Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Stories and Tales >> Ephraim Bartlett, the Edisto Raftsman >> Page 419

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Page 419

Short Stories | U of South Carolina P | 1974
Transcription EPHRAIM BARTLETT419
this, and hand 'em that, and even the nigger motioning me to help
him with this thing and the other. He didn't say much, and always
spoke in a whisper. But, it so happened, that, when I was stretching
out for one of the bottles, to try another taste of the cordial, one of
the cursed dogs would come always in my way. At last, I gin the
beast a kick; and, would you believe it, my foot went clean through
him through skin, and ribs, and body, jest the same as if I had
kicked the wind or the water. I did not feel him with my foot. I
was all over in a trimble; and the dog yelped, jest as if I had hurt
him. Sure enough, at this, the great dark-favored man that sot at
the head of the table, he fastened his eye upon me and said in a big
threatening voice:
" `Who kick'd my dog?'
"By this time, my blood was up a little. What with the scare I had,
and the stuff I'd been a-drinking, I felt a little desperate; and my
eye was sot upon the man pretty bold as I said:
" `I was just reaching for my own liquor,' (now, that warn't ex-
actly true, I confess, for I was reaching for one of their own bottles)
`when the dog came in my way, and I just brushed him with my
foot.'
" `Nobody shall kick my dog but myself,' said he, more fierce than
ever; and looking as if he meant kicking! That made me a sort o'
wolfish, and, just then, something put the old story of Lumley and
the rattlesnake fresh into my head; and, I couldn't help myself—but
I gin him for answer as nice an imitation of a snake's rattle you
know how well I kin do it, my friends—as ever he heerd in his
born days.
"Lord! you should have seen the stir and heard the racket. Every
fellow was on his feet in a minnit, and before I could dodge, the
great dark-featured man, he rose up, and seized my jug by the
handle, and. whirled it furious about his head, and then he sent it
at me, with such a curse, and such a cry, that I thought all the house
a-tumbling to pieces. Like a great wind, they all rushed by me, men
and dogs, and nigger, throwing me down in the door-way, and going
over me as of I was nothing in the way. Whether it was the jug
that hit me, or them rushing over, and trampling me down, I can't
say; but there I lay, pretty much stunned and stupified; not knowing
anything for a long time; and when I opened my eyes, and could