Dick and I, Chapter 1, 19th Century Unpublished Book by S. B. McKenney

Dick and I

Dick and I by Samuel Bartow McKenney

This manuscript was written before 1881 by Samuel Bartow McKenney. In the transcription I’ve not changed spellings or punctuation unless I absolutely must for coherence. There were no periods in the manuscript and I have added those.

Dick and I

Chapter I

The evening wind shrieked wildely: the dark clouds
Rested upon the horizon’s hem and grew
Mightier and mightier ———
——————- There arose
From the infinites of waters sounds
Confused appalling; from the driad(sic) lee shore
There came a hevier swell, a lingthend roar
Each moment deeper, rolling on the ear
With most portentious voice

Carrington

Behold him here
No welcome guest it seems —–

Framthe(sic) Frences

A wild night in September. The wind went shrieking and howling
around the old gables and through the tree tops in fitful gusts.
The lindens and maples knocked their branches furiously against
the walls of my chamber as if envious that any one should be
afforded shelter while they were exposed to all the face of the
terrible storm that raged without.

In an occasional lull of the tempest, the sullen roar of the
breakers could heard thundering against the huge bowlders (sic)
that surronded Spirit Knoll.

It seemed as though all the dusky indian spirits of Minnesota that
had ever held an incantation or offered up a sacrifice on the
Knoll, were moving upon the waters of lake Minnetonka that night
and mingling their wild yells and angry imprecations with the
screaming sobbing wind and trying to drive the intrusive pale
faces from a spot where they had performed their weird rites and
offired up this rude worship to the Breat Manitou for so many
years.

The cold driving rain rattled against the window panes and the
tempest seeming to gain renewed force from every lull howled and
roared with renewed fury causing, as each successive squale hurled
itself against the buildings, every timber to tremble and vibrate.
I threw down my book which I had been vainly trying to read for
the last hour and drew my chair up to the fire and fell into the
very unprofitable employment of watching the glowing coals,
listening to the storm and building all sorts of fanciful castles
in the air. (See Note 1 page 48)

My dreaming however, was of shirt duration as I was soon called
back to the practical affairs of life by my land lord in the room
below —-

“I’m orful sorry, but there aint a spare bed in the house. I
guess if yew go doawn tow Phinias Barlews they kin keep ye. Its
only about two miles.”

“But Sir” replied a voice “two miles is an interminable distance
on such a night: and besides it would be almost impossible to find
Mr. Barlows in this darkness. If you will allow me I shall be
content to sit by the fire the remainder of the night”

“I guess I haint got wood enough to last all night and then I
don’t like tew hev strangers laefin raound that I don’t know
nothin about.”

“I am neither a robber nor a thief and will try and dispense with
a fire if you will be kind enough to afford me the shelter of your
roof. lt’s a terrible night and —”

– 1 –

“I can’t help if if it is. Look a here: there ain’t no use yer
beggin and cerlaverin around I don‘t keep stranger, without money.
Yew can either find shelter somewhere else or lay out dern. I
don’t care a darn which.”

“Thank you,” replied the stranger, “as niether of your alternatives
happen to suit me on a night like this. I believe I shall remain
where I am.”

“Hey! Goneter stay whether I’m willin or not any yew – Yew darned
dead beat! Ill show ye! Bit out o here. By Gosh I hev ye
arrested in the mornin Yew Sol darned Klew Kluck! Bit out o this I
say!”

“No thank you,” quickly replied the stranger. “I prefer your bluster
to that of the storm but I would suggest that you be a little more
choice of your language Reserve your complementary epatats until
tomorrow.”

Now I know my red headed Yankee host to be a man of considerable
temper and fearing that we might have squally times inside as well
as without I decended the stairs in order to soothe his troubled
spirit by paying the strangers reconing for Rufus R. Woolsey had a
passionate fondness for shin plasters.

On entering the barroom I discovered the ungainly form of the Land
lord on one side of the fire, his red hair bristling up like the
quills on the fretful porcupine. His freckled face expressive of
both wonder and anger at the audacity of his unbidden guest while
his greyish blue eyes glared minancing(sic) at the intruder who
seated opposite, and apparently paying no attention to the
innkeeper whatever, was quietly warming himself at the fire while
across a chair back hung his dripping water proof cloak from
which a small pond of water had already fallen on the neatly swept
floor.

The stranger arose as I entered and instinctively my hand
containing the money was thrust into my pocked; not that I thought
him unworthy of my offering but the idea of offering charity to
such a man was not to be entertained for a moment. In person he
was tall, fully six feet, and straight as an arrow There was an
ease and grace in every movement that betokened not only an
acquaintance with the ‘best society’ but the possession of great
muscular strength. His age could not have exceeded twenty eight
although a causual observer might have taken him to be
considerable older.

The long wavy hair, black as midnight, was brushed back from a
broad white forehead that was marked by lines indicative of deep
thought and one not unacquainted with mental suffering.
The mouth, small and sensative as a womans, was shaded by a long
silken mustash of the same raven hue as his hair. The eyes, large,
and dark seemed capable of flashing fire or of being infinitely
tender and gentle as the occasion might require.
At present they appeared to be a morbid of living expression in
their dark depths that could not have been caused by the
inhospitable deportment of the innkeeper for he seemed to have
utterly forgotten his presence–

“Excuse me Sir,” said I advancing, “there is a much better fire in
my room If you will honor me by being my guest l think I can make
you more comfortable than you can be here.”

– 2-

“Thank you I shall indeed be most happy to accept of your _
hospitality the more so since Boniface here does not seem very
socially inclined tonight.”

I led the way to my room leaving my Yankee host growling and
muttering to himself as he proceeded to punch the fire
revengefully.

I seated my guest in my chair while I proceeded to a closet after
a bottle of some old burgundy which I thought would not be
unacceptable after a trip through such weather.

“My name,” said he, “is Richard Rashboy lately from LaGrange
Mississippi although I can not say that that place or any other in
particular is my home and now sir may I ask who that kind friend
is who has so generously offerded me shelter from this infernal
tempest and rescud me from the presence of that gory headed
heathen down stairs.”

“My name is Constand Ethridge and I, like you, have not permantly
located my self in any place (Note 2 page 48) although now that we
have formally, or informaly (….) which we introduced
ourselves fill your glass and allow me to drink to our better
acquaintance.”

“Willingly, Mr. Ethridge, I expect to remain here a few weeks for
the purpose of making some sketches and shall probably stop at the
‘Mapewood House’ on Carsons bay about two miles from here I
shall be indeed glad to see you at any time.”

I learned during the conversation that ensued that my guest
possessed a rare and highly cultivated mind and that he had left
his trunk containing all his money at the railroad station in
Wayzata and it was owing this last fact that woolsey the landloard
refused him shelter.

When I went to bed that night it did not seem possible that I had
only knew Richard Rashboy but about two hours; he seemed to me
rather as an old friend returned after a long absence. Now I can
not say as I am in general a very social man or one fond of making
(forming) new acquaintainces, but there was something in this man.
A sort of subtile magnetism that attracted me toward him in spite
of myself A feeling, perhaps, not possessed by all to such an
extent as experienced by me, but one that I believe to be felt by
every one more or less: A feeling of either attraction or
repungance toward every person with whom we come in contact
I have often when walking the through streets of some populus city
come suddenly face to face with a man, whom; had I acted from the
first impulse of my feelings I should have knocked down and felt a
sense of relief in doing so, so sharp was this feeling of
repungence excited within me. I have on the other hand met
strangers toward whom I felt strongely attracted. Whether such
mysterious influence is caused by the feelings portraying them-
selves on the features, gives to faces such a diversity of
expression, which, almost unconsious is recognized as an index of
the feelings and impulses of the heart by others who feel
attracted first in proportion to the account of congeniality and
harmony within the two persons or whether there may be a more
subtile power still by which spirits find their kindred I am not
prepared to say but it was perhaps owing to this influence that I

– 3 –

felt so strongly attracted toward my guest.
I have often been lectured by practical old ladies and called a
visionary and a lunatic by worldly-wise men for allowing my
feelings to influence my actions and told that I would be a looser
by it many times but some how I never could quite persuade my self
to bring all my sensibilities and kind impulses down to a monirer
basis and measure out my love for a friend by a system of profit
and loss.

The same sages would tell me that all things were made for a
purpose but did not say for what purpose those fine intiutive
feelings amounties almost to instinct were given us if not to
assist us in the choice of our friends and associates.

Mr. Rashboy departed the next morning after having urged me to
visit him soon and I determined to avail myself of his invatation
and endevor to learn ( —– ) more of a man that seemed to be such
a strange ( —– ) of strong passion and marvelous coolness. A
fiery thinker and great patience and a fierce vindictive
temperment and ( —– ) most gentle ( —– ) all of which was
generaly ( —– ) man beneath a calm exterior ( ————- )

– 4 –

Go to Table of Contents for “Dick and I”

Leave A Comment