Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Stories and Tales >> ''Bald-Head Bill Bauldy,'' And How He Went Through the Flurriday Campaign! >> Page 498

image of pageExplore Inside

Page 498

Short Stories | U of South Carolina P | 1974
Transcription 498BALD-HEAD BILL BAULDY
"Well, a'ter a pretty tall walk, I gits out of the thick woods, and
comes upon palmeto trees, and orange trees, that growd like in the
fields, as ef rigilar laid out. Them palmetoes waur standing on
leetle sand-hills.
"Walking on, I comes to another beach of sand spread out sloping
to a big water, what they called a lake; and, keeping on along the
edge of the lake, I gits to the most 'strowdinary place of all.
"First I passed into a hollow, all of white sand, the airth grady-
wally rising into hills; thet was a'most chalky white; and, as I gits
on, I finds the chalk hills meeting a top of me, and kivering me as ef
I was in a house. But the pathway was wide and spread with white
sand; and now I begins to see conchs and shells, the biggest and beau-
tifullest I ever did see; that growed all along the path ; and thar waur
leetle breaks, hyar and thar in the hills, and I could see the smooth
waters of the lake, shining between them, onder the slanting sunset.
"And in every one of these openings, I seed a most mighty big
alligator, that jest stood and looked at me, and never moved, and
seemed to stand thar as a sentinel! I gin him the left always, and
stood on, between the hills and onder them arches.
"I now seed the hills widen ; and the sides of them was stuck
full of shiny shells, and great chrystals that gin light, and 'fore
I know'd whar I was, I found myself in a most tremendous big hall,
all kivered over with shells and chrystals and they gin the light; but,
all round, thar was openings to the lake, and they gin light besides.
"And Lawd ! to see the alligators, going and coming through them
openings, jist as ef they waur on business, carrying messages from
one to t'other. Some was big, and some leetle enough, and all of 'em
seemed to be busy. They'd look at me, and pass on; and when they'd
meet one another, they'd give a grunt or a bellow, jist according to
their size and disposition.
"Well, I went on, for this one hall, as I may call it, soon nar-
rowed down to a sawt of gallery or passage, and when I got through
thet, thar was another hall, not so big as t'other, but a heap purtier.
"By this time, I was mons'ous cur'ous, and pushed on ; and the
alligators were guine in and out, through the openings to the lake;
but they didn't seem to mind me at all, and I hed nothing to say
to them.
"And I was jist on another sawt of chamber opening, when, right
ahead of me, stood a most powerful alligator right in the way! I