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´╗┐Title: Shawn of Skarrow
Author: Ellis, James Tandy, 1868-1942
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Shawn of Skarrow" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

by The Kentuckiana Digital Library)

  | Transcriber's note:                                            |
  |                                                                |
  | Inconsistent hyphenation and spelling in the original document |
  | have been preserved unless listed at the end of the text.      |
  |                                                                |
  | Obvious typographical errors have been corrected; please see   |
  | the end of the text for details.                               |




  Author of "Sprigs O' Mint," "Kentucky Stories,"
  "Awhile in the Mountains," etc.



  COPYRIGHT, 1911,



  Frontispiece                                         Shawn and Coaly
  "You'll be a great fisherman, some day, Shawn"                    24
  Burney begin to take out the shells                               36
  "De Prodegale Son"                                                52
  "I'll give you ten dollars to set us over"                        62
  "You and the doctor got your birds"                               82
  They were nearing the last hundred yard flag                      90
  "W'y, Jedge, you know my name"                                   106
  The Cabin of the American fell with a crash                      126
  Lallite ran up to Shawn, giving him both her hands               139

[Illustration: Shawn and Coaly.]



"Oh Shawn!"

It was a shrill voice calling from the bank above the river.

"You can holler till dark, but I ain't goin' to answer you while a
blue-channel cat is nibblin' at this line."

Through the short and chubby fingers a stout sea-grass line was running
out to the accumulated driftwood in the eddy below the wharf-boat.
Suddenly there came a spasmodic jerk of the line.

"He bluffed that time."

The front finger tapped the line, as an expert telegraph operator taps
his key.

"He's coming back for that crawfish tail now." The line went taut. The
freckled arms executed a series of lightning-like movements and the
catfish lay on the shore, a five-pounder, beating the sands with his
flashing tail.

"Oh Shawn!"

"I'm a-comin' now; come on, Coaly." The little brown dog wagged his tail
and got up from his resting place in the sand. They went up the hill
toward the little frame building on the bank.

The boy's mother met him at the door. She was a frail-looking woman,
upon whose face was a sorrowful and melancholy expression.

"Shawn, Mrs. Alden has sent for you, and wants you to come up to the big
house; get on your cottonade pants and wash your face and comb your
hair, and when you go up there, don't scratch your shins together, and
don't forget to say _yes mam_."

It was a matter of but a few moments for Shawn to array himself in his
best clothes. As he turned to go, his mother wearily took his face
between her hands and kissed him on the lips. The black eyes beamed
tenderly upon her, and over the sun-tanned features flashed a smile of
cheerfulness and love.

"Take that fish to Mrs. Alden, Shawn."

"It's for you, mammy."

"No, take it to her."

Shawn climbed the hill and went up through the alley, going around to
the side entrance of the Alden home. There was something about the great
house which always filled him with a spirit of awe, and as he glanced
over toward the long garden and orchard, there came into his heart a
yearning such as he had never known before.

A servant opened the door, and Shawn held up his fish: "This is for Mrs.
Alden; she sent for me." The servant took the fish and said, "You will
find Mrs. Alden in the next room. Leave your dog outside." Shawn walked
into the room. A woman with a sweet spiritual face sat in an invalid's

Extending her thin white hand to Shawn, she bestowed upon him a smile of

"I am glad you came, Shawn; take that chair." Shawn was striving hard
to remember his mother's parting injunction in regard to his shins.

"How old are you, Shawn?"

"Yes, mam, fourteen past in March."

"How long have you attended school?" The black eyelashes fell and the
smile vanished. "I went to old 'fesser Barker up to Christmas twice."

"Why did you stop?"

"I put red pepper on his plug tobacker!"

"Did you go to any other school?"

"Yes, mam, I went to Miss Julie Bean six months."

"Did you quit that school?"

"Yes, mam, I put cuckle burrs in her bonnet."

"Weren't you sorry for it?"

"Yes, mam, but too late."

"You spend a good part of your time fishing, don't you?"

"Yes, mam, but I catches them."

"Isn't there anything you would rather do than fish?" A long silence
followed, then the eyes suddenly brightened:

"Yes, mam."

"What is it?"

"I'd rather blow up hog bladders with a quill and bust 'em!"

"Shawn, have you ever thought of what you would like to do in life; what
you would like to make of yourself as you grow to manhood?"

"Yes, mam, I'm goin' to be a doctor!"


"Yes, mam, indeed, I help doctor Hissong roll pills now, and he helps me
in my books more than I learned at school."

"Shawn, I am going to ask you to begin with the term of school which
opens soon. I will furnish you with books and tuition and will help you
in every way."

"Will it help me to be a doctor?"

"It will help you in everything."

"Could I take Coaly with me?"

"I hardly think so."

Shawn gazed out of the window. The fleecy clouds were moving
majestically above the river, along the old haunts he loved so well, but
something in the kind blue eyes of the good woman sitting there with
folded hands, touched his innermost being, and he arose and turning
squarely to face his benefactress, said: "I'll do it, Mrs. Alden."

"I thank you, Shawn."

"Yes, mam, but I did not ketch that fish I brought you for niggers to
eat; they never told you I brought it."

Mrs. Alden rolled her chair near him, and placing her hand on his
shoulder, said, "I appreciate your bringing it very much and will
remember it."

As Shawn left the porch he turned to his little dog and said, "Oh, Lord,
Coaly, we're goin' to school!"



"So you are going to school, Shawn?"

"Yes, sir, I promised Mrs. Alden."

"That's the best promise you ever made, and to the best woman that God
ever made."

Old Doctor Hissong sat in his big armchair, his spectacles tilted high
on his nose as he looked at Shawn, who was leaning against the
mantel-board. Old Brad, a negro who had been the doctor's servant for
many years, sat in a hickory chair near the back door. Brad, aside from
taking care of the doctor's office, gave some of his time to preaching,
although it was a matter of some speculation as to whether his general
habits warranted his ministerial fulfillments.

The old office was dingy with its medicine bottles ranging along the
shelves, and cobwebs and dust were in evidence all about them. Over in
the corner was a pair of saddlebags, and a pair of jean legging hung
over a chair. In another corner was a tall book-case, the glass front
broken out, and the books scattered about on the shelves. On the top of
the book-case was an object which had long been a source of discomfort
to Shawn and Brad--a grinning skull.

A doctor's office, in the old days, without a skull peering out from
some hidden recess, was not considered complete--it contributed a kind
of mysterious power to the man of medicine, and lent the impression that
he had dipped deeply into the science of healing.

"Look at the slate, Shawn."

Shawn went out and took down the slate which hung by the office door.
"Old man Stivers has been writing on the slate," said Shawn.

"Huh," said Brad, "I reckun he 'cided to cum an' git you to cum out an'
see his wife, now dat he done rin up a bill wid ole doc' Poleen, an'
carn't git him to cum no mo'."

"Yes, Brad, it's strange--the man who loses sleep and health to save
others has a hard time getting his pay. They look to the doctor mighty
anxiously in the hour of trouble, and in the hour of suffering and death
the doctor is a power of comfort."

"I see dat Bill Hugers scratchin' on de slate las' night," said Brad,
"yo' hain' gwine to see him no mo', is yo', wid him owin' yo' a big

"Bill was one of my best friends when I made the race for the
Legislature," said the doctor.

Brad scratched his head. He recalled the time when the doctor went to
Frankfort as the representative of his county, and he remembered the
scuffling he had to do during the doctor's absence--the yearning for
many comforts which did not come. He recalled how the doctors picked up
old Hissong's practice while he was away, and he had not forgotten the
mean things they had said about him when he returned to be nursed
through a spell of "too much liquor."

"Yo' hain' never gwine run no mo', is yo', doc?"

"I can't say, Brad."

"Brad, didn't you hear somebody holler outside? Go out and see who it
is." Brad opened the door.

"Is the doc in thar?"

"Yes, sah, cum in."

A tall, double-jointed farm-hand came blustering into the room, his face
covered with a yarn comforter. He slowly unwound the rag and brought to
view the side of his face, swollen to a frightful size.

"Done busted me wide open; kin you pull her, doc?"

The old doctor examined the tooth and said, "You've got a tooth like a
hoss--fix the chair in the back room, Brad."

Brad brought a washpan and placed it beside the chair. Doctor Hissong
opened a drawer and brought forth an instrument that resembled a
cant-hook, one of those tools used in overturning logs. This tooth
extractor had a handle about six inches long, and a sort of steel hook
on the end, and it would draw the tooth, if the jawbone did not break.

The suffering patient looked on with an expression on his face anything
but pleasant.

"Looks like fixin' fer hog-killin', doc!"

"Well, I've known 'em to die under it," complacently said the old doctor
as he shuffled about. "Give him a drink, Brad, and put him in the

The patient stretched his long legs and rested his feet on a soap box.

"Fifty cents," said the doctor, as he approached with his instrument in
his hand.

"Hafter have it beforehand, doc?"

"Yes, sir, that's my rule, for nine cases out of ten are so mad when I
get through that they won't pay."

The money paid, the doctor carefully leaned over and fitted the hook
over the tooth.

"Clinch him, Shawn!"

"O-r-r-r-r-r-wow! leggo! leggo!"

"Choke him, Brad!"

All four of them were on the floor, the farm-hand had smashed the
wash-stand with his feet, and the water pitcher had gone with the ruins.

"Hold his feet, Shawn!"

Shawn jumped straddle-ways on the legs, and the old doctor made another

"H-l-l-u-p! H-e-l-l-l-u-p!"

Rising with the strength of a desperate man, the farmer dragged all of
them into the front room, but the old doctor did not lose his hold on
the tooth. The last remaining glass in the bookcase was smashed and the
lower sash of the front window caved in.

"Throw him, Brad!"

The tooth-key slipped off and the farmer let out a yell and tried to get
out of the door.

"Nail him, Brad!"

"I don't want that tooth pulled, doc."

"Yes, you do, and you had just as well make up your mind to get back in
that chair."

"By Gosh, you had better get a mule to kick it out!"

Brad and Shawn got him in the chair again and the doctor tried for
another hold on the tooth. The back of the chair gave way with a crash.

"What's that?" said the doctor.

"I think it wuz my backbone come uncoupled," said the farmer. Brad
grabbed him by the left leg and the struggling group went down in a
heap, but the doctor came up with a gleam of triumph on his face, and
holding aloft the terrible molar. Brad was panting, over by the door.

As the farmer turned to leave, he walked over to doctor Hissong and
said, "Doc, if you air as good at doctorin' other diseases as you air at
pullin' teeth, thar hain't much prospect of this community enlargin' her

Doctor Hissong glanced over toward the bookcase where Shawn was

"Shawn, do you still want to be a doctor?"

"Not a tooth doctor," said Shawn.



The varying routine of school was a trying ordeal to Shawn. The spelling
classes, the reading and the terrible arithmetic were as a nightmare to
his mind which yearned for the freedom of the river and the woods. Afar
off yonder was the stream, where the white gulls were soaring lazily
above the channel. Through the windows he could see the tall sycamores
and the white-graveled beach, where he and Coaly had spent so many happy
hours. In his fancy he could see the cool crystal water oozing out from
the spring which he had dug in the sand, and which he had lined with
white boulders. Oh, to be down there, breathing the sweet air as he
paddled his john-boat about the stream. He turned from the enrapturing
view--turned to the hateful books. The children around him were bending
over their studies, happiness reflected from their faces, but gloom sat
on the countenance of Shawn. Oh, for Coaly and freedom. All might have
gone well had it not been for Coaly. To leave Coaly chained up at home
through the long hours; to be separated from this companion, who yelped
and begged so hard to be taken along, was becoming more unbearable each
day, and there came a day when the pleading eyes brought his release,
and together they marched into the school.

The story of "Mary's Little Lamb" was not associated with Coaly in
Shawn's mind. Shawn put his books on his desk, and Coaly lay down, as
peacefully accepting the new turn of affairs. Mrs. Wingate, the teacher,
came over to Shawn's desk and quietly said: "Shawn, you must put your
dog outside."

"Can't he stay if he keeps quiet?"

"No, we cannot have any dogs in the school-room."

Shawn gazed out upon the river and then down at Coaly.

"Come on, Coaly," he said as he started to the door. He passed out into
the hallway, Coaly following. Just as Coaly started through the doorway,
a boy gave him a vicious kick, which set him to howling. Shawn sprang
into the room.

"Who kicked my dog?"

A little girl said, "Henry Freeman did it!"

Good resolutions and books were forgotten. Farewell to every ambition.
Freeman tried to free himself from the enraged boy by climbing over the
desks and calling to the teacher. The little girls were screaming and
books and slates were scattered all about the room. Mrs. Wingate finally
succeeded in getting her hands on Shawn and drew him away as he planted
a parting blow on Freeman's nose. Shawn turned and facing the school,
tragically exclaimed, "Where I go, Coaly goes. Where Coaly goes, I go!"

Henry Freeman followed Shawn to the door. Shawn turned for battle
again, but Freeman used a more malicious weapon by saying, "Who's your
daddy? Who's your daddy?"

And then Shawn burst into tears.

The next morning a servant found on Mrs. Alden's porch a bundle
containing the books and clothes which she had given Shawn. Pinned to
the bundle was a note. In a scrawling hand was written, "I am much
abliged. I tride to keep my promise. I am going away. I have kept the
little testament. Shawn."


  "Oh sing your praise of the bounding craft;
    And the merry sloops afloat,
  But for easy space, both fore and aft,
    I'll bunk on the shanty-boat."

"Jump out there, Shawn, and take a hitch around that cottonwood with
that line--we're at the mouth of Salt River, an' no better fishin' on
the Ohio."

John Burney was standing on the bow of his shanty-boat, with a long
steering-oar in his hand.

"Jump, Shawn!" Shawn leaped to the shore and made the line fast to the

"Haul out that aft gang-plank and stake her deep on the shore, there,
steady, boy; she lays good and snug an' weather-shape--now git to your

Inside of the boat a wood fire was burning in the stove. The fragrant
aroma of coffee and fried fish came over the morning air. Shawn took
off one of the stove-lids, and over the burning coals toasted two or
three slices of bread. The first primrose bloom of the glowing day came
over the hills. The sunbeams rioting on the water lent an enchantment to
the autumn scene.

Further back from the river, on the hills, were the claret hues of young
oaks, and the scarlet of young maples. The morning rays sifting through
the little windows of the boat revealed the arrangement of this river
habitation. The two sleeping bunks were near the rear end of the boat;
two chairs, the stove and a rough table were in the forward end. Near
the door hung great coils of fishing line and tackle, and in the corner
was a dip-net and gig.

As Shawn sat eating his breakfast, his thoughts wandered back to Skarrow
and his mother in the little frame house on the river bank--to Mrs.
Alden and doctor Hissong. He thought of the many kindnesses shown him by
these friends, and, perhaps, wondered how his mother might have missed
him since the night he stole away with old John Burney, who made these
shanty-boat trips every autumn. It had been the dream of his life to go
down the river with Burney, for how often had he sat on the wharf-boat
at Skarrow listening to Burney's tales of shanty-boat life on the lower
Ohio. And here he was at last; he and Coaly!

"Shawn," said Burney, "I want to drop a fish-basket just below that
willer. The channel is fine up here, and I might walk up town and see if
I can get a ham-hock and some beef lights, while you look over the hooks
on the jugs--there ain't no bait like a ham-hock for juggin', fer a
channel-cat wants a meat that won't turn white in water."

In the early days of "jugging" on the Ohio, the outfit was a matter of
considerable expense, as half-gallon stone jugs were used, but as time
went on, some ingenious fisherman substituted blocks of wood, painted in
white or conspicuous colors. A stout line, some six or seven feet long,
is stapled to the block of wood, and with a good, heavy hook at the end
of the line, the outfit is complete. The jugs, some twenty or thirty,
are put out at the head of the channel, and are followed by the
fishermen in a skiff or john-boat. When a channel-cat takes the bait,
the jug stands on end and begins to scud through the water. The
fisherman pursues in his boat, and coming up, pushes his dip-net under
the fish as he draws him to the surface. It is the most exciting and
fascinating method known in river fishing.

Burney came from town with the bait. Shawn had the jugs ready and
together they rowed to the head of the channel. Shawn placed the jugs in
the water, and they floated away in a line, ranging some four or five
feet apart, Burney and Shawn lingering behind with silent oars. Suddenly
a jug stood upon end.

"Down atter him, Shawn!"

Shawn skilfully sent the boat toward the bobbing jug.

"He's heading for shoal water!" yelled Burney, "Slack your right
oar--now come ahead--hold her--ease her up to him--look at that jug!"
The jug was racing for deep water again, and disappeared from the
surface for at least half a minute.

"He's a whopper, Shawn! Yonder he goes, thirty yards away! Give me the
oars and take the dip-net. Great Hirum, boy! yonder is another jug
that's hung!"

Burney sent the boat with a bound after the whirling jug. Shawn stood in
the bow of the boat with the dip-net ready to swing. They went to the
lower side of the jug, and just as Shawn reached out for the line,
Burney, unintentionally, brought the boat to a sudden stop, and Shawn,
losing his balance, went over board, dip-net and all. Burney sprang to
the stern of the boat, and as Shawn came up he held out an oar to him,
and Shawn grasped the side of the boat. Burney took the dip-net and
paddled the boat toward the jug, and catching the line, raised the fish
to the top of the water. Shawn swam around to the other side as Burney
raised the fish. "For land sake! Look at him, boy! He's the biggest one
I ever hooked--I can't get him in this boat--we'll have to tow him

They fastened a stout line through the gills of the big fish and towed
him to the shore and pulled him out on the beach--a blue channel-cat of
forty pounds. "Go and get some dry clothes, while I go after the jugs,"
said Burney. Shawn went down to the boat and rummaged around for a
change of clothes. He found a suit of Burney's heavy underclothing, and
rolling them up to suit his size, got into them; then came Burney's old
corduroy trousers, and Shawn buckled them up until they hung directly
under his armpits. Building a fire in the stove and hanging his wet
clothes before it, he left the boat and ran back to the spot where they
had left the big fish. Burney returned with the jugs and threw out
another smaller fish which he had taken off. "We'll eat this one, Shawn,
and sell the other one and divide the money," and as Shawn stood before
him in the loose-fitting clothes, old Burney laughed and said, "Well,
if he ain't growed to a man since that ketch!"

They hung the big fish to the side of the boat. "I'll show you how to
skin a channel-cat," said Burney as he drew forth his steel pincers.
"We'll peddle him out this evening." It was a joyous pair that climbed
the hill leading to the little town, the big fish swinging on a pole
between them. There were plenty of buyers, and as they returned to the
boat, Burney said to Shawn, "You'll be a great fisherman some day,
Shawn," and Shawn said, "I'm goin' to be a doctor."

"What kind of a doctor, Shawn? steam or hoss doctor?"

"Neither one. I'm goin' to be a reg'ler doctor, like Doctor Hissong."

[Illustration: "You'll be a great fisherman, some day, Shawn"]

"Shawn, this doctorin' business is a good deal like hoss tradin'; you've
got to take your chance on a short hoss and blemishes, and some of the
doctors look like they interfere powerfully with themselves--you know
how a hoss _interferes_. I calkerlate that a good doctor is mighty
rare, and after all, it's a good deal more in his encouraging talk
than his medicine. You never knowed old Doc' Felix Simpson--he was away
before your time and practiced in the country four miles above Skarrow.
Doc' Simpson would have his joke, and to hear him laugh would cure 'most
any case of ailment. Lawse! how I used to love to hear him tell about
old P'silly Orton and the time she played dead. Doc' Simpson said that
aunt P'silly took a notion that she wanted her old man to raise her some
money to take a trip down to the city, and as the money wa'nt raisable,
P'silly took on and 'lowed that she was goin' to die, and she kept on
havin' sinkin' spells and such, and bye and bye she lays on the bed and
wauls up her eyes and breathes her last, to all appearances. Uncle Buck
gits skeered and digs out for Doc' Simpson, and when Doc' Simpson gits
thar, thar was the old neighbor wimmen tryin' to comfort uncle Buck and
sayin', 'Ba'r your burden, Buck; the Lord has give and the Lord has tuck
away.' Doc' Simpson goes up to P'silly, who was layin' with folded
hands, and feels her pulse, and says, 'Yes, she is dead, pore soul'; and
they all bust out cryin' and the hounds begin to howl, and Doc' comes up
to the bed and says, 'Bein' she is dead, I'll pour a little of this
nitric acid in her yeer to make shore.' And as he took the stopper out
of the bottle, P'silly opens one eye an' says, 'Doc' Simpson, if you
pour that in my yeer, you'll never straddle that hoss of yourn again.'

"There's another sort of doctor, Shawn, the magic-healers, the sort as
cures by the layin' on of hands and rubbin'. Pelican Smith was one of
this sort. He practiced up on the Kentucky river and made a sort of
circuit down in our country. Sometimes thar would come a report of
somebody gittin' well, but when anybody died, Pelican always said, 'The
Lord loved him best.' You never knowed Pelican. He was all sorts of a
character--got his nickname from his nose--they weren't no other one
like it, and him and that nose made history in the river country. His
first marriage was to Addie Stringer, up at Ball's Landing, and it was
all right as fer as it went. They started on their honeymoon from Ball's
Landing on the steamer Little Tiger. They was goin' down to Wide Awake,
some thirty miles. The boat caught fire, Pelican swum out on a
crackerbox, and when they found the body of his wife next day, Pelican
thumped the side of his nose with his thumb and said, 'Hit's a dam pity
she couldn't swim'.

"It wasn't long before he got into business by starting a 'blind tiger',
and he worked up several war dances in the community, but one night thar
was started a mild argument as to whether the Methodists or the Baptists
was the chosen of the Lord. The argument was in Pelican's place, and he
had to close up the joint, for nearly all of his best customers passed
out with the close of the argument. Pelican told me afterward that over
three hundred shots was fired, and said to me, 'I reckon the only reason
I was saved was that I didn't belong to either denomination, as I am a

"Pelican moved down on the Ohio after this, and it was there I met him.
There is always considerable interest, Shawn, in a stranger when he
moves into a community, especially if there is some mystery about him.
Pelican didn't have much to say--he had no desire to mention his past.
He was wise. It was rumored that he had left a good farm at Ball's
Landing and had moved down on the Ohio for asthma trouble that bothered
him. About the only disease he ever had was the whiskey habit, but he
did not dispute any of the statements made by an interested community.
His stock went up with the talk about the farm. He was invited to take
supper with Bill Bristow. Bill owned twenty acres of hill land, with a
small house and a mortgage on it. Old Bill's daughter, Lettie, set next
to Pelican at the table, and old Bill looked on with satisfaction at the
headway they was making. Old Bristow was thinking of the farm up at
Ball's Landing; Pelican was thinking of the one he was on. After a
time, Pelican and Lettie was married. Bristow give a dance and ice cream
supper and charged fifty cents admission. There was dancing, singing and
a cuttin' scrape and the couple felt that the occasion had been one of
success. Pelican certainly married into old Bristow's family for he
never made any move toward looking for another home, and it wasn't long
before Bristow begin to screw up his face.

"Time passed and then come the twins, a boy and a girl, and Pelican was
proud of the boy, for he had the Pelican nose, but old Bristow rose up
in his wrath and said that they would have to go, and so Pelican and his
wife come down into my neighborhood to live in a shanty-boat on the
river, but they didn't git along, and fit and cussed from mornin' till
night. Bristow come down to patch up matters. Pelican knocked him off
the boat with an oar, and as he floundered out to the shore and wrung
the water out of his whiskers he said, 'Fix yer own troubles--far'well.'
Two weeks after the fight Mrs. Pelican Smith went back to live with her
father and Pelican went into the fishin' and 'blind tiger' business. I
had two new nets and a set of trot lines, and we bunched into a sort of
partnership. I couldn't git him to say anything about his family or
whether he wanted to see them again. But one night we set together on
the shore. We had run out of bait and was tryin' to make plans to git
some, as the lines was dry upon the shore and the fish would be runnin'
with the gentle rise comin' in the river. We set on an old sycamore log
together. The moon had just swung over the hill and I could see the
white rim of it above the edge of Pelican's nose.

"'Pelican,' I said, 'why don't you go back to your wife and children and
try to live happy with them?' He made no answer and I pressed on him,
'Pelican, them two little twins air dependent on you, and if you had a
little home to yourself, where the vines could run over your doorway and
the birds sing in your own trees, with your wife and children beside
you, your life would be happy--think of them, Pelican, your wife and

"Pelican rose up, his face turned to the river. Ah, I had him at last
thinking of his dear ones.

"'What are you thinkin' of, Pelican?'

"'I was thinkin' wher'n the hell we'd git that bait' said he."


"Did you ever eat a mussel, Shawn?"

"No, sir, I didn't think they were good to eat."

"Well, lots of things are made good to eat by the way you cook 'em. I
want you to bale out the boat and we'll go up to the head of the bar and
drop the grab-hooks along in shoal water and after we get a good dozen,
small broilin' size, I'm goin' to show you how to cook 'em. A mussel, my
boy, is a sort of lefthanded cousin to an oyster, only he lacks the salt
water and a good many of the finer points; a right smart like a good
many men, and I want to tell you another thing--one of the finest pearls
that sold in a jewelry store in Cincinnati for fifteen hundred dollars,
was taken from a mussel that come out of the Ohio river."

"Luke Walters found it at Craig's bar," said Shawn.

"The same," said Burney.

"We might boil a bushel or two down and run a chance of finding
somethin'; there's no tellin'. Git one of them lemons out of the box and
the wire broiler and a stew-pan."

Shawn came around with the boat, Burney came out with the drag-hooks.
Shawn sat at the oars and they started up the stream. The white pebbles
on the shore gleamed in the rosy sunlight. A kingfisher perched on a
rock by the stream, tilted his head to the side in a quizzical way and
watched the boat approach. The leaves from the tall sycamores and
cottonwoods came tumbling down to the edge of the water as if seeking to
embark upon a journey southward. A little creek came pouring its crystal
waters into the great river. Just above the mouth of the creek, some boy
had built a miniature mill-race, and the water coursing over the little
wheel murmured tenderly and soothingly upon the ear.

"Shawn, there's many a boy in the city would like to have a plaything
like that. Did you notice how nice and keerful-like he has made that dam
and the shoot? I'll tell you, a country boy knows how to look out for
his fun. You'll see the day when the old water-mill will be a thing of
the past; steam will run 'em out, as it has run out the flat-boat. In
the old days I used to make the flat-boat trip to New Orleans and walk
all the way back and help _cordelle_ the boat, they brought back their
flat-boats in them days--think of doing that now. But I hate to see the
water-mills go. There's one out on Eagle that has been run by five
generations, and they can't make flour by steam as good as Amos Kirby's
flour. Amos' father had the process down, it seems, better than any of
them. The old man was knowed all over that country, not only for his
good flour, but for his good deeds and his kindness to the poor, and
that's a mighty good name to leave behind. He always had a houseful of
company, and always got drunk fust, so that the rest of his company
would feel at home. I et dinner thar once, and they wound up with some
cake they called egg-kisses. You didn't have to chaw 'em--you just
throwed 'em up in the roof of your mouth and let 'em melt--pull over
thar to the head of the bar."

Shawn took off his shoes, and bare-footed, with trousers rolled to his
knees, began the hunt for mussels around the bar, as Burney threw out
the drag-hooks in deeper water. Burney was drifting slowly down the
stream and Shawn could see him bringing up the hooks and putting the
mussels inside the boat. Shawn found them plentiful around the edge of
the bar, and when Burney came back they had the boat well filled.

"Now, Shawn, we're goin' over to the shore and I am goin' to give you a
feast." Burney made a wood fire, and after taking the mussels from the
shell, put them in the stew-pan and let them boil for a short time, then
putting them on the broiler, he held them over the live wood coals.
"Squeeze a little of that lemon juice over them, Shawn, and season 'em
up--now try one." Shawn took one of them and nibbled it gingerly around
the edges.

"What do you think of 'em?"

"Did you ever drink out of a cow-track, Mr. Burney?"

"No. Why?"

"Well, you never missed much," said Shawn.

They rowed down to the shanty-boat and Burney built a big fire on the
shore. He got out his big kettle and said, "We're goin' to boil these
out and look for a pearl."

Under the roaring fire the kettle began to sing. Shawn watched Burney as
he filled the big pot with mussels. "You've got to boil them until the
meat comes away from the shell and is boiled all to smithereens, before
you've a chance to git a pearl."

It was late afternoon before the kettle was taken off. Burney began to
drain off the water and take out the shells. All of the substance in the
bottom of the kettle was subjected to a careful inspection as he drew
it forth.

[Illustration: Burney began to take out the shells.]

Suddenly Burney held his hand up toward the sun and exclaimed, "Come
here, quick, Shawn, I've found one--I don't know how good, but it's a
pearl!" He rubbed it between his hands and wiped it off carefully on his
sleeve. "That tiny pink spot on the side of it is a blemish that will
never come out, but I think it is a pearl of some value. I'm goin' to
give it to you; maybe you can sell it or give it to some girl some
day--leastwise, Shawn, we'll put in the spare time boilin' down a few
more of 'em."

Shawn took the pearl, his cheeks were aglow under the stress of the
find. "Oh, Mr. Burney, I'll keep it always for a luck stone."


Shawn was clearing away the supper dishes. Burney tilted his hickory
chair against the wall and puffed at his short pipe. Coaly was asleep in
the corner. "Shawn, when you git through I want you to read me some more
out of your Testament--I'm gittin' to like it."

Shawn carefully wiped his hands before taking up the little book.
Seating himself by the table, and drawing the lamp nearer, he opened the
book at random. The chapter was Revelation, XIII.

Shawn began reading in a halting and uncertain voice: "And I stood upon
the sands of the sea and saw a beast rise out of the sea having seven
heads and ten horns."

"Hold on there, Shawn," said Burney, "Is that in the Bible?"

"Yes, sir, you can see for yourself."

"I can't read to no account," said Burney, "but air you certain that's
in the Bible?"

"Yes, sir."

Burney scratched his head and crossed his legs. "Well, all I've got to
say is, that there must a been a leak some'ers around a distillery when
that feller got to writin'. I don't read much, but I read in the Bible
once about an old feller by the name of Job, who comes up to a feller by
the name of Amasa, and Job pertendin' to be his friend, took him by the
whiskers, like he was going to kiss him, and Job said, 'How's your
health, brother Amasa?' and before Amasa could answer, Job cut him in
the fifth rib with a corn-knife or sunthin'. Maybe times have changed
since them days, but it still pays to watch a man who comes up to you
with his hand behind him, and there ain't no man goin' to take me by the
whiskers when he says _howdy_--I've larn't that much from the Bible--but
you stick to that Book, Shawn, even if some of the stories do make you
set up and take notice, it's a good Book to live by and a better one to
die by. Stick to it, Shawn--I'm goin' to bed."

Shawn went out and sat on the bow of the boat. The night was beautiful.
Along the shore the willows were rustling as the south wind kissed their
foliage. The moon was coming over the hill, a full, round, voluptuous
moon. The tiny reflections of the stars quivered in the depths of the
stream. From the head of the bend came the long and deepened breathing
of a coal boat. A bell clangs in the engine-room, the great wheel stops
as welcoming rest, the bell clangs again and the boat swings on,
standing for the channel. Afar up the river, Shawn saw a lurid light
against the sky. The heightened colors came and went in flashes and
spurts. That light could not come from the headlight of a steamer. Shawn
went quietly to the door and called Burney. Burney came to the door of
the boat, rubbing his eyes. "Must be a house burning, from the looks of
it." They stood on the shanty-boat until the light began to diminish
and then went to bed. Burney was unable to sleep. Presently he got up
and turned up the wick of the lamp. Coaly went over and nestled by his
feet. Suddenly Burney heard the sound of approaching footsteps. Coaly
began to growl and moved nearer the door. Shawn was peering out of his
bunk. Burney opened the door as two men came up the gang-plank. They
were breathing hard and looked as though they had been running. One of
them was untying the chain of the john-boat, and said, "We want your
boat to get across the river; we're in a hurry."

"Let go of that chain," said Burney, as he raised a musket to his
shoulder. "You can't have that boat, and I want you to get off of this
boat at once."

The men drew back, they were desperate looking characters, but they
heard the determined tone of Burney's voice and they stepped ashore and
made off down the beach. Burney turned to Shawn and said, "Somethin' is
wrong; them fellers have done somethin'. What's that?" They could hear
the deep baying of a hound. "My God, they's bloodhounds!"

There is something strangely weird in the sound of a bloodhound's voice
coming across the night--something that seems to tell of death. The
trail was fresh and the dogs were coming under full yelp.

"Put on your shoes and come out front, Shawn," said Burney. Eight or ten
men came down through the willows, one man in front and holding the
hounds by a leash. Each man was armed with a shotgun. The dogs came to
the gang-plank, and stopped at the water, and lapped it with their long,
yellow tongues.

"Whose boat is this, and who's here?" asked one of the men. Old John
answered in a clear and unshaken voice, "I am John Burney, and this is
my boat." One of the men came forward and extending his hand, said, "I
know John Burney; there's nothing wrong with him, but Burney, can you
throw any light on these tracks leading here?" Burney told them of the
two men, of their wanting his boat to cross the river. "They went down
the shore," said Burney, "about twenty minutes ago; your dogs oughtn't
to have much trouble in locating the track, but tell me what's wrong?"
The man holding the dogs answered, "Casper Daniel's country store was
robbed and burned just after he had gone to bed, and Daniels was either
murdered or lost in the fire."

Shawn shuddered and crept back into the boat. The men put the dogs on
the trail. Shawn heard them baying as they went down through the deep
cottonwood grove. "No sleep for me to-night," said Burney. The voices of
the hounds came in faint baying. Burney restlessly paced the shore until
the first streaks of dawn. About five o'clock he heard the men coming
back. They came down to the boat. Handcuffed together were the two
criminals, their haggard faces bore the look of despair. They were
sullen and silent, and as Shawn stood gazing at them, he could not
repress a feeling of pity, although their hands were stained with human
blood. They were taken up the road to the little town and placed in the
jail. Shawn and Burney followed the men. Around the jail was a crowd of
excited men and loud voices were heard on every side. Men were coming
out of the saloon on the corner just beyond the jail. They stood around
in groups and angry mutterings were heard. Suddenly there seemed to be a
concerted move in front of the jail. A young lawyer sprang upon a box
and pleaded with the crowd to let the law take its course.

"Law!" exclaimed a black-whiskered man, "we've never had any law that
money couldn't buy!"

"Hang 'em! Hang 'em!" yelled the crowd. A rush was made for the jail.
The jailor was making a feeble pretense of protecting his prisoners. A
heavy sledge crashed against the door, the jailor was knocked down and
the keys taken from him.

"There they are! Bring 'em out!"

The poor wretches were dragged out, moaning piteously and begging for
their lives. Shawn turned away, sick at heart, but something seemed to
hold him to the spot.

"Don't kill us, men, for God's sake don't kill us!" pleaded one of the
criminals but his voice was drowned in the uproar of the maddened crowd.

"That lower limb will do, boys, everybody pull!"

A cloud afar off in the sky seemed to float across the sun. They cut the
two rigid bodies down at noon. Shawn and Burney returned to the boat. A
rain-crow was calling softly from a willow tree, and the ripples
murmured sorrowfully on the shore. Shawn touched Burney on the arm as
they stood by the boat: "Mr. Burney, there's a Memphis packet due up
here to-night. I don't like to leave you, but I'm goin' home--I've just
got to go."


It was after midnight when the boat upon which Shawn took passage
reached Skarrow. As they climbed the hill, Coaly instinctively turned
toward Shawn's home, but Shawn had determined to first visit old Brad
and make inquiry as to the kind of welcome he might expect from his
mother. He knocked gently on the door of old Brad's cabin.

"Who dar?" called Brad.

"It's Shawn, uncle Brad; I've come home."

"Great Lawd!" exclaimed the old darkey, "Wait er minnit tell I strack a
light--come in hyar, boy." Shawn went in as Brad threw a chunk of wood
on the fire. "Set down thar, boy, and lemme put dis coffee-pot on de
coals an' brile yo' a piece uv bacon. Lawse, chile! some say yo' done
drown, an' some say yo' rin away wid race-boss men, en yo' mammy jes'
'stracted an' axin' me ef I heerd frum yo' ev'ry day. Is yo' seen yo'
mammy yet?"

"No," said Shawn, "I felt like--"

"Out wid it," said old Brad, "Dat's right, an' say dat yo' felt like yo'
wuz ershamed uv yo'self en had done wrong, but yo' go down thar jes' as
soon ez yo' kin an' see yo' mammy. Yo' hain' no wicked boy, Shawn, but
des kinder ramshackel an' loose-jinted in yo' constitushun, but yo'
hain' wicked. I know what wickedness is, but even de wicked hez got de
chance to tu'n frum de errer uv dey ways befo' hit is too late. De
wickedes' man I ever knowed, honey, wuz Captain Monbridge, down in
Louisiana. He wuz de wickedes' an' han'sumest man en de richest man in
dat secshun, en when he got drunk an' got on his big black hoss, he
would shoot de fust nigger whut crossed his path, en when he wuz drunk,
de niggers wuz mi'ty skase eround. He fell off'n his hoss one night an'
wuz kilt, en de folks all say dat he went straight ter hell, but de naix
spring after he wuz daid, a strange flower cum peepin' outer his grave,
en hit wuz de mos' curios flower dat wuz ever seen 'roun' dar--a kine uv
red dat nobody ever see befo', en hit kep' a-comin' an' a-comin', en
purty soon de people all cum to see dat flower on Captain Monbridge's
grave. Byme bye de flower grow to a big stalk, en down in de center uv
de stalk wuz a leaf, en when dey tuck out dat leaf, dar wuz writ on hit
dese words:

  'Betwix de stirrup an' de groun'
  He mercy axed an' mercy foun.'

"Yassir, he wuz saved." Uncle Brad took the coffee-pot from the glowing
coals and poured a steaming cup of coffee for Shawn. "Shawn, I'm gwine
tuh preach at de chutch Sunday mawnin' an' I want yo' to heah me. I'm
gwine preach on de Prodegale Son, an' hit's gwine tuh be a sarmon."

"I'll be there," said Shawn.

Shawn and Coaly went down the hill. Coaly gave a yelp of delight and
stood barking before the door. Shawn's mother sprang from bed, opened
the door and clasped her son to her breast. "Oh, Shawn, bless God,
you've come!" And Shawn's home had never looked so inviting before.

"Mammy, I'll never leave you again."

He went to sleep in his little room overlooking the river, and he heard
again the night wind crooning through the trees and the night owl's
tones echoing through the distant wood. His heart was warm again in the
glow of sweet memories. He was in his old home.

The next day found Shawn enjoying the surprising event of being
cordially welcomed by the inhabitants of the town. The worst sort of
straggler is often astonished at the kindly interest accorded him upon
returning to his old home. Old Doctor Hissong greeted him by saying,
"Hello, been seeing the world, have you?" When he went up to the Alden
home, he found the same good friend there; the same sweet smile and the
kind words, and Mrs. Alden still anxious to help him and guide him to
better pathways, urging upon him the great need of an education, and
Shawn promised to return to school.

"Don't fergit about dat sarmon," said old Brad, "I'm gwine tuh look fer
yo' at de chutch termorrer."



Shawn found a seat on one of the benches reserved for the white people.
Uncle Brad was in the pulpit. He arose, in all of the dignity of the
occasion. The little church was well filled with colored people. After a
song and prayer, uncle Brad came forward and began reading, to all
appearances, from the last half of the fifteenth chapter of Luke.
Closing the Bible, he began, "I have read fo' yo' heahin' de story uv de
Prodegale Son. Dis hyar boy, han'sum an' smart, bergin to git tired uv
de fawm--he heer'd de boys frum de city tellin' erbout de great doin's
down dar, en de mo' he look eroun' de mo' de ole place los' hit's chawm,
en fine'ly he goes to hi' daddy en says, says he, 'Pap, I dun git to de
age when I waun' see sum uv de wurl, en' ef yo' gwine do ennything fo'
me, do hit now.' Yessir, he lit a seegar en blow de smoke thru hi' nose
en say, 'Do hit now!'

"De boy dun fergit how his daddy fotch him up an' feed him an' clothe
him, but dat doan' count wid chillun. Dey kine er reason hit dis way:
'Yo' 'sponsibul fo' my bein' heah, en yo' bleeged to teck keer uv me'.
De ole man kiner swole up, but he drawed his check on de bank--de Bible
doan' say how much, but hit mus' ter been a pile, fer de Bible doan'
fool wid little things. De boy wen' 'roun' to tell 'em all good-bye, an'
his mammy jes' fell on his neck an' wep'. He wuz de black sheep, an' hit
seem dat de mammies allus love dese black sheep de best. When he cum to
tell his brother good-bye, de brother kiner put hi' han' to hi' mouf en
say, 'Doan' yo' write back to me when yo' git busted,' en de Prodegale
Son he say, 'Pooh, pooh, yo' clod-hopper.'

"Dar wuz de ole folks sottin' on de poach as he wen' down de road. Dey
could see him ergin crowin' in de craddle; dey could see him larnin'
how to teck his fust step, en back in de years, dey could heah de fust
word he ever said--de fust one mos' uv us says, _mammy_.

[Illustration: "De Prodegale Son."]

"He rech de city, en dere wuz frens waitin' him by de score, en dey say,
'Whut a fine genermun! Whut a spote! All wool en a yahd wide!' Yassir!
An he smile an' swole up an' say, 'Le's have sunthin!' Dey go inter de
bar, en de barkeeper smile en say, 'Whut's yourn, gents?' Some say ole
fashun toddy, some say gin, en' so on. De young man res' hi' foot on de
railin' uv de bar, en look at hi'sel' in de glass, en he see de dimun
rings on his fingers jes' glis'nin', an' when de licker gits to workin'
inside him, he look in de glass ergin, en 'lows to hi'sel', 'I reckon
I'se jes' about de wahmest thing in dis hyar town,'--an' he wuz! He
foots all de bills. Lawse! how he meck frens. He tell er story, en dey
all jes' laff fit ter bust, an' say, 'Hain' he great!' De ladies uv de
town, some uv 'em, dey roll dey black eyes at him an' say, 'Hain' he
sweet!' He done fergot de little girl wid de blue eyes an' de gold ha'r
blowin' in de win'. De gamblers tuck a crack at him, too--dey kin tell a
sucker three miles off. Dey showed him how to handle de kyards an' roll
de bones, en he rar'd back in a sof' cheer wid a black seegar in hi'
mouf an' see his money slip erway. Lawse! yo' oreter see his room whar
he stay. He slep' in a feather-tick nine foot deep, an' show-nuff goose
feathers, mine yo'; a red lam' wool blanket, en lookin'-glasses all over
de wall, so ez he could see hi'sel' whichever way he tu'n. Nobody to
scole him erbout gittin' up in de mawnin' en he had his breakfas' fotch
up on a silver waiter by a shiny nigger, but somehow, de vittels got so
dey didn't tase ez good ez dey did down on de ole fawm. City grub looks
mi'ty temp'in at fust, but after while when yo' git down ter kinder
pickin' ovah hit, yo'll find dat hit's lackin' in de juice er sunthin',
en yo' long to lay yo' gums on de things jes' whar dey grow.

"Byme-bye--hit allus comes, he see dat he's gittin' low in cash, en
'fore long yo' see him slippin' 'roun' to de pawn shop. De ole pawn-shop
man he scowl at him an' fix ter bleed him good en strong. His dimun
shirt-stud wen' fust, en one by one de rings on hi' fingers, tell dey
look ez bare ez a bean-pole in de wintah time.

"He move his bo'din' house, en purty soon he move ergin, tell he fine'ly
cum ter a house whar dey didn't have much mo' den liver hash. Oh, Lord!
Liver hash! Whar wuz his frens? Ef enny uv yo' hez ever been dar, good
an' busted, yo' know whar dey wuz. Dey tu'n erway frum him lack he wuz a

"One mawnin' when ever'thing wuz gone, he started frum de city. Whut a
change! One shurt wuz all he had, en dat hadn' seen de wash fer two
weeks. He wuz seedy en his heart wuz sore; he wuz down an' out, en clean
out, en didn't even have chawin' terbacker. He look lack a turkey
buzzard ez had lost his wing-feathers. He wundered on; he stop by de
bridge whar de water wuz tricklin' down below--he see de picture uv
hi'sel' in de water, en' hit meck de cole chills run up hi' back.
'Shamed er himsel'? He dun got so ershamed dat he look lack he cum out'n
a hole in de groun'. Byme-bye he cum to a fawm house, en ast fer a job.
Yo' know he mus' er been awful hongry to think erbout wuk, but he dun
got so hongry dat he et yarbs en sapplin' bark er ennything. De fawmer
look at him en say, 'I cudden' hev yo' erbout de house; de wimmen
wouldn' stan' fer hit, but I got some hawgs up de holler yo' kin feed,
but yo'll hev to stay erway frum hyar, ez I doan' wan' my chillun

"He wen' up de holler. De win' sigh en groan thru de poppaw bushes, en
he wuz sad, en de dark drap down en hit wuz so lonesome; nobody but de
katydids en de screech-owl en dem hawgs. Doan' yo' feel sorry fer him,
frens? I do--I feel sorry fer ennybody in dat sort er fix, but feelin'
sorry hain' gwine ter holp much when yo' git yo'se'f tied up in sech a
box. He fed dem hawgs, he et what dem hawgs et, he slep' close to dem
hawgs, he wuz suttenly _on de hawg_, but dey wuz better company en dem
gamblers en some dem wimmen in de city--yes, dey wuz.

"Byme-bye, one night, ez he see de moon comin' over de hill, en de stars
winkin en blinkin' in de sky, he got ter thinkin' uv de ole home, uv de
chitlins en de spare ribs, de fat biskits en de sweet milk, de persarves
en de yaller butter--he jes' cudden' stand hit. He walk down to de
hawg-pen en throw over some cawn en say, 'Far'well, my frens, I'se done
de bes' I kin fer yo', but I'm gwine home!'

"He struck out, fust in a kine er foxtrot, but de mo' he thought er
home, de faster he got. Erlong time hit seem, over dat lonesome road. De
little chillun cum out ter look at him, but fly back inter de house, he
look so awdashus, en ef he meet a hawg in de road, he cudden' look him
in de face. He could smell de ham and hominy fryin' in de skillet at de
houses whar he pass, en' hit meck hi' mouf water lack a hoss wid de

"Fine'ly he see erway down yondah, de ole place frum de top uv de
hill--de ole house sottin' back in de cool shade. He tuck a hitch on
his rotten britches an' hit de grit.

"Ez he cum up to de yahd gate, his dawg bark at him, an' his daddy cum
down de yahd wid his big gold-headed cane, en he never knowed hi' son
whatsomever, tell de boy kiner drag up en say, 'Pap, fo' Gawd sake,
gimme sunthin' ter eat!'

"Ole Miss, his mammy, sot by de big winder, lookin' kinder sad-like,
doin' fancy wuk wid her needle, en singin' sorter sof 'In De Sweet Bye
en' Bye,' en' presen'ly she hear her boy's voice--a mammy kin hear de
voice uv her boy a long way--en' she jump up en' thode her sewin' erway
en' cried out ez de tears stream down her cheek, 'Praise Gawd, my boy
done cum back!'

"De ole genermun knowed de black sheep dun cum home, en he holler out en
say, 'Bring de bes' robe en put hit on him, but wash him in de pon'
fust!' Den he say, 'Bring de fattes' calf, de one fed on de bran' mash!'
Dey wuz merry, en his mammy wep' on his neck, arfter hit wuz washed, en
when he sot down to de table, en she give him de veal cutlets en de
light rolls, he des hook his laig 'roun' a cheer 'roun' an' lay to, en
he des kin er roll frum side ter side, layin' in de grub, en licken' his
fingers, en passin' up hi' plate--en dey think he's thru, en gwine set
back, but he jes' teck a fresh holt en square hi'se'f erway en des roam
eroun' in glory, en he smile, en de grease jes' a-shinin' on hi' chin.

"But de brother wuz mad. He 'low dat he stay at home, en ack a puffeck
genermun, en dis hyar skalawag jes' play de devil ginerally, en den cum
back lack er skunk en dey tu'n de ole house upside down fer him. He chaw
de rag monstrous fer a spell, but de ole man fine'ly tell him ef he
doan' lack hit, he better go out en try de wurl hi'se'f, en de brother
look at de Prodegale, en kiner shiver en simmer down.

"Dat night when de Prodegale got inter de feather-bed, whar he done hid
a ham-bone under de piller, en hi' mammy tucked him in en kiss him good
night, he strotch hi'se'f en say, 'When I goes erway frum heah ergin, I
goes erway daid!' En he drap to sleep--de sweetes' sleep fo' many er
long time, en dream uv de little gal wid de blue eyes, who wuz still er
waitin' fer him.

"Young men, all I wan' ter say tuh yo' by de way uv windin' up is
dis--Ef yo' got a good home, er enny sort uv home, stay dar!"

And Shawn, sitting by the window, clasped his little Testament and
fervently said, "Amen!"


Shawn had been at home for several days. One night when the waves were
rolling high on the stream, he sat in the office of the hotel, which
stood on the bank of the river. A cheerful log fire glowed in the old
fireplace. Pence Oiler, the ferryman, sat in the corner puffing at a cob
pipe. Suddenly, came the loud cry of "Hello!" When the door was opened,
a young man and woman came into the office. They had hurriedly gotten
out of a buggy and both seemed very much agitated, and the young man
quickly informed them that they were eloping from a neighboring county
and were being hotly pursued by an angry father and brother. Shawn's
gaze was fixed on the young woman, for never before had he seen such a
beautiful face, such lustrous, dark eyes, lit up by the flame of love,
seemed to shed a glow upon the dingy walls of the old room.

"Where can I find the ferryman?" asked the young man.

"I am the ferryman," said old Pence, "but you can't cross the river
to-night; the wind is too high."

"But I must cross," said the young man, as a wild glance shot from his
eye. "I'll give you ten dollars to set us over!"

"I'm feer'd to resk it," said Pence, but the beautiful girl went up to
him, and with a smile which seemed to melt into the very soul, softly
said, "I am not afraid. Won't you take us?"

Old Pence hesitated for a moment and then turned and asked, "Who will go
with me?"

"Let me go, Mr. Oiler," said Shawn, never thinking of danger connected
with the river.

"Can you hold the rudder?" asked old Pence as he turned to Shawn.

"I'll hold it, Mr. Oiler," said Shawn. Down to the shore they went, the
sweet woman calm and undisturbed, while the young man at her side was
trembling and uneasy. The wind was blowing a gale, and the waves were
beating angrily upon the shore.

[Illustration: "I'll give you ten dollars to set us over."]

After several attempts, Shawn and Oiler succeeded in launching the boat
and getting up sail. The spray and water came drenching the young woman,
but she quietly took her seat.

"Hold her dead on Ogman's hill!" yelled Oiler to Shawn. The wind
bellowed into the stout sail and they shot into the foam, Shawn leaning
back with a firm grasp on the tiller, and his eye fixed on Oiler.

"Keep her quartered, with stern to the wind, and don't give her a chance
to sheer!" shouted Oiler.

"Is there much danger?" asked the bridegroom, as his teeth chattered.
Oiler did not answer him but yelled to Shawn, "Hold her steady and

"I'm trying to," said the groom, clutching his fair companion.

"I wasn't talking to you," said Oiler.

They were nearing the Indiana shore. Oiler shouted to Shawn, "Turn her
down a few points, then lift her out on the shore!" and beautifully did
they mount high on the pebbled beach. Oiler turned to Shawn and said,
"We'll not go back to-night." They went to the hotel. The proprietor
found the county clerk and a minister, and there in the little hotel
parlor, Shawn saw their passengers take the marriage vows.

"Wasn't he scared comin' over?" said Shawn to Oiler as they went to bed.

"Yes," said Oiler, "but wimmen always has the best grit when it comes to
a showdown, and when a woman makes up her mind to do a thing, 'spesh'ly
to git married, thar ain't no river or anything else can stop her. I've
seed a good many couples cross this stream--some of 'em, I reckon, wish
they had never made the trip. I fetched old Joe Davis over here with his
third wife. He run away with old Dodger Spillman's girl. Old Dodger
killed a plug hoss tryin' to beat them to the river. We was about forty
yards from shore when old Dodger run down and hollered for me to come
back, but his girl stood up in the skiff and hollered to him, 'Go back,
pap and cool off--hit's my last chance!'

"I started across with a young couple once, but the girl's daddy beat
'em to the river, and drawed down on the young man with a hoss-pistol.
The young man didn't flinch, but folded his arms and looked that old
galoot in the eye as cool as ever I see. The father ordered his girl to
come back with him, but she ketched holt of her lover's arm and said,
'If you are goin' to shoot, I bid for the fust fire--I'm goin' to have
this man!' Her old daddy swelled up and bust out cryin' and begged them
to go back home and git married, but they wouldn't do it, and he went
across with us, and after he got four or five drinks, he like to bought
out the town for them. Don't never run off to git married, Shawn. As for
myself, they ain't no sort of weddin' to my likin'. I never got sot on
but one girl, but I got sot on her for all time to come, and dad-scat
her, she run away with another feller just about a week before we was to
be hitched. Wimmen is curious. Some say as how we couldn't git along
without 'em, and it looks like it's mighty hard for some to git along
with 'em, an' seems as after some people gits the ones they's after,
that somethin' comes along to take away their happiness before it has
begun. There was Ann Coffee. Her and Eli Travis must a courted nigh onto
ten year. It was away back yonder in '52, but I can see 'em now settin'
out thar on the bank, holdin' hands. They went down to Madison and was
married at last. They took the Redstone for Cincinnati. The boat was
full of people; it was in the spring, and a happy crowd was aboard, with
music and dancin', and people come out all along the shore to see the
boat pass. Just four miles below here, on the Kentucky side, the
Redstone landed to take a young preacher aboard. His name was Perry
Scott, and he come up the swingin'-stage wavin' his han'kerchief to his
father and mother on the shore. Suddenly, there comes a mighty roar on
the air. The steamer was hid from view as the explosion shook the earth
and splashed water everywhere. The b'ilers of the Redstone had bust, and
all around you could hear the groans of the dyin'. The young preacher
was never heard of again, and nothin' but his white han'kerchief,
hangin' in a tree, was ever found. There was over seventeen people
killed outright. Eli Travis went down to death, and strange to say, Ann,
his wife, who was standin' by his side, was saved. She was blowed high
up in the air, but come down close to shore. Her hair turned white after
that, Shawn, and she used to set out thar on the bank, where they had
set so often, lookin' away down to the bend of the stream whar Eli had
been took away from her."

The next morning when Oiler and Shawn started to the river, Oiler
slipped a five dollar gold piece in Shawn's hand. "He give me two of
'em, and one of them belongs to you. What are you goin' to do with
yours, Shawn?"

"Give it to my mammy," said Shawn.


Doctor Hissong sat by the fireplace in his office. Brad was blacking a
pair of shoes. "Shawn," said the old doctor, "I'm going up to Old
Meadows this afternoon to hunt quail, and I want you to go along. Go
down and get ready while Brad hitches up the buggy."

The first snow of the season was gently sifting from the November skies
as Doctor Hissong and Shawn drove along the river road. Scattered flocks
of wild-geese and ducks were flying above the cottonwoods and sycamores.
The _honk_, _honk_ of the geese as they circled above the stream, their
white wings flashing in the veiled sunlight, lent a delicious touch to
the winter scene. Shawn was watching the curling smoke from a tall
chimney at the bend of the river. As they drew nearer, he saw the old
house nestling behind the tall pine trees, the white columns of the
broad porch standing out in stately grandeur. Doctor Hissong drove
through the orchard, coming up to the lower entrance to the house. Major
LeCroix came down the yard, his long, silvery hair waving beneath his
broad-brimmed hat, his ruddy countenance beaming a cordial welcome. Just
behind him, his hat in his hand, was Horton, a colored gentleman of the
old school, brought up in the LeCroix service, and staunch in his
devotion to the family. Major LeCroix led the way to the house. The
guineas began calling a chorus of _pot-racs_ and ran fluttering through
the drifting snow. "They are giving us a song of welcome," said Doctor
Hissong. Horton showed his gleaming teeth and said, "No, sah, it's a
song uv sorrow, for my ole woman, Mary, hez got two uv 'em in de yuven,
bakin' fo' yo' suppah."

As Shawn passed the old stone kitchen, he caught the fragrance of the
good things in Aunt Mary's oven, and Aunt Mary, in her white cap and
apron, was bending over the stove.

Major LeCroix and Doctor Hissong were standing on the porch. Shawn
paused for a moment to gaze fondly to where the stream wended its way
among the tall hills. The Major opened the low colonial door, and stood
aside as his guests entered the beautiful old family room. A back-log
blazed cheerfully in the open fireplace.

Over the fireplace was the mantel, with its rich hand-carving of the
French coat of arms. On the walls of the room were family portraits,
some of them brought from the provinces of old France. Doctor Hissong
stood before one portrait, a face sweet in its Madonna-like innocence
and purity. A tear-drop stole down the Major's cheek.

Leading Doctor Hissong over to the window, he pointed to the family
burying-ground, and said, "The dear wife sleeps under that tallest
pine." The snow had covered the mound, but again the Major could see
April days out there, and the heavy bloom of the orchard--the redbird
and the catbird were pouring out symphonies of melody; the silver-winged
pigeons were bending through the golden skies, and again he could hear a
mother's voice calling in happiest tones to her children.

"Horton, call Lallite," said Major LeCroix.

Shawn turned suddenly to see a young girl come into the room. She came
up coyly, greeting Doctor Hissong, and when she came over toward Shawn,
he felt a hot flush coming to his cheek. He had seen this young girl
before, with her father in town, but now as she came before him, with
her merry, flashing eyes and radiant color, he stood with downcast eyes,
and the old desire to run off to the woods came over him again. She gave
him her soft hand as her musical voice said, "I am so glad you came with
the doctor." He stood as one entranced before this girl of such sweet
and simple beauty, and unconsciously, he was led into an easy attitude
and relieved from his painful embarrassment.

Horton came into the room, bearing a tray and glasses. He turned to the
Major and asked, "De white er de red, Major?"

"Both, Horton."

Horton took the keys which hung at the end of the mantel. Returning, he
placed two bottles of grape wine on the tray. He filled the glasses, but
the Major observed that Shawn did not take his glass.

"Do you want the wine, boy?"

"No, sir, I thank you," said Shawn, hesitatingly.

"It's all right, Major," said Doctor Hissong, "Mrs. Alden is looking
after him, you know."

Raising his glass, Major LeCroix said, "Welcome to Old Meadows, and a
health to pleasant memories. You find things sadly changed--my dear
companion gone; my boy a soldier in a distant land, Louise long married
and never returning until she comes with the children to spend the
summer--but I have Lallite with her dear, happy heart, and I have Mary
and Horton."

The winter day was fast drawing to its close. Horton again appearing,
quietly said: "Supper is sarved."

The old dining-room with its mahogany side-board and dining-table, the
heavy brass candle-sticks, the tall clock in the corner, were all
familiar objects, and the presence of Aunt Mary and Horton, standing
behind the chairs, was a picture of a happier time, with the background
of many glad faces to be filled only with memory.

Shawn sat beside Lallite at the table, and deep down in his heart, he
felt that it was good to be there, and that life was opening to
something dearer than the general happenings of his narrow sphere had
ever given hope for.

With bowed head the Major asked the table blessing. Aunt Mary brought in
the delicious baked apples and poured over them the rich cream. The
Major was carving the guineas. "Lallite, help Shawn to one of those
corn-pones; I'll venture that you'll never get them any better in town.
The last time I was in the city, they brought me something they said was
cornbread, but it was mixed up with molasses, baking-powder and other
things. There are different kinds of cornbread, as you know. There is a
bread called egg-bread, made with meal, buttermilk, lard, soda and eggs,
and there is a mush-bread, made by scalding the meal--some call it
spoon-bread; but the only corn-bread is the pone, and the only way to
make them is to get white flint corn, have it ground at a watermill, if
you can, where they do not bolt the life out of it, scald your meal with
hot water, adding salt, then drain off the water thoroughly and mix your
meal with good, rich, sweet milk, then shove 'em in a hot oven, and
you'll have cornbread that is cornbread. Take one and butter it while it
is hot--don't cut it, break it. There you are. Let me help you to this
guinea breast. Did you ever know anyone who could get the crisp turn
that Mary gets on them?"

"Never, sir," said Doctor Hissong, "I never knew but one woman who could
come anyways near Mary's cooking, and that was Joel Hobson's wife, Lucy.
They used to say that her cooking was her only redeeming feature, for
she had a temper like a wildcat, and vented it upon poor Joel and made
life so miserable for him that he finally took to drink. One night, so
the boys tell it, Joel got too much and was lying out under the big elm
tree, afraid to go home. One of the boys rigged himself out in a white
sheet and came up to Joel, tapping him on the shoulder. 'Who are you?'
said Joel. 'I am the devil,' answered the deep voice. 'Come right over
and give me your hand; we're kinfolks. I married your sister.'

"I suppose you remember Lucy's mother, Major? Her name was Sahra Turner;
she was a good woman but powerful curious. She had married off all of
her girls but Mary Ellen, and Tip Jennings was paying court to her. It
seems that Sahra had kept close track of the courtship and the headway
of all her girls, and one night when Tip was in the parlor with Mary
Ellen, Sahra had a small kitchen table set by the parlor door and was
standing on it, looking over the transom to see how Tip was coming on.
Tip had gotten down on his knees and was making his declaration to Mary
Ellen. They were somewhat out of Sahra's range of vision. The crucial
moment had come, and Sahra leaned over to see the climax, but she leaned
too far, and one of the table-legs broke. Well, they got her up with two
ribs broke and laid up in bed for a long spell. Tip never came back, and
Mary Ellen married some fellow, who took her out to Kansas."

They sat long at the table, the Major rising again into the spirit of
old days, Shawn laughing at the quaint jokes and stories. Lallite's
sweet laughter rang out, bringing the glow into the Major's eyes. She
had heard the stories so often, but they never grew dull with the years,
and they seemed to mellow as beautifully as did the sunset of the
Major's life.

Shawn listened again as he sat by the blazing fire to tales of the
war--of charges, victories and defeats. Above the piano hung the Major's
sword, presented to him by his soldiers after the battle of Stone River.

"Major," said Doctor Hissong, "I want to hear some music before we

"What do you say, Lally?" said the Major.

Lallite went to the piano and gently touched the yellow keys. Major
LeCroix drew forth his beloved clarionet. As he took the instrument from
its case, he said, "I'm getting rusty nowadays, but Lally keeps me from
getting entirely out of tune. We'll try 'Sounds From Home'."

Lallite played the introduction and the Major joined in, the clarionet
breathing forth a deep rich melody. The Major seemed to throw his very
soul into the music, and Lallite followed him with a tender
accompaniment. The blaze from the fireplace flickered and threw changing
shadows over the old room. The Major and his daughter played on. They
were living again in the past, and the strains were bringing memories
sacred and sweet. Shawn sat as one transported to a heavenly sphere, his
eyes fixed on the delicately graceful figure swaying to and fro under
the changing cadences of the melody. It was the sweetest music that had
ever floated into the portals of Shawn's heart, awakening a thrill of
tenderness and love.

The tall clock in the dining-hall pealed forth the hour of ten. Horton
came with a lighted candle, and Shawn followed him to the south room
overlooking the river. A cozy fire burned in the grate, the moon
swinging above the stream touched the hills and valley to silvery
softness. He stood near the window and gazed long upon the water, the
stream running through every association of his life. On the table was a
daguerrotype; it was Lallite's face, and the eyes seemed smiling just
for him.

Doctor Hissong and Major LeCroix sat long into the night. "Major," said
the old doctor, "I'm going to make the race for the Legislature again.
John Freeman wants it, but I want to represent the county just once
more. Can you hold this end of the county for me?"

"I think I can," said the Major.

"Then I'll announce. Freeman is a bitter man to go against, but I'm not
afraid to try him out. I'm getting worn out in the practice of medicine,
and will probably retire whether elected or not. I have my affairs in
good shape; a bachelor doesn't require much. I want to put Shawn into
the practice some day, God bless him." A tear-drop glistened on the old
doctor's cheek, and Major LeCroix knew the secret of this emotion.


Who does not recall the joyous thrill that comes with the preparation
for a hunt--the powder-horns and shot pouches scattered here and
there--the cleaning of guns, the glances at the sky to determine whether
wind and weather are propitious, the barking of the dogs as their eyes
gleam in anticipation of the day's sport.

Major LeCroix critically examined Dr. Hissong's gun: "Too much choke in
the barrel for quail. Shawn, don't you load that rusty piece of yours
too heavily." Reaching above the doorway, he brought down his
muzzle-loading gun, with its silver mounted hammers and lock shields,
and as he caressingly drew his coat-sleeve along the barrels, he said,
"They don't know how to make them like this nowadays."

They went forth into the frosty, bracing air. They walked leisurely
along the bank of the little creek, where a crust of ice fringed the
shore. "Major," said Horton, "de las' time I see dat big flock uv birds,
wuz in de stubble de uther side de orchid." The Major worked the dogs
toward the stubble-field. Sam, the old English setter, began to trail,
halting occasionally to sniff the breeze.

"I think we will locate them in the sorghum patch," said the Major. Sam
was creeping cautiously through the sage grass just above the sorghum
field. Presently he came up erect and rigid, Bess, the trim little Irish
setter, behind him at back-stand. "Steady, there! Ho, steady! Can you
beat that, doctor?" cried the Major. "Get to the lower side of them,
Shawn, so we can drive them to the orchard--flush, Sam!" The old setter
sprang forward and the birds arose from the ground with an exciting
flutter. The guns roared and two birds fell. Doctor Hissong was
reloading, ramming the charge home with a long hickory ramrod. With
trembling hand, Major LeCroix drew the cork from his powder-horn, and
endeavored to pour the powder into the barrel.

"Let me load for you," said Shawn.

"No, indeed, I'm not too old to load my gun." He stood for a moment
looking at the shot-pouch. "Here, boy, maybe you had better load for
me." A tinge of sadness crept over his features, but gave way to an
expression of joy when Shawn said, "You and the doctor got your birds
that time, I missed." Horton gave Shawn a grateful glance. They got into
the scattered birds, the Major and Doctor Hissong thoroughly enjoying
the sport. As each bird came from cover, Shawn held his fire, and
followed closely after the shots of doctor Hissong and Major LeCroix,
and as each bird fell, he would shout, "Good shot, Major!" or "Good
shot, doctor!" They got into the lower bottoms, and by noon Horton
showed a fine bag of game. Shawn modestly refused to claim but a few of
the birds, but Horton knew of his unerring marksmanship, and wondered
at his unselfishness. Major LeCroix and Doctor Hissong were in jubilant
spirits as they turned homeward. Old Sam, the setter, limped painfully
behind the doctor.

[Illustration: "You and the doctor got your birds."]

"What crippled Sam?" asked the Major.

"I loaned him to a young fellow from Ohio last winter," said the doctor,
"I reckon about the greenest young man that ever went into the field. He
told Brad that he didn't know when nor how to shoot at the birds, and
the old black rascal said, 'Jes' shoot whar de dawg sets,' and
unfortunately Sam got tired and sat down, and got a load of bird-shot in
his hind-legs."

As they put their guns away that afternoon, Major LeCroix again examined
Shawn's cheap gun. Then came the supper of broiled birds, cooked as only
Mary could cook them, and at the table-board they went over the field
again, the work of the dogs, the Major meanwhile waxing eloquent over
the trueness of his gun.

Shawn lay again in the old Empire bed, watching the dying embers in the
fireplace. Softly the door opened--the Major entered, a lighted candle
in one hand, and his beloved muzzle-loader in the other. "Shawn, I have
been thinking it all over; I will hunt no more, but there are many days
for you in the field, but you _must_ have a gun, and I am giving you
mine." He paused at the door, held the candle aloft, the soft light
falling on his silvery hair, "Good night and pleasant dreams."

And the night was filled with pleasant dreams for Shawn, for that
afternoon as he and Lallite stood upon the porch, gazing upon the wintry
stream, she drew near him and said, "It will be so lonesome tomorrow
when you are gone," and something in the tone of the voice echoed the
same words in his heart.


It was midwinter, and the river was frozen over. The boats had not been
running for many days, and the happiest time of all the happy days for
the young people of the river towns had come. The ponds and creeks were
forgotten in the great event of skating on the river, and for miles the
smooth surface was a speedway over which the skaters made merry
excursions. In front of Skarrow the ice was firm, and with that buoyancy
so dear to the lovers of this sport. In the afternoons the young people
from the town of Skarrow and Vincent on the opposite side, all met on
the river. All classes were there--the darkey with his big crook-runner
skates, and the young beau, with his latest style polished runners. The
two races voluntarily divided the skating grounds, the white people
above, and the colored folks below.

The merry jingle of sleigh-bells could be heard amid this happy throng,
and glad voices rising in a splendid chorus, echoed throughout the
valley, and many a love dream had its first awakening and sweet
realization in this joyous time. How the crisp, frosty air brought the
glow of health and beauty to the cheek; how sweet the music of maiden
voices rising upon the wintry air, and the tumbling of glossy curls
underneath the hoods and sealskin caps as they sped through the
delightful hours. Tullie Wasson was out there with his string
band--Tullie with his old black fiddle, and Jim Grey with his cornet,
and his son with his wondrous bass violin, and Tullie knew all the good
old tunes, and a few fancy waltzes and polkas, but he was at his best in
the Virginia Reel, and it was a pretty sight to see the joyous couples
ranging off to their positions for the ice dance, and what great bursts
of laughter and cries of happiness swelled up when Tullie shouted, "Git
yer pardners fer a Reel!" The movements of the dance were executed with
a grace that would have done credit to the ball-room, Jimmy Dunla, the
master of ceremonies, occasionally leaving the lines to give an
exhibition of fancy skating and cutting his name on the ice.

Then came the races. The towns of Vincent and Skarrow gave a cup each
skating year for the winner of the Ice Race. The race was for one
thousand yards, the starting point was at the big hay barn, and a red
flag marked the post at the end of the course. Four young men from each
side of the river were entered in this race, the event of the season.
Indiana held the cup. It had been three years since the last race. Among
those entered by the Kentucky boys was Shawn. He had been practicing for
many days, and somehow, the hopes of Kentucky were centered in him. The
winner of the last race was also entered again. He was one of the most
popular boys of the Indiana town, and the betting was strongly in his
favor. He was of magnificent build, with a long, graceful stroke, and
came skating out before the crowd with the easy confidence of one who
felt that the race was won. He closely watched the Kentucky boys as they
circled about the crowd preparatory to starting for the head of the
course. His eyes were fixed on Shawn. Turning to a friend, he said, "If
I am beaten to-day, there's the young fellow who will get the cup." He
skated over toward Shawn, and extending his hand, with the utmost good
will, he said, "I'm afraid that I will have to beat my old record to win
out to-day." Shawn smilingly took his hand and answered, "We are going
to do our best, but if Indiana keeps the cup, I know of no one who would
deserve it more than you, Danner."

The starter announced the race, and ordered the contestants to the head
of the course. As they gracefully swung away, Lallite waved her hand
toward Shawn, and the tender glance from her blue eyes sent a thrill
into his bosom.

They were forming for the start, sixty yards beyond the flag which
marked the line of starting. All was excitement in the crowd gathered on
each side near the finishing line. It seemed that every voice was hushed
as they saw the red flag at the head of the course suddenly fall, and
heard the cry, "Go!" They could see the flash of steel against the ice
as the skaters bent every effort toward the goal. After the first
hundred yards, Danner and Shawn were seen to be in the lead, Danner
almost erect and coming like a whirlwind. Shawn was bending over, but
close on Danner's heels, and with a shorter but much faster stroke.
_Swish_, _swish_, _swish_--they could hear the sound of the skates on
the ice.

The Indiana crowd set up a mighty shout. "Come on, Danner! Look at

"Come, Shawn," yelled the Kentucky boys. Old Brad ran out and threw up
his hat and shouted, "Down to it, my Shawn--bust yo'se'f wide open,

Shawn was just behind Danner. They were nearing the last hundred yard
flag. Danner threw all his energy and power into the last effort; every
nerve and muscle was strained to its utmost.

"Danner wins!" went up the cry, but suddenly like a rush of wind, Shawn
shot past him and the flag went down with Shawn a good five yards in the

And such a mighty shout that went up on that frozen stream was never
heard before. Old Brad was rubbing Shawn's face and chest. Shawn heard
the loud huzzas and heard Danner's voice praising his wonderful race,
but best of all, Lallite came up, and with her own hand, presented him
the cup. On the shoulders the boys of Skarrow he was carried in triumph.
It was a proud day for Shawn. He had brought the cup back to Kentucky.

[Illustration: They were nearing the last hundred yard flag.]


The winter had passed away. Shawn had been working hard in school, and
under the encouragement of Mrs. Alden, was making fair progress, but
Sunday afternoons found him in his row-boat, wandering about the stream
and generally pulling his boat out on the beach at Old Meadows, for
Lallite was there to greet him, and already they had told each other of
their love. What a dream of happiness, to wander together along the
pebbled beach, or through the upland woods, to tell each other the
little incidents of their daily life, and to pledge eternal fidelity. Oh
dearest days, when the rose of love first blooms in youthful hearts,
when lips breathe the tenderest promises, fraught with such transports
of delight; when each lingering word grows sweeter under the spell of
love-lit eyes. Oh, blissful elysium of love's young dream!

They stood together in the deepening twilight, when the sun's last bars
of gold were reflected in the stream.

"Oh, Shawn, it was a glad day when you first came with Doctor Hissong to

"Yes," said Shawn, as he took her hand, "it was a hunt where I came upon
unexpected game, but how could you ever feel any love for a poor

"I don't know," said Lallite, "but maybe, it is that kind that some
girls want to fall in love with, especially if they have beautiful
teeth, and black eyes and hair, and can be unselfish enough to kill a
bag of game for two old men, and let them think that they did the

"Lally, when they have love plays on the show-boats, they have all sorts
of quarrels and they lie and cuss and tear up things generally."

"Well, Shawn, there's all sorts of love, I suppose, but mine is not the
show-boat kind."

"Thank the Lord," said Shawn.

He drew out a little paste-board box. Nestling in a wad of cotton, was
the pearl given to him by Burney.

"Lally, this is the only thing I have ever owned in the way of jewelry,
and it's not much, but will you take it and wear it for my sake?"

"It will always be a perfect pearl to me," said the blushing girl.


Doctor Hissong was announced as a candidate for the Legislature. John
Freeman, his opponent, was making a vigorous canvass for the nomination
before the democratic primary. Freeman, unfortunately, saw fit to inject
personalities into the campaign, and sought to throw the old doctor into
a violent passion, possibly leading him to his old weakness of resorting
to liquor, but Doctor Hissong made his canvass upon a high plane,
appealing to the voters from a standpoint of the duties and
responsibilities involving this honor, and ignoring the petty thrusts of
his opponent.

Major LeCroix gave a burgoo at his locust grove on the river, to which
all the candidates were invited. It was an occasion which brought out
an immense crowd of farmers and town-people. "Turkle" Thompkins had been
engaged to make the burgoo, and the river country could not boast of
another such burgoo maker as "Turkle", for the making of burgoo soup
requires an experience born of long practice and care. Thompkins always
selected the best meats, of beef, mutton, chickens and squirrels, and
vegetables of corn, tomatoes, onions, cabbage and potatoes. The boiling
of this delicious soup was begun the night before. Darkies were stirring
the great kettles as "Turkle" went quietly around, adding some new
ingredient here and there. Others could make burgoo--a certain kind, but
not the Thompkins kind, for there was a lusciousness about his burgoo
that filled you with a satisfaction never known before--a something that
soothed your aching pangs--something that seemed to put your heart at
rest with all the world, and recall the words, "Fate cannot harm me; I
have dined to-day."

Above the smoke of the kettles, the sky was blue and dreamy; the river
was winding like a thread of silver through the quiet valley. The long
table of rough boards, with the row of tin cups and great stacks of
bread, was an inviting spectacle. The farmers stood around in groups,
discussing political questions and cropping prospects until "Turkle"
Thompkins announced dinner. Then came a merry clattering of tin cups as
"Turkle" came by with buckets of burgoo, dipping it out with a long
ladle. What an appetite each individual seemed to develop for this
open-air repast. After the dinner, preparations were made for the
speaking. The spot selected for the speaking was below the grove, where
an elm stump answered for a platform.

The candidates for the county offices were called for, and each one made
a short talk, asking the support of the voters. Doctor Hissong's name
was shouted. Unbuttoning his long blue coat, he drew forth a large red
silk handkerchief and wiped the gathering beads of perspiration from
his forehead. Pulling down his black velvet vest, he made a courtly bow,
took a drink of water from a gourd and began:

"Gentlemen and fellow citizens--It gives me transcendent happiness and
unalloyed pleasure to lend my humble presence to this sublime and
significant occasion, and I cannot permit this occasion to pass without
availing myself of the opportunity that this magnificent and intelligent
audience affords of presenting myself to you as the candidate for the
democratic nomination for the office of representative in the Kentucky
Legislature. It has been the pride of my life to proclaim myself as a
patriot; that I am a descendent of one who helped to make this country
free--'decori decus addit avoto,' and I have felt that the realization
of this patriotism and its dream that has clung to me through life,
would be in getting a system of locks and dams on the Kentucky
river--that river that winds through an enchantment of rocky cliffs and
hanging foliage; by mountains, cedar-tipped and mossy-green; by rolling
meadows, where the velvet softness of the blue-grass enriches this
idyllic picture--this stream that is famed in song and story, a perfect
Switzerland of enrapturing and delicious beauty. Here a thundering
waterfall and fragile foliage bending over the foam. Here cool and shady
ravines leading up to tranquil Edens, the voluptuous bends through an
enchantment of bloom and wildwood, losing themselves among the
rock-ribbed hills. This stream, bathed in the effulgence of the dropping
sun--the mingling afterglow of sunset and the primrose bloom of the
first stars, unfolds then with its majestic splendors to the enraptured
gaze. We are held spell-bound, my friends, as we see the bright moon
riding the hilltops and shining overhead,

  "'The bright moon shining overhead,
    The stream beneath the breeze's touch,
  Are pure and perfect joys indeed,
    But few are they who think them such.'"

The rough and rocky points are softened under the magic and seem to lean
lovingly toward the stream. Ah, to keep all of this loveliness stored
from human eye--I mean to lock and dam this stream for all humanity who
wish to journey thence and revel amid these splendors. 'Sic passem;
semper idem.' Not one measly lock and dam, but a system of locks by
which navigation could be advanced from the mountains to the Ohio,
developing the great resources of that wonderous possibility, wherein
the bema procliamus of nature we might find another Arch of Hadrian, or
the Tower of the Winds; where mountain peaks may rise like unto the
temple of Olympian Zeus, or the far away monument of Philopappos. Yes,
gentlemen, I stand for locking and damming the Kentucky river! 'Civis
Romanus Sum' was the proud utterance of the noble Roman, and the
proudest of that proud and conquering race never proclaimed himself such
with greater delight than I, that I am an American and a Democrat. With
my feeling of patriotism runs my devotion to the democratic party. But,
gentlemen, in saying that I am a Democrat, brings forward the great
existing issues between the two leading parties of the country. I might
go into a long discussion of the principles of those two parties, but in
a nutshell I can define the differences of such vital import to the
voters of this land. The principles of the Democratic party
represent--er, well, they represent the principles which that great
party stands for, and the principles of the Republican party, ahem! Yes,
sir, gentlemen, the principles of the Republican party represent the
principles for which the Democratic party won't stand! So there you have
it, and I defy any man to dispute this argument. I will not go into
discussion of its principles here. I have sought public preferment at
the hands of my party, but 'Ego, spembat pretio nionemonio,' sometimes
that preferment was accorded, at least, upon one occasion. No man has a
right to complain when, under any form of government, the people
withhold their indorsement, but every citizen has a right to complain if
the downfall of an aspirant is accomplished by foul and unfair means,"
(this last statement was made while looking toward Freeman). "I have
passed practically all of my life in your midst. A man should be honest,
with a courage to face the great truths opening to him."

Freeman interrupted him at this point, "A man should be courageous
enough to own his own children!"

"You sneaking hypocrite!" shouted Doctor Hissong, "You let one of your
own sisters die in poverty and distress!"

"You are a damned liar!" said Freeman.

Doctor Hissong leaped from the stand, a derringer in his hand. The crowd
fell back. Freeman fired point-blank at Hissong, but missed, then turned
to run. Doctor Hissong brought up his derringer and pulled the trigger.
Old Brad shouted, "You got him in de laig, doctah, but he runnin' yit!"
Freeman's son, Henry, the one who kicked Coaly that day in school,
caught up his father's pistol which had fallen to the ground, but as he
turned toward Doctor Hissong, Shawn sprang forward, knocking the
revolver from his hand.

The older men separated the younger combatants, and the crowd broke up
and turned homeward.


The town marshall of Skarrow was a very busy man the next morning after
the burgoo, serving warrants on Doctor Hissong and Freeman, summoning
witnesses and a jury, and getting men to serve on a jury in a small
town, where two of its foremost citizens are to stand trial, is a matter
of considerable difficulty. Freeman had only received a slight flesh
wound, and was not confined to his home.

Court was held in the office of Judge Budlong, who acted as prosecuting
attorney, magistrate, writer of wills and general collector of accounts
and rents. An occasional runaway couple, seeking the marriage bond,
added a few dollars to his bank account, for the Judge had a
happy-go-lucky ceremony which did not impress nor detain a restless
lover too seriously with the sanctity of the occasion. There were a few
law books on the table, a heavy tool-chest, where the Judge kept a jug
of white corn whiskey under lock and key. The police Judge, a sort of
hanger-on about town, put a coal of fire in his pipe and said,
"Gentlemen, air you ready to try this case?"

Budlong arose and balanced his ponderous form against the table, holding
a law-book in his hand. The tuft of whiskers on his chin seemed to
quiver into an accompaniment to his words. He began reading in a deep
voice: "Gentlemen of the jury, to enlighten you as to the nature of this
case, I shall read to you under Subdivision V, Section 1165, Kentucky
Statutes: 'If any person shall by fighting, or otherwise unlawfully pull
or put out an eye, cut or bite off the tongue, nose, ear or lip, or cut
or bite off any other limb or member of another person, he shall be
confined in the penetentiary for not less than one, or more than five

"That law don't seem to apply to this case," said the police-Judge.

"Shut up," said Budlong, "I ain't through. What do you know about law,

"I ain't very strong on tecknickelties," said the police-Judge, "duly
elected by the voters of this town, I am the Court, and as such I
perpose to perside, and I demand, sah, your respectful recognition of
that fact."

"Duly elected," said Budlong, "because nobody else would have it. But,
gentlemen of the jury, I shall read you Section 1166, which is as
follows, 'If any person shall draw and present a pistol, loaded with
lead or other substance, or shoot at and wound another with the
intention to kill him, so that he does not die thereby, he shall be
confined in the penetentiary not less than one, or more than five years.
There's your law, gentlemen. Call the first witness!"

"Bill Shonts!" called the marshall. Bill came to the chair.

"What's your name?"

"W'y, Jedge, you know my name."

"Answer my question. What's your name?"

"Bill Shonts."

"Where do you live?"

"Sho, Jedge, you've knowed me all my life!"

"That ain't the question. You answer accordin' to the custom of the

"I want you to state what you know about this case."

"Directly, or indirectly, Jedge?"

"Where was you when this difficulty started?"

"Well, sir, I was not in any one certain spot, directly, but indirectly,
I was jest beginnin' to--"

"State where you was at!" thundered Budlong.

"Well, sir, jest at the time of this difficulty, I was jest beginning to
take a nap--"

"Do you mean to say that you was asleep?"

"Not directly, Jedge, but--"

[Illustration: "W'y, Jedge, you know my name."]

"Where was you when the damn lie passed?"

"Jest beginning to move."

"Did you see Doctor Hissong draw a pistol?"

"No, sir, not directly."

"Did you hear a shot?"

"Yes, sir."

"Where was you then?"

"Ramblin' away, sir."

"What do you mean by _ramblin' away_?"

"Runnin', flyin', hittin' the dust."

"Then you don't know who fired first?"

"No, sir, not directly."

"Call Jerry McManus," said Budlong. A red-faced, jovial-looking Irishman
took the chair.

"Where were you when this trouble started, Jerry?"

"Under a sycamore tree, asleep."

"Had you been drinkin'?"

"Yis, sor, thot is to say, accordin' to the liberties av a mon injoyin'
the soshabilities av good company."

"Did you hear the _dam lie_ pass?"

"No, sor, I heard no footsteps av iny sort."

"Did you hear a shot from where you lay?"

"There wor no shot from where I lay. If there wor iny shot from where I
lay, thin I wor already half-shot."

"Wasn't you in a state of intoxication?"

"I wor in the state of Kintucky."

"Stand aside," said Budlong, "Call the next witness." One by one the
witnesses gave their testimony, varying according to the friendly
feeling for the men on trial. At last, Budlong said, "Call Brad
Jackson." Old Brad got in the witness chair and gazed listlessly at the

"Brad, was you present when this difficulty started?"

"No, sah."

"Where was you?"

"In de grove, eatin' soup."

"Where was you when the lie passed?"

"On my way to Doctor Hissong."

"State to the jury what you know about this case."

"Yassir, genelmun, hit remine me uv de time when Kernel Poindexter an'
Mistah Fontaine had a quarrel ovah a fox-chase down in Baton-Rouge--"

"Confine yourself to the case," said Budlong.

"Yassir, thankee, Jedge, en Kernel Poindexter he 'low dat his dawg,
Watercress wuz in de lead, full yelp at de crossin' 'buv de bayou--"

"I don't care nothin' about that fox-chase," shouted Budlong, "You tell
the court what you know about this case."

"Yassir, I'm tryin' to, Marse Jim--en Mistah Brandon Fontaine, you know,
he want one er de ole quality in dat naberhood, he sorter drap in dar,
en pick up a lot er money by sorter tradin' en watchin' 'roun' de edges,
en a kine uv cotton swapper, en wo' fine duds en' de bigges' watch-chain
yo' ever see--"

"Judge, will you pull that old nigger back to this case?" said Budlong.

"In due time, sah, in due time," said the police-Judge, who wanted to
hear the outcome of Brad's story.

"Yassir, en Mistah Brandon Fontaine en Kernel Poindexter, dey met in
front uv de post-office, en Mistah Brandon Fontaine he smokin' a long,
black seegar, en one foot crossed on tuther, en when Kernel Poindexter
come up, Mistah Fontaine say, 'Yo' dawg cut thru en got in de lead,' en
Kernel Poindexter, he look jes ez cool ez a cabbage-leaf, en he say,
'Hit's a scan'lous lie, frum low trash!' Kernel Poindexter done turned
white en his eye wuz all glitter--"

"I told you, for the last time, to tell what you know about this case!"

"Yassir, easy, Marse Jim. Gimme a chanst. En Mr. Brandon Fontaine kinder
thode hi han' behine him, en' Kernel Poindexter crac' erway at him en
bust a bottle uv whiskey inside his pocket en dis hyar Mistah Fontaine,
he showed de _yaller_ jes' lak Mr. Freeman did yestiddy, en he rin so
fas' dat yo' could play checkers on his coat-tail!"

"Stand aside," roared Budlong.

The case went to the jury. That august body retired to deliberate. The
stragglers near the window heard hot words and wrangling in the
jury-room. In the course of an hour, the door opened and the jury filed

"Have you reached a verdict, gentlemen?"

"We have," said the foreman.

"What is it?"

"We don't find no evidence to convict nobody."

"So help me, Caesar!" said Budlong.


John Burney was clearing away the wreck of a coal-barge that had drifted
under the lower edge of the wharfboat. The water had fallen, leaving
part of the barge on shore. Burney had used every known method in trying
to remove the wreckage. Old Pence Oiler came by and walked up to the
heavy mass of timbers and called to Burney, "John, she's too wet to
burn, and there ain't but one way to git her off, an' that's to lay a
stick of dynamite under the front end, give her a slow fuse and blow her

Burney called to Shawn, who was on the bank, and asked him to go down to
Bennett's mill and get a stick of dynamite, and Shawn, desirous of
seeing the blast, hastened on the errand.

"Be careful how you handle that goods," said Bennett, "I knowed a
feller once who left some of it layin' around, and a hog et it, and the
man kicked the hog and lost a leg!"

Shawn helped Burney to place the stick, unmindful of one of Coaly's
never-failing traits. Shawn had taught him, as a young dog, to carry
things from the boat in his mouth, and faithful Coaly could be sent back
for his glove or any small article left behind. The little dog stood
watching Shawn and Burney as they placed the stick and touched the fire
to the fuse.

"Run, Shawn!" yelled Burney.

Old man Oiler backed his boat out into the stream, and Shawn and Burney
ran up the shore.

Horror of horrors! When Burney turned to look back toward the wreckage,
he saw Coaly coming after them with the dynamite stick in his mouth, the
fire slowly creeping up the fuse.

"Go back, Coaly! Go back!" yelled Burney. He threw a boulder at the
little dog, but he came on. Burney ran for the willows under the bank
as Coaly quickened his pace. Shawn had taken refuge in an old saw-mill
and peered out, wringing his hands in an agony of suspense. Burney was
breaking down the dry willows and yelling, "Go back, Coaly!"

Suddenly, there was a loud report that shook the earth. The ground was
torn up and bark and driftwood were scattered everywhere. Shawn and
Burney ran up, but there were no signs of Coaly, not even a trace of
bone, hide nor hair. Coaly had returned to the original atoms of
atmosphere and nothingness.

Shawn sat upon a log and wept. Pence Oiler came up, cut a piece of
tobacco from his plug and said, "There's nothin' to bury--not even a



The winter days had come again, and the year was fast drawing to its
close. Doctor Hissong had been elected to the Legislature, and was
making arrangements to leave for Frankfort the first of January. Shawn
was in school, growing into a handsome and athletic young man of
eighteen years, with the light of health glowing in his eyes, and with
an honest purpose in his heart.

One morning Mrs. Alden sent word to him to call at her home after the
school hour. Shawn went up there in the afternoon. The good woman
greeted him with a smile and bade him be seated by the library fire.

"Shawn, I have sent for you, purposely, to ask a great favor."

The black eyes beamed the sincere impulse of his heart, as he turned to
her and said, "Mrs. Alden, it would make me happy to do something for

"I am going to Cincinnati on the boat to-night, Shawn. I am going there
to see a great specialist, and I would like very much for you to go with

"It will give me pleasure to go," said Shawn.

Shawn met Mrs. Alden's carriage at the wharfboat, and exerted himself to
make her as comfortable as possible until the arrival of the up-stream
boat. At 8.30 o'clock the wharfmaster came into the little waiting-room
and said, "The America will soon be here."

In a short time the great steamer drew up to the wharf, and Shawn,
supporting Mrs. Alden's frail form with his strong arms, went up the
steps and into the cabin. The chambermaid placed Mrs. Alden's chair in
the ladies' cabin, and Shawn went off to select a convenient and
comfortable stateroom.

The cabin presented a scene of merriment. Under the gleaming lights
were a hundred happy couples, dancing away the gladsome hours. The
strains of music swelled and floated far out into the night, and the
joyous voices mingled with the changing melodies.

Shawn sat near Mrs. Alden, and together they gazed upon the gay throng
and enjoyed the inspiriting music. Far below, in the engine-room, the
lights glimmered over the polished machinery. The engineer glanced
occasionally at his steam-gauge and water-cocks. The negro firemen were
singing a plantation melody as they heaved shovels of coal into the
glaring furnace under the boilers. Roustabouts and deck-hands were
catching short rounds of sleep in their bunks back of the engine-room.
Sitting on either side of the boiler, were "deck passengers," those too
poor to engage passage in the cabin, and here and there, tired children
lay asleep across their mothers' knees.

In the pilot-house, Napolean Jenkins, the head pilot, stood with his
hand on the spokes of the wheel, gazing with the eyes of a night-bird
on the outlines of shore and hill. Mann Turpin, his steersman, stood at
the right of the wheel. Jenkins knocked the ashes from his cigar, and
the glow from the deep red circle of tobacco fire momentarily radiated
the gloom of the pilot-house. The night was serene and clear, the full
moon shining and shedding her dreamy light over the sleeping, snow-clad
valley, and the silvery rays filtered through the clustering branches of
the towering trees. As the great boat swung along past a farm-house,
Jenkins heard the shrill, alarming cry of a peacock. Strains of music
came floating upward from the cabin. The grim, black smoke-stacks were
breathing heavily, and the timbers of the Texas trembled as the boat
came up under the high pressure of steam.

The lights of Wansaw were just around the bend. Jenkins blew a long
blast for the little town. The sound echoed and re-echoed among the
wooded hills. The farmer in his bed on the silent shore turned on his
pillow as the deep, sonorous sound fell upon his ear--the sweet, weird
music of the stream.

Jenkins made the landing, and heading his boat for the middle of the
river, made a long crossing for the Indiana shore.

"It's a fine night," said Turpin.

"Beautiful," said Jenkins.

He turned and gazed toward the stern of his boat as she swung into the
clear and squared herself for the point of the bend. The moonbeams
glittered and danced on the waves in the wake of the steamer, and the
rays touched the snow on the hills with diamond sparks. The tall
sycamores on either side stood clearly outlined against the wintry sky,
and the white corn-shocks on the distant ridge were silhouetted like
Indian wigwams. Here and there a light glimmered from some cabin window,
and a dog barked defiance at the boat as it sped up stream.

"The States ought to be about due," said Turpin.

"I think I hear her now," said Jenkins.

When they got up to the point of the bend where they could see up the
river, they saw the States coming down. From her forward smoke-stacks
were the signal lights of emerald green and ruby red, trembling in
delicate brilliancy against the background of silvery sky. The splash of
her ponderous wheels as they churned the water, seemed to vibrate into a
song of gathering power. When the two boats were about eight hundred
yards apart, Jenkins turned to Turpin and said, "Blow two blasts; I'll
take the left side." Turpin sounded the blasts, and Jenkins headed for
the Indiana shore. Jacob Remlin, the pilot on the States, blew one blast
of his whistle just as Turpin sounded the first signal on the America.
Jenkins on the America, did not hear Remlin's one signal, because it
sounded at the same time of the first signal from the America. Remlin on
the States, heard the last one of the signals from the America, taking
it for an answer to his own signal, and he also headed his boat for the
Indiana shore. Both men violated the rules of signals. Remlin should
not have blown any signal until he heard from the up-stream boat, and
Jenkins, not hearing any signal from the States, should have stopped his
boat. Jenkins was standing on the starboard side, that placing him
behind the chimney, and he did not see the States until she came out
across his bow.

"My God!" shouted Turpin, as he saw the States bearing down upon them
like some ferocious monster, "We're lost!"

The boats came together with a fearful crash. The smoke-stacks groaned
and hissed, and great clouds of smoke rolled over the scene. The first
shock of the collision brought a sudden check to the dancing on the
America, throwing many to the floor and mixing up the whole assembly
into a confused mass. Heads were peering through the transoms of the
staterooms and voices excitedly calling, "What's the matter?" John
Briscoe, the watchman, came hurriedly through the cabin and said, "The
States and the America have run into each other!"

The strains of music had ceased giving way to anxious inquiries on
every side. The officers of the boat were running to and fro, giving
orders, the negro cabin-boys adding to the chaos of the scene by loud
and far-reaching cries.

On the roof, the Captain was giving orders to Jenkins: "Come ahead,
outside!" Jenkins pulled the bell-rope and the brave engineer responded
to the order. The boats had swung a short distance apart, the States
rapidly sinking. Jenkins put the America up between the States and the
shore. The States was carrying, as freight, a lot of barrels of coal-oil
and gasoline, and in the collision these were smashed and the gasoline
caught fire and in a few moments the sinking boat was all ablaze

Jenkins groaned as he saw the fire, for the flames had already swept
over upon the America, and he saw that his boat was also doomed. The bow
of the America was almost touching the gravel, and believing that he had
his boat safely on shore, Jenkins hurriedly left the pilot-house.
Charles Ditman, the other head pilot of the America, off watch, ran up
into the pilot-house and catching the wheel, rang for reversed engines,
and backed the boat out into the river, away from the States, but his
action was miscalculated, for fire had broken out on the America, and
great sheets of flame were leaping from her forward decks and guards.
Had the boat held the position in which Jenkins had placed her, all the
passengers might have escaped. Officers and crew were cutting away
timbers with axes and dashing water upon the fire, but the great
crackling tongue of flame licked up everything in its pathway. The
heavens shone like a great, golden mirror under the spreading blaze. The
burning oil flowed out over the water and flamed up across every avenue
of escape. From out the black clouds of smoke, great sheets of flame
burst through, rolled heavenward, and leaped down again like some
devouring demon.

In such a transformation from pleasure to horror, who can discern the
turning impulses within the human breast--of fear, of hope or of heroic
self-control? To some, such a moment brings hopeless despair, or frantic
terror, which will crush women and children and crowd them from places
of safety, and oftimes in such an hour there comes to those of otherwise
timid dispositions, a grandeur of heroism never evidencing itself
before; some latent, slumbering power of soul that can only be awakened
by some fearful test of human tragedy.

From the burning boats came wild cries, shrieks and screams. Some were
kneeling in prayer, others cursing and bemoaning their plight. Dr.
Fannastock, a millionaire manufacturer from Philadelphia, clasped his
beautiful daughter in his arms and cried, "I will give one hundred
thousand dollars to the one who saves my child!" Both were lost. Ole
Bull, the famous violinist, who had taken passage at Louisville, stood
quietly holding his violin case, calmly endeavoring to reassure the
frightened women and children. The fire was fast approaching the rear

Shawn stood by Mrs. Alden's side, buckling a life-preserver around her
body. "I'm trusting in God, Shawn," said the good woman, as a ghastly
pallor overspread her face.

"Put a little of that trust in me," said Shawn as he bore her in his
arms to the aft guards. Hurriedly passing down the back stairs, he went
through the engine-room to the rear end of the boat. They were lowering
the trailing-yawl, which swung on a level with the floor of the lower
cabin. As the yawl touched the water, a score of roustabouts started to
leap into it.

"Stand back there!" shouted Shawn. "These women and children must go

Shawn lowered himself into the yawl, and catching Mrs. Alden with both
hands, placed her on a seat in the stern of the boat. The fire was
gaining headway and black volumes of smoke were rolling from the
engine-room. Ole Bull, with a countenance pale, but noble in its
expression of high courage, tenderly lowered the women and children
into the boat. Shawn took each one and placed them as closely as
possible on the seats.

"Get aboard," he said to the musician. Shawn pushed the yawl away from
the burning boat, and seating himself with the oars, began the fight for
the shore. Great sparks from the burning timbers fell about them. The
cabin of the America toppled and fell with a crash, and as the burning
portions struck the water the waves seemed to hiss as if seeking some
struggling soul. The clamor had become deafening; men were leaping into
the water and hoarse cries rang out above the flames.

Shawn was bending to the oars, his long boating practice now standing
him in good stead. The fumes from the burning oil were almost
unbearable, threatening to suffocate the occupants of the yawl. Thirty
yards away was the shore. The muscles in Shawn's arms were straining to
their utmost. The heavily laden boat was almost dipping water.

[Illustration: The Cabin of the America fell with a crash.]

"Sit steady, everybody!" cried Shawn. He turned and gazed toward the
shore, and then put all his strength into the oars and ran the boat upon
the shore. The occupants leaped out, giving joyful expressions for their
safety. Shawn wrapped Mrs. Alden in his coat and carried her from the
boat. On the bank was a log-cabin, from which a light shone. Hastening
thither, he found the door open and a wood-fire burning in the
fireplace, the family having gone to the scene of the disaster. Shawn
placed Mrs. Alden in a chair and said, "Try to make the best of it until
I return; I'm going back to save all I can."

"May God watch over you," sobbed Mrs. Alden.

Shawn sprang into the yawl and pushed out into the stream, and the work
he did that night in saving struggling beings, is still talked about
along that river. The boats were burning to the water's edge, and along
the shore were sobs and groans from those who had reached land; cries of
anguish from those who had lost their loved ones. Oh, the suffering of
that winter night! Children with blistered limbs, crying for mothers
whose voices were hushed beneath the stream; old men writhing in cruel
pain, moaning in piteous tones; young men with folded arms hearing again
the last sad cries of sweethearts as they were torn from them.

Shawn went back to the log-house and found Mrs. Alden in tears.

"Oh, my dear boy, if I were only strong enough to go among those
suffering ones. God has been kind to give me strength to pass through
this ordeal, but I am helpless to aid others."

Shawn stood by her chair; the frost had coated his dark hair, his cheeks
seemed aflame from the exertion through which he had passed.

The news of the disaster traveled fast.

The Alice Lee, coming up from Madison, stopped at all of the villages
and took aboard doctors and those volunteering to help. At midnight they
arrived at the scene of the terrible catastrophe. One of the first
passengers to step ashore was Doctor Hissong, Brad Jackson just behind
him. The old doctor had his saddle-bags and instrument case, and Brad
carried a roll of bandages.

"I wonder if they're still alive, Brad?" said Doctor Hissong. Old Brad's
heart was heavy with forebodings, but suddenly he gave vent to a yell
that nearly upset the nerves of Doctor Hissong: "Fo' Gawd, doctah,
yondah's Shawn!"

Shawn came up, and the old doctor threw his arms around him and cried
for joy. "Is Mrs. Alden alive, Shawn?"

"All right," said Shawn, as he pointed toward the cabin. Doctor Hissong
hastened to the cabin, and when he came up to Mrs. Alden he bent over
her hand and kissed it with a beautiful reverence.

"Thank God for saving you," he said.

"And Shawn," gently added Mrs. Alden.

The survivors went aboard the Alice Lee and the injured and the dead
were also taken on board. Doctor Hissong and the other doctors gave all
their time toward alleviating the sufferings of the unfortunate ones.

When the boat reached Skarrow, it found Mrs. Alden's carriage at the
wharf. Shawn and Brad carried her to it. She turned to Doctor Hissong
and said, "Bring as many of the injured as you can to my home, and those
in need of clothes or assistance in any way."


The passing of five years over a country village generally brings but
little change in the existing conditions, but even in this prosaic
atmosphere of easy going methods and action, the calendar marks some
days and events of more than passing notice.

Doctor Hissong had served his term in the Legislature, and proudly
pointed to his record in passing the bill for the construction of extra
locks and dams on the Kentucky river.

Shawn was attending lectures at the Medical College in Louisville,
Doctor Hissong acting as his preceptor and paying all the expenses
necessary to his medical education, and now that he had been two years
in school and was nearing the end of the course, Shawn felt that life
held out a hope for him far beyond the dreams of his earlier years, and
his breast swelled with gratitude to those who had shown him such
friendship and confidence; to the kind old doctor, who trusted him to
his every word and deed, and to Mrs. Alden, who wrote him such beautiful
and touching letters, reminding him of his duty to God and his
fellow-men, and as he laid each one of her letters aside, it seemed that
a newer strength and some higher motive filled his heart.

And there were other letters whose coming he anxiously awaited. The
small, round handwriting on the envelope sent the glow of happiness into
his eyes; the dear, sweet letters from Lallite, with marginal notes in
every conceivable nook and corner of the page; the dainty tid-bits of
love. When these letters came, Shawn took them and wandered down to the
stream he loved so well. Lallite seemed associated with the murmuring
ripples, the tiny pebbles of the beach, and the shimmering bosom of the
river. As he sat near the drowsy rumbling falls with her letter in his
hand, it seemed that the river flowing past breathed some tender message
from the village above and linked his heart into a closer and fonder
memory of sweeter hours. And these letters laden with love's tender
offerings, with here and there some whisperings of loneliness, some
unlooked-for digression embracing the gossip of the neighborhood, or
some delicious speculation as to his fidelity and love.

One day, just about three weeks before his graduation, as he sat at the
dinner table, a servant came in and placed a telegram beside his plate.
Shawn opened the envelope and read, "Come home at once. Dave Budlong."

Something seemed to almost paralyze his heart-strings; some terrible
apprehension took possession of him. His mother? Mrs. Alden? Lallite?

Through the long, dragging hours which followed until the evening
mail-boat started up the river, he wandered in an agony of suspense.

The river had lost its charm, and the strains of music from the
orchestra on the boat, fell on his ears in saddened tones. He walked the
hurricane deck, and bent his gaze upon the distant river bends, as
counting the dragging miles. At midnight the boat reached Skarrow. Dave
Budlong, the old lawyer, was there to meet Shawn. Shawn grasped his hand
and eagerly asked, "Tell me what is the matter!"

"Doc' Hissong is very low and has been calling for you ever since last
night," said Budlong.

They went up the hill to the office. Old Brad met them at the door,
"Praise Gawd, you've come, Shawn--he gwine mi'ty fas'--he nearin' de
Valley uv de Shadder." Shawn went in, and as he saw the old doctor's
white head on the pillow, the tears gushed from his eyes. He went to the
bedside and took the old physician's hand.

"Doctor, it's Shawn; I've come."

A glad beam came into the fast-closing eyes, and the feeble voice
struggled into a fitful tone, "Shawn, my boy, God has forgiven me--I
don't know how it may be--I've tried to think it out, but somehow I feel
that in the long journey I must now take alone, that God will let the
light burn for me--I've remembered you, Shawn."

The head sank back upon the pillow. Old Brad was sobbing in the corner.
From the hill came the weird tones of a whip-poor-will, and from the
far-away bend of the river, the echoes of a steamer's wheel. The moon
shot a beam of light through the window and the rays seemed to rest
tenderly upon the calm and gentle face. Doctor Hissong's spirit had

"Clear the room," said Budlong, "I want to speak in private with Shawn."

Taking a paper from his pocket he said, "Shawn, Doctor Hissong told me
to read you this, his will. I am here to do it. I drew it up."

The old lawyer stood by the mantlepiece, and by the flickering lamplight

    "In the name of God, Amen. Realizing the uncertainty of life and
    the certainty of death, I, Radford J. Hissong, being of sound
    and disposing mind and memory, do hereby publish this to be my
    last will and testament, hereby revoking all former wills and

    1st--I give to the old negro Brad Jackson the sum of $500.00 and
    intrust him to the care of the young man known as Shawn Collins.

    2d--I desire that $1,000.00 of my estate be distributed among
    the poor of Skarrow.

    3rd.--I give, devise and bequeath to the young man, known as
    Shawn Collins, but whom I hereby acknowledge to be my son, my
    river-bottom farm, consisting of 387 acres. I bequeath to him my
    hill farm, consisting of 187 acres. I bequeath to him my town
    property, consisting of two dwellings and one store-room, my
    office, bank stock and all other properties found, outside of
    the first two clauses of this will. This property to belong to
    the said Shawn, to be used or disposed of according to his
    pleasure. I desire a modest stone above my grave, and ask that I
    be buried in the cemetery on the hill, overlooking the river.

    In witness whereof I have hereby set my hand, this 18th day of
    Sept.  186-

         Radford J. Hissong.

    Witness: Dave Budlong,
                  John Burney,
                  Victor LeCroix.


After the funeral, Shawn appeared as one upon whom had fallen a great
and strange sorrow. He felt as though some dark curtain had suddenly
been lowered between him and all prospects of future happiness. There
now seemed a lingering consciousness which separated him from his old
individuality; something that awakened a flame of anguish within his
heart and sent a tingling rush of blood to his cheek, but Mrs. Alden
came, with her gracious and charitable heart and sought to soothe the
troubled spirit, and her words fell as a blessed benediction into his

"I'm going to Old Meadows, Mrs. Alden, and there bid farewell to every
hope and joy that I have in this world."

He rode his horse slowly through the old orchard again, where he and
Doctor Hissong had driven that winter morning, but what a change had now
come into his heart. He heard the guineas call again, but every sound
was teeming with sadness.

[Illustration: Lallite ran up to Shawn, giving him both her hands.]

Horton took his horse at the gate, and Major LeCroix met him at the
porch, and his voice had the old-time ring of welcome. "Horton, call
Lally; Shawn has come."

Shawn went into the old family room, Doctor Hissong's will in his hand.
Lallite came down the stairs and ran up to Shawn, giving him both her
hands. Her eyes were beaming the joy of his return, but Shawn stood with
downcast gaze and trembling limbs.

"Lally, here is Doctor Hissong's will. It is fair and just that you read
it, and afterward, I am willing to release you from any obligation."

With a frightened glance, the beautiful girl began to read the will.
Shawn leaned against the old piano and buried his face in his hands.
Presently he felt two soft arms steal about his neck and a gentle voice
saying, "Shawn, would it be the nobler course of a love that should
change or turn against one, who was in no way responsible for the
conditions of birth; to turn against one who has raised himself above
every stigma by his high principle and courage, by tenderness and
unselfishness? No, Shawn, some better spirit guides me, and no matter
what the world may say, I can face it as the woman who loves you, and
that love shall shed its light in such radiance that all the shadows
will flee away."

"Oh, Lally," said Shawn, as he caught her in his arms, "Through all of
this darkness you have been my guiding star. I will start in at the old
office next month." And above the softened glow of the mussel-pearl in
the pin on her breast, two pairs of eyes beamed with the love which
never grows dim with advancing years.


Shawn of Skarrow


Author of

"Sprigs O' Mint," "Kentucky Stories," "Awhile in the Mountains," Etc.

The author of this story of northern Kentucky was born in Carroll
County, Kentucky, on the beautiful Ohio river, where the scene of the
book is laid. He is well known all over his native state, as a writer, a
prince of story tellers, a public speaker and an accomplished musician.

His genial nature is shown not only in his writings, but in all of his
general life, and the characters which he gives us in "Shawn of
Skarrow," put us in closer touch with the simple beauty of men and women
as seen and known through a wholesome and cheerful mind.

Mr. Ellis is the author of a number of books dealing with Kentucky
character and life. His writings are true in their coloring, and carry
with them a delicious "flavor of the soil."

Illustrated Price, $1.00 net



Boston Massachusetts

  |                                                                 |
  | Transcriber's Note:                                             |
  |                                                                 |
  | Page  18 'Oh sing your praise changed to "Oh sing your praise   |
  | Page  25 sayin', Ba'r changed to sayin', 'Ba'r                  |
  | Page  32 A mussell, my changed to A mussel, my                  |
  | Page  47 jes'' stracted changed to jes' 'stracted               |
  | Page  71 he was lead into changed to he was led into            |
  | Page  75 said Joel 'I am changed to said Joel. 'I am            |
  | Page  96 of burgoo dipping changed to of burgoo, dipping        |
  | Page  98 '"The bright moon changed to "'The bright moon         |
  | Page 114 atmoshpere and nothingness changed to atmosphere and   |
  |          nothingness                                            |
  | Page 126 in illustration caption, Cabin of the American changed |
  | to Cabin of the America                                         |
  | Page 131 now that the had changed to now that he had            |
  |                                                                 |

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