The Gentleman of La Porte
He was also a Pioneer. A party who broke through the snows of the winter of 51, and came upon the triangular little valley afterwards known as La Porte, found him the sole inhabitant. He had subsisted for three months on two biscuits a day and a few inches of bacon, in a hut made of bark and brushwood. Yet, when the explorers found him, he was quite alert, hopeful, and gentlemanly. But I cheerfully make way here for the terser narrative of Captain Henry Symes, commanding the prospecting party:
We kem upon him, gentlemen, suddent-like, jest abreast of a rock like thisdemonstrating the distance ez near ez you be. He sees us, and he dives into his cabin and comes out agin with a tall hat,a stovepipe, gentlemen,and, blank me! gloves! He was a tall, thin feller, holler in the cheek,ez might be,and off color in his face, ez was natral, takin in account his starvation grub. But he lifts his hat to us, so, and sez he, Happy to make your acquaintance, gentlemen! Im afraid you experienced some difficulty in getting here. Take a cigyar. And he pulls out a fancy cigar-case with two real Havanas in it. I wish there was more, sez he.
Ye dont smoke yourself? sez I.
Seldom, sez he; which was a lie, for that very afternoon I seed him hangin ontu a short pipe like a suckin baby ontu a bottle. I kept these cigyars for any gentleman that might drop in.
I reckon ye see a great deal o the best society yer, sez Bill Parker, starin at the hat and gloves and winkin at the boys.
A few Ind-i-ans occasionally, sez he.
Injins! sez we.
Yes. Very quiet good fellows in their way. They have once or twice brought me game, which I refused, as the poor fellows have had a pretty hard time of it themselves.
Now, gentlemen, we was, ez you know, rather quiet menrather peaceable men; buthevin been shot at three times by these yar good Injins, and Parker hisself havin a matter o three inches of his own skelp lying loose in their hands and he walkin round wearin green leaves on his head like a Roman statooit did kinder seem ez if this yer stranger was playin it rather low down on the boys. Bill Parker gets up and takes a survey o him, and sez he, peaceful-like
Ye say these yer Injinsthese yer quiet Injinsoffered yer game?
They did! sez he.
And you refoosed?
I did, sez he.
Must hev made em feel kinder badsorter tortered their sensitiv naters? sez Bill.
They really seemed quite disappointed.
In course, sez Bill. And now mout I ask who you be?
Excuse me, says the stranger; and, darn my skin! If he doesnt hist out a keerd-case, and, handin it over to Bill, sez, Heres my kyard.
Bill took it and read out aloud, J. Trott, Kentucky.
Its a pooty keerd, sez Bill.
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