Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Michael Bonham; or, The Fall of Bexar. A Tale of Texas >> Part I — Scene I >> Page 4

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Drama | John R. Thompson | 1852
Transcription 4 Michael Bonham : or, the Fall of Bexar.

R. Harris. I must suppose I do : I live.
Sparrow. Art never hungry ?
R. Harris. Never!
Sparrow. What ! Never hungry ?
R. Harris. Never, that I know.
Sparrow. Heaven save me from this man ! Keep us
asunder!
Send us apart. See to it, Orderly,
Put me at right or left, the wing or centre,
But never where he goes. He has no bowels,
Is never hungry, or he never knows it.
Can such a man be human ? He is surely
A lusus—what's the name—a something Latin, Meaning a monster.
R. Harris. You're right. I am a monster;
I feel like one—a very savage monster,
The hair growing inward.
Sparrow. I believe it all. I can believe any thing of a person who is never conscious of the delights of hunger—the keen provocation, the sharp instigation of the bowels, to kill and eat—an inspiration, I verily believe, that comes only from the soul. The soul is, indeed, the true source of human appetite. It is the immortal giving counsel to the mortal nature how to take care of itself. A man who never receives any such divine intimations—do you hear me, Harris ?
R. Harris, [fiercely.] Did you speak ?
Sparrow. Did I speak ! Decidedly wolfish. Yes, I spoke. I said—to think that all my good things have been thrown away upon hip). Yes. I say that the man who never receives any divine intimations of appetite, cannot possibly have a soul at all. Chew upon that, old Lupus.
R. Harris. Would it were so. Methinks it must be so.
Sparrow. It is so. Never doubt it. Never hungry ! To talk after such a fashion when there's not a man in the mess not ready to eat up his grandmother, as the wolf ate up Little Red Ridinghood, bones and all. Why
Daris, [whispers.] No more. The fit is on him.
Sparrow. What fit? Eh, well. But I have my fit too, and just now the symptoms are very earnest about the diaphragm. I must have something to excite one—something. Ah, lad, come forward, [to W. Harris.] A pretty little fellow truly, and modest. Hark ye, child, was it not you who regaled my supperless senses last night with a song—a sort of ballad; a most woful, sweet affair, very lovelorn and comforting.
W. Harris, [coming forward timidly.] I didn't mean to disturb your sleep, sir. I-
Sparrow. And who tells you that you did ? No, no You didn't disturb me. You did rue a service. Positively, your song made rue half forget my hunger, though I had been dreaming, only a minute before, of canvas back ducks at the Balize. You shall sing for pie again. Your name's—eh!
W. Harris. Harris: William Harris, sir.
R. Harris, [curiously.] How ! Harris! That your name ?
W . Harris, [timidly.] I t is, sir.
R. Harris. 'Where from ? What family ?
W. Harris. From Tennessee. I have no family.
R. Harris. My name, before I left the States, was Harris, too. Now, it is nothing.
Sparrow. Nothing, indeed ! You're a whole State yourself. You represent yours of Mississippi most admirably. An empty stomach in a man is not much unlike an empty treasury in a State, and he who never feels hunger may certainly pass for a most incorrigible repudiator. But sing for us. my boy, sing, though you can find nothing more appropriate to the occasion than

` The cat ran away with the pudding-bag string.'
W. Harris. I'm out of voice. I'm hungry like the rest
Davis. Truth, lad, you look it. You are both hun-
gry and suffering. Now, that I look at you particu-
larly, I wonder what could have brought you here to Texas.
Sparrow. Why wonder! What brought me, I won-der. The lad heard no doubt of the famous buffalo tongues. Wasn't it the buffalo tongues that brought you boy ? If you have the gift of tongue at all, you must
answer as I wish.
R. Harris, [curiously.] You're but a child yet, boy - a very weak one.
You'll scarcely do for fighting. With that face, (It has the favor of some one I have known,)
It would not seem you loved it.
W. Harris, [drooping.] I've never fought.
R. Harris. 'Tis easy, once begun. But wait your time.
It is not hard to die. That truth, once known,
And you will chide the death-shot that goes by, Seeking all hearts but yours. 'The danger then Comes like your sleep or supper.
Sparrow. Not a word
Of either, I beg of you, till Davy comes.
The song, the song. Sing for me little Willy,
You have a singing face, most like a woman's.
And that reminds me of my cousin Sally,
The cleverest creature at an oyster party
How the soul treasures its first principles
That ever sung to sauce it. You shall sing me.
W. Harris. I cannot, sir. I do not feel like singing.
R. Harris. Yet, last night I heard you,
When no one asked, and no one seein'd to listen, Piping as wofully as a woman might
Over her buried lover.
W. Harris. Did you hear me ?
R. Harris. I did;
And curse me, but the silly thing you sang,
A something in the language or the music,
Brought back to me a long sad history,
With many a gush of water to the springs
I had thought drained forever. [He buries his face in his hands.
W. Harris. Did you then weep !
Davis, [aside to S.] He may well ask him that. It's a bad sign when such a titan weeps, or is melancholy be-fore going into battle. He's a marked man, I tell you. He'll get his despatches, among the first, from some Mexican bullet. Such a change! From a rough, quarrel-some fellow, to a sort of good-natured melancholy.
Sparrow. Pshaw ! It's hunger; only he don't know it. A good supper will bring all things right. Hunger shows itself differently in different persons. Soule it makes particularly civil ; others particularly savage : some it makes mad, while it makes a different class only sentimental and poetical.
Davis. How does it affect you ?
Sparrow. Can't you see ? It makes me contemplative and philosophical.
Davis, [aside.] Observe them.
R. Harris. 'Tis very strange, perhaps, that I should weep,
But, were all known
W. Harris. What all ? If what were known ?
R. Harris. Ha! wherefore do you gaze into one thus? What art thou, boy ; what can it be to thee,
This knowledge ? Do you question pie ?
W. Harris. No, no ;
No question. I but heard you say