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San Marcos free press. [volume] (San Marcos, Tex.) 1877-1892, November 24, 1877, Image 3

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86088181/1877-11-24/ed-1/seq-3/

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etcoiiiimtilva ly tho iminuof tliu niillmr, not
liHciuwHrily lorpulilteiitlon, but im uviUuncn i
tfCHMlfuitliontlioiitut ot the writer.. Wrlir
only on onoftldnof tlie pitpor. llcpiiitlpuljn'lv
direful in irivluu liuim-a hikI chiti's, to Jmve
till luttuiK or Utfui'OK plain mill ilUilnct.
In the early autumn of the year 1849,
About half an hour of sunset, I drew
u-ein in front of a large double log-house,
on the, very summit of the Blue Ridge
Mountains of Eastern Kentucky. The
place was evidently kept as a tavern, at
least so a sign proclaimed, and here I
determined to demand accommodation
for myself and servant, Bose, a dark
skinned body-guard. Bose and I had
been playmates in childhood, and I need
hardly say that the faithful fellow was
attached to me, as I was to him, and on
more than one occasion be had . shown
.his devotion. .
There had been a , "shooting-match'
at the Mountain House that day, and, as
I dismounted, I saw through the open
window of the bar-room a noisy, drunk
en and evidently quarrelsome set of
backwoodsmen, each of v whom was
swearing by all possible and impossible
oaths that he was not only the best shot,
but that he could outfight, outjump,
outwrestle, run faster, jump higher,
dive deeper and come up drier than any
other man on the "mountain."
",I say, Mars Ralph," said Bose, in a
low tone, as I handed him my bri&le
Tein, " I don't like de looks ob dem in
dar. J'pose we go on to de next house ;
'taint fur."
"Nonsense, Bose," I replied; "these
fellows are only on a little spree over
their shooting. We have nothing to dp
with them, nor they with us. Take the
horses roun'd to the stable, and see to
them yourself . You know theye had
hard day of it." And throwing my
saddle-bags over my shoulder, I walked
up the narrow path to the house.
I found, as I have intimated, the bar
room filled with a noisy, turbulent
crowd,' who one and all stared at me
-without speaking as I went up to the bar
and inquired if I and my servant could
'have accommodation for the night.
Receiving an affirmative reply from the
landlord, a little, red-headed, cadaverous-looking
specimen of the , "clay
eater," I desired to be at once shown to
my room, whither I went, but not until
I had been compelled to decline a score
of requests to "take a drink," much to
the disgust -of the stalwart bacchana
lians. The room to which I was shown was
at the far end of a long, two-storied
structure, evidently but recently added
on to the main building, which it inter
sected at right angles. A gallery ex
tended along the front, by means of
which the rooms were reached. I found
my apartment to be large and compara
tively well furnished, there being, be
sides the bed, a comfortable cot, half a
dozen "split-bottomed'1 chairs, a heavy
clothes-press, and a bureau with glass.
There were two windows, one alongside
the door and the other in the opposite
end of the room. The first-mentioned
was heavily barred with stout oak strips,
a protection, I presumed, against intru
sion from the porch, while across the
latter was drawn, a heavy woolen cur
tain. In the course of half an hour Bose en
tered, and announced that the cattle had
been attended to, and a few minutes
later a bright-faced mulatto girl sum
moned us to supper.
Supper over, I returned to my room ;
first requesting to be roused for an early
breakfast, as I desired to be on the road
by sunrise.' Thoroughly "wearied with
my day's ride,' I at once began prepara
tions for retiring, and had drawn off
one boot, when Bose came in rather
hastily, looking furtively over his shoul
der, and then cautiously closing and
locking the door.
"Mars Ralph, dar's gwine to be
trouble in dis house afore mornin'," he
And I saw in a moment that some
thins had occurred to upset the faithful
fellow's equilibrium.
" Why, Bose, what is it? What do
you mean?" I asked, barely restrain
ing a smile.
" I tole you, Mars Ralph, we'd better
trabble furder," was the rather mysteri
ous reply. "You see dat yaller gal
dere tole me dar wonld be a muss if we
staved in dis 'founded ole house all
By close questioning I elicited the
fact that the girl had really warned him
that four men whom I had noticed talk
ing togrther were a desperate set of vil
lains, and probably had designs upon
onr property, if not our lives. The girl
had seen two of them at the stable
while I was at supper.and by cautiously
creeping into the Ftall next the one in
which they stood, had beard enough to
convince her that tber meant mischief.
Subsequently to this, she also saw the
landlord In close confab with the entire
party, and from his actions jndgod that
he was urging them on to their nefari
ous work.' 1 r 1 '
?I tell your Mars Ralph,' dem white
trash ain't arter no good now you
hoard me," persisted Bose. , ; .
I had begun to think so myself; but
what! was to be done?.. Tho situation
was full of embarrassment, and I felt
that nothing could be dene save to wait
and watch, and, by being on the alert,
defeat their plans by a determined re
sistance. ' ' " '
I found that from the barred window,
in which there was a broken pane of
glass, a good view of the stable could
be had.,. Then for the other i window.
I crossed the room, drew aside the
heavy curtain, and, raising the sash,
looked out. A single ' glance was suf
ficient to cause me a thrill of surprise,
and I gave a low exclamation' that in
stantly brought Bose to my , side.,, r Far
below, I could see the faint glimmer of
water, the low murmur of which came
indistinctly up from the depths, while,
on a level with what should have been
the ground, I dimly ' saw ' the waving
tree-tops, as they gently swayed, before
the fresh night breeze, and knew that
the window overlooked a chasm, the
soundings of which I could only guess
at. In other words, the house, or that
portion of it, was built upon the very
verge of a cliff, the solid rock forming
a foundation more lasting than any that
could be made by the hands of man. I
leaned far out, and saw that there was
not an inch of space left between the
heavy log on which the structure rest
ed and the edge of the precipice ; and
then I turned away with a full convic
tion that if escape must be mode, it cer
tainly would not be in that direction.
There was nothing especially strange in
this ; there were many houses so con
structed I had seen one ' or
two myself and yet when I drew
back into the room, and saw the look in
Bose's dusky face, I felt that danger,
quick and deadly, was hovering in the
air. Without speaking, I went to my
saddle-bags and got out my pistols a
superb pair of long double rifles, that I
knew to be accurate anywhere under
half a hundred yards.
"Dar! dem's what I like to see!"
exclaimed Bose, as he dived down into
his own bag, and fished out the old
horse-pistol that had belonged to my
grandfather, and which 1 1 knew was
loaded to the muzzle with No. 1 buck
shot. It was a terrible weapon at close
quarters. , . :'
The stables in which our horses were
feeding could be watched, and by events
transpiring in that locality we would
shape our actions. I found the door
could be locked from the inside, and,
in addition to this, I improvised a bar
by means of a chair leg wrenched, off,
and thrust through a heavy iron staple
that had been driven into the wall. Its
follow on the opposite side was missing.
We then lifted the clothes-press before
the window, leaving just room enough
on one side to clearly see, and, if neces
sary, fire through ; dragged the bureau
against the door with as little noise as
possible, and felt that every thing that
was possible had been done.
A death-like silence reigned over the
place, broken only once by .the voice of
the colored girl singing as she crossed
the stable yard.
I had fallen into a half doze, seated in
a chair near the window facing the sta
ble where Bosb was on watch, when sud
denly I felt a light touch upon my arm,
and the voice of the faithful sentinel in
my ear: - 7
" Wake up, Mars Ralph; dey's fool
in' 'bout de stable doo' artcr de horses,
shuah," brought me wide awake to my
Cautiously peeping out, I saw at a
glance that Bose was right in his conjec
ture. There were too of them one,
standing out in the clear moonlight, evi
dently watching my window, while the
other and I fancied it was the land
lord was in the shadow near the door,
which at that moment slowly swung
open. As the man disappeared within'
the building, a low, keen whistlo cut the
air, and at the same instant I heard the
knob of my door cautiously tried.
The thing was now plain. While those
below wcro securing the horses, those
above were either attempting to gain ac
cess with murderous intent, or else on
guard to prevent my coming to the res
cue of my property. .
A low hiss from Bose brought me to his
side from the door where I had been
" Dey's got de hosses out in de yard,"
he whimpered, as he drew aside to let
me look out through the broken pane.
"Take the door," I said, M and fire
through if they attack. I am going to
shoot that fellow holding the horses."
" Lordy, Mars Ralph, it's de tavern
keeper! He ain't no 'count, Dropde
big man!" was the sensible advice,
which I determined to adopt. .
Noiselessly drawing aside the curtain,!
rested the muzzle of my pistol upon the
sash where the light had been broken
away, and drew a bead upon the tallest
of the two men.who stood, holding three
horses, out in the bright moonlight. '
The sharp crack of the weapon was
instantly followed by a yell of pain, and
I saw the ruffian reel backward, and
measure his length upon the earth, and
then from the main building there rang
i . "Murder! Murder 1 Oh, help!"
Like lightning it flashed across my
mind. There were three horses out in
the open lot! , There was another tra v.
eler beside ourselves. '..!
A heavy blow descended upon the
door, and a voice roared: . . - , ,
."Quick! Burst the Infernal thing
open, and let me get at him! The
Scoundrel has killed Dave!" :... ,
" Let them have it, Bose," I whisper
ed, rapidly reloading my pistol'. "There,
the second panel." , , ' ., , ;,
1 With a steady hand. the plucky fellow
leveled the huge weapon, siid pulled the
trigger. - " '' - ' :,'
i A deafening report ' followed,' and
again a shrill cry of mortal anguish told
that the shot had not been wasted.
! " Sabe us! how it do kick!" exclaim
ed Bose, under his breath.1
I The blow had fallen like an unex
pected thunderbolt upon' the bandits,
and a moment later we heard thoir re
treating footsteps down the corridor,
i "Dar'll be more of 'em heah 'fore
long, Mars Ralph," said Bose, with an
ominous ' shake of the head. ' : 'Speats
deso b'longs to a band, and pf dey
comes, an' we still heah, wegone coons
for shuah."
This view of the case was new to me ;
but I felt the force of it. - I knew that
such bands did exist in these mountains.
A hasty glance through the window
from which I hod just fired showed me
that escape in that direction was impos
sible. I looked out and saw a man,
with a rifle in his hand, dodge around
the corner of the stable. He was on
guard, and then I knew theyhad sent
off for reinforcemen
Stunned for a morr Vit, I turned round,
and stared helpless , at Bose ; but he,
brave fellow thatJwas, never lost his
head for an instant.
"Bound to leab heah, Mars Ralph,"
he said, quite confidently. " An' dar
aint no way gwyne 'cept tro dat win
der," and he pointed to the one over
looking the cliff. . :
I merely shook my 'ead, and turned
to watch again, hoping to get a shot at
the rascal on guard. -
Bose, left to his own devices, at once
went to work. I heard him fussing
about the bed for some time, but never
looked to see what he was after until he
spoke. . : , .
" Now den for de rope," I heard him
say, and in an instant I caught his
meaning. ' '
, He had stripped the bed of its covert
ing, dragged off tho ueavy tick, and the
stout hempen rope with which it was
"corded." In five minutes he had drawn
the rope through its many turnings, and
then, gathering the coil in his hands, he
threw up the sash, and prepared to take
soundings, It failed to tuch bottom;
but, nowise disheartened, he seized the
cotton coverlet, and spliced on. This
succeeded, and the cord was drawn up
preparatory to knotting it in place of
cross-pieces. . !;'.'
In the meanwhile the silence without
had been broken more, than once.' A
shrill, keen whistle, such I had heard
before, was given by the man on watch,
and replied to by some one seemingly
a little way off. Then I heard footsteps
soft, cat-like ones on the verandah
outside, showing that the robbers were
on the alert at all points.
At length Bose announced the " lad
der" ready. It was again lowered from
the window, and the end we held was
made fast to the bed we had dragged
over for the purpose.
" Now, den, Mars Ralph, I go down
fust, and see if ura strong 'nough to bar
And he was half way out of the win
dow before I could speak.
"No, Bose, you shall not," I answer
ed, firmly, drawing him back into the
" You must"
The words were lost in the din of a
furious and totally unexpected attack
upon the door.
The dull, heavy strokes of the ax were
intermingled with the sharp, quick clat
ter of hatchet as they cut away at the
barrier, and once in a while I coold
hear deep oaths, as though they had
been rendered doubly savage by our re
sistance. I
" Here, Bose, your pistol ! Quick ?' '
I whispered, and the heavy charge went
crashing through, followed by shrieks
sod curses of 'rags and pain. '
Come Bose, hurry, or all will be
The brave fellow now wished to insist
upon my going first; but be saw that
time was wasting and be glided down
the rope, gradually disappearing in the
heavy shadows, tj.. J t .n,i ..,.
, The fall of one of . their number had
caused only a , momentary lull, and I
heard them renew the assault with ten
fold fury. I dared not fire again, for I
felt that every bullet would be neodod,
when affairs were more pressing. ! ,'
It seemed an age before I folt thVsig
nalfrom below that the rope was ready
for me; but it came, and Hot myself
down, pausing an Instant, as my eyes,
gained a level with the sill, to take' a
last look into the room. As I did so,
the door gave way, and the blood-thirsty
demons poured over the threshold. ,
I knew that I had no time for deliber
ate movement. They would instantly
discover the mode of .escape and either
cut the rope or else fire down upon me.
, , I had taken the precaution to draw on
heavy riding-gloves, and my hands,thus
protected, did not suffer as ; niuoh as
mighthave been expeoted..,,, t ,. .
With my eyes fixed. upon the window,
I slid rapidly down,, and struck the
earth with a jar that wrenched, every
bone in my body. ; ' '. ,' , '',., ,,
Quick as lightning I was seized by
Bose, and dragged some paces on one
side, and close against the face of the
cliff. .,. . v 1 .
Not a second too soon,'for down came
a volley, tearing up the , earth about the
foot pf the rope where, a moment before,
I had stood, n. ; 1 ' '
"Thunder, thoy will escape! ' After
them, down the rope!" yelled a volco,
almost inarticulate with rage. : 1
And I saw a dark form swing out and
begin the descent. ' i-v
" Now, Mars Ralph," whispered Bose,
significantly, and with a quiok aim I fired
at the swaying figure. , - i (. sh !
Without a sound the man released his
hold, and came , down like a , lump of
lead, shot through the brain.
Another had . started in hot haste
and was more than half-way out of the
window, when suddenly the scene above
was brilliantly lit up by the glare of a
torch. ' '
' Again the warning voice of the watch
ful black called my attention to the fig
ure now struggling desperately to re
gain the room, and, as before, I threw
up my pistol, and, covering the exposed
side, drew trigger. m i
With a convulsivo effort the wretch,
springing far out into the empty void,
turned once over, and came down with
a rushing sound upon the jagged rocks
that lay at the foot of the precipice. ,
A single look to see that the window
was clear we knew there could be no
path leading down for a long distance
either way, or they never would have
attempted the rope and. we plunged
headlong into , the dense forest , that
lined the mountain side. , . ,
We got clear, it is true, but with the
loss of our animals and baggage ; fptthe
next day, when We returned with a part
of the Regulators, we found the place a
heap of smoldering ashes, and no liv
ing soul to tell whither the robbers had
fled. '. . . '
, The Dutch Poor. ,,i.i !
Notwithstanding the unsocial charac
ter of the Dutch, they are more consider
erate of their poor than any other peo
ple. There are no destitute poor in
Holland, although tho population is ex
ceedingly dense. The greater portion
of the Dutch poor, including orphans,
abandoned children, the blind, deaf and
dumb, and aged, are provided for in
two ways: Firsts by institutions estab
lished by rich individuals, chiefly wid
ows ; secondly, by the different religious
denominations, deaconries taking the
.charge of their respective poor; and,
thirdly, by societies. ' The remaining
indigent and infirm aws supported by
the public, generally in the following
manner: In the, parishes (Gemeente)
tho expense is taken out of the munic
ipal funds, if tho proportion be too
great, the difference is paid out of, a
general relief fund raised by collections
or otherwise from property or bequests.
Deiuinds on the public generally have
seldom occurred, for, except under
very unfavorable circumstances,
the deaconries . and munici
palities have always provided
for their own poor. The great secret,
however, is in the administration, and
that no man or woman in health can
in Holland, expect to eat bread, find
shelter, or be clothed without giving
labor or other equivalent in return.
The great relief to tho country consists
in the non-existence of poor rates, the
collection of which would be attended,
as in England, with great expense
and vexation, and the appropri
ation of which would be productive of,
generally speaking, doubtful good, and,
to the healthy classes, certain depravity
and degradation. Experience has for
more than two hundred years proved
the excellence of the Dutch plan for
supporting fhe poor, Inasmuch as the
indigent, whether men, women or chil
dren, able to work have nerer wanted
employment, food, clothing, or shelter..
""A California Divorce-Suit.
r Saq Francisco has a divorce suit with
sensational i aoeompaaiments rearely
equaled by the wlokedest ofEastern or
European cities., ,. The principals are
Thomas H. Blythe, a millionaire real
estate owner, and Nelllo Firmin, a
pretty young' woman, 'who has ' been
both type-setter and actress in a minor
thoater. The latter olalmsjto be Blythe's
legal wife and sues for jdivorce and
alimony," while" the" "former maintains
that she Is nothing more than his' mis
tress, whom he had detected In robbing
him, and finally in a cold-blooded plot
upon his life.. Leagued with her was a
disreputable Italian actor, who triod to
bribe an associate to murder the million
aire for a large sum of money, which
was to be obtained by the, raising of a
chock. This scheme faiiing,Nellie en
terprisingly undertook -the job' herself.
First she tried' brandy and. stryohnine,
previously hinting to folks' of Blythe's
apopleptip tendencies andjhls liability
to sudden deaths. Thwarted " again,
a still more desperate role was assumed
by this i recklessjwoman, ! who. Intended
by Blythe's murder to get possession of
a large slice of his . fortune.' One day
the latter was warned by an , observant
friend that Miss Firmin 'Was carrying a
pistol.' 1 Taking the hint, he purchased
a revolver of the. self-booking' English
bulldog pattern, a deadly weapon, and
a dagger, and carried both on his per
son. A day Or so thereafter Miss Fir
min was discovered by one of Blythe's
tenants prowling about the latter's of
fice, with a revolver In ''her hand, con
cealed by a handkerchief. She was
heard by him to say she was going to
kill his agent because" he" had wronged
her. Blythe became ' more watchful,
and on going home to dinner detected
the woman several times looking at him
by stealth:; Tey sat doyra to dinner
alone. When the, meal was. about half
finished, Nellie Firmin, with a wicked
gleam in her eye, thrust her hand into
her bosom and drew, out, revolver,
saying, ..ff Harry,', I'm' going, to kill
you.V Snatohing his dagger from his
breast, he sprang upon her, and, bran
dishing the knife aloft, said sternly,
" Raise that pistol .and I'll stab you to
the heart!." The'Jyomah was foiled.
For a moment they glared into each
other's ' eyes ; then the woman' pushed
the pistol across the table' teward him,
saying, "Harry;' take the pistol; I
wouldn't hurt you for the world."' He
seoured the weapon, and in two hours it
was in the hands of Capt. Lees." On the
day following, Nellie visited Blythe at
his office, and with tears In her eyes
said: 1 "Harry, I am going away, and
you will never see me any more." And
she handed him a bunch of keys. , To
his amazement he found that the woman
had a key, to every, receptacle in his
office and his apartments, not even ex
cepting his trunk-and secretary. Among
the keys was one to the outside door of
his office, which is always locked at
night. Where she obtained It is a mys
tery, unless1 she had it pjanufacturod
especially for her own use.
The Coffee-Plant tyi California.
' Capt; ; Peter ' Hansen, ' of Clayton,
brought to our office this week a bunch
of twigs bearing berries about a quarter
of an inch in diameter,1 florae ' of them
red, and some a dark purple, almost
black," each of them inclosing twin
grains, which, though of smaller size.re
semble the coffee grains of commerce
The leaves of the plant are1 of oblate
shape, olive green in' shade on the up
per and a much lighter shade of green
.on the under surface, i. averaging about
an inch in length by a quarter of an inch
in breadth. While none of the berries
upon the twigs were mature, those of
darkest color are presumed to be the
nearest ripe. Capt. Hansen informs us
that the plant from which the twigs
were taken is the growth of a coffee
berry he planted on his place some
eight or ten years ago. The berry was
taken from some coffee purchased for
bouse use, and planted in the pod con
taining both grains, just as one is oc
casionally found in the coffee of com
merce. The shrub is now eight or ten
feet high and quite full of berries. Capt.
Hansen is satisfied that the foreign cof
fee plant will do well in our climate and
soil, and to test the matter has sent to
a relative in Brazil for a quantity of the
seed berries, which he intends planting
the coming season. Contra Cotlt (Col.)
Tub Thanksgiving 1'roclamation of
Gov. Van Zandt, of Rhode Island, was
as follows i " I appoint Thursday, the
29th Inst., as Thanksgiving-Day, and
request the people of this State to as
temble in their houses for public wor
ship, and return thanks to God for His
tender mercies and loving kindness, and
may those who are blessed with abun
! dance give liberally to the poor.
I The water contains more organUed
bdngs than the surface of the earth.

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