Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Stories and Tales >> ''Bald-Head Bill Bauldy,'' And How He Went Through the Flurriday Campaign! >> Page 468

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Page 468

Short Stories | U of South Carolina P | 1974
Transcription 468BALD-HEAD BILL BAULDY

common merriment; while our baggage wagon, at hand, held its
full stores of the creature comforts; the coffee, sugar, bread stuffs,
bacon, and the demijohns of peach, honey, and mountain dew; all of
which, like the famous cruse of the widow, seemed inexhaustible. At
all events, there was no lugubrious party, to look into the faces of the
group, and mournfully announce the total evaporation of the spirits!
The hour for the "LYING CAMP" had come, and "BIG LIE" was
duly installed, as before, on the broad stone of patriarchal authority,
which he filled with a dignity becoming his fauteuil.
Brave old Jim Fisher still held this eminent position, and he was
fully equal to any that he undertook. He ordered a stoup of the
beverage, all round, by way of inauguration, and the ceremonials
soon gave way to the tale-tellers.
How to Cross an African River.
"BIG LIE," after a little "hemming and hawing," apologetic, for
the liberty he was about to take, now called upon Major Henry, the
oldest of our amateurs, for "a lie that should run like the truth ! "
Now, Major Henry was quite a wit and humourist, and almost
as famous, as a raconteur, as he was, in his professional capacity, as a
Lawyer. But the good things of the wit and humourist, of a high
civilization, and of the purely conventional life of the city, are very
apt to be thrown away upon the rude hunters of the mountains, who
require the greatly salient in their narrations, and need striking
incident to command attention. The quiet humours, the latent fun,
and irony, are not so easily perceptible to them; and the exaggera-
tions of the "LYING CAMP," especially, called for the startling, the
wild, extravagant ; for the droll rather than the wit !
Major Henry was conscious of all this, and was disposed to dodge
his responsibility to the circle; but the more he shied the duty, the
more authoritatively did "BIG LIE" insist upon it; and the Major
was forced finally to respond; which he did, by telling an anecdote
of a famous African negro, well known as an ancient boatman on the
Congaree, who, in process of time, had devolved upon him the
task of navigating the flat boat at McCord's Ferry, on that river.