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The Sedalia weekly bazoo. (Sedalia, Mo.) 187?-1904, July 22, 1884, Image 2

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THE SEP AT J A "WEEKLY BAZOO, TUESDAY, JULY 22, 1884.
NELLIE GIFFORD.
BY CEPHAS A. LEACH.
Nellie was my idol, as much so as
could be any mere property. And
when Esauire Gookins proposed that
I should kill her, if need be, in his
service, I felt much as if he had asked
me to. risk my own life. He wanted
that I should drive her, in fearful
mud, at full speed, for twenty-four
miles. She had given me a good
Dosition. and a start in the world, and
was my pride and joy and means of
subsistence. And now the old skin
flint offered to pay me eighty-five
dollars if I killed her, and demanded
that I should do my best to get the
money. And I had sworn to "do my
best" in all my officials duties, and
I had no right to spare my property
more than myeelf.
When I was twenty-one my father
gave me a freedom suit and one hun
dred dollars and Nellie Gifford. The
next day I went down to the court
house for a neighbor who wanted a
ride home. As le came out with the
rest I heard a lawyer say to the
sheriff, "Can't you send a deputy to
Queechy and get that witness here in
the morning? If he is here sharp
when the court openB, his evidence
will still be taken."
"Why, it's twnty-four miles. He
went there to dodge the summons
and will dogde the deputy and make
delay, and there's ten chances to one
against getting him here at the
minute."
"Well, get a new deputy, whom he
won't suspect, a sharp fellow with a
good horse, and try it, and I will pay
the fees at any rate, and double them
if he gets him here in time."
"Here's just the man for you and
his horse is the best in town" Baid
neighbor Conant.
"That is a horse," said the lawyer,
with a look of special admiration at
Nellie.
"Yes, and a man, too," Eaid the
sheriff; "just the man, all but his
age. He is only twenty, for he
could not vote for me at the election.
And I'd like to give him the job,
too, for it is a good one and he gave
me my office."
At the election a little while before,
I brought in two voters from Fire
Hill only an hour before the polls
closed. A wagon load coming in
from Sugar Hollow reported that old
Uncle Isaac Hall was too feeble to
come in a lumber wagon, but his
daughter would let him come if a
carriage was sent for him. Dr.
Snow had just got out of his gig to go
in and vote. I said to him : "Can I
take your gig to go after TJncle Isaac ?"
"Yes," said he; "but not my horse."
I sprang to his horse, unhitched the
throat-latch, hames and girth, snatch
ed out the bits, lifted the shafts and
harness, and bade the would-be
sherifl hold them up, while I snatch
ed my horse out of her harness and
whirled her under the harness, drop
ped it on, borrowed the sheriffs watch
and was off in less time than it takes
to tell it. I drove the five miles in
twenty minutes. When in sight of
the house I stood up and swung my
liat, and he came out ready to get in ;
and I whirled, took him in and got
back in time to save the election by
that one vote, to say nothing of the
two others I had brought. The
sheriff tried to pay me ten dollars or
to have me keep the watch. But I
told him if I sold my work at elec
tion, I would hire the meanest man
in town to the thresh me, and if he
paid for 'such work I would work
against him as long as I lived.
"Well," said he, "when you are
candidate for sheriff I will help you."
And he did.
"No," said Mr. Conant, 'you are
mistaken. Mr. Hyde was twenty-one
yesterday, and that's his freedom suit
and his freedom horse and he is juafc.
the man for your work
To hear a neighbor speak so well
of me and call me a man, and empha
size the mister, was quite to my
liking.
"Is that so ; and will you try it ?"
said he.
"YeB, sir! Yes, sir!'' I replied.
"There is just the man for you,"
said the sheriff to the lawyer. "He
brought in an invalid voter with that
horse, five miles out and five back,
in fifty-three minuets, including a
change of vehicles. And the old gen
tleman, came" in so easily that he
thought he had been an hour on the
road.".
"But how will Mr. Conant get
home?" said I.
"I will take him," said the lawyer.
"My horse wants exercise and so do
I disliked this, and I whispered to
the sheriff, "Is that Woodstock lawyer
married?"
"Whew!" said he; "is the wind
in that quarter? I thought you was
after Belle Brandon."
"Well, I want folks to think so.
She and I are covering each other's
tracks. But I don't want so smart
and good looking a young lawyer as
that going home with Mr. Conant. I
will go and do your business, but I
will cry quits on all the obligations
you tell of if you will lake Mr.
Conant home."
"Well, you need not be concerned,
Dana is just married ; and he met
Miss Nancy at a teacher's institute two
years ago, and she suubbed him, I
reckon, from some things he asks of
me. It ain't every girl that takes to
a stranger in preference to one she
has always known."
I went off greatly pleased. I got
my witness, turned the fate of the law
suit and was continued as deputy
sheriff, and made a good thing of it,
and when I mustered up courage to
ask Miss Nancy the most terrific
prisoner that I ever took, and I have
handled some of the worst she
laughed at me and told me we
were engaged when four years old,
and it had never been possible for her
to marry any one else. And Nancy
thought so much of Nellie, too, and
late we had often ridden together.
In a strange city, an aged stranger seemed too
old to walk the Tery slippery streets alone, and I
turned and walked with nim, and he rewarded me
richly by telling me the tale of his priceless
frewure and his youthful race with the sheriff
That day, I had been off on the
hills serving summonses on foot, as it
was too niuddv to take out a horse,
and when I returned to the hotel
where I boarded, Iniet Mr. Gookins,
who dragged me to the table where
my dinner was ready, and said, "I
want you to start at once tor ueecny.
I have three thousand dollars against
the Green river woolen factory, and
they are shaky. The Woodstock
bank has six thousand, the Wood
stock sheriff has iust driven through
here, and I suspect has gone to attach
the property,- and I want you to get
ahead of him. Mr. Hammonds
our sheriff, is engaged, and beside,
he says you are the only man that
can out drive Sheriff Dyke."
"How long has he been gone?"
"About an hour."
"Not about, but how long?"
''An hour and seven minutes, and
at the rate you are going, you will be
ready in three minutes more."
"And you expect me to gain seventy
minutes in twenty-four miles on old
Dyke?"
"It ain't twenty-four; multiply
the length by the depth and it's forty
eight miles, and your mare can gain
it in that distance. I told the hostler
an hour ago to rub her well and water
her, and give her a small feed of oats,
and have her all readv. and there
she comes, and she'll make it like a
bird. Do the best you can. Jf you
can get the start of Dyke I will
double vour fees. If you use up the
mare I will give you eighty-five dollars
for her and you get another lor
sixty."
"Do not start too fast," said the
squire. Nellie was very fond of a
three minute gait when on a mere
drive; but she knew as well aa I
when business was on hand, and to
day she started at a ten minute gait,
and in half a mile made it an eight,
then a six, and then a five, at which
she kept it. Whenever I came to a
hill I sprang out ; the light gig came
up out of the mud, and I loped along
by the side of Nellie, and at the top
sprang in and went on, without stop
ping. In sixty-five minutes we were
at the livery stable in Corinth. "Mr.
Drake," 1 called out, "give me
Gifford, in a hurry, for a drive to
Queechy."
"Sheriff Dyke, of Woodstock, has
taken one of my horses and engaged
all the rest for the day," he replied.
A cold sweat came over me. The
tears started. I knew Nellie must go
on till she dropped. I was bound to
use every effort of myselfand property
in the duties of my office, and Nellie
was my only property and must be
driven at her best as long a3 she could
go, if I never drove her again. A
pail of water stood there, the meal
bin wa3 close by. I stirred a double
handful of meal into tljk water and
gave it to Nellie, and we started on.
We had gained forty minutes on a
tired horse and had thirty to gain on
a fresh one.
But Gifford, his best horse was still
in the stable, and so was another
grand roadster. There were two in
the buggy ahead and it was not a
light one. Nellie had watcrfed the
track that led to the livery stable,
and when she turned to follow it again
she saw that it was a chase and with
a motive and object before her set
tled all the better to her work. The
careful sheriff had dodged the mud
wherever practicable, and Nellie took
his trail and followed it like an Arab.
The trail grew plainer. Her ears
played more and more lively.
Once she threw up her head when
we were in soft mud so that her steps
made no sound, threw her ears for
ward and gave me a low whinney.
I listened and thought I heard wheels
grating upon the distant hill. I was
not certain, but Nellie was laughing
and exultant. She whinnied again
and I thought I heard them crossing
a distant bridge ; and when we reach
ed the top of a hill, there, going over
the hill opposite, across the valley,
was the buggy in plain sight. An
other slight whinney, a look at me,
and with tail up she went down that
long hill with a stride that would
have used up any horse but a Mor
gan. We came to the bridge and she
slowed up and stole across like a cat,
and was off like a shot. She went up
the hill as fast as I could lope and
I could lope like an Indian then. She
shook her head at me to get in before
we quite reached the top, and then
darted forward and came again m
sight of our game. They had started
too fast, with a large full horse, and
were dragging wearily along, using
the whip freely. I never had any
more use for a whip for Nellie than
for a canary bird.
On, on like a hound in sight of a
deer. When within four rods they
heard us and looked around. It was
on a good piece of road and I dashed
past them as if they were standing
still, throwing a ribbon of mud over
the sheriff, as I did so. His face
showed how fully beaten he felt.
He called to me to slop, I said, No,
not for you ! you have five horses en
gaged, and I can beat them all a mile
apiece.
"I only did my duty," he called out
and Nellie paused to listen. She
knew the game was in her own hands.
"Take my papers and serve them
after yours. It will be fifteen dollars
in your pocket aud a tall feather in
your cap. Don't help those pesky
Queechy constables to get the start of
a sheriff.'' I knew that the sheriff
deserved no grudge for doing his best
for hi3 clients. The constables were
getting fee3 that I would like, and I
wanted to stand well with the sheriff
of Windsor county. Besides Nancy
had consented to go to housekeeping
in the Spring, and that extra fifteen
dollars would furnish the spare room ;
and her father would never forget such
a big day's work. Justice, jealousy,
thrift and love all helped me to stop
and I took the papers. Nellie gave
a "good-by" whinny and went on at
her ease, the last two miles, and I
was almost but not quite sorry about
that ribbon of mud.
I drove up to the factory, dropped
my line3, and ran in and served my
papers ; and then the Sheriff's. Nel
lie and I were covered with mud, and
our coming in was noticed and other
papers were served before the arrival
of the iheriff. I knew just what was
to be done to make things firm, and
I did it within about an hour without
a thought of Nellie more than of my
self. Then it came over me just as
the sheriff was thanking me and pay
ing ray fees in advance.
"What is the matter ?" said he.
"You look as pale as a ghost."
"Nellie !" I gasped.
"Who ?" said he.
"Nellie, my mare,'' said I, "I
think the world of her."
'I thought you didn't," said he,
"from your leaving her right in the
wind- She's as stiff as a saw-horse by
this time."
I hurried out of the door and called
to her "Back Nellie!" and she did
so as limber as usual. I spoke again,
"Come Nellie," and I went rapidly
down the street into the hotel barn,
Nellie following. I umbuckled the
harness, girth and throatlatch, threw
off the names and sulky, put on all
the horse blankets in sight and took
her into a box stall with plenty of
straw in it.
The landlord and his Canadian hot
tier came out. I showed the boy be
hind his master's back, a half a dollar,
a big piece in those days, and we went
to work.
The sheriff, a fine horseman, came
out and said, -That's too fine a
horse to have ruined. Get two ket
tles full of hot water and put under
her. Put on more water and put
stones in the firo-place and keep the
water hot till you get her well warmed.
Kub her well with hot woolen
cloths " There wa3 a good supply
of hot water in the kitchen, which
was brought aud placed under her.
The mud was well scraped off'; and
then, a small space at a time, was
washed off with warm water, and
the hair well rubbed, and by twelve
o'clock she was dry and warm.
Her exploit, gaining seventy
minutes in twenty-four miles, on a
relay of horses was noised abroad, and
many of the first people in the town
came to see her. But the sheriff said
that she was exhausted, sick and sore,
and needed quiet as much as a sick
person, and we must keep the doors
locked. He told U3 to leave her
quiet as easy as possible; to stop
once in a while and talk to her kindly,
and let her know that we were fussing
over her for good. Which we did ;
though I believe she knew it as well
as we did.
At one o'clock, I hired a man I
could trust to sit up with her and
take off her extra blankets ; one an
hour from the bottom. And then I
took some supper and went to bed.
At six in the morning I was out
again, and found her eating vigor
ously ; and was told that she had
slept well.
The sheriff was vexed at the livery
man for not giving him Gifford, a
half brother to Nellie, and a half
match for her, a3 then he would have
done much better. But I asked him
if he had a horse like that, would
he let a stranger to race him for twelve
miles in such a buggy with two men
in it, in this mud.
"No," said he, "I would not."
"Neither would I."
He wanted to buy Nellie for 890,
$100,8155, S150 and 8200, but he
could not.
I made her lie down in deep straw,
much of the forenoon, and in the
afternoon I walked by her side to
Corinth; and the next day, home.
When we came to tne place where we
passed the sheriff she tossed her
head, pricked up her ears and spoke;
and showed her appreciation as
plainly as a Newfoundland dog could
have done. She minced across the
bridge, and spoke again when she
came to the top of the hill, where
she first saw the game. In it all she
showed how much a race of horses can
know if they can he brought up and
worked for many generations, by
owners, of kindness and culture, who
treat them well. Probably no horse
was ever more fortunate in his owner
than one in the hands of an upright,
educated, Green Mountain farmer,
and none ever knew more or behaved
better.
The stage driver, the old time
telegrapher, had brought the news
before our arrival, and we received
quite an ovation ; which Nellie
seemed fully to appreciate and enjoy.
The news had come first of the
sheriff's change and monopoly of
horses, with a greatly exaggerated
account of his driving and start of
me, and Cookins had given up all
hope and had become outrageous. He
had said that if I had beaten the
sheriff's two horses, he would have
divided the 83,000 with me. When
the truth came he was greatly de
lighted ; and although he forgot his
rash assertion t yet he never forgot to
tell of Nellie as the horse that had
gone forty-eight miles in two hours
and ten minutes and saved him three
thousand dollars.
He gave her the run of his village
premises, asked me as a special favor
to him to buy him the best colt I
could find and drive it till it was
perfectly broken ; rented us a part of
his house ready furnished, with fruit,
garden, woodlot and ail, on condition
that we would come right in, to
which, with many demurrers, Nancy
consented. Nellie was not used at all
for four months, and then seemed
none the worse for her feat
When I came west I left Nellie
with a friend, a parson, who promised
to take good care of her, and to take
her sometimes to a certain lonely
stretch of road, or upon the ice and
let her go as fast as she chose. As
soon as I was rich enough I sent for
her and her two colts, and she carried
me as sheriff not as deputy many
thousands of mile3. And her seven
sons and daughters have carried me
a3 many more, and with their progeny
by their sale, have given me and
mine many a substantial benefit.
Through the war my two sons and
myself rode her grandsons without
ever seeing anything we liked better.
They each owed a step in promotion
to the speed aud bottom of their horses
and to their elasticity which enabled
their riders to perform feats of riding
impossible upon common horses.
Nellie and one of her daughters
were the most sociable and talkative
horses that I ever knew. All the
family were talkative, but these the
most so. When living in the village,
I always let my horses run out in the
streets for exercise, water and grass,
when not used. If Nellie saw me
when she was out she would always
trot up to me and demand recogni
tion, and follow me wherever I went.
If I went in anywhere she would
stand outside and stamp and paw and
shake her head and call with the
utmost impatience. And when I
came out she would frisk and talk
like a dog, aud follow me again until
I forbade her or went home. If,
when she was out, I called her by a
certain shrill whistle she would hear
it twice as far as a man could and
would soon be heard running at full
speed and scolding constantly because
she was not at the end of her race.
Taken all-in all, Nellie was the
choicest treasure to me of all my prop
erty. And when the village where
I lived now a city wanted a piece
of land from me for a cemetery, I gave
it to them on condition that they
should include and protect a little
rocky lot outside of the consecrated
limits, next to the lots inside selected
for my own family. And there at
the age of thirty-seven, Nellie was
buried And with my own hand on
the living rock, I inscribed,
NELLIE.
SLEEPLESS NIGHTS made miserable
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FIRST NATIONAL BANK
SEDALfA, MO.
Paid up capital, - $100,000.00
Surplus, - - - 70,000.00
BAHKIHG HOUSE
Corner Ohio and Second Streets.
Cyrus New kirk, President,
A. D. Jaynes, Vice President,
J. C Thomi son, Cashier.
DIKECTORS.
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War. Gentry, A. D. Jaynfs,
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