Lord! how the hot sun went for us,
And br’iled and blistered and burned!
How the Rebel bullets whizzed round us
When a cuss in his death-grip turned!
Till along toward dusk I seen a thing
I couldn’t believe for a spell:
That nigger—that Tim—was a crawlin’ to me
Through that fire-proof, gilt-edged hell!
The Rebels seen him as quick as me,
And the bullets buzzed like bees;
But he jumped for me, and shouldered me,
Though a shot brought him once to his knees;
But he staggered up, and packed me off,
With a dozen stumbles and falls,
Till safe in our lines he drapped us both,
His black hide riddled with balls.
So, my gentle gazelles, thar’s my answer,
And here stays Banty Tim:
He trumped Death’s ace for me that day,
And I’m not goin’ back on him!
You may rezoloot till the cows come home
But ef one of you tetches the boy,
He’ll wrastle his hash to-night in hell.
Or my name’s not Tilmon Joy!
The darkest, strangest mystery
I ever read, or heern, or see,
Is ’long of a drink at Taggart’s Hall,—
Tom Taggart’s of Gilgal.
I’ve heern the tale a thousand ways,
But never could git through the maze
That hangs around that queer day’s doin’s;
But I’ll tell the yarn to youans.
Tom Taggart stood behind his bar,
The time was fall, the skies was fa’r,
The neighbors round the counter drawed,
And ca’mly drinked and jawed.
At last come Colonel Blood of Pike,
And old Jedge Phinn, permiscus-like,
And each, as he meandered in,
Remarked, “A whisky-skin”
Tom mixed the beverage full and fa’r,
And slammed it, smoking, on the bar.
Some says three fingers, some says two,—
I’ll leave the choice to you.
Phinn to the drink put forth his hand;
Blood drawed his knife, with accent bland,
“I ax yer parding, Mister Phinn—
Jest drap that whisky-skin.”
No man high-toneder could be found
Than old Jedge Phinn the country round.
Says he, “Young man, the tribe of Phinns
Knows their own whisky-skins!”
He went for his ’leven-inch bowie-knife:—
“I tries to foller a Christian life;
But I’ll drap a slice of liver or two,
My bloomin’ shrub, with you.”
They carved in a way that all admired,
Tell Blood drawed iron at last, and fired.
It took Seth Bludso ’twixt the eyes,
Which caused him great surprise.
Then coats went off, and all went in;
Shots and bad language swelled the din;
The short, sharp bark of Derringers,
Like bull-pups, cheered the furse.
They piled the stiffs outside the door;
They made, I reckon, a cord or more.
Girls went that winter, as a rule,
Alone to spellin’-school.
I’ve sarched in vain, from Dan to Beer-
Sheba, to make this mystery clear;
But I end with hit as I did begin,—
who got the whisky-skin?”