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In the Yazoo hills, near the town of Sartartia, in the good State of Mississippi, there lived, at no distant date, one Mick Shouter, whose hunting and preaching adventures became famous in all the land. Besides being a great bear hunter, and hard to beat at preaching, Mick professed to be “considerable” of a fighter, and in a regular knock-down and drag-out row, was hard to beat.

In order that the world may not remain in darkness as to his doings in this last behalf, and fearing least there should be no one who entertains for him that particularly warm regard which animates us towards him, we have thought it incumbent on us, in evidence of our attachment for the reverend hero, to jot down an incident that lingers in our memory respecting him, bequeathing it, as a rich legacy, to remotest time. Entertaining such partiality, we may be pardoned for following Mick in one of his most stirring adventures, related in his peculiar and expressive vernacular.

I’m one of the peaceablest fellers, said Mick, that ever trotted on hind legs, an’ rather than git into er fuss ‘bout nuthin’, I’d let er chap spit on me ; but, when it comes to rubbin’ it in, I always in gen’ally kinder r’ars up, an’ won’t stan’ it. But thar’s some fellers up in Yazoo, what would rather git into er scrimage than eat. An’ I’ve seen er few up thar what war so hungry for er fight that they fell away, an’ got so poor an’ this that they had to lean up agin er saplin’ to cuss!

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That chap, Arch Coony, was er few in that line! He was the durndest, kantankerous hoss fly that ever clum a tree! I tell you what, ef I hadn’t er bin thar I wouldn’t er bleeved it. I seed him one day in Satartia, git up from er jug of whiskey, when he hadn’t drunk more’n half of it, and leave t’other half to spile, an’ go an’ pitch into er privit ‘spute ‘twene two injuns (when he didn’t care er durn cent which walloped t’other,) an’ lam both on um out’n ther mockasins!

Well, you see, Arch was mighty fond of them kinder tricks, an’ ef he seed er feller he thought he could lam without no danger, he wouldn’t make no bones, but he’d jest go up to the chap and make faces at him, an’ harry his feelings er bit, an ef the feller showed spunky-like, he’d let him alone an’ ax him to take er drink ; but, ef he sorter tried to sidle out of it, Arch would get as mad as all wrath, an’ swar, an’ cuss, an’ r’ar, an’ charge like er ram at er gate post, and the fust thing you knowed he’d shuck of his coat, an’ when the feller warn’t ‘spectin’ nuthin’, Arch would fetch him er side wipe on the head, and knock him into the middle of next week!

You see, I didn’t like them sorter doins much, me, myself, I didn’t, an’ I all’ays sed ef ever I got er chance at Arch, I’d let him down er button hole or two. He was gettin’ too high up in the picturs any how, an’ ses I, ef that feller, Arch Coony, don’t mind which side of his bread’s buttered, I’ll git hold of him one of these days, an’ I’ll make him see sites! Well, you see, thar was two or three sheep stealin’ chaps listnin’ to what I sed, an’ they goes an’ tells Arch the fust chance I got I was gwine to larrup him like all fury, an’ soon as he hearn it, he begin er cussin’ like all wrath, an’ sez he, dod rot that ole Mick Shouter!--he pretend to be er preacher!--his preachin’ aint nuthin’ but loud hollerin’ no how! So you see, them same chaps, they comes an’ tells me what Arch he’d sed, an’ I got mad, too, an’ we had the durndest rumpus in the neighborhood you ever hearn.
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I didn’t see nothin’ of Arch from that time till about er month. Every time I went down to Satartia to buy enything, er barral of whiskey, or backer, or such like truck, for privit use, I looked for Arch, an’ Arch he looked for me ; but, some how or ‘tother he never crossed my path. At last, one day I sent him word I b’lieved he was skeered of me, and the fust chance I got I’d take the starch out’n him as sure as shootin’ ; an’ he sent word back to me that was a game what two could play at, an’ when I wanted to try it, he’d see if he couldn’t help me.

Well, things went on so for a long time, an’ I didn’t see nuthin’ of Arch, so I begin to forgit all about him. At last, one day when me an’ two or three other chaps was gwine down to Big Black river, to go b’ar huntin’ on t’other side of it, I had hearn the darndest clatterwhackin’ and noise in the road behind us, an’ when I turned round to see what in the name of thunder ‘twas, thar was Arch an’ er whole lot of fellers cumin’ down the road, er galloppin’ full tilt right up to us, an’ er gwine bar huntin’ too.

When I seed him, I was so mad I thought I should er bust right open! I was hot, I tell you, and sez I to myself, now Mr. Arch I’ve got you, an’ if you don’t keep your eye skin’d, I’ll lick you till your hide won’t hold shucks.

Torectly, Arch he cum up along side, an’ looked me right plum in the face as savage as er meet axe, an’ sez he, good mornin’, ole preach! give us your paw!

I see thar was hell in him as big as er meeting house, an’ I determined to give him as good as he sent ; so I looked at him sorter servagerous like, an’ sez I, look here hoss, how can you have the face to talk to me, arter sayin’ what you sed?

Why, sez he, uncle Mick, didn’t you begin it?

No, sez I, an’ ef you sez I begun it, I’ll larrup you in er inch of your life.

Sez he, you eternal ole cuss, ef you want to larrup me, jest
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larrup away as soon as you darn please, an’ we’ll see which’ll git the wust of it.

Now, sez I, I like you Arch, ‘cause I all’ays thought you was er fust-rate feller ; but ain’t you bin ‘busin’ me every whar fur every thing you could think of?

Yes, sez he, but didn’t you say you’d git hold of me one of these days, and make me see sites?

No, sez I, I didn’t ; but this here’s what I sed : Sez I, ef that feller Arch Coony don’t mind which side of his bread’s buttered, I’ll git hold of him one of these days, an’ make him see sites!

Well, sez he, uncle Mick, you knows I’m the most peaceablest feller livin’, an’ all’ays minds which side of my bread’s buttered, an’ ef that’s all you sed, ‘taint nuthin’, so let’s take er drink.

Then he tuck out a tickler of whiskey, and arter he’d tuck three or four swallows out’n it, sez he, Uncle Mick, obleege me by taking er horn?

No, sez I, wont do no sich er dog on thing, for when I likes er chap I likes him, an’ when I don’t like him, I don’t like him ; but if you wants to fight, I’m your man!

You oughter seen Arch then! I think he was the most maddest man that ever whobbled on two hind legs! He rard an’ pitched, an’ cussed, an’ swore, ‘tell you’der thought the day of judgmen’ was at han’!

When I see him cuttin’ up that way, I commence’ gittin’ mad too, an’ my knees. [1] They begin to shake, sorter, like I had er chill ; an’ -----skeered?--no sir!--an’ I s’sposed thar was gwine to be the devil to pay! I give you my word, I aint bin so wrathy afore but once since, an’ that was t’other day when Mat Cain, the blacksmith, drunk up my last bottle of “bald face,” an’ when I tacked him ‘bout it he said he thought it was milk.

But that aint neither here nor thar. As I was er sayin’,
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Arch, he cussed at me, an’ I cussed at him, an’ the fellers what was along with me sed I beat him all holler!

Torectly I begin to get tired of jawin’ away so much, an’ sez I, Arch, what’s the use of makin’ sich er allfired racket about nothin’? spose we make it up?

Good as wheat, sez he.

Well, sez I, give us your paw, sez I, but sez I, thar’s one thing you sed what sorter sticks in my craw yit, an’ ef you don’t pollogise, I’ll wallop you right now.

What does you mean? sez he.

Sez I, did’nt you sed one day that my preachin’ warn’t nuthin’ but loud hollerin?

Yes, sez he, but did’nt you send me word one time that you b’lieved I was skeered of you, an’ the fust chance you got you’d take the starch out’n me as sure as er gun?

Sez I, yes, I konolly, but what does that signify?

Well, sez he, ef you’ll take back what you sed, I’ll take back what I sed.

Then I begin to git as mad as all wrath ; an’ sez I, you eternal sheep-stealin’, whiskey drinkin’, nigger-lammin’ bow-legged, taller-faced son of er----- never mind what--does you want me to tell a lie by chawin’ up my own words? Ef that’s what you’re arter, jest come on, an’ I’ll larrup you till your mammy wont know you from a pile of sassage meet.

So we kep er ridin’ on an’ er cussin one another worse than two Choctaw Injuns, an’ torectly we cum to the ferry boat whar we had to cross the river. Soon as we got thar, Arch he hopped down off’n his ole hoss, an commence schukin’ his self fur er fight, an’ I jumped down two. I see the devil was in him as big as er bull, so I begin grittin’ my teeth, an’ lookin’ at him as spunky as a dominicker rooster ; an’ now, sez I, Mr. Arch Coony, I sed I’d make you see sites, an’ the fust thing you know I’ll show em to you! Then I pulled off my ole Sunday go to meetin’ coat an’ slammed it down upon er stump,
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an’ sez I, lay thar ole Methodist, till I learn this coon some sense!

I soon see thar was gwine to be the bustiness fight that ever was so I rolled up my sleeves, an’ Arch rolled up his’n, and we was gwine at it regular.

Now sez he ole pra’r meetin’, just pitch in!

Well, I begin sidelin’ up, and he begin sidelin’ up, an’ soon as I got close ‘nuff to him so as I could hit him a jo-darter, sez he, hole on er minit--this ground is too rooty--wait till I clear the stick away from here, so as I can have a fair chance to give it to you good!

Don’t holler till y ou’r out’n the woods sez I--p’raps when I’m done with you, you wont say my preachin’ aint nuthin but loud hollerin’, I ‘spec!

When he’d done scrapin’ off the groun’, it looked jist like two bulls had bin thar, pawing up the dirt--I give you my word it did.

Well, as I sed before, he sidled up, and I sidled up, an’ now sez I, lookout for your bread basket, ole stud, fur ef I happen to give you a jolt thar, p’raps it’ll turn your stomach.

So thar we stood, head and tale up jest like two chicken cocks in layin’ time ; an’ sez I to him, Arch, I’m gwine to maul you tell you won’t know yourself!

Soon as we got close ‘nuff, an’ I see he was erbout to make er lunge at me, sez I, hole on, dod drot you! wait tell I unbutton my gallowses, an’ may-be-so then I’ll show you them sites what we was talkin ‘bout!

Well, all the fellers was stanin’ roun’ ready to take sides in the fight, an’ torecly the chap what kep’ the ferry, he ‘gin to get tired of keepin’ the ferry-boat waitin’, an’ sez he, cuss your pictures, I’m not gwine to keep this here boat waitin’ no longer, an’ people on t’other side waitin’ to get over ; so ef you wants to fight, you come over t’other side an’ fight thar!

Good as ole wheat, sez I ; enny thing to keep peace away--
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ef you say so, let’s get in the boat an’ settle it over thar. Well they all agreed to that without sayin’ er word, an’ Arch he got into the ferry-boat, an’ all the fellers they follered. When the boat was ‘bout pushin’ off, I jumped on to the eend of it, an’ was gwine to lead my hoss on, too, but the allfired crittur was skeer’d to jump onto it, an’ sez I, to the man what kept the ferry, sez I, why in the h--ll don’t you wait tell I gits this durned four-legged critter into the boat? He did’nt wait to say er word, but kept shovin’ the boat out, and toreckly my hoss begin pullin’ back with the bridle an’ I er holein on to it, an’ the fust thing I knowed down I went, kerwash into the drink. So you see, in about er minit thar was Arch on tother side of the river an’ no chance for me to git at him. I tell you what I was hot then!--an’ what was worser, Arch, he’d holler’d out an’ sed he b’lieved I skeer’d the hoss an’ made him pull back on purpose to git out’n the scrape. When I hearn him say that, I was so mad I farly biled!

Hows’ever, I soon see ‘twarnt no use raisin’ er racket ‘bout what couldn’t be helped, so I cluded I’d have my satisfaction out’n him enny way, an’ I begin shakin’ my fist at him, an’ er cussin him. Sez I, you eternal, yaller faced, pisen-mouthed, suck egg son of er ---- ! what is it you ain’t mean enough for me to call you? I tell you what, (an’ I hope to be forgive for swarin’) I cussed him blue!

Well, I was so out done, I did’nt wait for the boat to come back, for it was gittin’ most night an’ too late for bar huntin’ that day--‘sides my wife she would be ‘spectin’ me at the house, an’ might raise pertickler h--ll if I did’nt git thar in time ; so I jumped on my ole hoss an’ put for home. But the way I cussed an’ ‘bused Arch when I got on this hoss was er sin!--an’ the further I got from him the louder I hollered! I pledge you my word, you might er hearn me er mile!

To make a long story short, the last word I sed to him, sez I, Arch, you’ve scaped me this time by er axident, but the next
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time you cross my path, I’ll larrup you worse nor the devil beaten tan bark!--I will, by hokey!

Whew! whistled Mick, drawing a long breath, “I tell you what, I come the nearest wollopin’ that feller, not to do it, that you ever saw!”

At this point, Mick donned his coon skin cap, and giving it a slam that brought it over his eyes, vanished!


Source: Southern and Southwestern Sketches: Fun, Sentiment, and Adventure. Edited by a Gentleman of Richmond. Richmond: J.W. Randolph, n.d. 30-37. University of Virginia Alderman Library.

Erin Bartels prepared this typescript.

[1] "they" in original--typographer error probable.

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