A long-limbed, wiry-made countryman of the real Alleghanian breed, determined the other day to have a full view of Niagara before emigrating from Western New-York to Wisconsin, whither “ his folks” were all bound. Having partly satisfied his curiosity on Goat Island, he crossed to the Canada side, and soon after presented himself at the hotel near the falls, asking “ if they couldn’t give a fellow something to eat.”

“ Where do you come from, my friend ?” said an Englishman who sat smoking a segar upon the piazza, and who thought he saw in our friend a fit subject for a quiz.

“ Where do I come from, mister ? Why, from a good long way off, if you only knowed it ; and that clear from the Forks of the Alleghany, near down alongside the Seneca nation, in York State, is my place when I’m to home.”

“ The Forks of the Alleghany !” said the other ; then, I suppose, my friend, you are a true specimen of what your countrymen call an out-and-out United Stateser—a real live Alleghanian [2], and no mistake.”

“ I never heard afore of such a critter as an Alleghanian ; but I tell ye mister, I come from jist among the spurs of the mountains, the raal sprouts of the old back-bone ; and if Alleghanian means the raal prickly grit of America, I am just some of that same—I am. A true Alleghanian boulder, by heaven ; and I unly want to see the man that has a word to say agin it—I do.”

“ I did not mean to annoy you, my friend,” said the Englishman, soothingly—“ I only wished to ask you about that dog of yours. He looks to me like an Indian dog ; and, hearing you ask for some refreshments, suggested the inquiry whether or not that was the kind of dog they eat in the Seneca nation, near which it seems you have resided ?”

“ Eat Hauk ! eat my dog Hauk ! I’d like to see the man or hound, mister, that would dare to put a tooth in him.”

“ Why, my good fellow,” replied John Bull, whose sporting sensibilities were so roused by this remark that he instantly forgot his waggery—“ why I have a bull-terrier here in the yard, that would eat him up at a mouthful. I said he looked like an Indian dog ; but in truth, when I come to examine him, he is nothing but what we would call in England a miserable cur.”

“ I tell ye, mister, if Hauk be a cur, he is nevertheless a raal Alleghanian cur, as you call it, and such a cur will lick five times his weight in English bull-dogs.”

“ Why he has no scars about him to show that he is a fighter," said the Englishman, curiously examining the dog's head and ears.

"Shall I tell you why, mister?"


"Because Alleganian dogs is a kind of critter that gives scars instead of taking them."

"Ah! that's it, is it? said the Englishman, dryly. "Well, my Alleghanian friend, I will bet you this golden sovereign against a silver dollar, that my bull-terrier will shake that Alleghanian cur of yours to pieces in less than five minutes, by my watch—in short, will make a single mouthful of him."

"Wal, wal—that's all fair," replied the Alleghanian, scratching his head. "But you see, mister Hauk aint had his vittles to-day, no more than his master, and it isn't in flesh and blood to do its best at fighting on an empty stomach."

"I will order your dog to be fed, then. You can, meanwhile, be eating your own dinner, and we'll have the fight afterwards."

"That's all fair, that's all fair, too; but, mister, as to planking down my silver shiner on that yellow piece, I don't know that I altogether like that, somehow. We don't see much gold our way, and that sovereign, as you call it, looks to me for all the world only like a brass Indian medal."

"You won't bet on your [3] cur, then," said John Bull, comtemptuously. "You repudiate, perhaps, all you have said in his praise: in a word, you back out."

"Back out, mister? Nothin' on airth is further from my natur. I tell'd you I were a boulder—a raal Alleghanian boulder—and I am. But I want to fix things in a Christian manner, and not rob folks of their money on the highway, as it were."

"How then, shall we make up the match, my good fellow?" said the Englishman not unkindly.

"Why, now," replied the Alleghanian, with great simplicity, "if you and your bull-terrier want so much to get a fight out of Hauk and me, why can't you go in and tell the gentleman who keeps the tavern—whom you know and I don't know—why can't you tell the gentleman to give me and Hauk a raal good dinner, with something good for a feller to drink, and then let the dogs fight afterwards, to decide which of us is to pay [t]he shot. [4] Why can't you do that, I say, if you are so tearing mad to have a fight that you will risk your gold upon it."

The Englishman could not help laughing heartily at the Alleghanian's notions of what constituted a fair bet; for the proposed arrangement left John Bull nothing to win, whatever might be the result of the fight, except the possible satisfaction of seeing the countryman's poor cur receive a drubbing from the bull-terrier. Diverted however, with such an original, he instantly ordered the tavern-keeper to give the Alleghanian whatever he might want for himself and dog, adding that he would be responsible for the bill.

"Wal, I guess I'm all ready," said our Alleghanian friend, about half an hour afterwards, as he stepped out on the piazza, smacking his lips, and wiping his mouth with his coat sleeve; "I guess I'm ready mister, and you may bring along that bull pup of your'n as quick as you please, for have to be going."

"Here he is," said John Bull, and in the same moment a stout, tan-colored, compactly built, and vigorous looking dog, with tusks like those of a wild boar protruding from his black muzzle, roused himself from under the bench on which his master was sitting. He gave a low, muffled growl as he rose, while poor Hauk, who was just thrusting his nose out of the door-way, shrunk back in terror behind the heels of the Alleghanian.

"Why, your dog has no fight in him, my good sir," quoth the Englishman, pettishly.

"Don't be too sure of that," replied the other, "the fight always lies deep down in our Alleghanian dogs; but when you ons't get at it, 'tis the raal thing, and no mistake. As for Hauk, here, he hasn't had his drink yet; and besides that, I always talk to him along by hisself, afore he goes into a fight—I always do."

"Well, there's water in that horse trough, and there's the bar-room for your talk," said John Bull, utterly confounded by what he now cursed, inwardly, as the cool impudence of the United Stateser, who had swindled him out of a dinner in the name of a dog that would not stand up even to receive a flogging.

"Drink from a horse-trough!" cried the Alleghanian, disdainfully, "Hauk isn't that kind of a critter, mister."

"What does he drink, then?"

"Drink, why he never drinks any thing but pepper-sarce. You may look, mister, but I tell you, pepper-sarce is my dog's drink. I see that gentleman in the bar has lots of bottles of it on an upper shelf, and if he will only let me have a couple of 'em, with that pail, in that back room, so as I can talk to Hauk alone, while he drinks,—I say, if you only tell the gentleman in the bar to furnish me with those conveniences, I'll show you whether or not that British bull-terrier of your'n can eat up an Alleghanian cur at a mouthful."

"Give the fellow the bottles, the pail and the back room," roared John Bull through the open window; "give him whatever he wants, and put the whole on my bill; I'm determined to hold the knave to his original agreement, in some way or other."

Within the next five minutes the Alleghanian had shut himself in the room communicating with the bar, emptied the pepper-sauce into the pail and placing his dog Hauk therein, saturated thoroughly his shaggy coat with the pungent mixture. The Englishman, all impatient, meanwhile stepped into the bar-room, followed by the bull-terrier, when suddenly the inner door was flung open, and there stood the Alleghanian, gesticulating with one hand, while he held Hauk with the other.

"Bring on your dog!" he shouted—“bring on your British bull-terrier, that is going to eat us up!—bring him on, I say, let's see if an Alleghanian cur isn't more than a mouthful for him."

"Sezt—sezt—seize him!" hissed John Bull between his teeth, at the same time clapping his hands and striding rapidly towards the inner door, while his bull-terrier, with a fierce growl, sprang past him full at the throat of poor Hauk. The Alleghanian had released his own hold upon his dog, and it seemed as if all must be over with him if those voracious jaws once fairly fastened upon his neck. The yelp of Hauk proved, indeed, that the bull-terrier did give one severe bite, but the next moment saw the latter rebounded against his master's legs and working his slavering jaws, as if trying to disengage a swarm of hornets that had lodged upon his palate.

"You confounded scoundrel!" roared the Englishman, "What poison have you put on the hair of your vile cur?"

"Wal, mister," quoth the Alleghanian, coolly, "I rayther guess that Hauk was in sitch an allfired passion for a fight, that pepper-sarce he drank jist now must have sweated through. At any rate, your bull pup seems to have had enough of pickled dog at one mouthful!"

"You scoundrel, you!" thundered the indignant Briton, "I have a good mind to take you in hand myself, and punish you well for the villanous trick."

""Now don't use such ugly words, mister; I'm a boulder; I'm one of 'em, I tell ye; and no mistake—a raal Alleghanian boulder. But if you want, right in airnest, to get a fight out of me, all you have to do, is to order supper and a bed for me, and to-morrow, after breakfast, you and I will try a friendly knock down or so, to decide which shall pay for them."

The crowd, which had meanwhile collected around the door of the tavern, shouted with laughter at this proposition, while John Bull hastily retired from the scene, having probably already had enough of a raal Alleghanian boulder.

N.Y. Alleghanian.


Source: New York Spirit of the Times, 15.21 (19 July 1845): 244. (Alderman Library,University of Virginia).

Erin Bartels & Joe Essid prepared this typescript.

[1] Though the setting is Canadian, the subject matter provides a good point of comparison to similar tales from the Old Southwest.
[2] Original text reads “Alleghnaian."
[3] Original text reads "you cur."
[4] Original text reads "he shot."

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