Journalism in Tennessee part 4

They then talked about the elections and the crops while they reloaded, and I fell to tying up my wounds. But presently they opened fire again with animation, and every shot took effect but it is proper to remark that five out of the six fell to my share. The sixth one mortally wounded the Colonel, who remarked, with fine humor, that he would have to say good morning now, as he had business up town. He then inquired the way to the undertaker’s and left.

The chief turned to me and said, “I am expecting company to dinner, and shall have to get ready. It will be a favor to me if you will read proofs and attend to the customers.”

I winced a little at the idea of attending to the customers, but I was too bewildered by the fusillade that was still ringing in my ears to think of anything to say.

Blistering article

He continued, “Jones will be here at three cowhide him. Gillespie will call earlier, perhaps throw him out of the window. Ferguson will be along about four kill him. That is all for today, I believe. If you have any odd time, you may write a blistering article on the police give the Chief Inspector rats. The cowhides are under the table; weapons in the drawer ammunition there in the corner lint and bandages up there in the pigeon-holes. In case of accident, go to Lancet, the surgeon, downstairs. He advertises we take it out in fulness were gone from me. Gillespie had called and thrown me out of the window.

Jones arrived promptly, and when I got ready to do the cowhiding he took the job off my hands. In an encounter with a stranger, not in the bill of fare, I had lost my scalp. Another stranger, by the name of Thompson, left me a mere wreck and ruin of chaotic rags. And at last, at bay in the corner, and beset by an infuriated mob of editors, blacklegs, politicians, and desperadoes, who raved and swore and flourished their weapons about my head till the air shimmered with glancing flashes of steel, I was in the act of resigning my berth on the paper, when the chief arrived, and with him a rabble of charming and enthusiastic friends.

Then ensued a scene of riot and carnage such as no human pen, or steel one either, could describe. People were shot, probed, dismembered, blown up, thrown out of the window. There was a brief tornado of murky blasphemy, with a confused and frantic war-dance glimmering through it, and then all was over. In five minutes there was silence, and the gory chief and I sat alone and surveyed the sanguinary ruin that strewed the floor around us.

He said, “You’ll like this place when you get used to it.”

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