Page:Post - Uncle Abner (Appleton, 1918).djvu/265

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Uncle Abner

about the owners of your cargo, and the company that insures your boat?"

"The cargo, Abner," replied the man, "is in Benton's warehouse, unloaded for your wagons. The boat is tied up in the back-water. No log can strike it."

He paused and stroked his clean-cut, aristocratic jaw.

"The journey down from Fort Pitt was damnable," he added, "—miles of flood water, yellow and running with an accursed current. It was no pleasure voyage, believe me, Abner. There was the current running logs, and when we got in near the shore, the settlers fired on us. A careless desperado, your settler, Abner!"

"More careless, Byrd, do you think," replied my uncle, "than the river captain who overturns the half-submerged cabins with the wash of his boat?"

"The river," said the man, "is the steamboat's highway."

"And the cabin," replied my uncle, "is the settler's home."

"One would think," said Byrd, "that this home was a palace and the swamp land a garden of the Hesperides, and your settler a King of the Golden Mountains. My stacks are full of bullet holes."

My uncle was thoughtful by the fire.

"This thing will run into a river war," he said. "There will be violence and murder done."

"A war, eh!" echoed the man. "I had not

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