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"Just at the foot of the Devil's-Backbone," replied the youth.
"Were you ever here before?"
"Never in my life."
"How do you know then where you are?" asked the mountaineer.
"Because the right way to avoid questions is to ask none. So I took care to know all about the road, and the country, and the place, before I left home."
"And who told you all about it?"
Suppose I should tell you," answered the young man, "that Van Courtlandt had a map of the country made, and gave it to me."
"I should say you were a traitor to him, or a spy upon us," was the stern reply.
At the same moment, a startled hum was heard from the crowd, and the press moved and swayed for an instant, as if a sort of spasm had pervaded the whole mass.
"You are a good hand at questioning," said the youth, with a smile, “but without asking a single question, I have found out all I wanted to know.'
"And what was that?" asked the other.
66 Whether you were friends to the Yorkers and Yankees, or to poor old Virginia."
"And which are we for?" added the laconic mountaineer. "For old Virginia forever, replied the youth.
It was echoed in a shout,
their proud war-cry of "old Virginia forever."
THIS renowned hunter and pioneer, commonly called Davy Crockett, was born in Limestone, Green County, Tennessee. His free and wild youth was spent in hunting. He became a soldier in the war of 1812: he was elected to the Tennessee Legislature in 1821 and 1823, and to Congress in 1829 and 1833. His eccentricity of manners, his lack of education, and his strong common sense and shrewdness made him a marked figure, especially in Washington. In 1835 he went to Texas to aid in the struggle for independence; and in 1836, he was massacred by General Santa Anna, with five other prisoners, after the surrender of the Alamo, these six being the only survivors of a band of one hundred and forty Texans. See Life by Edward S. Ellis.
A Tour to the North and Down East.
Life of Van Buren, Heir-Apparent to the Government.
Crockett's autobiography was written to correct various mistakes in an unauthorized account of his life and adventures, that was largely circulated. His books are unique in literature as he is in human nature, and they give us an original account of things. As to literary criticism of his works and style, see his own opinion in the extract below.
SPELLING AND GRAMMAR-HIS PROLOGUE. (From A Narrative of the Life of David Crockett, of the State of Tennessee. Written by Himself. 1834.)
I don't know of anything in my book to be criticised on by honourable men. Is it on my spelling?—that's not my trade. Is it on my grammar r?—I hadn't time to learn it, and make
no pretensions to it. Is it on the order and arrangement of my book?—I never wrote one before, and never read very many; and, of course, know mighty little about that. Will it, be on the authorship of the book?-this I claim, and I'll hang on to it, like a wax plaster. The whole book is my own, and every sentiment and sentence in it. I would not be such a fool, or knave either, as to deny that I have had it hastily run over by a friend or so, and that some little alterations have been made in the spelling and grammar; and I am not so sure that it is not the worse of even that, for I despise this way of spelling contrary to nature. And as for grammar, it's pretty much a thing of nothing at last, after all the fuss that's made about it. In some places, I wouldn't suffer either the spelling, or grammar, or anything else to be touch'd; and therefore it will be found in my own way.
But if anybody complains that I have had it looked over, I can only say to him, her, or them-as the case may bethat while critics were learning grammar, and learning to spell, I, and "Doctor Jackson, L. L. D." were fighting in the wars; and if our books, and messages, and proclamations, and cabinet writings, and so forth, and so on, should need a little looking over, and a little correcting of the spelling and grammar to make them fit for use, it's just nobody's business. Big men have more important matters to attend to than crossing their t's and dotting their i's-, and such like small things.
ON A BEAR HUNT. (From the Life of David Crockett. Written by Himself. 1834.) It was mighty dark, and was difficult to see my way or any thing else. When I got up the hill, I found I had passed the dogs; and so I turned and went to them. I found, when
I got there, they had treed the bear in a large forked poplar, and it was setting in the fork. I could see the lump, but not plain enough to shoot with any certainty, as there was no moonlight; and so I set in to hunting for some dry brush to make me a light; but I could find none.
At last I thought I could shoot by guess, and kill him ; so I pointed as near the lump as I could, and fired away. But the bear didn't come; he only clomb up higher, and got out on a limb, which helped me to see him better. I now loaded up again and fired, but this time he didn't move at all. I commenced loading for a third fire, but the first thing I knowed the bear was down among my dogs, and they were fighting all around me. I had my big butcher in my belt, and I had a pair of dressed buckskin breeches on. So I took out my knife, and stood, determined, if he should get hold of me, to defend myself in the best way I could. I stood there for some time, and could now and then see a white dog I had, but the rest of them, and the bear, which were dark coloured, I couldn't see at all, it was so miserable dark. They still fought around me, and sometimes within three feet of me; but, at last, the bear got down into one of the cracks that the earthquake had made in the ground, about four feet deep, and I could tell the biting end of him by the hollering of my dogs. So I took my gun and pushed the muzzle of it about, till I thought I had it against the main part of his body, and fired; but it happened to be only the fleshy part of his foreleg. With this, I jumped out of the crack, and he and the dogs had another hard fight around me, as before. At last, however, they forced him back into the crack again, as he was when I had shot.
I made a lounge with my long knife, and fortunately stuck him right through the heart; at which he just sank down, and I crawled out in a hurry. In a little while my