A WHITE LIB.
Well, I just felt sick. But I says, I got to do it—I can't get out of it. Eight then, along comes a skiff with two men in it, with guns, and they stopped and I stopped. One of them says :
" What's that, yonder ? "
"A piece of a raft," I says.
" Do you belong on it ? "
"Any men on it ?"
" Only one, sir."
"Well, there's five niggers run off to-night, up yonder above the head of the bend. Is your man white or black ?"
I didn't answer up prompt. I tried to, but the words wouldn't come. I tried, for a second or two, to brace up and out with it, but I warn't man enough—hadn't the spunk of a rabbit. I see I was weakening ; so I just give up trying, and up and says—
" I reckon we'll go and see for ourselves."
" I wish you would, " says I, " because it's pap that's there, and maybe you'd help me tow the raft ashore where the light is. He's sick—and so is mam and Mary Ann."
" Oh, the devil ! we're in a hurry, boy. But I s'pose we've got to. Come— buckle to your paddle, and let's get along."
I buckled to my paddle and they laid to their oars. When we had made a stroke or two, I says :
" Pap'll be mighty much obleeged to you, I can tell you. Everybody goes away when I want them to help me tow the raft ashore, and I can't do it by myself."
" Well, that's infernal mean. Odd, too. Say, boy, what's the matter with your father ? "
"It's the—a—the—well, it ain't anything, much."
They stopped pulling. It warn't but a mighty little ways to the raft, now. One says :
" Boy, that's a lie. What is the matter with your pap ? Answer up square, now, and it'll be the better for you."