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peeked through the grass, softly, to see where the flock was ; but, 'stead o'geese, he see a queer looken old feller waden 'long on the edge o' th' flat, jest by th' channel, benden low down, with a bow and arr in his hands, all fixed, ready to shoot, and his eye upon gr't gr’ndf'th'r's stool. "That feller thinks my stool's faawl,' says the old man to himself, softly, 'cause he ’xpected the sell'r was an Ingen, and there wa’n't no tellen whether he was friendly or not, in them times.
So he sot still and watched. The bow and arr kept goen on,
and to rights it stopped. Then the feller what had it, ris up, and pulled string, and let slip. Slap went the arr, strut into one o'grit gr’ndf'th'r's broadbills, and stuck fast, shaken. The old man sniggled as he see th' other feller pull, and then jump and splash thro’ th’ water to pick up his game, but he said nothen. Well, the merm'n,-as it turned out to be,-got to th' stool, and he seemed most won’rf'll s'prized th' birds didn't get up and fly, and then he tuk up the b’rdbol, and pulled out his arr, and turned the stool ov'r and ov'r, and smelt it, and grinned, and seemed quite uneasy to make out what 'twas. Then he up
nother one, and he turned 'em putty much all ov'r, and tore their anchors loose.
“Gr't gr’ndf'th'r wa’n't a bit skeered, and he did'n't like this much, but he didn't want to git into a passion with an Ingen, for they're full o' fight, and he loved peace; and besides he didn't want to take no dis’dvantage on 'im, and he'd guns
loaded in th' skiff, and th' other feller hadn't only a bow and arr, and the old man hoped he'd clear out soon. It wa’n't to be, hows'mver, that the old man shouldn't get int a scrape ; for what's the feller with the bow and arr do, arter consideren and smellen a smart and long spell, but pick up the whole stool,--every one on 'em,--and sling 'em ov'r's shoulder, and begin to make tracks! Gr’t gr’ndf'th’r couldn't
stand that ere. So he sung out to him, putty loud and sharp, to lay down them stools, and he shoved the skiff out the hassck, and then he see plain enough it was a merm’n. Then the old man was a little started, I expect. Hows’mver, he shoved right up to him, and got his old muskets ready. Well, the merm'n turned round, and sich another looken mortal man grit gr’ndf'th'r said he never did see. He'd big bushy hair all ov'r 'im, and big whiskers, and his eyes was green and small's a mushrat's, and where the flesh was, he was ruther scaly-like.
He hadn't stitch clothes ont' 'm, but the water was up to's waist, and kivered 'im up so that gr't gr’ndf'th'r couldn't see the biggist part on ’im. Soon's the old man got done jawen, the merm'n he begun to talk out the darndest talk you ever heerd. I disremember 'xactly, but I b'lieve 'twas somethin like 'norgus porgus carry-Yorkus,' and all sich stuff. Ephr’m Salem, the schoolmaster, used to reckon 'twas Lating, and meant somethin 'bout takin load o' porgees down to York; other some said 'twas Dutch; but I can't say. Well, the old man let him talk his talk out, and then he tuk his turn. Says the old man says he, 'it ant respect'ble, 'tant honest, mister merm’n, to hook other people's property. Them's my stool, says he. Ye lie,' says the merm'n,-speakin so gr't gr’ndf'th'r could hear 'im plain enough when he cum to the pint;'ye lie,' says he, ' I jest now shot 'em.'
“Shot 'em, you b.....,' says the old man, gittin mad ; shot 'em ? theni's wooden stools what I made myself and anchored 'em here last night.'
"That's 'nother,' says the merm’n; 'ye blackguard, they're only dead ducks spetrerfried and turned into white oak. I'm seen 'em here, and knowed they was cotched fast into the eel grass, a smart and long while; good mornen, my old cock, I must be goen.'
"Lay them stool down,' says gr't gr'ndf'th'r, lay them stool down, or, by golly, I'll put a charge o' shot into ye.'
"Shoot away, my man,' says the merm’n sneerin-like, and he turns off to clear out. So, the old man, sein his stool walked off in that ere way, cotched up one o' his guns, and, by jings, he let split right into the merm'n's back, and marked him from his shoulders down, thick as mustard seed, with about three ounces of No. 3,—what the old man put in for brant the night afore. The old thief was putty well riddled, I expect. He jumped up out th' water 'bout a yard high, and squealed out 's if he was killed. But he wa’n't tho', for arter rubbin his back a little while, he turned round,
he now I s'pose you've done it, don't you ?? quite sharp and saucy; 'I wanted a little lead into me for ballast ; what's the costs, squire ?'
Lay down them ere stool,' says the old man, 'lay down them ere stool.' I wont,' says the merm’n. If ye don't,' says gr’t grindf'th', 'l'll give ye t'other gun, and that's loaded with double B; may be ye wont like that quite so well, prehaps.
" • Fire away and be dd,' says the merm’n, and the old man giv it to him, sure enough. This time he planted it right int his face and eyes, and the blood run out all white like milk. The merm'n hollored, and yawked, and swore, and rubbed, and he let the stool drop, and he seemed to be putty much blinded and done up, and gr’t gr’ndf 'th'r thought he was spoke for. Hows'm'ver he thought it was best to load
and be ready in case o' the merm'n's gittin well, and comin at 'im 'gen. But just as he tuk up his horn to prime, the merm'n div and vanished. - What's the how, now ?'
says gr't gr’ndf 'th'r, and he got up onto the gunnels o’ the boat, to watch for squalls ; and he stood there teteren on a larboard and starboard straddle, looken out putty sharp, for he reckoned there was somethin comin. There wa'n't no mistake 'bout that, for t'rights the old man felt the skiff shaken under 'im, and he see right off that the merm’n was down below, tryen t'upset 'im, and git 'im int the water. That ruther started the old man, for he knowed if he once got int th’ water, he'd stand no kind o' chance with a merm’n, which is jest the same as an otter, 'xcept the sense, you know. So he jumped down to his oars, to pull for the hassck. That wouldn't answer much, tho,' for th' oars hadn't touched water, 'fore the merm'n broke 'em smack off, and the old man had to pull the sprit out the sail, and take to shoven. The moment he struck bottom, he heerd a kind o' grunten laugh under th' skiff, and somebody drew the sprit down, deep int'th' mud, so that th' old man couldn't pull it out ; at the same time th' merm'n tilted th' skiff over smart and far, so that her keel was most out o' water, and th’ old man was taken strut off both 's feet, and highsted up in th' air, high and dry, holden onto the eend o’ th’sprit; and the skiff shot away, and left 'im, twenty yards off, or twenty-five I sh'd say, mostly. The sprit was putty stiff, I expect, tho' it bent smartly; but gr't grindf'th'r hung on't, like death to a dead nigger, his feet bein bout three foot from the water's edge when he held up his knees."
· Dan,” said I, (taking advantage of a moment's pause, during which he experienced imbibition,) was the old gentleman on your father's or your mother's side ?”
“Have my doubts he don't know nuther,”—again inuttered the sleeping skeptic, whose tympanum readily acknowledged the interruption of a voice foreign to the story,—“but his father was a smart man, and I knowed him.”
“ Gravius anhelata! Good night, Peter."
“Mr. Cypress,” said Dan, with a face full of sincere anxiety, " would I tell you any thing I did not believe ?" “No, Dan, never; no, no; go on, go on.
I only asked for information.”
Well, where was I ?-Yes-yes-Well, there th' old man hung, ont th' top th' sprit, not taken much comfort, I sh'd say. Then, up, by course, pops the merm’n, and begins to make all kinds o’ fun th’ old man, and gives 'im all sorts o' saace, whilst he stood in the water clost by th' sprit, washen off the blood and pick’n the shots out his face. Gr't gr’ndf'th'r wouldn't answ'r 'im back tho', 'cause he knowed it wa'n't no use, but he kept wishen some boat would come along, and give 'im a hand, and he 'xpected there must be somebody or ’nother out that day. Meantime, tho', he tho’t 'twas best to let th' inerm’n see he wa’n’t 'fraid on 'im none, so he tuk out his tinder-box and pipe, and struck a light, and set up smoken, quite at ease. Well, there he hung and smoked, putty much all of three hours, till he got consid'r'ble tired, I sh'd say, and the merm’n looked 's good 's new, only ’xcepten the holes in 's face, which was all thick together like th' holes in the black banks, where the fiddlers come out on. walk down, sir ?' says the merm'n, arter a while, to gr’t gr’ndf’th’r, quite p’lite ; 'I sh'd be quite happy to shake hands wi' ye, and make it up.'
"Gr't gr’ndf'th'r wouldn't say a word.
"Wont ye answer, den ye?' says the cunnen devil, gritt'n's teeth ; and he walks up to the sprit, and lays hold, and shakes it hard, jist as ye'd shake a young pear-tree. 'Drop off, drop off,' says he, shaken 'er all his might.
“Then th' old man made up his mind he'd got to come ; so he watches 'is chance, and gives a spring, and jumps, so as to strike th' merm'n's shoulder, and from that he jumps