The night in this secluded cove was another pleasant experience which they must always look back to with delight; so it is a cruise of this sort is marked by its red and white stones, the one indicating trouble, the other joy unspeakable.
Maurice was not yet done with his business as a provider of viands for the table, and going ashore as the moonlight tempted him, gun in hand, he prowled around and presently had his suspicions confirmed, for he came upon a fat ’possum that yielded up the ghost at the summons of the Marlin gun.
Thad nearly had a fit when he saw what his chum was bringing aboard.
Once he had tasted the animal when with some darkies in the brush —they had gone ’coon hunting with a pack of dogs and unexpectedly running across a ’possum Thad was fortunate enough to get a few bites of the animal when done—it struck his fancy and he had never forgotten the sweet morsel.
“I bet you had that rascal in mind when you bought those sweet potatoes from the coon yesterday at Memphis,” he declared, shaking his forefinger at the other.
Maurice pleaded innocent of the charge, and declared that the only one in the party at all able to prophesy regarding the weather or anything else was Thad himself.
“All the same I imagine they’ll just about fit the crime, and tomorrow we’ll see how you can get up a real Southern dinner. Now that we are entering Dixieland we must pay more attention to the fads that these people cater to, and ’possum heads the list,” remarked Maurice, holding the plump animal up so that they could admire his proportions.
The way the little yellow dog jumped and barked made them suspect that he knew something about hunting ’coons and ’possum and indeed there are few canines in the South that do not; so Maurice declared that if the chance ever came he meant to try Dixie in that capacity.
There was one good thing about this voyage, and that was the fact of the ever moving current of the river—so long as they kept in its swing they could count on being wafted closer and closer to their destination.
What they had to beware of were the many false channels that led nowhere; or else after winding in and out for ten miles brought the traveler out upon the main stream just a mile below where he entered.
Closely each night Maurice studied his chart and at the same time kept in mind the warning he had received that this map was likely to prove wrong in many cases, so quickly does the mighty current cut new channels along its course.
The lost trap.
It was a quiet evening.
Outside, the moon was just creeping up over the trees, and shining from a cold looking sky.
Out upon the broad river the current swept past with its constant gurgle and swish, ever heading into the mysterious Southland, which our boys yearned to reach.