Page:Sawdust & Spangles.djvu/260

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
222
SAWDUST AND SPANGLES

grounds to look after my property, when, after midnight, a crowd began to gather and sud-denly surrounded me, shoving the muzzles of their pistols and guns in my face. This crowd hung about until daylight, and I pleaded so heartily that they did not shoot. The fact that I was then little more than a boy in years was, I think, the only reason I was not instantly shot by the ruffians.

When our company began to gather in the morning these ruffians left, but I shall never forget that night sitting there surrounded by a half-drunken mob, in a drizzling fall of rain. I was completely exhausted and half frozen, and never before nor since was I so glad to see daylight come.

This trip led us through Georgia, Alabama, Florida and North Carolina. In those States we frequently traveled at night, and sometimes all night, illuminating our way by setting fire to the patches of gum on the pine trees at the spots where they had been "blazed" for their sap. In the mountains of North Carolina we encountered the "clay eaters." I was assured that they subsisted to a great extent upon a certain kind of clay which appears to be able to sustain life. The reader can imagine the character and intelligence of these beings.