“There, Fan, you’re poking fun now. Wait till I get through. Only for Tom, you would have found me at Ten Mile Gulch, hanging by the neck to the limb of that tree just in front of the Home.”
“Hanging, Fan—lynched for a murder I never committed. Tom came along just in the nick of time, and—Well, Fan, perhaps you saw some of the Ten Milers before you came away?”
“Yes, Jack; and there was only one whole nose in the lot, and I do believe that was out of joint. But, oh, Jack! if they had taken your life!”
“Never mind now, sis. Tom was too many for ’em; and here I am safe. We’ll wait here till Tom comes down, for I’ve got one of his horses, which he thinks more of than he does of himself; then for home, sis.”
Mr. Tom Ruger went down, as he said he would, and remained with them several days. On the morning that they were to sail, Fanny said to Tom:
“I wish you were going with us, Mr. Ruger. We shall miss you very much. Won’t you go?”
Mr. Ruger was talking with Jack at the time, but he heard Fanny—he always heard what she said.
He did not reply at once, however, but said to Jack, in a low tone:
“Jack, you know what I have been—can I ever become worthy of her?”
And Jack answered, promptly:
“God bless you, Tom, you are worthy now!”
“Thank you, Jack—if you believe!”
Then he went over to Fanny.
“I will go,” was all he said.
It was a great wonder to both Jack and his sister how Tom could have got ready for the journey on so short a notice; but one day, more than a year afterward, Tom said to Jack:
“Old friend, I’m not what I was, I hope. Ever since I first saw Fanny on the road to Ten Mile Gulch, I have tried to live differently. I hope I am better, for she said last night that she would take me for better or worse.”
And Jack wondered no more.
“Well, there’s nothin’ to do, but to hev faith, an’ keep a-tryin’.”
The speaker was old Mrs. Simmons, boarding-house keeper, and resident of a certain town on the Ohio River. The prime cause of her remark was Captain Sam Toppie, of the steamboat Queen Ann.
Captain Sam had stopped with Mrs. Simmons every time the Queen Ann laid up for repairs, and he was so genial, frank and manly, that he had found a warm spot in the good old lady’s heart.
But one thing marred the otherwise perfect happiness of Mrs. Simmons when in Captain Sam’s society, and that was what she styled his “lost condition.” For Mrs. Simmons was a consistent, conscientious Methodist, while Captain Sam was—well, he was a Western steamboat captain.
This useful class of gentlemen are in high repute among shippers and barkeepers, and receive many handsome compliments from the daily papers along the line of the Western rivers; but, somehow, the religious Press is entirely silent about them, nor have we ever seen of any special mission having been sent to them.