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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesThe Mystery Of Metropolisville - Chapter 17. Sawney And His Old Love
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The Mystery Of Metropolisville - Chapter 17. Sawney And His Old Love Post by :Dutch Category :Long Stories Author :Edward Eggleston Date :May 2012 Read :1586

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The Mystery Of Metropolisville - Chapter 17. Sawney And His Old Love

CHAPTER XVII. SAWNEY AND HIS OLD LOVE

Self-conceit is a great source of happiness, a buffer that softens all the jolts of life. After David Sawney's failure to capture Perritaut's half-breed Atlantis and her golden apples at one dash, one would have expected him to be a little modest in approaching his old love again; but forty-eight hours after her return from Glenfield, he was paying his "devours," as he called them, to little Katy Charlton. He felt confident of winning--he was one of that class of men who believe themselves able to carry off anybody they choose. He inventoried his own attractions with great complacency; he had good health, a good claim, and, as he often boasted, had been "raised rich," or, as he otherwise stated it, "cradled in the lap of luxury." His father was one of those rich Illinois farmers who are none the less coarse for all their money and farms. Owing to reverses of fortune, Dave had inherited none of the wealth, but all of the coarseness of grain. So he walked into Squire Plausaby's with his usual assurance, on the second evening after Katy's return.

"Howdy, Miss Charlton," he said, "howdy! I'm glad to see you lookin' so smart. Howdy, Mrs. Ferret!" to the widow, who was present. "Howdy do, Mr. Charlton--back again?" And then he took his seat alongside Katy, not without a little trepidation, for he felt a very slight anxiety lest his flirtation With Perritaut's ten thousand dollars "mout've made his chances juberous," as he stated it to his friends. But then, he reflected, "she'll think I'm worth more'n ever when she knows I _de_-clined ten thousand dollars, in five annooal payments."

"Mr. Sawney," said the widow Ferret, beaming on him with one of her sudden, precise, pickled smiles, "Mr. Sawney, I'm delighted to hear that you made a brave stand against Romanism. It is the bane of this country. I respect you for the stand you made. It shows the influence of schripcheral training by a praying mother, I've no doubt, Mr. Sawney."

Dave was flattered and annoyed at this mention, and he looked at little Katy, but she didn't seem to feel any interest in the matter, and so he took heart.

"I felt it my dooty, Mrs. Ferret, indeed I did."

"I respect you for it, Mr. Sawney."

"For what?" said Albert irascibly. "For selling himself into a mercenary marriage, and then higgling on a point of religious prejudice?"

Mrs. Ferret now focused her round eyes at Mr. Charlton, smiled her deprecating smile, and replied: "I do think, Mr. Charlton, that in this day of lax views on one side and priestcraft on the other, I respect a man who thinks enough of ee-vangelical truth to make a stand against any enemy of the holy religion of--"

"Well," said Charlton rudely, "I must say that I respect Perritaut's prejudices just as much as I do Dave's. Both of them were engaged in a contemptible transaction, and both of them showed an utter lack of conscience, except in matters of opinion. Religion is--"

But the company did not get the benefit of Mr. Albert's views on the subject of religion, for at that moment entered Mr. Smith Westcott.

"How do, Katy? Lookin' solemn, eh? How do, Brother Albert? Mrs. Ferret, how do? Ho! ho! Dave, is this you? I congratulate you on your escape from the savages. Scalp all sound, eh? Didn' lose your back-hair? By George! he! he! he!" And he began to show symptoms of dancing, as he sang:


"John Brown, he had a little Injun;
John Brown, he had a little Injun;
Dave Sawney had a little Injun;
One little Injun gal!


"Yah! yah! Well, well, Mr. Shawnee, glad to see you back."

"Looky hyer. Mister Wes'cott," said Dave, growing red, "you're a-makin' a little too free."

"Oh! the Shawnee chief shouldn' git mad. He! he! by George! wouldn' git mad fer ten thousand dollars. I wouldn', by George! you know! he! he! Ef I was worth ten thousand dollars live weight, bide and tallow throw'd in, I would--"

"See here, mister," said Dave, rising, "maybe, you'd like to walk out to some retired place, and hev your hide thrashed tell 'twouldn' hold shucks? Eh?"

"I beg pardon," said Westcott, a little frightened, "didn' mean no harm, you know, Mr. Sawney. All's fair in war, especially when it's a war for the fair. Sort of warfare, you know. By George! he! he! Shake hands, let's be friends, Dave. Don' mind my joking--nobody minds me. I'm the privileged infant, you know, he! he! A'n't I, Mr. Charlton?"

"You're infant enough, I'm sure," said Albert, "and whether you are privileged or not, you certainly take liberties that almost any other man would get knocked down for."

"Oh! well, don't let's be cross. Spoils our faces and voices, Mr. Charlton, to be cross. For my part, I'm the laughin' philosopher--the giggling philosopher, by George! he! he! Come Katy, let's walk."

Katy was glad enough to get her lover away fro her brother. She hated quarreling, and didn't see why people couldn't be peaceable. And so she took Mr. Westcott's arm, and they walked out, that gentleman stopping to strike a match and light his cigar at the door, and calling back, "Dood by, all, dood by! Adieu, Monsieur Sawney, _au revoir_!" Before he had passed out of the gate he was singing lustily:


"Ten little, nine little, eight little Injun;
Seven little, six little, five little Injun;
Four, little, three little, two little Injun;
One little Injun girl!


"He! he! By George! Best joke, for the time of the year, I ever heard."

"I think," said Mrs. Ferret, after Katy and her lover had gone--she spoke rapidly by jerks, with dashes between--"I think, Mr. Sawney--that you are worthy of commendation--I do, indeed--for your praiseworthy stand--against Romanism. I don't know what will become of our liberties--if the priests ever get control--of this country."

Sawney tried to talk, but was so annoyed by the quick effrontery with which Westcott had carried the day that he could not say anything quite to his own satisfaction. At last Dave rose to go, and said he had thought maybe he mout git a chance to explain things to Miss Charlton ef Mr. Westcott hadn't gone off with her. But he'd come agin. He wanted to know ef Albert thought her feelin's was hurt by what he'd done in offerin to make a cawntrack with Perritaut. And Albert assured him he didn't think they were in the least. He had never heard Katy mention the matter, except to laugh about it.

At the gate Mr. Sawney met the bland, gentlemanly Plausaby, Esq., who took him by the hand soothingly, and spoke of his services in the late election matter with the highest appreciation.

Dave asked the squire what he thought of the chance of his succeeding with Miss Charlton. He recited to Plausaby his early advantages. "You know, Squire, I was raised rich, cradled in the lap of luxury. Ef I ha'n't got much book-stuffin' in my head, 'ta'n't fer want of schoolin'. I never larnt much, but then I had plenty of edication; I went to school every winter hand-runnin' tell I was twenty-two, and went to singin' every Sunday arternoon. 'Ta'n't like as ef I'd been brought up poar, weth no chance to larn. I've had the schoolin' anyway, and it's all the same. An' I've got a good claim, half timber, and runnin' water onter it, and twenty acre of medder. I s'pose mebbe she don't like my going' arter that air Frenchman's gal. But I didn't mean no 'fense, you know--ten thousand in yaller gold's a nice thing to a feller like me what's been raised rich, and's kinder used to havin' and not much used to gittin'. I wouldn't want her to take no 'fense, you know. 'Ta'n't like's ef I'd a-loved the red-skin Catholic. I hadn' never seed 'er. It wasn't the gal, it was the money I hankered arter. So Miss Charlton needn' be jealous, nor juberous, like's ef I was agoin' to wish I'd a married the Injun. I'd feel satisfied with Kate Charlton _ef you think she'd be with David Sawney!"

"That's a delicate subject--quite a delicate subject for me to speak about, Mr. Sawney. To say anything about. But I may assure you that I appreciate your services in our late battle. Appreciate them highly. Quite highly. Very, indeed. I have no friend that I think more highly of. None. I think I could indicate to you a way by which you might remove any unfavorable impression from Miss Charlton's mind. Any unfavorable impression."

"Anythin' you tell me to do, squire, I'll do. I'd mos' skelp the ole man Perritaut, and his darter too, ef you said it would help me to cut out that insultin' Smith Westcott, and carry off Miss Charlton. I don't know as I ever seed a gal that quite come up to her, in my way of thinkin'. Now, squire, what is it?"

"Well, Mr. Sawney, we carried the election the other day and got the county-seat. Got it fairly, by six majority. After a hard battle. A very hard battle. Very. Expensive contest, too. I pay men that work for me. Always pay 'em. Always. Now, then, we are going to have trouble to get possession, unless we do something bold. Something bold. They mean to contest the election. They've got the court on their side. On their side, I'm afraid. They will get an injunction if we try to move the records. Sure to. Now, if I was a young man I'd move them suddenly before they had time. Possession is nine points. Nine points of law. They may watch the records at night. But they could be moved in the daytime by some man that they did not suspect. Easily. Quite so. County buildings are in the edge of town. Nearly everybody away at noon. Nearly everybody."

"Wal, squire, I'd cawntrack to do it"

"I couldn't make a contract, you see. I'm a magistrate. Conspiracy and all that. But I always help a man that helps me. Always. In more ways than one. There are two reasons why a man might do that job. Two of them. One is love, and the other's money. Love and money. But I mustn't appear in the matter. Not at all. I'll do what I can for you. What I can. Katy will listen to me. She certainly will. Do what you think best."

"I a'n't dull 'bout takin' a hint, squire." And Dave winked his left eye at the squire in a way that said, "Trust _me_! I'm no fool!"

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CHAPTER XVI. THE RETURNAs long as he could, Charlton kept Katy at Glenfield. He amused her by every means in his power; he devoted himself to her; he sought to win her away from Westcott, not by argument, to which she was invulnerable, but by feeling. He found that the only motive that moved her was an emotion of pity for him, so he contrived to make her estimate his misery on her account at its full value. But just when he thought he had produced some effect there would come one of Smith Westcott's letters, written not as he talked
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