Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Stories and Tales >> Ephraim Bartlett, the Edisto Raftsman >> Page 415

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Short Stories | U of South Carolina P | 1974
Transcription EPH RAI M BARTLETT415
" 'Bram, you was most certainly drunk, sense I tried my best to
waken you, and couldn't get you up."
"Ha! da's 'cause I bin want for sleep, so I nebber consent for
ye'r (hear). I bin ye'r berry well all de time; but a man wha's bin
trouble wid 'fliction in the stomach all night, mus' hab he sleep out in
de morning. I bin ye'r well enough, I tell you."
"You old rascal, if I had thought so, I'd ha' chunk'd you with
a lightwood knot!—but the nigger was asleep, my friends, in a regu-
lar drunk sleep, if ever he was; for when I hearn the noises coming
nigh the hounds and the horses —I drawed him away from the
ashes by the legs, and laid him close up agin' the wall t'other side
of the fire-place, and pretty much out of sight. I kivered him snug
with the blanket, and let him take his sleep out, though I was begin-
ning to be more and more jub'ous about them noises. You see, 'twas
the regular noises of a deer-hunt. I could hear the drivers beating
about in the thick; then the shout; then the dogs, yelping out when-
ever they struck upon the trail; I know'd when they nosed the cold
trail, and when the scent got warm; and then I heerd the regular
rush, when the deer was started, all the dogs in full blast, and
making the merriest music. Then I heerd the crack of the gun first
one gun, then another, then another, and another, a matter of four
shots—and I felt sure they must ha' got the meat. The horns
sounded; the dogs were stopped, and, for a little while, nothing but
silence. Oh! I felt awful all over, and monstrous jub'ous of some-
thing strange ! "
"But why should you feel awful, and what should there be so
strange about a deer-hunt near Izard's Camp —a place where you
may start deer even at this day ? "
"Why, 'twas Sunday, you see, and nobody now, in our times, hunts
deer, or anything, a-Sundays; and it 'twan't till after midnight on
Saturday that I heer'd the noises. That was enough to make me
jub'ous. But when I remember'd how they used to tell me of the
rich English gentleman, named Lumley, that once lived in the
neighborhood, long afore the old Revolution; what a wicked man he
was, and how he used to hunt a-Sundays; and how a judgment come
upon him; and how he was lost, in one of his huntings, for a matter
of six months or more; and when he was found, 'twas only his skel-
eton. Well I reckon, to think of all that, was enough to give me a bad