Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Stories and Tales >> ''Bald-Head Bill Bauldy,'' And How He Went Through the Flurriday Campaign! >> Page 506

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Short Stories | U of South Carolina P | 1974
Transcription 506BALD-HEAD BILL BAULDY
grinders in the mouth of the great alligator stallion that carried off
the Ingin baby. Why, fellows, she never kissed me onst, and she was
always awrapping her tail round me, drawing me up to her buzzom,
and kissing me as ef for dear life, without drawing the blood.
"Well, onst, soon a'ter I was captivated, she made me go with
her to the river or lake to swim. She could walk like a human, had
legs and feet like ourn, but, all between her toes was webbed, and the
toes tied together by the flesh, same as a duck or goose, or any of
them water birds. Onst in the water, fellows, Lawd, it was wonderful
to see how she could swim; and dive and cavort; throw herself fair
out of the water, lash it with her tail into foam; then plunge down,
head foremost, into the very deeps of the sea and airth, and come
up again, and swim off, while her long black hair was spread out over
her back, from head to heels, like a great black wail over a woman
In mourning !
"It was a most wonderful sight! And when she'd come up from
diving, she'd bring up handsfull, of shells from the bottom, and pelt
at me, jest as you see boys pelt one another with nuts or apples. And
the alligator nation, they'd swim about a'ter her, ten thousand I
reckon, but they always keept at a 'spectful distance off, and she
never let 'em take any liberties with her; and, in fact, I never seed
any of 'em try ! It did seem as ef they sawt of worshipt her, as ef
she waur their God as well their Queen!
"Well, when she got me into the water onst, I hed a time of it;
and I took good kear never to let her catch me in it again ! Why, she'd
catch me round the neck and round the middle, and roll over with
me, and buckle me to her with her long tail, and then dive down to
the bottomless pit of the deep, ontill my breath was a'most gone;
and I thought all was over with me!
"I never did like the 'water, and warn't no great swimmer at the
best. I reckon I would ha' been drowned a hundred times over, in
her alligator play with me, but that the water of that lake was differ-
ent from any other. It didn't seem, when you was onst in it, that 'twas
much thicker than the air in damp or foggy weather. You could
breathe in it, in a sawt of way, and when you was deep down, it
didn't lie heavy on your back.
"But I never let her git me in to it but onst, and when she found
I didn't like it, she let me alone! She appeared to want to be good