xt74j09w141v https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt74j09w141v/data/mets.xml Ellis, James Tandy, 1868-1943. 1911  books b92-211-30910101 English C.M. Clark Pub. Co., : Boston, Massachusetts : Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. Dummer, H. Boylston. Shawn of Skarrow  / by James Tandy Ellis. text Shawn of Skarrow  / by James Tandy Ellis. 1911 2002 true xt74j09w141v section xt74j09w141v 


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    Author of "Sprigs 0' Mint," 'Kentucky Stories,"
         "Awhile in the Mountains," etc.



        COPVPIGST, 9l!T,



Frontispiece         .                 Shawn and Coaly
"You'll be a great fisherman, some day, Shawn'"      24
Burney began to take out the shells  .     .         36
--De Prodegale Son"    .     .    .        .         52
-I TII give you ten dollars to set us over"  .  .    6z
"You and the doctor got your birds" .     .     .    82
They were nearing the last hundred yard flag.   .    go
"W'y, Jedge, you know my name"       .     .        io6
The Cabin of the American fell with a crash.    .   i 26
LUllite ran up to Shawn, giving him both her hands  1 39

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Shawn and Coaly.



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            CHAPTER 1

  It was a shrill voice calling from the
bank above the river.
  "You can holler till dark, but I ain't
goin' to answer you while a blue-channel
cat is nibblin' at this line."
  Through the short and chubby fingers
a stout sea-grass line was running out to
the accumulated driftwood in the eddy
below the wharf-boat. Suddenly there
came a spasmodic jerk of the line.
  "He bluffed that time."
  The front finger tapped the line, as an
expert telegraph operator taps his key.
  "He's coming back for that crawfish
tail now." The line went taut. The
freckled arms executed a series of light-


Shawn of Skarrow

ning-like movements and the catfish lay
on the shore, a five-pounder, beating the
sands with his flashing tail.
  " Oh Shawn!"
  "I'm a-comin' now; come on, Coaly."
The little brown dog wagged his tail and
got up from his resting place in the sand.
They went up the hill toward the little
frame building on the bank.
  The boy's mother met him at the door.
She was a frail-looking woman, upon
whose face was a sorrowful and melan-
choly expression.
  "Shawn, Mrs. Alden has sent for you,
and wants you to come up to the big
house; get on your cottonade pants and
wash your face and comb your hair, and
when you go up there, don't scratch your
shins together, and don't forget to say
yes mai."
  It was a matter of but a few moments
for Shawn to array himself in his best
clothes. As he turned to go, his mother
wearily took his face between her hands
and kissed him on the lips. The black
eyes beamed tenderly upon her, and over



Shawn of Skarrow

the sun-tanned features flashed a smile of
cheerfulness and love.
  " Take that fish to Mrs. Aldn, Shawn."
  "It's for you, mammy."
  "No, take it to her."
  Shawn climbed the hill and went up
through the alley, going around to the
side entrance of the Alden home. There
was something about the great house
which always filled him with a spirit of
awe, and as he glanced over toward the
long garden and orchard, there came
into his heart a yearning such as he had
never known before.
  A servant opened the door, and Shawn
held up his fish: "This is for Mrs. Alden;
she sent for me." The servant took the
fish and said, "You will find Mrs. Alden
in the next room. Leave your dog out-
side." Shawn walked into the room.
A woman with a sweet spiritual face sat
in an invalid's rolling-chair.
  Extending her thin white hand to
Shawn, she bestowed upon him a smile of
  " I am glad you came, Shawn; take



Shawn of Skarrow

that chair." Shawn was striving hard to
remember his mother's parting injunction
in regard to his shins.
  " How old are you, Shawn"
  "Yes, mam, fourteen past in March."
  " How long have you attended school"
The black eyelashes fell and the smile
vanished. " I went to old 'fesser Barker
up to Christmas twice."
  "Why did you stop"
  "I put red pepper on his plug toback-
  "Did you go to any other school"
  "Yes, mam, I went to Miss Julie Bean
six months."
  " Did you quit that school"
  "Yes, mam, I put cuckle burrs in her
  " Weren't you sorry for it"
  "Yes, mam, but too late."
  "You spend a good part of your time
fishing, don't you"
  "Yes, mam, but I catches them."
  " Isn't there anything you would rather
do than fish" A long silence followed,
then the eyes suddenly brightened:



Shawn of Skarrow

  "Yes, mam."
  "What is it"
  "I'd rather blow up hog bladders with
a quill and bust 'em!"
  " Shawn, have you ever thought of what
you would like to do in life; what you
would like to make of yourself as you
grow to manhood"
  "Yes, mam, I'm goin' to be a doctorl"
  " Indeed !"
  " Yes, mam, indeed, I help doctor
Hissong roll pills now, and he helps me in
my books more than I learned at school."
  " Shawn, I am going to ask you to
begin with the term of school which opens
soon. I will furnish you with books and
tuition and will help you in every way."
  "Will it help me to be a doctor"
  "It will help you in everything."
  "Could I take Coaly with me"
  "I hardly think so."
  Shawn gazed out of the window. The
fleecy clouds were moving majestically
above the river, along the old haunts he
loved so well, but something in the kind
blue eyes of the good woman sitting



6         Shaum of Skarrow

there with folded hands, touched his in-
nermost being, and he aros, and turning
squarely to face his benefactress, said:
"I'll do it, Mrs. Alden."
  "I thank you, Shawn."
  "Yes, mam, but I did not ketch that
fish I brought you for niggers to eat; they
never told vou I brought it."
  Mrs. Alden rolled her chair near him,
and placing her hand on his shoulder,
said, " I appreciate your bringing it very
much and will remember it."
  As Shawn left the porch he turned to
his little dog and said, " Oh, Lord, Coaly,
we're goin' to school!"




  "So You are going to school, Shawn"
  "Yes, sir, I promised Mrs. Alden."
  " That's the best promise you ever
made, and to the best woman that God
ever made."
  Old Doctor Hissong sat in his big arm-
chair, his spectacles tilted high on his
nose as he looked at Shawn, who was
leaning against the mantel-board. Old
Brad, a negro who had been the
doctor's servant for many years, sat in a
hickory chair near the back door. Brad,
aside from taking care of the doctor's
office, gave some of his time to preaching,
although it was a matter of some specu-
lation as to whether his general habits
warranted his ministerial fulfillments.
  The old office was dingy with its medi-


Shawn of Skarrow

cine bottles ranging along the shelves,
and cobwebs and dust were in evidence
all about them. Over in the corner was
a pair of saddlebags, and a pair of jean
leggins hung over a chair. In another
corner was a tall book-case, the glass front
broken out, and the books scattered
about on the shelves. On the top of the
book-case was an object which had long
been a source of discomfort to Shawn and
Brad-a grinning skull.
  A doctor's office, in the old days, with-
out a skull peering out from some hidden
recess, was not considered complete-it
contributed a kind of mysterious power
to the man of medicine, and lent the
impression that he had dipped deeply into
the science of healing.
  "Look at the slate, Shawn."
  Shawn went out and took down the
slate which hung by the office door.
" Old man Stivers has been writing on the
slate," said Shawn.
  "Huh," said Brad, "I reckun he 'cided
to cum an' git you to cum out an' see his
wife, now dat he done rin up a bill wid



Shawn of Skarraw  

ole doc' Poleen, an' carn't git him to cum
no mo'."
  " Yes, Brad, it's strange-the man who
loses sleep and health to save others has
a hard time getting his pay. They look
to the doctor mighty anxiously in the
hour of trouble, and in the hour of suffer-
ing and death the doctor is a power of
  " I see dat Bill Hugers scratchin' on de
slate las' night," said Brad, "yo' hain'
gwine to see him no mo', is yo', wid him
owin' yo' a big bill"
  "Bill was one of my best friends when
I made the race for the Legislature,"
said the doctor.
  Brad scratched his head. He recalled
the time when the doctor went to Frank-
fort as the representative of his county,
and he remembered the scuffling he had to
do during the doctor's absence-the
yearning for many comforts which did
not come. He recalled how the doctors
picked up old Hissong's practice while he
was away, and he had not forgotten the
mean things they had said about him



Shawn of Skarrow

when he returned to be nursed through a
spell of " too much liquor."
  "Yo' hain' never gwine run no mo', is
yo', doe"
  "I can't say, Brad."
  "Brad, didn't you hear somebody
holler outside Go out and see who it
is." Brad opened the door.
  "Is the doe in thar"
  "Yes, sah, cum in."
  A tall, double-jointed farm-hand came
blustering into the room, his face covered
with a yarn comforter. He slowly un-
wound the rag and brought to view the
side of his face, swollen to a frightful size.
  "Done busted me wide open; kin you
pull her, doe"
  The old doctor examined the tooth and
said, "You've got a tooth like a hoss-
fix the chair in the back room, Brad."
  Brad brought a washpan and placed it
beside the chair. Doctor Hissong opened
a drawer and brought forth an instrument
that resembled a cant-hook, one of those
tools used in overturning logs. This
tooth extractor had a handle about six



Shaum of Skarrow

inches long, and a sort of steel hook on the
end, and it would draw the tooth, if
the jawbone did not break.
  The suffering patient looked on with an
expression on his face anything but pleas-
  "Looks like fixin' fer hog-killin', doe!"
  " Well, I've known 'em to die under it,"
complacently said the old doctor as he
shuffled about. " Give him a drink,
Brad, and put him in the chair."
  The patient stretched his long legs
and rested his feet on a soap box.
  "Fifty cents," said the doctor, as he
approached with his instrument in his
  "Hafter have it beforehand, doe"
  "Yes, sir, that's my rule, for nine
cases out of ten are so mad when I get
through that they won't pay."
  The money paid, the doctor carefully
leaned over and fitted the hook over the
  "Clinch him, Shawn!"
  " O-r-r-r-r-r-wow! leggo! leggo 1"
  "Choke him, Brad!"



Shaum of Skarraw

  All four of them were on the floor, the
farm-hand had smashed the wash-stand
with his feet, and the water pitcher had
gone with the ruins.
  "Hold his feet, Shawn!"
  Shawn jumped straddle-ways on the
legs, and the old doctor made another pull.
  " H-I-i-u-p I H-e-l-l-l-u-p !"
  Rising with the strength of a desperate
man, the farmer dragged all of them into
the front room, but the old doctor did
not lose his hold on the tooth. The last
remaining glass in the bookcase was
smashed and the lower sash of the front
window caved in.
  "Throw him, Brad !"
  The tooth-key slipped off and the
farmer let out a yell and tried to get out
of the door.
  "Nail him, Brad!"
  "I don't want that tooth pulled, doc."
  " Yes, you do, and you had just as
well make up your mind to get back in
that chair."
  "By Gosh, you had better get a mule
to kdck it outl"



Shawn of Skarrow

  Brad and Shawn got him in the chair
again and the doctor tried for another
hold on the tooth. The back of the
chair gave way with a crash.
  "What's that" said the doctor.
  " I think it wuz my backbone come
uncoupled," said  the farmer.  Brad
grabbed him by the left leg and the
struggling group went down in a heap,
but the doctor came up with a gleam of
triumph on his face, and holding aloft
the terrible molar. Brad was panting,
over by the door.
  As the farmer turned to leave, he
walked over to doctor Hissong and said,
" Doc, if you air as good at doctorin'
other diseases as you air at pullin' teeth,
thar hain't much prospect of this com-
munity enlargin' her population."
  Doctor Hissong glanced over toward
the bookcase where Shawn was standing:
  " Shawn, do you still want to be a
doctor "
  "Not a tooth doctor," said Shawn.




              IN SCHOOL

  THE VARYING routine of school was a
trying ordeal to Shawn. The spelling
classes, the reading and the terrible
arithmetic were as a nightmare to his
mind which yearned for the freedom of
the river and the woods. Afar off yonder
was the stream, where the white gulls
were soaring lazily above the channel.
Through the windows he could see the
tall sycamores and the white-graveled
beach, where he and Coaly had spent so
many happy hours. In his fancy he
could see the cool crystal water oozing out
from the spring which he had dug in the
sand, and which he had lined with white
boulders. Oh, to be down there, breath-
ing the sweet air as he paddled his john-
boat about the stream. He turned from


Shaum of Skarrow

the enrapturing view-turned to the
hateful books. The children around him
were bending over their studies, happi-
ness reflected from their faces, but gloom
sat on the countenance of Shawn. Oh,
for Coaly and freedom. All might have
gone well had it not been for Coaly. To
leave Coaly chained up at home through
the long hours; to be separated from this
companion, who yelped and begged so
hard to be taken along, was becoming
more unbearable each day, and there
came a day when the pleading eyes
brought his release, and together they
marched into the school.
  The story of "Mary's Little Lamb"
was not associated with Coaly in Shawn's
mind. Shawn put his books on his desk,
and Coaly lay down, as peacefully ac-
cepting the new turn of affairs. Mrs.
Wingate, the teacher, came over to
Shawn's desk and quietly said: "Shawn,
you must put your dog outside."
  " Can't he stay if he keeps quiet"
  "No, we cannot have any dogs in the



Shawn of Skarrow

  Shawn gazed out upon the river and
then down at Coaly.
  " Come on, Coaly," he said as he started
to the door. He passed out into the
hallway, Coaly following. Just as Coaly
started through the doorway, a boy gave
him a vicious kick, which set him to
howling. Shawn sprang into the room.
  "Who kicked my dog"
  A little girl said, " Henry Freeman did
it !"
  Good resolutions and books were for-
gotten.  Farewell to every ambition.
Freeman tried to free himself from the
enraged boy by climbing over the desks
and calling to the teacher. The little
girls were screaming and books and
slates were scattered all about the room.
Mrs. Wingate finally succeeded in getting
her hands on Shawn and drew him away
as he planted a parting blow on Free-
man's nose. Shawn turned and facing
the school, tragically exclaimed, "Where
I go, Coaly goes. Where Coaly goes, I
  Henry Freeman followed Shawn to the



          Shawn of Skarrow,       17

door. Shawn turned for battle again,
but Freeman used a more malicious
weapon by saying, "Who's your daddy
Who's your daddy"
  And then Shawn burst into tears.
  The next morning a servant found on
Mrs. Alden's porch a bundle containing
the books and clothes which she had
given Shawn. Pinned to the bundle was
a note. In a scrawling hand was written,
" I am much abliged. I tride to keep my
promise. I am going away. I have kept
the little testament.



     'Oh sing your praise of the bounding craft;
       And the merry sloops afloat,
    But for easy space, both fore and aft,
       I'll bunk on the shanty-boat."

  "JUMP OUT there, Shawn, and take a
hitch around that cottonwood with that
line we're at the mouth of Salt River,
an' no better fishin' on the Ohio."
  John Burney was standing on the bow
of his shanty-boat, with a long steering-
oar in his hand.
  " Jump, Shawn!" Shawn leaped to the
shore and made the line fast to the tree.
  " Haul out that aft gang-plank and
stake her deep on the shore, there, steady,
boy; she lays good and snug an' weather-
shape now git to your breakfast."
  Inside of the boat a wood fire was
burning in the stove. The fragrant aroma
of coffee and fried fish came over the


Shuwn of Skarrow

morning air. Shawn took off one of the
stove-lids, and over the burning coals
toasted two or three slices of bread.
The first primrose bloom of the glowing
day came over the hills. The sunbeams
rioting on the water lent an enchantment
to the autumn scene.
  Further back from the river, on the
hills, were the claret hues of young oaks,
and the scarlet of young maples. The
morning rays sifting through the little
windows of the boat revealed the arrange-
ment of this river habitation. The two
sleeping bunks were near the rear end of
the boat; two chairs, the stove and a
rough table were in the forward end.
Near the door hung great coils of fishing
line and tackle, and in the corner was a
dip-net and gig.
  As Shawn sat eating his breakfast, his
thoughts wandered back to Skarrow and
his mother in the little frame house on
the river bank-to Mrs. Alden and doctor
Hissong. He thought of the many kind-
nesses shown him by these friends, and,
perhaps, wondered how his mother might



Shawn of Skarrouw

have missed him since the night he stole
away with old John Burney, who made
these shanty-boat trips every autumn.
It had been the dream of his life to go
down the river with Burney, for how
often had he sat on the wharf-boat at
Skarrow listening to Burney's tales of
shanty-boat life on the lower Ohio.
And here he was at last; he and Coaly!
  " Shawn," said Burney, " I want to
drop a fish-basket just below that willer.
The channel is fine up here, and I might
walk up town and see if I can get a ham-
hock and some beef lights, while you
look over the hooks on the jugs-there
ain't no bait like a ham-hock for juggin',
fer a channel-cat wants a meat that
won't turn white in water."
  In the early days of " jugging" on the
Ohio, the outfit was a matter of consider-
able expense, as half-gallon stone jugs
were used, but as time went on, some
ingenious fisherman substituted blocks of
wood, painted in white or conspicuous
colors. A stout line, some six or seven
feet long, is stapled to the block of wood,



Shatn of Skarrow

and with a good, heavy hook at the end
of the line, the outfit is complete. The
jugs, some twenty or thirty, are put out
at the head of the channel, and are
followed by the fishermen in a skiff or
john-boat. When a channel-cat takes
the bait, the jug stands on end and begins
to scud through the water. The fisher-
man pursues in his boat, and coming up,
pushes his dip-net under the fish as he
draws him to the surface. It is the most
exciting and fascinating method known
in river fishing.
  Burney came from town with the bait.
Shawn had the jugs ready and together
they rowed to the head of the channel.
Shawn placed the jugs in the water, and
they floated away in a line, ranging some
four or five feet apart, Burney and Shawn
lingering behind with silent oars. Sud-
denly a jug stood upon end.
  "Down atter him, Shawn!"
  Shawn skilfully sent the boat toward
the bobbing jug.
  "He's heading for shoal water!" yelled
Burney, " Slack your right oar-now



Shaum of Skarrow

come ahead-hold her-ease her up to
him-look at that jug!" The jug was
racing for deep water again, and disap-
peared from the surface for at least half
a minute.
  " He's a whopper, Shawn! Yonder he
goes, thirty yards away! Give me the
oars and take the dip-net. Great Hirum,
boy! yonder is another jug that's hung!"
  Burney sent the boat with a bound
after the whirling jug. Shawn stood in
the bow of the boat with the dip-net
ready to swing. They went to the lower
side of the jug, and just as Shawn reached
out for the line, Burney, unintentionally,
brought the boat to a sudden stop, and
Shawn, losing his balance, went over
board, dip-net and all. Burney sprang
to the stern of the boat, and as Shawn
came up he held out an oar to him, and
Shawn grasped the side of the boat.
Burney took the dip-net and paddled the
boat toward the jug, and catching the
line, raised the fish to the top of the water.
Shawn swam around to the other side as
Burney raised the fish. "For land sake!



Shawn of Skarrow2

Look at him, boyl He's the biggest one
I ever hooked-I can't get him in this
boat-we'll have to tow him ashore!"
  They fastened a stout line through the
gills of the big fish and towed him to the
shore and pulled him out on the beach-
a blue channel-cat of forty pounds.
" Go and get some dry clothes, while I go
after the jugs," said Burney. Shawn
went down to the boat and rummaged
around for a change of clothes. He
found a suit of Burney's heavy under-
clothing, and rolling them up to suit his
size, got into them; then came Burney's
old corduroy trousers, and Shawn buckled
them up until they hung directly under
his armpits. Building a fire in the stove
and hanging his wet clothes before it, he
left the boat and ran back to the spot
where they had left the big fish. Burney
returned with the jugs and threw out
another smaller fish which he had taken
off. "We'll eat this one, Shawn, and
sell the other one and divide the money,"
and as Shawn stood before him in the
loose-fitting clothes, old Burney laughed



Shawn of Skarrow

and said, "Well, if he ain't growed to a
man since that ketch !"
  They hung the big fish to the side of
the boat. "I'll show you how to skin a
channel-cat," said Burney as he drew
forth his steel pincers. "We'll peddle
him out this evening." It was a joyous
pair that climbed the hill leading to the
little town, the big fish swinging on a
pole between them. There were plenty
of buyers, and as they returned to the
boat, Burney said to Shawn, "You'll be
a great fisherman some day, Shawn,"
and Shawn said, " I'm goin' to be a
  " What kind of a doctor, Shawn
steam or hoss doctor'
  " Neither one. I'm goin' to be a
reg'ler doctor, like Doctor Hissong."
  " Shawn, this doctorin' business is a
good deal like hoss tradin'; you've got to
take your chance on a short hoss and
blemishes, and some of the doctors look
like they interfere powerfully with them-
selves-you know how a hoss interferes.
I calkerlate that a good doctor is mighty




"You'll be a rcat fisherma, some day, Shawn"


lj-        11  -


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Shauwn of Skarrow

rare, and after all, it's a good deal more
in his encouraging talk than his medicine.
You never knowed old Doe' Felix Simp-
son-he was away before your time and
practiced in the country four miles above
Skarrow. Doe' Simpson would have his
joke, and to hear him laugh would cure
'most any case of ailment. Lawse! how
I used to love to hear him tell about old
P'silly Orton and the time she played
dead. Doe' Simpson said that aunt
P'silly took a notion that she wanted her
old man to raise her some money to take
a trip down to the city, and as the money
wa'nt raisable, P'silly took on and 'lowed
that she was goin' to die, and she kept on
havin' sinkin' spells and such, and bye
and bye she lays on the bed and wauls up
her eyes and breathes her last, to all
appearances. Uncle Buck gits skeered
and digs out for Doe' Simpson, and when
Doe' Simpson gits thar, thar was the old
neighbor wimmen tryin' to comfort uncle
Buck and sayin', Ba'r your burden,
Buck; the Lord has give and the Lord has
tuck away.' Doe' Simpson goes up to



Shaun of Skarraw

P'silly, who was layin' with folded hands,
and feels her pulse, and says, 'Yes, she is
dead, pore soul'; and they all bust out
cryin' and the hounds begin to howl, and
Doe' comes up to the bed and says,
'Bein' she is dead, I'll pour a little of this
nitric acid in her yeer to make shore.'
And as he took the stopper out of the
bottle, P'silly opens one eye an' says,
'Doc' Simpson, if you pour that in my
yeer, you'll never straddle that hoss of
yourn again.'
  " There's another sort of doctor, Shawn,
the magic-healers, the sort as cures by
the layin' on of hands and rubbin'.
Pelican Smith was one of this sort. He
practiced up on the Kentucky river and
made a sort of circuit down in our
country. Sometimes thar would come a
report of somebody gittin' well, but when
anybody died, Pelican always said, 'The
Lord loved him best.' You never knowed
Pelican. He was all sorts of a character
-got his nickname from his nose-they
weren't no other one like it, and him and
that nose made history in the river



Shawn of Skarrow

country. His first marriage was to Addie
Stringer, up at Ball's Landing, and it was
all right as fer as it went. They started
on their honeymoon from Ball's Landing
on the steamer Little Tiger. They was
goin' down to Wide Awake, some thirty
miles. The boat caught fire, Pelican
swum out on a crackerbox, and when
they found the body of his wife next day,
Pelican thumped the side of his nose
with his thumb and said, 'Hit's a dam
pity she couldn't swim'.
  " It wasn't long before he got into
business by starting a 'blind tiger', and
he worked up several war dances in the
community, but one night thar was
started a mild argument as to whether
the Methodists or the Baptists was the
chosen of the Lord. The argument was
in Pelican's place, and he had to close up
the joint, for nearly all of his best cus-
tomers passed out with the close of the
argument. Pelican told me afterward
that over three hundred shots was fired,
and said to me, 'I reckon the only reason
I was saved was that I didn't belong to



Shawn of Skarrow

either denomination, as I am a Campbel-
  " Pelican moved down on the Ohio
after this, and it was there I met him.
There is always considerable interest,
Shawn, in a stranger when he moves into
a community, especially if there is some
mystery about him. Pelican didn't have
much to say-he had no desire to mention
his past. He was wise. It was rumored
that he had left a good farm at Ball's
Landing and had moved down on the
Ohio for asthma trouble that bothered
him. About the only disease he ever
had was the whiskey habit, but he did not
dispute any of the statements made by an
interested community. His stock went
up with the talk about the farm. He
was invited to take supper with Bill
Bristow. Bill owned twenty acres of
hill land, with a small house and a mort-
gage on it. Old Bill's daughter, Lettie,
set next to Pelican at the table, and old
Bill looked on with satisfaction at the
headway they was making. Old Bristow
was thinking of the farm up at Ball's



Shawn of Skarrow

Landing; Pelican was thinking of the one
he was on. After a time, Pelican and
Lettie was married. Bristow give a
dance and ice cream supper and charged
fifty cents admission. There was danc-
ing, singing and a cuttin' scrape and the
couple felt that the occasion had been
one of success. Pelican certainly mar-
ried into old Bristow's family for he
never made any move toward looking for
another home, and it wasn't long before
Bristow begin to screw up his face.
  "Time passed and then come the
twins, a boy and a girl, and Pelican was
proud of the boy, for he had the Pelican
nose, but old Bristow rose up in his
wrath and said that they would have to
go, and so Pelican and his wife come
down into my neighborhood to live in a
shanty-boat on the river, but they didn't
git along, and fit and cussed from mornin'
till night. Bristow come down to patch
up matters. Pelican knocked him off
the boat with an oar, and as he floundered
out to the shore and wrung the water
out of his whiskers he said, 'Fix yer own



Shawn of Skarrow

troubles-far'well.' Two weeks after the
fight Mrs. Pelican Smith went back to
live with her father and Pelican went
into the fishin' and 'blind tiger' business.
I had two new nets and a set of trot lines,
and we bunched into a sort of partnership.
I couldn't git him to say anything about
his family or whether he wanted to see
them again. But one night we set to-
gether on the shore. We had run out of
bait and was tryin' to make plans to git
some, as the lines was dry upon the shore
and the fish would be runnin' with the
gentle rise comin' in the river. We set
on an old sycamore log together. The
moon had just swung over the hill and I
could see the white rim of it above the
edge of Pelican's nose.
  "'Pelican,' I said, 'why don't you go
back to your wife and children and try to
live happy with them' He made no
answer and I pressed on him, 'Pelican,
them two little twins air dependent on
you, and if you had a little home to
yourself, where the vines could run over
your doorway and the birds sing in your



          Shawn of Skarrow         31

own trees, with your wife and children
beside you, your life would be happy-
think of them, Pelican, your wife and
  " Pelican rose up, his face turned to the
river. Ah, I had him at last thinking of
his dear ones.
  "'What are you thinkin' of, Pelican'
  "'I was thinkin' wher'n the hell we'd
git that bait' said he."



  "DID YOU ever eat a mussel, Shawn"
  " No, sir, I didn't think they were good
to eat."
  "Well, lots of things are made good to
eat by the way you cook 'em. I want
you to bale out the boat and we'll go up
to the head of the bar and drop the grab-
hooks along in shoal water and after we
get a good dozen, small broilin' size, I'm
goin' to show you how to cook 'em. A
mussell, my boy, is a sort of lefthanded
cousin to an oyster, only he lacks the
salt water and a good many of the finer
points; a right smart like a good many
men, and I want to tell you another thing
-one of the finest pearls that sold in a
jewelry store in Cincinnati for fifteen
hundred dollars, was taken from a mussel
that come out of the Ohio river."


Shawn of Skarrow

  "Luke Walters found it at Craig's
bar," said Shawn.
  " The same," said Burney.
  "We might boil a bushel or two down
and run a chance of finding somethin';
there's no tellin'. Git one of them lemons
out of the box and the wire broiler and a
  Shawn came around with the boat,
Burney came out with the drag-hooks.
Shawn sat at the oars and they started up
the stream. The white pebbles on the
shore gleamed in the rosy sunlight. A
kingfisher perched on a rock by the
stream, tilted his head to the side in a
quizzical way and watched the boat
approach. The leaves from the tall syca-
mores and cottonwoods came tumbling
down to the edge of the water as if seek-
ing to embark upon a journey southward.
A little creek came pouring its crystal
waters into the great river. Just above
the mouth of the creek, some boy had
built a miniature mill-race, and the water
coursing over the little wheel murmured
tenderly and soothingly upon the ear.



Shawn of Skarrow

  " Shawn, there's many a boy in the city
would like to have a plaything like that.
Did you notice how nice and keerful-like
he has made that dam and the shoot
I'll tell you, a country boy knows how to
look out for his fun. You'll see the day
when the old water-mill will be a thing of
the past; steam will run 'em out, as it has
run out the flat-boat. In the old days
I used to make the flat-boat trip to New
Orleans and walk all the way back and
help cordelle the boat, they brought back
their flat-boats in them days-think of
doing that now. But I hate to see the
water-mills go. There's one out on Eagle
that has been run by five generations,
and they can't make flour by steam as
good as Amos Kirby's flour. Amos'
father had the process down, it seems,
better than any of them. The old man
was knowed all over that country, not
only for his good flour, but for his good
deeds and his kindness to the poor, and
that's a mighty good name to leave
behind. He always had a houseful of
company, and always got drunk fust, 80



Shawn of Skarrow

that the rest of his company would feel at
home. I et dinner thar once, and the