To cap the climax, this superintendent refused to make an accounting for several thousand dollars with which I had entrusted him to make purchases of lands on my personal account. I secured a warrant for his arrest, chased him half over the county with a sheriff, and brought him to the city for trial. On our way to the hotel, I was set upon by a crowd of roughs who had been dined and wined by said W——, and who threatened to lynch me. I backed up into a corner of the hotel piazza, laid my hand on an imaginary revolver, threatening to shoot, and was defending myself with a whirling chair, when the sheriff’s posse rushed to my deliverance in the nick of time, and W—— was forced to hand over my money.
He then made life unbearable by sending negroes at night in my absence to annoy my family, who escaped injury only by the vigorous use of a revolver by my wife who defended the little ones by numerous shots which sent the tormentors flying to the woods. This unscrupulous superintendent secured by his cunning a large amount of our funds; but it was a curse to him for he squandered it in riotous living.
When he married he chartered a large steamer and brass band, took on board a crowd of guests, champagne flowed like water, every luxury was furnished liberally, and the excursion was a prolonged debauch.
To-day this fellow is a fugitive from justice, forsaken by wife and fair weather friends, and thus really, if not literally, is fulfilled the prophecy of the poet,
“Her dark wing shall the raven flap
O’er the false-hearted,
His warm blood the wolf shall lap
E’er life be parted,
Shame and dishonor sit
O’er his grave ever,
Blessing shall hallow it
Never, no never.”
A MILLION DOLLAR BUSINESS WITH A ONE DOLLAR CAPITAL.
Soon after my encounter at S—— with the unspeakable W——, I met Major St. A——, who gave a cordial invitation to myself and family to become his guests in his new town of T——, with a view to securing our cooperation in the development of his multitudinous schemes. This invitation we accepted, and very early one beautiful morning in March, my wife, four children and myself, with driver and guide, embarked on a “prairie schooner,” drawn by three horses, for the promised land.
It was an ideal drive through many miles of fragrant, towering pine trees, fording beautiful lakes, catching fish, shooting game, camping for refreshment on the banks of crystal clear brooks. The oldest girls would ride on the horses’ backs, chase quails, pluck the wayside flowers, occasionally watching the flight of paroquettes flashing like diamonds through the air, listening to the mockingbirds filling the woods with their exquisite songs, and inhaling as it were the ether of the immortal Gods, the matchless, perfumed, life-giving Florida air.
All at once, with little warning, as is usual in semi-tropical lands, the night fell, and our learned guide suddenly found that he had lost the trail. The owls hooted, the wild-cats screamed, likewise the “kids,” with overpowering fear. We plunged ahead at random, when we suddenly found the water pouring through the bottom of our “schooner.” The horses reared and plunged, snorting in terror probably at the near approach of some water snake or alligator.