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SiSlocum and the Census Taker.
T AP ! ItAP 1 11 AP I upon the door of
XX, our sanctum. "Come in!" from
the occupant of the same, no other than
oursclf. The rappist opened the door
and entered. He was a strapping fellow,
nix feet two in his boots.and" hip enough
to eat us," had the diet been to his miud
and he lblt so inclined ; and we arc no
morsel. He was armed, our visitor was,
with a huge port-folio, and an ink-bottle,
in lieu of a red,' red rose, adorned the
lapped of his coat. We looked iuto the
face of our visitor, and ho looked into the
face of the "other feller." What he
thought of us we don't know; what we
thought of him he probably didn't care a
continental red. A grin, semi-sardonic
in character, parted his lips, the upper
of which a grizzled moustache adorned.
That grin we interpreted thus: "I've
got you dead to rights, young feller
hived you you can't escape." There
certainly was no escape for us, whatever
his mission, with him between . us and the
door ; but we had a table, at which we
were seated, between hiin and ourself,
whatever protection that would have
With our eyes still fixed upon his,
looked down upon us from their towering
height, we ejaculated, " Well, sir, your
pleasure ?" though we had not the look
of one bound on a pleasure excursion.
A voice of double bass, that sounded
as though it came from the regions below
answered our query :
" I've come to take your census."
Thereupon he took a chair, took a sent
at the table opposite us, took out a hand
kerchief and wiped his face, and took a
glass of wat;r a pitcher of which soothing
beverage stood upon the table. Ho was
right on the take. Wo have no doubt
that ho would have taken a glass of old
rye, and a good stiff one, had we invited
him, which we did not do, for three good
reasons: In the first place,, it didn't oc
cur to us to invite him;' in the second
place, we had no old rye on hat:d ; in the
third place, we wouldn't have invited
him to take hold of it if wo had had any,
our hospitality in that line not extending
to entire strangers at least not until an
introduction has been gone through with.
xlccovcring from the aqueous indul
gence, which must have astonished his
stomach we were convinced, he opened
his portfolio, exposing a quantity of
blank forms, ruled in columns, at the
head of each of which appeared printed
" So you are one of the census chaps,
ch?" we queried.
The double-bass voice said, after its
proprietor had taken a pen from out his
pocket, and uncorked his ink-bottle :
" Yes ; and now let's get into the cen
"All right. Go ahead; lmt pray don't
incense us," we returned. The joke was
lost.its fragrance wasted on the desert air.
The census-taker didn't perceive said joke,
so intent was he upon the census, and
that did incense us.
"Lctmosiy to you beforo I com
mence," said the deep-toned voice, " that
if you refuse to answer any question this
blank calls fort or if you lie to me, you do
so at the rate of thirty dollars for each
refusal and lie. So talk quick, speak the
truth and shame the devil, unless you
have more money than you know what to
do with, and wish to help extinguish the
national debt by lying."
" Thirty dollars a lie, eh? What al
lowance for speaking the truth ? Any ?"
" No drawbacks, eh ? What sort of a
way is this to encourage truth-telling?
Slap goes down thirty dollars against us
if we lie a little from delicacy, but not
one cent to our credit for the many truths
we may tell ! This is crow for us and
turkey for Uncle Samuel every time."
" You must look at it in another light,
sir," said the hoarse-voiced census-taker.
" Lying in this matter is a luxury. If
you see fit to indulge in it, pay for it,
that's all. What's your name?"
" Slokum," we replied, seeing that ho
was bent upon commencing the inter
view. S-l-o-c "
" We don't see it, we k it." broke we
in upon him as he proceeded letter by
letter with our cognomen in the columu
headad, " Names." Slokum with a k,"
we added, with heavy emphasis on
"Oh, k,eh? K-u or is it o ?" ho
queried, looking up at us.
" You are correct ; u is right," wo re
turned. " What's the nam you lead off with ?"
" Si for short; Silaa in full.
" Any auxilary names ?"
" Nary an auxiliary."
" What year was you born in the day
of the month ?"
" On the glorious Fourth I Fourth of
" Lie number one," gTowled the double
bass voice, and down went straight
mark in the column headed "Lies."
" Hold up 1" we exclaimed. Allow us
to correct that statement. Any witness
on the stand has that privilege. We
were thinking of oor country's natal day,
the annivcrsaay of which is so close at
" Fourth of July, 1820, was the day
of our birth." lie made an X of the
straight, murk, and Slid, "Excused."
" Were you born at homo or abroad ?
I mean, were you born iu this country or
in a foreign land ?"
" No, sir." He looked up at us, as
much as to say, explain.
" We first saw daylight on the raging
main," we volunteered.
" Where's that?" he asked, and added,
" I'm a little lame, in geography." We
thought so too, and that he was deficient
in poetry, also; so came down to hard
" At sea we were born. Upon the
deep and dark blue rolling sea, llio wind
blowing a gale from the nor' nor' west,
the waves running mountains high, every
thing closed, furled, the ship lying head
to the wind, the cook's mate washed over
" There, that'll do. No matter about
the cook's mate, or any other man. How
old are you ? 1 forgot that."
" Thirty-one the coining 4th of July,"
Down it went he not appearing to
notice anything out of the wvy in the
" Occupation ? 0, seaman I forgot
born at sea."
We made no objections to being class
ed as an old salt, though we couldn't see
how being born at sea made us a seaman;
on the principle, we suppose, that, bom
in a stable, we should have been a horse.
" Rlack or white V he queried.
" White," we roared out, and somewhat
He looked at us sharply. We admit
that we are no blonde, but a brunette of
the deepest dye; still we profess to bo of
the quality known as the Caucasion
The census taker appeared to be in doubt,
but at length marked " W" against our
" Married or otherwise," was his next
" Otherwise considerably," we answered.
" Old batch or widower ?"
" Not any."
C. T, looked up at us. Evidently he
" How's that?" he queried. "What
are you ?"
" Divorced," wo returned.
" Divorced, ch ?"
" Yes, that's the fashion nowadays,
you know ; and one might as well be out
of the world as out of tho fashion," said
" What was tho little unpleasantness?"
ho asked' evidently interested in our mat
rimonial affairs. We felt confident he
was getting beyond tho range of ques
tions allowed him by law to ask, and knew
very well that it was none of his business
what tho littte " unpleasantness" was, as
he termed it; still wo didn't object to let
ting him know all about it, if it would
" Incompatibility of temper, in one in
stance, was tho 'little unpleasantness,' "
said we. " Iu another, incompatibility
of tastes. Iu tho third instance "
" Thunder ! three divorces ?" he que
ried, breaking in upon us.
"Three! Seven, man," said we in re
turn. " S-e-v-e-n-d-i-vorces! whew!" he ex
claimed, slightly astonished, wo thought.
Placing his elbows on toe table, he laid
his thumbs along his lower jaw, and thus
supporting his he-jd, looked at us with all
the eyes he had; by "which expression we
mean to convey the idea that ho looked
.at us thoroughly, 'intently, searchingly,
with his two eyes. At length ho said in
a voico heavier, deeeper, hoarser than
ever; " I believe that statement to bo a
d d lie, Bir."
" Your sizo protects you, sir," said we
" Do you mean to stand to that state
ment, sir?" ho asked.
" What, that your size"
" No, thorn seven divorces."
" Won't you take off a divorce?"
" Not a divorce," we said firmly, lie
said no more on the subject, but made
four straight marks in the lie column.
" What are you doing?" we asked,
1 " I'll allow you three divorces, but I
am blowed if I allow seven. Four, I
mark down as lies," ho said brutally.
" As we said before, your size protects
you, .sir," said we in a freezing manner.
" What pursuit are you engaged iu ?"
ho grullly asked.
" Inasmuch as you put us down as a
seaman, wo prrsumo we arc engaged in
nautical pursuits, otherwise wo should
have said that we are in pursuit of hap
piness, like all mortals, missing ic." He
dropped oil himself at the mention of
" So 1 did seamen. That was a queer
mistake on my part. What is your busi
ness anyhow ? How docs your iucouie
come in ?"
' From our rhntnix m Enpntjnfl.
" W hat's them?" inquired tlie C. T.,
'Castles in Spain."
"Castles in Spain, ch ? How many
castles have you in Spain?"
" Oh, they are innumerable. We build
"Say, look here young feller; this
thing's been going on long enough," roar
od out the C. T. " Your castles aro cas
tles in the air, I fancy. Refusal to an
swer and a lie." Two marks went down
against us at thirty dollars a mark.
" Ar;- you the airent of the Slokum
family?" asked the 0. T.
' Sole agent for the United States and
Canada; also Europe, Asia, Africa, and
" llow many docs the family consist
" One. You see tho entire family.
One ami indivisable. Look at him."
" No brothers and sisters, fathers and
mothers, eh ?"
" Druthers and sisters-in-law, lots of
'cm, we had, and seven mothers-in-law
but escaped them .by divorce, and are
happy." Four marks one hundred and
twenty dollars went down agaiust us in
the lie column. We uttered no remon
strance, but let the C. T. take our census
in his own way, satisfied that ho would
do so anyhow.
" Cot any horses, cattle, or live stock
of any kind ?"
" Yes ; .have a hawser, a colt, a ram,
two calves, six kids, a deer, a number of
hares, and well we believe that's about
all the live st ick we possess."
" What's the horse ?"
" What horse?"
" Didn't you just say you had a horse,
" Yes, we said wo had a hawser
" Go on, young feller, if you think you
can afford to pay for the amusement,"
said the C. T., " sarkastic."
" You mentioned a colt, I believe," he
" Yes, and here it is," we said, display
ing a small-sized Col't.
" ll'm ! Well, don't let it go off. I
know the pace of that breed of colts
it's a killing one. How about that ram,
and the calves?"
" The ram is of tho hydraulic strain,
and the calves here they are, just below
our knees. Here are our kids," and we
showed him 'three pair of Alexander
breed. " As for the hairs, our head is
at your service if you wish to count
" We'll lump them. 13ut how about
the deer ?"
"We decline to answer any ques
tions about her while she continues
to reign iu this bosom, and is so dear
" She must be a reindeer," said the.
C. T., with a hoarse laugh. It was the
first joke he was guilty of. Rut as we
put it riirht into his mouth, he deserved
no credit therefor.
" Sec hero, young feller," he said stern
ly, " these yarns about your cattle, and
live stock generally, are not exactly lies,
they aro evasions, and will bo charged
against you as deliberate lies, at thirty
dollars a head. Your troop of hares will
cost you fifteen hundred dollars only, as
I shall place but fifty marks against you
on account of these animals. You havo
about one huudred and twenty-five lies
charged to your account, thus far, and if
every body does only a twentieth part as
as well, tho national debt will be lied out
of existence, with a dollar or two to
At this moment we experienced a tre
mendous shock, and heard a heavy fall
and crash. Upon looking about us, we
found ourself on tho floor Burroundedby
water and tho fragments of a pitcher.
We had fallen asleep and dreamed all
this, and in capsizing had carried the
pitcher of water down with. The pitch
er was a dead loss to us, but then, our
fines for lying were all settled at one foil
AN ADVENTURE WITH PIRATES.
I KNEW I had wounded the deer;
for 1 could see its blood upon the
bushes through which it had rushed
after receiving the shot. I thought of
going back for my horse beforo pursuing
it. L had left him tied to a tree some
two or three hundred yards back, the
better to approach the game. While hes
itating, I noticed clear sky through tho
timber on three sides right, left and in
front. This could be caused only by the
river, as the whole bottom-land was cover
ed with a thick Cottonwood forest. It
must be a bend in the stream, forming a
sort of peninsula, with au isthmus of not
nioro than a hundred yards in width,
my position being about midway between
the rccurvings of the river. In this case
the buck would be in a trap, and could
not get back into the bottom-land without
passing me within shot. His only alter
native would be to take to the water,
which he might do, or might not. As it
was the broad Mississippi, he likely
would not; but, in any case, the horse
would bo of no use there; and hastily
reloading, I walked on.
I had no difficulty in taking up the trail
of the stricken animal. Under tho shad
ow of the moss-trcllised trees, tlie soil was
damp, and tho " slot" was conspicious
the more so, that the antlered monarch of
the forest evidently had been laboring in
his flight. Once again I saw gouts of
blood upon tho palmettos, brushed off
from his bleeding flanks, as he ran through
1 soon reached the edge of the river,
and there saw his hoofmarks in tho mud
that selvedgcd the sloping bank. There
were no return tracks ; therefore he had
taken to the river. It was the Missis
sippi' as 1 have said, but not the main
stream. At a glance, I saw it was a "cut
off" a small, wooded island interposing
itself between me and the great "Father
of Waters." Deyond doubt, the deer
had swain off to the island, there, equal
ly beyond doubt, as I supposed, to lie
down and die.
He was a splendid buck, with not less
than a dozen " tines" upon his antlers
I had noticed this whilo drawing a bead
upon him. I wanted him for a trophy,
and was determined to havo him. Uut
how ? tho branch stream, though not
over a hundred yards in width, was of
rapid turbulent current. Stripped, 1
could swim it, though not comfortably,
or carry a dry gun certainly not to
bring back with mo the carcass of a large
doer. The horns, perhaps I might.
Detter the trophy than nothing.
I had half made up my mind to strip
andswimto the is'and, when I bethought
me of a boat, though of a little hope of
there being any near.
Along the river for miles there was no
habitation. I had hunted there before
and know it. For all tiiis by a - sort of
involuntary inspiration, I glanced inter
rogatively around, with my eyes sweep
ing whatever of water-surface was in
There was a boat in sight, but it was a
'flat,' a regular " broad-horn," and, of
course, unavailable fur my purpose. It
was far out in tho main-stream, beyond
the wooded islet, which it had already
passed. As I set my eyes upon it, it was
just running a jotting point below; and
as its great steering oar disappeared from
my sight, I could make out on the stern
beneath, painted iu rudely-shaped letters
The Nancy could be of no use to me;
and at once dismissing her from my mind,
I was about to cominenco stripping, when
a canoe, shooting round tho upper end of
the islet, came right down the cut-off.
There wero two men in it. They were
iu their shirt-sleeves red shirts, at that,
a good deal soiled and i'aded. Their
features wero shaded by broad-brimed
wool hats, also the worse for wear. I
did not stop to scrutinize either their
dress or features, but at once hailed
" I want to cross over to tho island ;
will you take me."
" What d'ye want to cross thar for ?"
" l'vo wounded a deer a fino buck,
lie has swum there, lie is dying or
dead before this.' I want to get him.
Tho man who handled the paddies,
caused tho stroko to be suspended.
" What will yo give"? was the interro
gation, promptly put.
" A dollar, I replied.
" D n yer dollar 1 say two and we'll
do it. You expect us to take ye back to
the bank after yo've pot yu'r don't ye?"
" That will take some time, an' we
hain't any to lose. Say two shiners, an'
we'll gi'o yo half an hour."
",Agrccd ; two dollars."
As 1 said this, I plunged my hand into
the pocket of my hunting-coat, and drew
forth a fistfull of gold and silver coin' so
as to secure them to tho gargain, by
showing I was able to keep my part of
I saw that they were impatient, and I
was determined to get possession of my
stag and his splendid antlers.
Tho canoe a tolerably well-shaped
"dug-out" was paddled, stem foremost
towards the bank ; and as it approached
I noticed, in small lettering imder the
name "Nancy." Ry this I knew it wae
the " tender" of the flat-boat I had seen
sweep down stream , which accounted for
its occupants being pressed as to time.
I made ho remark about this, but
stepped in taking a seat in the stern,
which was surrendered to me by him
who had hitherto occupied it ; he scramb
ling up closer to the paddler at the
"Half an hour, stranger." he said,
reminding me of the stipulated time.
" We've agreed to gi'o ye that. Ef we
are longer, wo must chargo more. A dol
lar for everyden minutes."
" All right!" I said, taking out my,
watch to make note of the time.
It was a gold ease repeater, worth,
with tlie chain, at least two hundred dol
lars. After returning it to its fob, and look
ing into the faces of the two men, I felt
a little regretful at having shown it ; as
also of having made display of my lose
coin some three hundred dollars I car
ried in gold and silver pieces. Two
more rascally sets of features I never saw
in juxtaposition, and it "was difficult
to say which set was the more expressive
of true penitentiary type. After all,
thought I, they arebut boatman whom
it may not bo fair to judge cither by
their looks or general exterior.
I had no time to reflect. In -less than
five minutes the canoe struck the shore
of tho islet, and I jumped out to
look after my deer,on the tracks of which
I came, at the spot where we mado lau
ding. ; Under the excitement of soon bring
ing my hunt to a successful conclusion
1 paid little heed to aught else, though
; on parting from tho canoe, I could not
help noticing that tlie two boatman held
a hurried consultation in whispers, while
otic of them stepped ashore al ter me, say
ing he would go along, and if need be,
give me assistance.
I made no objection, but kept on, my
whole thoughts occupied in tracing the
stag. The islet was not over three acres
in extent, covered with an undergrowth
of palmettoes. I knew the deer must bo
among them ; and I was not long discov
ering the coveted antler, rising above
the fan-shaped fronds, th ,ir owner lying
concealed beneath, on what would no
doubt have been his deathbed, had no
one ever come near him. To hasten it
I raised my rifle, and taking aim at his
heart which was still feebly beating,! fired.
There seemed to be two cracks simul
taneously : but that might have been caus
ed by the recoil of my gun, which appear
ed to bust iu my hands ; I could not tell
thcn,for,af'ter pulling tho trigger,I became
When consciousness returned, I found
myself alone, lying along tho ground
with a terrible aching iu the head. Rais
ing my hand to the spot, 1 felt an abras
uro at tho back part of my skull, with
a piece of tho scalp missing. On return
ing my hand before my eyes, I saw my
fingers were reddened with blood.
My senses gradually growing clearer,
I gazed around, and soon perceived that
I was alone, lying among tho palmet
toes. Staggering to my feet, I looked still
further, and saw, at some distance, the
dead body of the deer. I remember hav
ing fired the shot that must have killed it.
Rut my gun that I supposed to have
burst in my hands where was that? It
was not there either lock, stock or bar
rel. And my watch, worth two hundred
dollars ; and tho odd threo hundred iu
coin, I had carried in my pocket? All
gone, and along with them, the two cauoe
nien who had ferried mo across to tho
For a time I felt perplexed; but not
for long. With my fast-clearing con
sciousness camo the eclaircisscnicnt of all
that had transpired. 1 had heard two
cracks one 1 knew to bo my own gun
the other, I now conceived must have
been a pistol, whose bullet, intended to
pass through my brain, had only glanced
off from the thickest part of my posterior
skull, rendering me for tho timo insensi
ble, and to all appearance dead. This was
fortunate, cIbo a second shot might haye