Till tired they sleep, and life’s poor play is o’er.—(Pope.)
ADVENTURES IN MOSQUITO-LAND.
At the close of the school in July, 1870, a friend of mine, Doctor B——, of Boston, and I, attracted by the alluring prospectus of a new town near Plymouth, North Carolina, visited that place via the Merchant’s and Miner’s steamship line.
I wrote an account of this pleasure excursion, which was widely copied by northern newspapers in which I figured as the professor and he as the doctor, while both of us combined were called the “Shoo-Fly Club.” I quote some extracts from the description of this remarkable excursion.
“On the early morning after our arrival in the Southland, doctor and professor, after a brief sojourn in the arms of Morpheus, awoke to a contest which was enough to daunt the stoutest heart.
“Mosquitoes to the right of them, mosquitoes to the left of them, black flies above them, black flies beneath them, buzzed and stabbed with a vengeance. We lay under our netting appalled at the profanity and ferocity of our foes, caught in a trap from which there seemed to be no escape. The breakfast-bell rang and rang, but we dared not venture out among our bloodthirsty foes, for an array of bristling bayonets was thrust through the bars long enough to hang our clothes on, and fierce enough to suck every drop of blood from our trembling limbs, and our only consolation was that our invariable diet of ’hog and hominy’ had so reduced the vital fluid, that our tormentors would starve though we were slain.
“At length a brilliant thought flashed across the mind of the doctor. ‘The shoo-fly—the shoo-fly,’ said he; ’why didn’t we think of that? and out he went for his carpetbag, pulled out some suspicious looking bottles labeled with the mystic words, and made for the bed, entirely covered with a ferocious cloud of the aforesaid ‘skeeters’ and flies stabbing him for dear life. We then proceeded to anoint our bodies with this preparation, which the doctor declared to be a panacea for all human ills; then completely clad in our armor, we sallied forth to the crusade. Down came the fiends; they cared not for ‘shoo-fly,’ cared not for blows, and our visions of fortunes to be realized from our new discovery vanished away, but not so our tormentors.
“Regardless of Mrs. Grundy, regardless of everything save life, the professor fled, down over the stairs he fled, pants and unmentionables flying in the air, to the astonishment of the contraband servant girls, for the bath-house—here at length plunged beneath the flood he found relief. After copious ablutions the professor went back for his friend, but the valiant doctor had retreated behind the bars, resolved there to starve rather than again to face his foes.
“After much parleying the doctor’s desire for hog and hominy overcame all his fears, and the club marched to breakfast. Here two servant girls armed with long fans, fought a cloud of the famished varmints, while the club swallowed hoe cake covered with a copious lather of the flies of the season. At length our appetites or rather we ourselves, were conquered, and retired in disgust, leaving our foes to bury their dead and divide the spoils of war.