night ' 

' Such a dark nw/it f — Why, you said ' 



MY INCOGNITO IS EXPLODED. 2S6 

' Never mind what I said, — 'twas as dark as Egypt noto, thongh 
pretty soon the mo(m began to rise, and ' 

' Yon mean thu awn — because you started out juet at break of 

look here ! Was this be/ore you quitted the captain on account of his 
lying, OP ■ 

< It was before — oh, a long time before. And as I was s^isg. 



' But was this the trip she sunk, or was ' 

■ Ob, no 1 — months afterward. And so the old man, he ' 

' TRbd she made two htet trips, because you eaid ' 

.He stepped back from the wheel, awabbiag away his perspiration, 
and said — 

,.,., A.oogic 



236 LIFE OH TSE MISSISSIPPI. 

' Here ! * (calling me by name), ' you take her and lie a wkile — 
yoa're handier at it thiui I am. Trying to play yoaraelf for a 
stranger and an innocent I — why, I knew yon before you bad ipoken 
sereu words; and I made np my mind to find out what was yonr little 
game. It was to draw me out. Well, I let you, didn't 1 1 Now 
take the wheel and fini&h the wattdi ; and next time play fair, and you 
won't have to work your paaaage.' 

Thus ended the ficMtioos-name busineas. And not six hours oat 
&om St. Lonis 1 but I bad gained a privilege, any way, for I had bean, 
itohing to get my hands on l^e wheel, from the b^inning. I seemed 
to have forgotten the river, but I hadn't foi^tton how to steer a 
steamboat, nor bow to enjc^ it, either. 



..y Google 



CHAPTER XXV. 

rBOK CAIRO TO HICKHAS. 



The scenery, from St. Louis to Cairo— two hundred miles — is varied 
and beautiful. The hills were clothed in the &eeh foliage of qoing 



OBAHD TOWEB. tiiTCW tlw milefi out behind 

her with ntiafhctoiy deHpateh. 

We found a railway intruding at Cheeter, Hlinois; Cheeter has 

also a penitentiary now, and is otherwise Tnarfthing on. At Qnind 



2S8 LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

Tower, too, there was a railway ; &aA another at Cape Girardefto. 
The former towu geta its name from a huge, squat pillar of rock, 
which stands ap out of the water on the Missouri side of the river 
— a piece of nature's fondful handiwork — and is one of the most 
picturesque features of the scenery of that region. For nearer or 
remoter neighbours, the Tower has the Devil's Bake Oveu — ao called, 
perhaps, because it does not powerfully resemble anybody else's bake 
oven ; and the Devil's Tea Table — this latter a great Bmooth-snrbced 
maaa of rock, with d'tnii'shiTig wine-glnse stem, perched some fifty or 
siity feet above the river, beaide e. beflowered and garlanded precdpioe, 
and sufficiently like s tea-table to answer for anybody, Devil or 
Christian. Away down the river we have the Devil's Elbow and the 
Devil's Bace-course, and lots of other property of his which I cannot 
now call to mind. 

The Town of Grand Tower was evidently a hosier place than it 
had been in old times, but it seemed to need some repaire here and 
there, and a new coat of whitewash all over. Still, it was pleasant 
to me to see the old coat once more, ' Uncle ' Mumford, our second 
officer, said the place had been suffering from high water, and conse- 
quently was not looking its best now. But he siud it was not sttange 
that it didn't waste whitewash on itself, for more lime was made 
there, and of a better quality, than anywhere in the West; and 
added — ' On a dairy ferm you never can get any milk for your coffee, 
nor any sugar for it on a sugar plantation ; and it is against sense to 
go to a lime town to hunt for whitewash.' In my own experience I 
knew the first two items to be true ; and also that pe(^le who b^ 
candy don't care for candy ; therefore there was plausibility in 
Uncle Mnmford's final observation that ' peojde who make lime mn 
more 'to religion than whitewash.' dncle Mumford said, Ibrther, 
t^t Grand Tower was a great coaling centre and a proq)eriiig 

Cape Girardeau is situated on a hillside, and makes a handsome 
appearance. There is a great Jesuit school for boys at the foot of tlie 
town by the river. Uncle Mumford said it had as higfi a r^ntation 
for thoroughness as any similar institution in Missouri. There 
was another college higher up on an aiiy summit — a bright sew 
edifice, picturesquely and peculiarly towered and pinnacled — a sort of 



FROM CAIRO TO HICKMAN. 339 

gigantic csetera, with the craets all complete. Uncle Mumford said 
that Cape Girardean was the Athens of MisBoari, and contained 
several colleges besides thoee already mentioned ; and all of them on 
a religions basis of one kind or another. He directed my attention 
to what he called the 'strong and pervasive religions look of tiie 
town,' bat I could not see that 
it looked more religious than the 
other bill towns with the same 
slope and boilt of the same kind 
of bricks. Partialities <tflen make 
people see more than really ezlEts. 

TTncle Mnmford haa been 
thir^ yean a mate on the river. 
He is a man kX. practical sense 
and a level head ; has observed ; 
has had mnch experience of one 
sort and another; has opinions; 
has, also, just a paxieptibie dash 
of poetry in his composition, an 
ea^ gift of speech, a thick grow! 
in his vace, and an oath or two 
where he can get at tJiem when 
the exigencies of his office require 
a B{aritual lift. He is a mat« of 
the blessed old-time kind ; and 
goes gravely damning around, 
when there is work to the fore, 
in a way to mellow the ex-steam- 
boatman'a heart with sweet soft 

longings for the vanished days a daisy fakk. 

that shall come no more. ' Git 

up there you ! Going to be all day ) "Why d'n't you my you 

was petrified in your hind l^s, before you shipped ! ' 

He is a steady man with his crew ; kind and just, but firm ; so 
they like him, and stay with him. He is still in the slouchy garb of 
the old generation of mates ; but next trip the Anchor Line will have 
him in uniform — a natty blue naval uniform, with brass buttons, 



240 LIFE OJf THE XXSSISSIPPI. 

eJoDg with all the offioera of the line—and then he will be a totally 
diSbrent style of aceneiy &om what he is now. 

Uniforms on the MissiBBippi I It beats all the other changes put 
together, iar surprise. Still, there is anotho- Burpriea—that it wae 
not made fifty years ago. It is so maiufeatly aensiUe, that it might 
have been thought of earlier, one would euppoee. During fifty years, 
out there, the innocent passenger in need of help and informati<ni, 
has been mistaking the mate for the cook, and the Ga{)tain for the 
barber— and being roughly entertained for it^ too. Bat bis troublee 
are ended now. And the greatly improved eiipect of Uie boat's staS 
is another advantage achieved by the dress-reform period. 

Steered down the bend below Cape Girardeau. Th^ used to call 
it ' 8t«erBmau'a Bend ; ' plain sailing and plenty of watar in it, always; 
about tJie only place in the Upper £iTar that a new cub was allowed 
to take a boat through, in low wat«r. 

Thebes, at the head of the Qrand Chain, and Commeaoe at the 
foot oi it, were towns easily rememberable, as they had not undsrgone 
conspicuous alteration. Nor the Chain, either — in the nature of 
things; for it is a diain of sunken roeks admirably ananged to 
capture and kill steamboats on bad nights. A good many steamboat 
corpses lie buried there, out of si^t ; among the rest my first fiiend 
the ' Paul Jones ; ' she knocked her bottom out, and want down 
like a pot, so the historian told me — Uncle Mumford. He said 
she had a grey mare aboard, and a preacher. To me, this suffiamtly 
acoDunt«d for the disaster; as it did, of course, to Mnm£>rd, who 
added— 

' Bnt there are many ignorant people who would scoff at such a 
matter, and call it superstition. But you will always notice that 
they are people who have never travelled with a grey mare and a 
preacher. I went down the river once in such company. We 
. grounded at Bloody Island; we grounded at H^Tiging Dog; we 
grounded just below &is same Commerce ; we jolted Beaver Dam 
Boc^ ; we hit one of the worst breaks in the ' Graveyard ' bdiind 
Goose Island ; we had a roustabout killed in a fight ; we bunit a 
boiler ; broke a shaft ; oollapsed a fine ; and went into Cairo with 
nine feet <tf water in the hold — may have been more, may have been 
less. I remember it as if it were yesterday. The men tost thar 



FROM CAIRO TO HICKUAN. 



beadd vrith tenor. They painted the mare blue, in sight of town, and 
threw the preacher overboftrd, or we should not hare arrived at all. 



■TUKBW TBX PUSACHEB OVBRBOAKD.' 

Xhe preaoher was fished oat and saved. He acknowledged, himself, 
that hehadbeentoblame. I remember it all, asif it wereTBsterdaf.' 



34S LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

Dkftt this comtHDation — of pieftchor &nd grey maie — Hhoold breed 
calamity, eeems strange, and at first glance unbelievable ; bnt the &ct 
IB fortified by BO much imataailttble proof that to doobt is to diahonom- 
reason. I myself ranember a case where a captain was warned by 
nomeroDS &iends against taking a grey mare and a preacher with 
him, but persisted in hia purpose in qnte <£ all that coold be said ; 
and the same day — it may have been the next, and some say it was, 
thongh I think it was the same day — he got dmnk and fell down 
the hatchway, and was borne to his home a corpse. This is litttally 

No vestige of Hat Island is left now ; every shred of it is washed 
away. I do not even remember what part of the river it used to be 
in, except that it was between St. Loois and Cairo somewhere. It 
was a bad region — all around tuid about Hat Island, in early days. 
A fiumer who lived on the lUinds shore there, nid that twenfy-nine 
Bteamboats had left thor bonee stnu^ al<aig within sight &om his 
house. Between St. Louis and Cairo the steamboat wrecks average 
<me to the mile ; — two hundred wrecks, alto^petber. 

I could recognise big changes from Commerce down. Beaver 
I>am Bock was out in the middle of the river now, and throwing t 
[oodigioufi ' break - ' it used to be (Jose to the shore^ and boats went 
down outeide of it. A big island that used to be away out in mid- 
river, has retired to the Missouri shore, and boats do not go near it 
any more. The island called Jacket Pattern is whittled down to a 
wedge now, and is booked for early destruction. Goose Island is all 
gone bnt a little dab the size of a steamboat. The perilous ' Oxave- 
yard,' among whose numberkm wrecks we used to piGk our way so 
slowly and gingerly, is &r away &om the channel now, and a temr 
to nobody. Oneof the islands Dcnnarly called the Two Sisters is gone 
entirely; the other, which used to lie dose to the minoJB shore, is 
now on the Minonri dde, a mile away ; it is joined solidly to the 
shore, and it takes a sharp c^e to see where the seam is — ^bot it in 
niincHS ground yet, and the pet^le who live on it hare to feny 
'Utemselvee over and work the Illinois roads and pay Illinois taxes : 
nngnlar state of things I 

Near the month of the river several islands were '^'''^T"g — washed 
away. Curo was still there — easily visible acTOas the lf>Bg> ^^ point 



FROM CAIRO TO SICEMAN. Z4S 

upon wboee fiuiher vei^ it Btaails ; bntvehftd to eteam a lougiraj 
around to get to it. Kigbt fell aa we were going out (Jt the ' Upper 
River' and meeting the floods of Uie Ohio. We daabed along witiiout 
anxiety; for the hidden 
rock which used to lie right 
in the way has moved np 
stream a long distance oat 
of the channel; or rather, 
abont one oonnty has gone 
into ibe river &om the 
Missouri point, and the 
Cairo point has ' made 
down ' and added to its 
long tongue of territory 
Gorra^ndingly. The Mis- 
sissippi is a jnst and equit- 
able river ; it never tumbles 
one man's farm overboard 
without building a new 
&rm just like it for that 
man's neighbour. Tbis 
keeps down hard feelings. 

Gknng into Cairo, we 
came near killing a steam- 
boat which paid noattention 
to our whistle and then 
tried to cross onr bows. 
By doing some strong back- 

' ing, we saved him ; which ,^ ,. ,■ - - ■ 

was a great loss, for he 

would have made good 'illisoib gbound.' 

literature. 

Cairo is a brisk town now ; and is substantially built, and has a 
city look about it which is in noticeable contrast to its former estate, 
as per Mr. Dickens's portiait of it. However, it was already build- 
ing with bricks when I had seen it last — which was when Colonel 
(now General) Grant was drilling his fint command there. Uncle 



SU LIFE OS THE MiaaiBSIPPl. 

Momford BajB tbe libiarieB &nd Sand&y^Bchoolii havo don« a good 
work in Cairo, as well utile Imcb masons. Cairo has a heavy railioad 
and river trade, and her dtnation at the jnnotion of the two great 
rivers is eo advantageous t^t she cannot wdl help prospering. 

When I turned out, in the morning, we had passed Oolnmbns, 
Kentucky, and were approaching Hickman, a pr^ly town, perched 
on a handsoioe hill. Hickman is in a rich tobacco r^on, and 
formerly enjoyed a great and lucrative trade in that staple, oollect- 
ing it there in her warehouaea from a large area of oonntry and 
shipping it by boat ; but T7ncle Mumford saya ahe built a railway 
to &dlitate this commerce a little more, and he thinks it facilitated 
it the wrong way — took the balk of the trade oat of hex hands by 
' collaring it along the line withont gathering it at her doors.' 



c.y Google 



CHAPTER XXVI. 

UKDZB riKE. 

Talk began to mn upon the war now, for we were getting down into 
the upper edge of the fin-mer battle-stretch hj tliiB time. Colambns 
was jnst behind ns, so there was a good deal said about the fiunoua 
battle of Belmont. Several of the boat's offioera had seen aotiTe 
service in the MiaBissippi war-fleet. I gathered that they found 
themselves sadly oat of their element in that Und of buaineBa at first, 
but afterward got accustomed to it, reconciled to it, and more or lees 
at borne in it. One of oar pilots had his first war experience in the 
Belmont fight, as a pilot on a boat in the Confederate service. I 
bad often had a cnriosity to know how a green hand might feel, in 
his maiden battle, perched all solitary and alone on high in a pilot 
honae, a target for Tom, Dick and Harry, and nobody at his elbow 
to shame him from showing the white feather when matters grew hot 
and perilons arovmd him ; so, to me bis story was valoable — it filled 
a gap for me which all histories had left till that time empt^, 

THE pilot's firm battle. 

He said— 

It. was the 7th of November. The fi^t began at seven in the 
morning. I was on the ' B. H. W. Hill.' Took over a load of troops 
frotn Columbas. Came back, and took over a battery of artillery. 
My partner said he was going to see the fight ; wanted me to go 
along. I said, no, I wasn't anxious, I would look at it from the 
jnlot-bouse. He said I was a coward, and left. 

That fight was an awfnl sight. General Cheatham made hb men 
strip their coats off and throw them in a pUe, and said, ' Now follow 



246 LIYB ON THE MISSISSTPPI. 

me to hell or victoiy ! ' I heard him et.j that from the pilot-hooK ; 

and then he galloped in, at the head of his troops. Old Oencnl 

Pillow, with hiB whit« hatr, mounted on a white horse, sailed in, too, 

leading his troops as lively as a boy. By and by the Federala c^tased 

the rebels back, and here they came 1 tearing along, evwybody for 

himself and Devil 

t«ke the hindmost! 

and down under the 

. bank they scrambled, 

I and took shelter. I 

Iwaa sitting with my 
legs hanging out of 
the pilot-hooae win- 
dow. All at (moe I 
noticed a ivhi^ng 
Boond passing my ear. 
Judged it was a 
ballet I didnt stop 
to think about any- 
thing, I just tilted 
over backwards and 
landed on the floor, 
and staid there. 
The balls came boom- 
ing around. Three 
oannon-balls went 
throingh the chimney ; 
one ball took off th« 
Goroer of the pilotr 
' V ^ ^ "^ house ; abdls wen 

HIS MAiDEH B4.TTLE, Screaming and bazsU 

ing aU around. 
Mighty warm times — I wished I hadnt come. I lay thoe on the 
pilot-house floor, while the shots came &ater and faster, I trept in 
behind the l»g stove, in the middle of the pilot-house, Fresemtly a 
minie-beU came through the stove, and just grazed my head, and cut 
TOj hat. I judged it was time to go away from there. The ci4itais 



UNDER FIRE. 2« 

was on the roof vith a, red-headed major from Memphis — a fine-lookiDg 

man. I heard him sa^ he wanted to leave here, bat 'that [olot 

is killed.' I crept over to the starboard side to pull the bell to 

Bet ber back ; raised up and 

took a look, and I saw about 

fifteen shot holes throngh the 

window panes; had oome so 

lively I hadn't noticed them. 

I f^axiced out on the water, and 

tlie apattsring shot were like a 

hail-shMin. I thonght best to 

get ont of that place. I went 

down the pilot-houee guy, head 

first — not feet first but head 

first — Blid down — before I stmck 

the deck, the captain said we 

must leave there. So I climbed "* 

up the gay and got on the floor 

again. Aboat that time, they 

coUar«d my partner and weie 

bringing him up to the pilot* 

house between two soldiers. 

Somebody had said I was killed. 

Ho pat his head in and saw me 

on t^e floor reaching for the 

backing bells. He said, *0h, ' 

hell, he ain't shot,' and jerked 

a.way from the men who bad him 

by the collar, and ran below. 

We were there nntil three o'clock 

in the aflsmoon, and then got " z';^ . 

away all right. V 

The next time I saw my mighty wabm times. 

partner, I said, ' Now, oome out, 

be honest, and tell me the truth. Where did yon go when you went 
to 8ee that battle 1 ' He says, ' I went down in tlie hold.' 

All through that fight I was scared nearly to death. I hardly 



848 LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

knew anything, I wm bo frightened ; bat you see, nobody knev tft&t 
bat me. Next day Qeneral Folk sent f<a- me, and praiaed me for my 
Unavoy and gallant oonduct I never said anything, I let it go at 
that. I jndged it wasn't bo, but it was not for me to conttadict a 
general officer. 

Pretty Boon aftcn- tbnt I was Bick, and oaed np, and had to go off 
to the Hot SpringG. 
' ' When there, I got a 

good many letters 
from oommanders 
saying they wanted 
me to oome baok. I 
declined, because I 
wasn't welt oioogh 
or strong enough; bat 
I kept still, and k^ 
the reputation I bid 
made. 



'WBBBB DID Ton BEE THAT PIOHT 7 ' 



A plain stoiy, 
straightforwardly 
told ; hnt Mnmford 
told me that that pilot 
had ' gilded that Bcare 
of his, in spots;' that 
his subfleqnent career 
in the war was proof 
of it. 
We struck down through the chute of Island No. 8, and I went 
below and fell into conrerBation with a paEsenger, a haudeome man, 
with easy carriage and an intelligent &ce. We were approadbing 
Island No. 1 0, a place bo celebrated during the war. This gentleman's 
home was on the main shore in its neighbouriiood, I had some talk 
with him about the war timee ; but presently the discourse fell upm 
' fends,' for in no part of the South has the vendetta flourished more 



vifDER rrse. sw 

briskly, or held ont longer letwiaen waning &Liiiilies, than in thift 
paiticnlar region. This gentlEman said — 

'There's been more than c«e feud around here, in old times, bub 



DARNELL r. WATSON. 



now what the first quarrel was about, it's bo long ago ; the Darnells 
and the^ Watsons don't know, if there's any of them living, which 
I don't think there is. Some says it was about a horse or a cow 



S60 LIFE ON THX MlfSiaBIPPI. 

— ^utjway, it waa a little nuttar; the mou^ in it wasn't of 
no consequence — none in the wwld— ibodi &milie8 waa ri<dL T^ 
thing conld have been fixed up, easy mongh ; but no, that wanldnt 
do. Bough words had been paved ; and so, nothing but blood 
could fix it up after that, llat hont or «dw, whichever it was, cost 
«ixt>7 Tears of killing and crqif^g! Every year or so somebody 
was shot, <m one mde or the other ; and as Eut as one generatjon 
was laid out, tlieir sons took up tlie feud and kept it a-going. And 
it's just as I say ; they went on shooting each other, year in and 
year out — making a kind of a religion of it, you see — till the;y'd done 
forgot, long ago, what it was all about. Wherever a Darnell caugbt 
a Wateon, or a Watson caught a Darnell, one of 'em was going to get 
hurt— only question waa, which of them, got the drop on the other. 
They'd shoot one another down, right in the presence of the fomily. 
They didn't hunt for each otiiar, but when they happmed to meet, 
they pulled and begun. Men would sboot boys, boys would shoot 
men. A man shot a boy twelve years old — happened on him in the 
woods, and didn't give him no chance. If he had 'a' given him a 
clianoe, the boy'd 'a' shot him. Both families belonged to the same 
church (everybody arouad here is religious) ; through all this fifty 
or sixty years' fuss, both tribes was there every Sunday, to wotship. 
They lived each side of the line, and the church waa at a l«.n<li'ng 
called Compromiiie. Half the church and half tJie aisle waa in 
Kentucky, the otiier half in Tennessee. Sundays you'd see the 
families drive up, all in their Sunday clothes, men, women, and 
children, and file up the aisle, and set down, quiet and orderly, one 
lot on the Tennessee side of the church and the other on the Kentucky 
side ; and the men and boys would lean their guns up agunst the 
wall, hand^, and then all hands would join in with the prayer and 
praise; though they say the man next the aisle didn't kned down, 
along with the rest cftiie&mily; kind of stood guard, I don't know; 
never was at that church in my life ; but I remember that that/s 
what used to be said. 

' Twenty or twenty-five years ago, one of the feud &milies cauf^t 
a young man of nineteen out and killed him. Don't remember 
whether it was tJte Darnells and Watsons, or one of the otiier fends ; 
hut anyway, this young man rode up — steamboat laying there at Uia 



IfNDER FIRE. SSI 

time — and the first thing he saw was % whole gang of the enemy. 
He jumped down behind a wood-pile, bnt they rode aroond and 
began on him, he firing back, and thej galloping and cavorting and 
yelling and banging away with all their might. Think he wounded 
a oonple of them ; bat they cloeed in on him and ohased him into the 
liver ; and aa he swum along down stream, they foUowed along the 
bank and kept 
on Hhootuig at 
him ; and when 
he struck shore 
he was dead. 




sons concluded they'd '«" ^^^ °« shooting. 

leave the country. 

Thc^ started to take steamboat just above No, 10; but the Watsons 
got wind of it ; and thqr arrived just as the two young Damella 
was walking up the oompanion-way with their wivee on their arms. 
The fight begun then, and they never got no farther — both of them 
killed. After titat, old Darnell got into tmuble with the man that 
run the ferry, and the ferry-man got the worst of it — and died. Bat 



as3 LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

bis friends shot old Darnell throngh &nd throogh — filled him full of 
bullets, and ended him.' 

The country gentleman who told me these things had been raared 
in ease and comfort, was a man of good parts, and was oollegs bred. 
His loose grammar was the fruit of careless haUt, not ignorance. 
This habit among educated men in the West is not niuTetml, bat it 
ifi prevalent — prevalent in the towns, certainly, if nob in the dtiefi ; 
and to a decree which one cannot help noticing, and marvelling at. 
I heard a Westerner who would be accounted a highly educated man 
in any country, say ' never mind, it don't vaake no d\fferenee, Koy- 
way.' A life-long resident who was present heard it, bat it made 



ISLAND KUMBHR TBK. 

no impression upon her. She was able to recall the &tct afterward, 
when reminded of it ; but she confessed that the words had not 
grated upon her ear at the time — a confession which su^ests that if 
educated people can hear auch blasphemous grammar, from swdi a 
sonioe, and be unconsdous <tf the deed, the crime must be tolerably 
common — so common that the genial ear has become dnUed by 
&miliarity with it, and is no longer alert, no longer sensitive to snch 



No one in the voeld speaks blemishlees grammar ; no one has 
ever written it — no one, either in the world or out of it (taking ttia 
Scriptuiea for evidence on the latter point) ; therefbre it would not 
be fur to exact grammatical perfection from the peoples of the 



UlfDBR FIRE. SBS 

Valley ; bni tli^ and all other peoples may jnsUy be reqoired to 
re&adn tnaa knowingly and purposely debaaching their grammar. 

I found l^e river greatly changed at Island No. 10. The island 
which I ronembqred was aome three miles long and a quarter of a 
mile vide, heavily timbered, and lay near the Kentucky shore — 
ifitlun two hundred yards of it, I should aay. Now, however, one 
had to bant for it with a spy-glaas. Nothing was left of it but an 
imdgnificant little tuft, and this waa no longer near the Kentucky 
shore ; it was dear over against the opposite shore, a mile away. In 
war timeB the island had been an important place, for it commanded 



the Bttnation ; and, being heavily fortified, there was no getting by 
it. It lay between the upper and lower divisions of the Union 
fbms, and kept Qiem Beparate, until a junction was finally efieot«d 
■cross the Missouri neck of land ; but the island being itself joined 
to that neck now, the wide river is without obstruction. 

In tliia region the river paases from Kentucky into Tennesaee, 
back into Missouri, then back into Kentucky, and th«)oe into 
Tennessee again. So a mile or two of Missouri sticks over into 



The town of New Madrid was looking very unwell ; but otherwise 
unchanged &om its former condition and aspect. Its blocks of 



254 LIFE OX THE MISSISSIPPI. 

frame-houaes were Etill grouped io the same old flat plain, aitd en- 
viroDed liy tbe same old foreata. It waa as tranquil aa formerly, ancl 
apparently had neithw grown nor dlminiBhed in siia. It w nid 
that the recent high water had invaded it and damaged its looks. 
This waa surpriaing newe ; for in low water the river bank is very 
high tliere (fifty feet), and in my day aa overflow bad alleys been 
oonmdered an impoesibiKty. This present flood of 1862 will doubtless 
be celebrated in the river's history for sevar^ generationa hofwe a 
deluge of like magnitude shall be seen. It put all the unprotected 
low lands under water, from Cairo to the mouth ; it broke down tite 
levees in a great many places, on both sides of the river ; and in 
eome r^ona south, when the flood was at its highest^ the Missiasippt 
was aevmly ttnle* wide 1 a number of lives were lost, and the destruc- 
tion of property was fearfiiL The crops were destroyed, houses 
washed away, and shelterless men and cattle forced to t^e reftige on 
scattering eletrataons here and there in field and forest, and wut in 
peril and BufiMng nntil the boats put in ctmunission by the national 
and local governments and by newspaper enterprise conld come and 
reeoue them. The properties of multitades cf people were nnder 
water for months, and the poorer ones must have starved by the 
hundred if succour had not been promptly afibrded.' The water 
had been falling during a consideiable tame now, yet as a mle we 
found the banks still under water. 

' For a detailed and intoreBting descriptioD of the gnat flood, written on 
board of tbe New OrleaiiB 7%ntt-J}emoerat'i relief-boat, aeo Appendix A. 



■c.;. Google 



CHAPTER XXVIL 

BOKE IXPOBTED ABTtCLES. 

"We met two eteamboate at New Madrid. Tvo steamboate in sight 
at once I aa iufreqaent spectacle now in the loneeamo Missisaippi. 
The lonelineeB of Uiis solemn, stupendons flood is impreesiTe — and 
depressing. Leagne after league, and still league after league, it 
poon its chocolate tide along, between its solid foreett walls, its 
almost untenanted shores, with seldom a sail or a moving object of 
any kind to disturb the surface and break the monotony of the blaiik, 
watery solitudej and so the day goes, the night oomes, and again 
the day — and still tlie same, night after night and day after day — 
mt^eetic, unchanging eamenees of serenity, repose, tranquillity, 
lethargy, TBcan<7 — symbol of eternity, realisation of the heaven 
[actaied by priest and prophet, and longed for by the good and 
thooghtlessl 

Immediately after the war of 1812, tourists began to oome to 
America, from En^and ; scattering ones at fint, then a sort of 
procession of them — a proceesioii which kept up ite plodding, patient 
march through the land daring many, many years. Each tourist 
took notes, and went home and published a book — a book which was 
usoally calm, truthful, reasonable, kind ; but which seemed just the 
revene to our tender-footed progenitors. A glance at these tourist- 
books shows us that in osrtain of its aspects the MissiBBippi has 
undergone no change since those stomgera Tinted it, but remains 
tO'^ay about as it was then. The emoticnis produced in those foreign 
breasts by these aspects were not all formed on one pattern, of oouree ; 
they had to be various, along at first, becauEe the earlier tourists 
were obliged to originate ihdr emotjons, wheieas in older oonntries 



366 LIFE OS TSE MISSISSIPPI. 

ODe can always borrow emotions &om one's predecessors. And, 
mind you, emotiona are among the toughest things in tiie world to 
manufacture out of whole doth ; it is easier to ttutnufimturc seven 
fibcte than one emotion. Oaptun Basil Hall, R.N., writing fifty-five 
years ago, eays — 

' Here I caught the firat glimpse of the object I had so long wished to 
behold, and felt myself amply repud at that moment for all the trooble I 
had experienced in coming so far ; and stood looking at the riTer flowing 
past till it was too dark to distingaish anything. But it wu not till I had 
Tinted the same spot a dozen times, that I came to a right eompraheneian 
of the grandeur of the scene.' 



'A DIBILLL WltSBSa.' 

Following are Mrs. Trollope's emotioos. She is writing a few 
months later in the same year, 1827, and is coming in at the month 
of the Missifitdpra — 

■ The first indication of our approach to land was the t^peaianoe of this 
mighty river pouriag forth its muddy mass of waters, and mingliug with the 
deep blue of the HezicaD Gulf. I never beheld a scene so utterly desolate 
as this entrance of the Misaiosippi. Had Dante seen it, he might have drawn 
imsges of another Bolgia from its horrors. One only object rears itself 
above the eddying waters ; this is the mast of a vessel long since wrecked in 
attempting to cross the bar, and it stilt stands, a dismal witness of the de- 
struction that has been, and a boding prophet of that which is to come.' 



BOMB ZMPORTSD ABTICLSS. i57 

Emotionfiof Hon. Gharks Aaga&tns Blomy (near 8t. Lonia), 
aeven jears later — ■ 

' It ia onlf whsn you ucend the miglity current for flftj or % hundMd 
Btilw, ind use the eye of inugiiuitioii bh well u th»t of nature, that you 
begin to underetaod all hia might and majsety. Too sea bim fbrtiluuiff a 
boundless valley, bearing along in hia course the trophies of his thousand 
vlatories over the shattered forest — here carrying away laige minnnn of eoil 
with all their growth, and there forming islands, destiiied at soma fiitiire 
period to be the raddonce of man ; and while indulging in this prospect, it is 
then time for refiectiou to suggest that the current before you has flowed 
through two or three thousand miles, and haa yet to travel one thousand 
three hundred more before teaching its ocean deetinatjon.' 

Seodve, now, the emotions of Captain Marryat, K. "S, author of 
the sea talei^ writing in 1637, three yeaia after Mr. Murray — 

' Never, perhaps, in the records of nations, was there an instance of a 
centnry of such unvarying and unmitigated crime aa ia to be collected from 
the hjatory of the turbulent and blood-stained Miseissipia. The stream 
itaelf appean as if appropriatA for the deeds which have been committed. 
It ia not like most rivers, besutifol to tlie eigh^ bestowing fertility in its 
course ; not one that the eye loves to dwell upon as it sweeps along, nor can 
you wander upon its banks, or trust yourself without danger to its stream. 
It ia a furious, rapid, desolating torrent, loaded with alluvial soil; and few 
. of those who are Mceived into ila waters ever rise again,* or can support 
themselves long upon its surface without assistance ttam some friendly log. 
It contains the coarsest and most uneatable of flab, such aa the cat-fi^ and 
such genus, and as you descend, its banks are occu^ed with the fetid 
alligator, while the panther basks at its edge in the oane-brakea, ahnoet im- 
pervious to man. Pouring its impetuous waters through wild tracks covered 
with tree* of little value except for firewood, it sweeps down whole forests 
in its course, which disappear in tumultuoua confuaion, whirled away by the 
stream now loaded with the mannm of soil which nourished their roots, often 
blocking up and chai^^ug for a time the channel of the river, which, as if in 
anger at ila being opposed, inundates and devastates the whole connby round \ 
and aa aoon as it forces its way through its former channel, plants in every 
direction the uprooted monarcha of the forest (upon whose branches the bird 
will never again perch, or the raccoon, the opossum, or the squirrel olimb) 

■ There was a foolish lupeiatitiou of some little pravalenoe in that day, 
that the Hlsdaaippi would neither buoy up a swimmer, not permit a drowned 
person^ body to riae to the aorfaoe. i , t^.oO'^IC 



see LIFE ON TES 2HSSISSIPPL 

ftB tnpa to the ftdTentnronB imrigatora of iti 'watwa bj iteam, who, borne 
down upon thexe ooncwled dAng«i« which pierce through tbe pIuikB, yerj 
often haTe not time to steer for imd gun the ahore before they aiiik to the 
bottom. Tbei« ue no [deeung tasociationa connected with tbe greet 
oonunon sewer of the Weetern Ameiica, which pours out its mud into the 
Mexican Gulf, poUutum tbe cleat blue sea lor manj miles beyond its mootfa. 
It is a river of desolation ; and inataad of reminding you, like otlieT beautiful 
rivers, of an angel which has descended for the benefit of man, yon imagine 
it a deril, whose eneigies have been only overcoine by the wonderful power 
of steam.' 

It is pretty crude literature for a, man accustomed to handling 
a pen ; still, as a panorama of the emotiona sent weltering throng 
this noted visitor's breast by the aspect and traditions of the * great 
oonunon sewer,' it has a TsJue. A value, though marred in the matter 
of statifltios by inaccnrades ; for the catfish is a plenty good enoogb 
fish for anybody, and there are no panthers that are ' impervious to 

I^ter still comes Alexander Mackay, of t^ Middle Temple, 
Barrister at I^w, with a better digestion, [and no oat£sh dinner 
aboard, and feels as follows — 

' Tbe Mississippi I It was with indescribable emotiaas that I first felt 
myself afloat upon its waters. How often in my schoolboy dreams, and in 
my waldng visions sAerwards, had my imagination pictured to itself the lordly 
stream, rolling with tumultuous current through the boundless region to 
which it has given its name, and gathering into itself, in its eouiae to tbe 
ocean, tbe tributary waters of almost every latitude in the temperate lone ! 
Here it was then in its reality, and I, at length, steaming agunst ita tide. 
I looked upon it with that reverence with wliich everyone must regud a 
great future of external nature.' 

So mach for the emotions. The jtourists, one |and all, remark 
upon the de^, brooding loneliness and desolation of the vast river. 
Cf^itain Basil Hall, who saw it at flood-etage, says — 

' Sometimes we passed along distancee of twenty or thirty miles without 
seeing a ringle habitation. Anardat, in search of hints for a painting <^ the 
dduge, would here have fbund them in abondaace.' 

The firvt shall be last, etc Just two hundred years ago, the 
old ori^nal first and gallanteet of all the foreiga tourists, pioneer, 



BOME IMPOBTEB ARTICLES. 26fl 

bead of the proosssion, ended his wsai? and tedious dificorerj-Toyage 
down the solemn stretchee of the great river — \a S^e, whose name 
will last as long as the river itaelf shall last. We qnote from Mr. 
F&rkman — 

' Ajtd now they naared their joumej'e end. On the oxth of April, the 
river divided itself into tlirae hroad chaunela. Lk Salle followed that of the 
west, and D'Autray that of the eut ; while Tonty took Ihe middle puaage. 
As he driAsd down the turbid current, between the low and marahy ahoree, 
the brackish water changed to brine, and the breeze grew fresh with thesalt 
breath of the eea. Then the broad bosom of the great Golf opened on his 
eight, tosdng its resHeaa lollows, limitleM, Toiceless, lonelj' aa when bom of 
diaoB, without a sail, withont a agn of life.' 

Then, on a spot of solid ground, La SaJle reared a colonm ' bearing 
Uie anna«f Fiance ; the Frenchmen were mnstered under arms ; and 
while the New England Indians and their squaws looked on in 
wondering ailenoe, th^ chanted the Te Deum, the Exaudiat, and the 
DonUne teUvumJae regem.' 

Then, whilst the musketry voUeyed and r^oidng shouts burst 
forth, the victorious discoverer planted tiie column, and made pro- 
damation in a loud voice, taking formal po ooooa ion of the river and 
the vast coimtrieB watered by it, in the name of the King. The 
ooIdiuq bore this inscription — 

LODIB LE GBANS, BOY DE FKANCE BT DE KATARBE, BEaNE ; LB 

tTBTTVIBlIE AVBIL, 1682. , 

New Orleans intended to fittingly celebrate, Uiis present year, 
the bkentennial anniversary of this iUastrions event ; but wh en the 
time came, all her eneigieB and sniplos money were required in 
oth^ directi<mB, for the flood was upon the land then, making havoc 
and devastation everywhOTe. 



)ji.:...i. Google 



LIFE ON THE MtSSIBSIPPI. 



CHAPTER XXVin. 

UMCLS HOMFOBD UNLOADS. 



All day we swung aJong down the river, and had the stream Klmcnt 
wholly to ouTselveB. Formerly, at snch a stage of the water, we 
should have passed acres of lumber rafts, and doffiOB of big coal 
barges ; also occasional Httle trading-acowa, peddling along &om iarm 



THE STIUJfBR ' MASK TWAIN.' 



bo farm, with the pedler's family on board ; possibly, a random acxtw, 
bearing a bumble Hamlet and Co. on an itinerant dramatic trip. But 
tlieee were all absent. Far along in the day, we saw one steamboat ; 
just one, and no more. She was lying at rest in the shade, within 
the wooded month of the Obion Birer. The spy-glaas revealed the 
fact that she was named for me— or he was named for nw. whic^uver 



UNCLE MUMFORD UNLOADS. 361 

yon prefer. As this was tiie first time I had ever enoonntered this 
specieB of honour, it seAtiis Qzcasable to meotion it, and at t}ie same 
time call the attention of the autlioritiee to Uie tardineea of niy recog- 
nition of it. 

Noted a big ohuige in the river, at Island 21. It was a rery 
large island, and used to lie oat toward mid-HStream ; but it is joined 
task, to the main shore now, and has retired &om business as an 
island. 

As we approftched femons and formidable Flnm Point, darkness 
fell, but that was nothing to shndder 
about — in these modem times. For ' 
now the national government has 
tamed the MiariBsIppi into a sort <rf 
two-thonsand-mile torchlight proces- 
sion. In the head of every crossing, 
and in the foot of every crossing, the 
govenunent has set up a clear-burning 
lamp. You are never entirely in the 
dark, now; there is always a beacon 
in sight, either before you, or behind 
you, or abreast. One might almost 
say that lamps have been squandered 
there. Dozens of crossings are lighted 
which were not shoal when they were 
created, and have never been shoal 

since ; croBsings so plain, too, and also ■*■ "ovKajiMKST lajif. 

BO straight, that a steamboat can take 

herself through them without any help, after she has been through 
once. lAmps in such places are of course not wasted ; it is much 
more convenient and comfortable for a pilot to hold on them than on 
a spread of fbrmlees blackness that won't stay still ; and money is 
saved to the boat, at the same time, for she can of course make more 
miles with her rudder amidships than she can wiUi it squared across 
her st^:n and holding her back. 

But this thing has knocked the roiaanoe out of piloting, to a large 
extents It, and some other things together, have knocked all the 
romance out of it. For instance, the peril from snags is not now 



36S LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

what it onoe was. The government's enag-boatB go patrolling up and 
down, in theee tQatteaM>f-&ct days, piling the river's teeth ; titej 
have rooted ont all the old clnaters which made many localitiee eo 
formidable ; and they allow no new ones to collect Formerly, if your 
boat got away from you, on a black night, and broke f<>r the woods, 
it was an atmoae time with yon ; so was it also, when yoa were groping 
your way through solidified darkoeas in a narrow chute ; bat all that 
ifi changed now — you dash out your electric light, tiansfomi night 
into day in the twinkling of an eye, and your perils and anxieties are 
at an end, Horaoe Bixby and Oeorge Ritchie have charted the cross- 
ings and laid out the courses by compass ; they hare inTsntod a lan^ 
to go with the chart, and have patraited the whole. With tbeee helps, 



one may run in the fog now, with oonsiderable security, and with a 
confidence nnknown in the old days. 

With these abundant beacons, the banishment of snaga, plenty of 
daylight in a box and ready to be turned on whenever needed, and ■ 
chart and compass to fight the fog with, piloting, at a good stage of 
water, is now nearly as safe and simple as driving stage, and is hardly 
more than three times as romantia 

And now in these new days, these days of infinite change, the 
Anchor Line hare raised the captain above tlie pilot by giving him 
the bigger wages of the two. Hus was going tar, but they have not 
stopped there. Th^ have decreed that the pilot shall rwnain at hifi 
post, and stand bis watch clear through, whetlier the boat be under 



JIUCLE MUMFOBD UNLOADS, 263 

'way or tied op to the shore. We, th&t were onoe tlie ttristocrats of 
the nvfx, can't go to bed now, as we used to do, and sleep while a 
hundred tons of freight are Ingged aboard ; no, we most sit in the 
pilot-honae ; and keep awoke, too. Verilj we are bang treated like 
a parcel of mates and engineers. The Government has taken away 
the romance of oar "^lUng ; the Company has taken away its state 
and dignity. 

Plnm Pdnt looked as it had always looked by night, with the ex- 
ception that now there were beacons to mark the crosaings, and alao 
a lot of other lights on the Point and along its shore ; these latter 
glinting fixmi the fleet tX the United States River CommiBsion, and 
from a Tillage which the officials have built on the land for offices and 



for the employis of the service. The military engineers of the Gom- 
mission have taken open their shoulders the job of making the Mis- 
aissippi over again — a job transcended in size by only the original . 
job of creating it. They are building wing-dams here and there, to 
deflect the cnrrent ; and dikes to confine it in narrower bounds ; and 
other dikes to m^e it stay there ; and for unnumbered milee along 
the Mississippi, they are felling the timber-front for fifty yards back, 
with the purpose of shaving the bank down to low-water mark with 
the slant of a house roof, and ballasting it witli stones; and in many 
platjes tbey have protected the wasting shores with rows of piles. 
One who knows the MissisBippi will promptly aver — not aloud, but to 
himself — that ten thousand Biver Commissions, with the mines of the 



Ki LIFB Off TSE MrSSZSSTPPI. 

wodd at their Ixtck, ctuinot t«me tb&t lawlefB stxeam, cannot curb it 
or confine it, cannot sa^ to it. Go hwe,x3T Qo there, and make it obey ; 
cannot nre a ahora which it baa sentenced ; cannot bar its path with an 
obstmction which it will not tear down, dance oTer,and laagh at. But 
a discreet man will not put these tbinge into spoken w<Hnile; few the 
West Point engineere have not their enperiors anywhere ; they know 
all that can be known of their abatruse science ; and ao, ranee they 
conceive that they can fetter and handcuff that river and boas him, 
it is but wisdom for the onsdentific man to ke^ still, lie low, and 
wait till &ey do it. Captain Eads, with his jetties, has done a wwk 
at the montii of the Mississippi which seemed clearly impoaaible ; so 
we do not feel f\iU confidence now to proj^iecrr against like impos- 
dbilitiea. Otherwise one would pipe out and say the Commisaon 
mi^t as well boUy the comets in their courses and undertake to 
make them behave, as try to bully the Mississippt into ri^t and 
reascmaUe oonduot. 

I C(msu1ted TTncIe Mumford concerning this and cognate matteis; 
and I give here the result, atenographically reported, and thenfore (o 
be relied on as being full and oorrect; except that I have hero and 
therel^outremarkswhichwereaddreased totiiemen, Bochas 'w&en 
in blazes are yon going with that barrel now 1 ' and which seemed to 
me to Ixeak the flow of the written statement, without oompenaating 
1:^ adding to its information or ita clearness. Not that I have 
ventured to strike out all sudk intorjecta<ms ; I have removed onl; 
thoae which were obviously irrelevant ■ wherever one oocorred 
which I felt any question about, I have judged it safest to let it 
remain, 

tJNCLB HUM ford's IHFIIESSIOHS. 

- Uncle Mumford said — 
' As long as I have been mate of a steamboat — thirty years — I 
have wat^died this river and studied it. Maybe I oould have learnt 
more about it at West Pointy but if I believe it I wish I may be 
WHAT are you gaekmg j/our fingers there for f — CoBar that kag oj 
naiis I Four years at West Point, and plenty of books and sdiooling, 
will learn a man a good deal, I reckon, but it won't learn him the 
river. 




UHCI.B MDMFOBD. 



c.y Google 



UNCLE MUMFORD UNLOADS. 261 

Comnussioii, with its hard bottom and dear water, and it would just 
be a holiday job for them to wall it, and pile it, and dike it, aitd 
tame it down, and boss it areimd, and make it go wherever they 
wanted it to, and Btay where they pat it, and do jnst as they said, 
evfsTj time. But this ain't that kind of a river. They have started 
in here with big confidence, and the beet intentions in the world ; 
but they are going to get left. What does Ecdeeiastes vii. 13 say t 
Says enough to knock M«m- little game galley-west, don't it 1 Now 
yon look at their methods once. There at Devil's Island, in the 
Upper Biver, they wanted the water to go one way, the water wanted 
to go another. So they put up a stone wall. But what does the 
river care for a stone wall % When it got ready, it just bulged 
through it. Maybe they can bnild another that will stay ; that is, 
up there — but not down here they can't. Down here in the Lower 
Biver, they drive some p^ to turn the water away from the shore 
and atop it from slicing oft the bank ; very well, don't it go straight 
over and cut somebody else's bank 1 Certainly. Are they going to 
peg aU the banks % Why, they oould buy ground and build a new 
MissiaBippi cheaper. They are paging Bulletin Tow-head now. It 
won't do any good. If the river has got a mortgage on that island, 
it will foreclose, sure, p^B or no p^s. Away down yonder, they 
have driven two rows of pilea straight through the middle of a dry 
bar half a mile long, which is forty foot out of the water when the 
river is low. What do yon reckon l^at is for t If I know, I wish 
I may land in-HUMP yaunelf, ywk «on of an undertaker! — ovt with 
that eoal-oii, tune, Uwh/, livxly I And just look at what tbey are 
trying to do down there at Milliken's Bend. There's been a cut-off 
in that section, and Vicksbuig is left out in the cold. It's a country 
town now. Hie river strikes in below it ; and a boat can't go ufi to 
the town except in high water. Well, they are going to build wing- 
dams in the bend opposite the foot of 103, and throw the water over 
and cut off the foot of the island and plough down into an old ditoh 
where the river need to be in ancient times ; and th^ think th^ can 
persuade the water around that way, and get it to strike in above 
Yicksburg, as it nsed to do, and fetch tlie town back into the world 
again. That is, they are going to take this whole Missiesipp, and 
twist it around and make it ran several miles up alream. Well you've 



868 LIFE ON TBE MISSISSIPPI, 

got to ftdmire men that deal in ideas of th&t size and can tote ^<ssa 
around without crutohes ; but yoa haven't got to believe tliey can do 
Buoh miraclee, have yon ! And jet yon ain't absolutely obliged to 
belieTe they can't. I reokon the safe tray, where a man can afford it, 
is to copper the operation, and at the aame time buy enough pro- 
perty in Vicksburg to equara you up in oaae they win. Government 
is dcHug a deal for tiie MiamsEippi, now — spending loads of money 
on her. Wben tbero' used to be four thousand Hteunboati and ten 
thousand acrea of coal-barges, and lafte and trading aoows, tliere 
wasn't a lantern from St. Paul to New Orleans, and the anags were 
thicker than bristles on a hog's back ; and now when thwe's three 
dozen steamboats and naiy barge or raft, Qororament has anatdied 
out all the snags, and lit up the shores like Broadway, and a boat's as 
safe on the river as she'd be in heaven. And I reokon that by the 
time there ain't any boate left at all, the Commisntm will have 
the old tiling aU re<»'ganiaed, and dredged out, and fenoed in, and 
tidied up, to a degree that will make navigation just amply per- ' 
feet, and absolutely safe and profitable; and all tiie days will be I 
Sundays, and all the mates will be Sunday-school su-WHAT- 
iry-the-wUioTiryvarfooU/ng-arownd-ihere-for, you »on» of vnrighteout- 
nett, heirt of perdition I Going to he a tkab getting that hogihead 
ashore I' 

During our trip te New Orleans and back, we had many con- 
versations with river men, plantois, joumaliste, and offioeis ctf the 
River Commission — with conflicting and confusing results. To 
wit:— 

1. Some believed in the Commission's scheme to arUtntrily and 
permanently confioe (and thns deepen) the channel, ptceerve tlureat- 
ened shores, et«. 

2. Some believed that the Commission's money ought to be spent 
only on building and repairing the great system of levees. 

3. Some believed that the higher yon build your levee, tlie hi^er 
the river's bottom will rise ; and that consequently the levee aystem 
is a mistake. 

4. Some believed in the acheme to relieve the river, in flood-time, 
by turning its surplus waters off into I^ke Borgne^ c^^,, |^. i 



VNCLE MUMFORD UNLOADS. S63 

5. Some belieTed in the Bcheme of nortliem lake-reeervoira to 
repleiuBh the MissiBBippi in low-water aeasonjB. 

WLerever you find a nun down there who believe* in one of thwe 



theories you m».y torn to the next man and frame yonr talk upon the 
bypotiweiB that be does not believe in that tbeoiy; and ftfter you 
have had experience, you do not take this ooutsb donbtfolly, or hesi- 
tatingly, but with the confidence cf a dying murderer — converted on«. 



2T0 LIFE ON THE MimiSSIPFIx 

I meoD. For you will have oome to kao v, vitli a deqt and restful cer- 
teinty, tiiat jrou are not going to meet two people sick of Uie samo 
theory, one right after the other. No, there will always be one or 
two witb the other dieeaaea along between. And aa you proceed, jou 
will find out one or two other thiciga. Tou will find oat that there is 
DO distemper of the lot but is contagiouB ; and yon cannot go where 
it is without catdiing it. You may vaccinate yourself with deterreot 
fiicte as much as you please — it will do no good ; it will seem to 
' take,' but it doesn't ; the moment you rub against any one of those 
theorists, make up your mind that it is time to hang out your yellow 
flag. 

Yes, you are his sure victim : yet his work is not all to your hurt 
—only part of it ; for he is like your &mily physician, who oomes 
Mid cures the mumpe, and leaves tbe scarlet-f^er behind. If your 
man is a lAke-Borgne-relief tiieorist, for instance, he will exhale 
a cloud of deadly facts and statistics which will lay yon oat with 
Uiat disease, sure; but at the same time he will cure yoa of any 
other of the five theories that may have previously got into your 
system. 

I have had all the five ; and had them ' bad ; ' but ask me not, 
in m.ouraful numbers, which one racked me hardest, or which one 
numbered the biggest sick list, for I do not know. In tml^ no 
one can answer the latter question. Misussippi Improvement is a 
mighty topic, down yonder. Every man on the river banks, south 
of Cairo, talks about it every day, during such moments as he is 
able to spare irasa talking about the war j and each of the several 
chief theories has its host of zealous partisans; but, as I have 
said, it is not possible to determine which cause numbers tbe most 
recruits. 

All were agreed upon one point, however ; if Congress would 
make a sufficient appropriation, a colossal benefit would result. Very 
wdl ; since then the fq)propriation has been made — possibly a snffi' 
dent one, certainly not too lai^ a one. Let us hope that the pro- 
phecy will be amply fulfilled. 

One thing will be eauly granted by the reader; iJut an ofonion 
from Mr. Edward Atkinson, upon any vast national commercial 
matter, comes as near ranking as authority, as can tlie iwimon of any 



UNCLE UUUFORD UNLOADS. !7t 

individaal in Vbe TJaaa. Wliat he has to say kbout MiesuBippi Baver 
ImprOTemeixt will he fbucd in the Appendix.' 

BcanetimCH, half a dozen fignree will reveal, as with a U^tniug^ 
flash, the importance of a subject which ten Uionsand lahoured words, 
with Uie same porpoee in view, had IcAatlastbntdim and uncertain. 
Here u a case of the sort — paragi-aph &om the ' Cincinnati Gommer- 

' The towlMst " Jos. B.,Williun8 " is on her waj to New Otleans with a 
tow of thirty-two hargea, contaioiiig six hundred thousand buahels (Beventy- 
tax. pounds to the bushel) of coal excluuve of her own fuel, being the lai^iest 
tow erei taken to New Orleans or anywhere else in the world. Her freight 




ImII, at 3 cents a bushel, amounts to ^18,000, It would take eighteen 
hundred cari, of three hundred and thirty-three bushels to the car, to traos- 
port this amount of coal. At ^10 per ton, or JtlOO per car, which would be 
a foir price for the distance by rail, the &^ht bill would amount to /1 80,000, 
or /ies,000 more by rwl than by river. The tow wiU be taken from Pitts- 
bttifT to New Orleans in fourteen or fifteen days, It would talce one hundred 
truns of eighteen can to the train to transport this one tow of six hundred 
thousand bushels of coal, and eren if it made the usual speed of fast height 
lines, it would take one whole summer to put it though by raiL* 

When a rirer iit good condition can enable one to save ^162,000 
and a whole Bummer's time^ on a single cargo, the wisdom of taking 
measnrea to keep the river in good condition is made plain to even the 
uncommercial mind. 

■ See A^endlxB. 



uwE ON THE aiiaaiasippi. 



CHAPTER XXIX, 

A PEW SPECimN BRICKfl. 



We p«med through the Plum Point r^on, tamed Cna^umSu Point, 
and glided unchallenged by what wu once the formidable Fort 
Pillow, memorable because of the moasua^e perpetrated there during 
the war. MasaacreB are iprinkled with some frequency throngli the 
histariee of several Chiutian nations, bat this is almost tim only ome 
that can be found in American history ; perhaps it is the only one 
which riaeo to a size correspondent to that huge and aomlHe title. 
We have the ' Boston Massacre,' where two or three pet^le were 
killed ; but we must bunch Anglo-Saxon history together to find tlie 
fellow to the Fort Pillow tragedy ; and doubtless even then we mnsi 
travel back to the days and the performances of Cceur de lion, tliat 
fine ' hero,' before we accomplish it. 

More of the river's freaks. In timea past, the channel used to 
■trike above Island 37, by Brandywine Bar, and down towards 
Island 39. Afterward, changed its conrse and went from Brandy- 
wine down through Togdman's chute in the Devil's Elbow, to Islaiul 
39 — part of this course reversing the old wder ; tiie river numing 
up fonr or five miles, instead of down, and cutting o^ thronghont, 
flome fifteen miles of distance. This in 1876. All that region is 
now called Centennial Island. 

Tixfsn is a tradition that Island 37 was one of the prioo^Md 
abiding ^aoes of the onoe celebrated ' Murel's Gang,' llus waa a 
ooloBsal oomlnnatian of robbers, horse-thieves, nfigro-stealcc^ and 
eoonterfeiters, engaged in businees along the river some fifty or oxty 
years aga While our joomey across the oounby towards 8t. Louis 
was in progren we had bad no end of Jeasa Jamea and his staning 
,„■.. A.OO;jle 



^1 FEW SPECIMEN BRTCK3. 273 

history; forhehadjiiat been oBsassioated by kd agent of the Governor 
of MiBSouri, tmd was in ooneequence occnpjing a good deal of space 
in the newapapers. Cheap histories of him were for sale by train 
tx>yB. According to thaw, he was tbe most marvellous creature of his 
kind that had ever existed. It was a mistake. Murel was his equal 
io boldness; in pluck; in rapacity; in cruelty, brutality, heartlees- 
nees, treachery, and in general and comprehensive vilenees and shame- 
lessnees; and very mudi bis supmor in some larger aspects. James 
was a retail rascal ; 
Murel, wholesale. 
James's modest genius 
dreamed of no loftier 
flight than the plan- 
ning of raids upon cars, 
coaches, and country 
banks; Murel projected 
n^ro insorrections and 
the capture of New 
Orleans ; and further- 
more, on occasion, this ~~ 
Mural could go into a 
pulpit and edify the con- 
gregation. What are 
James and his half-dozen 
vulgar mscals compared 
with this stately old- 
time criminal, with his 

eermons, hia meditated ^ soul-moving villaik. 

iufrtirrections and city- 

oiptures, and his majestic following of tec hundred men, sworn to 
do his evil will ! 

Here is a paragraph or two concerning this big operator, from a 
iio^v forgotten book which was published half a centuiy ago — 



He appears to have been a most deiteroos as well bs conBummate villain, 
When be travelled, his usual disguise was tliat of an itinerant preacher ; and 
it 10 said that bia diHUiurses were veiy ' soul-moving ' — iDt«reetiiig thebearen 
AO much that they forgot to look after their horses, which wen carried away 



"'^ 



27* LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

by Ills confaderatea while ha waa preftehing. But the steftling of honee \a 
one State, atxl telliiig them in another, ivu but a amall portion of tlieir 
business ; the most lucratiTe was the enticing slaves to run awa; from their 
■nnsten, that thej might sell them in another quiuter. This waa arranged 



BBLLIKO THE KEORU. 



as folIo-vTB ; they would tell a negro that if he would run awaj from hi:> 
muBter, and allow them to sell him, he should rec^Te a portion of the mone}- 
pnid for him, and that upon bis return to them a second time tbey would 
send him to a free State, where he would be safe. The poor wretchee com- 
plied with this requeet, hoping to obtun money and fteedom; they would bv 



A FEW SPECIMEX BRICKS. aij 

sold to another mMt«r, and nm swaj agttin, to their emplojeif ; sometimra 
thej would be sold in this muiDer three or four timei, nati] thej had realised 
three or four thoiusnd doUan hj them ; but t», after this, there was fear of 
detection, the uBual custom was to ^t rid of the only vitneaa that could be 
produced against them, which was the negro himself, by murdering him, 
and throwing his body into the Mississippi. Even if it waa establiabed that 
they had atolen a negro, before be was murdered, they were always prepanid 
to evade punishmeat ; for they concealed the negro who bad niD away, until 
he was advertised, and a reward offered to any mati who would catch him. 
.Vn advertisemeDt of this land warrants the persoo to take the property, if 
found. And than the negro becomes a property in trust, wheD, therefor?, 
t hey sold the negro, it only became a l^each of trust, not stealing ; and for 
a breach of trust, the owner of the property can only have redreaa by a civil 
action, which was useless, as the damages were never paid. It may be in- 
quired, how it was tliat Hurel escaped Lynch law und er such circumstaaces ^ 
This will be esMly understood when it is stat«d that ha had mm-e tkan a 
thousand oDom confeda-attt, all ready at a moment's notice to support any of 
the gang who mig^t be in trouble. The names of all the principal confede- 
rates of Hurel were obtained from himself, in a manner which I shall pre- 
sentiy explain. The gang was composed of two classes: the Heads or 
Counol, as tbey were called, who planned and concerted, but seldom acted ; 
tbey amounted to about four hundred. The other class were the active 
agents, and were termed strikers, and amounted to about six hundred and 
fifty. These were the tools in the hands of the others ; they ran all the risk, 
and reeeived but a small portion of the money ; they were in the power of 
the leadats of the gang, who would sacrifice them at any time by handing 
them over to justice, or sinking thnr bodies in the Mississippi. The general 
rendezvous of this gang of miscreants was on the Arkansas side of the river, 
Inhere they concealed their negroes in the morasses and cane-brakes. 

The depredationsof this extensive combination were severely felt; but so 
-well wen tbeir plana arranged, that although Murel,who was always active, 
-teas everywhere suspected, there was no proof to he obtained. It bo hap- 
pened, however, that a young man of the name of Stewart, who was looking 
after two slaves which Murel had decoyed away, fell in with him and ob- 
tuned his confidence, took the oath, and was admitted into the gang as onu 
of the General Oouncil. By this means all was discovered ; for Stewart 
turned traitor, althougli he had taken the oath, and having obtained every 
jnformation, exposed the whole concern, the names of all the parties, and 
finally succeeded b bringing home sufficient eTidence agunst Uurel, to pro- 
eiue bia conviction and sentence to the Penitentiary (Mural was sentenced to 
fourteen years' imprisonment) ; so many people who were supposed to be 
boneat, koA bore a respectable name in the dit&rent States, were found to 
T2 !-■■■ A.(xwle 



376 LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

be among the list of the Grand Conncil as published hv Stewart, that ererv 
attempt was made to throw discredit upon his assertions — hi« character waf 
vilified, and more than one attempt was made to asaaasinate Iiiin. He w»» 
obliged to quit the Southern Statea in consequence. It is, however, now 
well ascertuned to have been all true ; and although some blame Mr. Stewan 
for having violatad bis oath, thej no longer attempt to denj that hia revela- 
tions were correct. I will quote one or two portions of Murel's confeeajons to 
Mr. Stewart, madeto hini 
when tbej were joomey- 
ing together. I ongbt tn 
have observed, that thp 
ultimate intentiona of 
Murel and hia associates 
were, bj his own account, 
on a verj extended scale; 
having no kea an object 
in view than raiaing tht 
biacla agaiuMt the tollitf*, 
taidng pogartmon of, and 
plundmrui Nae OrUanr, 
and makiag tlt&nueivt* 
poitetton of tit territory. 
The following are a fen- 
eztracts: — 

' I collected all iu> 
friends about New Orieaits 
at one of our frieodf' 
houses in that place, and 
we sat in council thre-' 
days before we got all our 
plans to OUT notion ; we 
then determined to under- 
take the rebellion at ererr 
^i->^ hatard, and make aamnnv 

' fViends as w« could fur 
that purpoee. Ever; man'a bunnees bung assigned him, I started to 
Natchei on foot, having sold my horse in New Orleans, — with the intentioD 
of atealiog another after I started. I walked four dajs, and no opportunitr 
offered for me to get a horse. The fifth day, about twelve, I had becomE' 
tired, and stopped at a creek to get some water and rest a little. Wliile 
I was utting on a log-, looking down the road the way that I had come, h 
man came in oght riding on a good-looluDg hone. The very moment 1 



A FEW SPECIMEy BSICKS. 277 

saw bim, I wu detemuned to h&ve his hone, if be was in the garb of a 

traveller. He rode up, and I saw from bia equipage that he was a traveller. 

I arose and drew an elegant rifle pbtol on bim and ordered bim to diamount. 

He did ao, and I took bia borae by the bridle and pointed down the creek, 

and ordered bim to walk before me. He went a few hundred jarda and 

stopped. 1 hitched bia horse, and then made him undress himself, all to bia 

shirt and drawers, and ordered him to turn his bach to me. He eaid, < If 

Tou are determined to 

kill me, let me have 

time to pray before I 

die.' I told him I had 

no time to hear him 

pray. He turned around 

and dropped on his 

kneea, and I shot him 

through the back of the 

bead. I ripped open bis 

belly and took out his 

entrails, and sunk biro 

in the creek. I then 

searched his pockets, 

and foond fonr hundred 

dollars and tbirty-seTan 

cents, and a number of 

papeia that I did not 

take time to examine. 

I gunk the pocket-book 

and papers and bis hat, 

in the creek. His boots 

were brand-new, and 

fitted me genteelly; and 

I put them on and sunk 

my old shoes in the 

creek, to atone for them. 

I rolled up his clothes 

and put them into his portmanteaa, as they were brand-new cloth (^ the 

beat quality. I mounted as fine a horse as ever I straddled, and directed 

my course for Natchez in much better style than I bad been for the last five 

days. 

' Hyself and a fellow by the name of Crenahaw gathered four good horses 
and Btartod for Georgia. We got in company with a young South OaroUnian 
jufct before we got to Cumberland Uountain, and Crenahaw soon knew all 
,„ , A.ocwie 



278 LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

about ilia bu^esa. He had been to Teunessee to buj a drove of boga, bm 
wben he got there pork was dearer tlian he calculated, and he declined pur- 
cbamng. We concluded he was a prize. Crenehaw winked at tne ; I uoder- 
atood his idea. Cren- 



( TH SOUGH THE 1: 



we passed it Crenshaw asked me for my whip, which had a pound of )e«d 
in the butt ; I handed it to him, and he rode np bj the side of the South 
Carollniao, and gave him a blow on the side of the head and tumbled him 
from his horse ; wa tit from our horsee and fingered his pockets ; we got 



A FEW SPECIMEN BRICKS. 27!t 

twelve hundred and aixty-two dollan. Crensbaw sud he knew a place to 
bide him, and he gathered bim onder his arms, and I bj his foet, and con- 
veyed him to a deep crevice tn the brow of the precipice, and tumbled him 



that time our friend went to a little village in the n^hbonrhood and eaw 
the negro advercieed (a negro in our poaseauon), and a deacriplioD of the 



880 LIFE OJl' TSE MISSISSIPPI 

two men of whom he bad been piuchased, and giving his emipicioiifi of the 
men. It was nther squally times, hut anj ])ort in a storm : we took the 
negro that night on the hank of a creek which rniis hj the farm of our 
friend, and Crenahsw shot him through tiie head. We took out hja entrails 
nnd sunk him in the creek. 

' He had sold the other negro the third time on Arkansaw River for up- 
wards of five hundred dollars ; and then stole him and delivered him into f he 
hand of his fiiend, who conducted him to a swamp, and veiled tbs tragic 
scene, and got the last gleanings and sacred pledge of aeciecy ; as a game of 
that kind will not do unless it ends in a mystery to all but the fnlernitj. 
He Kold th« negro, first and last, for nearly two thousand dollars, and then 
put him for ever ont of the reach of all pursners ; and they can never gnze 
him unless tbey can find the n^ro ; and that they cannot do, for his carcate 
has fed many a tortoise and catfish before this time, and the fioge have snn^ 
this many a long day to the silent repose of his skeleton.' 

We WOTe approaoliiiig Memphis, in front of wbidi city, and wit- 
neeeed by its people, was fonght the most lamous of the river battles 
of the Civil War. Two men whom I had served under, in my river 
days, took part in that fight : Mr. Bizby, head pilot of the Union 
fleet, and Mon^mery, Commodore of the Con&d^«te fleet. Both 
Haw a great deal of active service during the war, and achieved high 
reputataona for pluck and capacity. 

Aa we neared Memphis, ve began to cast about for an excuse to 
stay with the 'Gold Dust' to the end of her course — Vicksburg. We 
were bo pleasantly situated, that we did not wish to make a diange. 
I had an errand of considerable importance to do at Kapolerai, 
Arkansaa, but perhaps I oonld manage it without quitting the 
'Gold Dust.' I said as much; so we decided to stick to present 
quarters. 

The boat was to tarry at Memphis tQl ten the next morning. Ii. 
is a beautiful dty, nobly situated on a commanding bluff overlooking 
the river. The streets are straight and spadous, though not paved 
in a way to incite distempered admiration. No, the admiration 
must be reserved fbr the town's sewerage system, which is oiUed 
perfect ; a reoent reform, however, for it was just the other way, up 
to a few years ago — a reform resulting from the lesson taught by a 
desolating visitation of the yellow-fever. In those awful days the 
people were swept off 1^ hundreds, by thousands ; and so great waa 



A FEW SPECIMEN BRICKS. 281 

the reductioti caused bj flight and hy death blether, that the popula- 
tion was diminished three-fburths, and so remained for a time. 
BusineaB stood nearly still, and the gtieeta bore an empty Sunday 
uspect. 

Here is & pic- 
ture of Memphis, 
at tftat disastrous 
tame, drawn by 
a. German tourist 
who seems to 
have been an eye- 
witneea of the 
scenes which he 
deecribee. It is 
from Chapter 
VII., of his book, 
jnst published, in 
TjeApag, ' Mififiifl- 
-sippi-Fahrten, von 
Ernst Ton Hesse- 



' In August tlie 
jellow - fever bad 
reached its ex- 
tremest beight. 
Daily, hundreds fell 
a sacrifice to the 
terrible epidemic. 
The city was become 
a mighty grareyard, 
two -thirds of the 
jtoputation had de- 
serted the place, and —- 
only the poor, the ' pIiKABAITTLX situated.' 
aged and the sick, re- 

muoed behind, a sure prey for the inadious enemy. The houses were closed ; 
little lamps burned in fioDt of many — a mgn that here death had entered. 
Often, several lay dead \a a ringle house; from the windows hung black 
crape. The stores were shut up, for their owneis were gone awsy or dead. 



282 LIFE ON THE MIS3I3SIPFJ. 

' Fearful evil ! In tbe briefest space it struck down Bnd oweptftwsy even 
xYui moat TigoTOus victim. A slight indisposition, then an hour of fever, 
then tbe hideous delirium, then — tJie Yellow I)e«tli I On the street corner;, 
and in tbe squares, la; uck men, suddenly overtaken hj the disense -, and 
even corpses, distorted and rigid. Food fuled. Meat spoiled in a few 
hours in the fetid and pestjferoua air, and turned black. 

' Fearful clamours issue from many houses ; then after a season they 
cease, and all is still ; nohle, self-sacrificing men come with the coffin, nail it 



reigna. Only 

I LANDint) BTASB. jjjg physi- 

hearses hurry through the streets; and out of the distance, at intervals, 
comes the muffled thunder of the rulway train, which with the speed of 
the wind, and as if hunted by furies, flies by tiie pest-ridden latj without 
halting.' 

But there is life enough there now. The population exceeds forty 
thousand and is augmenting, and trade b in a fionriahing condition. 



A FHW SPECIMEN BRtCKS. 283 

"We drove about the city ; Tiaited the park and the aooiftble horde of 
squirrels there; kt the fiue residences, rose-clad and in otlier ways 
enticing to the eye ; and got a good breakfast at the hotel. 

A thriving place is the Good Samaritan City of the ACisaiasippi : 
has a great wholesale jobbing trade ; foundriee, machine chops ; and 
manufactoriee of wagons, carriages, and ootton-Beed oil ; and is shortly 
to have cotton mills and elevators. 



- ^ ~ on increase ot xafsy tnooaand over tue 

year before. Out &om her healthy 
commercial heart issue five trunk linea of railway ; and a sixth is 
being added. 

This is a very different Memphis from the one which the ranisbed 
iknd nnremembered procession of foreign tonriuts used to pat into 
their books loug time ago. In the days of the now forgotten but 



284 UFB ON TSa MISSISSIPPI. ■ 

once renowned and Tigonraslj hated Mrs. Trollope^ Memphis seems 
to have consieted mainly of one long street of log-hoasea, with some 
ontlying cabins sprinkled around re&i-ward toward the woods ; and 
now and then a pig, and no end of mud. That was fifty-five years 
ago. She stopped at the hotel. Plainly it was not the one which 
gave us our breakfast. She says — 

' The table was laid for fifty penoiu, and was nearly fidL ^Diey ate in 
perfect ailenceiaiid with soch aatouiahing rapidity that their dinner was over 
literally hefore ours was begun ; the only soimdH heard were those produced 
by the knives and forks, with the nnceasng' chorus of coughing, ttc,' 

' Coughing, etc.' The ' etc' stands for an vmpleosant word there, 
a word which she does not always charitably cover up, but sometimes 
prints. Yon will find it in the following deecription of a Btfiunbost 
dinner which she ate in company with a lot of aristocratic planten ; 
wealthy, well-born, ignorant swells they were, tinselled with the usual 
harmleoB military and judicial titles of that old day of cheap ehams 
and windy pretence— 

' The total want of all the nsual courteoee of the table ; the voradMu' 
rapidity with which the viands were seized and devoared ; the strange un- 
couth phnwes and pronnnciatioD ; the loathsome spitting, from the con- 
taminatioi) of which it was absolutely impossible to protect our dresses; the 
Hghtful manner of feeding with their kniTea, till the whole blade seemed to 
enter into the mouth ; and the still more frightAil manner of cleaning the 
teeth afterward with a pocket knife, soon forced us to feel that we were not 
surrounded by the generals, colonels, and majors of the old world ; and 
that the dinner hour was to he anything rather than an hour uf enjoyment' 



c.y Google 



CHAPTER XXX. 

BKBTCHBa BY THB WAT, 



It was a big river, below Memphis ; banka brimming full, everywhere, 
and very frequently more than fnll, the waters pouring out over the 
land, flooding the woods and fields for miles into the interior ; and in 
places, to a depth of fifteen feet ; signs, all about, of men's hard work 



gone to ruin, and all to be done over again, with straitened means 
and a weakened courage. A melancholy picture, and a continuooB 
one ; — hundreds of miles of it. Sometimes the beacon lights stood in 
water three feet deep, in the edge of dense forests which extended for 
miles withont farm, wood-yard, clearing, or break of any kind ; which 



•286 LIFE O.V THE MISSISSIPPI. 

meant that the keeper of the light mufit come in a skiff ft great 
liistarce to dist^iarge his trust, — and often in desperate weather. Yet 
I was told that the work is faithfully performed, in all weathers; and 
not always bj men, sometimes by women, if the man is sick or absent. 
The Government furnishes oil, and pnys ten or fifteen dollars a month 
for the lighting and tending. A Qovemment boat distributee oil and 
pays wages onoe a month. 

The Ship Island region was as woodsy and tenautless as ever. 
The island has ceased to be an island ; has joined itself compactly to 
the main shore, and wagons travel, now, where the steamboats tised 
to navigate. Ko signs left of the wi-eck of the ' Fennsylvaiiin.' 
Sotne farmer wUl turn up her bones with his plough one day, no doabt, 
and be surprised. 

We were getting down now into the migrating negro re^on. 
These poor people could never travel when they were slaves ; so they 
make up for the privation now. They stay on a plantetion till the 
deeire to travel seizes them ; then they pack up, hail a steamboat, and 
clear out. Not for any particular place ; no, nearly any place will 
answer ; they only want to be moving. The amount of money on 
hand will answ^ the rest of the conundrum for them. If it will 
take them fifty miles, very well ; let it be fifty. If not, a shorter 
flight will do. 

During a couple of days, we frequently answered these hails. 
Sometimes there was a group of high-water-st&ined, tumble-down 
cabins, populous with|coloured folk, and no whites visible ; with grass- 
lees patches of dry ground here and there ; a few felled trees, with 
skeleton cattle, mules, and horses, eating the leaves and gnawing tiie 
bark — no other food for them in the flood-wasted land. Sometimes 
there was a single lonely landing-cabin ; near it the coloured family 
that had hailed us ; tittle and big, old and young, roosting on the scant 
pile of honsehold goods; these consisting of a rusty gun, some bed- 
ticks, chests, tinware, stools, a crippled looking-glasa, a venerable 
arm-chair, and six or eight base-born and spiritless yellow cure, 
attached to the family by strings. They must hiive their dogs ; can't 
go without their dogs. Yet the dogs are never willing ; they always 
object ; so, one after another, in ridiculous procession, they are 
dragged aboard; all four feet braced and sliding along the stage, 



SKETCHES BT THE WAY. 2S7 

head likely to be pulled off; but the tugger inarching determinedly 
forward, bending to his wort, with the rope over his shoulder for 
better purcbaee. Sometimes a child is forgotten and left on the 
bonk ; but never a dog. 

The osual river-gOBsip going on in the pilot-house. Island No. 63 
— an island with a lovely ' chute,' or passage, behind it in the former 

,^ _^ ,^ times. They sud Jesse Jtunie- 

i i )] son, in the 'Skylark,' had a 

|< ine 



HESBO TBAVELLBBS. 



him at the wheel, at the foot of 63, to run off the watch. The 
ancient mariner went up through the chute, and down the river 
outside ; and up the chute and down the river again ; and yet again 
and again ; and handed the boat over to the relieving pilot, at the 
end of three hours of honest endeavour, at the same old foot of the 
island where he had originally taken the wheel ! A daikey oi^ shore 



28S LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

who bad observed the boat go by, about tbirterai times, said, ' 'cJht 
to gnunous, I wouldn't be s'prised if dey 'b a whole line o' dem 
Sk'ylarkE!' 

Anecdote illustrative of influence of reputation in the changing 

of opinion. The 'Kclipee' was renowned for her swiftness. One day 

she passed along; an old darkey on shore, absorbed in his own 

matters, did not notice what steamer it was. Presently someone 

asked — 

'Any boat 
gone up I ' 
'Ye8,8»h.' 
'Was she going 
&iitr 

*0h, BO-BO — 

loafin' aiong.' 

' Now, do you 
know what boat 
that was i ' 
' No, sah.' 
' Why, uncle, 
that was the 
" EdipsB." ' 

'No! Is d&t 

soY WeU, I bet 

it was — cause she 

•ANY BOAT QONB vfT j^' wout bj here 

tk-iparklin' '. ' 

Piece of history illustrative of the violent style of some trf the 

people down along here. During the early weeks of high water, 

A's fence rails washed down on B's ground, and B's rails washed up 

in the eddy and landed ou A's grouud. A said, ' Let the thing 

remain so ; I will use yoiu- rails, and you use mine.' But B objected 

— wouldn't have it so. One day, A came down on B's ground to 

get his rails. B said, ' 111 kill you I ' and proceeded for him with 

his revolver. A said, ' I'm not armed.' So B, who wished to do 

only what was right, threw down his revolver ; then pulled a knife, 

and cut A's throat all around, but gave his principal attention to the 



SKETCHES BY THE WAY. 2S9 

front, tud so &iled to sever the jugular. Struggling oronnd, A 
managed to get his hands on the discarded revolver, and shot B dead 
with it — aod recovered from hia own injtuies. 

Farther goeaip ; — after which, everybody went below to got after- 
noon coffee, and Irft 
me at the wheel, 
alone. Something 
presently Rminded 
me of ODT last hour 
in St. Louis, part of 
which I spent on this 
boat's hurricane deck, 
aft, I was joined 
there by a stnmger, 
who dropped into con- 
versation with m o a 
brisk young fellow, 
who eaid he was bom 
in a town in the in- 
terior of V^BCOSHin, 
and had never seen a 
steamboat until a 
week before. Also 
said that on the way 
down from La Crosse 
be had inspected and 
examined his boat so 
diligently and with 
such paoionato in- 
terest that he bad 

mastered the whole ' *" 

thing from stem to ^ "'*^''^ "' mmuktokiution. 

rudder-blade. Asked 

me where I was from. I answered, New England. ' Ob, a Yank I ' 
said he ; and went cbatting straight along, without wuting for assent 
or denial. He immediately proposed to take me all over the boat and 
tell me the names of her different parte, and teach me their uses. Before 



290 LIFE Oy THE MISSISSIPPI. 

I could alter protest or excuse, he was already rattling gUbly away at 
his benevoleot work ; and when I paveived that he was Tnianmning 
the things, and inhospitably amnsing himaelf at the expense of an 
innocent atnuiger from a fax countiy, I held my peace, and let him 
have his way. He gave me a world of raisinformatLon ; and the 
farther he went^ the wider his imagination expanded, and the more 
he enjoyed his cruel work of deceit. Sometimes, after palmiTig off a 
particnlarly fitntaatic and outrageous lie upon me, he was so * fall of 
laugh ' that he had to step aside for a minute, upon one pretaxt or 
another, to keep me from suspecting, I staid faithfully \rf him unm 
his comedy was finished. Then he remarked that he had uiidertak«i 
to ' lea^ ' me all about a steamboat, and had done it ; bat that if he 
had orerlooked anything, just ask him and be would supply the lack. 
' Anything about this boat that you don't know the name <tf or the 
purpose fd, yon come to me and 111 t^ you.' I said I woold, and 
took my departure ; disappeared, and approached him &om another 
quarter, whence he could not see me. There he sat, all alone, doabling 
himself up and writhing this way and that, in the throee of unap- 
peasable langhter. He must have made himaelf sick ; for he was not 
publidy visible afterward for several days. Meantime, the episode 
dropped out of my mind. 

"lbs thing that reminded me of it now, when I was alone at tiie 
wheel, was the spectacle of this young fellow standing in tin pilot- 
hoose door, with the knob in his hand, silently and severely inflecting 
me. I don't know when I have seen anybody look so injured aa he 
did. He did not say anything — simply stood there and looked ; re- 
proachfully looked and pondered. Finally ha shut the door, and 
started away ; halted on tlte texas a minute ; came slowly back and 
stood in the door again, with that grieved look in his &oe; g^ied 
upon me awhile in meek rebuke, then said — 

' Yon let me learn yon all about a steamboat, didn't yoa ! ' 

' Yea,' I confessed. 

' Yee, yon did — didvtt you 1 ' 

■Yes." ! 

' FoM are the feller tliat — that ' 

Language failed. Pause — impotent struggle for farther words- 
then he gave it np, choked oat a deep, strong oath, and departed for 



SKETCHES BT THE WAT. »1 

good. Afterward I saw him several tunes below during the trip ; 
but be was cold — would not look at me. Idiot, if be bad not been 
in sncb a, sweat to play his witJem practical joke upon me, in the 
beginning, I would have persuaded bis thoi^hta into some oth^ 
direction, and saved bim &om oommitting that wanton and Billy 
impoliteness. 

I had myself called with tbe four o'clock watch, mornings, for 
one cannot see too many eummer sunrisee on the MiwieBippi. Tbey 
are ^udianting. First, there is the eloquence c^ silence ; for a deep 
bush broods everywhere. Nert, there is the baunting sense of tone- 
line^, isolation, remoteness &om the worry and bustle of die world. 
The dawn creeps in stealthily ; the solid walls of black foreet soften 
to grey, and vast stretches of the river open np and reveal themselves ; 
the water is glass-smooth, gives off spectral little wreaths of white 
mist, there is not tiie faintest breath of wind, n<^ stir of leaf; the 
tranquillity is profbnnd and infinitely Batisfying. Then a bird pipes 
up, another foUows, and soon the pipings develope into a jubilant riot 
of music. You see none of the birds ; you nimply move tbrough an 
atmosphere of song which seems to sing itself. When the light has 
become a little stronger, you have one d the &irest and softeec 
pictures imaginable. Yon have tbe intense green of the massed and 
crowded foliage near by ; yoa see it paling shade t^ shade in front 
of you ; up(Ki die next projecting cape, a mile off or mote, tbe tint 
has lightened to the tender young gieen of spring ; the oape beyond 
that one has almost lost colour, and the fnrdiest one, miles away 
under tbe horizon, sleeps upon the water a mere dim vapour, and 
hardly separable from tbe sky above it and about it. And all this 
stretch of river is a mirror, and yon have the shadowy reflections <^ 
tbe lea&ge and the curving shores and the receding capes pictured in 
it. Well, that is all beeutifal ; soft and rich and beaatifiil ; and 
when the sun gets well up, and distributee a pink flush here and a 
powder <A gold yonder and a purple haze where it will yield the best 
«ffect, you grant that you have seen something that is worth re- 
membering. 

We had the Kentucky Bend country in the early morning — scene 
of a strange and tragic accident in the old times. Captain Foe had a 
email stem-wheel boat, for years tbe home of himself and his wifie. 



298 LIFE OH THE MISSISSIPPI. 

One night the boat struck a snag in Uie bead of Kentucky Bend, and 
sank with astonishing suddenness ; water already veil above the 
cabin floor when the captain got aft. So he cut into hia wife's state- 
room from above with an axe ; she was asleep in the upp^ berth, 
the roof a flimsier one than wae supposed ; the first blow crashed 
down through the rotten boards and clove her shnll. 

This bend is all filled up now — result of a eatroS; and the same 
agent has taken the great and <mce maoh-freqnented Walnut Bend, 
and set it away \muik in 
a solitude far from the 
accuatomed track of 
passing steamers. 

Helena we visited, 
and also a town I bad 
not beard of before, it 
being of recent birth — 
Arkansas City. It was 
bom of a railway ; the 
Little Book, Miasiasityi 
River and Texas Rail 
road touches the rive: 
there. We asked x 
passenger who belonged 
there what sort of a 
place it was. * Well,' 
ealA be, after ccmaider- 
ing, and with the air 
A FATAL BLOW. of one who wishes to 

take time and be accu- 
rate, ' It's a hell of a place.' A description whi<^ was photographic 
for ezactnees. There were several rows and clusters <tf shabby frame 
bouses, and a supply of mod snfGdent to insure the town against a 
fiunine in that article for a hundred years ; for the oveifiow had but 
lately subsided. There were stagnant ponds in the streete, here and 
there, and a dozen rude scows were scattered about, lying aground 
wherever they happened to have been when the waters drained o£ 
and people could do their visiting and shopping on foot once more. 



El'ABOaATB STYLE. 



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SKBTCHEa BY THE WAT. 396 

Still, it is a thriving place, with a rich conntiy behind it^ an elerator 
ia front of it, and also a fine big mill for tiie manu&cture of cotton- 
seed oil. I had never aoea this kind of a mill before. 

Cotton-aeed was comparatiTely valueless in my time ; but it is 
wortii ^12 or ^13 a ton now, and none of it is thrown away. The 
oil made from it is oolonrlcss, tasteless, and almost if not entirely 
odoorlees. It is claimed that it can, by proper manipulation, be 
made to resemble and perform the office of any and all oils, and be 
prodoced at a cheaper rate titan the cheapest of the originals. 
Sagacious people shipped it to Italy, doctored it, labelled it, and 
brought it back aa olive oil. This trade grew to be so formidable 
that Italy was obliged to put a prohibitory impost upon it to keep it 
from working serious injury to her oil induetry. 

Helena occupies one of the prettiest situations on the Mismsappi, 
Her perch is the last, the southemmoet group of hills which one sees 
on that aide of the river. In its normal condition it is a pretty town ; 
but the flood (or possibly the seepage) had lately been ravaging it ; 
whole streets of houses had been invaded by tJie muddy water, and 
the outsides of the buildings were still belted with a broad stain ex- 
tending upwards from tbe foondations. Stranded and discarded scows 
lay all about; plank sidewalks on stilts four feet high were still 
standing ; the board ddewalks on the ground level were loose and 
ruinous, — a couple of men trotting along them could make a blind 
man think a cavalry charge was coming ; everywhere the mud was 
black and deep, and in many places malarious pools of stagnant water 
were standing. A. Mismsdppi inundation is the next most wasting 
and desolating infiiction to a fire. 

We had an enjoyable time here, on this sonny Sunday : two full 
hours' liberfy ashore while the boat discharged freight. In the back 
streets but few white people were visible, but there were plenty of 
colonred folk — mainly women and girls ; and almost without ezce^ 
tion upholstered in bright new clothes of swell and elaborate style and 
cut — a glaring and hUarious contrast to the mournful mud and tbe 
pensive puddles. 

Helena is the second town in Arkansas, in point of populatitm — 
which is placed at five thousand. The country about it is exo^rtion- 
ally productive. Helena has a good cotton trade ; handles fro^ forty 



286 LIFL ON THE MISSISaiFPl. 

to sixty thousand bales annually ; she has a large lamber and grain 
commerce; has afoundiyioil mills, machinesliopsaad wagon factories 
— in bnef has jj!l,000,000 invested in manuhctaring industries. She 
has two railways, and is the commercial centre of a broad and proeper- 
ous legion. Her gross receipts of money, annoally, from all a 
are placed by the New Orleans "rime»-Democrat' at ^1,000,000. 



c.y Google 



CHAPTER XXXL 

A THUHB-PBINT AND WHAT CAME OF IT. 

We were approaching NapoleoD, At-Vhtib^ih, So I began to think 
about my errand tliere. Time, noonday; and bright and sntinj. 
Tbie was bad — not beet, anyway ; for mine was not (preferably) a 
noonday kind c^ errand. The more I thought, the more that &ct 
poshed itself upon me — now in one form, now in another. Penally, 



NAPOLEON IN ISTl. 

it took the form of a distinct question ; is it good conunon sense to 
do the errand in daytime, when, by a little sacrifice of comfort and 
inclination, you can have night for it, and no inquisitive eyes around I 
This settled it. Plain question and plain answer make the shortest 
road out of most perplexities. 

I got my friends into my stateroom, and said I was sorry to create 
annoyance and disappointment, but that upon refiection it really 



398 LIFE Oy THE MISSISSIPPI. 

seemed beet that we put oijt luggage ashore and atop over at Kapo- 
teou. Their disapproval was pronipt and loud ; their laogoage mnti- 
uona. Their main argument was one which has always been the first 
to oome to tiie surfaoe, in such cases, since the beginning of time : 
' But yon decided and agrted to stick to thia boat, etc ; ' as if, haTing 
determined to do an anwise thing, one ia thereby bound to go ahead 
and make two unwise things of it, by carrying out that determioa- 

I tried various mollifying tactics upon them, with reasonaUy 
good success 1 nuder which encouragement, J increased myeffiarts; 
and, to show them that / had not created this annc^iitg errand, and 
was in no way to blame for it, I prearaitly drifted into its histoiy — 
Bubstaittially as follows : 

Towatd the end of last year, I ^tent a few months in Munich, 
Bavaria. In November I was living in Friiulmn Dahlweiner's pen- 
non, \a, Earlstiasse ; but my working quarters were a mile from 
there, in the house of a widow who supported herself by taking 
lodgeiB. She and her two young children used to drop in every 
morning and talk German to me — by request. One day, during a 
ramble about the dty, I visited one of the two establiahmenta where 
the Qovwnment keeps and watches corpses until the doctors decide 
that tbey are permanently dead, and not in a trance state. It was a 
grisiy place, that spacious room. There were thirly-six corpaea of 
adults in sight, stretched on their backs on slightly slanted boards, in 
three long rows — all of them with wax-white, rigid &oeB, and all of 
tliem wrapped in white Hhronds. Along the aides of the room were 
deep alcoves, like bay windows ; and in each of these lay several 
marble-visaged babes, utterly hidden and buried under banks of fresh 
flowers, all but their faces and crossed hands. Around a finger <rf' 
each of these fifty stUl forms, both great and small, was a ring ; and 
from f^e ring a wire led to the ceiling, and thenoe to a belt in a 
watch-room yonder, where, day and ni^t, a watchman sits alwayif 
alert and ready to spring to 1^ aid of any of that pallid company 
who, waking out of death, shall make a movement — for any, even the 
slightest, movement will twitch the wire and ring that feuM belL 
I imagined myself a deathHsentinel drowsing there alone, &r in die 
dragging watchca of some wailing, gusty night, and having in a 



A THUMB-PRINT AND WHAT CAME OF TI. 29^ 

twinkling all my body stricken to qoivering jelly by the Buddeo 
clamoor of that awful summons I So I inquired about this thing ; 
asked what reeultod usually % if the watchmaa died, and the restored 
corpse came and did what it could to make his la«t moments easy t' 
But I was rebuked for trying to feed an idle and friroloua curiosity 
in so solemn and so moomful a place ; and went my way with a 
humbled crest. 



THB MAK'S aiES OPEKED BLOWLr. 

Kext morning I was telling the widow my adventure, when she 
exclaimed — 

' Come with me I I have a lodger who shall tell you all yon want 
to know. He has been a night-watchman there.' 

He was a living man, but he did not look it. He was abed, and 
had his head propped high on pillows; his face was wasted and 
colourless, his deep-sunken eyee were shut ; his hand, lying on his 
breast, was talon-like, it was so bony and long-ficgered. The widow 



300 LIFE ON TSB MISai88IPPI. 

began her introdoctioii of me. The man's ey ee opened slowly, tind 
^glittered wiokedly ont irom the twilight of their oavems ; ha &owned 
a black &own ; he lifted hie lean hand and waved as pa«mptoriIy 
away. But the widuw kept straight oq, till she had got out tlie tatA 
that I was a Btranger and an American. The man's &oe changed at 
■once ; brightened, became even eager — and the next moment he and 
I were alone togeUier. 

I opened up in cast-iron Q«niian ; he responded in quite flexible 
English ; thereafter we gave the Oennftu language a penaaneDt rest 

This consumptive and I became good Mends. I visited him evray 
■day, and we talked about everything. At least, about everything 
but wivee and children. Let anybody's wife or anybody's child be 
mentioned, and thiee things always followed : the most gracious and 
loving and tender light glimmered in the man's eyes for a ntoment ; 
faded out the next, and in its place came that deadly look which had 
flamed there the firat time I ever saw his lids undose ; thirdly, he 
ceased from speech, there and then for that day ; lay silent, abstracted, 
and absorbed ; apparently heard nothing that I said ; took no notice 
-of my good-byes, and plainly did not know, bydther sight or hearing, 
when I left the room. 

When I had been this Earl Bitter's daily and sole intimate during 
two months, he one day said, abruptly— 

' I will tell you my story.' 

A DYING UAN'B CONFESSION. 

Then he went on as follows : — 

I have never given up, untdl now. Bnt now I have given up. I 
-am gtnng to die. 1 made up my mind last night that it must be, and 
very sooQ, too. You say yon are going to revisit your river, by-and- 
bye, wh^i you find opportunity. Very well ; that, tc^ether with a 
■certain strange experience which fell to my lot last nighty determines 
me to tell you my history — for you will see Kapoleon, Arkansas ; and 
for my sake you will stop there, and do a certain thing for me — a 
thing which you will willingly undertake after you shall have heard 
my narrative. 

Let us shorten tlie stoiy wherever we can, for it will need i^ being 



A THUlfB-PRiyT AXD WHAT CAME OF IT. 801 

long. Yoa alieadj know how I came to go to America, and haw I 
came to settle in that lonely region in the South. But you do not 
know that I had a wife. My wife was young, beautiful, loving, and 
oh, so divinely good and klameleee and gentle ! And our little girl 
was hdr mother in miniatore. It was the happiest aS happy house- 
holds. 

One ni^t — it was toward the close of the war — I woke np out of 
a sodden lethargy, and found myself bound and gagged, and the air 
tainted with ohlraroform I I saw two men in the room, and one was 
saying to the other, in a hoane whisper, ' I t<M her I would, if she 
made a noise, and as for the child — ' 

The other man interrupted in a low, half-crying voice — 

' You said we'd only gag them and rob them, not hurt them ; or 
I wouldn't have come.' 

' Shut ap your whining ; had to change the plan when they waked 
up ; yon done all you could to protect tbem, now let that Batiafy you ; 
come, help rummage.' 

Both men were masked, and wore coaise, ra^ed ' nigger * clothes ; 
they had a bull's-eye lant«m, and by ite light I noticed that the gentler 
robber had no thumb on hia right hand. They rummaged around 
my poor cabin for a moment ; the head bendit then said, in his stage 
whisper — 

' It's a wasto of time — he shall toll where it's hid. Undo bis gag, 
and revive him up.' 

The other said — 

' All right — provided no dubbing.' 

' Ko clubbing it is, then — provided he keeps skill.' 

They approached me ; just then there was a sound outside ; a 
sound of vcaoes and trampling hoo& ; the robbers held their breath 
and listened ; the eonnds came slowly nearer and nearer ; then came 
a shout — 

' HeUo, the house I Show ■ light, we want water,' 

' The captain's voice, by O I' said the stage-whispering ruffian, 

and botii robbers fied by the way of the back door, shutting off their 
bnll's-^e as they ran. 

The strangers shouted several times more, t^en rode by — there 
seemed to be a donn of the horses— and I heard nothing more. 

uy . X.MQW 



302 LIFE OX THE MISSISSIPPI. 

I struggled, bat could not &ee myself from my booda. I tried to 
apeak, bat the gag was effective ; I could not make a sonnd. I lis- 
tened for my wife's voice and my child's — listened long and intently, 
bnt no sound came from the other end of tbe room where their bed 
was. This sileoce became more and more awfol, more and more 
ominous, ever; moment. Could yon have endured an hour of it, do 
y^n think t Fit; me, then, who had to endure three. Threo hoars — t 



THBr BumiAosD TUB CABiM. honAs; and at last, 

abont dawn, I got 
myself free, and rose up and stretohed my stiff limbs. I was able to 
distinguish details pretty weU. The floor was littered with things 
thrown there by the robbers during their search for my savings. Hie 
first olgect that caught my particular attention was a doctunent of 
mine which I had seen the rougher of the two ruflSans ^anoe at and 
then cast away. It bad blood on it I I sta^ered to the other end of 
the room. Oh,- poor unoffending, helpless onee, there they lay, their 
troubles ended, mine b^mn ! , 



A THOMB-PBiyr AND WHAT CAME OF IT. 308 

Did I appeal to the Jaw — 1 1 Dow it quencb the pauper's tlurst 
if the King drink for him t Oh, no, no, so — I wanted no impCTtiiient 
interferenoe of the law. Laws and the gallowa oould not pay the debt 
that was owing to me I Let the kws leave the matter in mj hands, 
and have no fears : I would find the debtor and collect the debt 
How accomplish tliis, d» yoa aaj I How accomplish it, and feel eo 
sure about it, when I had neithw Been the robbera' bcea, nor heard 
their natural voices, nor had any idea who they might be ) Never- 
thelees, I vxu enre — qnite sure, qnite confident I had a clue — a clue 
which you would not have valued — a due which would not have 
greatly helped even a detective, unce he would lack tha secret of 
how to apply it I shall come to that, presently— yon shall see. 
Let OS go on, now, taking things in their due order. There was one 
ctrcnmstance whidi gave me a slant in a definite direction to begin 
with : Those two robbers were mamfeetlj soldiets in tramp disguise ; 
and not new to military service, bat old in it — regulars, perhaps ; 
tboy did not acquire their soldierly attitude, gestuies, carriage, in a 
(lay, nor'a month, nor yet in a year. So I thought, but said nothing. 

And one of them bad said, ' the captain's voice, by ! ' — the tme 

whose life I would have. Two miles away, several regiments were 
in, camp, and two companies of TT. 8. cavalry. When I learned that 
Captain Kakdy, of Company C had passed oar way, that night, with 
an escort, I said nothing, hot in that company I resolved to seek my 
man. In conversation I studiously and penistaitly described tlte 
Tobben ss tramps, csmp followers ; and among this class the people 
made useless search, none suspecting the soldiers bnt me. 

Working patiently, by night, in my desolated home, Ijnade a 
disgHise for myself out of various odds and ends of dothing ; in the 
nearest village I bought a pair of blue goggles. By-aud-bye, when the 
military camp broke up, and Company C was ordered a hundred miles 
north, to N^apoleon, I secreted my small hoard of money in my belt, 
and took my departure in the night When Company C arrived in 
Napoleon, I was already there. Yes, I was there, with a new trade — 
foTtnne-teller. Not to seem partial, I made friends and told fortunes 
among all the compeniee garrisoned there ; but I gave Company C 
the great bulk of my attentions. I made myself limitlessly obliging 
to theee particular men ; they could ask me no &vour. pnt upon me 



8W LIFE ON IHB MISSISSIPPI. I 

no risk, which I would decline. I became the willing butt of their 
jokes ; this perfected my popularity ; I became a fitvourite. 

I early found a private who lacked a thumb — what joy it wae to 



Qermana in the company. I watched, to see who might be hia inti- 
mates ; but he seemed to have no especial intimates. Bat /was his 
intimate ; and I took care to make tiie intimacy grow. Sometimce 
I BO hongered fbr my revenge (hat I coidd hardly restrain myself 



A THIMB-PRIXT A!fD WHAT CAME OF IT. 30r, 

from going on my knees and begging him to point ont the man 
who had murdered my wife and child ; bat I managed to bridle my 
toague. I bided my time, and nenton telling fortunes, as opportnnity 
offered. 

My apparatos was simple : a litUe red paint and a bit i£ white 
paper. I paint«d the ball of the client's thumb, took a print of it on 
the paper, studied it that night, and revealed bis fortmie to him next 
day. 'What was my idea in this nonsense T It was this : When I 
was a youth, I knew an old Frenchman who had been a prison.keeper 
for thirty years, and he told me that there was one thing about a 
person which never changed, from the cradle to the grave — the linee 
in the ball of the thumb ; and he said that these lines were never exactly 
alike in the thumbs of any two human beings. In these days, we 
photograph the new criminal, and 
hang his picture in the Bogues' 
rfallery for future reference ; bat that 
Freinchman, in his day, used to take a 
print of the ball of a new prisoner's 
thumb and put that away for future 
reference. He always said that 
pictures were no good — future dis- 
guities could make them uselsKs ; ' The 

thumb's the only sure thing,' said thumb-prints. 

he ; ' you can't disguise that.' And 

he used to prove bis theory, too, on my friends and aoquaintanccs ; 
it always succeeded. 

I went on telling fortunes. Every night I shut myself in, all 
alone, and studied the day's thumb-prints with a magnifying- glass. 
Imagine the devouring eagerness with which I pored over those ma^ 
red spirals, with that document by my side which bore the right-hand 
thumb^nd -finger-marks of that unknown murderer, priqted with the 
dearest blood — to me — that was ever shed on this eorth I And many 
and many a time I had to repeat the same old disappointed remark, 
' will they ntver correspond 1 ' 

But my reward came at last. It was the print of the thumb of the 
tort^'-third man of Company C whom I had experimented on— Private 
Fmnz Adler. An hour before, I did not know the murderer's name. 



306 LJFK O.V THE MISSISSIPPI. 

or voice, or figure, or face, or nationalitj' ; but now I knew all tk«6t 
things! I believed I might feel eure; the Fre&cbman'B repeate<1 
demonstrationfl being so good a. warranty. Still, there was a way to 
make sure. I had an impression of Kruger's left thumb. In the 
morning I took him aside when he was off duty ; and when we weif 
out of sight and hearing of witneeses, I said, impreasively— 



' A part of your fortune is so grave, that I thought it wonld '«■ 
Iiettei- for ymi if I did not tell it in public. You and another man. 
whose fortune I wm studying last night, — Private Adler, — have been 
murdering a woman and a child ! You areJ)eing dogged : within fivr 
days both or yoit will be Hssasduated.' , iiTiik' 



A THUMB-PRINT AXD WMAT CAME OF IT. 307 

He dipped on his kneee, fnghteaed oat of bis nits; and for five 
minutes he kept pouring out the same set of words, like a demented 
penon, and in the same half-ctTing vay which was one of my memo- 
■■ies of that mnrderous night in my cabin — 

' I didn't do it ; upon my sotU I didn't do it ; and I tried to keep 
him inm doing it ; I did, as God is my witness. He did it alone.' 

This was all I wanted. And I tried to get rid of the fool ; but 
no, he clung to me, imploring me to save him from the assassin. He 

' I have money — ^teii thousand dollars — hid away, the fruit of loot 
and thievery ; save me— tell me what to do, and yon shall hare it, 
ever; penny. Two-thirds of it is my cousin Adler's ; but you can 
take it all. We hid it when we first came here. But I hid it in a new 
place yesterday, and have not told him — shall not toll him. I was 
going to desert, and get away with it all. It is gold, and too heavy 
to carry when one is running and dodging ; but a woman who has 
been gone over the river two days to prepare my way for me is going 
to follow me with it ; and if I got no chance to describe the hiding- 
place to her I was going to slip my silver watch into her hand, or 
send it to her, and she would understand. There's a piece of papei* 
in the back of the case, which tells it all. Here, take the watch — 
tell me what to do I ' 

He was trying to preRB his watch upon me, Imd was exposing the 
paper and explaining it to me, when Adier appeared on the scene, 
about a dozen yards away, I said to poor Kruger — 

' Put up your watoh, I don't want it. You shan't come to any 
barm. Go, now; I must tell Adler his fortune. Presently I will 
tell you how to escape the assassin ; meantime shall have to examine 
youT thumb-mark agais. Say nothing to Adler about this thing — 
say nothing to anybody.' 

He went away filled with fright and gratitude, poor devil. I told 
Adler a long fortune — purposely so long that I could not finish it ; 
promised to oome to him on guard, that night, and toll bim the really 
important part of it — the tragical part of it, I said — so must be out of 
reach of eavesdroppers. They always kept a picket-watch outside 
the town— mere discipline and ceremony — no occasion for it, no 
enemy around. i itO'^IC 



308 LIFE ON THE iliSSISSIPPI. 

Toward midnight I set out, equipped with tlie countersign, and 
picked my vraj tow&rd the lonelj' region where Adler was to keep his 
watch. It was so dark that I stumbled right on a dim figure almost 
before I could get out a protecting word. The sentinel hailed and I 



answered, both at the same moment. I added, ' It's only me — the 
fortune-teller.' Then I slipped to the poor devil's side, and without 
a word I drove my dirk into his heart f Ja ii^hl, laughed I, it tm« 
the tragedy part of his foi-tune, indeed ) As he idW from his horn, 



.1 THl'MB-PItl.VT AXD WHAT CAME OF IT. 309 

he datched at me, and my blue goggles remained in bia hand ; and 
tLWKj plunged the beast dragging him, with his foot in the stirrup. 

I fled through the woods, and made good mj escape, leaving the 
accusiDg goKglsa behind me in that dead mau'a hand. 

This waa fifteen or sixteen years ago. Since then I have wandered 
aimlessly about the earth, sometimes at work, sometimes idle ; some- 
times with money, sometimes with none ; but always tirod of life, 
and wishing it was done, for my mission here was finished, with the 
act of that night ; and the only pleasure, solace, satiafaction I had, in 
all those tedious yeaia, waa in the daily reflection, ' I have killed him 1 ' 

Four years ago, my health began to faU. I had wand««d into 
Manich, in my purposeless way. Being ont of money, I sought work, 
and got it ; did my duty faithfully about a year, and was then given 
the berth of night watchman yonder in tiiat dead-house which you 
visited lately. The place suited my mood. I liked it, I liked being 
with the dead- — liked being alone with them. I used to wander 
among those rigid corpses, and peer into their austere faces, by the 
hour. The later the time, the more impreeaive it was ; I preferred 
tlie late time. Sometimes I turned the lights low : this gave per- 
spective, you see ; and the imagination could play ; always, the dim 
receding ranks of the dead inspired one wiUi w^rd and fascinating 
fanoies. Two years ago— I had been there a year then— I was sitting 
all alone in the watch-room, one gusty winter's night, chilled, numb, 
comfortless; drowsing gradually into unconsciouBness ; the sobbing 
of the wind and the slamming of distant shuttera falling fainter and 
fainter upon my dulling ear each moment, when sharp and suddenly 
that dead-bell rang out a blood-curdling alarum over my head ! The 
nhock of it nearly paraljmed me ; for it was the flrst time I had ever 
heard it. 

I gathered myself together and flew to the corpse-room. About 
midway down the outside rank, a shroaded figure was sitting upright, 
waging ite head slowly from one side to the other — a grisly spectacle t 
Its side was toward me. I hurried to it and peered into its face. 
Heavens, it was Adler ! 

Can yon divine what my first thought was ! Put into words, it 
was this : * It seems, then, you escaped me once : there will be a dif- 
ferent result this time ! ' I ^..ttook' 



31(1 LIFE OX THE MISSISSIPPI. 

Evidently this creature was suffering unimaginable terrors. Think 
what it must have been to wake up in the midst of ttiat Yoicetess 
hush, and look out over that grim oongr^ation of the dead ! What 
gratitude shone in his skinny v-hite face when he saw a living fonu 
before him I And how the fervency of this mute gratitude was aug 
mented when his eyee fell upon the lii^giving cordials which I 
earned in my hands j Then imagine the horror which came into 



IX THE tlOBOUE. 

this pinched &oe wh«i I put the cordials behind me, and said mock- 
ingly— 

' Speak up, Franz Adler — call upon these dead. Doubtless they 
will listen and tiave pity ; but here then is none else that wilL' 

He tried to speak, but that part of the shroud which bound his 
jaws, held firm and would not let him. He tried to lift imploring; 
hands, but they were crossed upon his breast and tied, I said— 



A TBUMB-PRI^fT AlfD WJfAT CAME OF 11. 311 

' Shout, FmizAdlw; make the sleepers in the distant Btreetti hear 
you and bring help. Shoat — and loee no time, for there ia little to 
lose. What, you cannot } That is a pity ; but it is no matter — it 
does not always bring help. When you and your cousin murdered a 
helpless .woman and child in a cabin in A rVaniaui — my wife, it was, 
and my child I — they shrieked for help, you remember ; but it did no 
good ; you remember that it did no good, is it not so t Your teeth 
chatter — then why cannot you shout 1 Looeea the bandages with 
your bands — then yon can. Ah, I see — your hands are tied, they 
cannot aid yon. How stmngely tilings repeat themselves, after long 
yean ; for my hands were tied, that night, you remember 1 Yes, Ued 
mudi as yours are now — how odd that is. I could not pull free. It 
did not occur to you to untie me ; it does not occur to me to untie 

you. Sh ! there's a late footstep. It is coming this way. Hark, 

how near it is ! One can count the foot&lls — one— two — three. 
There — it is just outeide. "Saw is the time .' Shout, man, shout \ — 
it is the one sole chance between yon and eternity ! Ab, you see you 
have delayed too long — it is gone by. There — it is dying out. It is 
gone ! Think of it^ — reflect upon it — you have heard a human foot- 
step for the last time. How curions it most be, to listm to so common 
a sound as that, and know that one will never hear the fellow to it 
again.' 

Oh, my friend, the agony in that shrouded face was ecsta^ to see ! 
I thought of a new torture, and applied it — assisting myself with a 
trifle of lying invention — 

' That poor Eruger tried to save my wife and child, and I did him 
A grateful good turn for it when tbe time came. I persuaded bim to 
i-ob you ; and I and a woman helped bim to deaert, and got him away 
in safety.' 

A look as of surprise and triumph shone out dimly through the 
anguish in my victim's &ce. I was disturbed, disquieted. I said — 

' What, then — didn't he escape ! ' 

A nc^tive shake of Uie bead. 

' No I What happened, then % ' 

Tbe satie&otion in the shrouded face was still plainer. The man 
tried to mumble out some words — could not succeed ; tried to eicprees 
something with his obstructed bands — failed ; paused a moment, then 



312 LIFE ON THE 3IIS8I8SIPPX. 

feebly tilted his head, in & meaning way, toward die corpse tliat lay 
nearest him. 

' Dead t ' I asked. ' Failed to escape I — caught in the act and 

Negative shake of the head. 

' How, then ) ' 

Again the man tried to do something with his hands. I watched 
closely, but could not guess the intent. I hent ov«t and watched still 
more intently. He had twisted a thumb around and was weakly 
punching at his breast with it, 

' All — stabbed, do you mean 1 ' 

AffirmatiTe nod, accompanied by a spectral smile of sncb pecoliar 
devilishness, that it struck an awakening light through my dull bnun, 
and I cried — ■ 

' Did I stab him, mistaking him for you % — for that stroke was 
meant for none bnt you.' 

The affirmative nod of the re-dying rascal was as joyous as his 
fiuling strength was able to put into its expression. 

' 0, miecsable, miserable me, to slaughter the pitying soul that 
stood a iriend to my darlings when they were helpless, and would 
have saved them if he could! miserable, oh, miserable, miserable 

I fancied I beard the muffled gurgle of a mocking laugh. I took 
my face out of my hands, and saw my enemy sinking back upon his 
inclined board. 

He was a satiefactory long time dying. He had a wonderiul 
vitality, an astonishing constitution. Yes, he was a pleasant long 
time at it. I got a chair and a newspaper, and eat down by him and 
read. Occasionally I took a dp of brandy. This was neceraaiy, cm 
account of the cold. But I did it partly because I saw, that along 
at first, whenever I reached for the bottle, he thought I was going to 
give him some. I read aloud ; m!ainly imaginary accounts of people 
snatehed from the grave's threshold and restored to life and vigour by 
IV few spoonsful of liquor and a warm bath. Yea, he had a long, 
hard death of it — three hours and six minutes, from the time be rang 
his bell. ! 

It is believed that in all these eighteen years that have el^Msed i 
tjince the institution of the corpse-watoh, no shrouded occupant of the 



A THU31B-PRIXT AND WHAT CA31E OF IT. 313 

BnvfiriAn dead-houses has ever rung it« bell. Well, it is a harmless 
belief. Let it stand at that. 

The chill of that death-room had penetrated my bones. It revived 
and fastened upon me the disease which had been afflicting me, but 
which, up to that night, had been steadily diBappearing. That man 
murdered my wife and my child ; and in three days hence he will 
have added me to his list. No matter — God I how delicious the 



1 SAT DOWN BY HIM. 

memory of it ! — I caught liim eso^ifng from his grave, and thrust him 
back into it. 

After that night, I was confined to my bed for a week ; but as 
soon an I could get about, I went to the dead-liouse books and got 
the number of the house which Adler had died in. A wretched 
lodging-hiiUBe, it was. It was my idea that he would naturally have 
gotten hold of Kmger's effects, being his cousin; and I wanted to 
get Kruger's watch, if I could. But while I was sick, Adler'a things 



Sli LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

had been sold and scattered, ftU except a few old letteis, and some 
odds and ends of no value. However, throngli those letters, I traced 
out a son of Rrugei''s, the only relative he left. He is a man of 
thirty, now, a shoemaker by trade, and living at Xo. 1 4 Koriigstrarae, 
Mannheim — widower, with several small children. Without explain- 
ing to him why, I have furnished two-thirds of his sapport, ever 

Now, as to that watch — see how strangely things happen ! I 
traced it around and aboat Germany for more than a year, at con- 
siderable cost in money and vexation ; and at last I got it. Got it, 
and was unspeakably glad ; opesed it, and found nothing iQ it ! 
Why, I might have known that that bit of paper was not going to 
stay there all this time. Of course I gave up that ten thousand 
dollars then ; gave it up, and dropped it out of my mind : and most 
sorrowfully, for I had wanted it for Eruger's Bon. 

lAst night, when I consented at last that I must die, I began to 
make ready. I proceeded to bum all useless papers ; and sure enou^. 
from a batch of Adler'g, not previously examined with thoroughness- 
out dropped that long'desired scrap ! I recognised it in a moment. 
Here it is — I will translate it : 

' Brick livery stable, stoue foundation, middle of town, comer of Orlesos 
and Market. Coraer toward Court-house. Third stone, fourth row. Stick 
notice there, saying how many are to come.' 

There — take it, and preserve it. Kruger explained that tliat 
stone was removabte; and that it was in the north wall of the fbnn- 
dation, fourth row from the top, and third stone from the west. 
The money b secreted behind it. He said the closing sentence was a 
blind, to mislead in case the paper should fall into wrong hands. It 
probably performed that office for Adler. 

Now I want to beg that when you make your intended joumer 
down the river, you will hunt out that hidden money, and send it to 
Adam Kruger, care of the Mannheim address which I have men- 
tioned. It will make a rich man of him, and I shall sleep the sounder 
in my grave for knowing that I Iiave done what I could for the son 
of the man who tried to save my wife and child— albeit my hand 
ignorantly struck him down, whereas the impulse of mT|l]|eart would , 
have been to shield and serve him. ■ ' <:> 



CHAPTER XXXII, 

THE DISPOSAL OF A BONANZA. 

* Such was Bitter's nairatiTe,' said I to my two friends. There was 
a profomid and impreesiTe slenoe, which lasted a oonsiderable time ; 
then botfa men broke into a fadllade of exciting and admiring ejaca- 
l&tions ov€r the strange inddents of the tale ; and this, along with a 
r»tttiiig fire c^ qnestions, was kept up until all hands were about oat 
of breath. Then my friends began to cool down, and draw off, 
under shelter of occasional volleys, into silence and abysmal reverie. 
For ten minatee now, there was stillaees. Then Bogera said 
ilreamily — 

' Ten thonaand dollars.' 

Adding, after a considerable pause — 

' Ten thonaand. It is a heap of money.' 

Presently the poet inquired — 

' Are yon going to send it to him right away t ' 

' Yes,' I said. ' It Is a queer question.' 

No reply. After a little, Rogers asked, hesitatingly : 

'^2 of it) — That is — I mean ' 

' CfrtavnJy, all of it.' 

I was going to say more, but stopped — was stopped by a train of 
thought which started np in me. Thompson spoke, bat my mind 
was absent, and I did not catch what he said. But I heard Rogers 
answea:— 

' Yes, it seems so to me. It ought to be quit« sufficient ; for I 
don't see that he has done anj-thing.' 

Preaently the poet said — 

* When you come to look at it, it is more than sufficient. Just 



316 I.IFS ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

look at it — five thousand dollars ! Why, he couldn't spend it in h 
lifetime! And it would injure him, too; perhaps ruin him — yon 
want Jo look at that. In a little while he would throw his last 
Away, shut up his shop, maybe take to drinking, maltreat his mother- 



i BEGAN TO COOL a 



less children, drift into other evil courses, go steadily from bad to 
worse— — ' 

'Yea, that's it,' interrupted Rogers, fervently, Tve seen it a 
hundred times — yes, more than a hundred. You put money into the 
hands of a man like that, if you want to destroy him, that's all ; just 
put money into his hands, it's all youv'e got to do ; and if it don't putl 



THE DISPOSAL OF A BO^^AXZA. 317 

him down, and take all the iisefulnefiS out of him, and all the eelf- 
respect and everything, then I don't know human nature — aJa't that 
so, Thompson 1 And even if we were to give him a third of it ; why, 
in leee than six months — ' 

■ Lees than six toeeks, you'd better say ! ' said I, warming up and 
breaking in. 'Unlem 
i 1 he had that three 

I thousand doUars in 

safe hands where he 
couldn't touch it, he 
would no more last 
you six weeks than 

' Of courge he 
wouldn't,' said 
Thompson ; 'I'*e 
edited books for that 
kind of people ; and 
the moment they get 
their hands on the 
royalty — maybe it's 
three thousand, may- 
be its two thousand 

' What businees 

has that shoemaker 

with two thousand 

B to knowV broke in 

A man perhaps per- 

ivKbij vuuuuiMM ouw, there in Mannheim, 

surrounded by his own class, eating his bread with the appetite 

which laborious industry alone can give, enjoying his humble life, 

honest, upright, pure in heart ; and blegt ! — yee, I say blest ! blest 

aboVe all the myriads that go in silk attire and walk the empty 

artificial round of social folly — but just you put </ta< temptation before 

him once I just you lay fifteen hundred dollars before a man like that, 

and say ' ^_ , x.OOgl 



318 . LIES ON TBS MISSISSIPPI. 

' Fifteen hundred deviU ! ' cried I, '^five hundred would rot his 
principles, paralyse his industry, drag bim to the rumshop, tbence to 

the gutter, thence to the almshouse, theuce to ' 

' )PJii/ put upon ourselves this crime, gentlemen}' interrupted the 
poet earnestly and appealingly. ' He is happy where he is, and etg he 
is. Every sentiment of honour, eveiy sentiment of charity, every 
sentiment of high and sacred beuevol^ice warns ub, beseeches us, com- 
mands us to leave him undisturbed. Ths.t is real friendship, that is 
true friendship. We could follow other courses that would be more 
showy; but none that 
would be so truly kind 
and wise, depend upon it .' 
After some furtlier 
talk, it became evident 
that each of us, down 
in his heart, felt some 
misgivings over tbi.< 
settlement of the matter. 
It was manifM that we 
all felt that we ought to 
send the poor shoemaker 
sometlUng. There was 
long and thoughtful dis- 
cussion of this point ; 
and we finally decided to 
send him a chronu). 
'HE IS HAPPY WHREB HE IS.' Well, uow that every- 

thing seemed to be ar- 
ranged satisfactorily to everybody concerned, a new trouble broke 
out : it transpired that these two men were expecting to share equally 
in the money with me. That was not my idea. I said that if they 
got half of it between them they might consider themselves lucky. 
Kogers said — 

' Who would have had any if it hadn't been for mel I flnng &ut 
the first hint — but for that it would all have gone to the shoemaker.' 
Thompson said that he was thinking of the thing himself at the 
very moment that Hogers had originally spoken, , 



THE DISPOSAL OF A BONANZA. 319 

I retorted th&t the idea would have occurred to me plenty soon 
enough, and without anybody's help. I was slow about thinking, 
maybe, but I was sure. 

This matter warmed up into a quarrel ; then into a fight ; and 
«acfa man got pretty badly batt«red. As soon as I bad got myaelf 
mended up after a fashion, I ascended to the burricane deck in a pretty 



WAKUBD UP INTO A QUABSGL, 

&yav humour. I found Captuu McCktrd there, and said, as pleaenntly 
as my humour would permit — 

' I have oome to say good-bye, captain. I wish to go ashore at 
Napoleon,' 

* ' Go ashore where % ' 

' Napoleon.' 

The captain laughed ; but seeing that I was not in a jovinJ mood, 
stopped that and said — / itOi'* 



820 LIFE OJV THE MISSISSIPPI. 

' But are jom seriona t ' 

' Serioofi 1 I oeitiunly am.' 

' The captain glanced up at the pilot-honse an4 said — 

' He wants to get off at Napoleon I ' 

' Napoleon f ' 

' That's what he Bays.' 

' Great Cwsar'a ghost ! ' 

Unole Mumford approached tAong the deck. The captain said — 

' Uncle, here's a friend of youis wants to get offa't Xapoleon! ' 

'Well, by r 

I said — 

' Come, what is all this about 1 Can't a man go nahore at Napo- 
leon if he wants to 1 ' 

' Why, hang it, don't ■ you know % There isn't any Napoleon 
any more. Hasn't been for yeata and years. The Arkansas River 
burst through it, tore it all to rag8, and emptied it into the Missis- 
sippi!' 

' Carried the whole town away % — banks, churches, jails, news- 
paper^fficea, court-house, theatre, fire department, Uvery stable — 
f very thing ? ' 

'ETerytbing. Just a fifteen-minute job, orsuch a matter. Didn't 
leave hide nor bair, shred nor shingle of it, except the fag-end of a 
shanty and one brick chimney. Tbie boat is paddling along right 
now, where the dead-centre of that town nsed to be ; j'onder is the 
brick chimn^ — all that's left of Napoleon. These dense woods on 
the right used to be a mile back of the town. Take a look behind 
you — up-stream — now you begin to recognise this country, don't 
yonl' 

' Yes, I do recognise it now. It is the most wonderful thing I 
ever heard of; by a long shot the most wonderful — and unexpected.' 

Mr. Thompson and Mr. Rogers had arrived, meanUme, with 
satohels and umbrellas, and had silently listened to the captain's new.-. 
Thompson put a half^iollar in my hand and said softly — 

' For my share of the chrome' • 

Rogers followed suit. 

Ym, it was an astonishing thing to see the Mississippi rolling 
between unpeopled shores and straight over the spot where I used to 



THE DiaPOSAL OV A BONANZA. 331 

see a good tng 8elf-«om|^aoent tovm twenty years ago. Town titat 
was county-seat of a great and important county ; town with a Ug 
United States marine hospital ; town of innumerable fi^te — an 
inquest every day ; town where I had uaed to know the prettiest girl, 



" ■ handed the first printed news of the 

' Penosylvania's ' mournful disaster a quarter of a century ago ; 
a town no more — swallowed up, vaaishad, gond to feed the fishes ; 
nothing left but a fragment of a shanty and a crumbling brick 
chimney I 



)ji:»..'.CiOOi^Ie 



LIFE Oy THE MISSISSTPPI. 



CHAPTER XXXUl. 

i AND ffTHICa. 



In regard to Island 74, which is sittiftted not far from the former 
Napoleon, & &eak of the river here has sorely perplexed the laws of 
men and made them a vanity and ajest. When the State of Arkansas 
wao chartered, she oontrolled 'to the centre of the riv^' — & most, 
unstable line. The State of MissisEippi claimed ' to the channel ' — 
another shifty and unstable line. No. 74 belonged to Arkansas. By 
and by a cut-off threw this big island out of Arkansas, and yet not 
mthin, Mississippi, ' Middle of the rivei' ' on one side of it^ ' channel ' 
on the otlier. That is as I understand the problem. Whether I have 
got tlie details right or wrong, this fact remains : that here is this 
tng and exceedingly valuable island of four thousand acres, thmat out 
in the cold, and belonging to neither the one State nor the other ; 
paying taxes to neither, owing allegiance to neither. One man owns 
the whole island, and of right is ' the man without a country.' 

Island 92 belongs to Arkansas. The river moved it over am) 
joined it to Mississippi. A chap eetablished a whisky shop tbwe, 
without a Missisdppi licence, and enriched himself upon MissiBsippi 
custom under Arkansas protection (where no licence was in tfaose 
days required). 

We glided steadily down the river in the usual privacy — steam- 
boat or other moving thing seldom seen. Scenery as always : stretch 
upon stretch of almost unbroken forest, on both sides of the river ; 
soundless solitude. Here and there a cabin or two, standing in 
small openings on the gr^ and grasslesB banks — cabins which had 
formerly stood a quarter or half-milG &rthw to the front, and gra- 
dually been pulled farther and farther back as the shores caved in. 
As at Pilcher's Point, for instnnce, where the cabins had been movied i 



RBFnmHMENTS AND ETMICS. 8BS 

back three hnndrnd yards in three monthB, bo we vera told ; but tb» 
caving banks had already caught up with them, and they were being 
oonToyed rearward onoe more. 

Napoleon had bat small opinion of Greenville, MisBiasippi, in the 
old tames ; but behold, Kapoleon is gone to the cat-fiahee, and here is 
Greenville full of life and activity, and making a considerable flourish 
in the Valley ; liaving three thousand inhabitants, it is said, and 
doing a gross trade of ^^2,500, 000 annually. A growing town. 

There was much talk on the boat about the Calhoun Land Com- 



<U.VIBe BA.NK8. 

pany, an enter|nifle which is expected to work wholesome results. 
Colonel Cathonni a gisndson of the statesman, went to Boston and 
formed a syndicate which purchased a large tiact of land on the river, 
in Chicot County, Arkansas — some ten thousand acres — for ootton- 
growing. The purpose is to work on a cash basis: buy&tfiist hsuds, 
and handle tlwir own product; guj^y thmr negro labourers with 
provisions and necessaries at a trifling profit, say 8 or 10 per cent. ; 
fomish than comfortable quart«rs, etc, and encourage them to save 
money and ranain on the place. If this proves a financial success, as 



334 LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

soema quite certain, tbey propose to eet&blish a bonkiDg-houEe in 
Greenville, and lend money nt an unburdensome rate of interest — 6 
per cent, ia spoken of. 

The trouble heretofore has been — I am quoting remarks of pUnteis 
and ateamboatmen — that; tke plaatere, although owning the land, 
were without cash capital ; had to hypothecate both land and crop to 
cany on the busiQess. ConsequeDtly, tlw commiedon dealer who 



fumisheB the money tokee aome risk and demands big interestr — 
Tisually 10 per cent., and 2^ per cent, for negotiati]^ the loan. The 
planter has also to buy his supplies through the Bame dealer, paying 
oommiasions and profits. Then when fae ships his crop, the dealer 
adds his oommisstonB, inaurance, etc So, taking it by and laip, 
and first and last, the dealer'a ahare of that crop is about 26 per cent.' 

> < Bat what can tbe State do where the people are nnder mbjeotion te 
istea of Interest lauging from 18 to 30 per cent, uid are also under the iMC«a- 
Kitf of pnrchaiing their ctopa In advance even of plantiDg, at these rataa, for 



REFRESHMENTS AUD ETHICS. 8U> 

A eotton-pIftnter'B eBtimate of the average margin of profit on 
plsnting, in bie section : One man and mole will raise ten acres c^ 
cotton, giving ten bales cotton, worth, say, j500 ; cost of producing, 
f>ay jj|350 ; net jovfit, £150, or £15 per acre. There is also a profit 
now from the cotton-seed, which formerly had little valoe — none 



where much transportation was necessary. In sixt«en hundred pounds 
crude cottuifour hundred are lint, worth, say, ten oenta a pound; and 
twelve hundred pounds of seed, worth ;j(13 or %\% per ton. Maybe ' 
in future even the afema will not be thrown away. Mr. Edward 
Atkinson says that for each bale of cotton there are fifteen hundred 

>t 100 per cent. proAt X 'Sdtrard 

,.,.,. A.oogic 



336 LIFS ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

pounds of stems, and tliat theee are very rich in phoaphiite of lime and 
potaah ; that when groirnd and mixed with ensilage or ootton-seed 
meal (which ia too rich for use aa fodder in large quantitLee), the stem 
mixture makee a superior food, rich in all the elements needed tat 
ibe production of milk, meat, and bone. Heret<^ore the stems h«*e 
been considered a nuisance. 

- Complunt is made that the planter remains groa^ toward tJie 
former slave, since the 
war; will have no- 
thing but B chill 
badness relation with 
him, no sentiment 
permitted to intrude; 
will not keep a 'store' 
himself and sapply 
tlie negro's wants and 
thus protect die ne- 
gro's focket aud make 
him able and willing 
ilaoe and an advantage 
, but lets that privilege 
araelite, who enoourageB 
n^pro and wife to buy 
^ which th^ could do 
1 credit, at Hg prices, 
3th, credit beaed on the 
the growing crop; and 
ac uie ena oi i.he season, the negro's 
THE BAEKiMPEB. aij^t^ belongs to the Israelite, the negro 

is in debt besides, is diacouiaged, dis- 
aatiafied, restless, and both he and the planter are injaredj for he 
will take steamboat and migrate, and the planter must get a gbaaga 
in his place who does not know him, does not care for him, will 
fatten Hm Israelite a season, and follow his predecessor per steam- 

It is hoped that the Ctillioun Company will show, by its humaae 



REFRESHMBNTS AXD ETHICS 327 

profitable for both plailter'amd negro ; and it is believed that & general 
adoption ctf that method will thea follow. 

And where bo ^ 

many are aaying thdr '1 

OAJ, shall not the bar- I 

beeper testify 1 He _J 

u thoughtfiU, obser- 
vant, never driolu; 
endeavours to earn 
his salary, and vsouid 
earn it if there were 
custom enough. He 
sajB the people along 
here in Miacusippi 
and Looiaiana will 
aend ap the river to 
bay TQgetabUe rather 
<-.hft.Ti raise them^ uid 
they will come aboard 
Ht the landingB and 
boy froita of the bar- 
keeper. Thinks they 
' don't know anything 
bat cotton ; ' believee 
they don't know how 
to raise vegetables 
and fruit — 'at leaat 
the most of them.' 
SayB ' a nigger will go 
to H for a water- 
melon' ('H' ia all I 
find in the steno- 

gn^her's report— ■* '■"™ «"•'- 

means Hali&x pro- 
bably, though that seems a good way to go for a wat«a;inelon). Bar- 
keeper bnys wat«rmek>n8 for five cents up the river, brings them 
down and sells them for fifty, ' Why does be mix such elaborate and 
picturesque drinks for the nigger hands on the boat I ' Because they 



838 LIFh ON THE MI8SIS8IPPI. 

won't luTo any other. ' They want a hig drink ; don't make any 
difference what 70a make it of, they want the worth of tbeir money. 
Yon give a nigger a plain gill of half-a-dollar bnmdy for five cents — 
will he touch it 1 Ho, Ain't size enongh to it. Bnt yon pat np 
a pint of all kinds of worthlesB rubbish, and heave in some red 
stuff to make it beautiful — red's the main thing — and he wouldn't 
put down that gjass to go to a oircua.' All the bars on this Anchor 
Line are rented and owned by one firm. They furnish the liqaors 
from their own establishment, and hire the barkeepera 'on salary.' 
Good liquoml Yes, on some of the boats, where there are the kind 
of passengers that want it and can pay for it On t3ie otii^ boat* 1 
No. Nobody but the deck hands and firemen to drink it. ' Brandy t 
Yea, I've got brandy, plenty of it ; bat you dcn't want any of it 
unless you've made your will.' It isn't as it used to be in tbe old 
times; Then everybody travelled by steamboat, everyboc^ diank, 
and everybody treated everybody else. ' Now most everybody goes 
by railroad, and the rest don't drink.' In the old times the bar- 
keeper owned the bar himself, ' and was gay and smarty and talky 
and all jewelled up, and was the tonieet aristocrat on the boat ; 
used to make ;j(2,000 on a trip. A father who left his son a steam- 
boat bar, left him a fortune. Now he leaves him board and lodging ; 
yes, and washing, if a shirt a trip will do. Yee, indeedy, timee 
are changed. Why, do you know, on the principal line of boats on 
the Upper Hiadssippi, they dou't have any bar at all I Sounds like 
po^iy, bat it's the petrified truth.' 



a. .y Google 



CHAPTER XXXrv. 

TOUGH YARNS. 

Stack Island, I remembered Stack Island ; also Lake FrovideDce, 
liOoinana — which is the first distinctly Southern-looking town you 
come to, downward-boand ; liee level and low, shade-trees hong with 
venerable grey beards of Spanish moes ; ' restful, pensive, Sunday 
aspect about the place/ comments Uncle Mumford, with feeling — also 
with tmth. 

A Mr. H. famished some minor 
dfltAils of fact conoeming this region 
which I would have hantated to ,;^ 
believe if I had not known him to 
be a steamboftt mate. He was a ' '. 
passenger of ontfi, a resident of 
Arkan^aa City, and boond to Vicks- 
borg to join his boat, a little Sun- 
flower packet. He was an aostere 
man, and had the reputation of ' 
being singularly unworldly, for a HOSQinTOEs. 

river man. Among other things, he 

said that ArViinMB had been injored and kept back by generations of 
exaggerations ooneevning the mosqnitoee here. One may smile , said 
he, and turn the mattor off as being a small thing ; bat when yon come 
to look at the effects prodnced, in the way of disconragement of immi- 
gration, and diminished valuee of property, it was quite the opposite 
of a small thing, or thing in any wise to be coughed down or sneered 
at. These mosqnitoes had been persistently represented as being foi^ 



330 LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

midable and lawleea ; wheieBs ' the truth is, th^ are feeble, buognifi- 
cui% in size, diffident to » fault, sensitive ' — and so on, and so on ; you 
would have supposed he was talking about his &mlly. Bat if he was 
soft on the Arkansas mosquitoes, he was hard enou^ cm the mosqui- 
toes of Lake Frovidence to make up for it—' those I^ke Providence 
colossi,' as he finely called them. He said that two of them oould 
whip a dog, and that four 
of them oould hold a man 
down; and except help 
come, they wonld kill him 
— ' butcher him,' as he ex- 
pressed it, Beferred in a aort 
of casual way — and yet signi- 
ficant way — to ' the Jact that 
the life policy in ita simpleat 
form is unknown in lAke 
Providence— they teika out a 
mosquito policy besides.' He 
told many remarkable Uungs 
about those lawless insects. 
Among others, said he had 
seen them try to vota. 
Noticing that this statemeot 
seemed to be a good deal <d 
a strain on us, he modified it 
a little : said he mi^t have 
been mistaken, as to that 
particular, but knew he had 
A BAD EAB. ,ieen them aroimd the pcdk 

' canTassing.' 
There was another passenger — ftiend of H.'s — who backed ap the 
harsh evidence Ekgainst those mosquitoes, and detailed some stirring 
adventures which he had had with them. The stories were pret^ 
simble, merdy pretty sizable; yet Mr. H. was continually intemtpt- 
ing with a cold, inexorable ' Wait — knock off twenty-five per cent, of 
that ; now- go on ; ' or, ' Wait — you are getting that too strong ; cot 
it down, cut it down — you geta leetle too much coetnmeiy onto your 



T0U6U TAJUfS. Sai 

statemente : always dresa a feet in tighta, never in an ulster ; ' or, 
' Pardon, once more : if you are going to load anything mora on to 
that Htatement, yon want to get a couple of lighters and tow the rest, 
becanse it's drawing all the wat«r there is in the river already ; stick 
to &ctB — jnst stick to the cold facts ; what these gentlemen want for 
a book is the frozen truth — ain't that so, gentlemen 1 ' He explained 
privately that it was necessary to wat«h this man all the time, and 
keep him within bound^; it would not do to D«^lect this precaution, 
as he, Mr. H., ' knew to his sorrow.' Said he, ' I will not deceive yon ; 
he told me such a monstrous lie once, that it swelled my left ear np, 
and spread it so that I was actually not able to see out aroimd it ; it 
remained so for months, and people came miles to see me &n myself 
vrithit. 



c.y Google 



LIFE PX THE HflSSISSTPPI. 



CHAPTEE XXXV, 

DURING THE TROUBLE. 



We used to plough paet the lofty hill-cit}', Vickebui^, down-sbraam ; 
but w« cannot do that now. A cutoff has made a country town of 
it, like Osceola, St. Genevieve, and several others. There ia current- 
lew water — also a big island — in front of Yicksburg now. Ton come 



e other 

viOKBBUEO. """ "• *"" ™»"d, then 

turn and oome up to tJie 
town; that is, in high water: in low water yon can't oome ap, bnt 
must land some distance below it. 

Signs and scars still remain, as reminders of Ticksbnrg's tzemen- 
dons war-experienceB ; earthworks, trees crippled by the ei|nncn ball*;. 



\-TCKSBUR6 DURIXe THE TROUBLE. 3S3 

cave-refugee in the cUy predploee, etc The c&Tea did good Bsniea 
daring the six weeks' bombardment of the dt? — Ma; 18 to July i, 
1863. They were used by the non-combatants — mainly by the 
wranen and children ; not to live in constantly, but to fly to for safety 
on oocaaon. They were mere holes, tunnels, driven into the per- 
pendicular clay bank, then braoched Y shape, within the hill. Lifb 



THE KIVBB WAS UNDI8TUBBSD. 

in Vicksboig, during the six weeks was peiiiapa — but wait ; here are 
some materials out of which to reproduce it : — 

Population, twenty-seven thousand soldiers and three thousand 
non-combatante ; the city utterly cut off from the world — walled 
solidly in, the frontage by gunboats, the rear by soldiers and 
batteries ; hence, no buying and selling with the outside ; no passing 
to and fro ; no Qod-speeding a parting guest, no welcomit^ ^ coming 



934 LiyS ON THE Misaiasippi. 

one; no pnnted acres of world-wide news to be raad at brwkEist, 
mominga — a tediom dnil absence of such matter, instead; henoe, 
also, no mnning to see BteamboatH smoking into vieir in the <iia*»m«< 
np or down, and ploughing toward the town — ^for none came, the 
river lay vacant and undisturbed ; no rush and tarmoil aroood the 
railway station, no struggling over bewildered swarms of pnsBcngers 
by noisy mobs of hackmen — all quiet there; flour two hundred dollan 
a barrel, sugar thirty, oom ten dollars a bushel, bacon five doUars a 
pound, rum a hundred dollars a gallon ; other things in proportioa : 
consequently, do roar and racket of drays and carriages tearing along 
the sti«ets ; nothing for them to do, among that handini of iran-oran- 
batants of exhausted means; at three o'clock in the mining, 
silence ; silence bo dead that the measured tramp of a sentinel can be 
heard a seemingly unposBible distance ; out of hearing of this londy 
sound, perhaps the Btillness is absolute : all in a moment oome 
ground-shaking thunder-crashes of artillery, the sky is cobwebbed 
with the oris-crossing red lines sti-eaming from soaring bomb-shdla, 
and a rain of iron fragments descends upon the dty ; descends iqxm 
the empty streets : streets which are not empty a moment later, bat 
mottled with dim figures of frantic women and children akurryiug 
from home and bed toward the cave dungeons — encouraged by the 
humorous grim soldiery, who shout ' Rats, to your holes ! * and lan^. 

The cannon-thunder rages, shells scream and crash overhead, the 
iron rain pours down, one horn-, two hours, three, possibly six, then 
stops ; silence follows, but the streets are stall empty ; the sUence 
oontinuee ; by-and-bye a head projects from a cave here and there and 
yonder, and reconnoitres, caatnoosly; the silence still oontinaing, 
bodies follow heads, and jaded, half smothered oreaturea group tiiem- 
selves about, Btretfih their onunped limbe, draw in deep dranghta <^ 
the gratrful fresh air, gossip with the neighbours from the next cave; 
maybe straggle off home presently, or take a lounge tJirongh tbe 
town, if the stillness continnes ; and will skurry to tbe boles again, 
t^-and-bye, when the war-tempest breaks forth onoe more. 

There bdng but three thousand of these cave-dwellerB — mevely 
tJie population of a village — would they not come to know each other, 
after a week or two, and familiarly ; insomuch that the fbrtanate or 
unfortunate experiences of one wonid be of interest to ti&l 



VICS8BUBG DURISG THE TROUBLE. 38S 

Tboee aie the materials fumUhed by history. From them might 
not ahnoet anybody reproduce for himself the life of that time in 



Vickaburgt Conld yoa, who did not experience it, come nearer to 
reprodudiig it to the imagination of another non-participant than 
ooold a Tick&burger who did experience it 1 It seenis impossible; 



336 LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

and yet there ure reasons why it might not nally be. When one 
ma^ea his first voyage ia a ship, it Ig an experience whicli multitti- 
dinously bristleB with striking novelties ; novelties which are in snt^ 
sharp contrast with all this person's former e^i^enoes that th^ 
take a seemingly deathless grip apon his Imagination andjiaemay. 
By tongue or pen he can make a landsman live that strange and 
starring voyage over with him ; make him see it all and feel it 
all. But if he wait 1 If he make ten voyages in fiiuKe«ion — what 
then t Why, the thing has lost ooloor, 'snap, snrprise ; and has 
become commoni^ace. The man would have notliing to tell that 
woold quicken a landsman's pulse. 

Years ago, I talked with a couple of the Yicksburg non-combatants 
— a man and his wif& Left to tell their story in the£r own way. 
tliose people told it without fire, almost without interest, 

A. week of their wonderful life there would have made thear 
tongues eloquent for ever perhaps ; but they had six weeks of it, and 
that wore the novelty all out ; they got used to being bomb^helled 
out of home and into the ground ; the matter became conunonplaoe. 
After that, the poEsibility of their ever being startUngly intcreating 
in their talks about it was gone. What the man said was to this 
effect: — 

' It got to be Sunday all the time. SeTcu Suudaya in the week — to ok 
anyway. We hadn't anything to do, and time hung heavy. Seven Sim- 
daye, and all of them broken up at one time or another, in the day or in iha 
ni^t, by a few hours of the awAiI storm of fire and thunder and iron. At 
flrat we used to ahin for the holes a good deal &steT than we did afterwards. 
The fint time, I forgot the children, and Haria fetched thvu both alcmg. 
'When the was all safe in the cave she funted. Two or three weeka aftei^ 
waids, when she was running for the holes, one morning, through a shell- 
shower, a big shell bunt near her, and covered her all over with dirt, and a 
piece of the iron carried away her game-bag of false hair &om the back of 
her head. Well, she stopped to get that game-bag before she shoved along 
again I Was getting used to things already, you see. We all got ao that m 
oould tell a good deal about shells ; and after that we didn't always go under 
shelter if it was a light shower. Us men wotdd loaf aiound and talk ; and a 
man would say, ' There she goes I ' and name the kind of shell it was from 
thesound of it, and go on talking — if there wain't any danger from it. If » 
shell was bursting ijoae over us, we stopped talking and stood still ; — un- 
comfortable, yea, but it wasnt ta& to move. When it let go, we went n 
,„ , A.ocwic 



VICKSBURG DLRJSa THE TROUBLE. 33T 

talking ngain, if nobodj huTt — maybe Myjng, ' That was a ripper ! ' or some 
such commoDplAce comment befoiv we resumed ; or, maybe, we would see a 
•hell poisiiig itself away high id the air overhead. Id that ca«e, every fellow 
just whipped out a sudden, ' S«e you again, gents I ' and shoved. Often and 
often I saw gangs of ladies promenading the streete, looking as cheerful as 
jou please, and keeping an eye canted up watching the shells; and IVa 
seen them stop still when they were uiicertalu about what a aliell was going 



to do, and wait and make cprlain; and after lliat they «'ant«red along again, 
or lit ont for shelter, nccording to the verdict. Streets in some towns have 
a litter of pieces of paper, and odda and ends of one sort or another lying 
arotrnd, Oura hadn't ; they had iron litter. Sometimes a man would 
gather up all the iron fiagmente and unbursted shells in his neighbourhood, 
sod pile them into a kind of monument in his front yard— a ton of it, some- 
times. No glara left ; glass couldn't stand such a bombardment; it was all 




LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

ahiverad ont. Windows 
of the houses vacMit — 
looked like eje-bolea in ft 
akuU. WhtiU panes wen 
as scarce as news. 

' We had church Sud- 
days. Not manj' tfaeie, 
along at first ; but l^-and- 
bye pretty good tumonte. 
I've seen service stop 
a minute, and everybody- 
«t quiet — no voice heard, 
pretty funeral-like then — 
and all the more so on 
account of the awfiil boom 
and crash going on out- 
^de and overhead ; and 
pietty soon, wboi a l»dy 
could be keaid, eerviee 
would go on again. Organs 
and church-music mixed 
up with a bombardment 
is « powerfiil queer tam- 
Unation — along' at firsL 
Ooming out of church, 
one morning, we had an 
ttoudent ^ the only one 
that happened around me 
' on a Sunday. I was just 
baving a hearty hand- 
shake with a friend I 
hadn't seen for a while, 
. and .saying, 'Drop into 
our cave to-night, aft^ 
bombardment; we've got 
bold of a pint of prime 
vb — .' Whidcey, 1 was 
going to say, you know, 
but a sbell intemipted. 
*■- ^ A chunk of it cut the 

WAIT AMD HAKB CBBTAIN. man's arm ofiT, and left it 

dangling in my band. 
And do you know the thing that is going to stick the longest in my inemoij, , 



VICS8BURG DUSIJUG THE TROWBLB. 38» 

and OQthitt everythiiig else, little u)d big, I reckon, is the mean thought 
I bad then F It wu ' the whiskej it taved' And ;et, don't you know, it 
■waa Und of excusable ; becaose it was as scarce as diamonds, and we liad 
only just that little ; ttevar hod another taste during the de^. 

'Sometimes the caves were de6perat«lj croirded, and always hot and 
cloM. Sometimes a cave hod twenty or twentj-flTd people packed into it ; 
no tuming-room for anybody; air bo foul, sometimefl, you couldn't have 
made a candle bum in it. A child wasborn in one of those cavee one night. 
Think of that ; why, it was like having it horn in a tfunk. 

'Twioe we had sixteen people in our cave ; and a number of timai w» 



<MVLK HEAT?' 

had a donn. Pretty suffocating in there. We always had raght ; eight bo- 
louged there. Hunger and nuBery and Bickuem and fright and sorrow, and I 
don't know what all, got so loaded into them that none of them were arer 
rightly their old salves after the dege. They all died but three of us within 
a couple of yaaiB. One night a shell burst in front of the hole and caved it 
in and stopped it up. It was lively times, for a while, di^ng ont, 3oma 
of oa came near smothering. After that we made two openings— ought to 
tiave thought of it at first. 

■ Mule meat P No, we only got down to that the last day or two. Of 
course it was good ; anything is good when yon are starving.' 



310 LIFE ON THE iflSSISSIPPI. 

This man liEul kept a, diaiy during — itiz weeks t No, only the 
first sir days. The firat day, eight close pages ; the second, five ; the 
third, one — loosely written ; the fourth, three or four lines ; a line or 
two the fifth and sixth days ; seventh day, diary ahtuidoned ; life in 
terrific Vicksburg having now bAoome commoiiplace and matter di 
course. 

The war history of Yiokabnrg has more about it to interest the 
general reader than that of any other of the nTer-towns. It is full of 
variety, full of incident, fWl of the picturesque. Ticksborg held out 
longer than any other important river-town, and saw warfare in all 
its phases, both land and water — the siege, the mine, the assault, the 
repulse, the bombardment, sickness, captirity, &mine. 

The meet beaatifnl of all the national cemeteries is here. Over 
the great gateway is this inscription — 

'here BB8T IN PEACE 16,600 WHO DIED FOB THEIR OOUSTBT 
IN THE YEARS 1B61 TO 1S65.' 

The grounds are nobly situated ; bong very high and commanding 
a wide prospect of land and river. They are tast^uUy laid out in 
broad terraces, with winding roads and paths; and there is pr(rfu:« 
adornment in the way of semi-tropical shrubs and Sowers; and in 
one port is a piece of native wild-wood, Irft jnst as it grew, ami, 
therefore, perfect in its charm. Everything abont this cemeten' 
suggests the band of the national Government. The Qovemmoit's 
work is always oonspicnons for excellence, solidity, tiioroiigfanesK. 
neatness. The Oovernment does its work well in the first place, an-1 
1^en takes care of it. 

By winding-roads — whicb were often cut to so great a tleptb 
between perpendicular walls that they were mere roofless tunnels — 
we drove out a mile or two and visited the monnment which atuid; 
np<m the scene of the surrender of Vicksbuig to Oeocval Qrant by 
General Femberton. Its metal will preserve it fr«n the backuigE 
and chippingB whicb so ikfaoed its predeoesaor, which was of marble : 
but the brick foundations are crumbling, and it will tumble down by- 
and-bye. It overlooks a picturesque r^on of wooded hilln anJ 
ravines; and is not unpicturesque itself, bang well smotbere^l in 



VICKSBUR6 DURING THS TROUBLE. 341 

floweriog weeds. The bettered remnuit of tbe marble monament 
has been removed to the Nationttl Cemetery. 

On the road, a quarter of a mile townward, an aged coloured man 
showed UB, with pride, an unexploded bomb-shall which bns lain in 
his yard since Uie day it fell there durini; the siege. 



out in de woods, / haa I " ' 

Yicksburg is a town of subetantial 
busineas streets and pleasant reeideocee; it commands the com- 
merce of the Yazoo and Sunflower Rivera ; is pushing rail^ys in 



342 LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

aeverfti directiona, through rich agricultnr&l r^ione, and has a pro- 
mising future of proe[>erity aod importftnce. 

Apparently, nearly all the river towns, big and little, have made 
up their minds that they must look mainly to railroads for w<«lth 
and upbuilding, henoeforth. They are acting upon this idea. The 
eigns are, that the next twenty years will bring about some DOt«- 
worthy chamgee in the Talley, in the direction of increased popula- 
tion and wealth, and in the intellectual adranoement and tiie )ibei«l- 
ising of opinion which go naturally with these. And yet, if one may 
judge by the past, the river towns will manage to find and use a 
chance, here and there, to cripple and retard their progrees. Her 
kept tiiemselves baok in the days of steamboating supremacy, by a 
system of whar&ge-dnes so stupidly graded as to prohibit what may 
be called small retail traffic in freights and paasengera. Boate were 
charged such heavy wliar&ge that they conld not afford to land 
for one or two passengers or a light lot d freight. Inatead of 
encouraging the bringing of trade to thor doors, the towns diligently 
and efiectively discouraged it. They could have had many boats and 
low rates ; bat their policy rendered few boats and high rates com- 
pulsory. It was a policy which ertended — and extends — from. New 
Orleans to St. Paul. 

We had a strong desire to make a trip up the Yasoo and the Sun- 
flower — an interesting r^on at any time, but additdonaUy interesting 
at this time, because up there the great inundation was still to be 
se^i in fbroe— -but we were nearly sure to have to wait a day or inoT« 
for a New Orleans boat on our return ; so we were obliged to give up 
the project. 

Here is a story which I picked up on board the boat that nigfat. 
I iDsert it in this place merely because it is a good story, not because j 
it belongs here— fot it doesn't. It was told by a passenger — a ooU^e 
professor — and was called to the surface in the course of a general 
conversation which began with talk about horses, drifted into talk 
about astronomy, then into talk about the lynching of the gamblers 
in Ticksburg half a century ago, then into talk about dreams and 
superstitions ; and ended, after midnight, in a dispute over &ee brade 
and protection. 

,„ , A.ocwie 



CHAPTER XXXVI. 

THE PKOPKBBOB'h TARN. 

It was in the early days. I was not & college prcfeesor then. I was 
a homble-minded young land-surveyor, with the world before me — to 
Borrey, in case anybody wanted it done. I had a oontraot to enrvey 
a route for a great mining-ditch in California, and I was on my way 
thither, by am, — a three or four weeks' voyage. There were a good 
many paBeeogers, hut I had very little to say to tiicm ; reading and 
dreaming were my paesions, and I avoided oonveisation in order to 
indulge these appetites. There were three professional gamblers on 
board — rongh, repakiTe fellows. I never had any taJk with them, 
yet I could not help seeing them with some frequent^, for titej 
gambled in an uppeivdeck atate-room every day and ni^t, and in my 
promenades I often had glimpses of them through their door, which 
stood a little ajar to let out the surplos tobacco smolce and prc^jiity. 
Th«7 were an evil and hateful presence, but I bad to put up with it, 
of course. 

There was one other passenger who fell under my eye a good deal, 
for he seemed determined to be friendly with me, and I could not 
have gotten rid of him without running some chance of hurting his 
feelings, and I was far from wishing to do that, Becddes, there was 
something engaging in his ooimtnfied simplicity and his beaming 
good-nature. The first time I saw this Mr. Jcdin Backus, I guessed, 
from his dotiiee and his looks, that he was a graaer or fermer from 
the backwoods of eome western State — doubtless Ohio — and afterward 
when he dropped into his personal history and I discovered that he 
imu a cattle-raiser from interior Ohio, I was so pleased with my own 
penetralian that I warmed toward him for verifying my instinct. 



34* LIFE ON TBE msSISSIPPI. 

He got to dropping alongside me eveiy daj, after breakfitst, to 
help me Make my promenade; and so, in the course of time, his easy- 
working jaw had told me everything about hie basinees, his prospects, 



lily, his relatireo, his 

— in fact everything 

icemed a Backus, h'ving 

1. And meantime I 

le had managed to get 

me ev^^thing I knew 

ny trade, my tribe, my 

8, my proqiectfi, and 

He was a gentle and 

ive genius, and this 

ibowod it ; for I waa 

ra to talking about my 

I said something 

rianguUtion, onoe; the 

word pleased his ear; 

lired what it nieaat ; I 

ed ; after l^t he quiet- 

Doffensively igncM«d my 

uid always called me 

e. 

' \ What an enthusiast he was 

MT PBOMENADK. in cattle! At the bare name 

of a bull or a oow, his eye 

would light and his eloquent tongue would turn iteelf looee. As hag 

as li would walk and listen, he would walk and talk ; he knew all 

breeds, he loved nil breeds, he caressed them all with his aflbctionato 



. THE PROFEBaOR'S YARy. 345 

tongue. I tramped along in vmcelees mieerr whilst the cattle question 
was iq» ; when I oould endure it no longer, I used to deftly insert a 
ecientifio topic into the conTersation ; then my eye fired and his 
faded ; my tongue fluttered, his stopped ; Uie was a joy to me, and a 
sadnesB to him. 

One day he said, a little hesitatingly, and with somewhat of diffi- 



* Ihiangle, would yon mind coming down to my state-room a 
minnt«, and have a little talk on a certain matt» ) ' 

I went with him at once. Arrived there, he put his head out, 
glanced up and down the saloon warily, then closed the door and 
locked it. We sat down on the sofa, and he said — 

' I'm a-going to make a httle proposition to yon, and if it striken 
yon &vourable, it'U be a middling good thing for both of us. You 
lun't a-gtnng out to Califomy for fun, nutber am I — it's husineta, (un't 
that BO 1 Well, you can do me a good turn, and so can I you, if we 
see fit. I've raked and scraped and saved, a considerable many years, 
and Tve got it all here.' He unlocked an old hair trunk, ttunbled a 
chaoe of shabby clothes aside, and drew a short stout bag into view 
for a moment, then buried it again and ralocked the trunk. Dropping 
bis voice to a cautious low tone, he continued, 'She's all there — a 
round ten thousand dollars in yellow-boys ; now this is my little idea ; 
What I don't know about raising cattle, ain't worth knowing. There's 
minte of mone^ in it, in Califomy. Well, I know, and you know, 
that all along a line that's being surveyed, there's little dabs of land 
that they call " gores," that fall to the snrv^or free gratis for nothing. 
All you've got to do, on your side, is to survey in such a way that tiie 
" gores " will &11 on good &t; land, then you turn 'em over to me, I 
stock 'em with cattle, in rolls the cash, I plank out your share of 
the dollars regular, right along and ' 

I was sorry to wither his blooming enthusiasm, but it oould not 
be helped. I interrupted, and said severely — 

' I am not tiiat kind of u surveyor. Let us change the subject, 
Mr. Sackus.' 

It was pitiful to see his oonAision and hear his awkward and 
abame&ced otologies. I was as much distressed as he was — especially 
as he seemed so tax from having suspected that there was anything 



316 LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

improper in liis proposition. So I hastened to console him and lead 
him on to forget his mishap in a conTereational orgy abont cattle and 
butchery. We were lying at Acftpuico ; and, as we went on deck, it 



' Now only look at that I ' a short stout bag. 

cried he ; ' My goodness. Tri- 
angle, what would they say to it in Ohio f Wouldn't their eyea hn^ 
out, to see 'em handled like that i — wouldn't they, though t ' 

All (Jie passengers were on deck to look — even the gamblerE— 



. THE PROF^SOR-8 TARK. 3*7 

and Backus knew them all, and had affliotod them all irith his pet 
tc^ne. Aa I moved away, I saw one of the gambleis approach and 
accost him ; them another <tf them ; then the third. I halted ; 
waited; watched; the conTeraation ccmtinoed between the four men; 
it grew eemeet; Backus drewgtadoallyawajr; the gamblers followed, 
and kept at his elbow. I was uncomfortable. However, as th^ 
passed me preoentlj, I heard Backus sa;, with a tone of peisecnted 
annoyanoe^ 

' But it ain't any use, gentlemen ; I tell you again, as I've told 
yoQahalf&dotentJmeebefore,Iwam't raised to it, and I ain't a^^oiiig 
to resk ib' 

I Celt relieved. ' His level head will be his sufficient protection,' 
I BUd to myself. 

Jhiring the fortnight's run from Acapnlco to San EVamnsoo I 
several times saw the gamblers talking earnestly with Backus, and 
once I threw out a gentie warning to him. He chuckled comfmtably 
and said — 

' Oh, yes ! they tag around after me considerable — want me to 
play B. little, just for amusement, they say — but laws-a-me, if my 
folks have told me once to look out for that sort of livestock, they've 
told me a thousand times, I reckon.' 

By-and-bye, in due oonrve, we were approaching San Fiandsoo. 
It was an i^ly black night, with a strong wind blowing, but there 
was not much sea. I was on deck, alone. Toward ton I started 
below. A figure issued &om the gamblers' den, and disappeared in 
the darkness. I experienced a shook, for I was sure it was Backus. 
I flew down the companion-way, looked about for him, could not find 
him, tiien returned to the deck Just in time to oatch a glimpse of him 
as he re-entered that oonfiranded nest of rascality. Had he yielded 
at lastl I feared it. What had he gone below for ) — His bag of 
coin t FoBsibly. I drew near the door, full of bodings. It was a- 
crack, and I glanoed in and saw a aght that made me bitterly wish I 
bad ^ven my attention to saving my poor cattle-friend, instead of 
reading and dreaming my foolish time away. He was gambling. 
Worse still, he was being plied with champagne, and was already 
showing some effect from it. He praised the ' cider,' as he called it, 
and said now that he had got a taste of it he almost believed he 



3i8 LIFS OS THE MISSISSIPPI. 

would driuk it if it was spirits, it was so good and so ahead of any- 
thing he had ever run across before. Surreptitious smiles, at this, 
peased from one rascal to another, and tfaey filled all the glasses, and 
whilst Backus honestly drained his to the bottom they pi'eteoded to 
do the same, but threw tlie wine over their shoulders. 

I oould not bear the scene, so I wandered forward and tried to 
interest myself in the sea and the voices of the wind. But no, my 
nueaoy spiiit kept dragging me 
back at quartei'-hour intervals ; 
and always I saw Backus drink- 
ing bis wine — fiurly and aqnare- 
ly, and the others throwing theirs 
away. It was the poiofullest 
night I ever spent. 

The only hope I had was 
that we might reach our anchor- 
age with speed — that would 
break up the game. I helped 
the ship along all I could with 
my prayers. At last we went 
booming through the Gohlen 
Gate, and my pulses levied for 
j<^. I hmrried back to that 
door and glanced in. Alas, there 
was small room for hope — 
Backos's eyes were heavy and 
bloodshot, bis sweaty &Ge was 

"^ crimson, his speech maudlin and 

THE DOOB WAS A-cHACK. ^<iV, hifl body sawed drunkwdy 

about with the weaving motion 
of the ship. - He drained another glass to the di'^, whilst Uie ouds 
wei« being dealt. 

He took his hand, glanced at it, and his dull eyee tit op for a 
moment. The gamblers observed it, and showed thdr gratificatiaii 
by hardly perceptible «gns. 
' How many cards 1 ' 
' None !' said Backus. , ,, ,^t|,. 



THE PROFESSORS YARX. 349 

One villain — named Hank WUey — discarded one card, the others 
three each. The betting b«^u. Heretofore the beta had been 
trifling — a dollar or two ; bat Backns started off with an eagle noTr 
'Wiley hesitated a moment, then 'saw it 'and '\(-ent ten dollars 
better.' The other two threw up their hands. 



ind 

itb 

- w Da« i jou mean lo say you're 
going to cover itt' 
'Cover it I Well, I reckon I am — and lay another hundred on 
top of it, too.' 

He reached down inside bis overcoat and produced the required sum. 
' Oh, that's yoar litUe game, is it 1 I see year raise, and raise it 
Bve hundred t ' oaid Wile?. 



LIKS ON TBB MISSfSSIFPI. 



'Pivo hundred better/' said the foolish bull- driver, and paUed 
out the amount tmd showered it on the pile. The three oonqtiiston 
hardly tried to conceal their exultation. 

All diplomacy and pretence were dropped now, and the shatp 



exclamations came thick and fast, and the yellow pyramid gi«w 
higher and higher. At laat ten thousand dollara lay in view. Wiley 
cast a bag of coin on the table, and said with mcMsking gentlenem — 

'Five thousand dollars better, my friend from the rural distrtcts 
— what do you say now t ' 

t, I HI;! If 



THE PBOFEBSOR'S TARN. .161 

' I eail you 1 ' said Backus, heaving his goldau shot-bag on the 
pil«. ' "WLat hfliTe you got 1 ' 

' Four Mugs, you d — d fool ! ' and Wiley threw down his corde 
and saiTounded tiie stakes with his arma, 

' Four acta, you asa I ' thundered Backus, covering his man with 
a cooked revolver. ' I'm, a pro/eseumal gambler myie^f, and I've 
fieen laying for you dt^ffert all (hit voyage ! ' 

Down went the anchor, rombledy-dam-dum ! and the long trip 
^vas ended. 

Well — ^well, it is a sad world. One of the three gamblera waa 
Backui^s * pal.' It was he that dealt the fotefnl hands. According 
to an nnderstauding with the two victims, he was to have givea 
BackoB four queens, but alas, he didn't. 

A week Iat«r, I stumbled upon Backus — arrayed in the height of 
fitshion — in Montgomery Street. He said, cheeoily, as we were 



' Ah, by-the-way, yon needn't mind about those gores. I dtm't 
really know anything about cattle, except what I was able to pick up 
in a week's apprenticeship over in Jersey just before we Bailed. My 
cattle-culture and cattle-enthnoasm have served th^ tarn — I shan't 
need them any more.' 



Next day we reluctantly parted &om the ' Gold Dust ' and her 
officers, hoping to see that boat and all those ofBcers again, some day. 
A thing which the fatee were to render tragically impossible ! 



Dgliza..!. Google 



LIFK Oy TUB atliSSISSIPPJ. 



CHAPTER XXXVII. 

THE ESS OF THE 'OOLD DUST.' 

For, three months later, Augiiat 8, while I was writing one of thewr 
Fort^ing chapteni, the New York papers brought this tel^ram — 

A TERRIBLE DISASTER. 

fiBVEXTKBK PEBSONS KILLED BY AH EXPLOBIOS OK THE STKUIBR 
'GOLD DIT9T.' 

' N'abbville, Aug. 7. — A despatch from Hickman, Ky,, saja — 

' The steimer " Gold Dual " exploded her boilerH at three o'clock to^a;, 
just after learing Ilickman. Fortj-oeren peraons were scalded and seTen- 
teen are misaing. The hoat was landed in the eddy just above the town, 
and through the exertions of the citizens the cabin paMengen^ officen>, and 
part of the crew and deck paaseagera were taken afhore and removed to the 
hotels and reaidencee. Twenty-tour of the injured were lying in Holcomb'e 
dry-gooda atoie at one time, where they received every attention before bai^ 
removed to more comfortable placee.' 

A list of the names followed, whereby it appeared that of the 
aeventeen dead, one was the barkeqMr; and among the finty-aeveii 
wounded, were the captain, chief mate, second male, and eeocmd and 
third clerks ; also Mr. Lem, S. Gray, pilot, and several membcra of 
the crew. 

It^aniwer to a privat«telegTam,we learned that none<^tliete was 
,„■.. X.oaq\v 



THE ESD OF THE 'OOLD DUST: 363 

severely hurt, except Mr. Gray. I>ttera received afterward cod- 
firmed this news, and said that Mr. Gray was improving and wonld 
get well. Later letters spoke less hopefully of his case ; and finally 
came one atmotrndng hie death. A good man, a most companionable 
and manly man, and worthy of a kindlier fate. 



)j,:»,,.. Google 



LIVE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 



•* CHAPTER XXXVIII. 

THE HOUSE BEAUTTFUL. 

We took paasage in a Cindnnati boat for New Orleans ; or on n 
Cinoiimati boat — either is correct ; the former is tiie eastern form of 
. putting it, the latter the western. 

Mr. Dickens declined to agree that the Misdasippi st«ambi>)ik 
were 'magnificent,' or that they were 'floating palaces,' — termswhidi 
had always been applied to them ; terms which did not ova>-eapRa> 
the admiration with which the people viewed them. 

Mr. Dickens's position was onasaailable, possibly ; the people:> 
position waa certainly unassailable. If Mr. Dickens was oomparii^ 
these boats with the crown jewels ; or with tbe Taj, or with tite 
Matterhom ; or with some other priceless or wonderful thing whicb 
he had seen, they were not magnificent — he waa right. The people 
compared them with what they had seen ; and, thas measured, thof 
judged, the boate were magnificent — the term was the correct one. ti 
was not at all too strong. The people were as right as was Mr, 
Dickens. Tbe steamboats were finer than anything on shore. Com- 
pared with superior dwelling-houses and first-class hotels in the 
Talley, they were indubitably magnificent, they were ' palaces.' Ti^ 
a few people living in New Orleans and St- Louis, they were not 
magnificent, perhaps; not palaces; but to the great majority of tbiw 
populations, and to the entire populations sfvead over both banb' 
between Baton Rouge and St. Louis, they were palaces; they tallied 
with the citizen's dream of what magnificence was, and satisfied it. 

Every town and village along that vast stretch of double river- 
frontage had a best dwelling, finest dwelling, mansion, — tbe homeot' 
its wealthiest and most conspicuous citizen. It is easy to deecriW 



THE HOUSE BEAUTIFUL. 3B6 

it : Urge grassy yard, with paling fence painted wldte — in fair 
repair ; brick walk from gate to door ; big, sqaare, two-atm-y ' frame ' 
house, painted white and portiooed like a Grecian temple — with tliis 
difference, that the impoBiDg fluted columns and Corinthian capitals 
were a pathetic sham, being made of white pine, and painted ; iron 
knocker; brasadoorknol^-discoloared, for lack of polishing. WitMn, 
an nncarpeted ball, of planed boaids ; opening out of it, a p«rlo\K 
fifteen feet b^ fifteen — in aome instances five or ten feet laraer; 
ingrain carpet ; mahogany centre-table; lamp on it, witli green-paper 
shade — standing on a gridiron, so to speak, made of high-eblonred 
yams, by the young ladies of the house, and called a lainp-mat ; 
several books, piled and dif^>osed, wiUi cast-iron exactness, according 
to an inherited and unchangeable plan ; among them, Tupper, much 
pencilled; also, 'Friendship's Offering,' and 'Affection's Wreath,' 
with their sappy inanities iUostrnted in die-away meEzotints ; also, 
Ossian ; ' Alonzo and Melissa ; ' maybe ' Iranhoe ; ' also ' Album, 
full of original ' poetry ' of the Thou-hast-wounded-the-spiritrthat- 
loved-thee breed; two or three goody^ody works — 'Shepherd of 
Salisbury Plain,' etc. ; current number of tiie ohaste and innocuous 
Gktdey's ' lady's Book,' with painted fashion-plate of wax-figure 
women with months all alike — lips and eyehds the same size — each 
five-foot woman with a two-inch wedge sticking &om tinder her drees 
and letting-on to be half of her foot Polished air-tight stove (new 
and deadly invention), with pipe passing through a board which 
closes np the discarded good old fireplace. On each end of the 
wooden mantel, over the fireplace, a large basket of peaches and other 
fruits, natural siie, all done in plaster, rudely, or in wax, and painted 
to reeemble the originals — which thqr don't. Over middle of mantel, 
engraving — ^Washington Crossing the Delaware ; on the wall by the 
door, copy of it done in thunder-and-lightning crewels by one of the 
yoong ladies — work of art which would have made Washington 
hesitate about crossing, if he conld have foreseen what advantage was 
^ng to be taken of it. Piano — kettle in dl^piise — with music, 
bound and unbound, piled on it, and on a stand near by : Battle of 
"Prague ; Bird Waltz ; Arkansas Traveller ; Sosin the Bow ; Mar- 
Boilles Hymn ; On a Lone Barren Isle (St. Helena) ; The I^ast Link 
it: Broken ; She wore a Wreath of Boses the Night when last we 
A a2 



86S LIFE ON THE 3IISai88IPPI. 

met ; Go, forget me, Why should Sorrow o'er that Brow a Shadow 
fling j Houn there were to Memory Dearer; Long, Long -A-go; 
Days of Abseuoe; A Life on the Ocean Wave, a Home on the 
Boiling Deep ; Bird at Sea ; and spread open on tbe rack, where the 
plaintive Biagar has left it, ifo-holl on, sUrer moo-hoon, guide the 
<rav-el-lerr his vmy, etc Tilted pensively against the piano, a guitar 
—guitar capable of playing the Spanish Fandango by itself, if yon 
give it a start. Frantic work of art on the wall — pious motto, done 
on the premises, sometimes in coloured yams, sometimes in fiuled 
grasses : progenitor of the ' God Bleea Our Home ' of modmt com- 
merce. Framed in black mouldings on the wall, other works of arts, 
conceived and committed on the premises, by the yoong ladies ; 
being grioL black-and-white crayons ; landscapes, mostly : lake, soli- 
tary eail-boat, petrified clouds, pre-geological trees on shore, anthracite 
precipioe ; name of oriminal conspicuous in the comer, lititograph, 
Napoleon Crossing the Alps. Lithc^raph, The Grave at St. Helena. 
Steel-plates, Trumbull's Battle of Bunker Hill, and the Sally from 
Gibraltar. Copper-plates, Moses Smiting the Bock, and Betura at 
the Prodigal Son. In big gilt fiame, slander of the &mily in oil : 
papa holding a book (' Otmstitation of the T7nited States'); guitai 
leaning against mamma, blue ribbons fluttering from ita neck ; the 
yoong ladies, as children, in slippers and scalloped pantelsttes, one 
embnMnng toy horse, the other beguiling kitten with ball of yam, and 
both simpering up at mamma, who simpers back. These persrau all 
&e8h, rav, and red — apparently skinned. Oppodto, in gilt &ame 
grandpa and grandma, at thirty and twenty-two, stifl*, old-&ahioned 
h^h-oollared, puff-sleeved, glaring' pallidly out firom a background o> 
solid Egyptian night. Under a glass Frenoh dock dome, largt 
bouquet of stiff flowers done in oorpsy-white wax. I^ramidal what 
not in the comer, the shelves occupied chiefly with biic-i-bnc of th< 
period, disposed with an eye to best efiect: shell, with the Lor^'i 
Prayer carved on it j another shell — of the longK>va] sort, narrow 
straight orifice, thr«e inches long, running from end to end — portrail 
of Washington carved on it ; not well done ; the shell had Wasii 
ington's mouth, originally — artist should have built to that. ThuKi 
two are memorials of the long-ago bridal trip to New Oi4eanB an^ 
the French Market. Other brio>&-brac : Califomian ' 



Am IKTKBIOlt, 



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THE S0V8B BEAUTIFUL. 3S9 

quartz, with gold VMt ailhering ; old Guinea-gold locket, with tnrolet 
of anoeetoal hair in it ; Indian arrow.heeda, of flint ; pair irf bead 
moocanns, from, uncle who crossed the Flaina ; three ' alum ' baakets 
of TariouB colours — being Bkeletou-&ame of wire, clothed-on witi 
cubes of crystallisod alum in the rock-candy style — works of art 
which were achieved by the young ladies; their doubles and dupli- 
cates to be found upon all wbat-uote in the land ; conveDtion of 
desiccated bugs and butt«i-flieB pinned to a card ; paintod toy-dog, 
seated upon bellowa-attadunent—drops its under jaw and squeaks 
when pressed upon ; sngar-caudy rabbit — limbs and.featuree merged 
t<%ether, not strongly defined ; pewter presidential-campaign medal ; 
miniature card-board wood-sawyer, to be attached to the stove-pipe 
and operated by the heat; email Napoleon, done in wax; spread-opea 
daguerreotypes of dim children, parents, cousins, aunts, and fHendsi 
in all attitudes but customary ones ; no t«mpled portico at back, and 
manufactured landscape stretching away iu the distance — that came 
in later, with the photograph; all these vague figures lavishly chained 
and ringed — metal indicated and secured from doubt by stripes and 
splaaheeof vivid gold bronze; all of them too much combed, too much 
fixed up ; and all of them uncomfortable in infiezible Sunday-dotlies 
of a pattern which the spectator cannot realise could ever have been 
in fashion ; husband and wife generally grouped together — husband 
sitting, wife standing, with hand on his shoulder- and both preserv- 
ing, all theete fiiding years, some traceable effect of the ds^erreotypist's 
brisk ' Now smile, if you please ! ' Bracketed over what-not — place 
of special sacredness — an outrage in water-colour, done by the young 
niece that came on a visit long ago, and died. Pity, too ; for she 
might have repented of this in time. Horae-hair chaini, horse-hair 
.SO& which keeps sliding from under you. Window shades, <^ oil 
stuff, with milk-maids and miued castles stencilled on them in fierce 
colours. Lambrequins dependent front gaudy boxings of beaten tin, 
gilded. Bedrooms with rag carpets ; bedsteads of the ' corded ' sort, 
with a ssg in the middle, tiie cords needing tightening; snuffy 
feathei--bed — not aired often enough ; cane-seat chairs, splint-bottomed 
nicker; looking-glass on wall, school-slate size, veneered firame; 
inherited bnreau ; wash-bowl and pitcher, possibly — but not certainly; 
brass candlestick, tallow candle, snufiers. Nothing else in the room. 

,.,., A.oogic 



, 360 LIFE Oy THE MISSISSIPPI. 

"Sot a bftthroom in the house ; and no vidtor likely to come along 
who has ever Been one. 

ThaC was the reddence of the principal citizen, all the way from 



picture on the paddle-box, possibly ; 
big roomy boiler-deck, painted blue, and furnished with Windsor arm- 
chairt ; inside, a &r-reoeding snow-white ' cabin ; ' porcelain knob 



THS HOVBE BEAUTIFUL. 381 

and oil-pictore on every Bt&te-room door ; curring patterns of filagree- 
work touched up with gilding, Btretching orerhead all down the 
convei^ng vista; big chandeliers every little way, each an April 
shower of glittering glass-drops ; lovely rainbow-light &Iling every- 
where from the ooloored glazing of the skylights ; the whole a long- 
drawn, 'resplendent tonnel, a bewildering and soul-satisfying spectacle ! 
In the ladies' cabin a pink and white Wilton carpet, as soft as mush, 
and glorified with a ravishing pattern vii gigantio flowers. Then the 
Bridal Chamber— the animal that invented that idea was still alive 
and unhanged, at that day — &idal Chamber whoee pretentious flum- 
mery was neoeesarily overawing to the now tottering istelleot of 
that hosannahiog citdxen. £very state-room had its couple of coey 
clean bonks, and perhaps a looking-glass and a snug doset ; and 
Bometimee there was even a washbowl and pitcher, and part of a 
towel which could be told from mosquito netting by an expert — 
thou^ generally these things were absent, and the shirt-sleeved 
passengers cleansed themselves at a long row of stationary bowls in 
the barber shop, where were also public towels, public combs, uid 
public soap. 

Take the steamboat which I have just described, and yon have 
her in her highest and finest, and most pleasing, and comfortable, and 
satis&ototy estate. Kow cake her over wit^ a layer of ancient and 
obdurate dirt, and you have the Cincinnati steamer awhile ago 
referred to. Not all over — only inside ; for she was ably officered in 
all deportmeate except the steward's. 

But wash that boat and repaint her, and she would be about 
tbe counterpart of the most complimented boat of the old fiush 
idinea : fiir the steamboat architecture of tbe West has undergone no 
change ; neither has steamboat furniture and ornamentation under- 
gone any. 



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LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 



CHAPTER XXXIX. 

HASUFACTURXa AND UISCRBANTS. 

Whbee the river, in the YicksbtiTg region, used to be corkscrewed, 
it 19 now comporativelj etraight — made so by cnt-off; a fcn-nttf 
distance of seventy miles is reduced to thirty-five. It is a change 
which throw "Vickfibui^'s neighbour, Delta, Louisiana, ont into tlie 
country and ended ita career as a, river town. Itfl whole river- 
frontage is now occupied by a vast sand-bar, thickly covered with 
young trees — a growth which will magniiy itself into a dense {txvet 
by-and-byo, and completely hide the exiled town. 

In due time we passed Grand Oulf and Bodney, of war &me, and 
reached Natchez, the last of the beautiful hill-citiee — ^for Baton Rouge, 
yet to come, is not on a hill, but only on high ground. Famous 
Natchez-under-the-hill has not changed notably in twenty years ; in 
outward ae[>ect — judging by the deecaiptions <tf tiie ancient procession 
of foreign tourists — it has not changed in sixty ; for it is still small, 
straggling, and shabby. It had a desperate reputation, morally, in 
the old keel-boating and early ateamboating times — plenty of drinking, 
carousing, fistioufSng, and killing there, among the riff-raff d the 
river, in those days. But Natchez-on-top-«tf-the-hill is attractive ; 
has always been attractive. Even Mrs. Trollope (182?) bad to 
confees its charms : 

' At one or two points the wearisome level line is relieved by Uuffi, is 
tliuy call the short intervals of high g:raund. The town of Natchei ia beauti- 
fully situated on one of those high spots. The coQtiaet that its bright giean 
hill forms with the dismal line of black forest that stretches on eveiy aide. 
the abundant growth of the pawpaw, palmetto and orange, the copioos 
variety of sweet-Bceoted flowers that flourish then, all make it appear likr 
,„ , A.ocwie 



JUASUFACTUMES AXD MISCREANTS. 363 

an oasis b the desert. Natehez is tbe furthest point to the north \t which 
oranges ripen in the open air, or endure the winter without shelter. With 
the exception of this sweet spot, I thought nil the little towns and Tillages 
we passed wretched-looldng in the eitreme.' 

Natchez, like her aear and far river neighbours, has railways now, 
and is adding to them — pushing them hither and thither Into all rich 
outlying regions that are naturally tribntary to her. And like Yicks- 
burg and New Orleans, she has her ice-factory : she makes thirty tons 




of ice a day. In Victsburg and Natchez, in my time, ice was jewd- 
lery; none bat the rich could wear it. Butanybody and everybody can 
have it now. I visited one of the ice-factories in New Orleans, to see 
what the polar r^ons might look like when lo^^ into the edge of 
the tropics. But there was nothing striking in the aspect of tlie 
place. It was merely a spacious house, with some innocent steam 
machinery in one end of it and some big porcelain pipes running here 
and there. No, not porcelain — they merely seemed to be ; they were 



S64 LIFE OS TRE MISSISSIPPI. 

iron, but the ammonui which was being brefttfaed througb tiiem had 
coAtad them to the thickneea of your hand with solid milk-white ice. 
It ought to h&ve melted ; for one did not require wint«r clothing in 
that atmosphere: but it did not melt j the inside of the pipe was too 
cold. 

Sunk into the floor were nnmbeiiese tin boxes, a foot square and 
two feet long, and open at the t<qi end. These were full rf clear 
water; and aiound each box, salt and other [wc^er stuff was packed ;, 
also, the ammonia gases were applied to the water in some way which 
will always remain a secret to me, because I was not able to und^'- 
stand the proceea. While the water in the boxes graduallj froze, men 
gave it a stir or two with a stick ocoaaioiially— to liberate the air^ 
bubbles, I think. Other men were continually lifting out boxes 
whose contents had become hard frozen. They gave the box a single 
dip into a vat of boiling water, to melt the block <^ ice free &oni ite 
tin coffin, then they shot the block out upon a platform car, and it 
was ready for market. These big blocks were hard, solid, and crystal- 
clear. In CMlsin of them, big bouquets of fresh and brilliant trc^icsl 
flowers had been frozen-in ; in others, beautiful ulken-olad Frendi 
dolls, and otiier pretty objects. llieBe blocks were to be set on eoul 
in a platter, in the centre of dinner-tables, to cool the bo^Hcal air ; 
and also to be ornamental, for the flowers and ttuDga imprisoned in 
them could be seen as through plate glass. I was told that this &c- 
toiy could retail its ice, by waggon, throughout New OrleaoB, in tho 
humblest dwelling-hoiise quantities, at six or seven dollara a ton, and 
make a sufficient profit. This being the case, there is buBiness for 
ioe-&ctones in the North ; for we get ice on no such terms thwe, if 
one take less than three hundred and fifty pounds at a delivery. 

The Bosalie Yam Mill, of Natchez, has a capacity of 6,000 
spindles and 160 looms, and employs 100 hands. The Natcbec 
Cotton Mills Company b^an operations four years ago in a. 
two-story building of 50x190 feet, with 4,000 spindles and I2S 
looms; capital |81O0,OO0, all subscribed in the town. Two years 
lat«r, the same stockhc^ders increased their capital to jg(225,000; 
addeda third stcayto themill,inoreased its length to 317 feet; added 
machinei7 to increase the capacity to 10,300 spindles and 304 looms. 
The company now employ 250 operatives, many of i«hom aiecitiienB 



MAXUFACTUnES AND HISCRBAXTS. 38B 

of Natches. ' The mill works 5,0lib bales of cotton aimui^y and 
manufactures the best standard quality of brown shirtings and sheet- 
ings and drilla, turning out 6,000,000 yards of these goods per year,' ' 
A close corporation — stock held at ,85,000 per share, bat none in the 
market. 

The dumges in the Miasiasippi Aiver are great and strange, yet 
■wen to be expect«d ; but I was not expecting to live to see Natchez 
and liieee other river towns become mano&ctnring strongholds and 
railway centres. 

^waking cJ mannfactnies reminds me of a talk upon that topic 
which I heard — which I OTerheard — on board the Cincinnati boat. I 
avoke out <rf a fretted sleep, with a dull confiidon of voices in my 
ears. I listened — two men were talking; subject, apparently, the 
gi«at innndation. I looked out through Uie open transom. The two 
men woe eating a late break&st; sitting opposite each other ; nobody 
else around. They closed up the inundation with a few words — 
having used it, evidently, as a mere ice-breaker and acquaintanceshlp- 

t^reedex^ then they dropped into business. It soon transpired that 

they were drummers — one belonging in Cincinnati, the other in New 
Orlesns. Brisk men, energetic of movement and speech ; the dollar 
their god, how to getat their religion. 

' Kow as to this article,' said Gincinnatd, slashing into the osten- 
sible butter and holding forward a slab of it on his knife-blade, ' it's 
from our house ; look at it— smell of it— taste it. Put any test on 
it you want to. Take your own time^no hurry — ^make it thorough. 
There now— what do you sayl butter, ain't it I Not by a thundering 
sight— it's oleomai^rine I Yes, sir, that's what it is— oleomargarine. 
Ton can't tell it from butter ; by George, an expert can't. It's from 
our house. We supply most of the boats in the West ;, there's hardly 
a pound of butter on one of them. We are crawling right along— 
jtunping right along is the word. We are going to have that entire 
trade. Yee, and the hotel trade, too. Yon are going to see the day, 
pretty soon, when you can't find an ounce of butter to bless yourself 
with, in any hotel in the Miaeissippi and Ohio Valleys, outside of the 
biggest cities. Why, we are turning out oleomargarine nov> by the 
thouBUids of tons. And we can sell it so dirtcbeap that the whole 
> JVmr (hleatu Timei-Depworat, Aog. 26, 1882. , 



366 LIFE 0!f THE MISSISSIPPI. 

coantiy hoE got to take it — can't get around it yon see. Butt«r don't 
Btand any show — there ain't any clumoe for competition. Butter's 
had its day—anA &oin this out, butter goes to the vail. There's 
more money in oleomai^^arine than — why, you can't imagioe the 
busineea we do. Fve stopped in eveiy town from Ciuciruiati to 
Katchez ; and I've sent borne big orders from every one of them.' 

And Bo-forth and BO-on,for ten minutes longer, in the same fervid 
strain. Then New Orleans piped up and said — 

'Yes, it's a first- 
late imitation, that's 
a certainty ; but it 
ain't the only one 
around that's finit- 
rate. For instance, 
they make oUve-oil 
out of cotton- seed oil, 
nowadays, go that 
you can't tell them 

'Yee, that's so,' 

Responded Cindunati, 

' and it was a tip-top 

busmess for a while. 

They sent it over and 

brought it back from 

France and Italy, 

with the United 

DBUMMBBS. gtates custom-house 

• mark on it to indorse 

it for genuine, and there woe no end of cash in it ; but France and 

Italy broke up the game — of coorse they naturally would. Cracked 

on such a rattling impost that cotton-seed olive-oil couldn't stand 

the raise ; had to hang up and quit.' 

' Oh, it did, did iti You wait here a minute.' 
Goes to his state-room, brings back a couple of long bottles, and 
takes out the corks — Rays : 

' There now, smell them, taste them , examine the bottles, inspect the 



MANUFACTURES AND MISCREANTS. 367 

labels. One of 'm's from Europe, the otiher's never been out of thia coon- 
tiy. One's Enropeaa olive-oil, the other's American cotton-aeed olive- 
oil. Tell 'm apart t 'Course you can't. Nobody can, People that want 
to, can go to the ezpenee and trouble of shipping their oils to Europe 
and back — it's thwr privilege j but our firm knows a trick worth six 
of that. Wo turn out the whole thing— clean from the word go — 



in our factory in Kew Orleans : labels, bottles, oil, everything. 
"Well, no, not labels : been buying tkem abroad — get them dirt-cheap 
there. Yon see, there's just one little wee speck, essence, or whatever 
it is, in a gallon of cotton-seed oil, that give it a amell, or a flavour, 
or something — get that oat, and you're all right — perfectly easy then 
to turn the oil into any kind of oil you want to, and there ain't any- 



3SB LIFE ON TBB MISSISSIPPI. 

body that can detect t^e true from the blae. Well, we know hovr to 
get that one little particle ont — and we're the only firm (hat does. 
And we turnout anoliTeKnlthatiBJant simply perfect — undetectable! 
We are doing a ripping trade, too— as I oonld easily show yon hy my 
ordv-book for this trip. Maybe you'll butt«- everybody's bread [weUy 
Boon, but we'll cotton-seed his salad for him from the Gulf to Canada, 
and that's a dead-certain thing.' 

Cinciniiati glowed and flashed with admiration. The two aoonn- 
drelH exchanged buainess-carda, and rose. As they left the table, 
Cincinnati said — 

' But you have to have custom-house marks, don't you ! How do 
you manage that V 

I did not catch tiie answer. 

We passed Port Hudson, scene of two of the most terrific epdaodee 
of the war — the nigbt-battle there between Farragut's fleet and the 
Confederate land batteries, April lith, 1863; and the memorable 
land battle, two months later, which lasted eight hours — eight hoorR 
of exceptionally fierce and stubborn fighting — and ended, finally, in 
the repulse of the Union forces with great slan^^ter. 



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CHAPTER XL. 

CAOTLBS JtSB CULTURE. 

Batoh BotraK tu clothed in Qawen, like e, brido — no, much more 
po ; like a greenhonee. For we were in the abaolute South now — 
no iQodificationB, no compiomiMS, no balf-w&7 meaeures. lite 
ma^olia-trMB in the Capitol gronnds were lorely and fisgrent, with 
thedr dense rich foliage and huge snow-ball bloaecans. The acoat of 
the flower is veiy sweet, but you want distance on it, because it is so 
powerfuL They are not good bedroom blossome — they might suffo- 
cate one in his steep. We were certainly in tbe Boath at last ; fbr 
here the ai^ar r^on b^ins, and tbe plantations — vast green levels, 
with sugar-mill and negro quart«r8 clustered together in the middle 
distance — were in view. And there was a tropical nun overhead and 
a tropica] swdter in the air. 

And at this point, also, begins tbe pilot's paradise : a wide river 
hence to Ifew Orleans, abundance gf water &om shore to shore, and 
no bars, snags, sawyers, or wrecks in bis rood. 

Sir Walter Bcott is probably responsible for the Capitol building ; 
for it is not conceivable that this little sham caatle would ever have 
been bnilt if he bad not run tbe people mad, a couple <^ generations 
ago, with his medinval romances. The South has not yet recovoed 
from the debilitating influence of bis books. Admiration of his &n- 
tastic heroes and their grotesque ' cbivali^ * doings and ronumtic 
juvenilities still sorvives here, in an atmosphere in which is already 
perceptible the wholesome and practical nineteenth-century smell of 
cotton-&ctories and locomotives ; and traces of its inflated language 
and ol^er windy bumbuggeries surrive along with it. It is pathetic 
enou^ that a whitewashed casUe, with torreta and things — matefials 



370 Lli^B ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

&11 ungenuine within and without, pretending to be what they air 
not — should ever hare been built in this otherwise honourable piaw; 
bnt it is much more pathetic to see this architectural fskehood uoder- 
going restoration and perpetuation, in our dny, when it woald have 
been so easj to let dynamite finish what a charitable fire began, and 
then devote this reetoration-money to the building of sonLething 
genuine. 

Baton Songe has no patent on imitation castles, however, and no 
monopoly of them. Here is a picture from the adrertisemeut of tlif 
' Female Institute ' of Columbia, Tennessee. The following remark 
IB from the same advertisement — 

' The Institute building has long been famed as a model of striking ud 
bekutiful sTcbitecture. Vifi- 
ton are churned with it.> 
resemblance to the cAA castles 
of song and story, with it' 
towers, turreted wvlla, toA 
ivy-mantled poiches.' 

Keeping school in i 
castle is a romantic thing : 
as romantic as keeping hotel 
in a castle. 

By itself the imitation 
COLUMBIA FEMALE iKSTiTrTE. castle is doiibtless harmlast 

and well enough ; bat as » 
symbol and breeder and eusteuner of maudlin Middle- Age romanticism 
here in the midst of the plainest and sturdiest and infinitely greatest 
and worthiest <A all the centuries the world has seen, it ia necesaarilv 
a hurtful thing and a mistake. 

Here, is an extract from the piYMpectus of a Kentucky ' Female 
College.' Female college sounds well enough ; but since che phrasing 
it in that imjustifiable way was done purely in the inter«>st of brevity, 
it seems to me that she-college would have been still bett^ — because 
sbortOT, and means the same thing : that ia, if either phrase means 
anything at all — 

' The preudent is southem bj Inrth, hy rearing^ by ediicstioa, and br 



CASTLBS AND CUVrURB. 871 

eentimeDt; tbe teachen us sH touthem in Mntiment, and with tha eic»p< 
tion of tboae bom in Europe were bom aod maed in the south. Bdieving 
the aoathem to be the bigbaet type of dvilimtton thia continent hu sew,' 

I IllastratiottB of it thoaghtleaaty omitted by the advertiser : 
Knoxviuj^ Tenn., October 19.— This morning: a few minutes after ten 
o'oloolc. General Joseph A. Uabi;, Thomas O'Connor, and Joseph A. Habry, 
Jr., were killed in a shooting: affray, Tbe difficulty began yesterday afternoon 
by aeoerol Mabry attacking Major O'Connor and threatening to kill him. 
Tliia WBC at the hir grounds, and O'Connor told Mahry that it was not the 
placa to settle tbeii difBooltiee. Mabiy then told O'Connor he abonld not lire. 
It eeems that Habry was armed and O'Connor was not. Tha oante of the 
difficulty was an old fend about the tiansCer of some property from Mabry 
to CGonnor. Later in the afternoon Matiry sent word to O'Connor that he 
would kill him on sight. This moming Major O'Connor was standing Id the 
door of the Meobanics' National Bank, of which he was president. Geneml 
Hitbry and another gentleman walked down Qay Street on the opposite side 
from the bank. O'Connor stopped into tbe bank, got a shot gun, took deliber- 
ate aim at Oeneral Habiy and fired. Mabry (ell dead, being shot in the left 
side. As he fell O'Connor Bred again, the shot taking effect in Habry'* thigh. 
O'Connor then reached into the bank and got another ahot gnu. Abont this time 
Joseph A. Mabry, Jr., son of General Mabry, came rushing down tha street, 
DQseen by O'Connor nntU witbin forty feet, when the young man Sred a pistol, 
the stiot taking effect in O'Connor's right breast, passing througli the body 
near the heart. The instant Mabry shot, O'Connor turned and fired, the load 
talcing effect in yonng Mabiy's right breast and side. Mabiy fell pierced with 
twenty buckshot, and almost instantly O'Connor tell dead without a struggle. 
Mabry tried to rise, bnt fell back dead. The whole tragedy occnrred within 
two minutes, and neither of the three spoke after be was ahot. General Mabry 
had abont tbirty buoksbot in his body. A bystander was paiufnllywoonded hi 
the thigh with a bnckshot, and another was wounded in 'Cbo arm. Poor other 
men had th^ olotbing pieroed by bnokshot. Tbe affair caused great excite- 
ment, and Gay Street was thronged with thousands of people. General Mabiy 
and his son Joe were acquitted only a few days ago of tbe murder of Moees 
Lnaby and Don Lnsby, father and son, whom they killed a few weeks ago. 
Will Mabiy was killed by Don Lnsby last Christmas. Major Thomas O'Con- 
nor was President of the Heobanios' National Bank her^ and was the wealthiest 
man in tbe State. — Auoeiated Prru Tthgrant. 

One day last month, Professoi Shaipe, of the Somervllle, Tenn., Female 
College, 'a quiet and gentlemanly man,' was told that his brother-in- 
law, a Captain Burton, had threatened to kill him. Burton, it seems, had 
already killed one man and driven his knife into another. The Professor 
aitned himself with a donble-barrelled shot gun, started out in seftroh of his 
brother-in law, fonnd him playing billiards in a saloon, and blew his brains out. 
The ' Memphis Avalanche ' reports that tbe Professor'i course met with [ffetty 



878 LIFE Olr TME MISSISSIPPI. 

the TOusg Udiea an tnuned aacoiding to the souUisni idea« of delicMn', 
finemeot, womsDhood, leligioD, and propriety ; hence we ofiei & 
female college tor die south and solicit Boathem patronage.' 

What, warder, ho ! the maa that can blow so complacent a blaE: 
as that, probably blows it from a castle. 

From Baton Ronge to New Orleans, the great sngar plantotioos 
border both sides oftheriverallt}ieway,andsti«tch Uieirleagoe-wide 
levelB back to the dim foreat-walls of bsorded cypress in ibe nor. 
Shores lonely no longer. Henty of dwellings all the way, on botk 
banks — standing eo close togetber, for long distances, that the brood 
river lying between the two rows, becomes a sort of spscions stareet 
A most home-like and happy-looking region. And now aztd tbea 
you see a pillared and porticoed great manor-honse, emboweiod id 
trees. Here is testimony of one or two of the procession of foreign 
tonrists that filed along here half a centviry ago. Mrs. Trollope 
says— 

' The nubroken flatnesa of the banks of the Missumppi continued tmraiied 
for many milea ahore Naw Orleans ; hut tiiegncefulandliuuiiantpalmetto, 

general approval in the oommanity ; knowing that the law was powerless, in 
the actual condition of pnblic sentiment, to proleot him, he protected humait. 

About the same time, two jonng men in North Carolina qnan«Ufld aboai 
a girl, and ' hostile messages ' were exchanged. Friends tried to recondk 
them, bat bad ibmr labonr for their pain«. On the 21th the jonng men nwt in 
the pnblio Mghmi;. One of them hod a heavy dub in his hand, tiie other on 
axe. The man with the club f onght desperately for hie life, bnt it was a hope- 
less fight from the first A wall-directed l>low sent his dnb whirling out at 
his grasp, and the next moment he was a dead man. 

Abont the same time, two 'highly connected' young Virginians, cltAa in 
a hardware store at Charlottesville, while ' sl^larking,' came to Uowe. 
Peter Dick threw pepper in Charles Bcnds's eyee j Boads demanded an bio- 
logy; Dick refused to give it, and it was agreed that a dnel was ineritable, but 
a difHcnIty arose ; the forties liad no pistols, and it was too late at night to 
procore them. One of them saggested that bntcher-knives would answer the 
purpose, and the other soospted the snggestion ; the resnlt was that Bonds fell 
to Uie floor with a gash in his abdomen that may or may not prove fatsL If 
Dick has been airested, the news has not reached as. He ' eKpneaed deep 
ngret,' and we ore told by a Btaunton correspondent of the PkiltidfljMa 
P^eu that * every effort has been made to hosh the matter np.' — .&twf« 
fnmtluPmbmJmirMlt. . , 



CASTLES AND CVlTURE. 



s. bri^t along the ' cowt,' just as it bad beeo 

TRB PALHETTo. in 1827, as described by those tourists. 



874 ■ LJTB ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

17ufortniia& tourists I People hombug^ed them vitli stnpid and 
silly lies, and then langhed at tiiOm for bdieving and printing th; 
same. ThejT told Mrs. Trollope that the alligators — or crocsodileE, oe 
she calls them — vere tei-rible creatures ; and backed up the stAtKosai 
with a blood-curdliug account oi bow one of these slandered reptiles 
crept into a squatter caUn one night, and ate up a woman and five 
children. ^Hie woman, by herself, would have satisfied any ordinarilj- 
impoBsible alligator ; but no, these liars must make him gor^ the 
live duldien besides. One would not imagine that jokers cf Uiii 
robust breed would be eensitiTe — but they were. It is difficult, at 
this day, to understand, and impoedble to justify, the reception whid 
the book of the grave, honest, intelligent, gentle, manly, charitaUe. 
well-meaning Capt. Basil Hall got. Mrs. Trollope's account of it 
may perhaps entertain the reader; therefore I have put it in the 
Appendix.' 

' Bee Appendix C. 



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CHAPTER XLI. 

3 OF THE SOUTH. 



The approaches to New Orleans were fkmiliar; general aspects were 
unchanged. When one goes flying through London along a railway 



HIGH WATKB. 



propped in tfae ^r on tall arches, he may inspect miles of upper bed 
rooms thi-ongfa the open windows, bat the lower half of the houses if 



376 LIFE 02f THE HISSISSIPFI. 

under his level and out of sight. Similai'lj, in high-river stage, in 
the New Orleans region, the vater is up to the top of the enclosing 
levee-rim, the flat country behind it liee low — repreeeiiting the bottom 
of a dish — and as the boat swims along, high on the fiood, one looks 
down upon the hoosee and into the upper windows. There is uothiDg 
but that frail breastwork of earth between the people and destruc- 



TUB WHABTBB. 

The old brick ealt-warebouses clustered at the upper end of th& 
city looked as the; had always looked ; warehouses which had had » 
kind of Aladdin's lamp experience, however, since I had seen them : 
for when the war broke out the proprietor went to bed one night 
leaving them packed with thonssknds of sacks of vulgar salt, worth *■ 
couple of dollars a sack, and got up in the morning and found bis 
mountain of salt turned into a mountain of gold, so to speak, bo sad- 
denly and to so dizzy a height had the war news sent up the price of 
the article. 

,„■.. A.OO;jle I 



CAKAL BTBEET. 



)ji^»..'.CiOOi^le 



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THE 3IETR0P0LIS OF THE SOVTB. 3T8 

The vttst rwch of plank vh&Tres temamod unchanged, and there 
were as many ships as ever : but the long array of steamboats had 
Tanished ; not altogether, of eourae, but not much of it was left. 

The city itself had not chsnged— to the eye. It had greatly 
mcreased in spread and population, but the look of tiie town was not 
altered. The dust, waste-paper-littered, was still deep in the streets ; 
the de^, trough-like gutten alongside the kerbstones were still half 
full of reposeful water with a dusty surhce ; the sidewalks "mere still 
— in the sugar and bacon I'^on — encumbwed by casks and barrels 
and hogsheads ; the great blocks of austerely plain commercial houses 
were as dusty-looking as ever. 

Canal Street was finer, and more attrectire and iBtirring than 
formerly, with its drifiting orowds of people, ite several processions of 
hurrying street-cars, and — toward erening — its broad seoond-story 
verandas crowded with gentlemen and ladies clothed according to the 
latest mode. 

Not that there is any ' architecture ' in Canal Street : to speak in 
broad, geneml terms, there is no architecture in Kew Orleans, except 
in the cemeteries. It seems a strange thing to say of a wealthy, far- 
seeing, and energetic city of a quarter of a million inhabitants, but it 
is true. There is a huge granite U. S. Cnstom-house^coetly enough, 
genuine enough, but as a decoration it is inferior to a gasometer. It 
looks like a state prison. But it was built before the war. Archi- 
tecture in America may be said to have been bom since the war. 
'Stsv Orleans, I believe, has had the good luck — and in a Eense the 
bad luck — to haye had no great fire in lato years. It must be so. 
If the opposite had been the case, I think one would be able to tell 
the ' burnt district ' by the radical improvement in it« architecture 
over the old forms. One can do this in Boston and Chicago. The 
' burnt district' of Boston was commonplace before the fire; but now 
there is no commercial district in any city in the world that can 
surpass it — or perhspe even rival it — in beauty, el^aace, and taste- 
fulness. 

However, New Orleans has begun — just this moment, as one may 
say. When completed, the new Cotton Elzchange will be a stately 
and beautiful building; massive, substantial, full of architectural 
graces; no shams or false pretences or uglinesses about it anywhere. 



380 LIFE ON TBE MISSISSIPPI. 

To the dt^, it will be worth man}' times its cost, for it will breed 
itB epeoiee. What has been lacking hitherto, was a model to bnUd 
tow&rd ; something to educate e^e and taste ; a tiggtater, so to 
speak. 

The city is well outfitted with progreesLTe men— thinking, saga' 
ciouB, long-headed men. The contrast between the s[Hrit of t^ a!^ 
and the city's ar^itectore is like the contrast between wafdng and 
sleep. Apparently there is a ' boom ' in everything bat that one 
dead feature. The water in the gatters used to be stagnaat and 
slimy, and a potent disease-breeder ; but the gutters are flushed now, 
two or three times a day, by powerful machinery ; in many of the 
gutters the water never stands still, but has a steady conent. Other 
sanitary improvementa have been made ; and with such effect that 
New Orleans claims to be (during the long intervals bstweui die 
occasional yellow-fever aesaulta) one of the heelthieBt dtiee in the 
Union. There's plenty of ice now for everybody, manufactured in 
the town. It is a driving place commercially, and has a great river, 
ocean, and railway business. At the date of our visit, it was the best 
lighted city in the Union, electrieally speaking. The New Orleans 
electric lights were more nuioeroas than those of New York, and 
very much better. One had this modified noonday not only in Canal 
and some neighbouring chief streets, but all along a stretch of five 
miles of river frontage. There arc good dabs in the dty now — 
several of them but recently organised — and inviting modem-style 
pleasure resorts at West End and Spanish Fort. The telephone is 
everywhere. One of the most notable advances is in journalism. 
The newspapers, as I remember them, were not a striking featnra^ 
Now they are; Money is spent apon them with a &ee hand. Tbey 
get the news, let it cost what it may. The editorial work is not 
hack-grinding, but literature. As an example of New Orleans joor- 
nalisticachievement, it maybe mentioned that the < Times-Democrat * 
of August 26, 1882, contained a report of the year's basine«i of tiie 
towns of t^e Mississippi Yalley, from. New Orleans all Uie way to 
St. Fatd — ^two tbonsand mile?. That issue of the paper consisted of 
forty pages; seven columns to the page; two hundred and eiglity 
columns in all ; fifteen hundred words to the column ; an aggregate 
of fbur hundred and twenty thnnsand words. That is to say, not 



THE METROPOLIS OF TEE SOUTH. 381 

muidi short of three times as many words as there are in this book. 
One may with Borrow coutnut this with the architecture of New 
Orleans. 

I have been speeMng of public architecture only. The domestic 
Article in New Orleans is reproachless, notwithstanding it remains as 
it always was. All the dwellings are of wood — in the American 
part of the town, I mean — and all have a comfortable look. Those 



in the wealthy quarter are spacious; painted snow-white usually 
and generally have wide verandas, or double-verandas, supported h^ 
ornamental columns. Hiese manaione stand in the centre of lat^ 
grounds, and rise, garlanded with roses, out ttf the midst <^ swelling 
masees of shining green foliage and many-ooloured blossoms. No 
houses could well be in bett«r harmony with their Burroundings, 
or more pleasing to the eye, or more home-like and comfortable- 



382 LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

One even becotaee reoonciled to the cistam praeatly ; this is a 
mighty cask, ptuuted green, and somstimes a coaple of Btoriee high, 
which U propped ngainat the houae-corner on stilts. Thwe is a 
manBion-and-breweiy snggestton about the oomhioation which meme 
T«y incongruous at first. But tlie people cannot have wella, and 
so they take rain-water. Xeither can they conveniently have cellars, 
or graves ; ' the town being built upon ' made ' ground \ bo they 
do without both, and few of the living complain, and none of the 
others. 

■ The Israelites are buried in grarea— by penmuion, I take it, not reqain- 
■oumA ; but Dona else, except the destitate. who are buried at public e 
The graTBi are bnt three or four feet deep. 



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CHAPTBB XLII. 

HIOIBHE ADD BBHTIMENT. 



Thet bmy their de(ul in vuolte, above the ground. Thefw vaultB 
have a resemblance to houses — sometimes to lemplee ; are built of 



THK CSMKTKRT. 



marble, generally; are arehi tectum] ly graceful end Ebapely; they 
fkce the walks and driveways of the cemeteiy ; and when on^ moves 



384 LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

throogti the midst of a thousand or so of them and sees tbeir white 
roofs and gftblea stretching into the distance on ereiy hand, tlte 
phrase ' aij of the dead ' has all at <mce a meaning to him. Manv 
of the cemeteries are beautiful, and are kept in perfect order. When 
one goes from the levee or the buBiaees streets near it, to a cemetery, 
he obe«-vee to himself that if those people down there would live a« 
neatly while they are alive as tbey do after they sre dead, th^ would 
find many advantages in it ; and beddee, their quarter woald be the 



1MM0KTELLE8. 

wonder and admiration of the bufflnoBs world. Fteeh flowers, in Tases 
of water, are to be seen at the portals of many of the vaults : placed 
there by the pious hands of bereaved parents and duldien, husbands 
and wives, and renewed daily. A milder form of sorrow finds its 
inexpensive and lasting remem.brancer in the coarae and ngly but 
indestructible ' immortelle' — which is a wreath or cross or toote such 
emblem, made of rosettes of black linen, with sometimea a yellow 
rosette at the coiyunction of the Gross's ban— rlditd c( sorrowfol 



ETGIENE AND BEJVTXMSXT. 



breaet-jon, so to aay. The immortelle requires no attention : yon just 
hang it op, koA there yon are ; just leave it alone, it will take oare of 
your grief for you, and keep It in mind better than you can ; stands 
weather first-rate, and lasts like boiler-iron. 



ClUllGLBONB. 

of graveyards. I have been trying all I could to get down to the 
sentimental part of it, but I cannot accomplish it. I think there is 
no genuinely sentimental part to it. It is all groteeqite, ghastly, 
horrible. Gt&veyards may have been jnatiGable in the bygone ages, 
when nobody knew t^t for every dead body put into the ground, to 
glut the earth and the plant-roota, and the air with diseose-genns, 



SS6 LIFE ON THE XIS8TSSIPPI. 

fire or fifty, or mayte a bondred penons moBt di« bdinv tbcir 
proper time; but they are hardly justifiable now, vhea evoD the 
children know that a dead saint enters upon a oenttuy^long caner 
of aaaaaainatjon tiie moment the earUt doses over his ooipae. It 
ia a grim sort of a thought. The relics of St. Anne, np in Canada, 
have now, after nineteen hundred years, gone to caring tiie aick l^ 
the doeen. But it is merest mattar-of-coane that these same relics, 
within a generation after St. Anne's death and burial, made aevoal 
thousand people sick. Therefore tiieee miraclfr-perfonnanoee are mmply 
compensation, nothing more. St. Anne is somewhat slow pay, for a 
Saint, it is true; but better a debt paid after nineteen hundred 
years, and outlawed by the statute of limitations, than not paid at 
all ; and most of the knights of the halo do not pay at all. Where 
you find one that pays — -like St. Anne — you find a hundred and fiffy 
that take the benefit of the statute. And none of them pay any 
more titian the principal of what they owe — they pay none of tiie 
interest either simple or compound. A Saint can never qnite return 
the principal, however ; for his dead body kiM» people, wherees hie 
relies heal only — they never restore the dead to life. That part of 
the account is always left unsettled. 

<Dr. F. Julius Le Moyne, after fifty years of medical practioe, wrote: 
" The inhumation of human bodies, dead &om infectious diseaaes, results in 
constantly loading the stmospha«, and polluting the waten, with not odIt 
the genus that rise from umply putre&ctdou, but also with the ^edfie genu 
of the diseases from which death resulted." 

' The gssee (from buried corpBee)will rise to the surfaoe through eight or 
ten feet of gravel, just asooal-gas will do, sod there is practically no limit V> 
dieir power of escape. 

' During the epidemic in New Orleans in 1 8C3, Di. E, H. Barton reported 
that in the Fourth IHstrict the mortality was four hundred and fif^-tmi 
per thousand — more than double that of any other. In this district wer? 
three laige cemeteriee, in which during the previous year more than thie« 
thousand bodiee had been buried. In other djstiiots the proximity c>f 
cemeteriee seemed to aggravate the dieease. 

'In 1828 Professor Kanchi damonstTsted how the fearftil reappearance 
of the plague at Hodena was caused by excavatjoue in ground where, Uirrr 
kmtAtd yean prmioutfy, the rietims of the pestilence had been bmied. M.'. 
Cot^MT, hi explaining tiie causes of some epidemics, remarin that the openir^ 



STQIEIfS AND SENTIMENT. 387 

of the pligce bnml-gn>iindi tX Eyun remlted in ui tmmeduite outbreak of 
diaeaae.' — North Amencan Seviaii, No. 3, Vol. 136. 

In an address before the Chicago Medical Society, in advocacy of 
cremation, Dr. Charles W. Purdy made some striking oomparieonB 
to show That a burden is laid iip(m Bodety \ij the botial (^ the 



* cost this conntiy in 1880 enough money to pay ths 

lialnlities of all the commenuAl fuluiee in the United States during the snme 
year, and give each bankmpt a capital of £8,630 with which to rernune 
buainess. Pnnerala cost annually more money than the value of the comluned 
^Id and alvei yield of the United SUt«s in the year 1880 1 These figures 
do not include the sums inTMted in buriat-gronnde and expended in tombs 
and monuments, nor the loss from depreciation of property in the vidmty 

!)■■ .., A.OOiJlC 
co9 " " 



388 LItE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

For llie ricb, cremAtlon would answer as well as burial ; for the 
ceiemooies connected with it oould be made as costly and ost«nta' 
tknu as a Hindoo nitUe; while for the poor, orematiott would be 
better than btuial, because so cheap ' — so cheap until Uie poor got to 
imitating tiie rich, which they would do by-and-bye. The adoption 
of cremation would reliere us of a muck of threadbare burial- 
wittidsms; but, <m the other hand, it would resurrect a lot of 
mildewed old cremation-jokee that have had a rest for two tliousand 
years. 

I have a coloured acquaintance who earns his living by odd jobs 
and heavy manual labour. He never earns above four hundred 
dollars in a year, and as he has a wife and several young childreoi, 
the closest scrimping is necessary to get him thron^^ to the end of 
the twelve months debtlees. To such a man a funeral is a colossal 
finannin.! disaster. While I was writing one of the preceding chap- 
ters, this man lost a little child. He walked the town over with a 
friend, trying to find a coffin that was within his means. He booght 
the very cheapest one he could find, plain wood, stuned. It cost 
him tvxnty-ive doOara. It would have cost less than (bur, [oobohly, 
if it had been built to put something useful into. He and his 
family will feel that outlay a good many months. 

' Four or five dollars U the 



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CHAPTER XT.ni. 

THK ABT OF INHUMATIOIf. 

About the same time, I encotmtered a man in the street, whom I 
had DOt Been for tdx or seven jwxs ; and something like this talk 
followed. I said — 

' Bat yon nsed to look sad and oldish ; you don't now. Where 



did 70a get all tiiis yoatii and bnbbUng cheerfnlneea t Give me the 
addrees.' 

He chockled blithely, took off his shining tile, pointed to a 
□otebed pink circlet of paper pasted into ita crown, with something 



3M LIFE Oy THE MlSSiaSIPPI. 

lettered on it, and went oa cbackling while I read, 'J. B , 

vudkbtaker.' Then he clapped his hftt on, gave it an inevraemt t3t 
to leeward, and cried out — 

' That's what's the matter I It naed to be rough times with me 
when 70U knew me— insuraiice-agency buaineas, you knowj nu^t; 
im^ular. Big fire, all right — brisk toade fw ten days while peofde 
scared ; after that, dull policy-bnsineeB till next fire. Town like this 
don't have fires often enough— a fellow strikes so many dull weeks in 
a row that he gets discouraged. But you bet you, ihia is the 
buaineeB 1 People don't wait for examples to die. No, sir, tiiey dn^ 
off right along — there ain't any dull spots in the undertaker linsh I 
just started in with two or three little old coffins and a hired heaise, 
and now look at the thing I I're worked up a bosiness here that 
would satisfy any man, don't care who he is. Five years ago, lodged 
in an attic; live in a swell house now, with a mansard roof, and all 
the modem inconvenienceB.' 

' Does a coffin pay so well I Is there much profit on a ooffin 1 ' 

* &o-vB,y I How you talk I ' Then, with a confidential wink, a 
dropping of tlie voice, and an impreamve laying of his hand on m; 
arm ; ' Iiook here ; there's one thing in this world which isn't ever 
cheap. That's a coffin. There's one thing in this worid wbic^ a 
peirson don't ever try to jew you down on. That's a coffin. Mian's 
one thing in this world which a person don't say — " 111 look around 
a little, and if I find I can't do better HI come back and take ii." 
That^s a oofGn. There's one thing in this world whidi a person 
• w<Mi't take in pine if be can go walnut ; and wont take in walnat if 
he can go mahogany ; and won't take in mah<%any if he can go an 
iron CBfiket with silver door-plate and bronze handles. Tliat's a 
coffin. And there's one thing in this world which yon don't have to 
worry around after a peraon to get him to pay for. And Aaft a 
«»fflw , Undertaking t — why it's the dead-sureat busineea in Chriaten- 
dom, and the nobbiest, 

' Why, just look at it. A rich man won't have anything but your 
very best ; and yon can just pile it on, too— pile it on and sock it to 
him — he won't ever holler. And you take in a poor man, and if yoa 
work him right he'll huat himself on a single layniut. Or espeinally 
a woman, Fr instance : Mrs. O'Flaherly oomea in — widow — wiping 



THE ART OF INBUMATION. 3S1 

her ejres and kind of moomng. nahandkerchiefi one eye, bate it 
aroond tearfiilly over the stock ; says — 

' " And fhat might ye ask for that wun I " 

' " Thirtf-nine dollars, madam," saya L 

' " Ifa a foine big price, stm, bnt Fat shall be buried like a gin- 
tleman, as he was, if I'have to work me fingers off for it. Ill have 
th&t van, Bor." 

' " Yee, madam," says I, " and it is a very good one, too ; not 



• WHY, JUST IXJOK AT IT,' 

costly, to be sure, but in tliiB life we must cut our garment to our 
clothes, as the saying is." And as she starts oat, I heave in, kind of 
casually, *'Tbis one with the white 6atit> lining Is a beauty, but I am 
a&aid — well, sixty-fiTs dollars m a rather — rather — but no matter, I 
felt oUiged to say to Mis. (yShaughneflBy— " 

'"D'ye mane to aoy that Bridget O'Shaughnessy bought the 
mate to that joo-nl box to ship that dhranken divil to Fni^tory 



'"Te», 



A.tH>; 



392 LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

' " Then Fat shall go to heaven in the twin to it, if it takes the 
last rap the O'Flaherties can raise ; and moind yon, stick on some 
extras, too, and 111 gire ye knottier dollar." 

' And as I lajr-in with the livery stables, of oonrse I don't forget 
to mention that Mrs. O'Shaughnessy hired fifty-four dollars' worth of 
hacks and flung as moch style into Dennis's fone^ as if he had beoa 
a duke or an aaaaadn. And of cooree she sails in and goes the 



O'Shanghnessy about four hapks and an omnibus better. "<Th»t uatJ 
to be, but that's all played now ; that is, in this particular town. 
The Irish got to piling up hacka so, on their funarala, that ^ fdnbral 
left them ragged and hungry for two ye&rs afterward ; so the prisEt 
pitched in and broke it all up. He don't allow them to have bat two 
hacks now, and sometimes only one.' 

' W^,' nid I, ' if you are so light-hearted and jolly in ordinary 
times, what must yoa be in an epidomici ' 

He shook his head. 

' No, you're off, there. We don't like to see on epidamic ' An 



THE ART OF INHUMATION. S93 

epidemic don't pay. Well, of oonrae I don't mectn tliat, exactly ; but 
it don't pay in pn^nrtion to the regular thing. Don't it occur to 
you, why ) ' 

*Ko.' 

'Think.' 

' I can't ima^e. What is it t ' 

* If a juat two things.' 

* Wdl, what ore they I ' 
' One's Embanuning.' 
'And what's the 

other 1 ' 

'Ice.' 

' How is that 1 ' 

' Well, in ordi- 
nary tdmee, a person 

die«, snd we lay him \ 

up in ice; one day, 
two da;fi, maybe 
three, to wait for 
friends to come. 
Takes a lot of it 
— melts &st. We 
charge jewellery 
rates for that ice, 
and war - prioea for ^ 

attendance. Well, 
don't you know, 

when th^'s an epidemic, the^ rush 'em to the cemetery the minute 
the breath's out. Xo market for ice in an epidemic. Same with Gm- 
bamming. You take a &mily that's able to emham, and you've got a 
soft thing. You can mention mxteen different ways to do it — though 
there airit only <me or two ways, when you oome down to the bottom 
facts of it — and theyll take the highest-priced way, every time. It's 
human nature — human nature in grirf. It don't reason, you see. 
"Time being, it don't care a dam. All it want« is physical immor- 
tality for deceased, and they're willing to pay for it. All you've got 
to do is to just be ca'm and stack it up— they'll stand the racket. 



3M LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. j 

Why, man, 70a caa take & defimct tha.t yoa couldn't give awsj ; ud 
get your embamming tnpe aroand yoa and go to work ; and in % 
couple of boun he is worth a oool six hundred — that's what Ju't 
worth. There ain't Bnything equal to it bnt trading rat« for di'nuaidt 
in time of famine. Well, don't yon see, when there's an e^odcoue, 
people don't wait to embajn. So, indeed they dim't; and it htute 
the buonees like hellth, as we aay — fanrts it like hell-th, heaiA, aeal 
— Our little joke in the trade. Well, I must be going. Give me t 
call wbeneyer you need any — I mean, when you're going by, stxne- 

In his joyful high spirits, he did the exaggerating himHolf, if ai^ 
has been done. I have not enlarged on him. 

With the above brief references to inhumati<m, let ub leave th« 
subject. Aa for me, I hope to be uremated, I made that remark to 
my pastor once, who eoid, with what he seemed to think was an 
impressive manner — 

' I wouldn't worry abont that, if I had your chancee.* 

Much he knew about it — ^the family all so opposed to it. 



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CHAPTER XLIV. 

OITT BIUHIV, 

The old French part of Kffw Orieans — aaoentlj tbe SpuiiBh part — 
beuB DO resemblance to tlie American end of the city : the American 
end which lies beyond the interveoing brick bnsineeB-fieDtre. The 
houaea are massed in blocks ; are aiiBt«rely plain and dignified ; 
uniform, of pattern, with here and lliere a departure from it with 
pleasant effect ; aJl are plastered on the outside, and nearly all have 
long, iron-ruled verandas running along tlie Beveral storaye. Their 
chief beauty is the deep, warm, van-coloured stain with which time 
and the weather have enriched the plaster. It harmonisee with 
all the Burroundings, and has as natnral a look of belonging there 
as has the flush upon sunset clouds. This charming decoration 
cannot be Buccessfully imitated ; neither is it to be found elsewhere 



The iron railings are a speciality, also. The pattern is <rften 
exceedingly light and dainty, and aity and gtao^ul — with a large 
cipher or monogram in the centre, a delicate cobweb of baffling, 
intricate forms, wrought in steeL The ancient railings are hand- 
made, and are now compaiatiTBly rare and proportionately valuable. 
They are heoome bric-d-brac. 

The party had the privilege of idling tliroug^ this ancient quarter 
of New Orleans with the South's finest literary genius, the author of 
' the Qntudissimes.' In him tlie South has found a masterly delinea- 
tor of its interior life and its history. In trutb, I find by experienoe, 
that the untrained eye and vacant mind can inspect it, and learn of it, 
and judge of it, more dearly and profitably in his booiks tium }^ per- 
sonal contact with it. I t,.i)0>"'k' 



596 LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

With Mr. Cable along to aee for you, and describe and explain 
and illuminate, a jog through that old quarter is a vivid pleaaure. 
And you have a vivid sense as of unseen or dimly seen things — vivid, 
and yet fitful and darkliog ; you glimpse salient features, but lose the 
fine shades or catch them imperfectly through the vision of the 



THE ST, CHABLE8 1: 



imngination : a case, as it w^%, of ignorant near-stgbted stranger 
traTersing the rim of wide vague horiions of Alps with an insfHred 
and enlightened long-tdghted native. 

We visited the old St. Louis Hotel, now occapied by municipal 



CITY BIOOTB. 897 

offices. Then is notUng strikingly remarkable about it ; bat one 
can fKj of it as of the Acaflemy of Mosio la New York, that if a 
broom or a shovel has ever been need in it there is no dicumstantial 
evidence to back up the fact. It is carious that cabbages and haj 
and things do not grow in the Academy of Music; bnt no doubt it ia 
on aoDoant of tlie inteiruptioii <tf the light Iqr the benchee, and the 
iropoesilHlity of hoeing the crop exc^ in the aisles. The hct that 
the uihen grow their buttonhole-bouquets on the [oemises shows 
what might be done if they had the right kind of an agricultural 
head to the eGtablishment. 

We visited also the Tenerable Cathedral, and the pretty sqoare in 
front of it ; the one dim witJi religions light, the other brilliant with 
the worldly sort, and lovely with orange-treee and blosaomy shrnhs ; 
then we drove in the hot san through the wilderness of houses and 
out on to the wide dead level beyond, where the villas are, and the 
water wheels to drain the ton-n, and the commons populous with 
cows and children ; passing by an old cemetery where we were told 
lie the ashes of an early pirate ; but we took him on trust, and did 
not visit him. He was a pirate with a tremendous and sanguinary 
history ; and as long as he preserved unspotted, in retirement, the 
dignity of his name and the grandeur of his ancient calling, homage 
and reverence were his from high and low ; bnt when at last he 
descended into politics and became a paltry alderman, the public 
' shook ' him, and turned aside and wept. When be died, they set up 
a monnment over him ; and little by little he has come into respect 
again ; but it is respect for the pirate, not the alderman. To-day tine 
loyal and generous remember only what he was, and charitably forget 
what he became. 

Thence, we drove a few miles across a swamp, along a laiaed 
shell road, with a canal on one hand and a dense wood on the oUier ; 
and here and there, in the distance, a ragged and angular-limbed and 
moss-bearded cypress, top standing out, dear cut against the sky, and 
as quaint of form as the apple-trees in Japanese pictures — such was 
our course and the snrronndings of it. There was an oocssbual 
alligator swimming oomfbrtably along in the cansJ, and an occasional 
picturesque coloured person on the bank, flinging his atatue-rigid 
reflection upon the still water and watching for a tHta.^^,^,^!^. 



398 LIFE ON THE 1111331381 PPI. 

And by-and-bye we reached the West End, a collection of boteli 
of the Qsnal light summer-Teaort pattftn, with broad venuidas all 
around, and the wavee of the wide and bine Lake Pontehartrain 
lapping the thresholdB. We had dinner on a groond-veranda over 
the water — the chief dish the renowned fish called the pompano, 
delidous aa the lees criminal forms of sin. 

Tboosande of people come by rail and carriage to West End and 
to Spanish Fort evety evening, and dine, listen to the banda, take 
fitiolls in the open air nnder the electric lights, go Bailing on the lake, 
and entertain themselves in variouB and sundry other ways. 



THE SHELL BOAD. . 

We had opportnnitiee on other days and in otlter places to test 
the pompano. Kotably, at an editorial dinner at (am of the dabs in 
the dty. He was in hia last possible perfection there, and jnstified 
his fame. In his suite was a tall pyramid of scarlet cray-fiah — large 
ones ; as large as one's thumb — delicate, palatable, appetising. Abo 
devilled whitebait ; also shrimps of choice qnality ; and a platter of 
small Boft-shell crabs of a most superior breed. The 0&3&T dishes were 
what one might get at Delmonioo's, or Buckingham Falaoe thoee I 



cnr sioBTS. s&a 

bare spoken tS can be had in dmilRT perfection in Now Orleans only, 
I suppose. 

In the West and Soath they have a new institution — the Broom 
Brigade. It is composed of yoang ladiee who drese In a uniform cos- 
tume, and go through the infantry drill, with broom In place of musket. 
It is a very pretty sight, on private view. When they perform on 
the stage of a theatre, in the bhize of coloured fires, it must be a fine 
and fttscinating spectacle. I saw them go through their complex 
manual with grace, spirit, and admirable precision. I saw them do 
everything which a human being can possibly do with a broom, except 



sweep. I did not see them sweep. But I know th^ conld leam. 
What th^ have already learned proves that. And if they ever 
should leam, and should go on the war-path down Tchonpitoulas or 
some of those other streets around there, those thorougbfaree would 
bear a greatly improved aspect in a very few minutes. But the 
girls themselves wouldn't ; so nothing would be really gained, after 
alL 

The drill was in the Washington Artillery building. In this 



400 LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

buildiug we saw many interaBting relics of tihe war. Also a fine oil- 
painting r^reeenting Stonewall Jaskson's last interview with Ooieral 
Lee. Both men ftre on horseback. Jackson has jost ridden np, and 
is aooosting Lee. The picture is very valuable, on aoconnt of the 
portraits, which are authentic. But, like many another histonoal 



THB BSOOK 

picture, it means nothing without ite labd. And <aie label w 
as well as anoUier — 

First Interview between Lee and Jackson. 

Last Interview between Lee and Jackson. 

Jackson Introducing Himself to Lee. 

Jackson Accepting Lee's Invitation to Dinner./-- i 



CITY SIGHTS. 401 

Jackson DecluuQg Lee's lavitation to Dinner — with Thanks. 

Jackson Apologismg for a Heavy Defeat, 

Jackson Reporting a Great Ytctory. 

Jackson Asking Lee for a Match. 

It tells on« itoiy, and a soffident one ; for it says quite plainly 
aod satia&ctorily, ' Here are Lee and Jackson together.' The artist 
would have mode it tell that this is Lee and Jackson's last interview 
if be ooold have done it. Bat he couldn't, for there wasn't any way 
to do it. A good l^ble labd is usually worth, for information, a ton 
of aignificant attitude and exprasdon in a historial picture. In Borne, 
people with fine sympathetic natures stand up and weep in front of 
the celebrated ' Beatrioe Cenci the Day before her Execution.' It 
shows what a label can do. If they did not know the picture, 
tbey would inspect it unmoved, and say, ' Young girl witii hay fever ', 
young giri with her head in a bi^.' 

I found the hsJf-forgotten. Southern intonations azid elisions as 
pleasing to my ear as they had formerly been. A Soutbemer talks 
mnsio. At least it is music to m^ bat then I was bom in the South. 
The educated Southerner has no use for an r, except at the beginning 
of a word. He says ' honah,' and ' dinnah,' and ' Gove'nuh,' and 
■ befo' the waw,' and so on. The words may lack charm to the eye, 
in print, but th^ have it to the ear. When did the r disapppear 
firom Southern E^)eecli, and how did it oome to disappear % The custom 
of dn^jHOg it WAS not borrowed from the Korth, nor inherited from 
Sngland. Many Soutiiemeni — meet Soothemers — put a y into occa- 
sional words that b^n with tiie It sound. For instance, they say Mr. 
IC'yahtah (Garter) and speak <A playing k'yabds or of riding in the 
k'yahs. And tb^ have the pleasant custom — long ago fallen into 
decay in the North— of frequently employing the reepectfol 'Sir. 
Instead of the curt Yee, and the abrupt fTo, they say ' Yes, Snh ' 
' No, Sub.' 

Bat there are some infelicitiea. Such as ' like ' for ' as,' and the 
addition of an ' at ' where it isn't needed. I heard an educated gentle- 
man say, ' Like the flag-officer did.' His cook or his butler would 
have said, 'Like the flag-officer done.' Yon hear gentlem^i say, 
* Where have yon been at ) ' And here is tbe aggravated form — 
heard a ragged street Arab say it to a comrade : ' I was a-ask'n' Tom 



409 LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

whah yon WM ftHsett'a' at.' The very elect ctireleBfily Bay ' will ' whan 
they mean ' Bhall ' ; and many of them say, ' I didn't go to do it,' 
meajung'l didn't mean to do it.' The Northern word 'goess' — 
imported from England, where it used to be oommon, and now 
regarded by aatirical Englishmen oe a Yankee original — is bnt little 
used among Sonthemeis. They say ' reckon.' They haven't any 
'doeen't' in Uieir language; they 
say 'don't' instead. The nnpol- 
ished o&tia use 'went' for 'gtme.' 
It is nearly as b«d as the NoTtheni 
'hadn't ought.' This reminds me 
that a rnnark of a veiy pecnliar 
nature was made here in my neagh- 
bonrhood (in the North) a few days 
ago : ' He hadn't ou^t to have 
went.' How is that \ Isn't that a 
good deal of a triumph t One knows 
the orders combined in this half- 
breed's arohitectore without inquir- 
ing: one parent Nordtem, the 
other Southern. To-day I heard a 
schoolmistress ask, ' Where is John 
gone t ' This fonn is so oommtHt — 
flo nearly oniTetsal, in fiMit— that 
if she had uaed ' whither ' instead 
of ' where,' I think it would hara 
soonded like an afiectation. 
- -~—^rjA^ ^j- We picked up one excellent word 

— a word worth traTelliag to New 
'WHAH xou wAsr Orleans to get; a nice limbw. w- 

pressiTe, handy word — 'lagniai^'' 
l^iey pronounce it lanny-ya;}. It is Spanish — so they said. Wedis- 
oomed it at the head of a column of odds and ends in the Ficayxin^ 
the first day ; heard twenty people use it the second ; inquired what 
it meant the third ; adopted it and got funlil^ in swinging It the fbnrtii. 
Ithaaareetrictodmeaning, buti tliinkthepeopleepreadit outa tittle 
when they choose. It is the equivalent <^ the thirteenth loU in a 



'FOB LAONIAPPE.' r- I 

■ i)j,,,.,,X,oo'^lc 

DDS *" 



..y Google 



CITY SIGHTS. 106 

■ baker's dozen.' It is something thrown in, gratis, for good measure. 
Thecastom originated in the Spanish quarter of the city. When a child 
or a servant buys Bomething in a Bhop — or even the mayor or the 
governor, for aught I know — he finishes the operation by saying — 

' Give me something for lagniappe.' 

The shopman always reeponds ; gives the child a bit of liquorice- 
root, gives the servant a cheap cigar or a spool of thread, gives 
the governor — I don't know what he givea the governor ; support, 
likely. 

When you ore invited to drink, and this does occur now and th^i in 
New OrleABB — and you say, ' What, again 1 — no, I've had enough j ' the 
other party says, ' But just this one time more — this is for lagniappe.' 
When the beau perceives that he is stacking his compliments a trifle 
too high, and sees by the young lady's countenance that tiie edifice 
would have been better with the top compliment left off, be pnts 
his ' I beg pardon — no harm intended,' into the briefer form of ' Ofa, 
that's for lagniappe.' If the waiter in the reetauiant stumbles and 
spUIs a gill of coffee down the back of your neck, he says ' For lagni- 
appe, eah,' and gets you another cup without extra charge. 



c.y Google 



LIFE Olf THE MISSISSIPPI. 



CHAPTER XLV. 

BODTHEBN BPORVS. 

Itr Ute Ifortit one heara the var mentioned, in bocuI coPT a wtinp, 
once a ntontih ; eometimee as often as tmoa a week ; bnt aa a distinct 
sabject for talk, it has long ago been relieved of daty. There an 
sufficient reaaona for thia. Given a dinner company of six gentlemen 
to-day, it can easily happen that four of them — and poasiUy fiv^— 
were not in the field at all. So the chances are four to two, or five 
to one, that tJlie war will at no time during the evsning beowoe the 
topic <rf oonvensation ; and Uie chanoCB are still greater that if it 
become the t(^>ic it will remain so bat a little while. If yon add ax 
ladies to the company, yoa have added six peqile who saw ao little of 
the dmd realitiee of the war that they ran out of talk oonoeming 
them yean ago, and now would aoon weaiy of the war tc^no if yon 
la^>ught it up. 

The case is very difTeient in the South. There, every man yon 
meet was in the war ; and every lady yon meet saw the war. "Die 
war is the great chief topic of convenntion. The interest in it is 
vivid and constant ; the interest in other topics is Seating. Uoatiim 
of the war will wake up a dull oompany and set thdr tongues goin^ 
when nearly any other topic would &il. In the South, tiie war is 
what A.D. is elsewhere : they date from it All day long yon hear 
things 'placed' as having h^pened since the waw; or da'in' the 
waw ; or befo' the vaw ; or right aftah the waw ; or 'bout two yeahs 
or five yeahs or ten yeahs befo' the waw or aitah the waw. It shows 
bow intimately every individual was vimted, in his own peracra, hj 
that tremendous episode. It gives the inexperienced stranger a better 



SOUTHERN SPORTS. *07 

idea of what a vast aod comprebeneive cal&mity invasion ia than he 
can ever get by reading books at the fiiedde. 

At a club one erening, a gentleman tamed to me and said, in an 
aedde^ 

' Yon notice, of coune, that we are nearly always talking abont 
the war. It isn't becauae we 
bavn't anything else to talk 
abont, bat because nothing else 
haa 80 strong an interest for us. 
And there is another reason : 
In the war, each <^ ua, in his 
own person, seems to have 
sampled all the different varie- 
ties of human experience ; as 
a oonsequenoe, you can't men- 
tion an outside matter of any 
Bort but it will certainly remind 
some listener of something that 
happened during the war — and 
out he oomes with it. Of 
ooni^se that brings the talk 
beck to the war. Yon may 
try all you want to, to keep 
other subjects before the hoose, 
and we may all join in and 
help, but there can be but 
one result : the most random 
topic woold load every man up 
with war reminiscences, and 
sk^tt him up, too; and talk 

would be likely to stop pre- 'waw talk.' 

sently, because you can't talk 

pale inconsequentialitjes when you've got a crimson fact or &ncy in 
your head that you are burning to fetch out.' 

The poet was sitting some Httle distance away ; and presently he 
b^an to apeak— about the moon. 

The geDtleman who had been talking to me remarked in an 



408 LIFE ON TEE MISSISSIPPI. 

' aside : ' ' There, the moon '\a far enough &om the seat of war, buC 
you will see that it will suggest something to Bomeboby about the 
war ; in ten mitintes from now the moon, as & topic, will be shelTed.' 

The poet was sajriug he had noticed eometbing which was » 
■orprise to him ; had had the impressioB that down here, toward the 
equator, the moonlight was much stronger and brighter than up 
North ; had had the impression that vhea he visited New Orieaos, 
manjr years ago, the moon ~ 

Interruptiou from the other end of the room — 

' Let me explain that. Beminds me of an anecdote. Eirwything 
is changed since the war, for better or for worse; but yoall find 
people down here bom grumblers, who see no change ezo^t the 
change for the worse. There wss an old negro woman <tf thia Bort. 
A yomig New-Yorker said in her presence, " What a wonderful moim 
yon have down here I " She sighed and said, " Ah, bless yo' beut, 
h<m^, you ought to seen dat moon befb' de vaw ! " ' 

The new topic was dead already. But the poet teeorrected it, 
anil gave it a new start. 

A brief dilute followed, as to wbeUter the difioTenoe between 
Northern and Southern mocmlight reaUy existed or was only ima- 
gined. Moonlight talk drifted easily into talk about artificial metitods 
of dispelling darkness. Then s(»nebody remembered that when 
Farragut advanced upon Pwt Hudson on a dark ni^t — and did not 
wish to assist the aim of the Oonfederate gunners — he carried no 
batUe-lantems, but painted the decks of his ships white, and thna 
created a dim but valuable light, which enabled his own men to 
grope their way around with considerable fiuality. At this point the 
war got the door again — the ten minates not quite up yet. 

I was not sorry, for var talk by men who have been in a war is 
always interesting ; whereas moon talk by a poet who has not been 
in the moon is likely to be dull. 

We went to a cockpit in New Orleans on a Saturday aftentoon. 
I hod never seen a cock-fight ImAkb. There were men and boys tlM«« 
of all ages and all oolours, and of many languages and naticnuUitieK. 
But I noticed one quite conspieaous and surprising absence : the 
traditional brutal faces. There were no brutal faces. With do 
eock-fightdng going on, you Goi^bave [Jayed the gathering on a 



SOUTHERN SPORTS. 40! 

Btnmger for a prayer-meeting ; and after it began, for a revival- 
provided you blindfolded yonr stranger — for the shouting was some 
thing prcxiigiouB. 



aud struck him on the heed with hia 
spur. The grey reepomled with Bpirit. Then the Babel of mituy- 
tongned ehoutinge broke oni, and ceased not thenceforth. When 



410 UFB ON THE 31ISSZ3SIPPI. 

the oocka had been fighting some little time, I waa expecting tfaem 
momently to drop dead, for both were blind, red with blood, and so 
exhausted that they frequently fell dotm. Yet thi^ would not 
give op, neitlier voold tiwy die. The negro and tita white duji. 
would pick them up every few aetoada, wipe them ott, blow oold 
water on them in a fine spray, and take their heada in their months 
And hold them Uiere a moment — to warm back the periahing life 
perhaps ; I do not know. Then, being set down again, the djing 
treaturee would totter gropingly about, with dragging wings, find 
«B(]h other, strike a guesB-vork blow or two, and &U exhausted oooe 
more. 

I did not see the end of the battle. I fotced myeelf to endui« it 
«8 long as I could, but it was too pitiful a mght; so I made frank 
4»nfeeEian to that effect, and we retired. We heard afterward that 
Hia black oock died in the ring, and fitting to the last. 

Evidently there is abundant &fldnation about this 'qidrt' lor 
such as have had a degree of fiuuillaii^ witJi it. I never saw people 
^oy anything more tlian this gailtsring ei^oyed this fight. ^16 case 
was Hie same with old grey-heads and with boys of ten. They lost 
themselves in frenoes of delight. The ' cocking-main' is an '"fciTnim 
sort fd entertainment there is no question about Uiat; still, it seems 
a mudi mote respectable and &x leas cruel sport tJian fox-hunting — 
for the cocks like it ; they experience, as well as confer ei\j<7ment ; 
which is not the fox's case. 

We assisted — in the French sense — at a mule race, one day. I 
believe I enjoyed this contest more than any other mule there. I 
«njoyed it more than I remember having enj<^ed any oUiw ""'miJ 
race I ever saw. The grand stand was well filled witii the beauly 
and the chivalry of New Orleans. That phrase is not original with me. 
It is the Southern reporter's. He has used it for two generations. 
He uses it twenty times a day, or twenty thousand times a day ; or a 
million times a day— according to the exigencieB. He is obliged to 
use it a million times a day, if he have occasion to qieak <^ 
respectable men and women that often ; for he has no other phrase 
for such service except that single one. He never tires of it ; it 
always has a fine sound to him. There is a kind oi swdl mediaTal 
bnllinesB and tinsel about it that pleases his gaudy barbaric soul. 



SOUTHBRy SPORTS. 411 

If be had been in Palestine in the earl; times, -wa should ham 

had DO referencee to ' much people ' out of him. No, he vould 

have said 'the beauty and the chivalry of Galilee' assembled to 

hear the Sermon on the 

Mount. It is likely 

that the mm and 

women of the South 

are sick enough of that 

phrase by this time, 

and would like a 

change, but there is 



of their getting it. 

The New Orleaaa 
editor has a Rtroug, 
compact, direct, un- 
flowffly style; wastea 
no words, and doea not 
gush. Not BO with his 
average correepondest. 
In the Appendix I 
have quoted a good 
letter, penned by a 
trained hand ; bat the 
average correapondent 
hurla a style which 
diS^ from that. For 



The 'Times-Demo- 
crat' sent a relief- 

eteamer up one of the \\ i - ' .'^^^ 

bayous, last April. ""^ 

This steamer landed at oubbts. 

a village, up there some- 
where, and the Captain invited some of the ladies of the village to make 
a short trip with him. They accepted and came aboard, and the 
steamboat shoved out up the oreek. That was all th^ was * to it.' 



4ia Lim ox THE MISSISSIPPI. 

And that is all that the editor of the ' Times-Democrat ' woold have 
got ont of it. There waa nothing in tbe tiling but statisticB, ftud he 
would have got notbibg else out of it. He would probaUy have 
even .tabulated theta, partly to secure perfect deamees of statement, 
and partly to save space. But his special coireepondeut knows other 
methods of handling statistics. He just throws off all resbaint and 
wallows in them — 

' On Saturdaj, ettrlj in tiie morning, the beauty of Uie place graced our 
cabin, and prond of her fur freight the gallant little boat glided up the 

Twenty-two words to say the ladies came aboard and the boat 
shoved ont up the creek, is a clean waste of ten good words, and is 
also destructive <^ compactness of statement. 

The trouble with the Southern reporter is^ — Women. They 
unsettle him ; they throw him off his balance. He is plain, and 
sensible, and satia&ctory, until a woman heaves in sight. Then he 
goes all to pieces ; his mind totters, he becomes flowery and idiotic. 
From reading the above extract, you would ima^e that this student 
cX Sir Walter Scott is an i^prentice, and knows next to nothing aboot 
^lllT^fn^•Ilg a pen. On the contrary, he famishes plenty of proofs, in 
his long letter, that he knows well enough bow to handle it when the 
women are not around to give him tbe artificial-flower complaint. 
For instance — 

'At 4 o'clock ominous clouds began to gather in the aontii-^ut, and |B«- 
sently from the Qnlf there came a blow which mcieaaed in Mventy ewy 
moment. It was not safe to leave the landing then, and thva wa« a delay- 
The oaka shook off long tresaes of th^ mosay beards to the tagging- of the 
wind, aad the bayou in i\a ambition put od miniatoie waves in mocking of 
much laiger bodies of water. A lull permitted a start, and homewards we 
steamed, an ioky aky overhead and a heavy wind blowing. As dsrknfw 
crept on, there were few on board who did not wish themselvea neaiw bone.' 

There is nothing tbe matter with that. It is good deecriptioc, 
compactly pnt. Yet, there was great temptation, there, to ditip into 
lurid writing. 

Bat let us return to the mule. Since I lell bim, I have rsm- 
maged around and found a full report of tbe race. lo^^^ I fiitd coo- 



SOUTSEJly SPORTS. 413 

firmatioD of the theoi; which I broached just dow — namely, th&t tihe 
trouble with the Southern reporter is Women : Women, Bi^)ple- 
mented by Walter Scott and his knights and beauty and chivalry, 
and so on. This is an excellent report, as long as the women stay 
out of it. But when they intrude, we have this frantic result — 

' It will be probably a long- time before tbe ladies' stand preaents sucb a 
sea of foam-lilie loveliness as it did yesterday. The New Orleans women are 
always cbanniog, but never bo much so as at tbis time of the year, when in 
their dainty spring costumes tbey bring with them a breath of balmy freah- 
nees and an odour of sanctity unspeakable. The stand was so (xowdedvrith 
them that, walking at their feet and sewng no possibility of approach, many 
a man appreciated as he never did before the Peri's feeling at the Gates of 
Paradise, and wondered what was the priceless boon that would admit him 
to their saeted presence. Sparkling on their whit«-rohed breasts or shouldera 
were the colours of their bvourite knights, and were it not for the (act that 
the doughty heroes appeared on unromantic mules, it would h^ve been ea^ 
to imagine one of King Arthur's gali-days.' 

There wero thirteen mules in the first heat ; all sorts of mulee, 
they were ; all sorts of complexions, gaits, dispositions, aspects. Some 
were handsome creatures, some were not ; some were sleek, some hadn't 
had their fur brushed lately ; some were innocently gay and frisky ; 
some were fuU of malice and all unrighteousnees ; guessing from looks, 
some of them thought tihe matter on band was war, some thought it 
was a lark, the rest took it for a religious occasion. And each ntule 
acted according to his convictions. The result was an absenoe of har- 
mony well compensated by a conspicuous presence of vsjiety — variety 
of a picturesque and entortalmng sort. 

All the riders were young gentlemen in fitahionable society. If 
the reader has been wondering why it is that the ladies of Kew 
Orleans attend so humble an orgy as a mole-race, the thing is ex- 
plained now. It is a fiushion-fre^ ; all connected with it are people 
of fashion. 

It is gi^t fun, and c<»dially liked. The mule-race is one of tiie 
marked oooasions of the year. It has lauught some pretty fast mulee 
to the front. One of these had to be ruled out, 'because he was so 
fast that be turned the thing Into a one-mule contest, ajid robbed it of 
one of its beet featureii — variety. But eveiy now and then somebody 



414 LIFE ON THE MIBSISSIPPI. 

diegniseB turn with a new name and a new complexioii, and rings him 
in again. 

The ridoTB dress in full jockey costumes of bright-colonred dike, 
satins, and velvets. 

The thirteen mules got away in a body, after a couple of fiilse 
starts, and scampered off with prodigious spirit. As each mule and 
each rider had a distinct opinion of his own as to how the race ongbt 
to be run, and which side of the track was best in certain drcum- 
stances, and how often the track ought to be croesed, and when a 
ooUifflon ought to be accomplished, and when it onght to be avoided' 



ABSKKCK OF HASHOKT. 



tbese twen^-«ix conflicting opinions created a moat fiuLtratic and 
pictoneque confusion, and the resulting spectacle was Idllinglj- 



Mile beat ; tjine 2*23, Eight of the thirteen mules distanced. I 
had a bet on a mule which would hare won if the procession bad 
been reversed. The aeoond heat was good fun ; and so was the ' con- 
solation race for beaten moles,' which followed later; bnt Um first 
heat was the best in that respect. 

I tliink that much the meet enjoyable of all rnoee is a steamboat 
taoe ; bnt, next to that, I pref^ the gay and joyous mule-rush. Two 



SOUTHERN SPORTS. «5 

red-hot ateamboatB raging along, neck-and-neck, Btraining every nerre 
— Uiat is to say, every rivet in the boilers— quaking and shaking and 
groaning from stem to stem, spouting white steam from the pipeB, 
pouring black amoke from the chimneys, raining down sparks, parting 



not for the tiresome &lse starts. But then, 
nobody is ever killed. At least, nobody was ever killed when I was 
at a horse-race. They have been crip[ded, it is true ; but ttiiB is little 
to the purpose. i,^. „ A.OO'JiC 



LirS ON THE MI8SI83IPPI. 



CHAPTEE XL VI. 

BNCEANTKEHTa AKD ENCHANTERS. 

Tee largest aimnal event in New Orleans is a something which 
we arrived too late to sample — the Mardi-Ons feetavitiee. I sair tiu 
procession of the Mystic Crew of Comns there, twenty fonr-joars ago 
— with knights and nobles and so on, dothed in silken and golden 
Faris-made gorgeousnessee, planned and bought for that single nigbfc 
use ; and in their train all manner of giants, dwarfs, monstroBities, 
and other diverting groteaquerie — a startling and wondwftl sort of 
show, as it filed solemnly and silently down the street in the light cJ 
its smoking and flickering torches ; but it is said tiiat in these latter 
days the spectacle u mightily aogmented, as to cost, Bplendonr, and 
variety. There is a chief personage — ' Jtez;'andifIremembarri^(Jy, 
neither this king nor any of his great following of eubordkiat^ is 
known to any outrider. All these people are gentlemeD 
and consequence ; and it is a proud thing to belong to the o 
tion ; so the mystery in which they hide th^ persooalitf ia taanly 
for romance's sake, and not on account of the police. 

Mardi-Gras is of course a relic of the French and Spanish o 
tion ; bat I judge that the religious feature has been |netfy wdl 
knocked out cS it now. Sir Walter has got the advantage of the 
gentlemen of the cowl and rosary, and he will stay. His medieval 
business, supplemented \^ the monsters and the oddities, and the 
pleasant creatures &om biry-land, is finer to look at than the poor 
fantastic inventions and peiformances of the revelling rabble of the 
priest's day, and serves quite as well, perhaps, to emphasize the day 
and admonish men that the grace-line between the worldly seastm 
and the holy one is reached. i m\ ■ 



EyCHANTMENTa AND ENCHANTERS. 417 

This Mardi-Oras pageant waa the exclusive poeeefHioii of Kew 
OrleanB antil recently. Bat now it has spread to Memphis and St. 
LoaiB and Baltimore. It has probably reached ite limit. It is a 



MABDI-OKAS. 



thing which could hardly exist in the practical Korth ; would cer- 
tainly last bat a very brief time ; as bri^ a time as it would last in 
lAmdon. 'For the soul of it is the romantic, not the funny and ths 



418 LIFE OX- THE MISSISSIPPI. '■ 

grotflaqne.' Take away the romantic mysteries, tlie kings and kni^te 
aiul big-Honndiiig tdtlee, and Majrdi-Grae would die, down there in tht 
Soath. The very feature that keepe it alive in the Sonth- — girij- 
girly romance — would kill it in the North or in London. PucJt: and 
Punch, and the pnes uniTersal, would &11 upon it and make menales^ 
fun of it, and ite first exhibition would be also its last. 

Againet the crimes of the French Berolution and of Bonaparte 
may be set two oompensating bene&ctionB : the Revolntion broke the 
chains of the aneUn rigimt and of the Church, and made of a natioD 
of abject slaTos a nation of freemen ; and Bonaparte instituted the 
setting of merit above birth, and also so completely stripped the 
divinity from royalty, that whereas crowned heads in Europe wa* 
gods before, they are only men, since, and can never be gods again, 
but only figure-heads, and answerable for their acta like conunon day 
Such bene&ctioua as these compensate the temporary harm which 
Bonaparte and the Revolution did, and leave the world in debt to 
them for ttiese gteat and permanent servicos to liberty, humanity, and 
progress. 

Then comes Sir Walter Scott with his enchantments, and by hia 
single might checks this wave of progress, and even turns it back ; sete 
the world in love with dreams and phantoms; with decayed and 
swinish forms of religion; with decayed and dEfi;raded systems ^ 
government ; with the sillinesses and emptinesses, sham grandeoK. 
sham gands, and sham chivalries of a brainless and worthleGB loi^- 
vanished society. He' did measureless harm ; more real and iMrt.iwg 
harm, perhaps, than any other individual that ever wrote. Moet of 
the world has now outlived good part of these harms, tton^^ by no 
means all of them ; but in our South they flourish pretty foroefuUy 
still. Kot so forcefully as half a generation ago, perhape, bat atill 
fbrcefiilly. There, the genuine and wholesome civiliaation of tfa^ 
nineteenth century is curionsly confused and commingled with tfaf^ 
Walter Soott Middle-Age sham civiUsation ; and so yoa have prmctical. 
common-sense, progreswve ideas, and progressive works, mixed np 
with the duel, the inflated speech, and the jejune romanticism <^ an 
absurd past that is dead, and out of charity on^t to be buried. But 
for the Sir Walter disease, the character <£ the Southerner — or 
Southron, according to Sir Walter's starchier way tX phnsing it — 
,„... A,oo;jle i 



ZlfCSANTMENTS AND ENCSAyTERS. *19 

would be wholly modeni, in place of modern and medueral mixed, 
nud Uie Sonth would be fnlly a generation farther advanoed than it 
in. It was Sir Walter that made eveiy gentleman in the Sonth a 



- '^ ^"--^ ,' - .- ■ '- atedrankand caste down 

there, and also reverence 
r rank and caste, and pride and pleasure in them. Enough is laid 
t slavery, without &thering upon it these creations and oontribu- 
jns of Sir Walter. ^ t^.OO'JlC 



480 hJFE ON TSE MISSISSIPPI. 

Sir Walter had bo large a Hand in making Boathem chaiacter, as 
it existed before the war, that he is in gmt measnre responsiUe iot 
the war. It seema a little harsh toward a dead man to say Aat ira 
oercT should have had any war but for Sir Walter ; and yet some- 
thing of a plausible argnment might, perhaps, be made in sappoaA of 
that wild proposition. The Southerner of the Anmrioan Revolatiaii 
owned slaves; so did the Sonthemw 4^ the Civil War: but tlw 
former Twemblee the latter as an EngliahmantesembleeaWflndunan. 
The change of character can be traced rather more eaeily to ^ 
Walter's influence than to that of any other thing or petwm. 

One may otieerve, by one or two signs, bow deeply that influence 
penetrated, and bow strongly it holds. If one take up a Korthera 
or Southern literaiy periodical of forty or fifty years ago, he will find 
it filled with wordy, windy, fioweiy ' eloquence,' romantdasm, senti- 
mentality — all imitated &om Sir Walter, and sufficiently badly done, 
too — innocent travesties of his style and methods, in &ct. Tlue sort 
of literature being the fashion in both sections of the eountty, there 
was opportunity for the fiureet competition ; and ae a conaequcsKc, 
the South was able to show as many well-known literary names, pro- 
portioned to population, aa the North could. 

But a change has come, and there is no opportunity now for * 
fitir competition between North and South. For the North has 
thrown out that old inflated style, whereas the Soutftem writer atill 
clings to it— clings to it and has a restricted market for his wares, ts 
a ctKisequence. There is as much hterary talent in the South, now, 
as evw there was, of course ; but its work can gain bat sli^t cur- 
rency under pteeent conditions ; the autbora write for the paat^ not 
the present ; they use obsolete forms, and a dead language. But 
when a Southerner of genius writes modern English, hia book goa 
upon cruliohes no longer, but upon vcjnga ; and they cany it swifUj 
all about America and England, and through the great KngKch 
reprint publiahing houees of Genuany — as witness the expenrnw of 
tSx. Cable and Unde Remua, two of the very few Southern anthon 
who do not write in the Southern style. Instead of three or foot 
widely-known literary names, the South ought to hare a iamsa or j 
two— and will have them when Sir Walter's time is out. 

A curious exemplification of the power of a single book fi>r gool i 



ENCBANTMENTS AND ENCSXNTERS. *»1 

or hftnn ia ehown in the effects wrouglit by ' Don Quixote ' and those 
wrought by ' Ivanhoe.' The first swept the world's admiration for the 
medisval chivaliy-sillineBs out of existence ; and the other restored 
it. As {ar as our South is concerned, the good work done by 
Cervkntes is pretty nearly a dead letter, so effectually has Scott's per- 
niciona work nndermined it. 



c.y Google 



UFB ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 



CHAPTER XLVII. 

n»CLS REKU8 AKD MR. CABLE. 

Mb. Jokl Chaiisleb Habbis (' Uncle Bcmos ') was to aniTe firam 
Atlanta at seven o'clock Sunday morning ; so we got up and reoeiTed 
hiDL We were able to detect Hm among the crowd of azTiTals at 
the hotel-connter hj his oorreBpondenoe with a deacription oi bim 
which had been famished ns from a troatwortihy acniroe. Hie ifu 
said to be nndersiEed, red-haired, and somewhat freckled. He was 
the imly man in the partj whose outdde taUied with tlua Inll of 
particnlara. He was said to be •vtarj shy. He is a shy man. Of 
this tiiere is no doubt. It may not show on the snr&ce, bat tha 
shyness is there. After days of intimat^ one wonders to see tiiaA it 
is stall in about ss strong force as ever. Then is a fine and beaatifnl 
nature hidden behind it, as all know who have read the T7nde 
BamoB book ; and a fine genius, too, as all know by the same sign. 
I aeem to be talking quite freely aboat this neighbour; but in 
talking to the public I am but talking to his penonal friends, and 
these things are permiffltble among friends. 

He deeply disappointed a number of children who had flocked 
eageriy to Mr. Cable's honae to get a glimpse of the illustrious sag? 
and oracle of the nation's nurso^ea. They said — 

'Why, he's whitol' 

They were grieved about it. So, to conmle tham, tiie book 
was brought, tiiat Aey mgjaX, hear Uncle Bemus's Tar-Baby stoiy 
frxHDi the lips of Uncle Bemos himself — or what, in their outraged 
ejres, was left of him. But it turned out that he had never read 
aloud to people, and was too shy to venture the att«mpt now. Ur. 



UNCLE REMUS AND MR. CABLE. *23 

Cable and I read from books of onrs, to show him what ao eas; 
trick it was ; but his immortal Bhyneea was proof against eren this 
sagacious Btrate^, so we had to read about Brer Babbit otirselves. 

Mr. Harris ought to be able to read the negro dialect better than 
anybody else, for in the matter of 
writing it he is the only master the 
Goontry has produced. Mr. Cable is 
the only master in the writing of 
French dialects that the country has 
produced; and he reads them in per- 
fection. It was a great treat to hear 
him read about Jean-ah Foquelin, and 
about Innenirity and his &nious ' pig- 
shoo ' representing ' Louisihanna Rif- 
fusing to HantCT the Union,' along 
wiUi paflBages of nicely-shaded Qer- 
man dialect from a novel which was 
still in manuscript. 

It came out in conversation, that 
in two different instances Mr. Cable 
got into grotesque trouble by umng, in 
his books, next-to-impoBslble French 
namee which neverthelees happened 
to be borne by living and sensitive 
citizens of New Orleaas. His names 
were m&er inventions or were bor- 
rowed from the ancient and obeolete 
past, I do not now remember which ; 
but at any rate living bearers of them 
turned up, and were a good deal hurt "^^wl t^_ - ~:^' 
'at having attention directed to them- " -— ■%^-~" 

selves and their afiairs in so exces- uncle rekvb. 

sively pubUc a manner. 

Mr. Warner aud Z had an experience of the same sort wh^i we 
wrote the book called ' The Gilded Age.' There is a character in it 
called ' Sellers.' I do not remember what his first name was, in the 
beginning ; but anyway, Mr. Warner did not like it, and wanted it 



Ut LIFE ON THE MISSIBSIPPl. 

improTed. He uked me if I was able to unagme a peraon named 
* Esoliol Sellers.' Of courae I said I could not, without sldmnlute. 
He nid that away out West, once, he had met, and contemplated, ind 
actually shaken hands irith a man bearing that imposuble nam«— 
' Eschol Sellers.' He added— 



' It was twenty years ago ; his name has probaUy carried him off 
before this ; and if it hasn't, he will nev^ see the book auyiu)*' 
We will confiscate his name. The name you bi« using is comaoD. 
and therefore dangerous ; there are probably a thousand Bellem i 
bearing it, and the whole horde will oome after us; but EkIhI 
Sellers is a safe name — it is a pock.' i 

,„... X.oaq\v 



UNCLE REMUa AlfD MB. CABLE. 436 

So we borrowed that name; and when the book bad been oat 
about a week, ooe of the Etatelieet aad handsomeet and moat; aristo- 
cratic looking white men that ever lived, called around, with the 
most formidable libel snit in his pocket l^t ever — ^well, in brief, 
we got his permisBion to enppreeB an edition of ten million ' co^es 
of the book and change that name to ' Molbeny Sellers ' in fdture 
editions. 

I Figures taken from memory, and probably incoiiect. Think it was more. 



Dgliiec^yGoOi^Ie 



UFB ON THE MIBSI88IFP1. 



CHAPTER XLVIII. 

aUQAB AKD POffTAOE. 



Onb day, oa the street, I encountered the man vhom, of all men, I 
meet iriflbed to se»— Horace Bixby; formerly jalot under me — or 
rather, over m»— now c^ttain of the great steamer ' City of Baton 
Bonge,' the lateet and swiftest addition to the Anchor LineL Hie 
same slender figure, the same tight cork, the same springy atqi, the 
same alertness, the same decision of eye and answering detasicMi of 
hand, the same erect military hearing ; not an inch gained or lost in 
girth, not an onnoe gained or loet in weight, °ot a hair turned. It is | 
a curious thing, to leave a man thirty-fire years old, and oome hack I 
at the end of twenty-one yean and find him still only thirty-fiTe. I 
have not had an experience of this kind hefbre, I bediere. There 
were some crow's-feet, but they oouQt«d for next to notliing, since 
they were incon^icuous. ' 

His boat was just in. I had been waiting several days for her, 
pnrpoeing to return to St. Louis in her. The captain and I jcuned a 
par^ fA ladies and gentlemen, gneete of Mf^or Wood, and w«nt down 
the river fifty-four miles, in a swift tug, to ex-<}ovOTiior Warmontii's 
sugar plantation. Btmng along below the city, were a numbv of 
decayed, ram.shaokly, superannuated old steambcatB, not one of 
which had I ever [seen before. They had all been built, uid wwd 
out, and thrown aside, since I was here last. This gives one a 
realising sense of the frailnese of a Mississippi boat and the MeAwa 
of its life. 

Six miles below town a fat and battered brick chimney, sticking: 
above the magnolias and live-oaks, was pointed out aa the monumnt 
erected by an appreciative nation to celelarate lite hsUlp of Ke* 



c.y Google 



SUGAR AXD POSTAGE. «9 

Orleans — Jackstm's victoiy over tlie British, January 8, 1815. The 
war had ^ided, the two nations waro at peaoe, but the news had not 
yet reached New Orleans. If we had had l^e cable tele%:n^b in 
those days, this blood would not have been qolt^ tirase lives wonld 
not have been wasted; and better still, Jackson would prolwbly never 
have bem president. We have gotten avfx the harms done ns l^ 
tiie war of 1812, bat not over some d! those dene us by Jackson's 
presideney. 

The Wannouth plantation covers a vast deal of ground, and the 
hoepitaJity of the Wannontti mansioD is graduated to the same lat^ 
scale. We saw steam-plonghs at work, here, for the first time. The 
traction engine travels about on its own wheels, till it reaches the 
required spot ; then it stands still and by means of a wire rope pulls 
the huge plough toward itself two or three hondred yards across the 
field, between the rows of cane. The thing ente down into the 
black monid a fi>ot and a half deep. Theplough looks like a fbr&«nd- 
aft brace of a Hudson river steamer, invited. When the negro 
steersmftn sits on one end of it, that end tilta down near the ground, 
while the oth» sticks up high in air. This great see-saw goee rolling 
and pitching like a ship at sea, and it is not every circus rider that 
could stay on it. 

l%e plantation contains two thousand six hundred acres; six 
hundred and SSbj are in cane ; and there is a fruitful orange grove of 
five thousand trees. The cane is cultivated after a modem and 
intricate scientific &shion, too elaborate and complex for me to 
attempt to describe; but it lost ;g40,000 last year. I forget the other 
details. However, this year's crop will reach ten or twelve hundred 
tons of sugar, consequently last year's loss will not matter. These 
troublesome and expensive sdcntifio methods achieve a yield of a ton 
and a half and firom that to two tons, to the acre ; which is three or 
four times what the yield of an acre was in my time. 

The drainage-ditches wei-e everywhere alive with littie crabs — 
' fiddlers.' One saw tliem scampering sidewise in every direction 
whenever they heard a disturbing noise. Expensive pests, these 
crabs ; for they bore into the leveee, and ruin them. 

The great sugar-house was a wHdemeSB of tube and famlm and 
vats and filters, pumps, pipes, and machinery. The process of ™a.H«g 



430 LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

sugar is exceedingly intensUng. Etist^ jaa heave yoor cane into 
the oentrifogals and grind oat the juice; then run it thixm|^ the 
evapoialing pan to extract the fibre; tiien through the bone-filter to 
remove the aloohol ; then through the daiifying tanks to dischai^ 
the molaseee; then through the granulating pipe to condemae H; 
then through the Taouum ptra to extract the ▼acnom. It is now 
ready for market. I have jotted these particulars down from memoiy. 
The thing looks simple and e&sy. Do not deceive youiself. To make 
sugar is reafly one of the most difficult things in the wtvld. And to 
make it right, is next to impossible. If you will examine yoor own 
supply every now and then for a term of yean, and tabulate the 
result, you will find that not two men in twenty can make Eugar 
without getting sand into it. 

We could havo gone down to the moath of the river and visited 
Captain Eads' great work, the 'jettiee,' where the river has been 
compreesed between walls, and thus deepened to twenty-eix feet ; bat 
it was voted useleee to go, since at this stage of the water everythiDg 
would be covered ap and invisible. 

We could have visited that ancient and singnlar burg, ' Pilot* 
town,' which stands on stilts in tJie water — so Uuy say ; when 
nearly all communication is by skiff and canoe, even to tJbe attend- 
ing of weddings and funerals ; and where the littlest hoys and giris 
are as handy with the oar as unamphilnoaB children »« with the 



We could have done a number <^ other things ; but on account cf 
limited time, we went back home. The sail up the bree^ and hptA- 
ling river was a diarming experience, and would have been satisfyin^y 
sentimental and romantic bat for 1^ interruptions of the tug's pet 
parrot, whose tireless comments upon the scenery and the gaests were 
always thia-worldly, and often profone. He had also a supet«bun- 
dance of the discordant, ear-splitting, metallic laugh common to his 
breed — a machine-made laogh, a Frankenstein laugh, with the aoul left 
oat of it. He applied it te every sentimental remark, and to ersry 
pathetic song. He cackled it out with hideous mxrgy after ' Home 
again, home ag^n from a foreign shore,' and said he * wouldn't give a 
damn for a tug-load of such rot.' Bomaoce and sentiment cannCFt 
long survive tliis sort of diaooaragement ; so the Tin ging and tj^lUng 



SUGAR AND POSTAGE. 431 

preeently ceased ; which Bo delighted the panot that he cursed him- 
eelf hoarse for J07. 

Then the mole memben of the party moTed to the forecastle, to 
smoke and gossip. There were several old steamboatmen along, and 
I learned &om them a great deal of what had been happening to mj 
former river &iendB during m; long absence. I learned that a pilot 
whom I used to steer for is become a ^iritualist, and for more tban 



fifteen yeara has been receiving a letter eveiy week &om a deceased 
relative, through a New York spiritualistic medinm named Man- 
chester — postage graduated by dietanoe : from the local post-office 
in Paradise to New York, five dollars ; from New York to St. Louis, 
three cents. I remember Mr. Manchester very well. I called on 
him once, ten years ago, with a couple of friends, one of whom wished 
to inquire after a deceased uncle. This unde had lost his life in a 



432 LJFB ON TBE MISSISSIPPI. 

peculiarly violent ajid nnnsnal wa.;, half & dozen years before : a 
cyclone blew him some three miles and knocked a tree down with 
him which was four feet tlirongh at the butt and Edxty-five feet hi^. 
He did not anrvive this triumph. At the sianee jnst referred to, my 
friend questioned his late vmcle, throogh Mr. Manchester, and the 
late ancle wrote down his relies, using Mr.' Manchester's hand and 



SMOKE AND GOSSIP. 



pencU fer tliat purpose. The following is a Eur example <Uf the ques- 
tions aaked, and also of the sloppy twaddle in the way of answers, 
furnished by Manchester under the pretence that it came from the 
spectre. If this man is not the paltrieet fraud that livee, I owe him 



Qnettion, Where are you t 

Antwer, In the spirit world. 

Q. Areyouhappyt usi.za.-iGoOQlc 



SUGAR AND POSTAGE. 433 

A. Very happy. Perfectly happy. 
Q. How do yoa amaBe yourself) 

A. Conv^satioii with biendg, and other epirita. 

Q. What else! 

A, Nothing else. Nothing eUe U neceesftry. 

Q. What do you talk about 1 

A. About how happy we are ; sud about friends left behind in 
the eordi, and how to influence them for their good. 

Q. When yonr friends in the earth all get to the spirit land, what 
shall yOD have to talk about then T — nothing but about how ha{^y 
yoa all are ) 

No reply. It i« explained that spirit* will not answer Mvolous 
quertioiiB. 

Q. How ia it that spirits that are content to spend an eternity 
in fiivolous employments, and aooept it as happiness, are so &stidiouB 
nboat fiiTolous queations upon the anbject 1 

No reply. 

Q. Would you like to come back ! 

A. No. 

Q. Would you say that under oath 1 

A. Yea. 

Q. What do you eat t^ere 1 

A. We do not eat. 

Q, What do you drink 1 

A. We do not drink. 

Q. What do yon smoke t 

A. We do not smoke. 

Q. What do you read I 

A. We do not read. 

Q. Do all the good people go to your placet 

A. Yes. 

Q. You know my preeent way of life. Can you su^eat any addi- 
tions to it, in the way of crime, that will reasonably insore my going 
to some other place % 

A. No reply. 

Q. When-did you diet 

A. I did not die, I passed away. Dgiiec-iGoOQlc 



43* Lir£ ON TBE MISSISSIPPI. 

Q. Y&rj well, then, whsia did you paae away I How long have 
you been in the spirit land 1 

A, We have no measnrements of time here. 

Q, Though you may be indifierent and uncertain as to dat«B and 
times in your prteent condition and environment, this has nothing to 
do with your former condition. You had dates then. One of tiuw 



is what I ask for. You departed on a oertain day in a certwn year. 
Is not this true % 

A. YfiB. 

Q. Then name the day of the month. 

(Much fambling with pencil, on the part- of the medium, 
accompanied by violent spasmodic jerkingB of his head aad bock, 
for some little time. Finally, explanation to the c^ct tba: 
spirits often forget dates, such things being without importanoe to 
them.) I,.. „ A.OO'jIe 



SUSAS AXJ> POBTAQB. 43B 

Q. Then this one has itctuolly forgotten the date of ita trauBlatioD 
to the spirit land 1 

This was gnnted to be the case. 

Q. ITiia is very carious. Well, then, wh&t year was iti 

(More fumbling, jerking, idiotic spasms, on the part of the medium, 
finally, explanation to the effect that the spirit has forgotten the 
year.) 

Q. lioR ia indeed stapendons. Let me pat one more qnestion, 
one last question, to you, before we part to meet no more ; — for even 
if I &il to avoid your aE^lnm, a meeting Uiere will go for nothing <m 
a meeting, aince by that time you will eosOy have forgotten me and 
my name : did you die a natural death, or were yon cut off 1^ a 
catastrophe 1 

A. (After long hesitation and many throes and Bpaams.) Natural 
death. 

This ended the interview. My Mend told the medium that when 
his relative was in this poOT world, he was endowed with an extra- 
ordinary intellect and an absolutely defectless memory, and it seemed 
a gt«at pity that he had not been allowed to keep some ahred of these 
for his amoBement in the realms of everlasting contentment, and for 
the amatement and admiration of the rest of the population thne. 

This man had plenty of clients — has plenty yet. He reoeiTas 
letters from spirits located in every part of the spirit world, and 
delivers them all ovot titia oonntry through the TTnited States maQ. 
These letters are filled with advice — advice from ' si»rits ' who don't 
know as mnoh as a tadpole — and this advice is reUgioualy followed 
by the receivers One of these clients was a man whom the spirits 
(if one may thns plurally describe the ingenious Manchester) were 
teaching how to contrive an improved raUway car-wheel. It is 
coarse employment for a spirit, but it is higher and wholesomer 
activity than talking for ever about ' how happy we are.' 



)j,:»,,.. Google 



LIFE OK TBE XIS8ISSIPPJ. 



CHAPTER XUX. 

I80SK8 Iir PILOT LIFE. 



Iif the course of the tng-boat gossip, it came out that out vX eTcry 
five of mj former frienda who had quitted the iiTer, four had choeen 
forming aa an oocapat^oo. Of oourae this was not hecaoBS tbej trere 
pecnliarl; gifted, agricultoially, and thua more likely to succeed as 
fanners than in other industries : the reason for their choice musi 
be traced to some otiier source. Doabtless they chose &irmiiig 
becaose that life is private and secladed &om irruptions of undesir- 
able strangers — like the pilot-hoose hermitage. And doubtless they 
also chose it because on a thousand nights of black storm and dangei 
they had noted the twinkling ligfate of solitaty fium-houees, as the 
boat swung by, and pictured to themselvea the serenity and secmit; 
andoosinesBofauchreftigesat aucb times, and aohad by-and-byecoDW| 
to di«am of that retired and peaceful life aai the one deniable thingt 
to long for, anticipate, earn, and at last enjoy. j 

But I did not leam that any of these {nlot-farmcts had a8tosiib«i 
anybody with Uieir successes. Their forma do not support them 
th^ sopport th^ forms. The pilot-farmsr disappears &om the riT« 
annually, about the bi'caking <^ spring, and ia Been no more till neH 
ftvst l^en he appears again, in damaged homespun, combe the hi* 
seed out <tf his bur, and takes a pilot-house berUi for the winter. Il 
this way he pays the debts which his forming has achieved dan;i 
the agricultural season. So his river bondage is but half broken ; li 
is still the river's slave the hardest half of tJie year. 

One of these men bought a form, but did not retire to it. H 
Knew a trick worth two of that. He did not propose to panpeii 
his form by applying his personal ignorance to working it. No, I 



EPISODES IN PILOT LJPB. 437 

pat the &rm into the hands of an agrionltural ezp^ to be worked 
on shares — ont of eT«i7 three loads of oom the expert to havs two 
and the pilot the third. But at the end of the seeaon the pilot 
received no com. The expert explained that Au share was not 
reached. The fiinn produced only two loads. 

Some of the pilots whom I had known had had adventnree — ^the 
outcome fortunate, sometdmes, but not in all caeee. Captain Mont- 
gomcay, whom I had steered for when he was a pilot, commanded 
the Confederate fleet in the graat batUe before Memphis; whan his 
vessel went down, he swam ashore, fought bis way through a squad 
of soldiers, and made a gallant and narrow escape. He was always a 
cool man ; nothing oould disturb bis serenity. Once wh^i he was 
capttun of the ' Crescent City,' I was bringing the boat into port at 
New Orleans, and momently expecting orders from the burricaoe 
deck, but reoeivad none. I had stopped the wheats, and there my 
authority and reeponsibility ceased. It was evening — dim twilight — 
the captain's hat was perched upon the big bell, and I supposed the 
intellectual end of the captain was in it, bnt such was not the case. 
The captain was very strict ; therefore I knew better than to touch 
a bell without orders. My dnty was to hold the boat steadily on her 
calamitous course, and leave the oonseqnenoes to take care of them- 
selvee — which I did. So we went ploughing past the stems of ateam- 
boats and getting closer and closer — the crash was bound to come 
very soon — and still that hat never budged ; for alas, the captain 
was napping in the toxas. . . . Things were becoming exceedingly 
nervous and uncomfortable. It seemed to me that the captain was 
not going to appear in time to nee the entertainment. But he did. 
Just as we were walking into the stem of a steamboat, he stepped 
out on dec^, and said, with heavenly serenity, ' Set her back on both ' 
— which I did ; but a trifle late, however, for the next moment we 
went smashing through that other boat's flimsy outer works with a 
most prodigious racket. The c^>tain never said a word to me about 
the matter afterwards, except to remark that I had done ri^t, andr 
that he hoped I would not hesitate to act in tiie same way again in 
like circumstoncee. 

One of tiie pilots whom I had known when I was on the river 
bad died a very honourable death. His boat caught fir^ and he 



438 LTFB ON TBE MISSISSIPPI. 

remaioed at the wheel uatdl he got her safe to land. Then he went 
out over the breast-board with his cloUung in flamee, and was ^te 
last penon to get ashore. He died from his ii^joriea in the oourae of 
two or three hours, and his was the only life Icet. 

The hifltoiy of MieaieMppi piloting affords six or seven instauoee of 

this sort of martyrdom, and half a hundred instances of escapes from 

a like fate which came 



"^ ' -' within a second or two of 

being &taUy too late; bvi 

there w no vntUmix of a 

pilot daertiftg hit pott lo 

aaoe kit life whUe by rt- 

-N maiming and »aa%ficing it 

J ha might teoure olAer Uva 

from (2Mtnic(ton. It is 

^ well worth while to set 

down this noble fi»ct, and 

well worth while to put 

it in italics, too. 

The 'cub'pilot is early 
admonished to demise all 
perils connected with a 
pilot's calling, and to pre- 
, fer any sort of death to 
the deep diahooonr i^ 
deserting his post while 
there is any posdbili^ of 
his being useful in it. 
And so edbctivedy are 
theeo admonitlonfl incul- 
cated, that eren young 
and but h&If-tried pilots can be depended upon to stick to the wheel, 
and die there when oocaaon requires. In a Memphis grav^ani 
is buried a young fellow who perished at the wheel a great many 
years ago, in Whito River, to save the lives of other men. He 
said to the captain that if the fire would give him time to reach 
a sand bar, some distance away, all could be saved, but that to lanJ 



EPISODES Ilf PILOT LIFE. 489 

agaiofit tbe bluff bank of the river would bo to insure the loss of 
many lives. He reatdied tfae bar Mid grounded the boat in shallow 
water ; but by that time the flames had closed uound him, and in 
escaping through them he was fatally burned. He had been urged 
to fly sooner, but had replied as became a pilot to reply — 

' I will not go. If I go, nobody will be saved ; if I stay, no one 
will be lost but me. I will stay.' 

There were two hundred pereons on board, and no life was lost 
but &e pilot's. There used to be a monument to ttiie young fellow, 
in tiiat Memphis grav^ard. While we tarried in Memphis on our 
down trip, I started out to look for it, but our time was so brief that 
I was obliged to turn back before my object was accomplished. 

The tug-boat gossip informed me that Dick Keunet was dead — 
blown np, near Memphis, and killed ; that several others whom I 
had known had fallen in the war — one or two of them shot down at 
the wheel ; that another and very particular friend, whom I had 
Bteered many trips for, had stepped out of his hoose in New Orleans, 
one night years ago, to collect some money in a remote port of the 
city, and had never been seen again — was murdered and thrown into 
the river, it was thought ; thaf Ben Thomburgh was dead long ago ; 
also his wild ' cub ' whom I used to quarrel with, all through every 
daylight watch. A heedless, reckless creature he was, and always in 
hot water, always in mischief. An Arkansas passenger brought an 
enonnouB bear aboard, one day, and chained him to a life-boat on the 
hurricane deck. Thomburgh's ' cub ' could not rest till he had gone 
there and unchained the bear, to ' see what he wonld do.' He was 
promptly gratified. The bear chased him around and around the 
deck, tot miles and miles, with two hundred eager faces grinning 
through the railings for audience, and finally snatched off the lad's 
coat-tail and went into the texss to chew it. The off-watch turned 
out with alacrity, and left the bear in sole possession. He preeeutly 
grew lonesome, and started out for recreation. He ranged the whole 
boat — visited every part of it, with an advance guard of fleeing 
people in front of i hini and a voiceless vacancy behind him ; and when 
his owner captured him at last, those two were the only visible 
beings anywhere ; everybody else was in hiding, and the boat was a 
solitude. , 



4M LIFE Olf THE MIS8I88IPPI. 

X was told that one of mjr pilot friends fell dead at the wheel, &oiu 
heart disease, in 1869. The captain waa on the coof at the time. 
He saw the boat breaking for the shtnre ; ehonted, and got oo answer; 
ran up, and found the pilot lying dead on the floor. 

Mr. Bixby had been blown np. In Madrid bend ; was not ijgimd, 
but the other pilot was lost. 



tbornbuboh'b cub. 

George Bitchie had been blown up near Memphis — Mown into 
the river from the wheel, and disabled. The water was vet? oold ; 
he clung to a cotton bale — mainly with bis teeth — and floated until 
nearly exhausted, when he was rescued by some dedc bands who wcr« 
un a piece of the wreck. They tore open the bale and packed him in 
the cotton, and warmed the life back into him, and f^ him Mtle to 
Memphis. He is one of Bixby's pilots on the ' Baton Bonge ' now. 



SPI80DES I2f PILOT LIFE. • 141 

Into the life of a Bteamboat derk, tiow dead, had dropped a bit of 
romaooe— aomewhat grotesque :romanoe, bat romanoe nevertheleBs. 
When I knew him he was a shiftleeB young apendthrift, boisterous, 
good-hearted, fiill of cudees generooties, and pretty oonspicnouBly 
promisiDg to fool his posdbiCtiee aw»j e^rly, and oome to nothing. 
In a Western city lived a rich and childless old foreigner and his 
wife ; and in their family was a comely young girl — sort of frieod, 
sort of servant. The young derk of whom I have been speddng — 
whoee name was not George Johnson, but who shall be called 0«oi^ 
Johnson for the puipoees of this narrative — got acquainted with this 



■HB CLUNO TO A COTTOK BALE.' 

yoong girl, and they ednned ; and the old foreigner found them out, 
ajid rebuked them. Being ashamed, they lied, and said they were 
married; that they had been privately married. Then the old 
foreigner's hurt was healed, and he foigave and blessed them. After 
that, they were able to continue their sin without concealment. By- 
and-bye the foreigner's wife died ; and presently he followed after her. 
Friends of the family assembled to mourn ; and among the moomers 
Silt the two young sinnera. The will was opened and solemnly read. 
It bequeathed every penny of tiiat old man's great wealth to Mrs. 
George Johmson! , ii ia|r 



ia LIFE Oy TBE MISSISSIPPI. 

And there %ras do snch perwm. The young Bumen fled forth 
theD, and did a very foolish thing i married thenuelTeB before an 
obscure Jnstioe of the Peace, and got him to antedate the thing. 
That did no sort of good. The distant relatires flocked in and exposed 
the feandfiil date with extreme Hnddomees and surprising ekse, and 
carried off the forttme, leaving the Johnsons veiy legitimately, and 
legally, and irrevocably chained together in honourable marriage, bnt 
with not so much as a penny to bless themselves withal. Such 
are the actual facte ; and not all novels have fi>r a base bo teQing a 
situation. 



c.y Google 



CHAPTER L. 

THE 'ORIfllNAL JACOBS.' 

Wx had aome talk about Oaptain Isaiah Sellers, now many yean 
dead. He vae a fine man, a high-minded man, and greatly reapeoted 
both aahore uid on the rirei*. He was very tall, well built, and 
handsome ; and in his old age — aa I remembar him — hie hair was as 
black as an Indian's, and his eye and hand were as strong and steady 
and his nerve and judgment as firm and clear as anybody's, yoong or 
old, among the fraternity of jnlots. He was the patriarch of the 
craft; he had been a keelhoat pilot before the day of steamboats ; 
and a steamboat pilot before any other ste*mboat pilot, stall sorviTing 
at the time I speak <^, had over tamed a wheel. Consequently his 
bretfarm held him in the sort of awe in which illustrious snryiTors 
of a bygone age are always held by their aseociatea. He knew bow 
he was regarded, and perhaps this fact added some trifle of etiffoning 
to his natural dignity, which had been sufficiently stiff in its or^;tnal 
state. 

He left a diary behind him; bat apparently it did not date back 
to his first steamboat trip, which was said to be 1811, ^e year the 
flist steamboat disturbed the waters of the Mississippi. At the tdme 
of his death a correspondent of the ' St. Louis Republican ' culled 
the following it«ms from the diary — 

' la Febnuuy, IS25, he dapped on board the steuner " Rambler," at 
Florence, Ala., and made during that year three tripa to New Orleans and 
back — this on the " Gen. Carrol," between NflsUville and New Orleana. It 
waa during his stay on this boat that Captain Sellers introduced the tap of 
the bell as a signal to beare the lead, pTevious to which time it was (he 
custom for the pilot to speak to the men below when soundings were wanted. 



444 LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 1 

The proziinitj of the foreeutle to the plotrhoDae, no doabt, landued tlua u 
ea87 matter ; bot hov difibrent on one of our paluw of the praeent dkj. 

' Id 1837 wa find him oa boud the " Praodent," % botit of two hundred 
and eigbty-five tons btoden, uid plTing between Smithland and New Orkani. 
Thence he joined the " Julnlse " in 1838, and on this boat he did hia first 
piloting in the St Louis trade ; hia first watch extending &om Horculaueam 
lo St. Q«neTieTe. On Ma; 36, 18S6, he completed and left PitUbni^ in 
charge of the steamer " Piairie," a boat of foor hnndied tons, and tbe fint 
steamer with a ttate-room eabm erar seen at St. Louis. In 18S7 hs intro- 
duced the signal for meeting boats, and which has, with some elif^tebange, 
been the muTersal costom of this day ; in fact, is lendered obligiAoij hj act 
of CoDgrase. 

' As general items of river hiatoiy, we quote the following maigind notes 
irom hia general log — 

'In March, 182fi, Geo. La&yettA left New Orl«aiu for St, Look on the 
low-pressure Bt«amei " Natehn." 

' In JauuHTT', 1828, twantj-one steamers left the New OrleanB 'vriiaif ta 
celebrate the occasion of Oen. Jackson's visit to that city. 

'In 1830 the "North American" made the ran from New Orleans to 
Memphis in six days — best time on record to that date. It has since been 
made in two days and ten hours. 

' In 1831 the Bed River cut-off formed. 

'In 1832 steamer " Hudson" made the run from White Bivar to TTbImm, 
a distance of seventy-five miles, in twelve bonrs. This was the sooiee of 
much tallc and apeculadon among parties directly interested. 

' In 1888 Great Horseshoe cut-off formed. 

' Up to the present time, a term of thirty-five years, we ascertain, by re- 
ference to the diary, he has made four hundred and nxty round trips to New 
Orleans, which givesa distance of one million one hundred and four tltoosand 
miles, <x an average of ^hty-ox miles a day.' 

Whenerer Cfq>taiii Sellers approached a body of goaapntg pilots, 
a chill fell there, and tallH-ng ceased. For this reason : whenever 
six pUota were gfttbered togethar, there would alvraya be one or two 
newly fledged ones in the lot, and the elder ones would be always 
'showing off* before these poor fellows; mnUng them scarowfally 
feel how callow they were, how recent their nobility, and how humble 
their d«%7ee, by talking largely and vaporoasly of old-time ezperienoK 
on the river ; always making it a point to date everything back as 
far as they coold, so as to make the new men feel their Dewneas to 
the sharpest degne poenble, and envy the <dd ^tum in the like 



TRE 'OBiailfAL JACOBS: 443 

degree. And liow tlieee complacent baldheadfi icovid Bwell, and krag* 
and lie, and date back — ten, fifteen, twenty yeera, — and how they 
did enjoy the effect prodaced upOD the marvelling and envying 
youngsters I 

And perhape jost at tbie hap|^ stage of the proceedings, the 



stately figure of Captain Isaiah Sellers, that real and only genuine 
Son of Antiquity, would drift solemnly into the midst. Imagine the 
size of the silence that would result on the instant. And imagine 
the feelings of those bald-heads, and the exultation of their recent 
audience when the ancient captain would bc^in to drop casual and 
indifierent remarks of a reminiscent nature — about islands that had 



4*6 LIfB ON TBS XIS3IS8IPPI. 

disappeared, and oat-o% that had been made, a generation before the 
oldeBt bald-head in the company had ever set his foot in a pOot- 
faonse! 

Many and many a time did this ancient maiin^ appear on the 
scene in the above &8hloa, and spread disaster and hnmilisitioii 
aronnd him. If one might beUeve the pilots, he always dated his 
islande back to the misty dawn of river faifitory ; and he never Deed 
the same island twice ; and never did he employ an island tha.t still 
existed, or give one a name which anybody preaent was old enough 
to have heard of before. If you might believe the pilots, he was 
always consdentiously particular about little details ; never qx^e <^ 
' the StjR-te of MisaiaHippi,' for instanoe — no, he would say, ' When 
the State ^ MiBsissippi was where Arkansas now is ; ' and would 
never speak of Louisiana or Missouri in a general way, and leave an 
incorrect Impreesion on your mind — no, he wonld Bay, '"When 
Louisiana was up the river farther,' or ' When Missouri was on the 
Illinois side.' 

The old gentleman was not of literary turn or capacity, but he 
used to jot down brief paragiapha of plain practical information about 
the river, and sign them ' Mark Twain,' and give them to the ' New 
Orleans Picayune.' They related to the stage and condition d the 
river, and were accurate and valuable j and thus far, Hwij contained 
no poison. But in speaking of the stage of the river to-day, at a 
^ven point, the captain wss pretty apt to drop in a little ramaric 
about this being the first time he had seen tiie water so high or ao 
low at that particular point for fbrty-nine years ; and now and tlien 
he would mention Island So-and-so, and follow it, in parentheses, with 
some such observation as 'dis^peared in 1807, if I remonber 
rightly.' In these antique inteijections lay poison and bittemea for 
the oUier old [ulote, and they used to chaff tlie 'Mark Twain' 
parsf^j^s with unsparing mockery. 

It so chanced that one of these paragraphs' became tLe text for 

■ The OTigiaal U.S. of it, in the o^itain's own hand, haa been sent to me 
from New Orleoiu. It reads sa follows — 

■ VIOKSBUEO, May 4, 1869. 

' lHj opinion for ths benefit of the oltisens of Now Otieana : The water is 
higher this fv ap than it has been since IS16. Vj opinion is that the water I 



IRE 'ORIQIKAL JACOBS.' «7 

my first newspaper article, I burleeqnod it broadly, very broadly, 
strinj^iig my fentastioa oat to the extent of eight hundred or & 



UUUUHUIU YTUIUB. J. HW » ' CUb ' «t 

the time. I showed my perfomumce to some pilots, and they eagerly 
rushed it into print in tiie 'Kew Orleans True Delta.' It iras a 
great pity ; for it did nobody any worthy service, and it sent a pAng 

will be 4 feet deep in Canal street before tbeGrat of next Jane. Mrs. Turner's 
plantation at the bead of Big Black Island is all under water, and it has not 
been aince IS 16. 

"J 'LSrllmrs.' 



t4B LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. ! 

deep into a good mtut's heart. There wm no maliee in my rubbish ; 
but it Iftughed at the captain. It laogbed at a man to whom sodi 
a thing was new and etrange and dreadful. I did not knoTv tlieii, 
though I do now, that there is no snfiering ooiupara,ble with that 
which a private person feela when he is for the fiist time pillcoried in 
print. 

Captain Sellers did me the honoor to profoundly detest me from 
Uiat day forth. When I say he did me the honour, I am not nsing 
empty worde. It was a very real honour to be in the thoughts dt ao 
great a man as Captain Sellers, and I had wit enough to appreciate 
it and be proud of it. It was distinction to be loved 1^ such a man ; 
but it was a much greater distinction to be hated by him, bec&nap he 
loved Bcores of people ; but he didn't ut up nights to hata anybody 
but me. 

He nsTer printed another paragraph while he lived, and he never 
again signed ' Mark Twain ' to anything. At the time that the 
telt^liaph brought the news of his death, I was on the Pacific coast. 
I was a freeh new joumaJist, and needed a iwm de guerre ; so I con- 
fiscated the ancient mariner's discarded one, and have done my beet 
to maho it remain what it was in his hands — a sign and i^rmbol and 
warrant that whatever is found in its company may be gambled on 
as being the petrified truth ; how I have succeeded, it would not be 
modeet in me to say. 

The captain had an honourable pride in his ptofeanon and an 
abiding love for it. He ordered his monument bdbre he died, and 
kept it near bim until he did die. It stands over his grave now, in 
Bellefontaine cemetery, St. Louis. It is his image, in marble, 
standing on duty at the pilot wheel; and worthy to stand and 
confront critidBm, for it represents a man who in life woald hare 
Rtayed there till be bomed to a cinder, if duty required it. 

The finest thing we saw on our whole Mississippi trip, we saw as 
we approached New Orleans in the st«am-tug. 'Chis was Uie curving 
frontage of the cnecent city lit up with the white glare of five milfti 
of electric lights. It was a wonderful sight, and very beantifni. 



CHAPTER LI. 

KEVIN ISCEKCEB. 

Wb left for St. Louis in the ' City of Baton Bonge,' on & delightfolly 
hot day, but with the main pnipose of my riait but lamely aooom- 
plisbed. I bad hoped to hunt up and talk with a hundred steam- 
boatmen, but got so pleaaantly involved in the social life of the town 
that I got nothing more than mere five-minute talks witli a coaple (£ 
dozen of the craft. 

I was on the bench of the pilot-house when we backed oat and 
' straightened up ' for the start — the boat pausing for a ' good ready,' 
in the old-&ahioned vay, and the Uack amoke piling ont of the 
chimneys equally in the old-&shioned way. Then we began to 
gather momentum, and presently vere fairly under way and 
booming along. It was all as natural and finiiilia.r — and bo were 
the shoreward ai^ts — as if there had been no break in my river Ufe. 
There was a ' cub,' and I judged tliat he would take the wheel now ; 
and he did. Captain Bixl^ stuped into the pUot-house. Freoently 
the cub closed up on the rank of Bteamships. He made me nervous, 
for he allowed too much water to show between our boat and the ships. 
I knew quite well what was going to happen, becante I could date 
back in my own life and inspect the record. The ciq)tBin looked on, 
during a silent hatf-minut^ then took the wheel himself, and crowded 
the boat in, till she went scraping along within a hand-breadth of the 
ships. It was exactly the favour which he had done me, about a 
quarter of a oenttuj before, in that same spot, die first time I ever 
st«amed out of the port of Kew Orleans. It was a very great and 
nncere pleasure to me to see the thing repeated — ^with somebody 
else as victim. 

":■■■■ A.OOjjIC 



UO LIFE ON THE AflSSISSIPPI. 

We made Natchez (three hundred milee) in twenty-two bonis 
and a half — much the awiftefit. passage I have ever made over th;.i 
piece of water. 

The next morning I came on wit^ the four o'clock watc^ ami 
saw Ritchie succeeBfully run half a dozen crossinga in a {f^, oans 
for his guidance the loarked chart devieed and patented by Bixby 
and himself. Thia sufficiently evidenced the groat v&lne of the chart. 

By and by, when t^e fog b^;an to clear off, I noticed that the 
reflection of a tree in the smooth water of an overflowed hank, tax 
hundred yards away, was strongs and blacker than the ghostly tree 
itself. The feint spectral trees, dimly glimpsed through the shreddin; 
fog, were very pretty things to aee. 

We had a heavy thunder-storm at Katchez, anoth«- at Vicksbnrg. 
and still another about fifty miles below Memphis. Tbej had sa 
old-&shioned energy whic^ bad long been unfamJb'ar to me. This third 
storm was accompanied by a raging wind. We tied ap to the bank 
when we saw the tempest coming, and evmybody letfl the pilot-house 
but me. The wind bent the young trees down, exposing the pdJf 
underside of die leaves ■ and gust after gust followed, in quick snc- 
cession, thrashing the branches violendy up and down, and to tlii.' 
side and that, and creating swift waves <^ alternating green and 
white according to the side of the leaf that was exposed, and tbetv 
waves raced after each other as do their kind over a wind-tooaed fieJd 
of oats. "So colour tliat was visible anywiiere was quite natural — all 
tints were charged with a leaden tinge from the solid okrad-bank 
overhead. The river was leaden ; all distances the same ; and even 
the far-reaching ranks of combing white-caps were dully shaded liy 
the dark, TiA atmosphere through which their swarming kgions 
marched. The thunder-peats wra« constant and deafoiing ; exfiaaoa 
followed explosion witii but inconsequential intervals b otwwm , and 
the reports grew steadily sharper and higher-keryed, and more trying 
to the ear ; the lightning was as diligent as the thnnder, and pn> 
duced efiects which enchanted the eye and sent electric ecstasMs tt 
mixed delight and apprehension shivering along evwy nerve in the 
body in nnintermittent procession. The rain poured down in *n»»Ting 
volnme; the ear-splitting thunder-peals broke neai«r and dmiw; 
the wind iD<3«eaed in fnty and began to wrencii off tKOQ^ and tree- . 



REMINISCENCES. *61 

Ope and send Uiem eailiiig avay through space ; the pilot-honae fell 
o rocMng and straining and cracking and Burging, and I went dowD 
n the hold to see what time it waa. 



I AM UiXIOUH ABOUT THE TIHG. 

People boast a good deal about Alpine thunder-etorms ; but the 
tonoB which I have had the Inck to Bee in the Alps were not the 
qualB of some which I have seen in the MisaiBsippi Valley. I may 
Lot have seen the Alps do their best, of course, and if they can beat 

he MiesiBsippi, I don't wish to. i,j. .. A.ttO'^l 



462 LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

Oa this up trip I saw & little towhead (infant iBlftnd) half t. mUt 
long, which had been formed during the past nineteen years. Sinct 
there wae so much time to spare that nineteen years of it oould bf 
devoted to the coostruction of a mere towhead, where was the use. 
originally, in rushing this whole globe throo^ in six daysl It i- 
likely that if more time bad been taken, in the first place, the worii 
would hare been made right, and this oeaseleea impronng and 
lepuring would not be necessary now. But if yos bnrry a worlu 
or a house, yon are nearly sura to find out by and by that yon han^ 
left out a towhead, or a broom-closet, or aomeothw little oonvwuence, 
here and tbere, which has got to be supplied, no matter faow moct 
expense and vexation it may cost 

We had a saooeesion of blaok nights, gmng ap the river, and il 
was observable that whenever we landed, and suddenly iunndateJ 
the treee with the intense Bunburst of the electric light, a certain 
carious efiect was always produced: hundreds of birds flocked instantJt 
oat from the masses of shining green foliage, and went careerimg hithe 
and thither through the white rays, and often a song-bird tuned u; 
and fell to singing. We judged that the; mistook this saperb ariafidai 
day for the genuine article. 

We had a delightful trip in that thoroughly well-ordered ateama, 
and regretted that it was accomplished so speedily. By mnam <i 
diligence and activity, we managed to hunt out nearly all the oU 
friends. One was missiiig, however; he went to his reward, what- 
ever it was, two yeam ago. But I found out all about him. HL 
case helped me to realise how lasting can be the effect of a ver 
trifling occurr^ice. When he was an apprentioe-blackamitfa in on: 
village, and I a schoolboy, a coujde (^ young Englishmoi came to thi 
town and sojourned a while ; and one day they got themselves up ii 
cheap royal finery and did the Biohard III. sword-figbt wit^ nuuuM 
energy and prodigious powwow, in the presence of the village bc^s 
This blacksmith cub was there, and the histritmio poison «ntec«d ha 
bones. This vast, Imnbering, ignocact, dull-witted lout was stag*- 
struck, and irrecovnsbly. He disappeared, and presently turned s( 
in St. Louis. I nuk across faim there, by and fay. He was itiitdtm 
musing on a Bb«et oomer, with his left hand <m his hip, the tfauaA 
<tf his right supporting bis chin, face bowed and frowning, sloudk hri 



REMINISCENCES. 453 

pulled down over his forehead — imagmiiig himself to he Othello or 
some such character, and imagimng that the poeeiiig crowd marked 
his tragic hearing and 
were awestruck, 

I joined him, and > "^i 

tried to get him down _ | 

out of the clouds, but did ; " [ 

not succeed. However, " ] 

he casually informed me, ^ ,- > 
presently, that he was \ ■ ^ 

a member of the Waluat " i 

Street theatre company 
— and he tried to say it ; , ' ' 

with indifference, but the ': '. ' 

indifference was thin, / 

and a mighty exultation ' 

showed through it. He I; 

said he was cast for a T 

part in Julius CieeEa-, for 

that night, and if I should 

come I would see him. 

If I shoidd come I I ' 

said I wouldn't miss it if " 

I were dead. - ; 

I went away stupefied 
with astonishment, and 
saying to myself, ' How i ' 

strange it is I im always 
thought this fellow a 
fool ; yet the moment he 
comes to a great dty, .' 

where intelligence and 
appreciation abound, the 

talent concealed in this STAOB-STKncit. 

shabby napkin is at onoe 
discovered, and promptly welcomed and honoured.' 

Snt I came away firom the theatre that night disapptnnted and 



4H LTFB ON iHE HiaSISSIPPI. 

ctfwded ; for I h&d h&d no glimpse of my hero, and his name wms do; 
in the billB. I met him on. the street the next morning, and before I 
conld Bpeok, he asked — 

' Did you Bee me r 

' No, you weren't there.' 

He looked Bnrpriaed and dmpptnnted. He said — 

' Yea, I was. Indeed I was. I was a Roman soldi^.' 

' 'Whioh one 1 ' 

' Why didnt you see them Boman soldiecB that stood back 
tliere in a ra^ik, and eometimes marched in proceesioa aroimd Um 
Btagel' 

' Do you mean the Roman army 1 — those six sandalled roust 
abouts in nighiahirts, with tin shields and helmets, that man^iai 
aronnd treading on each other's heels, in charge of a spider-legged oon^ 
. somptiTe dreeaed like themBelves 1 ' 

' That's it I fliat's it ! I was one of them Roman soldiers. I wu 
the nsdi to the last one. A half a year ago I used to always be tbt 
last one ; but I've been promoted.' 

Well, they told me that that poor fellow remained a Bonuci 
soldier to the last — a matter of thirty-four years. Sranetimee the.T 
oMt him for a ' speaking part,' but not an elaborate one. He ootHA 
be tmsted to go and say, ' My lord, the carriage waits,' but if tlie; 
Tentored to add a sentence or two to this, his memory folt the straic 
and he was likely to miss fire. Yet, poor devil, he had been p&tientlv 
studying the part of Hamlet for more than thirty years, and he 
lived and died in the belief that some day he would be invited to 
play it! 

And this is what came of that fleeting visit of those youn^ 
KngHahm Hn to our Tillage soch agee and ages ago ! What noble horee- 
shoee this man might have made, bat for those En gliaU men ; and 
what an inadequate Roman soldier he did make I 

A day or two aSber we reaidied St. Loui^ I was walking alon^ 
Fourth Street when a grioly-headed man gave a sort of Aait as he 
passed me, then stopped, came back, inspected me narrowly, witii a 
clouding brow, and finally said with deep asperity — 

' Look here, hav6 you got that drink yet I ' 

A maniac, I jadged, at first. Bnt all in a fiasb Inoqgniaed him.. 



REMINISCENCES. ISS 

I made an effort to blush that struned every muscle in me, and 
answered as sweetly and wmiimgly as ever I knew how — 

' Been a little slow, but am just this minute closing in on the 
place where they keep it. Come in and help,' 

He softened, and said make it a bottle of champagne and he was 
agreeable. He said he had seen my name la the papers, &nd had put 
all his afbiia aside and turned out, resolved to find me or die ; and 



'LOOK HKBB, HAVB YOU GOT THAT DBIKK XKT ! ' 

make me answer that question Batdsiactorily, or bill me ; though 
the moHt of his late asperity had been rather counterfeit than other- 
wise. 

This meeting bou^t back to me the St. Louis riots of about 
thirty years ago. I spent a week there, at that time, in a boarding- 
house, and had this young feUow for a neighboor across the hall. 
We saw some of the fightings and killings \ and by and by we went 
one night to an armourywheretwo hundred young men had met, upon 



456 LIFE ON TME MISSISSIPPI. 

call, to be armed and go forth against the iiot«rs, under oommand ef 
a wiili tary m&Q. We drilled till abont t«ii o'clock at night ; tbd 
news CBine that the mob were in great foroe in the lower end of 
the town, and were sweeping ererTtbing be&re them. Oar oolums 
mored at once. It was a very hot mght, and my mnaket was ven 
heavy. We marched and marched ; and tlie nearer we approadied 
the seat of war, the hotter I grew and the thintiar I got. I wb^ 
behind mj &iend ; so, finally, I asked Mm to bold my moaket whik 
I dropped oat and got a drink. Then I branched off and went home. 
I was not feeling any solidtode about Aim <£ course, because I knew 
he was so well armed, now, that he conld take care of himself without 
any trouble. If I had bad any doubts about that, I would have 
borrowed amtther musket for him. I left the dty pretty early the 
next morning, and if this grizded man bad not happened to emoonnter 
my name in the papers the other day in St. Louis, and felt mored to 
seek me oat, I should have carried to my grave a heart-tortorii^ 
uncertainty as to whether he ever got out of the riots all right or 
noL I ought to have inquired, thirty years ago; I know that 
And I would have inquired, if I had had the muskets ; bnt, in the 
drcumstances, he seemed better fixed to conduct the iuvestigaticHif 
than I was. 

One Monday, near the time of our visit to St. Louis, tiie ' Globe- 
Democrat ' came oat with a couple of pages of Sunday statistics, 
whereby it appeared that 119,448 St. Louis people attended the 
morning and evening church services the day before, and 23,102 
children attended Sunday-echoo , Thas 142,660 persons, oat </ 
tiie city's total of 400,000 population, respected the day religious- 
wise. I found these statistics, in a condensed form, in a tel^ram of 
the Aeaodated Press, and preserved them. They made it xp^Ktval 
tliat St. Louis was in a hitter stato of grace than she ooold have 
olumed to be in my time. But now that I oanvass the figurw 
narrowly, I suspect that the telegraph mutilated than. It caiuiot be 
tiiat there are more than 160,000 Catholics in the town; the other 
2CiO,000 must be classified ae Protestants. Oat of these 360,000, 
according to tiiis questionable teleigram, only 26,362 attended fourth 
and Sui^y-sdiool, while cat of the 160,000 Catholics, 116,186 went 
to church and Snnday-schooL ^ t..!tO>"'k' 



CHAPTER UI. 

A BUSniNO BRAND. 

All at once the tbooglit came into my mind, ' I liave not eongfat out 
Mr. Brown.' 

Upon that text I desire to depart from tiie direct line of my 
snbject, and make a litUe excnreioD. I wish to reveal a secret 
which I have carried with me nine years, and which has become 
burdensome. 

Upon a certun occadon, nine years ago, I had said, with strong 
feeling, ' If ever I see St. Louis again, I will seek out Mr, Brown, 
the great grain merchant, and ask of him the privQege of shaking 
bim by the baud.' 

The oocaaioa and the drcnmstances were as follows. A friend of 
mine, a clergyman, came one erening and said — 

' I have a most remarkable letter here, which I want to read to 
yon, if I can do It without breaking down. I must preface it with 
some explanations, however. The letter is written by an ex-thief 
and ex-vagabond of the lowest origin and basest rearing, a man all 
stained with crime and steeped in ignorance ; but, thank Ood, with 
a mine of pure gold hidden away in him, as you shall see. Hiii letter 
is written to a burglar named Williams, who is serving a nine-year 
term in a certain State prison, for burglary. Williams was a 
partaoolarly daring burglar, and plied that trade during a number of 
years ; but he was caught at last and jailed, to await trial in a town 
where he had broken into a house at night, pistol in hand, and forced 
the owner to hand over to him jj!8,000 in govemmfflit bonds. 
Williams was not a common sort of peraon, by any means ; he was a 
graduate <^ Harvard CoUege, and came of good New England stock. 



468 LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

His faUier was a clergyman. While lying id jail, his Itealth b^an 
to fail, and he was threatened with oonsumption. "niis feet, t^i^ether 
with the opportunity for reflection afibrded by Bolitary confinement, 
haditsefiect — ite natural effect. He fell into serious thought ; his 
early training aseerted itself with power, and wrought with etrong 



influence upon hia mind and heart. He put his old life behind him, 
and became an earnest Christian, Some ladies in the town heard of 
this, TiBited him, and by their enconraging wonls supported him in 
his good resolutions and strengthened Hi'tq to continue in his new life. 
The trial ended in his oonviction and setiteoce to the State priwui fir 
the term oi nine years, as I have befbre said. In the prison be 



A BUJtyrjve brakd. «9- 

became aoqiuunted witL the poor wretch referred to in the b^inmng 
of my talk, Jack Hunt, the writer of the letter which I am going ta 
read. Yoa will see that the acquaintanceship bore fruit for Hunt. 
When Hunt's time was oat, he wandered to St. Louis; and Scoaa. 
that place he wrote his letter to Williams. The letter got no 
further than the office of the prison warden, of couree ; prisoners are 
not often allowed to receive lettra« &om outaide. The prison aathori- 
tiee read this letter, but did not destroy it They had not the heart 
to do it Tbaj read it to eeveral persons, and OTentoally it fell into- 
tbe hands of those ladies of whom I spoke a while ago. The other 
day I came across an old friend of mine — a clei;gyman — who had 
seen this letter, and was full of it The mere remembrance of it so^ 
moved him that he oould not talk of it without his voice breaking. 
He iNromised to get a eopy f£ it for me ; and here it is — on exact 
copy, with all the imperfectionB of the original preserved. It has 
many slang expressions in it — thieves' a/rgot — but their meaning has 
been interlined, in parentheeee, by the prison authorities ' — 

St. Lotus, Jima 9tb. 1673. 

Mb. W friend Charlie if i ma; call you so ; i no you are surprised 

to get a letter from me, but i hope you won't be mad at my writing to you. 
i want to tell you my thanks for the way yon talked to me when i was in 
prison— it has led me to try and be a better man ; i guess you thought i lUd 
not cur for what you said, & at the first go off I didn't, but i noed you was 
a man who had don big work with good men & want no Bucker, noi want 
gasing & all the boys knod it. 

I used to think at nite what you sfud, & ibr it i nocked off swearing 5 
months beibre my time was up, for i saw it want no good, nohow — the day 
my time was up you told me if i would shake tba croaa (fint tteaUHg) & 
live on the square for 3 months, it would be the beet job i ever done in my 
life. The state agent give me a ticket to here, & on the car i thought more 
of what you said to me, but didn't make up my mind. When we got to' 
Chicago on the care from there to here, I pulled off an old woman's leather ; 
(j-obbed her tf her poclulbook) i hadn't no mora than got it off when i wished 
i hadn't done it, tax awhile before that i made up my mind to be a square 
bloke, for S months on your word, hut forgot it when i saw the leather was 
A grip (soiy to ^et)— but i kept clos to her & when she got out of the cars 
at a way place i said, marm hsTe you lost anytbing P & she tumbled (di»- 
eooerecT) her leather wss off (pone)— is this it says i, ^ving it to her — well 
if you aint honest, says she, but i hadn't got cheak enough to stand that sort 
of talk, so i left hei io a harry. When i got here i had fl and 26 cents left 



460 LIFE Of/ THE MJaSISSIPPI. 

k i didn't get no work for 3 dajB as i sint Btrong enough for loust kbont m 
B Steam bote {for a dfck hand) — The afternoon of the Srd d»j I spent mj 
last lOcts for 2 nioonB(^^«, round •M-6ucii(t)& cheese &i felt pretty Tongfa 



UE PULLED BOHE ' LEATHBB,' 



& -waa thinking i would have to go on the dipe (picking poeheti) again, wboi 
i thought of what you once said about a fellows c«Uiag on the Lord whw 
he waa in hard luck, & i thought i would try it once anyhow, b^ when i 



A BJTBXINg BRAND. 461 

tryed it i got rtuck on the start, & all i couU (fst off woe, Lord give a poor 
f^lov a chance to aqnare it for 8 months for Christ's sake, amen ; & i kept 
a thinkiiig, of it over and over u i want along — ahoat an hour after that i 
was in 4th St. & this is what happened & b the cause of my being where i 
am now & about which i wilt tall jou before i get done writing. As i was 
walking along i herd a l»g noise & saw a horse mnning awaj with a carriage 
with 2 childteo in it, & I 



THE OBISIB. 

ovec the head as haid as i could drive — the boid split to pecee & the h<me 
checked up a little &. 1 grabbed the reigns & pulled his head down until he 
stopped — the gentleman what owned him came running up & soon as he saw 
the children vrere aU rite, he shook hands with me and gave me a ^60 green 
back, & my aaking the Lord to help me come into my head, ft i was so 
thunderstruck i couldn't drop the reigns nor say nothing — he saw something 
was up, & coming back to me said, my boy are yon hurt P & the thought 



*62 L7FB ON THE XXSSI88IPPI. 

-come into taj head jtut then to ask bim for work ; ft i itaked him to tab 
back the tnll and ^ve me b job— m.j% he, jump in here ft letB talk Kboat it, 
but keep the money — he asked me if i could take care of hoisesfti Mud jei, 
for i naed to hang round liverj stahlea ft ahea Tonld help clean ft diiTe 
horaea, he told me he wasted a man for that work, ft would gjve m« f\.9 a 
month ft bold me. You bet i took that chance at once, that nita in mr 
little room over the stable i aat a long time thlnkiDg orer mj part life ft of 
what had jiut happened ft i just got down on m j neea & thanked the Lord 
for tha job ft to help me to squara it, ft to bless you for putting me up to it 
ft the next morning i done it again ft got me some new t(^(cIiitAM) ft a bible 
fori made up my mnul after what the Lord bad done for mc i would mtd the 
hible every uite and morning, ft ask him to keep an eye on me. "When I had 
been there about a week Mr. Brown (that's his name) came in my room, one 
nile and saw me leading theUUe — he asked me if i was a Christian ft itotd 
him no — he asked me how it was i read the bible instead of papen ft booto 
— Well Charlie i thought i had better give him a square deal in the aUrt, 
80 i told him all about my being in prison ft about you, ft how i had almort 
done gire up looking for w<ffk ft how Uie Lord got me the job when I asked 
him ; ft the only way i had to pay him hack was to road liie labia ft square 
it, ft i asked him to give me a chance for $ months — he talked to ma like a 
father for a long time, & told me i could stay ft then i felt better than ever 
i had done in my life, for i had given Mr. &own a fair start with me ft 
now i didn't fear no one giving me a back cap (expo^ng kU paat l^e) ft 
running me off the job — the next morning he calkd me into the lilvary ft 
gave me another square talk, ft advised me to study some every day, ft he 
would help me one or 2 hours every nite, ft he gave me a Arithmetic, a 
spelling book, a Geography ft a writing book, ft ha here me eveiy nite — he 
lets me come into the house to prajers every morning, ft got me pnt in » Uhla 
class in the Sunday School which i likes very much fbrit hdpa me to mder- 
Stand my bihle better. 

Now, Charlie theS months on the square are up 2 months ago, ft asyoo 
said, it is the best job i ever did in my life, ft i commenced another of the 
same sort right away, only it is to Ood helping me to last a lifetime CSiariie 
— i wrote this letter to tell you I do think Ood has forgiven my ains ft 
herd your prayers, for you told me you should pmy for me— i no i love to 
read his word ft tell him all my troubles ft he helps me i know for i han 
^enty of chances to steal bat idont feel to asi once did ft now i takeuMfe 
pleasure in gcong to chnrch than to the theatre ft that warat eo odoo — oar 
minister and others often talk with me ft a month ago they wanted me to 
join the church, but I nid no, not now, i may he mistaken in my foelings, i 
will wait awhile, but now i feel that Ch)d has called me ft on the first Sondav 
in Jtdy i will join the church— dear friend i wish i could write to yoti as i 
feel, but i cant do it yet — ^you no I learned to read and writa .wh^jn prison 



A BURNINO BRAND. «S3 

& i unt i^t well enough along to write aa i would talk ; i no i unt spelled 
all the words rite in this ft lots of other miatslffis but 70U will excuse it i no, 
for you no i wu brought up in a poor house until i run awaj, k that i 
nevar new who mj father and mother was & i dont no ray right name, & i 
liope you wont be mad at me, but i have as much rite to one name as another 
Sc i b&TB taken your name, for you wont use it when you get out i no, & you 
are the msni think most of in the world; soi hope you wont be mad — lam 
doing well, i put £10 a month in bank with #2S of the f 60 — if youeverwant 
any or all of it let me know, £ it ia yours, i wish you would let me send 



UldtSlOH WOBK. 

you some now. I send you with this a recript for a year of Littles Living 
Age, i didn't know what you would like & i told Mr. Brown & he said he 
thought yon would like it — i wish i was nere you so i could send you chuck 
(refrtthmmti) on holidays ; it would spoil this weather from here, but i will 
aend yon a box next thanksgiTing any way — next week Air. Brown takes me 
into hia store as lite porter St will advance me as soon as i know a little more 
— he keeps a big granary store, wholesale — i forgot to tell you of my mie^on 
school, Sunday school class — the echool is in the Sunday afternoon, i went out 
two Sunday afternoons, and picked up seven kids IJittU boyt) & got them to 
come in. two of them new as much as i did & i bad them put in a class 



46* LIFE OK THE MISSISSIPPI. 

whete they could learn somethinft. i dont do mach wjtfii, but as tEicae kid« 
cant read i get on nicelj with them, i make snre of tbem by gvnng iltf r 
them every Sunday ( hour before Bchool tdme, I also got 4 girls to cotue. 
tell Mack and Harry about me, if they will come out here wkni their time 
is up i will gat them jobs at once, i hope you will excuse this long letter 
& all mietakee, i wish i could see you for i cant write as i would talk — i hope' 
the warm weather is doing your lungs good — i was afraid when, yon war 
bleeding you would die — give my reepecta to all the boys and t«ll them hem 
i am doing — i am doing well and every one hen treats me aa kind as th^ oii 
— Mr. &own is going to write to you sometime — i hope some day you wiD 
write to me, tiiia letter is from your veiy true friend 

who you know as Jack Hunt. 
I send you Mr. Brown's card. Send my tetter to him. 

Here was true eloquence; irre^stible eloquence ; ajid -without a 
mngle grace or ornament to help it out. I have seldom been so dee|rfy 
Btirred by any piece of writjng. l^e nader of it halted, all the way 
through, on a lame and broken voice ; yet ha had tried to fcntiiy his 
feelings by several private readings of the letter before ventoring into 
company with it. He was practdBing upon me to see if ths« wa& 
any hope of his being able to read the document to his prayer-meeting 
with anything like a decent command over bis feelings. The resuli 
was not promiaing. Howev^, he determined to risk it ; and did. 
He got through tolerably well ; but his audience broke down earh, 
and stayed in that condition to the end. 

'yb» &me of the letter spread through the town. A brotiier 
miniBter came and borrowed the mannscript, put it bodily into ■ 
sermon, preadied the aennon to twdve htmdred people on a Sondsv 
morning, and the letter drowned tiiem in their own tears. Then my 
fiiend put it into a sermon and went before his Sunday morninf con- 
gregation with it. It scored another 'bTinmph. The house vtnt as 
one individual 

My friend went on summer vacation up into the fiabing r^^icHis 
of our northern British neighbours, and carried this sfflrmon with 
him, since he might possibly chance to need a sermon. He was 
asked to preach, one day. The little church was folL Among tb« 
people present were the late Dr. J. G. Holland, the late Mr. Seymoar 



A BJTRNING BRAND. 4«B 

of the * New York Times/ Mr. Page, the philanthropist and tempo- 
r&nce advocate, and, I think, Senator Frj-e, of Maine. The marvel- 
lous letter did its wonted wwk ; all the people were moved, all the 
people wept ; t^e tears flowed in a steady stream down Dr. Holland's 
cheeks, aod nearly the same can be said with rcf;ard to all who were 
there. Mr. Pags was so fnll cf entbiiBiasm over the letter llkat he 
sud he wonld not rest until be made pilgrimage to that prison, and 
bad qieech with Hie maa who bad been able to inspire a fellow- 
nnfortnnate to write so priceless a tiact. 

Ah, that unlucky fiitge ! — and another man. If thoy had tmly 
been in Jericho, that letter would have rang tbroogh the world and 
stirred all the hearts of all the nations for a thousand yearn to come, 
and nobody might ever have fonnd ont that it was iha confonndedeet, 
brazeneet, ingeniouBest piece of &aad and humbnggery Uiat was ever 
oonoocted to foal poor confiding mortals with I 

The letter was a pore swindle, and that is the truth. And take 
it by and large, it was without a compeer among swindles. It was 
perfect, it was rounded, symmetrical, complete, colossal 1 

The reader learns it at this point; bat we didn't learn it till some 
mUes and weeks beyond this stage of the affiur. My friend came 
back from the woods, and be and other clergymen and lay missi<mariea 
bc^an once more to inundate audiences with their tears and the tears 
of said audiences ; I begged hard for permission to {mnt the letter in 
a niagamie and t^ the wateiy etoty of its triumphs ; numben of 
people got copies of the letter, with penniaaion to circulate them in 
writing, but not in print ; copies were sent to the Sandwich Islands 
and other fitr r^tms. 

Charles Dudley Warner was at church, one day, when the worn 
lettor was read and wept over. At the church door, afterward, he 
dropped a peculiarly oold iceberg down the clergyman's back with 
the question — 

' Do you know that letter to be genuine t ' 

It was the first suspicion that had ever been voiced ; but it had that 
sickening effect which first-uttered suspicions against one's idol always 
have. Some talk followed— 

' Why — what should make you euspect that it isn't genuine % ' 

' Nothing that I know of, except that it is too neat, and compact. 



466 LIFE ON THS XlSSiaSIPPl. 

(uid flnent, and nioely pat together for an ignoFdut petaon, an 
anpractised hand. I think it was done by an educated man.' 

The literary artifit bad detected the Uteruy machinery. If yoo 
will look at the letter now, yon will detect it yonrself— it is ofaeerr- 
able in every line. 

Straightway the clergyman went off, with this seed ot sospaota 
sprouting in him, and wrote to a minister residing in that town 
where Williams had been jailed and converted ; asked for light ; and 
also asked if a penon in the literary line (meaning me) might be 
allowed to print the letter and tell its history. He preeenUf 
received this answer — 

Bbv. 

Mz DniB Fkiend, — In n^rd to that ' coDvict'a letter ' theie can be ao 
doubt as to its genmneneas. ' Williams,' to whom it was writt^i, lay in our 

jail and piofesaed to have been converted, and Bev. Mr. , the chaplain, 

had great futh in the genoinenesa of the change~-as muck as one can ban 
in any aaoh caae. 

The letter was sent to one of our ladies, who is a Snndayechool teacho, 
— sent either by WiUiama himself, oi the chaplain of the State's prison, pn^ 
bably. She has been g^reatly annoyed in having so mnch puUici^, lest it 
might seem a breach of confidence, or be an injuiy to WiUiama, In regaid 
to its publication, I can give no permisBion ; though if the names and placH 
were omitted, and especially if sent out of the conotry, I think you might 
take the responuhility and do it. 

It is a wondarfol letter, which no Cfaristiaii genius, mncb lev <me on- 
raactd&ed, coold ever have written. As showing the work of grmce in i 
human heart, and in a very d^praded and wicked one, it provee its om 
origin and reproves our weak iaitb in its power to cope with any jbnn cf 
wickedness. 

' Mr. Brown ' of St. Louis, some one said, was a Hutfbrd man. Do aD 
whom you send from Hartford serve thor Master as well F 

P.S. — Williams is still in the State's prison, serring oat a kn^ aeoteoM 
— of nine years, I think. He has been sick end threatened with consamptioB, 
but I have not inquired after him lately. This lady that I qieak of ctsre- 
eponds with bim, I presume, and will be qvute sure to look after bia. 

This lett«r arrived a few days after it was written — and np went 
Mr. Williams's stock again. Mr. Warner's low-down saqscion was 
hud in the cold, cold grave, where it apparently belonged. It was ■ 
suspicion based upon mere internal evidence, anyway; and wbeo yoa 



A BUnyiXG BRAND. 467 

come to internal evidenoe, it'e a big field and a game tiiat two can 
plaj at : aa iritnesa tiuB other iatenial eridence, discovered by tlie 
'writer of tlie note above qaoted,jthat ' it is a wonderiol lettei^ — 
'which no Giiristian genius, much lees one nnsanctified, could ever 
bave 'written.' 

I had penniB^on now to print — provided I siippre^ed namea and 
pla43as and sent my narrative out of the oountiy. So I chose an 
Australian maganne for vehicle, as being fiir enough oat of tbe 
country, and set myself to work on my article. And the miniateni 
set the pumps going again, with tiie letter to work the handles. 

But meantime Brother Page had been agitating. He had not 
viaited the peni'tentiary, but he had smt a copy of the illustxions 
iettar to the chaplain of that institution, and accompanied it witli — 
apparently — inquiries. He got an answer, dated four days later than 
-that other Brother's reassuring epistle ; and before my article was 
complete, it -wandered into my hands. The original ia before me, 
now, and I here appoid it. It is pretty well loaded with internal 
evidence of the most solid description'-- 

State's Prison, Chaplain's Office, Jnl; 11, 1873. 
Dbab Bro. Pass, — Herewith please find the letter kindly loaned me. I 
am afraid its geauineness cannot be establiaiied. It purports to be addressed 
to Mme prisoner here. No such letter ever came to a prisoner here. All 
lettara received are carefully read by offioere of the prison before they gvi into 
the bands of the convicts, and any such latter could not be fiirgotten. 
Agwn, Charles Williams is not a Christian man, bat a dissolate, cunning 
prodif^, whose ftther ia a minister of the gospel. His name is an anumed 
one. I am glad to have made your scquaiutaoce. I am preparing a lecture 
upon life seen through jffison bars, and should like to deliver the same in 
your viinnity. 

And so ended that little drama. My poor arttcl3 went into the 
fire ; for whereas the materials fen* it were now more abandant and 
infinitely richer than they had previously been, there were parties all 
around me, who, although longing for'the publication before, were a 
unit for snppreaaion at this stage koA complexion of the game. They 
said : ' Wait — ^the wound is too fresh, yet.' All the oopiea of Ihe 
Cunona lett«r except mine disappeared sudd^ily ; and irom that tim« 
onward, tlie aforetime same old drought set in in the chuiche^, Aa 



468 LIFE 0!f TME MISSISSIPPI. 

a mle, the town was on a spacious grin !<a a while, but there yrtK 
places in it where the grin did not appear, and where it was danger 
ouB to refer to the ex-convict's letter. 

A word of explanation. ' Jack Hunt,' the professed writer of thf 

letter, was an imaginary person. The burglar Williams — Hamid 

graduate, son of a minister — wroto the letter himself, to himself : gut 

it smuggled out of ^e |aison ; got it conveyed to persons who had 

supported and encouraged him in his conversitm — whore he knew two 

things would happen: 

thegenuineneeaofthe 

letter would not be 

doubted or inquired 

into ; and the nab of 

it would be noticed. 

and would have valo- 

sble effect — tfaee^ct. 

indeed, of starting a 

movement to get Mr. 

Waiiams pardoned 

out of prison. 

That • nub ' is so 
> ingeniously, so casu- 
ally, flung in, and im- 
mediately left there in 
the tail cf the letter, 
undwelt upon, tfa«t 
an indiflerent reader 
WILLIAMS. would never suspect 

that it was the hmit 
and core of the epistle, if he even took note of it at all. This is the 

' i hope the warm weather is doing your limp good — i ttoi t^raid trJten 
you U71M blerdinp t/ou mould dit — give my respects,' ete. 

That is all thers is of it — simply touch and go — no dwelling upoD 
it. Nevertheless it was intended for an eye that would be awifl i^ 
see it ; and it was meant to move a kind heart to tir.to effect the 



A BURXINS Bit AND. 469 

liberation of & poor reformed and purified fellow lymg in the fell grip 
of coDsamptioa. 

^Vhen I for the first time heard that letter read, nine years ftgo, I 
fult that it yraa the most remarkable one I had ever encountered. 
And it so warmed me toward Mr. Brown of St. Louts that I said 
that if ever I vidted that city again, I would teek out that excellent 
man and kisa the hem of his garment if it was a new one. Well, I 
visited St. Louis, but I did not hunt for Mr. Brown ; for, alas ! tlie 
investigations of long ago bad proved that the benevolent Brown, 
like ' Jack Hunt,' was not a real person, but a aheer invention of 
that gifted rascal, Williams — burglar. Harvard gmdnate, eon of a 
clergyman. 



..y Google 



LliE ON TBS MISSISSIPPI. 



CHAITEK Liri. 



We took passage in one of thefast boats of the St. Louis and St. Paul 
Packet Company, and started up the river. 

When I, aa a boy, first saw the mouth of the Missouri RtTer, it 
was twenty-two or twenty-three milea above St. Looui, aocording to 
the estimate of pilots ; the wear and tear of the banks have moved it , 
down eight miles since then ; and tlie pilots say tliat within Gt« 
years the river will cut through and move the month down five miles 
more, whicli will bring it within ten miles of St. Loois. 

About nightfall we passed the lai^ and flourishing town ot Alton, 
Illinois ; and before daylight nexi morning the town <^ T^ni^mn. 
Missouri, a sleepy village in my day, bnt a brisk railway centre now ; 
however, all the towns out there are railway centres now. I cx>nld 
not clearly rvco^aiaa the place. This seemed odd to me, for when 1 
retired &om the rebel army in '61 I retired upon Looidana in good 
order ; at least in good enough order for a person who had not yet 
learned how to retreat according to the rules of war, and had to trust 
to native genius. It seemed to me that fora first attempt at a retnat 
it waa not badly done. I liad done no advancing in all that campajgn 
that was at all equal to it. 

There was a railway bridge across tlie river here well sprinkled 
with glowing lights, and a very beautiful sight it was. 

At eeveu in the moroing we reached Hatmibal, Missouri, wher« 
my boyhood wa» spent. I had had a glimpse of it fifteen yean »qp, 
and another ghmpse six yenrs earlier, but both were so brief Uuit tBev 
haidly counted. The only notion of thtf town that remained in my 
mind was the niemory of it as I had known it when I fiis*. quitted it 



Ur BOTHOOD'S H03fE. 471 

twenty-nine years ago. That pictun of it was still as clear and vivid 
to me as a photogntph. I striped afihore with the feeling of one 
'who retnmE out of a dead-and-gone genvation. I had a aatt of 
realising sense of what the Bastille priaoneni must hare felt when they 
used to otxae out and look upon Paris after years of captivity, and 
note how euriondy the <H"'ii''^'' and the strange were mixed together 
before tbem. I saw the new houses — saw tiiem plainly enough — 
bnt they did not affect the older picture in my mind, for throng 
their solid bricks and mortar I saw tiie vanished houses, which had 
formerly stood there, with perfect dlEtinctnees. 

It was Sunday morning, and eveiybody was abed yet. So I 
paesed through the vacant streets, still seeing the town aa it vas, and 
not as it is, and recognising and metaphorically shaking hands with 
a hundred familiar olgects which no longer exist ; and finally climbed 
Holiday's Hill to get a oompreheosive view. The whole town lay 
spread out below me then, and I conld mark and fix every locality, 
every detail. Naturally, I was a good deal moved. I said, ' Many 
of the people I once knew in this tranquil re^ige of my childhood are 
now in hcAven ; some, I trust, are in the other place.' 

Hie things about me and before me made me feel like a boy again 
— c<mvinoed me that I was a boy again, and that I had simply been 
dreaming an uniisnally long dream ; but my idections spoiled all 
that ; for they forced me to say, ' I see fifty old housm down yonder, 
into each of which I could enter and find either a man or a woman 
vrho was a baby or onbom when I noticed those houses last, or a 
grandmother who was a plnmp young bride at that time.' 

From this vantage ground the extensive view up and down the 
river, and wide over the wooded expanses of niinois, is very beautiful 
— one of the most beautiful on the Mississippi, I think ; which is a 
hazardous remark to make, for the eight hundred miles of river 
between St. Louis and St. Paul afibrd an unlooken suoceadon of 
lovely pictures. It may be that my afiection for the one in question 
biases my judgment in its &vonr ; I cannot say as to that. No 
matter, it was satisfyingly beautiful to me, and it had this advantage 
over all the other friends whom I was about to greet again : it had 
sofiered no change ; it was as young and fresh and comely and gracious 
as ever it bad been j whereas, the fitces of the others would be old. 



472 LlfE Off THE MISSISSIPPI. 

and ecarred with the campaigns of life, and marked with their grie^ 
and d^eate, and would give me no uplifbings of spirit. 

An old gentleman, out on an earlj morning walk, came along, 
and we discussed the weather, and then drifted into other matteis. 
I could not remember his face. He said he had been living bae 
twenty-eight years. So he had come after my time, and I had never 
Been him before. I asked him various questions ; first about a mate 
of mine in Sunday school — what became of bim t 

'He graduated with honour in an Eastern college, wandered off 
into the worl d some- 
where, euoceeded at 
nothing, passed out 
of knowledge and 
memory years ago. 
and is supposed to 
have gone to liie 
doga.' 

< He waa bright, 
and promised wall 
when he was a boy.' 
'Yes, bat the 
thing that luujpened 
is what became of 
it all." 

I a>^d afto- 
aoother lad, alto- 
gether the bri^test 
in oar village school 

THB DATS OF LONQ AOO. whOD I WSS « hOJ. 

'He, too, was 

graduated with honours, from an Eastern college ; hot life whipped 

him in every battle, straight along, and he died in one of the Toii- 

tories, years ago, a defeated man.' 

I asked after another of the bright boys. 

' He is a success, always has been, always will be, I think.' 

I inquired after a young fellow who oame to the town to study 

for one of the professions when I was a boy. , ttO'^le 



MY BOYBOOD'S MOMS. t 

' He vent at something else before he got tbrongb— ^n jam 
medicine to law, or from law to medicine — then to som« otlur turn 
thing ; went away for a year, came back with a young wife ; fell to 
drinking, then to gambling behind the door ; finailj took hia wife 
and two young children to her father's, tmd went off to Mexioo ; went 
from bod to worse, and finally died there, without a cent to bay » 
ehroud, and without a friend to attend the funeral.' 

' Hty, for he was the best-oatured, and moat cheery and hopeful 
young fellow that ever was.' 

I named anotlter boy. 

' Oh, he is all right. Lives here yet ; has a wife and children, 
and ia prospning.' ^ 

Same verdict ooncenung other boys. 

I named three school-girls. 

'The first two live here, are married and have children; the 
other ia long ago dead — never married.' 

I named, with emotloii, one <^ my early sweethearts. 

'She is all right. Been married three times ; buried two husbands, 
divorced from the third, and I hear she is getting ready to many an 
old fellow ont in Colorado somewhat. She's got children scattered 
around here and there, most eveiywheres.' 

The answer to several other inqniries was brief and simple — 

' Killed in the war.' 

I named another boy. 

' Well, now, bis case m curious I There wasn't a human being 
in this town bat knew that that boy was a perfect chacklehead ; 
perfect dummy ; jnst a stupid ass, as you may say. Everybody knew 
it, and everybody said it. Well, if that veiy boy isn't the first lawyer 
in the State of Missouri io-day, I'm a Democrat I ' 

' Is that BO 1 ' 

' It's actually eo. I'm telling you the truth.' 

' How do you account for it ! ' 

' Account for it I There ain't any accounting for it, except that if 
you send a damned fool to St. Louie, and you don't tell them he's a 
damned fool ihey'U never find it ont. There's one thing sure — if I 
had a damned fool I should know what to do with him : ship him to 
8t. Louis — it's the noblest market in the world for that kind of 



LITE ON THE MlaSJSaiPPT. 

pi. . y- . vhen you oome to look at it all aronud, and cbe* 

at-it -• ' ' t over, don't it jost bang aiiTthing }'oa ever heard 

eft* 

'W>11, yeB, it does seem to. But don't yaa tiunk maybe it «as 

th« El oal people who were mistaken about the boy, and not the 

St. Louii pa^e t ' 

* Oh, nooaeaae I The people here have known him from the very 

cradle — they knew him a hundred times better than the St. Louis 
idiots cotild hare 
known him. No, 
if you have got »o j 
dfunned fools that 
you want to realiw 
on, take my advice 
— Bond them to St. 
Louis.' 

I mentiwied a 
great nnmber of 
people whom I had 
formerly known. 
Some were dead, 
some were gone a- 
way, some bad 
prospered, some 
had oome to naught ; 
but as regarded a 
down or BO of tbe 

A PKAOTICAL JOKE. lot, tbe aOSWCT WU 



' Prosperous — ^live here yet — town littered witb their children.' 

I asked about Miss 

' Died in the insane asylum thi'ee or four years ago — never was 
out of it from the time she went in ; and was always suKring, too ; 
never got a shred of her mind back.' 

If he qnke the truth, here was a heavy tragedy, indeed. Thirty- 
six years in a madhouse, that some young fools might have some faci '. 
I was a small boy, at the time ; and I saw those giddy young ladiefe 



IIY BOYSQOD'S HOME. 476 

come tiptoeing into the room where Miss sabH-r^^^n^ at mid- 
night b^ ft l&mp. The gii-l at the head of the file ir< r ' itirond and 
a dough&ce ; she crept behind the victim, toadied her ou J. -tbotilder, 
and she looked np and screamed, and then fell into conTnJsionG. She 
did not recover irom the fright, bat vent mad. In i\imaui»yz it 
Beems incredible that people believed in ghosts bo short a time ago. 
But they did. 

After asking after such other folk as I could call t« mind, I finally 
inquired about myself: 

'Oh, he succeeded well enough — another case of damned fool. If 
they'd sent him to St. Louis, he'd have succeeded sooner.' 

It WBS vith much satis&ction that I recognised the wisdom of 
h&ving t«ld this candid gentleman, in the beginning, that my name 
was Smith. 



D.3l.za..y Google 



LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 



CHAPTER LIV. 

PAST AND PRESENT. 



Being left to myeelf, up there, I went on picking out old honses in 
the distant toirn, and calling back their former inmates out of the 
mouldy past. Among them I presently reoognised the honse oi the 
&ther of Lem Hackett (fictitious name). It carried me b«ck mon 
than a generation in a moment, and lauded me in the midst of » 
time when the happenings of life were not the natural and logia] 
results of great general laws, but of special orders, and were fred^ted 
with very precise and distinct puiposee — partly punitiva in intent, 
partly admouitoty ; and nsn^y local in application. 

When I was a small boy, Lem Hackett vas drowned — on a 
Sunday. He fell out of an empty flat-boat, where he was playii^ 
B^ng loaded with sin, he went to the bottom like an aoTil. He wai 
the only boy in the village who slept that night. We otheis all ley 
awake, repenting. We had not needed the information, deUTered 
&om the ptdpit that evening, that Lem's was a case of special jodg- 
ment — we knew that, already. There was a ferocions thunder^toiaa, 
that night, and it raged continuously ontU near dawn. The wiadt 
blew, the windows rattled, the rain swept along the roof in peltii^ 
sheets, and at the loiefeet of intervals the inlgr blackaess of the ni^ 
vanished, Uie houses over tjie way glared out white and blinding for 
a quivering instant, then the solid darkness shot down again aod a 
splitting peal of thunder followed, which seemed to raid eveiTthiiig 
in the neighbonriiood to shreds and splinters. I sat np in bed 
quaking and shnddering, waiting for the deetenctton of the worid. 
and expecting it. To me there was nothing strange or incoi^nKHa 
in heaven's making such an uproar about Lem H^ket^ .Appeiently 



PASl AA'D PRESENT. 47T 

it was the right and proper thing to do. Not a douht entered my 
miad th&t all the angsla were grouped together, discnsBing this boy's 
case and obeerring the awful bombardment of onr b«^^rly little 
village with satiafactaon and approval. There was one thing which 
disturbed me in the most serious way ; that was the thought that 
this centreing of the o^estial interest on our village conld not &il to 
attract the attention of the observers to people among ua who might 
otherwise have escaped notice for years. I felt that I was sot only 
one of tbose people, but the very one most likely to be discovered. 
That discovery could 
have but one reeult : 
I should be in the fire 
with Lem before the 
c^ill of the river had 
been fairly warmed 
out of him, I knew 
that this would be 
only jost and fair. I 
was increasing tiie 
chanoen against my- 
self all tbe time, by 
feeling a secret Utter- 
nesR against Lem for 
having attracted this 
fetal attention to me, 
but I coold not help it 

—this sinful thon^t -i bat up im bed quakiko.' 

persifltedin infesting 

niy breast in spite of me. Every time the lightning glared I caught my 
bnath, and jndg«d I was gone. In my terror and misery, I meanly 
began to suggest other boys, and mention acta of theirs which were 
wickeder than mine, and peculiarly needed punishment— and I tried to 
pretend to myself that I was simply doing this in a casual way, and with- 
out intent to divert the heavenly attention to them for the purpose of ■ 
getting rid of it myself. With deep sagacity I put these mentions 
into the form of sorrowing recollections and left-handed aham-euppli- 
cations that the sins of those boys might be allowed to pass nnnoticed 



478 LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

— ' Foeaibly they may repent.' ' It is true that Jim Smith broke » 
window and lied aboat it — but maybe he did not mean any harm. 
And although Tom Holmes eaya more bad words than any other boy 
in the village, he probably intends to repent — though be bas nevo- 
Baid he would. And whilst it is a fact that John Jones did fi^ a 
little on Sunday, once, he didn't really catch anything but only jo^ 
one small UEteless mud-cat ; and maybe that wouldn't have been so 
awful if be had thrown it back — as he says he did, but ho didnt 
Pity but they would repent of these dreadful things — and maybe 
they will yet,' 

But while I was shamefully trying to draw attention to th«a 
poor chaps— who were doubtless directing the celestial attention ta 
me at the same moment, though I never onoe suspected that — I had 
heedlemly left my candle burning. It was not a time to neglect eren 
trifling precantJons. There was no occasion to add anjrthing to the 
fiidlitieH for attracting notice to me — bo I put the light ouL 

It was a long night to me, and perhaps the most distressful one I 
ever spent. I endured agonies of remorse for sins which I knew I 
had committed, and for others which I was not certain about, yet was 
sure that they had been set down against me in a book hy an angel 
who was wiser than I and did not trust such important matters \a 
memory. It struck me, by and by, that I had been making a moet 
foolish and calamitous mistake, in one respect : doubtlen I had not 
only made my own destruction sure by directing attention to those 
other boys, but had already accomplished theirs ! — Doubtless the 
lightning had stretched tiiem all dead in their beds by this time ! 
The anguish and the fright which this thought gare me made my 
|>reTious sufferings seem trifling by comparistm. 

Things had become truly aerious. I resolved to turn over a new 
leaf instantly ; I also resolved to connect myself with the church the 
next day, if I survived to see its sun appear. I resolved to cease 
from sin in all its forms, and to lead a high and blameless life ftnr ever 
after. I would be punctual at church and Sonday-sohool ; visit tbe 
dck; cany baskets of victuals to the poor (simply to fulfil the regula- 
tion conditions, although I knew we had none among us so poor but 
they would smash the basket over my head for my pains) ; I wodU 
instmct other \)ajn in right ways, and take tiie resultins; bonacingi 



PAST AND PRESEXT. 47» 

meekly ; I would subsist entirely on tracts ; I would invade tLe rum 
shop and w&ra the drunkard — and finally, if I escaped the &te of 
tliose who earlj become too good to live, I would go for a minionary. 

The storm snbaidad toward daybreak, and I dozed gradually to 
Bleep with a sense of obligation to Lem Hackett for going to eternal 
fiufiering in that irrupt way, and tihus prerraiting a far more dreadfiil 
diiMsber — my own loss. 

But when I roee lefreshed, by and by, and found that thon other 
boys were still alive, I had a dim sense that perhaps the whole thing 
was a &lse alarm ; that the entire turmoil had been on Lem's aawunt 
and nobody's else. The world looked so bright and safe that there 
did not seem to be any retl occasion to turn over a new leaf. I was 
a little Gubdued, donn^ that day, and perhaps the next ; after that, 
my purpose of reforming slowly dropped out <^ my mind, and I had 
a peaceful, comfortable time again, until tbe next storm. 

That storm came about three weeks later ; and it was the most 
unaccountable one, to me, that I had ever experienoed ; for on the 
afternoon of that day, ' Dutdiy ' was drowned. Duteby belonged to 
our Suuday-BcbooL He was a G^rniaii lad who did not know enough 
to come in oat of the rain ; but he was ezasperatingly good, and had 
a prodigious mwaarj. One Sunday be made himself the envy of all 
the youth and the talk of all the admiring village, by reciting three 
thousand verses of Scripture without miaaing a word j then he went 
off the very next day and got drowned. 

Circumstancee gave to his death a peculiar impreesiveness. We 
were all bathing in a muddy creek which bad a deep hole in it, and 
in this hole the coopers had sunk a pile of green hickory hoop poles 
to soak, some twelve feet under water. We were diving and ' seeing 
who could stay under longest.' We managed to remain down by 
holding on to the hoop poles. Dutchy mode sudi a poor success of 
it that he was hailed with laughter and derision every time his head 
appeared above water. At last he seemed hurt with the taunts, and 
begged us to stand still on the bank and be fair with him and give 
bim an honest count — ' be friendly and land jost this once, and not 
miscount for the sate of having the fun of lauKhing at htm.' 
Treacherous winki weie exchaziged, and all said ' All right, Butehy — 
go ahead, we'll play feii.' ^ t^.OO'^le 



180 LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

Dutch; plunged in, bat the boys, instead of beginning to count, 
followed the lead of one of their number and acampered to a range of 
blackberry bushes close by find hid behind it. They imagioBd 
Datchj's humiliation, when he should rise after a Buperiiuman effort 



ALL BIOHT. DITTOBT— ao AHXAD.' 

and find the place silent and vacant, nobody there to applaud. They 
were ' BO full of laugh ' with tlie idea, that they were contmually 
exploding into muffled cackles. Time swept on, and presently one 
who was peeping through the briers, said, with surprise — 
' Why, he hasn't come op, yet I ' , iiToIr 



PAST AND PRESENT. 481 

The IftOf^iog stopped. 

' Bojrs, it's a splendid diye,' said one. 

' Never mind that,' said another, ' t^e joke on him is all the better 

There was a remark or two more, and then a pnose. Talking 
ceased, and all began to peer throng the vines. Bef<»^ long, the 
boys' faces b^an to look nneasj, then aszionB, tbm terrified. Still 
there was no movement of the placid water. Hearts began to beat 
fast, and fiuee to turn pale. We all glided oat, silently, and stood 
on the hank, onr horrified eyes wandering back and forth from eaoh 
other's countenances to t^e water. 

' Somebody mttst go down and see ! ' 

Yea, that was plain ; but nobody wanted that grisly taak. 

< Draw straws I ' 

So we did — with hands which shook so, tliat we hardly knew 
what we were about. The lot fell to me, and I wrat down. Hie 
water was so muddy I could not see anything, but I felt aronnd 
among the hoop poles, and presently grasped a limp wrut which gave 
me no responae — and if it had I shonld not have known it, I let it 
go with sw^ a frightened saddennees. 

The boy had been caught among the hoop poles and entangled 
there, helplessly. I fled to the sur&ce and told the awful news. 
Some of us knew that if the boy were dragged out at onoe he might 
poeeibly be resuadtated, but we never thought of that. We did not 
think (4 anything ; we did not know what to do, so we did nothing 
— except that the smaller lads cried, piteously, and we all struggled 
fitmtically into our clothee, putting on anybody's that oame handy, 
and getting them wrong-aide-out and upside-down, as a role. Then 
we scurried away and gave the alarm, but none of us went back to 
see the end of the trsgedy. We had a more important thing to 
attend to : we all Sew home, and lost not a moment in getting ready 
to lead a better life. 

The night presently closed down. Then came on that tremendous 
and utterly unaccountable storm. I was perfectly dased ; I could 
not understand it. It seemed to me that there must be some 
mistake. The elements were turned looee, and they rattled and 
banged and blazed away in the most blind and ftantic manner. 
II ,„■ A.tHX 



4SS LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. \ 

AU heart and hope went out of me, and the dismal thon^t k^ 
floating through my brain, ' If a boy who knows three thouEand 
verses hj heart is not satisfactory, what chance is there for anjbwfy 
eleet' 

Of course I nerer questioned for a moment that the storm tn& on 
Dutchy'u account, or that he or any other inconaeqaential aninml w^^ 
worthy of such a majestic demonstration from on hi^ ; die lesson of 
it was the only thing that troubled me ; for it conTioced me that if 
Dutchy, with all tii^ 
perfections, was not ■ 
delight, it wonld be vain 
for me to tarn over a 
new leaf^ for I must 
in&llibly &11 hopeleElr 
short of that boy, no 
matter how bard I mi^t 
try. Keverthelen I did 
turn it over — a highly 
educated fear compelled 
me to do that — ^bot suc- 
ceeding days of c faomfu l- 
nees and sunshine came 
bothering arotmii, ""i^ 
within a month I had 
BO drifted backward thai 
again I was as lost and 
' WB ALL FLBw HOHE.' comfortable as erer. 

Sreakfitst time ap- 
proached whib I mused these musings and called these aooeni 
happenings back to mind ; so I got me back into the present and wait 
down the hilL 

On my way through town to the hotel, I saw the bouse whiel: 
was my home when I was a boy. At present rates, tlie pec^tle wh< 
now occupy it are of no more v^lue than I am ; but in my time the] 
would have been worth not less than fire hundred dollars igiKe 
They are coloured folk. 

After breakfast, I went out alone again, intending to hunt uf 

,„■.. X.oaq\c 



PAST JJfD PRESENT. 4S3 

some of the Sanday-schools and se« haw this generation of papila 
might oompare with their progenitora who had sat with me in those 
places and had probably taken me as a model — tliongh I do not 
remember ae to that now. By the public equare there had been in 
my day a shabby little brick chvirch called the ' Old Ship of Zion,' 
which I had attended as a Sunday-school scholar ; and I found the 
locality easily enongb, but not the old chnrcfa ; it was gone, and a 
trig and rather hilarious new edifice was in its place. The pnpils 
were better dressed and better looking than were those of my time ; 
consequently they did not resemble their aooeetore; and consequently 
there was nothing familiar to me in Uieir &ces. Still, I contomplated 
them with a deep interest and a yearning wiRtfalnem, ajid if I had 
been a girl I would have cried ; for they were the offiipiiiig, and 
represented, and occupied the places, of boys and girls some of whom 
I had loved to love, and some *^ whom I had lored to hate, but all 
of whom were dear to me for the one reason ot the other, so many 
years gone by — and, Lord, where be they now I 

I was mightily stirred, and would haye been gratefol to be 
allowed to remain unmolested and look my fill; but a bald-sununited 
superintendent who had been a tow^keaded Sunday-school mate of 
mine on that spot in the early ages, recognised me, and I talted 
a. fluttw of wild nonsense to those children to hide the thooghtfl 
which were in me, and which could not hare been spoken without 
a. betrayal of feeling that would hare been reot^pioed as out of 
character with me. 

MaVing speeches without preparation is no gift of mine ; and I 
was resolved to ahirk any new opportunity, but in the next and 
larger Sunday-school I found myself in the rear of the assemblage ; 
so I was very willing to go on the platform a moment for the sake of 
getting a good look at tihe scholars. On the spar of the moment I 
could not recall any oS the eld idiotic talks which visitors used to 
insalt me with when I was a pupil there ; and I was sorry for Vim, 
since it would have f^vrai me time and excuse to dawdle there and 
take a long and satisfying look at what I feel at liber^ to say was 
an array of fresh young comeliness not matcbable in another Sunday- 
school of the same size. As I talked merely to get a chance to 
inspect ; and as I strung out the random rubbish solely to prolong ttie 



iU LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

inspection, I jadged it but decant to confeea tbeee low motiTeSf and I 
did so. 

If the Model Boy was in dthw of these Sunday-schools, I did not 
see him. The Model Boy of my time — we never had Wt the ooe — 
was perfect ; perfect in manners, perfect in dress, perfect in oondoct. 



skoll, they coold have changed place with the contents of ft pie and 
nobody would have been the worse off for it bat the pie. This fellow's 
reproachlessnees was a standing reproach to every Ind in the village. 
He was the admiration of all the mothers, and tiie detestation of all 
their sons. I was told what became of him, but as it was a disappoint 
ment to me, I will not enter into details. He sacceeded in life. 



A.OO' 



.glc 



CHAPTER LV. 

£ VBNDBIT^ AND OTHEB THDTOSt 

DcBma my three days' stay in the town, I woke op evei; moming 
with the imprefluon that I wu a boy — for in my dreams the feces 
were all young again, and looked as they had looked in the old times 
— bat I went to bed a hundred years old, every night — for meantime 
I had been seeing those b43es as they are now. 

Of oonrse I snfiered some sorprisee, along at first, before I had 
become adjusted to the changed state of things. I met yonng 1adi« 
who did not seem to have changed at all ; but they turned out to be 
the dan^terB cf the yonng ladies I had in mind — sometimee their 
grand-daughters. When yon ara told that a stoangw of fifty is a 
grandmother, there is nothing surprising about it ; bat if, on the 
contrary, she is a person whom you knew as a little girl, it seems 
impossible. You say to yoaraelf, ' How can a little girl be a giAnd' 
mother 1' It takes some little time to accept and realise the &ct 
that while yon have been growing old, your Mends have not been 
standing still, in that matter. 

I notioed that the greatest changes observable were with the 
women, not the men. I saw men whom thirty years had changed 
but slightly; but their wives had grown old. These were good 
women ; it is very wearing to be good. 

There was a saddler whom I wished to see ; but he was gone. 
Dead, these many years, they said. Once or twice a day, the saddler 
used to go tearing down the street, patting on his coat as he went ; 
and then everybody knew a steamboat was coming. Ev«7body 
knew, also, that John Stavely was not expecting anybody by the 
boat — or any freight, either; and Stavdy must have known that 



486 LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

eveiybody knew this, Btill it miuie no difference to him ; he liked to 
seem to himaelf to be expecting & hundred thonsand tons of saddle 
by this boat, and so he went on all his life, enjoying being ikithfnilj 
on hand to receive and receipt for thooe saddles, in case hy any 
miracle they should come. A. malicious Quincy paper used always to 
rder to this town, in derision as ' Stavely's Landing.' Stavely was 
one of my earliest admirations; I envied him his rush of imagi- 
nary buBineeB, and the display he was able to make of it, befon; 
atnmgets, as he went fiying down the street struggling with his 
fluttering coat. 

Bat there was a carpenter who was my chiefeat hero. He was a 
mighty liar, bat I did not know tliat ; I believed everything he said. 
He was a romantic, sentimental, melodramatic fimid, and his beating 
impressed me with awe. I vividly remember the first time he took 
me into his confidemie. He was planing a board, and evety now and 
theo he woold pause and heave a deep si^ ; and oocadoaally mntter 
broken sentences — confused and not intelligible — but out tyt tlteir 
midst an ejacolation sometimes eecc^ted which made me shiver and 
did me good : one was, ' God, it is his blood ! ' I sat on the tool- 
cheat and hnmbly and shadderingly admired Tiim ; iw I judged be 
was fall of crime. At last he said in a low voice — 

' My little friend, can yon keep a secret t ' 

I eagerly said I coold. 

' A dark and dreadful onel ' 

I satisfied him on that point. 

' Then I will tall yoa some passages in my history ; for oh, I mutt 
relieve my burdened soul, or I shall die 1 ' 

He cautioned me once more to be 'aa dlent as the grave;' 
then he told me he was a ' red-handed murderer.' He pat down his 
plane, held his hands out before him, oonteinplated them sadly, ami 
said — 

' Look — with these hands I have taken tJie lives of thirty hmnan 

The effect which this had upon me was an inspiraticm to him, and 
he tnroed himself loose upon his subject with interest and enai^. 
He left generalising, and went into details,^ — b^ian with his fiist 
murder; described it, told what measnres he had taken to avixt 



A VElfDETTA AND OTHER THlIfOS. «7 

suspicioii; then passed to hie seootid homicide, his third, his foortb, 
and so on. He hitd always done bis murders with a bowie-knife, and 
he made ^1 m; hairs rise I:^ saddenl; snatching it out and showing 
it lo me. 

At the end of this first aeaw» I went home with six of his fearfil 
secrete among my freightage, and found them a great help to my 
dreams, which had been sluggish for a while back. I sought him 
again and again, on my Saturday holidays; in &ot I spent the 
summer witii him — all of it which was valoable to me. His fascina- 
tions never diminished, for he threw something fresh and stirring, in 
the way of braror, into each sncceesiTe murder. He always gave 
names, dates, places — everything. This by and hy enabled me to 
note two things : that he had killed bis victims in every quarter of 
the globe, and that these viotims were always named Lynch. The 
destmction of the Lynches went serenely on, Saturday after Saturday, 
ttntil the original thirty had multiplied to mzty — and more to be 
beard &om yet ; then my curiosity got the bettaa* of my timidity, and 
I asked how it happened that these justly punished persons all bore 
the same name. 

My hero said he had never divulged that dark secret to any living 
being ; bat felt that he oould trust me, and therefore he would lay 
bare before me the stoiy of his sad and blighted life. He bad loved 
one 'too fair for earth,' and she had redfavcated 'with aU the sweet 
aSection of her pore and noble natare.' But he had a rival, a ' base 
hireling' named Archibald Lynch, who said the girl should be bis, or 
be would ' dye his hands in her heart's best blood.' The oarpentor, 
' innocent and happy in love's young dream,' gave no woght to the 
threat, but led his ' golden-haired darling to the altar,' and there, the 
two were made one; there also, just as the minister's hands were 
Btr«tiched in bleesing otot their heads, the fell deed was done — with a 
knife — and the bride fell a corpse at her husband's feet. And what 
did the husband dot He pinched forth that knife, and kneeling 
by the body of his lost one, swore to ' consecrate his life to the 
exterminatdcm of all the human scum that bear the hated name of 
Lynch.' 

That was it. He had been hunting down the Lyndies and 
slaughtering them, &om that day to this — twenty years. He had 



188 LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

always used that same consecrated knife ; with it he had uaaAaeA 



PB_ mark, he has been here." Yon 

have heard of tiie MTsteriooi 
Avenger— look upon him, for before you stands no less a pem» ! 



A VBNDBTTA AND OTHER TBIAOS. 48* 

But beware — braathe not a vcvd to any sonl. Be sUent, and wait. 
Some moroiiig this town will flock aghast to riew a gory corpse ; on 
ito brow will he seen the awful sign, and men will tremble and 
whisper, " He has been here — it is the Mysterious Avenger's mark I " 
Yon will come here, but I shall hare vanished ; you will see me do 
more.' 

This aaa had been reading the ' Jibben^noeay,' no doubt, and had 



upon hia impending * cheap asd pitiful buib. 

doom, tbe more I could 

not sleep. It seemed my plain dut^ to save him, and a still plainer 
and more important dat; to get some sleep for myself, so at last I 
ventured to go to Mr. Lynch and tell him what was about to happen 
-(^ him — under strict secrecy. I advised him to ' fly,' and certainly ex- 
pected turn to do it. But be laughed at nie; and he did not stop therej 



480 Lire Olf THE MISSISSIPPI. 

he led me down to tlie cttrpen'ter's shop, gave the cai-penter & jeering 
(md Bcomfnl lecture upon his silly pretensions, elftpped his boe, mmde 
him get down on his knees and beg — then went off and left me to 
contemplate the cheap mid pitifol rain of what, in my eyes, had so 
lately been a majestic and incomparable hero. The carpenter blus- 
tered, flourished hia knife, and doomed this Lynch in his osnal 
volcanic style, the size of bis feteful words undiminished ; but it was 
all wasted upon me ; be was a hero to me no longer, but only a. pow, 
foolish, exposed hnmbug. I wan ashamed of him, and aahanied of 
myself; I took no further interest in him, and nerer went to his 
shop any more. He was a heavy lose to me, for he was the greatest 
hero I bad ever known. The fellow must have had some taleot ; for 
some of bis Imaginary murdeta were so vividly and dramatically 
deecribed that I remember all their details yet. 

The people of Haniubal are not more changed than is the town. 
It is no longer a village ; it is a oii^, with a mayor, and a oonudL 
and water-works, and probably a debt It has fifteen tJioiiaand 
people, is a tbriving and energetic place, and is paved like tiie rest <£ 
the west and south — where a well-paved street and a good sidewslk 
are things ao seldom seen, that one donbte them when he does see 
them. The cnstomaiy half-dozen railways centre in TTaniii>^il now, 
and there is a new depot which cost a hundred thousand dollan. In 
my time the town bad no specialty, and no oommerdai grandenr ; 
the daily packet nanally landed a pasBenger and bought a oal^Bh, and 
took away another passenger and a hatAd of frei^t ; but now a 
huge commerce in lumber has grown up and a large miscellaneoas 
commerce is one of the results. A deal <^ money changes hands 
there now. 

Bear Creek — bo called, perhaps, because it was always so par- 
ticularly bare of beai» — is bidden out of sight now, under islands 
and continents of piled lumber, and nobody bat an expert can find 
it. I nsed to get drowned in it every summor mgnlariy, and be 
drained oat, and inflated and set going again by srane duuioe enemy ; 
but not enough of it is unoccupied now to drown a parson in. 
It was a famous breeder of chills and fever in its day. I rcmemlxr 
one Bummer when everybody in town had this disease at once. 
Uany chimneys were shaken down, and all the houses wore bo racked 



A VENDETTA AND OTHER TffLVOS. 4ftl 

that the town had to be rebuilt. The chasm or gorge between 
Ixyvet'a Leap and the hill west of it is suppoBed by scientists to have 
been caused by glacial action. This is a mistake. 

There is an interesting cave a mile or two below Hannibal, among 
the bla%. I would hare liked to revisit it, but had not time. In 



my time the person who then owned it turned it into a mausoleum 
for bis daughter, aged fourteen. The body of this poor child was put 
into a copper cylinder filled with alcohol, and this was suspended in 
one of the dismal avenuee of the cave. The top of the cylinder was 
removable ; and it was said to be a common thing for the baser order 
of tonriste to drag the dead face into view and examine it and 
comment upon it, 



Dgliza..!. Google 



LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 



CHAPTER LVI. 

A QDBSnON OF UW. 



The alftaghter-hoose is gone &can the month of Be«r Creek and 
80 is the small jail (or ' calabooee ') which onoe stood in its neighboor^ 
hood. A citizen asked, ' Do you remember when Jimmy Finn, the 
town dmnkard, was burned to death in the calaboose \ ' 

Observe, now, how histoiy becomes defiled, through lapse of time 
and the help of the bad memories of men. Jimmy Fum was not 
burned in the calaboose, bnt died a natoial death in a tan vat, 
of a combination of delirium tremens and spontaneous oombut- 
don. When I say natnial death, I mean it was a natoral deatii for 
Jimmy Finn to die. The oalabooae victim was not a otizen ; he was 
a poor stranger, a harmless whiskey-sodden tramp. I knov more 
about his case than anybody else; I knew too much of iti, in Uiat 
l^gone day, to relish speaking of it. That tramp was waodering 
about the streets one chilly evening, with a pipe in his mont^ and 
begging for a match; be got neither matchea nor ooaiteay; on the 
contraiy, a troop of bad little boys followed him around and aamiaed 
themselves with nagging and annoying him. I assisted; bat at last, 
some appeal which the wayfarer made for forbearance, aooompMiying 
it with & pathetic re&renoa to his forlorn and friendless condition, 
touched such sense of shame and remnant of right feeling as wen 
left in me, and I went away and got him some matchee, and theo 
hied me home and to bed, heavily weighted as to conscience, and un- 
buoyant in spirit. An hour or two aftorwsjxl, the man was amsted 
and locked up in the calaboose by the marshal — large name tor » 
constable, but that was his title. At two in the morning, tite <dtur<^ 
bells rang for fire, and everybody turned out, of course — I with the 
rest. The tramp had used his matches disastrously : he had aet his 



A QUESTIOX OF LAW. «3 

straw bed on fire, and the oaken sheathing of the room had caught. 
When I reached the ground, two hundred men, women, and children 
stood Biasaed together, transfixed with horror, and staring at the 
grated windows of the jail. Bcliind the iron bars, and to^^ing fran- 
tically at them, and Bcreaming for help, stood the tramp ; he seemed 
like a Uack object set against a sun, so white and intense was the 
light at bis back. That marshal could not be found, and be had the 
only key. A battering-ram was quickly improTised, and the thunder 
c^ its blows upon the door had so encouraging a sound that the 
spectators Woke into wild cheering, and believed the merciful battle 
won. But it was not so. The timbers were too strong ; th^ did 
not yield. It was said that the man's death-grip still held fast to 
the bars aftev he was dead ; and that in thisposition the fires wrapped 
him about and consumed him. As to this, I do not know. What 
was seen after I recognised ^le &ce that was pleading through the 
bars was seen "by others, not by me. 

I saw that fiM3e,Bo situated, every n^ht for along time afterward; 
and I beUered myself as guilty of the man's death aa if I had given 
bim the matches purposely that he might bum himself up with tiiem. 
I had not a donbt that I should be hanged if my connection with this 
tragedy were ibund out. The happenings and the impreeaions of that 
time are burnt into my memory, and the study (^ them entertains 
me as much now as they themselves diatreesed me then. If anybody 
spoke of that grisly matter, I was all ears in a moment, and alert to 
hear what might be said, for I was always dreading and expecting to 
find out that I was suspected ; and so fine and so delicate was the 
perception of my guil^ oonscience, that it often detected suspicion in 
the most purpoeeleBS remarks, and in looks, gestures, glances of the 
eye which had no significance, but which sent me shivering away in 
a panic of fright, just the same. And how sick it made me when 
somebody dropped, howsoever carelessly and barren of intent, the 
remark that ' murder wiU out ! ' For a boy of ten years, I was 
carrying a pretty weighty cargo. 

All this time I was blessedly forgetting one thing—the fact that 
I was an inveterate talker in my sleep. But one night I awoke and 
found my bed-mate — my younger brother — sitting up in bed and con- 
templating me by the light of the moon. I said — , 

'What is the matter!' ' ' "^ ^'i 



iU LIFE ON THE MlSaiSSIPPI. 

■' Yon talk so much I can't sleep.' 

I came to a aittiiig posture in aii instant, with m^ kidneys in m; 
thioat and my hair on end. 

' What did I say t Quick — out with it— what did I say t ' 

* Nothing much.' 

' It's ft lie — ^you know eveiTthing.' 

' EveiythiMg a- 
bont what 1 ' 

' You knoir well 
enough. Aboat tAtu.' 
' About what t — 
I don't know what 
you are telking abont 
I think you are sick 
or cnuy or something. 
But anyway, you're 
awake, and 111 get t» 
sleep while I've got 
a chance.' 

He fell asleep and 

I lay there in a ctdd 

sweat, turning this 

new terror orer b 

the whirling chaos which did duty aa my mind. The burden at my 

thought waa, How much did I divulge 1 How much does he knowl 

— what a distress is this uncertainty I But by and Iry I oToIved an 

idea — I would wake my brother and probe him with a suj^Msitilaoaa 

case. I shook him up, and said — 

' Suppose a man should oome to you drunk—' 
' This is foolish — I never get drunk.' 

' I don't mean yon, idiot— I mean the man. Suppose a nun 
should oome to you drank, and borrow a knife, or a tomahawk, or i 

pistol, and yon forgot to tell him it was loaded, and ' 

' How could you load a tomahawk 1 ' 

' I don't mean the tomahawk, and I didn't tay the tomahawk ; 1 j 
said the pistol. Now don't yon keep breaking in that way, beoanie | 
this is serious. There's been a man killed,' , , , .^^ i . 

' What ! in this town ) ' ' ' '^ i^ 



A qOE&TJON OF LA W. 49fi 

' Tee, in thw town,' 

'Well, go on — I won't say a single word.' 

' Well, then, BuppoBe yon forgot to tell him to be careful with it, 
becanse it was loaded, and he went off and shot himself with that 
pistol—fooling with it, you know, and probably doing it by accident, 
being drunk. Well,'would it be murder) ' 

' No — suicide.' 

'No, na I don't mean hU act, I mean yours : would you be a 
murderer for letting him have diat pistol % ' 

After de^ thought came this answer — 

'Well, I should think I was guilty of something — maybe murder 
— yea, probably murder, but I don't quite know.' 

This made mo very uncomfortable. However, it was not a decisiTe 
verdict. I Hbould have to set out the real case^there seemed to be 
no other way. But I would do it cantiouBly, and keep a watch out 
for suspicious eSects. I aaid — 

' I was supposing a case, but I am coming to the real one now . 
Do you know how the man came to be burned up in the calaboooel ' 

•No.' 

' Haven't you the least idea t ' 

' Not the least' 

' Wish you may die in your tracks if you have 1 ' 

' Tea, wish I may die in my tracks.' 

' Well, the way of it was this. The man wanted some matches to 
light bis inpe. A boy got him some. The man set fire to the cala- 
boose with tlioee very matches, and burnt himself up.' 

'Is that sot' 

' Yes, it is. Now, is that boy a murderer, do you think t ' 

' Let me see. The man was drunk ) ' 

' Yes, he was drunk.' 

' Very drunk ) ' 

'Yes.' 

' And the boy knew it % ' 

' Tee, he know it.' 

There was a long pause. Then came this heavy verdict— 

' If the man was drunk, and the boy knew it, the boy murdered 
that man. This is certain.' 

Faint, sickening sensations crept along all the fifaree of my body. 



496 Lli'E ON THE MISSISSIPPI. ' 

and I seemed to know how a person feels who hears his de&th sen- 
tence proaounced from the bench. I waited to hear what my hrother 
would say next. I believed I knew what it would be, and I was 
right. He aaid — 
* I know the boy,' 

I had nothing to say ; so I said nothing. I simply shoddend. 
Ilien he added— 

' Yes, before yon got half through telling about the thing, I knew 
perfectly well who the boy was ; it was Ben Coontz ! ' 

I came out of my collapse as one who rises from the dead. I said, 
with admiration — 

'Why, how in 
the world did ymi 
ever guess it t ' 

'You told it io 
your sleep.' 

I said to myself. 
' How sidendid tliat 
is ! l^iis is a h&bii 
which must be culti 
vated.' 

My brother rat- 
tled innocentJy on — 
' When yon were 
fn.lHng in your deef^ 
.iFTBD. you kept mumbling 

something about 
" matches," which I couldn't make anything out of; but jnit now, 
when you began to tell me about tiie man and the calaboose and the 
matches, I remembered that in your sleep you mentioned Ben Cocmtz 
two or three times ; so I put this and that together, you see, and rigbc 
away I knew it was Ben that bitmt that man up.' 

I praised his sagacity efiusively. Presently he asked — 
' Are you going to give hini up to the law ) ' 

' No,' I said ; ' I believe that this will be a lesson to him. I shall 
keep an eye on him, of course, for that is but right; but if he stojs 
where be is and reforms, it shall never be said that I betrayed him.' ' 
'How good you are ! ' ''- ' A'OO^lL' 



A QUESTION OF LAW. «7 

. ' Well, I try to be. It is all a person can do in a world lite this.' 

And now, my burden being shifted to other shoulders, my terrors 
soon &ded away. 

The day before we left Hannibal, a curions thing fell under my 
notice — the surprising spread which longitudinal time undei^;oes 
there. I learned it from one of the most unostentatious of men — the 
coloured coaohman of a friend of mine, who lives three milee from 
town. He was to call for me at the Park Hotel at 7.30 p.m., and 
drive me out. But he missed it considerably — did not arrive till ten. 
He excnsed himself hy saying — 

' De time is mos' an hour en a half slower in de country en what 
it is in de town ; you'll be in plenty time, boss. Sometimes we shoves 
out early for church, Sunday, en fetches up dah right plum in de 
middle er de sermon. DifiTunce in de time. A body can't make no 
calculations 'bout it.' 

I had lost two hours and a half ; but I had learned a tact worth 



)ji.:^..yG00<^le 



ON THE Mtaaissippi. 



CHAPTER LVII. 

AN ARCHAMOEI^ 



Ywau St. Louia northward thei'e are all the enlivening tdgns of tbe 
presence of active, energetic, intelligent, prosperous, pmctical nine- 
teenth-centuiy popnlationa. The people don't dream, they wM-k 
The happj result is manifest all around in the aubstaatial oateiilf 
aspect <^ things, and the su^eations of wholesome life and comfort 
that everywhere appear. 

Qoincy is h notable example — a brisk, handsome, well^ordenii 
dty ; and now, as formerly, interested in art, letters, and oilier high 
things. 

Bat Marion City is an exception. Marion City has gone back- 
wards in a most unaccountable way. This metropolis promised ^ 
well that the projectors tacked ' city ' to its name in the very begin 
ning, with full confidence ; but it was bad prophecy. Wlien I fii« 
saw Marion City, thirty-five years ago, it contained one street, anJ 
nearly or quite ttix houses. It contains but one house now, and thi« 
one, in a state of ruin, is getting ready to follow the former five inco 
the river. 

Doubtless Marion City was too near to Qoincy. It had axtothcr 
disadvantage i it was situated in a flat mud bottom, lielow higb- 
watcr mark, whereas Qoincy stands high up on the slope ai a hilL 

In the beginning Quincy had the aspect and ways c^ a model 
New England town : and these she has yet : broad, clean streets, 
trim, neat dwellings and lawns, fine mansions, stately Uo<^ cf con- 
merdiJ buildings. And there are ample fair-grounds, a well kep I 
park, and many attractive drives ; library, reading-rooms, a ooapk >{ I 
colleges, some handsome and costly churches, and a grand couii-faoofi. 



Xy ARCSANQBL. 4» 

wit^ grounds whitdk oocnp^ a square. The population of the city is 
thirty thousand. There are some large &ctoriee here, and manafiu>- 
taring, of many sorts, is done on a great scale. 

Ia Orange and Canton are growing towns, bnt I missed Alexan- 
dria ; was told it was under water, but would come up to blow in 
the summer. 

Keokuk was easily recognisable. I lived there in 1857 — aa 
extraordinary year there in real-estate mattraifl. The 'boom' was 
something wonderful. Everybody bought, everybody sold — except 
-widows and preachers ; ^Csusj always hold on ; and wheu the tide ebbs, 
tbey get left Anything in the semblance of a town lot, no matter 
how sitoatad, was saleable, and at a figure which would still have been 
high if tiie ground had been sodded wiUi greenbads. 

The town has a population of fifteen thousand now, and is pro- 
gressing with a healthy growth. It was night, and we could not see 
details, for which we were sony, for Eeokuk has the rejtutation of 
bmng a be&ntdlul city. It was a pleasant one to live in long ago, and 
doubtless bae advanced, not retn^;raded, in that respect. 

A migh^ work which was in progress there in my day is finished 
now. This is the canal over the Bapids. It is eight miles long, 
three hundred feet wide, and is in no place lees than six feet deep. 
Its masonry is of tl>e mf^eetic kind which the War Department 
ustially deals in, and will endure like a Boman aqueduct. The work 
cost four or five millions. 

After an hour or two spent with former fiiends, we started up 
the river again, Keokuk, a long time ago, was an occasional loafing- 
pla4» of that erratic geaiius, Henry Clay Dean, I believe I never 
saw him but once ; but he was much talked <tf when I lived there. 
This is what was said of him — 

He b^an life poor and without educatimi. But he educated 
tiimself— ~on the kerb-stones of Keokuk. He would sit down on a 
kerh-stOTte with his book, careless or unconscious of the clatter of 
oommerce and the tramp of the passing crowds, and bury himself in 
bis studies by the hour, never changing his position except to draw 
in his knees now and then to let a dray pass unobstructed; and when 
bis book was finished, its oontonts, however abstruse, had been burnt 
into his memory, and were his permanent possession. In this way 

KXS 



SOO LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

he acquired & Toat hoard of nU sorts of learning, and had it pigeon- 
holed in his head where he could put his intellectual hand on it wbes- 
ever it was wanted. 

His clothes differed In no respect from a ' wharf-rat'a,' except that 
they were raggeder, more ill-aaeorted and inharmonioua (and therefore 
more extravagantly picturesque), and several layers dirtier. Kobodr 
could infer the master-mind in the top of that edifice from the edifice 
itself. 

He was an orator — by nature in the first place, and later by thr 
~ training of experience and prv^ 

tice. Whm he was oat on i 
canvass, his name was a loadstow 
which drew the farmers to \as 
stump from fifty miles around. 
His Uieme was always politico 
He used no notes, for a volcaoc 
does not need notes. la 1863, i 
son of Keokuk's late dlatioguisQieii 
citizen, Ur. Claggett, gave me thi' 
incident concerning Dean — 

The war feeling was nmniiiE 

high in Keokuk (io '61), and* 

great matss meeting was to br 

held on a certain day in the nei> 

AthenKum. A distangukhN 

HBNBY GLAi DEAN. stTaoger was to address ^16 hoDSE. 

After the building had bcs 

packed to its utmost capacity with sweltering folk of both saxes, tltt 

stage still remained vacant — the distinguiahed stranger had failed v.- 

ccmnect. The crowd grew impatient, and by and by iadignant and 

rebellious. About this time a diati-eased manager discovared Deu 

on a kerb-Btooe, explained the dilemma to him, took Jiis book Kwtif 

from him, rushed him into the building the back way, and taU biK 

to make for the st^e and save his country. 

Presently a sudden silence fell upon the grumUing aadi 
everybody's eyes sought a single point — the wide, empty, < 
stage. A figure appeareJ there whose aspect was fiimiliar t 



c.y Google 



^JV ARCHANGEL. MS 

a dozen penonfl present. It wtui the ao&recniw Dean— in fox; Hlioes, 
down at the heels ; Bocks of odd colours, also * down ; ' damaged 
trooaers, relics of ajitiquity, and a world too short, e^msing ecoDO 
inches of naked ankle; an unbuttoned vest, also too short, and 
expoeiiig a zone of soiled and wrinkled linen between it and the 
waistbfuid; ahirt bosom open ; long bl^ck faondkeichief, wovind round 
and round the iteok like a bandage ; bob-tailed bine coat, reM^ung 
down to the small of the back, with sleeves which left four inches of, 
forearm unprotected ; small, stiff-brimmed soldier-cap hung on a 
comer of the bmnp of — whiohew bump it waa. This figure moved 
gravely out npoo the stage and, with sedate and measured step, down 
to t^ front, where it paused, and dreamily inspected the house, 
saying no word. The sQence of surprise held its own for a moment, 
then was broken hj a just audible ripple of merriment which swept 
the sea of &ce8 like the wash of a wave. The figure lemained as 
before, thoughtfnllj inspectii^. Another wave started— laughter, 
this time. It was followed by another, then a third — this last one 
boisterous. 

And now the stranger stepped back one pace, took off his soldier- 
cap, tossed it into the wing, and began to speak, with deliberation, 
nobody listening, eveiybody laughing and whispering. The speaker 
talked on imembanaBSed, and presently delivered a shot which went 
home, and silence and attention resulted. He followed it qnick and 
fast, with other telling things ; warmed to his work and began to 
pour his words out, instead of dripping them ; grew hotter and 
hotter, and fell to discharging lightnings and thunder — and now the 
bouse b^an to break into a[^lause, to which the speaker gave no 
heed, but went hammering straight on ; unwound his black bandage 
and cast it away, still thundering ; presently discarded the bob tailed 
coat and flung it ande, firing up higher and higher all the time ; 
finally flung the vest after the coat ; and then for an untimed period 
stood there, like another Teeuvins, spouting smoke and flame, lava 
and aahee, raining pumice-stone and cinders, shaking the moral eart£ 
with intellectual crash upon crash, explosion upon explosion, while 
the mad multitude stood upon their feet in a solid body, answering 
back with a ceaseless hurricane of cheers, tbrongb a thrashing snow- 
storm of waving handkerchiefs. i^ A.OO'^le 



SOI LIFE ON THK MISSISSIPPI. 

' When Dean cune,' said Claggett, ' the people thought he w«e u 
escaped Innatdc ; but when he went, they thought he was an eetxftA 
archangel.' 

Bnriii^^n, home of tiie sparkling Bnrdette, is another hill dty : 
and also a beantiful one ; nnqneetionably so ; a fine and flourishii^ 
dty, with a population of twenty-five thouEand, and belted with bu^ 
foctoriee of nearly every imaginable description. It was a very sober 
city, too — for the moment — for a. most sobering bill was pending ; a 
bill to forbid the manufacture, exportation, importaticni, porc^iaH'. 
sale, borrowing, lending, stealing, drinking, smelling, or possession, 
by conquest, inheritance, int«nt, accident, or otherwise, in the 8t«tt 
of Iowa, of each and every deleterious beverage known to the hnnas 
race, except water. This measure was t4>proTed by all the rati<aia] 
people in the State ; but not by the bench of Judges. 

Burlington has the pn^reedve modem dfy's full equipment d 
devices for right and inteUigent government; including a pud fire 
department, a thing which the great city of New Orleans Is without. 
but still employs that relic of antiquity, the independent eystem. 

In Burlington, as in all these TJpper-Kiver towns, one breathes ■ 
go-ahead atmosphere which tastes good in the nostrils. An opera- 
house has lately been built there which is in strong contrast with Uk' 
shabby dens which u8u>Uly do duty as theatres in citJee of Burlington'.- . 

We had not time to go ashore in Muscatine, but had a dayligbt 
view of it from the boat. I lived there awhile, many years ago, bot 
the place, now, bad a rather iiTifitmiHap look ; so I suppose it ha)> 
clear outgrown the town which I used to know. In &ct, I know it 
has ; for I remember it as a small place — which it isn't now. Bat 1 
remember it best for a lunatic who caught me out in the fields, on* 
Sunday, and extracted a butcher-knife &om his boot and pn^iosed to 
carve me up with it, unless I acknowledged him to he the tmly soti 
<£ the Devil I tried to compromise on an acknowledgment that b- 
was the only member of the bmily I bad met ; but that did not 
satisfy him; he wouldn't have any half- measures; I must say he 
was tbe sole and only son of the Devit — and be whetted his knife on 
his boot. It did not seem worth while to make tronUe about a Utile 
thing like tiiat ; so I swung round to his view ti the matter and 



AN ARCHANGEL. BOS 

saved my skin whole. Shortly afterward, he went to visit his father ; 
and as he has not turned up edjace, I trust he is there yet. 

And I remember Muscatine— still more pleasantly — for its 
Slimmer sunsets. L have never seen any, on either side of the ocean, 
that equalled them. They used the broad smooth river as a canvas, 
and painted on it every imaginable dream of colour, from the mottled 
daintiDesees and delicadee of the opal, all the way up, through cumu- 
lative intensities, to blinding purple and crimson conflagrations which 



were enchanting to the eye, but sharply tried it at the same time-. 
All the Upper Mississippi region has these extraordinary sunsets a» 
a familiar spectacle. It is the true Sunset Land : I am sure no 
other conntry can show so good a right to the name. The sunrises 
nre also said to be exceedingly fine. I do not know. 



...Gooi^le 



LiFE.oif THE laisaiasippi. 



CHAPTER LVIIl. 

ON THE UPPER RIVER. 

Thi liig towns drop in, thick and fast, sow : and betwem Btreb-li 
processions of thrifty fanns, not desolate solitude. Hour by hour. 
the boat pIoi:^hs deeper and deeper into the great and populooa NorUi 
"west ; and with each ancceasiTe section i^ it which is rerealed, one'- 
Bnrfvise and respect gather emphasis and increase. Sach a people ; 
juid such achievemente as thdi-e, compel homage. This is an indepm 
dent race who think for themBelves, and who are competent to do it. 
because they are educated and enlightened ; tiicy read, they kM]' 
abreast of the beet and newest thought, they fbrtify every weak pW 
in their land with a school, a college, a library, and a newq^per ; fltxl 
they live under law. Solicitude for the future of a race like this in n» 
in order. 

This i-egion is new ; so new that it may be said to be still in !> 
babyhood. By what it has aooompliahed while still teething, ui' 
may forecast what marvels it will do in the strength of its maturity 
It is BO new that the fomgn tourist has not heard of it jet ; ^I 
has not visited it. For sixty yeais, the foreign tourist has steainrJ 
up and down the river between St. Louis and New Orleans, and tli'^ 
g(me home and written his book, believing he had seen all of Uh 
river that was worth semig or that had anything to see. In not bi 
of all these books is there mention <tf these Upper 'BXyer towns— fn 
the reason that the five or six touristo who penetrated this rc^on diJ 
it before these towns were projected. The latent tourist of them *'- 
{1878) made the same old regulation trip — he had not heanl tb' i 
there was anything north of St. Louis. 

Yet there was. There was this amazing region, bristling m<' 



ox THE UPPER RIVEB. SOT 

great towng, projected day before yesterday, so to speak, and built 

iieat mmndng. A score of them number from fifteen hnndred to five 

thonsond people. Then we have Muscatiae, ten thousaad ; Winona, 

ten thousand ; MoUne, t«n thousand ; Rock Island, twelve thoueaiid ; 

La Crosse, twelve tbonsand ; Burlington, twenty-Sve thousand ; 

Dnbuoue, twentr-five 

tl 

tl 

P 



. , ^ ' . - ' - there is no note of them in hie books. 
-*■--_ They have sprung up in the night, while 

he slept. Elo new is this r^on, that 1, 
who am comparatively young, am yeli older than it is. When I wag 
bom, St. Paul had a population of time persons, Minneapolis had just 
A third as many. The then population of Minneapolis died two years 
A^ ; and when he died he had seen himself undei^ an increase, in 
forty years, of fifty-nine thousand nine hundred nnd ninety-nine 
persons. He had a frog's fertility. ,, , t^,oo>JlC 



It08 LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

I mast explain that the figures set down above, as the popiil«t)''>i 
of St. Fanl and Minneapolis, ore several months old. These tovn- 
are &r larger now. In bet, I have jnst aeen a newspaper eetunur 
which gives the former seventy-one thonsand, and the latter sevtn^- 
eight thousand. This book will not reach the public for six or seroi 
months yet ; none of the fignree will be worth much then. 

"We had a glimpse of Davenport, which is another beautifal otr. 
crowning a hill — a phrase which applies to all these towns ; {x tlM 
are all comely, all well built, clean, orderly, pleasant to the ^e, id 
cheering to the spirit ; and they are all situated upon hills. TheK~ 
fbre we will give that phrase a rest. The Indians have a tntditiaD 
that Marquette and Joliet camped where Davenport no^v stands, i^ 
1673. The next white man who camped there, did it aboat a hun- 
dred and seventy yeara later — in 1634. Davenport has gathered iu 
thirty thousand people within the past thirty years. She sends moR 
children to her schools now, than her whole population numbered 
twenty-three years ago. She has the usual Upper Rivw quota «' 
factories, newspapers, and institutions of learning ; she has telephone. 
local telegraphs, an electric alarm, and an admirable paid fire depart- 
ment, consisting of si^ hook and ladder companies, four steam fii>' 
engines, and thirty churches. Davenport is the official residence of 
two bishops — Episcopal and Catholic, 

Opposite Davenport is the flourishing town of Rock Island, whidi 
hes at the foot of the Upper Eapids. A great railroad bridge conneri' 
the two towns — one of the thirteen which fret the Mississppi ani 
the pilots, between St. Louis and St. Paul. 

The charming island of Rock Island, three miles long and half a 
mile wide, belongs to the United States, and the Govemntent b*^ 
turned it into a wonderful park, enhanrang its natural attractdoos b^ 
art, and threading its fine forests with many mUea of drives. Netr 
the centre of the island one catohes ghmpees, through the trees, of ie> 
vast stone four-story buildings, each of which covers an acre of gToani 
These are the Government workshops ; for the Rock Island estaUifli- 
ment is a national armoury and arsenal. 

We move up the river— always through eDchanting scenery, thett 
being no other kind on the Upper Mississippi — and pass Moline, * 
centre of vast manufacturing industries ; and Clinton and Lj«& 



ON THE UPPER RIVER. SOU 

^reat; lumber centres ; and presently reach Dubuque, which. U situated 
in a ricli mineral region. The lead mines are very productive, and 
of wide ertent, Dubuque haa a gi-eat number of manufacturing 
establishments ; amoag them a plough factory which has for 
^ruatomers all Christendom in general. At least so I was told by an 
agent of the concern who was on the boat. He said — 

* You show me any country under the sun where they really know 
Jtoto to plough, and if I doa't show you our mark on the plough they 



THE HAN WITB A TRAOE MABK. 

use, 111 eat that plough ; and I won't ask for any Wooetershyre 
sauce to flavour it up with, either.' 

All this part of the river is rich in Indian history and traditione. 
Black Hawk's was once a puissant name hereaboula ; as was Keokuk's, 
further down. A few miles below Dubuque is the TSte de Mort — 
Death's-head rock, or blufif— to the top of which the French drove a 
band of Indians, in early times, and cooped them up there, with death 
for a certainty, and only the manner of it matter of choice — to starve, 
or jump off and kill themselves. Black Hawk adopted the ways of 
the white people, toward the end of his life ; and when he died he 
was buried, near Dee Moines, in Christian fashion, modified by Indian 



610 LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

custom ; that is to say, clothed in a Christian militaiy uniform, and 
with a Christian cane in his hand, but deposited in the grave in % 
sitting posture. Formerly, a horse had always been buried with i 
chief. The subetitation of the cane shows that Black Hawk's haughty 
nature was really hnmbled, and he expected to walk when he p: 

We noticed that above Dubuque the water of the Musiasippi me 
olive-green — rich and beautiful aud eemi-tnuu^iarent, with the ^no 



If UBSTIC BLUFFS. 

on it. Of course the water was nowhere ae clear or of as fine a com- 
plezion as it is in some other seasons of the year ; for now it was at 
flood stage, and therefore dimmed and blurred by the mad mannfiu- 
tured from caving banks. 

The maJMtic blufib that overlook the river, alcmg through this 
rc^on, charm one with the grace and variety of their forms, and thr 
s(^ beauty of their adornment. The steep verdant slope, whose haae 
is at the water's edge, is topped by a Lofty rampart of broken, tuireted 



ON TBS UPPER RIVER. 611 

rocka, which tire exqnisitelj rich and mellow in colour — munly dark 
browuB and duU greens, bnt splashed with other tints. And tlieQ 
yoii have the a hining river, winding here and thcro and yonder, its 
sweep inteimpted at intra"ndB by clusters of wooded islands threaded 
by silver channek; and yon have glimpses of distant villages, asleep 
upon capes; and of stealthy rafts alippiog along in the shade of the 
forest walla; and of white steamers vanishing around remote 
points. And it is all as tranquil and repoe^iil as dreamland, and has 
nothing this-worldly about it — nothing to hang a &et or a wony 

Until the unholy trun comes tearing along — which it presently 
does, ripping the sacred solitnde to rags and tatteis with ite devil's 
warwboop and the roar and thunder of its rushing wheels-~and 
straightway yoa are back in this world, and with one of its frets 
t^Mdy to hand for your entertainment : for you remember that this is 
the very road whose stock always goee down after you buy it, and 
always goes up again as soon as you sell It. It makes me shudder to 
this day, to remember that I once came near not getting rid of my 
stock at all. It must be an a^rful thing to have a railroad left on 
your hands. 

The locomotive is in sight from the deck of the steamboat almost 
the whole way from St. Louie to St. Paul — eight hundred miles. 
These railroads have made havoo with the steamboat comm^xie. The 
clerk of our boat was a steamboat clerk before these roads were built. 
Id that day the influx d population was so great, and tbe freight 
basinses so heavy, that the boats were not able to keep ap with the 
demands made upon their carrying capacity; consequently the c^ttains 
were very independent and airy — pretty ' biggity,' as Uncle Bemus 
would say. The clerk nut-shelled the contrast between the fbrmer 
time and the present, thus — 

' Boat used to land — captain on hnrrioane roof— mighty stiff and 
straight — iron ramrod for a quae— kid gloves, plug tils, hair parted 
behind — man on shore takes off hat and says — 

' " Oot twen^-eight tons of wheat, cap'n — be great &vour if you 
can take thnn." 

' dfrtadnsays — 

• " 11 take two ctf them " — and don't even condescend to look at him. 



CIS LIFE OX THE MISSISSIPPI. 

' Bat nowada;^ the captain takes off his old slouch, and amilei 
all the way around to the back of his ears, and gets off a bow whicb 
he hasn't got any ramrod to interfere with, and gaya — 

' " Glad to see you, Smith, glad to see you — you're looking veil— 
haven't seen you looking so well for years — what you got for us I ' 

■ " Nath'n", says Smith ; and keeps his hat on, and just turns hi- 
back and goes to talking with somebody else. 

' Oh, yes, eight years ago, the captain was on top ; but it's Smith - 



■"NUTH'S,"" SAV8 SMITH. 

turn now. Eight years ago a boat used to go up the river with even' 
stateroom full, and people piled five and six deep on the cabin flow. 
and a sohd deok-toad of immigrants and harvesters down below, inii) 
the bargain. To get a fint-class stateroom, you'd got to prove aiit«<i 
quarterings of nobility and four hundred years of descent, or be pf 
sonally aojuainted with ttie nigger that blacked the captain's bocX'* 
But it's all changed now ; plenty staterooms above, no harvester 
below— there's a patent self-binder now, and they dcm't have W 



OJf THE UPPER RIVER. 513 

vesters any more; they've gooe where the woodbi&e twineiJi — and 
bhejr didn't go by eteambo&t, either ; went by the train.' 

Up in this r^OQ we met masBed acree <tf lumber raftB coming 
iown — but not floating leisurely along, in the old-&sluoned way, 
oiaDDed with jt^tu and recklees crews <^ fiddling, song-anging, 
ivhiske^-drinking, bieokdown-dancdng rapscaUioos; no, the whole 
thing was shoved swiftly along by a powerful stem-wheeler, modem 
Fashion, a&d the small crews were quiet, orderly men, of a sedate 
buflinesB aspect, with not a suggestion of romance about them any. 

Along here, somewhere, on a black night, we i&n some ezoeed- 
ingly narrow and intricate iBland-<^uteB by ud c^ llie elec4aic light. 
Behind was solid blackneae — a cracklesB bank of it ; ahead, a narrow 
albow of water, earring between dense walls of f<diage that almost 
touched onr bows on both sides; and bare every individual leaf, and 
oveiy individnal ripple stood out in its natural ootour, and flooded 
with a glare as of noonday intenufied. ^Die e^ct was strange, and 
Cine, and very striking, 

We'passed Ftaiiie dn Ghien, another t^Fatiiw Marqnette'scamping- 
places; and aAra- some hours of progress through varied and beauiifnl 
scenery, reatihed Ia Crosse, Here is a town of twelve or tliirteai 
bhoosand population, with electric lighted streets, and with blocks of 
buildings whidi are stately enough, and also architecturally fine 
Bnoogh, to command respect in any city. It is a choice tows, and we 
made satis&otcay use of the hour allowed ns, in nnming it over, 
bhoo^ the weath^^ was rainier than neoessaiy. 



c.y Google 



LIFE ON THB MiaaiSSIPPT. 



CHAPTER LIX 
Lxastme and bcbmkht. 

Wx added several paasengeiB to our list, at La Croese ; tannm^ otlns 
an old gentleman who had come to tiiia nortb-weetem regiom witlt tiv 
early settlerB, and iras femiliar vith evtsrj part of iU PardtHMbi' 
proud of it, too. He said — 

' Yoall find scenery between liere and St. Panl d>at can give ut 
Hudson pointa. Tonll have the Qaeea'fl Blnff — seven hnndred fai 
high, and joat as impofiing a apectocle as yon can find anjwbenc. 
and l^«mpeleau Island, which isn't like any other island in AmenoL 
I believe, for it is a gigantic mountain, with prec^iitons sidea, and e 
fnll of Indian traditions, and used to be foil of rattlemutksB- if jk 
catch the sun jnst right there, you will have a picture tiu^t irill 9I11 
with you. And above Winona yonll have lovely prairies ; and tba 
oome the Thousand Islands, too beautiful for anytiiing ; green \ wi; 
you never saw foliage so green, nor packed ao thick ; it's like > 
thousand plush cuihions afloat on a looking-glass — when the water*' 
still ; and then the monstrous bluffi on both sides of the rivet^ 
ragged, rugged, dark-oomplected — -jnst the frame that's wanted ; n- 
always want a strong fhuue, yon know, to throw up the nice pains 
r£ a delicate picture and make them stand out' 

The old gentleman also told us a touching Indian l^end or tvt 
— but not very powerful ones. 

After this excnrsiou into history, he came back to the aoenei^. 
and described it, detail by detail, from the Thousand Islancb ti 
St Paul ; naming its names with such facility, tripping along he 
theme with snob nimble and confident ease, aUmTning in ^ Uk^. 
ton word, here and there, with such a oomplaoent air of 't iaii- 



LEGENDS AND SCENERY. 



Bjaything,- 1 -can -do-it-any-tiine-I -want-to, Mid letting off fine but- 
px-iRes of land eloquence at mch judicioue intervals, that I preeently 



But no matter what I began to Buspect. Hear him— 
' Tea milea above Winona we come to Fountain City, nestling 
sweetly at the feet of cliffs that lift their awful fronte, Jovelike, 
toward the blue depths of heaven, bathing them in virgin atmo- 
spheres tiiat have known no other contact save that of angels' wings. 



' And next we glide tbrough silver waters, amid lovely and stu> 
pendouB aspects of nature that attune onr hearts to adoring admira- 
tion, about twelve miles, and strike Mount Yemon, six hundred feet 
high, with romantic mina of a once first-class hotel perched for among 
the cloud shadows that mottle its dizzy heighte— sole remnantof once- 
Qonrishing Mount Yemon, town of early days, now desolate and 
utterly deserted. ,, t.,i)O0| 



616 UFM ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

' And so we move on. Fast Chimoe^ Bock we fly — noble sbaft 
of fdz hnndred feet ; then just before landing at Minnieska oca- attao- 
tion is attracted by a most strikiDg promcmtory ruing over fiT« 
hundred feet — the ideftl mountain j^^mid. Its conic shape— 
thickly-wooded euriace girding its eidee.and ita apex like that cf * 
cone, caoee the spectator to wonder at nf^ture's workings. From iu 
dimy heights superb views of the foiesta, streams, blu&, hills an^I 
dales below and beyond for miles are brought within its focik. 



CHIMNEY BOCK. 

What grander river scenery can be conceived, as we gue upon this 
enchanting landscape, from the uppermost point of these blQ& apoD 
the valleys below t The primeval wildness and awfiil lonelinees of 
these sublime creatiozis of nature and nature's Qod, exdte feelings of 
nnbounded admiration, and the recollection of which can never be 
ef&oed from the memory, as we view them in any direction. 

' Next we have the Lion's Head and the Lionen's Head, carved 
by nature's hand, to adorn and dominate the beauteous sto'eam ; and 



LEGENDS AND SCENERY. 511 

thm anon the river videns, and a most charming ftnd magnificent 
view of the valley before us suddenly bursts upon our vision ; m^;ed 
hills, clad with verdant f(»-est8 from summit to base, level prairie 
lands, holding in their lap the beautiful Wabasha, City of the Healing 
Waters, puissant foe of Bright's disease, aud that grandest conoeption 
of nature's works, incompajable Lake Pepin — these constitute a pic- 
ture whereon the tourist's eye may gaze uncounted hours, with rapture 
unappeased and tmappeasable. 



THE MAIDEN'S BOCK. 

' And so we glide along ; in due time encountering those majefitic 
domes, the mighty Sugar Zx^af, and the sublime Maiden's Bock — 
which latt«r, roioantic superstition has invested with a voice ; and 
oft-times as the birch canoe glides near, at twilight, the dusky paddler 
fanciee ho hears the soft sweet music <rf the long-departed Winona, 
darling of Indian Bong and story. i^ t^.OO'^IC 



618 LIFE ON IHE MlSaiSSIPPI. 

' Then IVontenao looms upon our Tuum, delighifiil resort of j»ded 
Bummer toaristo ; then progreHsiye Red Wing ; and Dianumd BloS, 
impresBive and prapcmderonB in its lone snblimity ; then Proaoott and 
the St. Croix ; and anon we see boisting upon ob the domes and 
steeples of St. Fanl, giant yonng chief c^ the North, manJun^ iriU 
BBTen-leagne stride in the vha of progieBS, banner-bearer of tho higbcB 
and newest oi'vilisatioD, mrring his benefioeot vaj with tlie toma- 
hawk of commerdal enterprise, sounding the warwhoop of Christiu 
culture, tearing off the reeking scalp of sloth uid snperstitioii to plact 
there the steam-plough and the school-hoose — ever in his front sbetct 
arid lawleeeneas, ignorance, crime, despair ; ever in his 'wa^a blooic 
the jail, the gallows, and the pulpit ; and erer ' 

' Hare jou ever travelled with a panoramal ' 

' I have formerly served In that capacity.' 

My Bospicion was confirmed. 

' Do you still travel with it 1 ' 

' No, she is laid up till the fall waaon opens. I am hel|uig do* 
to work up the materials for a Tonrist's Guide whidk the 8t. Ijooisand 
St. Paul Faoket Company are going to inoe this summer for tbt 
benefit of toavellers who go by that line,' 

< When yon were talking of Maiden's Hook, you spoke of tbo long- 
departed Winona, darling of Indian song and stoty. Is she tb^ 
maiden of the rock I — and are the two connected by legend I * 

' Tee, and a very tragic and painful one. Perhaps the ma* 
celebrated, as well as the moat pathetic, of all the legends <^ tb« 
MissiasippL' 

We asked him to tell it. He dropped out of his convetsatioiwl 
vein and back into his lecture-gait without an efibrt, and rolled on t» 
follows — 

' A little distance above Lake City is a &mous punt known mi 
Maiden's Bock, which is not only a pictoresqne gpo^ but is foil <d 
romantic internet from the event which gave it ita name. Not msoy 
years ago this locality was a fovourite reeort for tite Sioux iDdians 
on account of the fine fishing and hunting to be had there, and lane 
numbers cf them were always to be found in this locality. Amnnj ; 
the femilies which used to resort here, was one belonging to the bit* 
o( Wabasha, We-no-na (firat-bom) was the name of a maiden wIk 



LEGMNDS AND SCEysnY. 619 

liad plighted her troth to a lover belonging to the same band. But 
her stem parents bad promised her band to another, a &motiB wanior, 
and inaisted on her wedding him. The da; was fixed by her parents, 
to her great grief, fflie appeared to accede to the proposal and accom- 
pany than to the rock, for die purpose of gathering flowras for the 
feast. On reaching the rock, We-no-na 
ran to its enmrnit and standing on its 
edge npbruded her parents vbo were 
below, for their cruelty, and then singiiig 
a death-di^, threw herself from the 
precipice and dashed them in pieces on 
the rock below.' 

' Dashed who in pieces — ^her parents 1 ' 

'Yes.' 

' Well, it certainly was a tragic bua- 
nees, as yon say. And moreoTer, there 
is a startling kind of diamatio surprise 
aboQt it which I -was not looking for. It 
is a distinct improvement upon the 
threadbare form of Indian kg^end. There 
are fif^ Lover's Leaps along the Missia- 
sippi from whose summit disappointed 
TTiilian girls have jumped, but this is 
the only jnmp in the lot that tamed out 
in the right and satis&ctory way. What 
became of Winona ] ' 

' She was a good deal jarred up and 
jolted : but she got herself together and 
disappeared before the coroner reached 

the &tal spot ; and 'tis said she sooght ^h^ lectubeb. 

and married her true love, and wandered 

vnth him to some distent clime, where she lived happy ever after, 
her gentle spirit mellowed and chastened by the romantic incident 
which had so early deprived her of the sweet guidance of a mother's 
love and a fother's protecting arm, and thrown her, all un&iended, 
upon the cold charity of a censorious world.' 

I was glad to hear the leclurer's description of the scenery,' for it 



830 LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

aaaetoA my ftppredation of vhat I saw of it, and enabled me in 
imagine Boch of it aa we lost b; the intnuion of ni^t. 

Ah the lecturer remarkod, this whole r^on is blankoted widi 
Indian tales and traditions. Bat 1 reminded him that people osnalh 
merely mention this &ct — doing it ia a way to make a body's maalk 
water — and jadicdously stopped there. Whyl Because the imprtt' 
fliOD left, was that theee tales were foil of incident and imagioatioo— 
a pleasant impressien which would be promptly diasipated if the take 
were told. I showed him a lot oi this sort of literature which I im. 
been collecting, and he confessed that it was poor stufi^ exceedin^i 
sortT rabbisb ; and I rentored to add that the legends which Iw hi^ 
himself told na were of this charact«>, with the single exception of tit 
admirable story of Winona. He granted these bets, but said that 1 
I would hunt up Mr. Schoolcraft's book, published near fif^ yea» 
ago, and now doubtless out of print, I would find some Indian invo- 
tiona in it that were very &r from being barren of incidwt tai 
imagination ; that the tales in Hiawatha were of this sort, and th? 
came from Schoolcraft's book ; and that there were others in the na-. 
book which Mr. Longfellow could have turned into verse with goto 
effect. For instance, there was the l^end of 'The Undyii^ ^»1 
He cotdd not tell it, for many of the details had grown dim in ha 
memory ; bat he would recommend me to find it and enlki^ m^ 
respect for the Indian imagination. He said that this tale, and noK 
of the others in the book, were current among the TnHiami along thi- 
part of the Mississippi when he first came here; snd that the oxitri- 
bntors to Sdioolcrsfb's book had got them directly from Twrfy^ n tip^ 
and had written them down with strict exactness, and withoutemb^ 
Ushments of their own. 

I have found the book. The lecturer was right. There »«■ 
several l^^ends in it which confirm what he said. I will offer two iC 
them — ' The Undying Head,' and ' Feboan and Seegwnn, an Allcgix^ 
of ttie Seasons.' The latter is used in Hiawatha; bnt it ia wort^ 
reading in the original form, if only that one may see bow elective i 
genuine poem can be without the h^pe and graces of poetic metfnn 
and rhythm — 

,„ , A.ocwic 



LS&BNDS AXD SCEIfERy. 



PEBOAN AND SBEOWUK. 



An old man was sitting alone in his lodge, by the Bide of a frozen stream. 
It was the dose of winter, and his fire was almost out. He appeared Tery 
old and very desolate. His locks were wbit« with age, and be tremUed in 
every joint. Day afW day passed in solitude, and he heard nothing but the 
sound of the tempest, sweeping before it the new-fallen snow. 

One day, as his fire was just dying, a handsome young man approadied 
and entered his dwelling. His cheeks were red with the Idood of youth, his 
eyes sparkled with STumatioa, and a smile played upon his lips. He walked 
with a light and quick step. His forehead was bound with a wreath of 
sweet grass, in pla(» of a warrior's frontlet, and he carried a bunch of flowers 
in his huid, 

■ Ah, my eon,' said the old man, ' I am happy to see jou. Come in. 
Come and tell me of your adveDtures, and what strange lands you have been 
to see. Let us pass the night together. I will tell you of my prowess and 
exploits, and what I can perform. You absll do the same, and we will amuse 
ourselves.' 

He then drew from his sack a curiously wrought antique pipe, and 
having filled it with tobacco, rendered mild by a mixture of certain leaves, 
banded it to his gneet. "When this ceremony was conduded thty bt^an to 
speak. 

' I blow my breath,* said the old man, ' and the stream stands still. The 
water becomes stiff and hard as clear stone.' 

' I breathe,' said the young man, ' and flowers spring up over the 
plain.' 

1 1 ahake my locks,' retorted the old man, ' and snow covers the land. 
The leaves &11 from the trees at my command, and my breath blows them 
away. The birds get up from the water, and Sy to a distant land. The 
animals hide themselves from my breath, and the very ground becomes as 
hard as flint.' 

' I shake my ringlets,' rejoined the young man, ' and warm showera of 
soft rain fall upon the earth. The plants lift up their heads out of the earth, 
like the eyes of dkildren glistening with delight. My voice recalls the birds. 
The warmth of my breath unlocks the streams. Music fills the groves wher- 
ever I walk, and all nature rejoices.* 

At.length the sun began to rise. A gentle warmth came over the place. 
The tongue of the old man became silent. The robin and bluebird b^an to 
eing on the top of the lodge. The stream b^sn to murmur by the door, and 
the fragrance of growing herbs and flowers came softly on the vernal 
breeze. dj' .A.l)0>J 



eas LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

Bajliglit iullj reTealtd to the youug' man the character of bis ^itertaa':?. 
Whea he looked upon him, he had the icyviMge of JUMm.' Streamafae^ 
to flow &om hiB ejes. As the sun increased, he grew lees and leas in et»tax. 
and anoa had melted completely away, Nothing remained cm the jd»c» '< 
his lodg»-fire but the mitlcodeed,' a small white flower, with a pink bordr;. 
which is one of the earliest species of northern plants. 

' The Undoing Head ' is a rather long t«le, but it makes op ii 
weird conoeits, faiiy-taJe prodigies, variel^ of incideiit, and eneigf d 
movement, for what it lacks in brevitj.* 

■ Winter. ■ The trailinf arbntia. ' See Appendix D. 



c.y Google 



CHAPTER LX. 

BPBCDU.TI0I(8 AND CONCLtJSIONS. 

Wk reached St !Paul, at the head of navigatioa ot tbe Mismsaippif 
md there our Toyaga of two thoaaand milsB from New Orleana ended. 
[t ia about a tan-day trip by steamer. It can probably be done 
juioker by raO. I jndgo bo beoaoae I knov that one may go hy rail 
'rom St. Louis to TTannih*! — a distance of at leaat a hundred and 
j-wenty mllee — in seven hours. This ia better than walking ; unless 
}ne is in a hurry. 

The eeaaon being far advanced when we were in New Orleana, 
bhe roees and magnolia bloosoms were foiling ; but here in Bt. Paul 
it was the snow. In Now Orleans we had caught on oocas<mal 
withering breath &om over a crater, apparently ; here in St. ^nl 
we caught a frequent benumbing one from over a glacier, af^iaremtly. 

I am not trying to aatooiah by these statiatica. No, it ia cadj 
natural tliat there should be a abarp differetice between cUmatea 
which lie upon poralleU of latitude which are one or two thousand 
milea apart. I take tins position, and I will hold it and maintain it 
in spite of the newspapers. The newspaper thinks it isn't a natural 
thing ; and once a year, in February, it remarks, with ill-oonoealed 
exclamation points, that white we, away up here are fighting snow 
and ice, folks are having new strawberries and peas down South ; 
callas are blooming out of doors, and the people are complaining of 
the warm weather. The newspaper never gets done being surpi-ised 
aboat it. It is caught n^^nlarly every February. There miLst be a 
reason for this ; and this reason must be change of hands at tiie 
editorial desk. Ton cannot surprise an individual more than twice 
with the same marvel — ^not even with the Pebmary miracles of the 



SU LIFE Off THE MISSISSIPPI. 

Southern climate ; but if you keep patting new hands at tlte editorii] 
desk every jeer or two, and forget to vaocinate them against tiK 
annual climatic earprise, that same old thing is going to oocnr ri|b 
along. Each yeat one new hand will have the disease^ and be eai^ 
from ita recurrence ; but this does not save the newspaper. Ko, tt 
newspaper is in as bad case as ever ; it will for evev have its ne* 
hand ; and so, it will break out with the atrawbeny aurprise ev>T- 



February as long aa it lives. The new hand is curable ; tlie ntn 
paper itself is incurable. An act of Congress — no, Congrew eooU 
not prohibit the strawberry surpriae without questionably atretdiiiif 
its powers. An amendment to the Constitution might fix the timi 
and that is probably the beet and quickest way to get at it. Unda 
autiiority of sudi an amendmmt. Congress oonld then pan an ^■ 
inflicting impriscnunent for life for the first c^moB, and aome son o^i 



SPECULATIONS AND CONCLUSIONS 626 

ingering death for subeequent ones ; and this, no donbt, wonld pre- 
entlf give ub & rest. At the same time, the nmendment ftad the 
eenlting act and penalties might easilj' be made to cover -vfuious 
ognate abuses, such as the AnDoal-Teteran-who-hEts-Voted-fbr-Everj- 
'reeident - from- Washingtoo-down,- and -Walked - id - the-PoUs-YsHter- 
lay-with-aa-Bright-an-Eye-aDd-as-Firm-a-Step-as-Ever, and ten or 
leven other weary yearly marrels of thatsort, and of the Oldeat-Free- 
oaaon, and Oldeet-Frinter, and Oldest-Baptist- Preacher, and Oldest 
Llnmuns sort, and Three-Children-Bom-at-a-BirtJi sort, and so on, and 
o on. And then England wonld take it up and pees a law prohibiting 
he farther use of Sidney Smith's jokes, and appointing a cominis- 
ioner to oonstmct some new ones. Then life would be a sweet 
ream of rest and peace, sjid the natvons would oease to long for 

But I wander &om my theme. St. Paul is a wonderful town, 
t is put together in solid blocks of honest brick and stone, and has 
ie air of intending to stay. Its post-office was established thirty-six 
earn ago; and by and by, when the postmaster received a letter, he 
irried it to Washington, horseback, to inquire wbnt was to be done 
ith it. Snob is the legend. Two frame houses were built that year, 
nd Beveral persons were added to the population. A recent numbo' 
f the leading St. Paul paper, the ' Pioneer Press,' gives some 
:atistics which furnish a vivid contrast to that old state of things, to 
it: Population, autumn of the present year (1882), 71,000; 
umber of letters handled, first half of the year, 1,209,387 ; number 
f houses built daring three-quarters of the year, 989 ; their cost, 
3,186,000. Theinoreaseof letters over the corresponding six months 
F last year was fifty per cent. Last year the new buildings added to 
le dty coat above £1,500,000. St. Paul's str«ngtii lies in her com* 
lerce— I mean his commerce. He is a mannfactoring dty, of course 
-all the cities of that region are — but he is peculiarly strong in the 
latter of commerce. lAst year his jobbing trade amounted to up- 
&rds of ^62,000,000. 

He has a custom-house, and is building a oostly c^itol to replace 
le one recently burned — for he is the capital of the State. He has 
lOTcbes without end ; and not the cheap poor kind, but the kind 
lat the rich Proteetant puts up, the kind that the poor Irish ' hired- 



6X LIFE 0!f THE MISSISSIPPI. 

girl ' delights to erect. What a patsion for building majeetic cfaaii:be 

the Iriah hired.girl hae. It Is a fine thing for our arr^liitectTiTe bil 

too often we enjoy her stately fanes without giving her a gnidd 

thought. In fact, instead of reflecting that ' ev^y brick and era? 

Etone in this beantifnl edifice repreeente an ache or a pain, -ud ^ 

handfiil of sweat, and hours of heavy &tjgue, contributed by the faadi 

and forehead and bones of poverty,' it is onr bafait h 

nd merely gloii^ 

, withoot vond- 

thou^t to ill 

rhoee rich bmn 

irse it Eymbcdiaa 

. land <^ libiam 

B. St Fknl iM 

Uic libtariea, u: 

itain, in the aggrr 

some forty tbac- 

books. He b: 

handred and si- 

En school -bovtf^ 

id pays oat mon 

ban seventy the* 

Buid dollan > 

year in teadia^' 



4 BABLT FOBTMABTEK. 



Then iia 

onaaoaUy Sot 

railway atatka 

so large ia i 

in taet, that ~ 

seemed somewhat overdone, in the matter of sise, at first ; bnt at tbr 

end of a few months it was perceived that the mistake was djetiat^ 

the other way. The error is to be corrected. 

The town stands on high ground ; it is about seven bnodred tc^- 

above the sea level. It is so high that a wide view of river and lov- 

land is ofiered from its streets. i 

It is a vei; wonderi'ul town indeed, and is not finiahed yet. i^ \ 



SPJBCULATXOIfS AND CONCLUaiONS. 627 

the Btreebi ue obstracted witli bnOding material, and this ie being 
compacted into housee as Sut as poeaible, to make room for more — 
for other people are anxioaB to build, as sood as they can get the oee 
of the streets to pile up l^eir bricks and stuff in. 

How solemn and beaatifiil is the thought, that the earliest pioneer 
of civilisation, the van-leader of civilisation, is never the steamboat, 
□ever the railroad, never the nevqiaper, never the Sabbath-flcbool, 
never the missionaiy — but tS-WKja whiskey ! Such is the case. Look 
\aiAary over ; yon will see. The missionaty oomee after the whiskey — 
I mean he arriTea after the whisky has arrived ; next comea tbe poor 



immigrant, with axe and hoe and rifle; next, the trader; next, the 
miscellaneonB rush ; next, the gambler, iba desperado, the highway- 
man, and all their kindred in sin of both sexes ; and next, the smart 
chap who has bought up an old grant that covers all tbe land ; this 
brings the lawyer tribe ; the vigilance ctnnmittee brings Hie under- 
taker. All these interests bring the newspaper; the newspaper 
starts up politics and a railroad ; all hands turn to and build a church 
and a jail — and behold, dviUsation is established for ever in tbe land. 
But whisky, you see, was tbe van-leader in this beneficent work. It 
always is. It was like a foreigner — and excusable in a foreigner — to 



5SB LIFE ON THE MIB8I8SIPPI. 

be ignoraiit of this great truth, and ironder off into astronomy to 
borroir a symboh Bat if he had been oonTeraant vith the &ctc, bf 
would have said — 

Westirard the Jng of Empire takes its way. 

This great van-leader arrired npon the ground which St. Paul 
now occupies, in June 1837. Yee, at that date, Fiem Panant,* 
Canadian, built the fiist cabin, uncorked his jug, and b^an to »A 
whiskey to the Indians. The result is befoi-e us. 

All that I have said of the newness, briakness, swifl piogresF. 
'Wealth, intelligenoe, fine and substantial, architecture, and gen^ 
dash and go, and energy of St. Paul, will apply to his near nej^^boiE. 
Minneapolis — with the addition tiiat the latter is the bigger of tl« 
two cities. 

Ilieee extraordinary towns were ten miles ^lart, a few moDtlv 
ago, but were growing so &8t that they may possibly be jraned no*. 
aod getting almg under a single mayor. At any rate, witjiin fiv 
years from now there will be at least such a substantial ligameot o 
buildings stretching between tii^m and nnitmg them that a sbangv 
will not be able to tell where the one Siamese twin leaves off and ibe 
other begins. Combined, they will then number a pt^nlatum of t«j 
hundred and fifty thousand, if they continue to grow as theiy are no" 
growing. Thus, this centre of population at the bead of Mis^ 
sippi navigation, will ti>en begin a rivalry as to numbeis, with tlol 
centre of population at the foot of it — Hew Orleans, 

Minneapolis is situated at the &11b of St. Anthony, which sXnbk 
across the rirer, fifteoi hundred feet, and have a &II of a^ty-t«3 
feet — a waterpower which, by art, has been made of ineitimable tbIk. 
buanese-wise, though somewhat to the damage of the Falls as a ep«- 
tacle, or as a background against which to get your photogr^ili takaa 

Thirty fiouring-mills turn out two milli<»i barrels cf the vKt 
choioeet of flour erery yebx ; twen^ sawmills [m>duoe two hnndnd 
million feet of lumber annually ; then there are wooUea mills, coUoe 
mills, paper and oil mUls ; and sash, nail, fiinutare, barrd, and cptbcr 
facbxies, without number, bo to speak. The great flourin^millB hoe 
and at St Paul ttse the ' new process ' and mash die wheat hy idhng^ 
instead (rf grinding it. 



SPECULATIOyS AND CONCLUSIONS. 629 

Sixteen railroads meet in Minaeapolis, and sixty-five pasaengei 
rains uriTe and depart daily. 

Id this place, aa in St. Paul, journalism thrives. Here there are 
hree great daihes, ten weeklies, and three monthlies. 

There ia a university, with font hundred etudente — and, better 
till, its good eSbrtB are not confined to enlightening the one sex. 
^ere are sixteen public schools, with buildings which cost $600,000 ; 



UIMHEAPOLIS AKD THE FALLS OF ST. 

here are six thousand pupils and one hundred and twenty-eight 
BBchen. There are also seventy churches existing, and a hit more 
irojected. The banks aggregate a capital of $3,000,000, and the 
rholesale jobbing trade of the town amounts to ,gSO,000,000 a year. 

Near St. Paul and Minneapolis are several pointe of interest^ 
i'ort Snellinit, a fortress occupying a river-bluff a hundred feet high ; 
he ialls of Minnehaha; White-bear Lake, and so forth. Thebeauti- 
ill falls of Minnehaha are sufficiently celebrated — they do not need a 



5S0 LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

lift from me, in that direction. He WMte-beftr Lake is leoB knov^ 
It is a lovely sheet of water, and is being ntilised as a eammer nsr 
by the veath and faehion of the State. It has it« clnb-house, and u> 
hotel, with the modem impi-oTranents and conTemeDcee ; its fcfi 
Biunmer residenceB ; and plrai'fy of fiahing, hunting, and pleaannt diins, 
There are a dozen minor sommer resorts aroond aboat St. IVol vA 
MinneapoliB, bnt the White-bear Lake is the naort. Cgnnrtfc 
with White-bear Lake is a most idiotic Indian legend. I voc? 
reoat the temptation to print it here, if I could, but the te^ '; 
beyond my streiigth. The guide-book names the preserver cf L- 
l^^id, and compliments his 'facile pen.' Without further ccc- 
ment or delay then, let na turn tiie said &dle poi loose upon th 
reader — 

A LEOEHD OF WHITE-BEAR J^BE. 

Everj spring, for perhaps a centurj, or as long as there has been anatii 
of redmen, an island in the middle of Wlute-beer Lake has been Tisittd'' 
a band of Indians for the purpose of making maple sugar. 

Tradition says that many springB ago, while upon this iaUnd, a ««.- 
warrior loved and wooed the daughter of his chief, and it is said, aim, lb* 
maiden loved the warrior. He had again and again been reused her bui 
by her parents, the old chief ailing that he was no brave, and his oh) c»- 
sort called him a woman I i 

The eun had again set upon the 'sugar-bush,' and the bright moon loH 
high in the bright blue heavens, when the young warrior took down his tt» 
and went out alone, once more to sing tbe story of his love, the mOd heir* 
gently moved thetwo gay feathers in his head-drees, and as he mounted o«ib>* 
trunk of a leaning tree, the damp snow fell from his feet hesTily. Af ^ 
raised his flute to his lips, bis blanket slipped from his well-formed abould<^ 
and lay partly on the snow beneath. He began his weird, wild love-eoepi 
bat soon felt that he was cold, and as he reached back for bis blanket, sew I 
unseen hand laid it gently on his shoulders; it was the hand of bis lore, ^ 
guardian angel. She took her place beside him, and for the preeent it < 
were happy ; for the Indian has a heart to love, and in this pride be ii f 
noble as in his own freedom, which makes him the child of the fonst. A- 
tha legend runs, a large white-bear, thinking, perhaps, that polar viom k^ 
dismal winter weather extended everywhere, took up his journey sonlknr* 
He at length approached the northern shore of the lake which now bean^'' 
name, walked down the bank and made his way noiseleaaly through t>' 
deep heavy snow toward the island. It was the same ^rii^ ■TUfning tb' | 



SPECULATIONS AND CONCLUSIONS. 

le lovers met. Tbey Wd 
ft their fiiet retrent, Hut 
t're now seated among 
le bnnclieg of a large elm 
hicli hung fiir over tbe 
ke. (Tbe «ame tree is 
ill standing, and excites 
liversal curiosity and in- 
irest.) For fear of being 
ittvied, they talked almoet 
L a whisper, and now, 
lat they might get hack 
I camp in good time and 
lereby arotd suspicion, 
ley were just rising to 
;turn, when the maiden 
:tered a shriek which was 
»rd at tbe camp, and 
funding toward the young 
Tare, she caught his blan- 
it, but missed the direc- 
on of her foot and fell, 
uring the blanket with 
iT into the great arms 
the ferocious monster. 
istantly every man, wo- 
an, and child of the bond 
ere upon the bank, but 
J unarmed. Criea sjid 
ail ings went up from every 
lOiith. ^\'hat waa to be 
me ? In the meantime 
lis white and saTBge beast 
ild tbe breathless maiden 
I his huge grasp, and 
indled with his ptocioua 
rey as if he were used to 
■enee like this. Onedeof- 
ling yell from the lover 

'srrior is heard sbore tbe ' " " 

■ies of hundreds of his ^^^ mixtorf. 

-ibe, and Haahing away to 

is wigwam he gnupe his ftlthful knife, returns almost at a single 
una 



632 LIFE ON TSB MISSISSIPPI. 

to the Bceae of fear and fright, nishea out along- the IsBnin^ tte» to 'J 
spot where hiB treasure fell, and springing with the fiuy of a mad pactin 
pounced upon his prey. The animal turned, and with one stroke of hk bi^ 
paw brought the lovers heart to heart, but the next moment the wanii 
with one plunge of the blade of hia knife, opened the crimaon eluioe* of did 
and the djing bear relaxed his hold. 

Iliat night there was no more sleep for the band or the lovers, aitd a.~ il 
youi^ and the old danced about the carcass of the dead monster, the galk 
warrior was pre»ented with another pltune, and ere another moon had i 
he had a living treasure added to his heart. Their children for nDoayvHi 
plajed upon the skin of the white-bear — from whidi the lake d^iwt i 
name—and the maiden and the brave remembered long the ieatfbl 8cai« *■ 
rescue that made them one, for Eia-se-me-pa and Ka-go-ka could never f ' 
get thrar fearful encounter with the huge monster that came so near aeaiia 
them to the nappy hunting-ground. 

It is a perplexing business. First, ah« fell down out of the tiw 
she and the bUnkeb ; and the bear cau^t her and fondled her— ba 
and the blanket; then she fell up into tLe tree agsan — leavisglil 
blanket; meantime the lov^ goes war-whooping home and cosd 
back ' healed,' clioibe the tree, jumps down on -Uie bear, tho girl juiLp 
down after him — apparently, for she was up the tree — reenmee ta 
place in the bear's aims along with the blanket, the lover rami '^ 
knife into the bear, and saves — whom, the blanket T No — nothiq 
cS the sort. You get yourself all worked up and endted about [bi'l 
blanket, and then aU of a sudden, just when a happy riimuT ge&i 
imminent you are let down flat — nothing saved but tiie gii- 
Whereae, one is not ifiterested in the girl ; she is not the prwci 
nent feature of the legend. Nevertheleae, tliere you are left, i^\ 
there you must remain ; for if you live a thousand years you ^ 
never know who got the blanket A dead man could get up a brtta 
legend than this one. I don't mean a freeh dead man either j I meac ' 
man that's been dead weeks and weeks. i 

We struck 4^e home-trail now, and in a few hours were id tlxl 
astonishing Chicago — a dty where they are always rablnng the lufi 
and fetching up the genii, and contriving and achieving new impi'' 
sibilities. It is hopeless for the occasfooal visitor to try to keep i? 
with Chicago — she outgrows his prophecies faster than he am nu^ 
them. She is always a novelty; for she ia never the Chicago J^* 



SPECULATIONS AND CONCLUSIONS. 633 

a.w when you pawed througti the last time. The Fennsylv&uia rood 
iished us to New York without miesing schedule time t«a minutes 
.nywhere on the route; and there ended one of the most ei^oyahle 
ive- thousand-mile joamej^ I have ever had the good fortune to 



..y Google 



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APPENDIX A. 

IFnm lltr Nkw OrlUsb ■iBiS.^Da^ncR.\^, of March IS, 188!.) 

VOTAOB OF THETINES-BEMOCRAT'8 RELIEF BOAT 
THSdUOH THE INUNDATED nSGIONS. 

[x waa nine o'clock Thursday morning when the ' Susie ' left the Misidflgippi 
tnd eot«red Old Bivei, or what is now called the mouth of theSed. Awen- 
iiag on the left, a flood was ponrii^ in throngh and over the leTeee od the 
l^handlor plantation, the most northern point In Pointe Coup^ pariah. The 
water completely covered the place, although the lerees had giren way but 
a short time before. The stock had been gathered in a large flat-boat, 
where, without food, as we pafised, the animals were huddled together, 
waiting for a boat to tow them off. On the right-hand side of the rirer is 
TombQll's Island, and on it is a la^;e plantation which formerly was pro- 
nounced one of the most fertile in the State. The water has hitherto allowed 
it to go scot-free in usual floods, but now broad sheets of water told only 
where fields were. The top of the protecting levee could be seen here and 
there, hut nearly all of it was submerged. 

The trees have put on a greener foliage since the water has poured in, 
and the woods look bright and fresh, but this pleasant aspect to the eye is 
neutralised b; the interminable waste of water. We pass mile aft^r mile, 
and it is nothing but trees standing up to tbdf branches in water. A irater- 
turkey now and again rises and flies ahead into the long avenue of silence. 
A pirogue sometimes flits hoia the bnithes and crosses the Bed Birat on its 
way out to the Missis^ppi, but the sad-faced paddlers nevertum tbor heads 
lo look at our boat. The puffing of the boat is music in this gloom, which 
ailects one most curiously. It ;is not the gloom of deep forests or dark 
caTems, but a peculiar kind of solemn silence and impressive awe that holds 
one perforce to its recognition. We paeeed two negro families on a raft tied 
up in the willows this morning. Th^ were evidently of the well-to-do class, 
as they had a supply of meal and three or four hogs with them. Their rafts 



636 LIFE Olf TSE MISSISSIPPI. 

were about twenty fe«t square, sod in front of an improviaad shelter 
had been placed, on which they built their fire. 

The current rumdag down the Atch«&laL7S was very swift, tlie Mtsai 
ehowing K predUactioD in that direction, which needs only to be se 
enforce the opinion of that liver'a dsspeiate endeayouni to find a short 
to the Gulf. Small boats, akiK, pirogues, etc., are in great demaiMl, 
many have been stolen \)j piratical negroes, who take them where thej 
biiiig the greatest price. From what was told me bj Ur. C. F. Fer^ 
a planter near Red River Landing, whose place has jtist gone under, t 
is much sufiering in the rear of that place. The negroes had given uj 
tlioughts of a crevasse there, as the upper leree had stood so long, ftiid v 
it did come they were at its mercy. On Thursday a number irera tAkei 
of trees and off of cabin roofs and brought in, many yet remaining. 

One does not appreciate the ught of earth until he has trarelled thro 
a fiood. At sea one does not expect or look for it, but here, with flutie 
leaves, shadowy forest aisles, hooae-tops barely visible, it is expected, 
fact a grave-yard, if the mounds were above water, would be appntda 
The river here is known only because there is an opening in the tR«s, 
that is all. It is in width, from Fort Adams on the Uft bank of 
Mississippi to the hank of Bapides Parish, a distance of about nxty iiuk«. 
large portion of this was under cultivation, particulariy along the UtMii^j 
and back of the Red. When BedlUver proper was entered, a strong cur 
was running directly across it, pursuing the sanu direction as that of 
Missis^ppi. 

After a run of some hours. Black River was reached. Hardly «u 
entered before sigiw of su&ring became visiUe. All the willows almig i 
banks were stripped of their leaves. One man, whom your correapoDd' 
spoke to, said that he had had one hundred and fifty head of cattle aod >i 
hundred head of hogs. At the first appearance of water he had starts 
drive them to the high lands of Avoyelles, thirty-five miles off, but hr 1 1 
fifty head of the beef cattle and sixty h<^ Black River is quite ptctuiMqi 
even if its shores are under water. A dense growth of ash, oak, gum, ii 
hickory make the shores almost impenetrable, and where one can gvt ■ t>- 
dovm some avenue in the trees, only the dim outlines of distan t trnob n 
be barely distinguished in the gloom. 

A few miles up thia river, the depth of water on the banks was fuUv i\r 
feet, and on all sides could be seen, still holding against the strong ciinr:i' 
the topsofcalxDS. Here and there one overturned was surrounded by drf 
wood, forming the nucleus of possibly some future island. 

In Older to save coal, as it was impossible to get that fuel at any ^' 
to be tODched during the expedition, a look-out was kept for a wood-pJ- 
On rounding a point a piro^e, sldlfuUy paddled by a youth, shot oat. »' 
,„ , A.ocwie 



A-PPEA'DIX A. 887 

in its bow wu B ^1 of fifteen, of &ir &ce, beaudful black ejes, and demure 
m&DnerB. The bo]' asked ibr a paper, which was thrown to him, and the 
couple poahed dkeir tinir ctait out into the swell of the boat. 

Freaently a little girl, nut certainlj' over twelve years, paddled out in 
the smaEeet little canoe and handled it with all the defbieee of an old 
vojageuT. The little oae looked more like an Indian than a white child, 
and iKughed when aaked if eke wen afiwd. She bad been rused in a 
ptfog;iis and could go anywhere. She was bonnd out to pick willow toaves 
for Uie stock, and she pointed to a honse near b; with water three inches 
deep on the floors. At its hock door was xoookA. a raft about tbiitj feet 
square, with a sort of fence built upon it, and inside of this some sixteen 
cows and twenty hogs were standing. The lainily did Hot complain, except 
on account of losing their stock, and promptly brought a supply of wood in 
aflftt 

From this point to the MisUMippi River, fiftoen miles, there is not a spot 
of eartii above water, and to the westward for thir^-five miles there is 
nothing hvt the river's flood. Kack River had risen during Thursday, tiie 
23rd, 1} inchea, and was going up at night still. As we progress up the 
river babitatiousbecome more frequent, but are yet still miles apart. Nearly 
all of them are deserted, and the out-honses floated ofl*. To add to the 
gloom, almost evety living thing seems to have departed, and not a whistle 
of a t^ nor the bark of the squirrel can be heard in this solitude. Some- 
timee a morose gar will throw his tail aloft and disappear in the river, but 
beyond this everything is quiet — the quiet of dissolution. Down the river 
floats now a neatly whitewashed hen-bouse, then a cluster of oeatiy split 
fence4«ils, or a door and a bloated carcass, solemnly guarded by a pair of 
buzzaids, the only bird to be seen, which feast on the carcass as it bears 
them along. A picture-frame in which there was a cheap lithograph of 
a soldier on horseback, as it floated on told of some hearth invaded by the 
water and despoiled of this ornament. 

At dark, as it was not prudent to ran, a place alongside the woods was 
hunted and to a tall gam-tree the boat was mode fast for the night. 

A pretty quarter of the moon threw a pleasant light over forest and river, 
making a picture that would be a delightful piece of landscape study, could 
an artist only hold it down to his canvas. The motion of the engines had 
ceased, the puffing of the escaping steam was staUed, and the enveloping 
silence closed upon us, and such silence it was I Usually in a forest at night 
one can hear the pifang of frogs, the hum of insects, or the dropping of 
limbs ; bat here nature was dumb. The dark recesses, those aiales into this 
cathedral, gave forth no sound, and eveD the ripplings of the current die 
Bwsy. 

At daylight Friday morning all hands were up, and up the Hack we 



ess LIFE ON THE MIBaiSBIPPI. 

at&rted. The moming wu n beAutdfiil me, and the rirer, -nhict is ramai-k- 
nUy ibrught, put on its lorelieet garb. The bloMonu of the haw perfomed 
the air deJiciounlj, vid a few birds whittled blithelj alonfc the banks. The 
treea were la^^, and th« foreat teemed of older growth than below. Morr 
fielda were pawed than nearer the mouth, hut the same Kane preaented itadf 
— amoka-houses driftiiig out in the pasturea, negro quartera inchored in god- 
Aision Bgainat some oak, and the modest reeidenoa just showing its e«ved 
aboTe water. The sun came up in a glorj of camiine, and the treea were 
brilliant in th^ varied shades of green. Not afootof bchI is to ha aaenanj- 
where, and the water is apparently growing deeper and deeper, for it reachea 
np to the branches of the l&igest trees. AJl along, the bordering widows 
have been denuded of leaves, showing how long the peoj^ have been at 
work gathering this fodder for their an i main , An old man in a progue waa 
asked how the willow leaves agreed with his cattle. He stopped in U* 
work, and with an ominoui ahake of bis head replied: 'Well,ar, it'aenooi^ 
to keep warmth in their hodiea and that's all we expect, hut it's hard OD ths 
hogs, particularly the small ones. Thej is drappng off powerful &st. But 
wW can you do F It's all we've got' 

At thirty mils abore the month of Black River the water extenda Cram 
Natcbes on the Mumnmii ppi aerooa to the pine hills of Louiwaaa, a diittanrp of 
seventy-three miles, and there is hardly a spot that is not tea feet iinder it. 
'The tendency of the current np the Black is toward the west. In bet, so 
much is this the case, the waters of Red River have been drivcu down froa 
-toward the Calcaneu conntry.and the waters of the Black enter the Red sons 
fifteen miles above tlie mouth of the fbrnter, a thii^ never before eevi b; 
-even the oldest steamboatmen. The water now in atght of us ia entirely 
from the Hiseisaipfd. 

Up to Trinity, or rathw Troy, vriiich is but a short distanca bdow, the 
people have neariy all moved out, those remaining having enough for their 
present personal needs. Their cattle, though, are sit&eriiig and dyii^ off 
qnite bat, as the confinement oil ralta and the food they get breeds disMSK. 

After a short stop we started, and soon came to a section where there 
were many open fields and cabins thickly acatteied about. Here wan seen 
more jucturea of distrees. On the inude of the houses the ii™i»tjf had buih 
on boxes a scaffiildon which they placed the furniture. Thebed-poatawwe 
sawed off on top, as the enling was not more than four feet from the im- 
provised floor. The btuldings looked very insecure, and thieateoied avtay 
momoit to float off. Near the houses were cattle standing la«aat Ugh in 
the water, perfectly impassive. They did not move in their places, batatood 
patiently wuting for help to come. The sight was a distremng one, and the 
poor creatures will be sure to die unless speedily reeeued. Cattle ^flei from 
horses in this peculiar quaUty. A horse, after finding no relief oonea, wSl 
,„ . A.oiwlc 



APPBXDIX A. S39 

mrim off in se«ich of food, whereu a beef wiU Btind in iu traclra until with 
exhftDation it dropa in tlie water and drowns. 

At luJf-past twelve o'clock a hail was g^ven &om a flat-boat inside tbe 
line of the bank. Bounding to we ran alongside, and Qeneral York stepped 
aboard. He was just then engaged in getting off stock, and welcomed the 
' Times-Democrat ' boat heartilj, as he said there was much need for her, 
lie said that the distrees was not exa^erated in the least. People were in 
a condition it was difSculteven for one to imagine. The water waa so high 
there was great danger of their bouses being swept away. It bad already 
risen so high that it was approaching the eaves, and when it reaches this 
point there is always imminent risk of their being swept sway. If this 
occurs, there wiU be gTMt loss of life. The General spoke of the gallant 
work of many of the people in their attempts to eare their 8tock,hut thought 
that fully twenty-five per cent, had perished. Already twenty-five hundred 
people had received rations ftooL Troy, on Black River, and he had towed 
out a great many cattle, but a very great quantity remained and were in 
dire need. The water was now eighteen inches higher than in 1874, and 
there was no land between Vidalia and the hills of Catahoula. 

At two o'clock the ' Susie ' reached Troy, sixty-five miles above the 
mouth of Black River. Here on the left comee in Ijttle River ; jugtbeyond 
that the Ouachita, and on the right the Tensas. These three rivers form the 
Black River. Troy, or a portion of it, is situated on and around thrue 
large Indian mounds, circular in shape, which rise above the present water 
about twelve feeL They are about one hundred and fifty feet in diameter, 
and are about two hundred yards apart. The houses are all built between 
these mounds, and hence are all flooded to a depth of eighteen inches on 
their floOTS. 

Theee elevatdons, built by the aborigines, hundreds of years ago, ate the 
only pmnts of refuge for miles. When we arrived we found them crowded 
wiUi stock, all of which was Qua and hardly able to stand up. They were 
mixed together, sheep, hogs, horses, mule«, and cattle. One of these mounds 
has been used for many years as the grave-yard, and to-day we saw at- 
tenuated cows lying agunst the marble tomb-stones, chewing their cud in 
contentment, after a meal of com furnished by General York. Here, as 
below, the remarkable akill of the women and girls in the management of 
the smaller pirogues was noticed, (.liildren were paddling about in these 
most ticklish craftx vrith all the nonchalance of adepts. 

General York has put into operation a perfect syetem in regard to ftir- 
niabing relieC He makes a personal inspection of the place where it is 
a.oked, sees what is necessary to be done, and then, having two boats char- 
tered, with flats, sends them promptly to the place, when the cattle are 
loaded and towed to the pine bills and uplands of Oatahoula. He has made 

,„., A.oogic 



6*0 LIFE ON TEE MISSISSIPPI. 

Tiof bia headquaitcts, and to this point boats come for their sapplj of fc«d 
for cattle. On tbe opposite mde of little River, which brucbea to the lefr 
out of Black, and hetiVeeo it and the Ouachita, ia situated the town of IVinitj, 
which is hourly threatened with destruction. It is much lower than Tro;. 
and the water is «ght and nine feet deep in the houses. A strong cnnvct 
sweeps through it, and it is remarkable that all of its houses have not gone 
before. The residents of both Troy and Trinity have been eared tea, yet 
aime of their stock have to be fumiBhed with food. 

As soon as the ' Susie ' reached Troy, she was turned over to Qenenl 
York, and placed at hia diapoaition to carry out the work of relief moK 
ra[udly. Nearly all her supplies were landed on one of tbe mounds to 
lighten her, and she was beaded down stream to relieve those beloiw. At 
Tom Hooper's place, a few miles from Troy, a large flat, with aboot £fty 
bead of stock on board, was taken in tow. The animala were fbd, Mid soon 
reguned some strength. TcHday we go on Little River, where tbe softiii^ 
is greatest. 



Down Buck Rn'Es. 

Saturday Evening, March ih. 
We started down Kack River quite early, under the direction of Oeaeral 
York, to bring out what stock could be reached. Qoing down river ■ flat ig 
tow was left in a central locality, and from there men poled her back in tbi 
rear of plantaUone, picking up the animals wherever found. In the loft of • 
gin-house there were aeventeen head found, and after a giuigway was built 
they were led down into the flat without difficulty. Taking- a skiff wiih 
the General, your reporter was pulled up to a little house of two rooms, in 
which the water was standing two feet on the floors. In one of the lai^ 
rooms were huddled the horses and cows of tbe place, while in the other tk 
Widow Taylor and her son were seated on a scaffold raised on the floor. 
One or two dug-outs were drifting about in the room ready to be pat b 
service at any time. When the flat was brought up, the side of the hous 
was cut away a« the only meuis of getting the animals out, and tha cattlr 
were driven on board the boat General York, in this as in evoy case, in- 
quired if the family deured to leave, informing them that Major Borke. of 
'The Times-Democrat,' has sent the 'Susie' up for that poipoee. Mr\ | 
Taylor stud she thanked Major Burke, but she would try and bold out. Tk ! 
remarkable tenacity of tlia people here to tbeir homes is beyond bH ccra- 
prehension. Just below, at a point nzteen miles from Troy, infotmativia 
was received that the house of Mr. Tom Ellis was in danger, aad his &iKlf \ 
were all in it. We steamed there immediately, and a sad [deture wm pteSFnttd. 

,.,.,. A.OOgIC J 



APPMNDIX A. 641 

Looking ont of the half of tbe vindow left above water, was Mis. Kilia , who 
is in feeUe health, whilst at the door were her seven children, the oldestnot 
fourteen jears. One side of the hoose was given op to tbe work animals, 
fiome twelve bead, beaidw hogs. In the next room tlie family lived, the water 
coming within two inches of the bed-rail. The stove was below water, and 
the cooking was done on a fire on top of iL The houee threat«Ded to ^ve 
way at any moment: one end of it was sinkiiig, and, in fact, the huilding 
looked a mere sbeU. As the boat rounded to, Mr. Ellis came out in a dug- 
out, and General York told him that he had come to his relief ^ that 'The 
Times-Democrat ' boat was at his service, and would remove his famOj at 
once to the hills, and on Monday a Sat would take out his stock, as, until 
that time, thej would be busy. Notwithstanding the deplorable atuation 
biinaelf and fiunilj were in, Mr. Ellis did not want to leave. He said be 
thought he would wait untU Monday, and take the risk of his house Mling. 
The children around the door looked perfectly contented, seeming to care 
little for the danger they were in. These are but two instances of the many. 
After vreeks of privation and suffering, peopl? still cling to their bouses and 
leave only when there is not room between the water and the ceiling to huild 
a scaffold on which to stand. It seemed to be incomprehensible, yet the 
love for tbe old place was stronger than that for safety. 

After leaving the Ellis place, the next spot touched at was tbe Oswald 
place. Here the flat was towed alongside the gin-house where there were 
fiftaeu head standing in water; and yet, as they stood on scaffolds, theii 
heads were above the top of the entrance. It was found impossible ia get 
them out vrithout cutting away a portion of the ttoai ; and so axes were 
brou{^t into requisition and a gap mode. After much labour the horses and 
mnlefl ware securely placed on the flat. 

At each place we stop there ore always three, four, or more dug'OUts 
arriving, bringing information of stock in other places in need. Notwith- 
standing the &ct that a great many had driven a port of their stock to the 
bills some time ago, there yet remains a large quantity, which Oenetal York, 
wbo is working with indomitable energy, will get lauded in tbe pine hills 
by Tuesday. 

AH along Black River the ' Susie ' has been vidted by scores of planteis, 
whose tales are the repetition of those already heard of suffering and loss. 
Ad old planter, who bas lived on the river since 1344, said there never was 
such a rise, and he was satisfied more than one quarter of the stock has been 
lost. Lucidly the people cared first for their work stock, and when they 
could find it horses and mules were boused in a place of safety. The rise 
which still continues, and was two inches last night, compels them to get 
them out to the hills ; hence it is that the work of General York is of such 
a great value. From daylight to late at night he is going this way and that, 



5*2 LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

chaering- bj his kindly words and directing with calm judgment wlwt is to 
be done. One unpleasant atorj, of a certain merchant in New Organs, L' 
told all along the riier. It appears for Home years past the planters have 
been dealing with this individual, and many of them had balance in hif 
hands. When the overflow came they wrote for cofiee, for meftl, and, in 
fact, for such Uttle necessities as were required. No Ksponse to them lelten 
came, and others were written, and yet these old cuatomera, with plantation* 
undei 'Crater, were refused even what was necessary to sustain life. It b 
needleaa to aay he it not popular uow on Black Kiver. 

The hills spoken of sa the place of refuge for the people aiid stock on 
Black Kiver are in Catahoula parish, twenty-four miles from Black Rirer. 

After tilling the fiat with cattle we took on board the family of T. S. 
Hooper, seven in number, who could not longer remun in their dweUine 
and we are now taking them op little RiVer to the hills. 



The Flood Still Rnnta. 

Troy : Haroh 27, I88«, dood. 
Tlie flood here is ri^ng about three and a half inchee erery twetttr-fbar 
hours, and rains have set in which will increase this. General York feels 
now that our efibrts ought to be directed towards saving life, as the iiKn»» 
of the water has jeopardised many houses. We intend to go up the Tensas 
in a few minutes, and then we will return and go down Black River to tak? 
off families. There is a lack of steam transportation here to meet th? 
emergency. The General has three boats chartered, with flats in tow, but 
the demand for theae t« tow out atoek is greater than they can meet with 
promptness. All are working night and day, and the ' Susie ' hardly ato^ 
for more than an hooT anywhere. The rise has phtced Trinity m a dai^woiu 
plight, and momentarily it is expected that some of the houses will flo&t off. 
Troy is a little higher, yet all are in the water. Reports have come in 
that a woman and child have been washed away below here, and two 
cabins floated ofi". Their occupants are the same who refused to come ofl' 
day before yesterday. One would not believe the utter pasaivenees of tlw 

As yet no news has been received of the steamer ' Delia,' which is si^ 
posed to be the one sunk in yesterday's storm on Lake Catahoula. She is 
due here now, but has not arrived. Even the mall here is moat imcertaui. 
and this I send by akiff' to Natchez to get it to you. It is impoonUe to gH 
accurate data as to past crops, etc., as tboea who know much about tW 



APPENDIX A. MS 

matter b&re gone, and those who remain are not well vened in the produo 
tion of this section. 

General York desires me to eay that the amount of rations formerly sent 
fhonld be duplicated and sent at once. It is impoasible to make any eetimate, 
for the people are fleeing to the hills, so ra[ad is the rise. The residents 
here are in a stale of commotion that can only be appreciated whenseen, and 
complete demoralisation has set in. 

If rations are drawn for any particular section hereabonts, they would not 
be certain to be distributed, so ererything should be sent to Troy as a centre, 
and the General will have it properly disposed of. He has sent for one 
hundred tents, and, if all go to the hills who are inniotion now, two hundred 
will be required. 



D.3l.za..y Google 



LIFE ON TEE MISSISSIPPI. 



APPENDIX B. 



Thb condition of this rich vftlley of the Lower Miaruuppi, immedlatdj tt.f^ 
and Bioce the war, constituted one of the disastrous efficts of war most 'j 
ba depbred. Fictitious proper^ in alaTea was not only righteoiulj d>^ 
troyed, bat very much of the work which bad depended upon the dav- 
labour was also destroyed or greatlj impaired, especiallj the levee eytiem. 

It might have been expected by those who have not inrsstig^ted t^ 
subject, that such important improrements as the constmctioa and maizb- 
Dsnce of the levees would have been assumed at once I9 the several Stated 
But what can the State do where the people are under sulg«ction to ntcsci 
intereet ranging trum IS to 30 per cent., and are also under the neceenrr a 
pled^ng their crops in advance even (^ Ranting, at these rates, for the pi- 
vilege of purchasing aU of their supplies at 100 per cent, profit P 

It has needed but Uttle attention to make it perfecU; obvious that ti- 
control of the Mississippi River, if undertaken at all, must be undertaken b 
the national government, and cannot be compassed bj States. The riv»: 
must be treated as a unit ; its control cannot be compassed under a divided rr 
separate sjstem of administration. 

Neither are the States e^^ially interested competent to eombineamrc; 
themsdves for the necessary operations. The work must begin &r np tb- 
river ; at least as far as Cairo, if not beyond ; and must be conducted np.**! 
a conostent general plan throughout the course of tbe river. 

It does not need technical or scientific knowledge to comprehend tbe el- 
ments of the case if one will give a little time and attention to the aubjec:. 
and when a Mississippi River commission bas been eonstituled, as tbe eii:~t- 
ing commission is, of thoroughly able men of difierent walln in life, mav r 
not be suggested that their verdict in the case should be accepted as condn- 
tive, so £u as any ajwwi theory of construction or control can be oonadofi^ 
conclu^veP 

It should be remembered that upon this board are Genera] Gilmon. 

General Comstock, and Oenersl Suter, of the United States Ibiginwn- 

ProfessoT Henry Mitchell (the most competent authority on the quMtion . f 

hydrography), of the United States Coast Survey: B, B. Hanod, tlr 

uy . l,oo;jle 



APPENDIX S. 6tG 

»te Engineer of LouuU]i4 ; Job. B. Bads, whom suocen with the jetties 

New Orleans la s wsmnt of his oompetenc^, and Judge Tsjior, of 
idiank. 

It would be presomptioD on the part of any single man, howerer akiUed, 
contest the judgment of such a boaid aa this. 

The method of improrement proposed bj the commission is at once in 
cord with the results of engineering experience and with obsemtions of 
iture where meeting onr wants. As in nature the growth of trees and thdr 
•oneness where UDdennimd to fall across the slope and support the bank 
cures at some points a fair depth of channel and some degree of penna- 
inoe, so in the project of the engineer the nse of timber and hmsh and the 
tcoimgement of forest growth are the mun features. It is proposed to le- 
ice the width where excesaiTe by brushwood dylras, at first low, bat raised 
gher and higher as the mud of the riw aattleH under thdr shelter, and 
laUy slope them back at the angle upon which willows will grow finely. 
I this work there are many details connected with t^e forms of these shelter 
rkes, their arrangements lo as to present a series of settling basins, ete., a 
tscriplion of which would only complicate the conception. Through the 
^ec part of the river works of ccmtractaon will not be required, bat nearly 
1 the banks on the concave side of the hends must be held against the wear 
' the stream, and much of the opposite banks defended at critdcal points, 
lie works having in view this oonservative object may be generally deaig- 
it«d works of revetment ; and these also will be largely of hrushwood, 
oven in continiioaB carpets, or twined into wire-netting. This veneering 
viceaa has been successfully empli^ed on the Hiasouti Kiver ; and in some 
laes tbey have so covered themselves with sediments, and have become ao 
rergrown with willows, tiiat they may be regarded as permanent. In 
curing these mata rubble-stone is to be used in amaJl quantitiea, and in 
me instances the dreaeed dope between high and low river will have to be 
ore or less paved with atone. 

Any one who faaa been on the Bhine will have obeerved operations not 
ilike those to which we have juat referred ; and, indeed, moat of the rivers 
' Europe flowing among their own alluvia have required similar treatmeot 

the interest of navigation and agriculture. 

The levee is the crowning wcrk of bank revetment, although not neces- 
rily in immediate connection. It may be set back a short diatance from 
le revetted bank; but it is, in efitot, tJie requisite parapet TheflaodriveF 
ti the low river cannot be brought into register, and compelled to unite in 
le excavation of a aingle permanent channel, without a complete control of 
1 the stages ; and even l^e abnmmal riae must be provided against, because 
lis would endanger the levee, and onoe in force behind the works of revet- 
ifflt would tear them also away. 



M6 i^^-B ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

Uoder the general principle that the local slope of a river is the rh^ 
ftnd meMiue of the resiatance of its bed, it is evident that a narrow and te? 
Bti«sm afaonld have lew dope, because it has leu fiictional sor&oe in jf- 
portion to oapadtj ; i.e., Imb perimeter in proportion to arw of craea aeeticb 
The ultimate eSM of leveea ioA reTetmenta confining the flooda and hns- 
ing all the stagaa of the river into register ia to de«pai the chamiel and If 
down the dope. The fiiat e&ct of the leveea is to rwae the nir&ce ; V- 
thia, hy inducing greater velocity of flow, inevitably cauaes an enlaigeiBtK 
(^ section, and ^ tbia enlargement ia prevented from being made at the ei- 
pense of the banks, the bottom muat give way and the form rf the wat«wti 
be so improved as to admit this flow with leaa rise. The actual erperinct 
with leveea upon the Misaiaeipiu Kver, with no attempt to hold the lanb, 
haa been favourable, and no one can doubt, upon the evidence fbnddeJ 
in the reporte of the comminion, that if tha eariieat levees had 1km 
accompamed by revetment of banks, and made complete, we ahoold bin 
to-day a river navtgaUe at low water, and an adjacent conntry safe ine- 
inundation. 

Of course it would be illogical to conclude that the constrained river cc 
ever lower its flood slope so as to make levees unnecessary, but it is beUe^ 
that, by this lateral constraint, the river as a conduit may be ao improric 
in form that even thoee rare flooda which result from the coincident liK: 
of many tributariee vrill find vent without destroying loreea of oi^DaT 
hoght. That the actual caparaty of a channel through allnvinm Aiifoii 
upon its service during floods haa been often shown, but this capacity Aw 
not include anomalous, hut recurrent, flooda. 

It is hardly worth while to conaider the projects for relieving the 3fe 
sinippi River floods by creating new outlets, since these senaatiooal p»r- 
positions have commended themselves only to imthinking minds, and be 
no support among engineers. Were tiie river bedcaat-iion, a reeorttoope 
inga for surplus waters mi^t be a neceanty ; but as the bottom ia jiddiic 
and the beet form of outlet ia a ringle dMp diannel, aa realiaiug the )m6 
ratio of perimeter to area of crow section, there could not well be a aa 
nnphitosaphical method of treatment than the multiplication of aTenae) 3 
escape. 

In the foregoing statement the attempt baa been made to coodenK » 
as linuted a apace as the importance of the subject vronld pemil, '^ 
general elements of the problem, and the general features of the propow' 
method of improvement which haa been adopted by the Hiadaaippi Bi<" 



The writer cannot help feeling that it is somewhat presumptnona (■ U 

part to attempt to present the facts relating to an enterprise which cslh H 

the highest scientific skill ; but it is a matter which iat«resta awry dns* 

,„... A,oo;jle I 



APPENDIX S. S*7 

if the Umted StAtas, and is one of the methoda of reconstiuction irhich 
lught to be approved. It is a wu clAim which implies no private gain, 
iDd uo companaation except for one of the cases of destructioii incid«nt to 
vox, which maj well be repaired bj the people of the whole country, 

Edwasd Aikissox. 
Boston : April 14, 1BS2. 



Dgliiec^yGoO'^le 



LIF£ ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 



APPENDIX C. 

RECEPTION OF CAPTAIN BASIL HALL'S BOOK Ilf TEE 
UNITED STATES. 

Hathts now uTived neul j at the end of our tiSTek, I un induced, «k I 
condude, agiuii to mention what I consider as one of the moat Temarttlir 
tnits in the nfttlonal chuacter of the AmericaoB ; namalj, their exquir^ 
seiuitiTeness and eoranesa respecting ereiytliiag Bud or inittea eoocenii:.' 
them. Of this, perfaape, the moat remarkable example I can pve ii r- 
efibct produced on ■nearlj' every cImb of readers by the appearance of Capa^ 
Baail Hall's ' Travele in North America.' In ftct, it was a aort of mm. 
earthquake, and the Titration it occaaioned through the nerres of the :- 
public, from one corner of the Union to the other, waa by no meaiu itw 
when t left the country in July 1331, a couple of years after the ahock. 

I was in Cincinnati when these volumes came out, but it waa not "ij 
Jnlv 1830, that I procured a copy of them. One bookseller to whoa 1 
applied told me that he had had a few copies befoie he understood the nan;:< 
of the work, hut that, after becoming acquainted with it, nothing should i-- 
duee him to sell another. Other pereoos of his profeanon muat, howem. 
have been lees acmpulous ; for the book was read in ci^, town, rilkge. itJ 
hamlet, steamboat, and stagpe-coach, end a sort of war-whoop was sent fbri 
perfectly unprecedented in my recollection upon any occaaon whaterer. 

An ardent denre for approbation, and a delicate aendtiTeneee under vo 
'sore have always, I helieTe, been considered as amiable traits of characia 
but the condition into which the appearance of Captain Hall's work th.-*« 
the lepuMic shows plainly that these feelings, if carried to exceae, prodoc^ • 
ireaknese which amounts to imbecility. 

It was perfectly astonishing to hear men who, on other subjeete, w«« J 
some judgment, utter their opinions upon this. I nerer heaid of wiy iostsK 
in which the common-Mnse generally found in national c riti dam wv -i 
overthrown by passion. I do not speak of the want of jostice, and of faa 
and liberal interpretation: these, perhaps, were baldly to be expert^ 
Other nations have been called thin-ekinned, but the cttiiens of the Ubv* 



APPByOIX C. MB 

lave, apparently, no tkina at all ; they wince if a bieeie blowa over them, 
mleai it be tempered with adulation. It was not, therefore, very surprisiiig: 
hat the acute and forcible obserrations of a traTeller they knew would be 
istened to should be recdyed testily. The extraoTdinary features of the 
>uau]e8s were, first, the excees of the raga into which thej laahed them- 
lelTee ; and, secondlj, the puerility of the inveDtioiu by which they at- 
emptad to account for the wverify with which they fiincied thej had been 

Not content with declaring that the Tolumee contained no word of truth, 
'rom beginning to end (whidi ie an assertion I heard made very nearly as 
>fteii as they were mentioned), the whole country set to work to discover the 
nausea why Captain Hall had visited the United 8tat«s, and why he had 
publi^ed his book. 

I have heard it said with as much preciuon and gravitj as if the state- 
naent had been conveyed by an official report, that Captain Hall bad been 
wnt out by the BritJah Oovemmeut expressly for the purpose of checking 
tbe growing admiration of England for the Qovemment of the United 
Stat«8, — that' it waa by a ccmmisoon from the treasury he had come, and 
that it was only in obedience to orders that he had found anything to 
object to. 

I do not give this aa the goaup of a coterie ; I am persuaded that it is 
tbe belief of a very connderable portion of the country. So deep is the con- 
viction of this angular people that they cannot be seen without being 
admiied, that they will not admit the poeubility that any one should 
honestly and oncerely find aught to disapprove in them or their country. 

The American Beviews are, many of them, I believe, well known in 
England ; I need not, therefore, quote them here, but I somelimee wondered 
that they, none of them, erer thought of translating Obadiah's curse into 
classic American ; if they had done so, on plsrcing (he, Basil Hall) between 
bracfcete, instead of (he, Obadiah) it would have saved them a world of 
trouble. 

I cah hardly describe the «uriouty with which I aat down at lengtli to 
pemae thece tremendoua volumes; still less can I do justice to my surprise 
at tbeir contents. To say that I found not one exaggerated statement 
tbroughout the work is by no means saying enough. It is impoedble for 
any one who knowa the country not to see that Captun Hidl earnestly 
sought out things to admire and commend. "When ho praises, it is with 
evident pleasure ; and when he finds fault, it is with evident reluctance and 
restrain^ excepting where motives purely patriotic urge him to stale roundly 
what it is for the benefit of his country should he known. 

In fact. Captain Hall saw the country to the greatest poanhle advantage. 
Fumiahed, of course, with letters of introduction to die moat distinguished 
individuals, and with the still more influential lecommendation of his own 



6S0 LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. 

reputation, he was received in fiiU dnwin^room style and st«te £mm lOr 
end of the Union to the other. He saw the country in foil dreaa, kbA hU 
little or no opportunity of judging of it unhouselled, unuiointed, ums- 
ne«led, with all its imperfectiona on its head, as I sad my &iiuly too ofbe 
h«d. 

Captain Hall had certainly' excellent opportnnitiee of mninrtg himeelf 
acquainted with the form of the govenunent moA the laws ; and of recci*ii>f , 
moreover, the best oral commentary upon them, in conTersation with tae 
moat distinguished citizens. Of these opportunities he nude ezeellent d«; 
nothing important met his eye which did not receive that sort of anolytinl 
attention which on experienced and pbiloeopMcol traveller alone csn %tn. 
This has made hie volumes highly interesting and valuable; bat I undeqilj 
peisuaded, that were a man of equal penetration to visit the United SMu 
with no other means of baccnning acquainted with the natioutl chanctei 
than the ordinary working-day intercourse of life, he would oonoOTe on in- 
finitely lower idea of the moral atmosphere of the country than C*ptK£ 
Hall appears to have done ; and the internal conviction on my mind e 
strong, that if Captain Hsil had not placed a firm restraint on himseU^ he 
must have given expression to fitr deeper indignation than any he has ntt^id 
against many points in the Amerieau character, with which he abows fioc 
other circumstanceB that he was well aoqaainted. His rule appaus to hin 
been to state just so much'of the truth as woidd leave on tbe mind trfbis n*drr 
a correct impression, st the least cost of pain to the eensitive folks he v» 
writing about . He states his own oinnions and feelings, and leaves it to b 
inferred that be has good grounds for adopting them ; but he ^aree ttr 
Americans tbe bitterness which a detail of the circumstances wmikl ban 
produced. 

If any one chooses to say that some wicked antipathy to twelve millioK 
of strangers is tbe origin of my opinico, I must bear it ; and were tbe quo- 
tion one of mere idle speculation, I certainly would not court the abm« I 
must meet for stating it. But it is not so. 

Tbe candour wliich he exprsssse, and evidently feek, tbey austoke tx 
irony, or totally distrust ; bis unwillingness to give pain to pereons fnc 
whom he has received kindness, they scornfully r^ect as afiecutkm, acd 
although they must know right well, in thnr own secret hearts, bow iafiniM^ 
more tbey lay at liis mercy than he baa chosen to betray ; thej pietaid. 
even to themselves, tbst he has exaggerated tbe bad points of tlwir cfai- 
meter and institutions ; whereas, the tintb is, that be bos let theaa off wid 
a degree of tenderness which may be quite suitable for bim to ezradft- ' 
however little merited ; while, at the same time, be bos meet iaducj* I 
ously magnified their merits, whenever be oould poseiblT fiitd ■oytbiu: i 
favourable. i,j' .. A.OO'jIe 



APPENDIX D. 

THE XmDTINQ HEAD, 

Zir a nmote port of the North lired a mBn and his siater, who had oerer 
seen a human heing. Seldom, if erer, bad the maji anj cause to g^ from 
home ; for, as his wanta demanded food, he had asAj to go a little distance 
tcoat tlie lodge, and there, in some particnlar spot, place his atroirB, with 
their barbe in the ground. Telling his sster where thej had been placed, 
every moTning she would go in seatch, and navai ful of finHin g each stuck 
through the heart of a deer. She had tlien onlj to drag them into the lodge 
and prepare their food. Thus she lived till she attained womanhood, when 
one daj her brother, whose name was lamo, said Xa her : ' Sister, the time 
is at hand when ;ou will he ilL Listen to my advice. If yon do not, it 
will probably he the cause of ray death. Take the implements with which 
we tdndle our fires. Oo some distance from our lodge and build a eepatate 
fire. When you are in want of food, J will tell you where to find it. Tou 
must cook for yourself, and I will for myself. When you ore ill, do not 
attempt to come near the lodge, or Iffing any of the utensils you use. Be 
sure always to bsten to your belt the implements you need, for yoa do not 
know when the time will come. As for myself, I must do the beat I can.' 
His nster promised to obey him in all he had tt^d. 

Shortly aft«r, het bro^ier had cause to go from home. She was alone in 
her lodge, combing her hair. She had just untied the belt to which the im- 
plements were fastened, when suddenly the event, to which her brother had 
alluded, occttned. She ran out of the lodge, but in hsr haste forgot the belt. 
Aiiaid to return, she stood for some time thinking. Finally, she decided to 
enter thelodgeand get it. For,thoughtshe,mybrotherisnotat home, and! 
will stay but a moment to catch hold of it. She went back. Running in 
suddenly, she caught hold of it, and was coming out when her brother came 
in sight. He knew what was the matter, ' Oh,' he said, ' did I'not tell yon 
to take care F But now you have killed me.' She was going on her way, 
but her brother said to her, ■ What can you do there now P The accident 
has happened. Go in, and stay where jon have always stayed. And what 
will become of you F Yoa have killed me.' 

,„■.. A.OO;jle 



6S!I LIFE ON THB MISSISSIPPI. 

"Bjs then kid uide his hunting-drees And wxioutremente, and soon afUt 
both his feet begw to turn Uack, ao Hut he could not move. Still W 
directed hii sister where to place the arrows, that she mi^t alwAjs hav: 
food. The inflammation continued to increase, and bad now reached his fin: 
rib ; and be said : ' Sister, my end is near. Yon must do as I tell you. Ycc 
•ee tny medicine-sack, uid mj wa>-club tied to it. It contains all nay iiie£- 
ciuaa, and my war-plomes, and my points of all colours. As aoaa as the i&- 
flammation reaches my breast, jou will take my war-club. It baa a ahaif 
point, and you will cut off my head. When it is free from my body, t»ke it. 
place ita neck in the sack, which you must open at one end. Then faaag r. 
up in its former place. Do not forget my bow and arrows. One of the lut 
you will take to procure food. The remainder, tie in mjsack, andtlMnhnF 
it upf so that I con look towards the door. Now and then I will speak ti 
you, but not often.' His sister again promised to obey. 

In a little time his breast was afiected. ' Now,' said he, 'take the did 
and strike off my head.' She was a&aid, but he t<Jd her to mustar connp. 
' Strike,' said he, and a smile was on his &ce. Mustering all her coma^ 
she gave the blow and cut off the head. 'Now,* said the bead, ' placs bi 
whsrs I told you.' And fearfully she obeyed it in all its commuida. Bc 
tuning \t» animation, it looked around the lodge as usual, and it irould cob- ; 
■nand ita mAet to go in such plaeee as it thought would procme for het t^ 
flesh ofdi^ient animals she needed. One day the head said: 'Thstimi' 
not distant when I shall be freed from thia ntuation, and I ahaU have t:> 
undergo many stne evils. So the superior maidto decrees, and I mnet .bcK 
■11 patient^,' In this situation we must leave the head, 

' In a oeitwn part of the country was a rillage inhabited 1^ a muDooc- 
and vsrlike band of Indians. In this village was k family of ten young me: 
—■brothers. It was in the spring of the year that the youngest <tf thtn 
Uadened his fiice and fasted. His dreams were projutious. Having eade^ 
bis fist, he went seeretly for his brothers at nigbt, so that none in the viDaft 
could overiiear or find out the'^iradion they intended to go. Thoogfa tb^ 
drum was heard, yet that was a common ocouirenoe. Having ended ibt 
usual formalities, be told how favourable bis dreams were, and that he bi^. 
called them together to know if they would accompany him in a vrar axcnr' 
sion. They all answered tbey would. The third brother from tbo eUtr. 
noted for his oddities, coming up with his war-dub when hia lnth« ksi 
ceased speaking, jumped up. ' Yes,' said he, ■ I mU go, and this will he tfc 
way I vnll treat those I am going to fight;' and be struck the poet in tin 
centte of the lodge, and gave a yell. The others spoke to lum, aayinf : 
' Slow, slow, Mudjikewis, when you are in other people's lodges.' So be M> 
down. Then, in turn, they took the drum, and sang their songs, and c1om£ 
with a feast The youngest told them not to whisper their intartioD ta thf 



APPENDIX D. 668 

wivee, bat Bwratlj to prepare for their journey. Tbey all promiaed obedi- 
«iKe, tnd Mu^il»wu -mx the fimt to say bo. 

The time for their departure drew near. Word was given to Mocmble 
on a certain nigbt, when tliey wouU depart immediately. Hudjikewia was 
loud in his demands for his moccamns. Several timee his wife asked him 
the reason. - ' Bemdee,' eaid she, ' you have a good pur on.' ' Quick, quick,' 
said be, ' since you must Imow, we aregoiogonawarexcuraon; sobequick.' 
He thus lerealed the secrete That night tbey met and started. The snow 
was on the ground, and tbey travelled all night, lest others should follow 
"them. When it was daylight, the leader took mow and made a ball of it, 
then tosAing it into the ur, he said ; ' It was in this way I saw snow &11 in 
a dream, to that 1 could not be tracked.' And he told them to keep dose to 
each other for fear of losing themselves, as the snow began to fall in very 
large flakes. Near as they walhed, it was with difficulty they could eee each 
other. The enow continued falling all that day and the following night, so 
it was impoesible to track them. 

They had now walked for several days, and Hudjikewis was always in 
the rear. One day, running suddenly forward, he gave the aaio-taw-quan,^ 
and Htrack a tree with his war^nb, and it broke into (neces as if struck irith 
lightning. 'Brothers,' said he, 'this will be the way I will serve thoee we 
axe going to fight.' The leader answered, ' Slow, alow, Mudjikewis, the one 
I lead yoo t« is not to be thought of so lightly.' Again he fell back and 
thought to himself : ' What I what I who can this be he is leading us to ? ' 
He felt fear&l and was mlent. Day after day they travelled on, till they 
came to an eztensve plain, on the borders of which human bones were 
bleaching in the sun. The leader spoke : ' Tbey are the bones of those who 
have gone before ns. None has ever yet returned to tell the sad tale of thwr 
fats,' Again Hudjikewis became reslilesB, and, Tunning forward, gave the 
accustomed yeH Advancing to a lai^ rack which stood above the gronnd, 
he Btmck it, and it fell to pieces. ' See, brothers,' said be, ' tbtu will I 
treat thoM whom we are going to fight.'' 'Still, stiU,' once more said 
the lead^; ' he to whom I am leading you is not to be compared to the 
rock.' 

AIudJLfcewis feQ back thongbtftil, saying to himself : ' I wonder who this 
can be that he is going to attack ; ' and be was afrud. Still they continued 
to see the remains of former warriors, who bad been to the place where they 
were now going, some of whom had retreated as far back bs the place where 
they first saw the bones, beyond which no one had ever escaped. ~At last 
tbey came to a piece of rising ground, from which they plainly distinguished. 
Bleeping on a distant mountain, a mammoth bear. 

' War-whoop. 



66* ZIFE OK THE MISSISSIPPI. I 

The diaUnce between them wu very great, but the siie of Ibe •niml . 
caused him to be pkinly seen. 'There,' said the leader, 'itie he to whoa I | 
■m leading you ; here our troubles will commenoe, for he is a misbemcikvt i 
and a manito. It is he who has that we prize m> dsari; (i,e. wuDpum), i- 
obtain which, the wamore^hoee bones we aaw, saciificad their livos, Tca : 
must not be fearfiil: be msolji We shall find him asleep.' Then tk ' 
leader went forward and touched the belt around the ammal's neck. 'Tin*.' 
Bud he, ' is what we must get. It conttuns the wampum.' Then they re- 
quested the eldest to try and slip the belt over the bear's head, who Appearea 
to be fast asleep, as he was not in the least disturbed by the attempt to oU 
tain the belt. All their efforts were in vain, till it came to the one iMxt thf 
youngest. He tried, and the belt mored nearly orer the monster's bead. 
but he could get it no farther. Then the youngest one, and the lesikr. 
made his attempt, and succeeded. Placing it on the back of the oldest, he 
said, 'Now we must run,' and off they started. When one becamo^&tigud 
with its weight, another would relieve him. Thus they ran tiH they had 
passed the bonee of all former warriors, and were some distance bejtmd. 
when looking b»ck, they saw the monster slowly riang. He stood aaa 
time before be missed bis wampum. Soon they beard his tremendoiw bowl, 
like distant thunder, slowly filling all the sl^ ; and then th«7 baud hiv 
speak and say, ' Who can it be that has daied to steal my wampom f emrf. 
is not so laqie but that I can find them ; ' and he descended finm the lull it 
pursuit. Ab if couTulsed, the earth shook with ereiy jump he made. Vaj 
soon he approached the party. They, however, kept the belt, exchanging i-. 
from one to another, and encouraging each other; but he gained on tlwa 
fast. ' Brothers,' said the leader, ' has never any one of you, when &stiit^. 
dreamed of some Mendly spirit who would aid you as a guardian P ' A Atai 
silence followed. ' Well,' said he, ' fasting, I dreamed of b^ng in dai^r oT 
instant death, when I saw a small lodge, with smoke curling from He top. 
An old man lived in it, and I dreamed he helped me; and may itbeverifiad 
soon,' he said, running forward and giving the peculiar yell, aixl & howl as if 
the soundscame from the depths of his stomach, and what is called akeo** 
dum. Clotting upon a piece of lising ground, behold I a lodge, with matAr 
curling &om ile top, appeared. This gave them all new strength, and tl^r 
nn forward and entered It. The leader spoke to the old man whoaktinthf 
lodge, saying, ' Nemesho, help us ; we claim your protection, for the giva: 
bear will kill us.' ' Sit down and eat, my gruidchildren,'said the old mac 
■- Who is a great ,manito P ' said he. ' There is none but me ; but let dk 
look,' and he opened the door of the lodge, when, lo I at a little distaacs Ic 
saw the enraged animal coming on, withslow but powerful leapk Heelowa 
the door. ' Yee,' said he, ' he is indeed a great m^to : my gran^diildna- 
Too will be the cause of mv toeing my life ; you asked my protectioB, aad I 
,„ , A.ocwie 



APPENDIX D. 5W 

gTcmtod it ; 80 now, come what nifty, I nill protect yon. When the beftr 
arriTes at the door, jou must run out of the other door of the lodge.' Then 
putting his hand to tlie Bide of the lodge where be sat, he brought out a big 
Tvhich he opened. Taking out two small black dogs, he placed them before 
bim. 'These are the ones I use when I fight,' said he ; and he commenced 
patting with both hands the aides of one of them, and he began to swell out, 
so that he soon filled the lodge by hislmlk; and he had great strong teeth .. 
Ift'hen he attained his full uze he growled, and from that moment, as &om 
instinct, he jumped out at the door and met the bear, who in another leap 
would>liaTe reached the lodge. A terrible combat ensued. The skies rang 
iritb the howts of the fierce monsters. The remuning dog soon took the 
field. The brotbere, at the onset, took the advice of the old man, and 
escaped through the opposite side of the lodge. They had not proceeded far 
before they heard the dying cry of one of tlie dogs, and soon after of the 
other. ' Well,' sud the leader, ' the old man will share their fate ; so run ; 
lie wiU soon he after us.' Tliey started with fresh vigour, for they had re- 
ceived food from the old man ; but veiy soon the bear came in sight, and 
again was fast gaining upon them. Again the leader asked the brothers if 
they could do nothing for their safety. All were silent. The leader, 
running forward, did as before. ' I dreamed,' he cried, ' thst, being in 
great trooble, an old man helped me who wss a manito } we shall soon see 
bis lodge.' Takinji courage, they still went on. After going a short distance 
they saw the Io«lge of the old manito. They entered immediately and 
claimed his protection, telling him a manito was after them. The old man, . 
setting meat before them, aaid; 'Eat I who is a manito P there is no manito 
but me; there is none whom I fear }' and the earth trembled as the monster 
ad(-»nced. The old man opraied the door and saw him coming. He shot it 
slowly, and said: ' Yes, my grandchildren, you have brought trouble upon 
me.' ProcoriDg hie medidne^ack, he took out his small wa^cluhe of black 
stone, and told the young men to run through the other aide of the lodge. 
As he handled the dubs, they became veiy large, and the old man stepped 
out just as the bear reached the door. Then striking him with one of the 
clubs, it broke in pieces : the bear stumbled. Kenewii^ the sttempt with 
the other war-club, that also was broken, but the bear fell senseless. Each 
blow the old man gave him sounded like a clap of thunder, and the howls of 
the bear ran along till th^ filled the heavens. 

The young men bad now run some distance, when they looked back. 
They could see tliat the bear was recovering from the blows. Eirst he 
moved his paws, and soon they saw him rise on his foet. The old maa 
shared the fste of the first, for tbey now heaid bis cries as he was torn in 
pieces. Again the, monster was in pursuit, and fiist overtaking them. Not 
yet discouraged, the yoimg men kept on their way ; but the bear was now 
,„ , A.ocwie 



666 LJFS ON THE MIS8ISSIPPI. 

so close, tlut the leader once more applied to bu brothers, but they eooU. ia 
nothing. 'WoU,' Midhe, 'mj dreuns will soon be eihansted; after thi^l 
have but one more.' He adranced, invokii^ his goardiui spirit to aid hjr 
' Once,' laid be, ' I dreamed that, b»Dg soralj ptuaed, I came to a laict 
lake, OQ ^e shore of which waa a canoe, partly out of water, baviiw t«i 
paddkaaQ in leadineeB. Do not fear,' be cried, ' we iihallsoon get it' And 
so it was, even aa he hadsaid. Ooming to the lake,thej saw the canoe witii 
ten paddles, and immediatel; tihey embarked. Scarcely bad tbery leachcd 
the centre of the lake, when they saw the bear airive at its borders. Uftinp 
himself on his hind lega, he looked all aroiuuL Then he waded into th« 
water ; then losing bis footing he turned back, and commenced ""inig the 
circuit of the lake. Meantime the party remained stationary in tba oentK 
to watch bis moTements, He travelled all aroond, till at last he caua ti 
the place from whence he started. Then he commenced drinldng ap the 
water, and they »w the onrrent tatst setting in towards his open numtti. 
The leader encouraged tbem to paddle hard for the opporite ehore. "Whec 
only a short distaoce from land, the current had increased so mn^, tin: 
they were drawn back by it, and all their efibits to reach it were in \ain. 

Then the leader agMD spoke, telling tbem to meet their ^ee maaftaUr. 
'How ia the time, Muc^ikewis,' said he, 'to show your proweas. Take 
courage and ait at the bow of the canoe; and when it approaches hie nunith, 
try what efiect your club will have on his head.' He obeyed, and rtood 
ready to give the blow ; while the leader, who steered, directed tba cami 
£)r the open month of the monstei. 

Rapidly advancing, they were just abont to enter his mouth, when Mod- 
iikewia struck him a tremendous blow on the bead, and gave the auw «<»• 
fuon. The bear's limbs doubled nnder him, and he fell, stunned by tht 
blow. Bat before Mudjikewis could renew it, the monster diverged all the 
wat» be had drank, with a force which sent the canoe with great velodR 
to the oppoute shore. Instantly leaving the canoe, again they fled, and oi 
they went till they were completely exhanated. The earth again dtook. 
and soon they saw the monster hard after them. Their spirits drooped, and 
they felt discouraged. The leader exerted himself, by actions and words, to 
cheer them up; and once more he asked them if they thought of notldi^, or 
could do nothing for their rescue ; and, aa before, all were silent. ' Hoii' 
he said, 'this is the last time I can apply to my guardian spirit. Now, if 
we do not succeed, our btes are ^dedded.' He ran forwaid, invtddng bi^ 
spirit with great eameetness, and gave the yelL ' We shaS socai anivf .' 
oud be to his brotbras,' at the place where my last guardian sjorit dwells. In 
liiiw I place gnat confidence. Do not, do not be afraid, or your limb* v2! 
be fea^^und. We shall soon reach his lodge. Run, run,' he cried. 

Ratuming now to Ianio,befaad passed all the tame in the same eonfitka 
,„ . A.fKWie 



APPXNDIX D, B6T 

n-e ^aA left him, the held diTecting hia Biater, in order to procure food, 
wbera to place the magic utowb, and BpeakiDg at long intervals. One da^ 
the eister saw the eyes of the head brighten, as if with pleasnre. At last it 
ipoke. ' Ob, sUter,' it said, ' in what a pitifol situation you ha^-e heen the 
^uae of placing me I Soon, very soon, a party of joung men will arrive 
and apply to me for ud ; but alas t How can I give what I would have 
done with so much pleaame F Nevertheleaa, take two arrows, and place 
them- where jou have been in the halut of placing the others, and have 
meat joepared and cooked before they arrive. When you hear them 
coming and calling on ray name, go out and aay, " Alas 1 it is long ago that 
an accident befell bim. I was the cause of it." If they still ceme near, 
aek them in, and set meat before tbsm. And now yon must follow my 
directions strictly. 'When the bear is near, go out and meet him. You 
^vtU take my meditune-Mck, bows and arrows, and my bead. Ton must 
then untie the sack, and spread out before you my punts of all colours, my 
war-eagle feathers, my ti^ of dried hair, and whatever else it contains. 
As the bear approaches, you will take aU these articles, one 'hj one, and say 
to him, " This is my deceased brother's pMnt," and so on with all tbe other 
articles, throwing each of them as far as you can. The virtuw contained in 
them will cause him to totter ; and, to complete his destruction, you will 
take my head, and that too you will cast as far off as you can, crying aloud, 
" See, this is my deceased brother's head." He will then fall senseless. 
By this time the young men viU have eaten, and you will call them to your 
asuatance. You must then cut the carcass into pieces, yes, into small 
pieces, and scatter them to the four winds ; for, unless you do this, he will 
Again revive.' She pronused that aU should he done as he said. She had 
only time to prepare the meat, when the voice of the leader was heard 
calling upon lamo for aid. The woman went out and said as her brother 
had directed. But the war party being closely puisnsd, came up to the 
lodge. She invited them in, and placed the meat before them. While they 
were eating, they heard the bear approaching. Untying the medicine-sack 
and taking the head, she had all in readiness for his approach. When he 
came np she did as she had been told ; and, before she bad expended the 
paints and feathers, the bear iMgan to totter, but, still advancing, came close 
to tbe vroman. Saying as she was commanded, she then took the head, and 
cast it as fiu &om her as she could. As it rolled along the ground, tbe 
blood, ezdted fay the feelii^ of the head in this terriUe scene, gushed from 
the nose and mouth. The bear, tottering, soon fell with a tremendous 
noise. Then she cried for help, and the young men came rushing out, 
having partially reguned their strength and spirits. 

Mudjikevris, stepping up, gave a yell and struck him a blow upon the 
bead. This he repeated, till it seemed like a mass of hruiu, while tbe 



5B8 LIFE OJf THE MISSISSIPPI. 

others, u quick u possible, cat him into ywy anuJl pieces, which tbaj- tha 
Bcatt«ied in everj directioii. While thos eraplojed, happening to \oA 
argund where they had thrown the meat, woDderful to behold, tbey Mir 
Htartiiig up and rumuDtr off io every diiectioii aoull black bean, watk 
as are seen at the present day. The country was soon oTeigpread whb 
these black animals. And it was from this momtar that the presont nt' 
of bean derived their origin. 

Having thus overcome their pursuer, they returned to tbe lodge* la 
the meantime, the woman, ^thering the implements she had used, aad tb? 
head, placed them agun in the sack. But the head did not speak agiin, 
probably from its great exertion to overcome the monster. 

Having spent so much time aad mveraod so vast a country in tb^ 
flight, the young men gave up the idea of ever returning to tliar o<n 
country, and game bong plenty, they determined to remain whB« tfaet 
now were. One day they moved off some distance faata the lodge Sat tb« 
purpose of hunting, having left the wampum with the woman. Hie; verr 
very sucoeesful, and amused themselves, as all young men do when alone, 
l^ taUdng and jesting with each other. One of them spoke and nid, ' W' 
have all this sport to ourselves ; let us go and ask our sister if ah« will \ir. 
let us bring the head to this place, as it ia still alive. It may be |dea«ed v 
hear us talk, and be in our company. In the meantime take food to ocr 
sister.' They went and requested the head. She told them to take it, and 
they took it to their hunting-grounds, and tried to amuse it, but (wly ii 
Idraas did they see its eyes beam with pleasure. One day, while bosy i:. 
their encampment, they were unexpectedly attacked by unknown Indiac^ 
The skirmish was long contested and bloody ; many of their fbae werr 
slain, but still they were thirty to one. The young men fought deqaentelv 
-till they were all MUed. Tbe attacking party then retreated to a h^bt of 
ground, to muster their men, and to count the number of misaiitg and 
slain. One of their young men had stayed away, and, in endeavouring M 
overtake them, came to the place where the head was hung up. Se^q; 
that alone tetun animation, he eyed it for some time with fcftr and snr- 
priae. However, he took it down and opened the sadt, and was much 
pleased to see the beautilHil feathers, one of which he placed on tua hewi. 

StATting off, it waved graoefnllj over him till be reached lus party, 
when he threw down the bead and sack, and told them how be had found 
it, and tliat tbe sack was full of paints and feathers. They aU looked it 
the bead and made sport of it. Numbers of the young men took tlw paisi 
and ptinted tliemselv«a, and one of tbe party took tbe bead by the hur and 
«ud— 

' Look, you ugly thing, and see your paints on the faces of wwrion.' 

Bat the ieathra* were so beautiful, that nnmbais of them tim plaeei 
,„ . A.ocwie 



APPENDIX D. SS9 

them on thrir heads. Then again tbej used all kinds of indignity to the 
bead, for which they were in turn repud by the death of those who had 
oaed the feathera. Then the chief commanded them to throw sway all 
axcept the head. ' We will see,' said he, ' when we get home, what we can 
Jo with it. We will try to make it shut its eyes.' 

When they reached their homes they took it to the council-lodge, and 
hung it up before the fire, fastening it with raw hide soaked, which would 
ihriok and become tightened by the action of the fire, ' We will then lee,' 
they Bud, ' if we canitot malce it shut its eyes.' 

Meantime, for several days, the sister had been waidng for the young 
men to bring back the head ; till, at last, getting impatient, she went in 
search of it. The young men she fomid lying within short distancea of 
each other, dead, and covered with wounds. Various other bodies lay 
scattered in different directions aronnd them. She searched for the head 
and sack, but they were nowhere to be found. She rused her voice and 
wept, and blackened her fkce. Then she walked in difierent directions, tiU 
she came to the place &om (whence the head had bean taken. Then riie 
found the magic bow and arrows, when the young raen, ignorant of their 
qualitii«, had left them. She thought to herself that she would find her 
brother's head, and came to a piece of rising ground, and there saw some of 
hia paints and feathers. These she carefully put up, and hung upon the 
branch of a tree till her return. 

At dusk she arrived at the first lodge of a very extensive village. Here 
she used a charm, common among Indians when they wish to meet with a 
kind reception. On applying to the old man and woman of the lodge, she 
waa kindly received. She made known her errand. The old man pro- 
mised to aid her, and told her the head was hung up before the councit-flre, 
and that the chiefs of the village, with their young men, kept watch over it 
continually. The former are considered as manitoes. She said she only 
wished to see it, aod would be satisfied if she could only get to the door of 
the lodge. She knew she had not sufficient power to take it by force. 
' Come with me,' said the Indian, ' I will take you there.' They went, and 
they took their seats near the door. The coundl-lodge was filled with 
warriors, amurang themselves with gamee, and constantly keeping up a fire 
to smoke the head, as they said, to make dry meat. They saw the hMd 
mo-ve, aod not knowing what to make of it, one spoke and said : ' Ha I ha t 
It is beginning to feel the efiects of the smoke.' The aster looked up tttsm 
the door, and her eyea met those of her brother, and team rolled down the 
chaeks of the head. ' Well,' said the chief, ' I thought we would make you 
do something at last Look t look at it—shedding tears,' s^d he to thoae 
sfoimd him ; and they all laughed and paiaed thmr jokes upon it. The 
chie^ hwking around, and observing the woman, after some time sdd to the 
-■■■ A.oo^^ 



S60 LIFE ON THE XI33ISSIPP1. 

mtn vrho Cftme with her : ' WLo b»Te jou got there P I hare never sa« 
thftt woman before in our TiUage.' ' Tes,' replied the mao, ' yon hxve ttet 
her ; she is a nUtion of mine, and seldom goes out. She Btajs tit oe 
lodgtt, and asked ma to allow her to come irith me to this place.' In tk 
centre of the lodge sat one of those fonng men who are alwsjs fomid. 
and fond of boaiting and displaying themselves before othets. ' 'Wbj,' sid 
he, ' I hare seen her often, and it ia to this lodge I go almost ereiT niglt :o 
court hei.' All the othen laughed and contiimed tbeir games, Tha joou 
man did not know he was tellii^ a lie to the woman's adTsntsge, iriio in 
that means escaped. 

She returned to the man's lodge, and inunediatelj set oat for her own 
country. Coming to the spot where the bodies of h^ adopted hrothere laj. 
she placed them together, their feet toward the east. Then totdng an tsf 
which she had, she cast it up into the ait, ciTiiig out, ■ Brathen, get up 
from under it, or it will &11 on you.' This she repeated threa timea, and i 
the tluid time the brothers all arose and stood on their feet. 

Mudjikewis commenced nibbing his eyes and stretching himnlf. ' Why.' 
eud he, ' I have overslept myself.' < No, indeed,' said one of the otben, ' do . 
you not know we were all kilted, and that it b our sister who has Intntgh: 
us to life P ' The young men took the bodies of their enemies and banted ! 
them. Soon after, the woman went to procure wirea for them, in a diitau 
country, they knew not where ; but she returned with ten young wmnei. 
which she gave to the ten yonag men, banning with the eldeet. Ifixlji- 
kewis stepped to and fro, uneasy lest he should not get tha one h« likad. 
But he was not disappointed, for she fell to his lot. And they wien mC 
matched, for she was a female magiciaD. They then all moTed into a Te«j 
large lodge, and their sister told them that the women most now tafca toiK 
in going to her brother's head every night, trying to untie it. They all said 
they would do so with pleasure. The eldest made the first attempt, and 
wiUi a rushing noise she fled through tha air. 

Toward daylight she letnnied. She had been unsncoessfiil, as ahe ex- 
ceeded in untying only one of the knots. All took their turns R^ularh't 
and each one succeeded in untying only one knot each time. Bat wi^en the 
yonngeat went, she commenced the work as soon as she reached tha Iod|te : 
although it had always been oocuped, still the Indians never coold aea any 
one. For ten nights now, the smoke had not ascended, hut filled tJi» lo^ 
and drore them out. This last night they were all dtivui out, "^ thr 
young woman carried off the head. 

The young people and the sister heard the young woman coming' higt 

through the air, and they heard her saying : ' Prepare the body of ocr 

brother.' And as soon as they heaid it, they went to a small lodg» wfa«c 

the block body of lamo lay. His nster ocmuneiMMd cntting tba netk 

,„■.. A.oo;jle : 



APPENDIX D. Ml 

-t, &om whicli the neck had been leTerad. She cut bo deep as to 
i«e it to Used ; ud the othen who were present, b; rahlmtg the body 
1 applyiiig medidnee, expelled the hlsckneea. In the meantime, die 
I -who hrooght it, by cutting the neck of the head, caused that also 
bleed. 

As soon as she aniTed, tliey placed that dose to the body, and, by aid 
medidnee and Tarious other means, succeeded in restoring lamo to all tiis 
mer beauty and manliness. All rejoiced in the happy terminstion of 
lir troubles, and they had spent Bome time joyfully together, when laDW 
1 : ' Now I win divide the wampum ; ' and getting the belt which con- 
ned it, he comnienc«d with the eldest, giving it in equal porUons. But 
I youngest got the most splendid sod beautiful, as the bottom of the belt 
d the riche^ and rarest. 

They were told that, since they hod all once died, and were restored to 
:, tbey were no longer mortal, but spirits, and they were ossignad 
feient stataons in the invisible world. Only Mndjikewis's place woe, 
iveveor, named. He was to direct the west wind, hence generally called 
beyun, there to remain for ever. They were commanded, as they had it 
their po«e{, to do good to the inhabitants of the earth, and, forgetting 
lir sufieringAi procuring the wampum, to ^ve aU things with a liberal 
id. And liey were also commanded that it should also be held by tbem 
T«ct; those grains or shells of the pale hue to be emblematic of peace, 
lile those of the darker hue would lead to evil and war, 

Tbe spirits then, amid songs and shouts, took thdr flight to th«r re- 
ctive abodee on high ; while lamo, with his sister lamoqua, descended 
o the depths below. 



i^WHniTO* / O), Prlrurri, K. 



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Beady -Money Momboy. 

My IiltUe GirL 

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Till* Son of Tuloan. 

With Harp and Crown. 

The 0«tden Butterfly. 

By OeUa'i Aitxmx. 

The Honks of Ttaelam&. 

Twas In Tnftlgar'a B v 

The Seamy Side. 

The Ten Yean' Tenant. 

The Chaplain of the Fleet 

BY ROBERT BUCHAKAK, 

A Child of Nature. 
Ood and the Han. 

Sr MRS. H. LOVBTT CAMSRO». 

IJeoelTera Ever. 
JoUet* Guardian. 

BY WILKIB COLLINS. 
Antonlna. | BaaU. 

Hide and Seek. 
The Dead Beoret. 
Queen ol Hearta. 
fi[y Usaelianiea. 
The Woman In Whita. 
The Uoonstone. 
BCanandTmfe. 
Poor Mlaa FlnolL 
ICaaorHraP 
The Kaw Hagdaleo. 
The Frozen Deep, 
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The Haunud BoteL 
The Fallen Leavea. 
Jeaebel'i Daughter. 
The Black. Roto. 

Br V. BETUAM-BDWARDS. 
Felicia. 
BY MRS. ANNIB BDWARDBS. 

Aroble Lorell. 

BY R. B. FRANCILLON. 

Olympla. | Qneen Oophetut, 

BY SDWASD aARBETT. 

The C«pel aitls. 



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Robin Qray. 
For Laok of Oold. 
In Lore and War. 
What will the World Say t 
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In Honoiur Bound. 
Queen of the Uaadow, 
ui Paatures Qreen. 
The Flower of the Forest 
A Heait'a Problem. 

BY THOMAS HARDY. 

Under the Greenwood Tree. 

BY JULIAN HAWTHORNS. 

Oarth. 

miloe Qnentln. 

Sabaatlan Stroma. 

BY MRS ALFRED HUNT, 
Thomioroft'B UodeL 
The Iieaden Casket. 



BY HENRY JAMES, JKL 

Oonfldenoo. 

BY HARRIETT JAY. 
The Queen of Gonnaught 
The Dark Colleen. 

BY HENRY KINGSLEY. 
Number Serenteen, 
OakshoU OaaUe. 

BY B. LYNN LINTON. 

Patrlola EembalL 

Atonement of Leai 

The World Well Lost 
Under which Lord P 
With a SUkan Thread. 
The Bebel of the Fandly. 
" vis l^ove I " 

BY jvsTis McCarthy, if.i». 
The Waterdale Neighbotua. 
Hy Enemy's Daughter. 
Unley RoohCord. 
A Fair Saxon. 
Dear Lady DIadatn. 
Hi*« Ulaanthrope. 
Donna Qulzola. 
The Comet of a Seaaon. 



BOOSS PUBUSHED BY 



PlCCADtlXy NOVSLS— fontfiuMd: 
BY KATHARINE S. UACQVOW, 

Lost Rom. | Tha Btu. Ere. 

BY FLORRNCB MASRYAT. 

Opanl SMUoel 
Written In Firs. 

BY JEAN MIDDLSMASS. 

Touoh and Go. 

BY D. CHRISTIE MURRAY. 

A IiUa'i Atonement. 
JoBepbt Ookt. 

BV URS. OLIPHAST. 

WblteUdiei. 

BY JAMBS PAYS. 

Iiort Sir Mwiilngberd. 
The B«Bt of Hiubanda. 
FaUen Fortunes. | Halvea. 
Wallar'B WoM 
WliBt He Ooet Har. 
Lew Blaokthtm We're Painted. 
" . . I Under One Root 
ilta. I Oarlyon'a Tau. 

«ntlal Agent. 

Wtota lizlla. 

BY CHARLES RBADE. C.CX. 

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Tha Oooiaa of Traa Itore. 
The Astoblogim^r of a ThSat. 
Put Yooraelf In Hla Plaoe. 
A Terrible Temptation. 
The Wanderli^ Hair. 
A Woman-Hater. | Pmillaw 

BV MRS. J. B. RIDDBLt.. 

Har Mothers Darling. 

BY JOHN SAUNDERS. 
Bound to the Wheel. 
Quf Watarman. 
One Agalnat the Worid- 
Tha Lion In the Path. 
The Two Draaman. 

BY BERTHA THOMAS. 
Proud UaMa. ] Creacdd*. 
The ^olln-Plarar. 
BY ANTHONY TROLLOPS. 
The Way we Uto Now. 
Tha Amerloan Senator. 

BY T, A. TROLLOPS, 
Diamond Cut Diamond. 

BY SARAH TYTLER. 
What She Oama Throoi^. 
The Biida'a Pan. 



All Sort* and Oondltloni of 



Tbe Martyrdom of Madeline. 

Br RoaiBT Buck* HAH. 

Lore Me fbr Ever. By eobbrt 

B*<RAitAH. Frost, by F. MtcHAs. 
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ft'wnMM' > <flhttfi MirirttB ht. bt 

HORTIHII COLUHt. 

The Vlllase 0<XDedT. By Mos- 

Ton n«T me TiSm. By Morti- 
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Paul Foater'i Davghter. By 

DvTvoir Cooi. 
BeartaofOold. BrWM.Cm.Bs. 
Doloraa. ByjAirasL. Dkrwkht. 
OmbjOne. R. B. Pukciuon. 



The Braes of Yarrow. 

Prinoe San»ii'a Wifb. By Iduam 

KtwrnDiiHE. ' 

Ivan de BboB. BySiiA.HsLrs. 
Panl Faber, Surgeon. By Gio. 

tiAcOoKUJhLl-D. V/iitmPiaaa^ 
t'VM by J. E. Utluis^R-A. 

Thomas Wlngfold, Curate. By 
Cioiai M*cDoHAUi. LL.D. With 
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Coal* ot Fire. By D Cbbistie 
Mu«Ai. Uiosl.bj AiTHUB Honn^ 

A arapa fiom a Thorn. Bv 

Ja>1» Pmh, lUuu. by W. Siuu: 

For Caah Only. By Jahes Paw. 
Valentina. By E. C. Pbulb. 
The Prfnoe ofWalea'a Oarden- 

Puty, By Un. J. H. Riddiu. 
Tha Mya^riaa of Henm DAe. 

By T^. SmOBT. 
Tran Frohmann. By Amtbout 

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The rellfth. Th« Two Dsstlnlea. 

Bf HAUILTOH AWE, T^^ LaaVM, 

Jeubal'B Daughter, 

BY OUTTON COOK. 

Leo. 

BY KRS. iSNIB SDWARDsy 

A Point of Honanr. 
ArolilB IiOTell. 



Out of darrlyoii. 

BY MRS. ALEXANDER. 
BEalil, WUs, or Widow t 
BY W. BESANT » JAMBS BJCt. 

RMdT-Honey HorUbor 

WUb Harp and Grown. 

This Son ot Tnloan. 

Ht UttU airl. 

Th* OaM of Ht. LnorafL 

Tbe Oolden Butterfly. 

Bt CoUa'a Arbour. 

n« IConlu of Thelam*. 

Twaa In Trafaigar'a Bay- 

Tho Seamy Side. 

TbB Ten Yean' Tenftnt. 

BY SHBL.SLEY BEAVCBAMF. 
Orantley Orange 

BY FREDERICK BOYLB. 
Camp Notes. | SaTSge LU«. 



BY B 



'ARTE. 



An Helrew of Bed Dog. 
The Luok of Boarlns Camp. 
Oftbrlel Ooroy. | H^p. 

BY MBS. EVBNBTT. 
Burly Tim. 

57 MRS. H. LOVBTT CAMtBON. 
BeoeiTere Erer. 
Jnliet'i Qnardlan, 

BY MACLASBN COBBAN, 
The Oure of Soula. 

BY C. ALLSTOS COLLINS. 
Th» Bar Blnlater. 

r WILKIR COLLINS. 



Antonl] 
Sde a 



I 



The Dead Beoret 
The QnMn of Haaila. 
Hj MUoeUonlea. 
Tha Woman in Whit*. 
The Moonstone. 
Hftn and WUe. 
Poor 1£m Finoh. 
Hm or Mra.P 
The New Hai ' 
The Froien I 



BY 



SGGLESrON. 



BY PERCY FITZGERALD. 

P^y. I Ballft T Virtfi* 

Nerar Torgolten. 
The Second Mn, miotaon, 
Sorenty-flva Brooke Street. 

BY ALBANY DB FOSBLANQUM 
mtl^ XiTlor«. 

BY S. B. FRANCILLON, 

Olympla. | Queen Oophetnft, 

BY EDWARD GAK&BTT. 

The Capel Oirlt. 

BY CHARLES GIBBON. 

Ratrin Gray. 

For Laok of Oold. 

What will the World S«rP 

In Honour Bound. 

Tha Dead Heirt. 

In I^ve and War, 

For the King. 

Queen of the Ueadow. 

Hi Pasture! Oraen. 

BV JAMES GREENWOOD. 
Dlok Temple. 

BY ANDREW HALLIDAT, 
Xvery-daj Paper*. 

BY LADY DUFFUS HARDY. 

Paul Wyntera Saoilfloe. 

BY THOMAS HARDY. 

Under the Greenwood "nee, 

BY jaUAN BA WTHORNE. 

Owth. I EUloe Quantlo. 

BY TOM HOOD. 

A Ooldan Heart. 

BY VICTOR HUGO. 

The Hntioliback of Nobe DUM^ 



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BY HENRY KINaSLgT4 

ITnmbw 8aT«nt««n. 
Oakibott OMile. 

57 E. LYNN LINTOH. 

PktrloU EombalL 
Atonament of Leun DnndM, 
TlM World WbII IiOtt 
ITnilw whlob Lord? 
WUb • Sllkan TbTMd. 

BT JUSTIN MtCARTHY, Jf J". 

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A Little Btepton. 
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Mr. Doiimon. 

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A Llfe'a Atonament, 

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WUtalodles. 

_ 87 OUtDA. 

Held In Bondage. 

Blrathmore. I Oh 

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Idalla. 

Caoll OaaUeniBlna'a Oaga. 

Trloouu 

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Hotha. I PlDiatMUa. 

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Owoidollne'i Hamat 

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Like Father, Like Son, 

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IQit Abbey. 

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Walter'! Word. | Bminm. 

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HlghMrita. 

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_ fl7 EDGAR A. POS. 

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R te Narer Too Lata to aCaUL 
HaidOartL — "~. 

Fag WofBngton. 
Ctmatle JoEnatoBa.' 
GrlfflUi OaunL 
Tbe Doable ICanlaga. 
Love He Uttle. Lore ica Tjm 
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Br JOHN SAUSDERS. 

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Qaj— ■ 



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BT ARTHUR SKBTCBLSY. 

A Ifotoh In Uie Dark. 

BY WALTBR THORNBVKT. 

TalM for tbe MorlnM. 

BY T. ADOLPHVS TROLLOPE. 



BY ANTHONY TROLLOP*. 
The Wa; wa IiIt* Now. 
The Amerioan Senate. 

BY MARK TWAIN. 
A Plmsura Trip in Knrt^M, 
Tom Sawyer, 
An Idio Bxoundon. 

BY LADY WOOD. 



BY EDMUND YATBS. 

Oastawar. 
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ANONYMOUS. 
PanlTarrolL 

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TWO-SHILLING NOVELS IN THE PRESS. 

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By M. and F. Collins. 

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MacDdkald, LL.D. 

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ROHIT O'RUI.LT. 

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...Cooi^le 



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