“Thar’s a boy now, the brute,” said Colonel Bruce, sending him off to assist in the distribution of the guests among the settlers, “that comes of the best stock for loving women and fighting Injuns in all Kentucky! And so, captain, if young madam, your sister h’yar, is for picking a husband out of Kentuck, I’ll say it, and stand to it, thar’s not a better lad to be found than Tom Bruce, if you hunt the district all over. You’d scarce believe it, mom,” he continued, addressing Edith herself, “but the young brute did actually take the scalp of a full-grown Shawnee before he war fourteen y’ar old, and that in fa’r fight, whar thar war none to help him. The way of it war this: Tom war out in the range, looking for a neighbour’s horse; when what should he see but two great big Shawnees astride of the identicular beast he war hunting! Away went Tom, and away went the bloody villians hard after, one of ’em afoot, the other on the horse. ‘Now,’ said Tom, this won’t do, no how;’ and so he let fly at the mounted feller; but being a little skeary, as how could he help it, the young brute, being the first time he ever banged at an Injun, he hit the horse, which dropped down in a flurry; and away comes the red devil over his head, like a rocket, end on to a sapling. Up jumps Tom and picks up the Injun’s gun; and bang goes the other Shawnee at him, and jumps to a tree. ‘A bird in the hand,’ said Tom, ‘is worth two in a bush;’ and with that he blows out the first feller’s brains, just as he is gitting up, and runs into the fort, hard chased by the other. And then to see the fellers, when I asked him why he didn’t shoot the Injun that had fired at him, and so make sure of both, the other being in a sort of swound-like from the tumble, and ready to be knocked on the head at any moment? ‘Lord!’ said Tom, ‘I never thought of it, I war such a fool!’ and with that he blubbered all night, to think he had not killed them both. Howsomever, I war always of opinion that what he had done war good work for a boy of fourteen.—But, come now, my lovely young mom; we are entering the Station. May you never enter a house where you are less welcome.”
Men and boys had rushed from the fortress together, to greet the new comers, and few remained save the women; of whom not a few, particularly of the younger individuals, were as eager to satisfy their curiosity as their fathers and brothers. The disorderly spirit had spread even among the daughters of the commandant, to the great concern of his spouse; who, although originally of a degree somewhat humbler even than his own, had a much more elevated sense of the dignity of his commission as a colonel of militia, and a due consciousness of the necessity of adapting her manners to her rank. She stood on the porch of her cabin, which had the merit of being larger than any other in the fort, maintaining order among some half dozen or more lasses, the eldest scarce exceeding seventeen, whom she endeavoured to range in a row, to receive the expected guests in state, though every moment some one or other might be seen edging away from her side, as if in the act of deserting her altogether.