[F*>r The Sunny South.]
I PROMISED SOT TO TELL.
(An Idyl of Savannah.)
BY HENRY C. MAKER.
J tell you, Mag, we made a (lash—
That eve in Forsyth Place—
For Fred bad on his blonde mustache,
And I my polonaise.
We sat back from the wicket gate,
Near by the cypress vine;
I feared papa would think it late.
For the stars began to shine,
Oh, the little words he L#id io me
Still make my bosom swell;
But I must hush. Mag, for you see
I promised not to tell.
He said the night was very tine,—
Of course I thought so, too;
He drew me closer to the vine—
Just to keep me from the dew.
He said the flowers were very sweet;
Then he sang a little song.
While I kept time upon my feet,—
Now, please don’t say ‘twas wrong.
For oh, the song he sauj to me
Still makes my bosom swell;
But I must hush. Mag, for you see
I promised not to tell.
He stopped amidst the little tune,
And silence reigned a while;
He spoke about the last of June,—
I said “Yes,” with a smile.
And now my dear, confiding girl,
Don't say it was amiss,—
He put aside a strolling curl,
And pinned it with a kiss.
And oh* that kiss came with such force.
It made my bosom swell;
But. woman-like, you know of course
I promised not to tell!
[Written for The Sunny South.] •
Callie Carson’s Lovers;
FLAT-BOAT, RIVER AM) RIFLE.
It was a little hamlet— half a dozen cabins—
on the Ohio river, up among the rugged hills of
| , Pennsylvania. A few flat-boats crept along the
river, and the hardy pioneft- had cut into the
wilderness here and there and built him a home.
Pittsburg and Cincinnati were but good-sized
villages, hardly known of each other, and the
crafty savage tribes were strong and powerful
all along the mighty river. The rolling wave of
civilization had struck the great Western forest
and fallen back, discouraged by the hardships
of pioneer life. Beyond the river, little or noth
ing was known of the country, and the Indians
outnumbered the whites twenty to one.
The rugged, grizzly Abe Carson, hunter, trap
per and explorer, had erected the first cabin,
and so the hamlet was called “Carson's Land
ing.” Five of the cabins were built on the side-
hill, and overlooked the river up and down,
while Carson's was nearer the water and almost
cut ofl' from the rest.
The settlement was not four years old. The pi
oneers had been besieged by Indians, welcomed
peace, set their traps along the river, hunted in
the forest, and made occasional trips down the
stream to dispose of their products. There was
another small settlement a few miles above, a
cabin or two in the next bend of the river, and
about once a week a flat-boat from Pittsburg
touched at the Landing and gave the pioneers
news of the outside world.
It was June, and the grand old forest looked
glorious in its summer dress of green. The wild
flowers blossomed on the side-hill, and the smoke
from the stout and tidy cabins lazily floated sky
ward and moved slowly over the trackless wil
derness. The river was clear of everything ex
cept an occasional log which had rolled from
the bank to be stianded in some bend below or
left on an island, and the forest was so still that
the cry of an eagle in the clouds above the ham
let was plainly heard.
Half a dozen children were tossing dead limbs
and stones into the river from the high bank
above Carson's cabin, and in one of the huts on
the hill a woman was singing an old love-ballad
with such strong voice that the words floated
into every cabin, and were lost in the forest
beyond the clearing.
No painter could have drawn a more perfect
picture of peace and contentment.
The door of old Carson's cabin was ajar, and
one of the children, peering in. saw the trapper's
daughter busy with her needle. The cabin had
but little lurniture. but it was the tidiest one of
the six. and one had but to glance in to see that
it was presided over by one whose life among
the wolves and savages had not destroyed natu
ral good taste and scrupulous cleanliness.
“ Callie ! Callie !” called one of the children,
as she rocked to and fro in the old-fashioned
chair, “someone’s coming!”
The six men belonging to the Landing were
all in the woods, and Callie wondered if some
explorer had not turned his canoe from the cur
rent to pay them a visit. As she stood in the
cabin door, her short chestnut curls catching
the sun. and her red cheeks and hazel eyes
turned to the children, a low exclamation of
admiration and a light step caught her ear.
Turning quickly, she found herself face to face
■ with a young man of three-and-twenty. attired
jin hunter's garb and having a rifle in his hand.
despe'ration, and the renegade’s heart was full of
bitter fur)-. As they looked into each other's
eyes, they read the fact that one must die. The
scout threw the gun aside as he wrenched it
away, and both drew the long, keen hunting-
knives which were to be found in every pio
neer’s belt, when a long hand-to-hand reneoun-
tre ensued, in which the renegade received such
a fearful slash across the arm that he dropped
his knife, staggered back, and uttered a horrible
yell as he tripped and fell to the ground.
Will was upon him in an instant, and the
heavy knife was raised to strike, when some
swift thought held it there.
“You deserve death !” he said, as he looked
into the renegade’s frightened face, but I cannot
strike a wounded, defenseless man."
Laskins begged for mercy, and picking up the
fellow’s knife and hurling it through the leaves,
“I will not take your life now. but I warn you
that any of the men at the Landing will shoot
yon on sight after to-day.”
He picked up both rifl,es, and without another
look at the cowardly assassin, made his way to
the river bank, found the canoe which the rene
gade had used, and soon set himself across the
“Curse him !—curse his very shadow!” mut
tered Laskins, as the scout walked away.
He was badly cut and bleeding very freely,
and reaching his feet, he struck into the forest
and hurried along at a fast pace. A walk of half
an hour brought him to a large Indian village,
and a shout collected half a hundred red-skins
“See there, brothers!” cried Laskins, as he
held up his bleeding arm; “that is the work of
a white man—onb who hates and defies the red
The Indians crowded nearer and became ex
“The whitfi men have commenced war!” con
tinued Laskins. “They have dug up the
hatchet, and they shout for blood. Will the
red man skulk away, or will he tight?”
There was a wild, fierce yell in answer. It
was a powder-magazine, needing but a spark to
carry desolation for three hundred miles up and
down the tranquil river.
“ We will give them war if they want it!” con
tinued the renegade; “the red man will not run
away from the noise of rifles !”
j Talking in that strain, he had- the entire vil-
: luge so excited that some of the men ran alter
ktlieir wajr-^ftint. and others fJanoaJ "b-v
“ Heavens ! but I never saw a more beautiful
picture!” he exclaimed, as he reached out his
She extended hers very reluctantly, and the
change in her countenance told him that he was
an unwelcome visitor. She retreated into the
cabin, and without waiting for an invitation, he
“Am I not welcome here, Callie?” he asked,
as she sat down and resumed her sewing with
out even another look at him.
“It is my father’s boast that his cabin is open
to every one,” she answered after a time.
He stood for a moment, his face clouded and
his eyes having a threatening look, and then he
placed his rifle in the corner, drew a chair close
to her and sat down. She kept her eyes on her
work, and it was two or three minutes before a
word was spoken. Then he asked:
“Callie. why do yon treat me so coldly?”
“ You know well enough, Rovce Laskins!”
she exclaimed, raising her eyes to his and her
cheeks growing more crimson.
“I was here a month ago, and I asked you to
become my wife,” he said.
“And when I told yon I could not, you in
dulged in threats.”
"Of which I repented as soon as uttered. I
have been ashamed and miserable, and I came
to ask forgiveness.”
•• I will forgive you if you will stay away,” she
replied after a pause. “ Yon have no friends
here, and it is better that yon avoid the place.”
He choked down the words he was about to
utter, and said:
i “ Callie Carson. I love you as deeply and truly
as any man ever loved a woman, and I cannot
stay away without being made wretched.”
There was something in his hopeless tones
which softened her heart a little, and she replied:
"I am sorry, but I never encouraged yon. and
nothing you could do or say would make me re
turn your love. You are free to go where you
will, and yon can find some one who will think
better of yon than I can.”
“But won’t you try to love me?" he pleaded. _
“Royce Laskins, yon know that I am the
promised wife of another, and your cause is
hopeless. I hope ”
"Yes, I know you are. curse him !” he inter
rupted, betraying the anger which had been
struggling to escape.
“You can go!” she said, rising up. “I can
hold no further conversation with you.”
“I won’t go until I have spoken my mind !”
he exclaimed, his eyes blazing with anger. “Do
you prefer Will Ross to me ?”
“I do,” she promptly answered.
“And yon will marrv him?”
“ I will.”
“Hear me, girl!” he said in a voice hoarse
with passion. “Will Ross shall never call you
his wife—never! I will kill him before he is a
"I have heard that you were a coward and a
renegade.” she answered in a steady voice.
"An 1 as for yon,” he continued, “I will make
you love me. and I will make yon my wife, and
there are not enough men along the Ohio to pre
“Go!” she said, pointing to the open door.
“Beware of me!” he muttered, glaring down
upon her. “ I may carry out my plans before
“The forest will not be dark enough to hide
you when my father hears of your conduct,”
she answered, still pointing to the door.
A new light came to his eyes, and he stalked
across the cabin to the single window and looked
out. His canoe was on the bank—the men were
away; why not take her then ?
The girl read his thoughts, and flitting across
the room, she seized his rifle and drew it up to
her shoulder just as he turned around. The
muzzle was within ten feet of his head, and his
face paled as he saw how her eyes flashed.
“Put down the gun !” he said, scowling at her
“Leave the cabin or I will shoot you!” she
The rifle was at full cock; her finger pressed
the trigger, and she had him in her power. He
hesitated an instant, and then moved toward the
“ My revenge will be all the sweeter for this.”
He halted in the door and looked back, and
“ Move along to your canoe!”
He passed down the bank and she followed
him, ready to fire. The children ran out of his
path, amazed and frightened, but none of the
women above noticed what was occurring.
“ Give me my rifle,” he said, as he seated him
self in his canoe and took up the paddle.
A little stream of water, coming from a spring
on the hill, ran past her feet, and bending down
she submerged the rifle, rendering it tempora
rily useless, and then tossed it down to him.
“Remember my warning!” he said, as the
canoe left the bank. “I’ll put Will Ross out of
the way and make you my wTftfT”
She stood there and watched him paddle the
light craft across to the Ohio shore, and she was
there when he drew the canoe upon the bank,
waved his hand, and was hidden in the deep
Callie Carson had spoken truly when she told
Royce Laskins that he had not a friend in the
settlement. The men had returned his nod of
recognition, but they had maintained a dignity
and reserve which he could not pass and reach
their big hearts. When he had appeared first at
the Landing, a year before, rumors had followed
him. It was said that he lived among the Indians,
a renegade from civilization, and that his rifle
had betn turned against white men and his hand
lifted against women and children.
No one knew these statements to be true, or
he would have been banished from the settle
ment. As it was. his right to go and come was ;
not questioned, but he could make no friends
there. Callie’s beauty alone attracted him to
the Landing, and he had concealed his real
nature and sought to win her love. Old Carson
had suffered him to visit the cabin because he
knew that Laskins was treated as a visitor, and
not as a lover. When the renegade made a decla
ration of love, understood that Callie did not
return the feeling, and had uttered threats
against her and others, the men had said they
would fix him if he ever came to the hamlet
again. Taking advantage of their absence, he
had returned to press his suit and to utter new
threats, as the reader was infornled in the pre
Will Ross had not yet seen twenty-five sum
mers, and a better-looking, more athletic young
man could not be found along the river. He
was the keenest hunter, the best trapper, and
the most daring scout, and during Indian hos
tilities, his rifle and knife had made his name :
and deeds famous among the savages. He had
built one of the cabins on the side-hill and oc
cupied it with his aged mother, and Abe Carson
could not have found a son-in-law more to his
A week previous to the renegade's visit. Will
had departed from the Landing to explore the
wilderness to the southwest. For two or three
! months past the Indians had been unsettled and
uneasy, as if contemplating some new and im-
■ portant movement, and part of the scout’s errand
was to discover the cause of this feeling. There
j had been times when the hamlet was crowded
with Indians who came to buy and barter, but
! of late they had kept clear of the settlement,
and when encountered on the. river or in the
forest, were sullen and uncommunicative. It
was feared by the pioneers that another outbreak
would soon occur, and there had been talk of
abandoning the Landing and making new homes
further down the river and nearer some strong
out-post or block-house.
■ On the day that the brave girl drove the rene
gade out of her father’s cabin and across the
river, Will Ross was returning from his scout,
and was within a few miles of home. He had
found the red men morose and sullen, and his
, mind was made up that another war was to be
precipitated on the settlements. Civilization had
pushed the Indian back until he had become
( alarmed and desperate, and he was going to try
I and recover his lost ground.
The Landing would have to be abandoned,
and Will felt that the people could not remove
too soon. An hour after noon he was approach
ing the river, almost fearing that he would look
! across tajtind smoking logs where cosy cabins
had stood a week before, when his cap was
1 dashed from his head, and there was a smarting,
stinging sensation along his scalp, as if a hot
iron had burned the flesh. • Almost knocked
down by the shock, he whirled around and
caught at a sapling just as the sharp crack of a
rifle reached his ear.
“White!” he exclaimed, as he sprang for a
Some person had attempted to murder him,
and that person was a white man. The shot had
been fired from a thicket not a great distance
away, and Will was so confused and amazed for
a time that he knew not what to do. He had
only one enemy that he could name Royce Las
kins, and it did not seem possible that the rene
gade would have the boldness to attenjpt mur
der so near the settlement. Beside, none of the
pioneers had seen him for a full month, and it
was generally believed that he had left the neigh
The smoke of the rifle floated among the
branches, and the forest was as silent as a grave,
except now and then as a bird uttered a note of
alarm and flew to a safer spot. Will cautiously
peered from behind his tree, but could see no
sign of a human being. The minutes dragged
away, and he finally decided that the unknown
and unseen foe had fired the shot and crept
away, and the scout stepped out from behind
He was hardly clear of it, when a voice which
he instantly recognized as Laskins’ called out,
and the renegade rose up from the thicket and
came forward. His appearance amazed Will,
connected as it was with the attempt to commit
murler, and he stood there with lowered rifle,
and let Laskins approach. When quite near,
the fellow drew tip his rifle like a flash and fired.
The bullet singed across Will's cheek, and he
could not raise his rifle before the renegade was
upon him and struggling to secure the weapon.
“It is you, then!” exclaimed Will, as they
swayed this way and that in the fight for the
“ Yes, and I’m going to murder you!” an
The advantage which surprise gave Laskins
was lost after a moment, but as the gun was
wrenched from his grasp it exploded and was
useless to either except as a club.
The attempt to murder him roused Will to
When the men at the landing heard how
Royce Laskins’ real nature had been uncovered,
they swore to kill him wherever they might find
him. They blamed Will that he had not put the
serpent beyond power to do them further injury,
but he felt better for having spared and warned
But there were matters for graver considera
tions. It behooved the pioneers to leave the
Landing while yet there was time to escape.
Will’s news made their hearts heavy and anx
ious. and was fully confirmed by the crew of a
flat-boat coming down the river next day. They
had been fired on from the banks, and during
the past few days had discovered that Indian
villages along the river were being moved. The
men advised old Carson to jose no time in get
ting away, predicting a general outbreak of hos
tilities within a week.
At a trading-post fifty miles above, known as
“WolfBend," a flat-boat was tied to the bank:
and it was believed that the old trader would
sell it. Carson reasoned that there was no
safety nearer than Cincinnati or Pittsburg, and
it was far easier to float down than to pole one
of the lumbering crafts against the strong cur-
On the evening of the second day after Will’s
return, it was decided that old Carson should
take three of the six men and set out for the post
above, hoping to secure the boat. They could
travel the distance in less than two days, and if
»they got the boat, they could hurry it along, so
that the round trip would not occupy over four
days. Selecting Will and two others, and warn
ing and instructing those who w r ere to remain
! behind, the old man set out just at dark, think
ing thereby to elude the observation of any one
who might be spying around the clearing.
The peace which the pioneers had enjoyed for
many months was broken and destroyed. The
happy laughter of the children and the glad
songs' of the matrons were replaced by whispered
words and pale faces. No one knew at what
: hour the savages would be turned loose against
them, and when the party had left on their up
river errand, all the rest gathered together in
the largest and stoutest cabin to pass the night.
When night fully set in, the men took turns at
watching, and a deep, solemn silence fell upon
The long hours of night dragged away with
out an alarm, and when daylight came, all
hearts felt braver. One of the men scouted
around the clearing without discovering any ev
idences that the Indians had been prowling
around during the night, and the other went
down to the bluffs and made a long survey of
the river and the Ohio shore without seeing any
thing to cause alarm.
The w r omen and children would not leave the
cabin, but about ten o’clock in the morning, one
of the men went down the river and brought
back some steel traps which had been set along
the stream, being absent until an hour after
noon. He saw no Indians, and wa- inclined to
regard the alarm as a great scan. Carson had
left orders that they should construct some large
boxes to pack the furniture in, and during the
balance of the afternoon they were engaged in
this work. Night fell upon lighter hearts than
before, and forgetting Carson’s words of warn
ing. all slept soundly and there was no one to
When day came again the women and children
scattered to'the different cabins, having no longer
any fear of an attack. Callie Carson went to her
father’s cabin and busied herself packing little
mementoes, and the men finished another box*
and packed such furniture as they could. Theft!