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any apprehensions on our part. I knew that he had been an incessant traveller like myself, but an older one by double the

age, and therefore, in spite of my misgivings, had to fall into his manner of treating things.

After we were all fairly housed, bag and baggage, I accordingly left the cue to him. I knew that the greater portion of the wealth he possessed, which was very considerable, was contained in that rusty-looking, travel-stained trunk, upon which he quietly sat down; and being aware of all he had at stake, could not help admiring the sang froid with which he faced the conditions in which he found himself. He bantered our rough host in all sorts of droll ways, and seemed to be utterly indifferent as to whether he gave offence or not.

Our sappy Yankee, in the meantime, commenced making a great clamor about something to eat and drink, and expressed the wildest astonishment when the man assured him that he had no whiskey in the house, and nothing to eat but a little corn meal.

“Du tell!" shouted the astounded fellow. “Not got nothin' to eat? Why, how du you live out here?"

“On mud-cats, with soap-stone to butter 'em !” interposed my friend, laughing. “But, Yankee, what do you want with anything more to eat to-night? I saw you eat enough for three men at the supper-table, before you left the boat.”

Why, la! what has a fellow got to do but to eat and drink, too? I say, old fellow, git eout your Injun flour; you ain't got no pumkins, ain't you? Wall, let's have

your Injun doins—though you be's mighty bad off here, not to have pumkins nor whiskey."

Our host now suddenly became excessively obliging, and immediately paraded his peck of meal, with a spider to cook it in, and even became so prodigalin his desire to gratify the guzzling propensities of our Yankee, as to hint that he might be able to get us some whiskey.

Yankee was hugely overjoyed at the idea, while I was intensely vexed and annoyed.

The moment the man was beyond ear-shot, I turned to Yankee, and said sharply, “Look you, my good fellow, if you don't beware how you use that whiskey, you may chance to wake up with your throat cut before you are done with it."

The fellow only laughed out coarsely, and asserted, with a sly wink toward my friend

“ That he wan't afraid of whiskey's cutting his throat, and wondered if I was afraid ?"

I turned from him in disgust, remarking, “I see you've got to learn a great deal about the West yet.”

In a moment after our host entered the door, and to our no little astonishment, accompanied by a train of powerful, ruffianly-looking fellows, which numbered, along with him. self, six in all, and made a by no means grateful addition to our company.

A suspicion, which, as I have observed, continued to gain ground upon me, that we had fallen upon evil times here, and certainly into evil company; for I never remembered chancing upon a more villainous group than this which now gathered about us.

I was fully roused to the feeling of doubt and insecurity, as I carefully watched the movements of these fellows. I perceived in a moment that they were armed with knives as well as whiskey bottles. A look immediately passed between my friend and myself, and my course was determined upon for we were both, so far as I knew, unarmed, and I saw while they gathered more closely around us, with rough but over friendly greetings, that each man of them carried his knife with but a clumsy pretext of concealment underneath his shirt. I now felt at once what was the course proper to be pursued. That as we were in their power but too evi. dently, our only available course for the present, was in temporizing, and I saw too that it would be utterly useless for us to make any calculations upon the Yankee, who received them with a boisterous greeting. They immediately offered him the whiskey-bottle. He snatched it eagerly.

“Ha! ha! That's great-du tell now, boys, where'd you all cum from? Good old Rye, hey ?” and in spite of all my efforts to telegraph a warning to him against drinking it, down went a deep draught at once.

I felt convinced that the liquor had been drugged, and when the bottle was passed to me, I turned my head towards my friend, and while I pretended to be taking even a longer and deeper potation than that in which the unconscious Yankee indulged, my eye met his, and a look of peculiar significance was exchanged. I moved the muscles of my throat as if swallowing rapidly, though I forced the villainous decoction out of the corners of my mouth.

I saw that I was closely watched, but I had turned my back upon the faint light of the fire, and thus managed to escape detection in this manoeuvre—for although the fellow to whom I returned the bottle, held it before the light for an instant to satisfy himself whether a sufficient quantity had disappeared to justify the extraordinary length of the suction I had seemingly indulged—I had taken care of that, and had smacked my lips with such extraordinary relish, that he turned away with a leer of unmistakable gratification. Villian! thought I, you missed your aim this time, clear enough!

I felt a momentary uneasiness as I saw them now gather about him, from the fear of the possibility that my friend might not have taken the hint fully. Suddenly becoming jovial, I laughed out as they presented the bottle to him.

"Oh no, boys, it's no use—he never drinks; besides, don't you see how sleepy he is?" My friend had suddenly grown drowsy, and was leaning his head back against the log wall, with eyes nearly closed. But they seemed determined he should be dosed at any rate, and although he shook his head and drawled out in a half articulate way, that he was too sleepy to drink, they continued to urge upon him to rouse up and “take something."

I interrupted these hospitable designs, by insisting that they should come and drink with Yankee and myself, assuring them with a somewhat roystering manner

"I tell you, my good fellows, the old man will be sound asleep-yes, dead asleep—for I know him of old! How he sleeps! Why, you might fire a pistol in his ear when he once gets at it, and he would never hear it.”

A low, broad-shouldered fellow with wiry muscular frame, a throat hairy as a grizzly bear's with a black tangled shag upon his head, mean, narrow wrinkled forehead, and thick, inky brows that sat above his vulture beak, and shaded a pair of small black eyes, the cunning and remorseless ferocity of the expression of which I never saw surpassed in man or beast—now turned upon me with a sharp suspicious look, as if he questioned my meaning in this last speech, but the expression of maudlin jollity into which my features had fallen, seemed to satisfy him.

The Yankee now too came to my rescue, and produced a diversion of attention also from my friend and myself, by obstreperous displays of the convivial spirit which were altogether too unmistakable for even lingering suspicion.

The bottle was once more passed to him, but when they did me the honor to pay me the same favor, after pretending to drink again, I insisted that they should also drink with us, “in compliment,” not as a pledge of hospitality, which appeal as I knew among men of loyalty, however rude, would have been considered sacred, but among such as those into whose power we seemed to have fallen, would only have been regarded as indicating suspicion on my part.

They all made a noisy parade of their readiness to drink with the “gentleman,” but each one of them, as he received the bottle, turned his back upon us while he drank, or, as I was convinced, pretended to drink.

The fellows continued to grow very familiar and obstreperous, especially when the Yankee, in an astonishingly short time, began to give satisfactory indication of having got his full “dose.” His eyelids became exceedingly heavy, while his gait wavered, and his tongue stuttered.

Now the revel ran high apparently, although he was the


only person in that cabin room who had drank a drop of the accursed mixture. The creature's evidently besotted condition had proved a capital foil to the game played by myself, for with such proof of the success of the villainous trick upon one of the party, it was very natural for them to suppose, when they saw my friend H— with his head thrown back, his mouth wide apart, breathing heavily, as if in a sound sleep, upon his trunk, and found, too, that I, a rather boyish looking somebody at the best, seemed to have fallen so readily into their gull-trap—would soon fall into the same condition towards which Yankee was fast verging.

I took good care to contribute to this charitable expectation as far as possible, and the fellows now became more unguarded. One of them deliberately sat down upon the heap of the Yankee's baggage, picked up one of the ill-omened cherry-wood boxes, deliberately weighed it in his hands, and replaced it, looking up at the same time with a broad wink, a nod, and a chuckle into the faces of those nearest to him. I pretended not to notice this. I had so frequently noticed one and another of them as they pretended to stumble over these boxes, pause to weigh them with their feet, that this insolent manoeuvre only served to remind me of the greater imminence of our position, and, if possible, to open my eyes the wider. Things looked very dark to me, it must be confessed. Yankee, it was clear enough, was under the influence of some soporific potion, to a degree that rendered him utterly helpless—it might be that I was really sound asleep

I —at all events, he certainly counterfeited it so well as to leave me in absolute doubt—and I, a slight youth, left alone to guard these two lives and all this property, of the amount of which I could scarcely conjecture, and I surrounded by six powerful ruffians, with knives in their bosoms, who were growing every moment more insolent with what they supposed to be the entire promise of impunity in crime, which the existing circumstances afforded—all this! and I without a weapon, except the arms God gave me, which

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