Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Stories and Tales >> ''Bald-Head Bill Bauldy,'' And How He Went Through the Flurriday Campaign! >> Page 512

image of pageExplore Inside

Page 512

Short Stories | U of South Carolina P | 1974
"How long I slept onder that tree, it's not easy to say. The haird
work of paddling up stream, me one and alone, —a matter, I may say,
of sixty or twenty miles, more or less, tharabouts, or some whar,
pretty much knock'd me up and knock'd me down too!
"Then the skears I hed; the dangers I went through; the troubles;
captivated by the Ingins; sculped; shot at and knifed; and then made
to nurse the cussed dirty little red skin papoose; then the ride, first
upon one alligator-stallion, then, swapping, and shifting to another;
and then the captivation to that Queen of the Mar'maids; then the
dreadful sight of the skillitons of our people, chawed up and gnawed
to the bone, by that same Queen of the Mar'maids, I reckon, with
her cussed sharp white dog-teeth ;well, all them dreadsome and
fearsome ixperences, they waur enough to knock me down, and
make sleep easy to me for a month of Sundays; so, thar's no knowing
how long I had been sleeping onder that big tree, on the edge of a
mighty great thick of swamp forest.
"But I was suddently waked up by mighty rough usage! First, I
felt a kick in my side, and ribs; then I felt myself pulled and jarked
about, by the arms and shoulders; and, when I opened my eyes and
straightened myself out, to see what alligator hed got hold of me
now, what should I see but a squad of four or five of our own
Rigiment, all pulling at me at onst!
"And I cried out loud:
"Oh! Lawd be praised, I'm safe at last!'
"So I said, though it did seem mighty strange that our own people
should handle me so roughly. So I says
" 'Hello! fellows! Hev' you no sawt of feelin' for a man's ribs,
that you kick so haird!'
"With that one kicks me ag'in, and says,
" `It's the ribs we're feelin' for you dd bloody desarter!'
" `Desarter !' says I.
" `Yes,' says he, `a dern'd bloody desarter! We always know'd
you was a dd coward; but nobody ever suspected you of the
courage to desart! Git up, you dd blasted sneak, and git yourself
hung as soon as possible! You aint decent enough to be shot!'
"And not a word of ixplanation would they hear to; but jist kept
on, kicking and hauling at me, 'tell they made me git up, and soon as
I did so, they roped my hands behind my back, and the Sargeant, he