This old story is interesting because it was written when stories of the Cave were still fresh. Inaccuracies and confusions of names and dates may have crept in, but it remains the first concise and inherently reasonable account of how the Cave was first occupied as a den by river criminals. In the presentation of the usual method of the Cave’s renegades, it matters very little whether the first of those desperate captains of crime bore the name of Wilson, Mason, or Harpe. In this case it seems clearly the story of Samuel Mason about 1797. The names they assumed might vary with every flatboat or raft that passed. An alias is ever the shield of the criminal. The story describes not only a
Or on the hill-top’s rocky brow
“Let me see” ses Mrs. Wolley “Aren’t there such things as—er—lice—connected with chickens?”
“Your husband had already left for London?”
But while natural relationship was thus becoming more and more the guiding idea in the minds of systematists, and the experience of centuries was enforcing the lesson, that predetermined grounds of classification could not do justice to natural affinities, the fact of affinity became itself more unintelligible and mysterious. It seemed impossible to give a clear and precise definition of the conception, the exhibition of which was felt to be the proper object of all efforts to discover the natural system, and which continued to be known by the name of affinity. A sense of this mystery is expressed in the sentence of Linnaeus:
He went, and a few minutes later the vicar resumed his spectacles, drew the blank sheets of sermon paper towards him, and opened his Bible. He happened to light upon the text:
The crickets, sliding through the grass,
One day he and his wife and their children were asked to the wedding of a friend about four miles off; and James Lynan rode to the place, the family going on their own car. At the wedding he was the life of the party as he always was; but never a drop of drink touched his lips. When evening came on, the family set out for the return home just as they had set out; the wife and children on the car, James Lynan riding his own horse. But when the wife arrived at home, she found her husband’s horse standing at the gate riderless and quite still. They thought he might have fallen in a faint, and went back to search; when he was found down in a hollow not five perches from his own gate, lying quite insensible and his features distorted frightfully, as if seized while looking on some horrible vision.
“No,” Mr. Harper was saying, “I’ve only been six months with the expedition. Yes, I knew Mr. Bleibner’s affairs pretty well.”
At another point a man was "knocking down" at auction cheap cuts of frozen beef from Australia at prices ranging from 4 to 8 cents a pound. Another was selling fish, another crockery, and a third tinware, and so through the whole list of household staples.
“Wal, wal, wal, white folks got such curious ways of thinkin’. Who’d urver thout it? You see,” he said very solemnly and impressively, “It was dis way: Unk Peter wus gittin’ ole, an’ went off contrawise to de doctrine an’ marrid dis young ’oman. Furst thing he know, he waked up sum mohnin’ an’ find hisself de father ob ten chilouns, sum ob ’em hisn an’ sum ob ’em hern, by her fus’ husban’, an’ dar he wus gittin’ so ole he cudn’t s’port ’em. So up he jumps an’ at de naixt meetin’ ob de church he runs fer de offis ob Patriark ob Santerfercashun, which, ’kordin’ to de doctrine ob Hollerness, marrid ’im to de church. ’Course arter Unk Pete gits santerfercashun an’ marrid to de church, he cudn’t hab enny uder wife, so he hafter put Sis Calline an’ de chilluns aside, which made all ob dem de widders ob de church. Don’t you ketch on to de doctrine, suh?”
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