小说搜索     点击排行榜   最新入库
首页 » 经典英文小说 » The Cavalier » VIII THE JAYHAWKERS
选择底色: 选择字号:【大】【中】【小】
VIII THE JAYHAWKERS
IT was well that I was on the Federal captain's horse. He knew this sort of work and could do it quicker and more quietly than mine. Mine would have whinnied for the camp and watched for short cuts to it. Another advantage was the moon, and the hour was hardly beyond midnight when I saw a light in a window and heard the scraping of a fiddle. At the edge of a clearing enclosed by a worm fence I came to a row of slave-cabins. Mongrel dogs barked through the fence, and in one angle of it a young white man with long straight hair showed himself so abruptly as to startle my horse. Only the one cabin was lighted, and thence came the rhythmic shuffle of bare-footed dancers while the fiddle played "I lay ten dollars down." There were three couples on the floor, and I saw--for the excited dogs had pushed the door open--that two of the men were white, though but one wore shoes. On him the light fell revealingly as he and the yellow girl before him passed each other in the dance and faced again. He was decidedly blond. The other man, though silhouetted against the glare of burning pine-knots, I knew to be white by the flapping of his lank locks about his cheeks as he lent his eyes to the improvisation of his steps. His partner was a young black girl. I burned with scorn, and doubtless showed it, although I only asked whose plantation this was.

"This-yeh pla-ace?" The rustic dragged his words lazily, chewed tobacco with his whole face, and looked my uniform over from cap to spur. "They say this-yeh place belong to a man which his name Lu-ucius Ol-i-veh."

So! I honestly wished myself back in my old rags, until I reflected that my handsome mount was enough to get me all the damage these wretches could offer. Still I thought it safest to show an overbearing frown.

"To what command do you fellows belong?"

He spurted a pint to reply, "Fishe's batt'ry."

"Oh! And where is the battery?"

"You sa-ay 'Whah is it?'--ow batt'ry"--he champed noisily--"I dunno. Does you? Whah is it?"

"It's twenty miles off; why are you not with it? What are you doing here?"

"You sa-ay 'What we a-doin' hyuh?' Well, suh, I mought sa-ay we ain't a-doin' nuth'n'; but I"--he squirted again--"will sa-ay that so fah as you see what we a-doin', you kin see, an' welcome; an' so fah as you don't see, it ain't none o' yo' damn' busi-ness."

"Oh, that's all right, I was only asking a friendly question."

"Yaas; well, that's all right, too, suh; I uz on'y a-givin' you a frien'ly aynsweh. I hope you like it."

Our intercourse became more amiable and the fellow dragged in his advice that I spend the rest of the night at the house of Mr. Oliver. His acquaintance with that gentleman seemed to grow while we talked, and broke into bloom like a magician's rosebush. He described him as a kind old bird who made hospitality to strangers his meat and drink. A conjecture darted into my mind. "Why, yes! that is his married son, is he not, yonder in the cabin; the one with the fair hair?"

"Who?--eh,--ole man Ol-i-veh? You sa--ay 'Is that his ma'-ied son, in yondeh; the one 'ith the fah hah? '--Eh,--no--o, suh,--eh,--yass, suh,--yass! Oh, yass, suh, thass his--tha'--thass his ma'ied son, in thah; yass, suh, the one 'ith the fah hah; yass, suh. I thought you meant the yetheh one."

"I don't believe," said I, "I'd better put myself on the old gentleman when the mistress of the house is away."

"She ain't awa-ay."

"Is she not! Isn't she the Mrs. Oliver--Charlotte Oliver--who is such friends--she and her husband, I mean, of course,--"

"Uv co'se!" The reptile giggled, squirted and nodded.

"--With General Austin," I continued, "--and with Lieutenant Ferry?"

"She air!" He was pleased. "Yass, we all good frien's togetheh."

"But if she--oh, yes!--Yes, to be sure; she could easily have got here yesterday afternoon."

"Thass thess when she arrove!" It was fascinating to watch the animal's cunning play across his face. The fiddle's tune changed and the dance quickened.

"I naturally thought," resumed I, with a smile meant to refer to the blond dancer, "that the madam must be away somewhere."

My hearer grinned. "Oh, that ain't no sign. Boys will be boys. You know that, yo'se'f. An' o' co'se she know it. Oh, yass, she at home."

"Well, I reckon I'll stop all night." I began to move on. His eyes followed greedily.

"Sa-ay! I'll wrastle you fo' them-ah clo'es."

I waved a pleasant refusal and rode toward the house.


欢迎访问英文小说网http://novel.tingroom.com

©英文小说网 2005-2010

有任何问题,请给我们留言,管理员邮箱:tinglishi@gmail.com  站长QQ :点击发送消息和我们联系56065533