He went in to see Prebol, who was lonesome and wanted to talk a little. "What you going to do, Parson?" Prebol asked. "I'd kind-a like to get to see shanty-boaters, and talk to them," the man answered. "I wonder couldn't yo' sort of he'p me; tell me where I mout begin and where it'd he'p the most, an' hurt people's feelin's the least? I'd jes' kind-a like to be useful.
Pirates have infested the Mississippi from the earliest days. The stranger on the river cannot possibly know a pirate when he sees one, and even shanty-boaters of long experience and sharp eyes penetrate their disguises with difficulty. How could Gus Carline suspect the loquacious, ingratiating, and helpful Renald Doss?
I don't want to forget this; got to put this down. Poor devil!" "And he says he's a sinner himself," Nelia repeated, when she returned on board her cabin-boat in the sheltering safety of Wolf Island chute, with Mamie Caope, Parson Rasba, and the other shanty-boaters within a stone's toss of her.
I just sit in the skiff, there, and I write what I see, on the machine: A big sandbar, a flock of geese, a big oak tree just on the brink of the bank half the roots exposed and going to fall in a minute or a day everything like that!" "I bet some of these shanty-boaters could tell you histories," Carline said. "I tell you, some of them are bad.
"She'd just soon shoot a man as look at him," Doss added, with a touch of asperity. "Why she " Carline hesitated. He recalled a day in his own experience when she took his own shot gun from him, and stood a fury, flaming with anger. "Yes, sir, she would," Doss declared, with finality. Doss had seen her. By that time a thousand shanty-boaters had heard about that girl's one shot of deadly accuracy.
When the storm had gone by, shanty-boaters, having shivered with the cold, determined not to be caught again. The sunshine of the evening, when the wind died, saw boats drifting out for the all-night run. Dawn, calm and serene, found boats moving out into mid-channel more or less in haste.
He knew nothing of the gossiping river people except that he despised them. He could not dream that his ignorance of things five or ten miles from his home was not typical of the shanty-boaters; he could not know that where he was a stranger in the next township to his own home, a shanty-boater would know the landing place of his friends a thousand miles or so down stream.
Some of these shanty-boaters are great sports. We'll soon find out!" He steered into the eddy and the two men stepped out on the flat boat's deck to greet them. "Seems like I've seen them before," Doss said in a low voice; "I believe they're old timers. Hello, boys! Hunting?" "Yes, suh! Lots of game. Sho, ain' yo' Doss, Ren Doss?" "You bet. I knew you! I told Mr.
Fishermen, store-boaters, trippers, pirates, and all sorts of the shanty-boaters whom he had interviewed on his way down had solemnly assured him that there were spirits who promenaded down mid-stream, and who sometimes could be seen.
So they floated down, sometimes within a few hundred feet of other boats, sometimes in merry fleets tied together by ropes and common joyousness, sometimes alone in the midst of the vacant waters. The migration of the shanty-boaters was watched with mingled hate, envy, and admiration by Up-the-Bank folks, who pretend to despise those who live as they please.