Even Lily laughed when she realized
that her friend Cyd was in no danger of dying in the
bad fit which had attacked him; she laughed at his
strange actions and his silly expressions; they all
laughed for a time, but there was something very serious
in the occasion. The patient was taken down into
the cabin, and put to bed in his bunk.
When he was asleep again, and the
rest of the party had returned to the deck, the serious
part of the affair came up for consideration; and the
meeting was so solemn and momentous that even the good
luck of the two sportsmen was forgotten, and the game
and fish were allowed to remain unnoticed in the bateau.
To Dan and Lily it was a terrible thing for a boy
like Cyd to get drunk. It was very funny, but
it was awfully serious in view of future consequences.
Several bottles of wine and liquor
had been deposited in the lockers under the seats
in the standing room, and Cyd had helped himself as
he sat there alone. This was the key to his mysterious
sickness; and while his companions congratulated themselves
upon Cyd’s expected recovery, it was deemed
prudent to place all the intoxicating beverages on
board in a secure place. A locker in Lily’s
cabin was selected for this purpose, and it was soon
out of Cyd’s reach.
Dan wanted to throw all the liquor
overboard, except a couple of bottles to be used as
medicine; but Quin thought that some use might be made
of it at a future time. There was no one on board,
except Cyd, who would drink it; and he had imbibed
rather as a frolic than because he had any taste for
the fiery article.
The patient slept all the rest of
the day and all the following night. The next
morning he was afflicted with a terrible headache,
and was so stupid that he was good for nothing.
He was severely reprimanded for his folly, and made
a solemn promise never to partake again; and as the
dangerous fluid was all locked up, and the key in Lily’s
possession, it was believed that he would not violate
Roast ducks and geese, and fried fish,
were the food of the party for several days to come;
and the change from salt provision was very agreeable.
About once a week Dan and Quin repeated the excursion
to the lake, and almost always returned with a plentiful
supply of fish and game. The fugitives lived
well, especially as pigeons, partridges, and an occasional
wild turkey graced their table. A roast coon was
not an unusual luxury; for by extending their hunting-grounds
in various directions, they added very much to the
variety of their larder.
The small stores, such as butter,
salt, sugar, coffee, and tea, were exhausted in the
fall, though they had been very carefully expended.
They had been so long accustomed to their luxurious
living, that the want of these articles was felt as
a very great hardship. Their nice ducks and geese
were absolutely loathsome without salt, and Dan came
to the conclusion that salt was a necessity, and that
it must be procured at any risk. About twenty
miles from the camp there was a village where groceries
could be obtained; and after a great deal of consideration
it was decided to undertake a journey for this purpose.
They had been five months in the swamp without seeing
any human being, though Dan and Quin, in one of their
hunting trips, had heard voices on the lake. They
felt entirely secure in the camp, and Lily was not
afraid to remain with Cyd while Dan and Quin went
after the needed supplies.
It was resolved that Dan should pass
himself off as a white boy, who, with a party of hunters,
had encamped in the woods. He therefore dressed
himself for the part he was to play, and embarked in
the bateau with Quin, who was to act as his servant.
With the utmost care they pursued their journey, and,
without any incident or accident, came in sight of
the village where they were to purchase the stores.
But Dan did not think it prudent to visit the place
in broad daylight; so they concealed themselves in
the swamp, and slept by turns till nearly daylight
the next morning.
This seemed to be the most favorable
time to visit the store; and they entered the village,
which was called so by courtesy, for it had only six
houses. Putting on the bold, swaggering air of
a young southerner, Dan entered the place, followed
by his servant. With all the bluster necessary
to keep up his character, he roused the shopkeeper,
and ordered, rather than requested, him to open his
store. Fortunately trade was not so lively in
the place as to render the merchant independent of
his business, and he gladly opened his establishment
even at that unseemly hour. He asked a great
many questions, which Dan answered very readily.
The purchases were all made, and Dan’s funds,
though they amounted to nearly thirty dollars, were
almost exhausted. When the stores had been gathered
together, a new and appalling difficulty presented
itself. Dan had not intended to purchase a quarter
part of the supplies which were now piled in the middle
of the store. It was five miles to the lake,
and no two men in the universe could have carried
them that distance.
The matter was one of so much importance,
and the articles obtained with so much greater facility
than he expected, that he had been tempted to procure
this large stock. But the pile was so large that
he began to repent of the act, and to wish that half
his money was in his pocket again. To remedy
the difficulty he began to bluster, and told the storekeeper
that he must get a team and tote the goods down to
the lake for him.
The man objected; but he at last consented
to procure his neighbor’s mule team and help
them out. For this service Dan paid him two dollars
more, which entirely collapsed his exchequer.
The stores were safely deposited in the bateau, and
the man drove off, apparently as well satisfied with
his morning’s work as the other party to the
As soon as he was out of sight and
hearing, Quin could contain himself no longer, and
vented his satisfaction at the success of the enterprise
in the most violent and extraordinary manner.
He laughed till his eyes were filled with tears, and
had nearly upset the overloaded boat by his extravagant
“What’s the matter, Quin?”
demanded Dan, astonished at the conduct of his usually
prudent and sedate companion.
“Bress de Lo’d, we’s got all de
tings,” exclaimed Quin.
“Don’t crow till you get out of the woods.”
“Dar’s de hard bread,
and de salt, and de butter golly, Massa
Dan, you done do dat ting bery fine.”
“Wait till we get back to the
camp before you say any thing. We are not out
of danger yet.”
“But we’s got de tings,
Dan de coffee, de sugar, and de salt.”
“Take your oar now, and when
we get back we’ll have a jolly time.”
“Bress de Lo’d, yes, Dan,”
said the delighted Quin, as he grasped the oar.
Prosperity makes men careless and
reckless. The bateau was so crowded with stores
that the rowers had but little space to use the oars.
Their progress was necessarily very slow. They
wanted to get back to the camp before night, and instead
of keeping under the lee of the land, where the boat
would not be likely to attract attention, they proceeded
by the shortest route. When they reached the
upper end of the lake, and were within five miles
of the camp, they were startled to see a boat put out
from one of the small islands, and pull towards them.
“De Lo’d sabe us!”
exclaimed Quin, as he discovered the boat, which contained
two white men.
“Take no notice of them, and
don’t speak a word,” said Dan, in a low
“De Lo’d hab us in
his holy keeping!” ejaculated Quin, reverently,
as he raised his eyes towards heaven.
“Do you know them?” asked Dan.
“One of dem’s Massa Longworth;
don’t know de oder,” replied Quin, his
teeth chattering as though he had been suddenly seized
with the ague.
“Who is he?”
“De oberseer on de plantation next to olé
The overloaded bateau rendered an
escape by fast rowing impossible, and the fugitives
continued to pull steadily, as before. Dan had
his gun in a position where he could use it when occasion
required. The two men pulled up to within a short
distance of the bateau, and rested on their oars.
“Where ye gwine with all that stuff?”
“We belong to a party of gunners
up here,” replied Dan, boldly; for he was determined
to make the most of the circumstances.
“Where be they?”
“Up to Chicot about ten miles from
“Ha, ha, ha!” laughed
Longworth, glancing at his companion. “That’s
a good story, but it won’t go down.”
“You open your mouth wide enough
to take any thing down,” answered Dan, smartly.
“Can’t swallow that story,
no how,” said the overseer. “But who’s
that boy with you?”
“None of your business.
I don’t make stories for you to laugh at.”
“Yes, you do, my boy. But
you needn’t row any furder. We want ye both.”
“You can’t have us.”
“We’ll see about that,” added the
man, as he raised his fowling piece.
“No use, ’tain’t loaded,”
snarled the other man in the boat.
“Mine is,” replied Dan, elevating the
Longworth cursed his companion for
the revelation he had made, and proceeded to load
the gun. In the mean time Dan dropped his piece,
and began to pull again.
“Stop, now. I don’t
want to destroy val’able property with this yere
iron, but I must if you don’t stop,” continued
the overseer, as he finished loading his gun.
“Perhaps I can destroy as much
valuable property as you can,” said Dan, as
he took his fowling piece again.
“You must come with me.
I know that nigger in the boat with you, and I reckon
you belong to Colonel Raybone.”
“I, you villain! How dare
you insult me? I am a free white man.”
“Perhaps you be, but you’ve
been advertised enough to let any man in these yere
parts know you. That nigger belongs to my neighbor.
If you’ve a mind to come in quietly, I’ll
see you let off without any whippin.”
“I have no mind to come in,
either quietly or otherwise,” replied Dan.
“Then the wust’s your own;” and
The ball whistled within a few feet
of Dan’s head; but, unterrified by the peril,
he raised his gun and fired.
“I’m hit!” groaned
Longworth, as he sank down into the boat.
The other man in the boat with Longworth
took the gun, loaded it, and fired. At that moment
Dan had stooped down to pick up his shot-pouch, and
Quin being the more prominent party in the bateau,
the other man fired at him.
“De Lo’d sabe me!”
groaned Quin, as he placed both hands on his chest.
Dan was ready to fire again; but,
to his astonishment, he saw the man who had shot his
companion seize the oars and pull away from the spot
as fast as he could.
It was evident that the fate of his
companion had appalled him; and seeing Dan nearly
ready to discharge his gun again, he hastened to widen
the distance between them. He rowed with the desperation
of a doomed man. As the boat receded, Longworth
raised himself up, as if to assure the fugitives that
he was not dead.
Dan pointed the gun at the retreating
boat for some time, and then fired, but not with the
intention of hitting his savage foes. They were
slave-drivers, but he did not wish to kill them.
The boat shortly disappeared, and
Dan turned his attention to his wounded companion.
The ball had passed through his lungs, and had penetrated
a vital organ. Deeply affected by the event, he
did what he could to stanch the blood; but poor Quin
was past the aid of any surgery, and breathed his
last a few minutes later.
Fearful that other pursuers might
soon appear, Dan worked the boat up the bayou as rapidly
as he could alone; but it was late at night when he
reached the camp. Then he wept; then the tears
of Lily mingled with his own over the corpse of the
honest and faithful Quin, whose spirit had soared
aloft, where the black man is as free as his white