Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Stories and Tales >> ''Bald-Head Bill Bauldy,'' And How He Went Through the Flurriday Campaign! >> Page 470

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Page 470

Short Stories | U of South Carolina P | 1974
Transcription 470BALD-HEAD BILL BAULDY
"`Wha' moob me, you axes? Enty you kin see for you'saff?
Whay de sense, I wants for know, ob trying to cross ribber like dis
yer Cong'ree in flat boat, wid long pole wha' can't reach de bottom
when de fresh come down. Yer we is now, jis a'turning and a twisting
all about; we can't git across and we can't git back; de water takes us
one way; de win' takes us anoder way; you can't hole on to de
bottom wid de pole, and when you does, de strain ob de water and de
win togedder, brecks de pole in you' han' ; and dar you air; wid
not'ing else for do but set down in de bottom ob de flat, and sing de
Hallelujah, when you can't see Jarusalem! Lawd ha' massy! I tell
you, Misser McCord, you buckrah people all so many dd fool!
In my country, we nebber hab flat to cross river! Nebber hab boat!
Nebber hab de worry to work de pole, tell your berry eyes is a
swimming in de sweat!'
" `How then, Cudjo, do you cross the river in your country?'
" `hisser McCode, you hab no sense? You can't 'tink for you'saff?
Hab for tell you ebbry'ting ? Look-a-dar ; out-a-yonder, on de
bank ? Wha' dat you see?'
" `I see nothing but an alligator.'
"Das him! Well, you sees alligator! Das's alligator, I 'speck,
'bout twelve foot long! He's baby to da alligator in my country; but,
he kin do, ef you mek 'em do! Da' same alligator, you sees dar, kin
carry you 'cross de ribber, dis berry ribber, Congaree!'
" `Well, I've no doubt, if he's willing; he's strong enough!'
" `I don't ax ef he's willing, Misser McCode! I only axes ef he's
strong! I meks 'em willing! In my country, when I comes to de
ribber and wants to git across, I looks 'bout me! I sees de alligators
a-sleeping all along de bank ob de ribber! I picks out de biggest ob
'em all, wha's strong enough for carry me! Well, I creeps up to 'em
sly as fox at de hen roos'. When I gits close enough, I jumps on he
back ! Dat wakes 'em up ; and de moment he wakes, and feels some-
ting heabby on he back, he push for de ribber! I hole on, buckle my
leg roun' em so, and 'pur (spur) 'em fast as I kin! Well, wha' den?
He push for de ribber, and carry me 'cross! Das's no d fool ob a
flat, wid long pole, or long rope, and no bodders wid de fresh or de
win'. We jis goes ahead, you see, jis as ef he was hoss, or mule, all
de same! Ah ! Masser McCode, ef de people ob dis country, dis
buckrah people, only bin hab sense!'