Captain sam the boy sco.., p.1
Captain Sam: The Boy Scouts of 1814, p.1George Cary Eggleston
The Big Brother Series.
The Boy Scouts of 1814
GEORGE CARY EGGLESTON
Author of "The Big Brother," etc., etc.
New York:G. P. Putnam's Sons,182 Fifth Avenue.1876.Copyright.G. P. Putnam's Sons.1876.
TO MY BOY-FRIEND
IN RECOGNITION OF HIS MANLY CHARACTER, AND IN MEMORY
OF THE FOOT-JOURNEYS WE MADE TOGETHER A YEAR AGO,
I DEDICATE THIS BOOK.
"If you open your mouth again, I'll drive my fist down your throat!"
The young man, or boy rather,--for he was not yet eighteen yearsold,--who made this very emphatic remark, was a stalwart, well-builtyouth, lithe of limb, elastic in movement, slender, straight, tall,with a rather thin face, upon which there was as yet no trace ofcoming beard, high cheek bones, and eyes that seemed almost to emitsparks of fire as their lids snapped rapidly together. He spoke in alow tone, without a sign of anger in his voice, but with a look ofearnestness which must have convinced the person to whom he addressedhis not very suave remark, that he really meant to do precisely whathe threatened.
As he spoke he laid his left hand upon the other's shoulder, andplaced his face as near to his companion's as was possible withoutbringing their noses into actual contact; but he neither clenched norshook his fist. Persons who mention weapons which they really havemade up their minds to use, do not display them in a threateningmanner. That is the device of bullies who think to frighten theiradversaries by the threatening exhibition as they do by theirthreatening words. Sam Hardwicke was not a bully, and he did not wishto frighten anybody. He merely wished to make the boy hold his tongue,and he meant to do that in any case, using whatever measure ofviolence he might find necessary to that end. He mentioned his fistmerely because he meant to use that weapon if it should be necessary.
His companion saw his determination, and remained silent.
"Now," resumed Sam, "I wish to say something to all of you, and I willsay it to you as an officer should talk to soldiers on a subject ofthis sort. Fall into line! Right dress! steady, front!"
The boys were drawn up in line, and their commander stood at six pacesfrom them.
"Attention!" he cried, "I wish you to know and remember that we areengaged in no child's play. We are soldiers. You have not yet beenmustered into service, it is true, but you are soldiers, nevertheless,and you shall obey as such. Listen. When it became known in theneighborhood that I had determined to join General Jackson and serveas a soldier you boys proposed to go with me. I agreed, with acondition, and that condition was that we should organize ourselvesinto a company, elect a captain, and march to Camp Jackson under hiscommand, not go there like a parcel of school-boys or a flock of sheepand be sent home again for our pains. You liked the notion, and wemade a fair bargain. I was ready to serve under anybody you mightchoose for captain. I didn't ask you to elect me, but you did it. Youvoted for me, ever one of you, and made me Captain. From that moment Ihave been responsible for everything.
"I lead you and provide necessary food. I plan everything and amresponsible for everything. If you misbehave as you go through thecountry I shall be held to blame and I shall be to blame. But not aman of you shall misbehave. I am your commander, you made me that, andyou can't undo it. Until we get to Camp Jackson I mean to command thiscompany, and I'll find means of enforcing what I order. That is all.Right face! Break ranks!"
A shout went up, in reply.
"Good for Captain Sam!" cried the boys. "Three cheers for ourcaptain!"
"Huzza! Huzza! Huzza!"
All the boys,--there were about a dozen of them--joined in this shout,except Jake Elliott, the mutineer, who had provoked the youngcaptain's anger by insisting upon quitting the camp withoutpermission, and had even threatened Sam when the young commander badehim remain where he was.
The revolt was effectually quelled. The mutineer had found a master inhis former school-mate, and forebore to provoke the threatenedcorporal punishment further.
The camp was in the edge of a strip of woods on the bank of theAlabama river, the time, afternoon, in the autumn of the year 1814.The boys had marched for three days through canebrakes, and swamps,and had still a long march before them. Sam had called a halt earlierthan usual that day for reasons of his own, which he did not explainto his fellows. Jake Elliott had objected, and his objection beingperemptorily overruled by Sam, he had undertaken to go on alone to thepoint at which he wished to pass the remainder of the day, and thenight. Sam had ordered him to remain within the lines of the camp. Hehad replied insolently with a threat that he would himself take chargeof the camp, as the oldest person there, when Sam quelled the mutinyafter the manner already set forth.
Now that he was effectually put down, he brooded sulkily, meditatingrevenge.
As night came on, the camp fire of pitch pine threw a ruddy glow overthe trees, and the boys, weary as they were with marching, gatheredaround the blazing logs, and laughed and sang merrily, Jake Elliottwas silent and sullen through it all, and when at last Sam orderedall to their rest for the night, Jake crept off to a tree near theedge of the prescribed camp limits and threw himself down there.Presently a companion joined him, a boy not more than fourteen yearsof age, who was greatly awed by Sam's sternness, and who naturallysought to draw Jake into conversation on the subject.
"You're as big as Sam is," he said after a while, "and I wonder youlet him talk so sharp to you. You're afraid o' him, aint you?"
"No, but you are."
"Yes I am. I'm afraid o' the lightning too, and he's got it in him, orI'm mistaken."
"Yes 'n' you fellows hurrahed for him, 'cause you was afraid to standup for yourselves."
"To stand up for you, you mean, Jake. It wasn't our quarrel. We likeSam, if we are afraid o' him, an' between him an' you there wa'nt nocall for us to take sides against him. Besides we're soldiers, youknow, an' he's capt'n."
"A purty capt'n he is, aint he, an' you're a purty soldier, aint you.A soldier owning up that he's afraid," said Jake tauntingly.
"Well, you're afraid too, you know you are, else you wouldn't 'a' shutup that way like a turtle when he told you to."
"No, I aint afraid, neither, and you'll find it out 'fore you're donewith it. I didn't choose to say anything then, but _I'll get even withSam Hardwicke yet_, you see if I don't."
"Mas' Jake," said a lump of something which had been lying quietly alittle way off all this time, but which now raised itself up andbecame a black boy by the name of Joe, who had insisted uponaccompanying Sam in his campaigns; "Mas' Jake, I'se dun know'd Mas'Sam a good deal better'n you know him, an' I'se dun seed a good manythings try to git even wid him, 'fore now; Injuns, water, fire,sunshine, fever 'n ager, bullets an' starvation all dun try it rightunder my eyes, an' bless my soul none on 'em ever managed it yit."
"You shut up, you black rascal," was the only reply vouchsafed thecolored boy.
"Me?" he asked, "oh, I'll shut up, of course, but I jist thought I'dtell you 'cause you might make a sort o' 'zastrous mistake you know.Other folks dun dun it fore now, tryin' to git even wid Mas' Sam."
"Go to sleep, you rascal," replied Jake, "or I'll skin you alive."
Joe snored immediately and Jake's companion laughed as he crept awaytoward the fire. An hour later the camp was slumbering quietly in thestarlight, Sam sleeping by himself under a clump of bushes on the sideof the camp opposite that chosen by Jake Elliott for hisresting-place.
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