TWELVE KENTUCKY COLONEL STORIES.
Scenes and Incidents in a Kentucky Colonel's Life in the Southland.
BY ZOE ANDERSON NORRIS.
J. S. OGILVIE PUBLISHING COMPANY,
57 ROSE STREET
THE BROKEN HEART OF CLABE JONES.
WIND-UP OF A PERFECT GENTLEMAN OF KENTUCKY, WHO ALWAYS STOPPED SHOOTING WHEN HE HAD FINISHED.
"KENTUCKY ain't whut it used to be," sighed the Kentucky Colonel. "Times is mightily changed down theah these days. I'm afeahd the lurid glory of the old-fashuned feud in Kentucky is depahted and gone.
"The ole leadahs is dead or in prison or livin' in peace. Craig Tolliver, he is dead and gone. Boone Logan and the Youngs is quietly practisin' the law.
"Andy Johnson is a capitalist. The Yallah Creekahs have become lan' speculators or gone Wes'. Will Jennings and the Hatfields is in the penitentia'y and Joe Eversole, he has done bin killed.
"A saw log dispatched Jerry Little. General Sowders is a quiet, well-behaved citizen now and his ole enemy, Alvis Turnab, has bin slain. "No. Things ain't the same now in Kentucky as they was in the good ole days. They ain't the same.
"It's pahtly the fault of Proctor Knott. It's mos'ly his fault. When Proctor stan's up befo' the Bah of Jedgment he'll find it'll be putty much the same's a Kentucky bah. He'll have to ansuh fo' things.
"Ten yeahs or mo' agro he took a sudd'n notion to treat the feudists of Kentucky as if they was civilized people. Invited the principal participants of Rowan and othah counties to Louisville to make a little treaty of peace undah his auspices.
"Whut was the outcome? Why, this: Today the mo' powerful leadahs in any mountain quarrel is hel' to answer befo' the Clark County Sue cut Cote fo' his crimes, 's Proc called 'em, same's any othah ordina'y law breakah.
"That theah peace conference of Proctor's come putty nigh breakin' the hearts of them theah feudists. Some of the mos' prominent leadalis jes' nachully died in their beds ruthah than lbe called upon to atten' anothah.
"Oh, yes. It's jes' Is I tell you. Proctor Knott he's got a good deal to ansuh fo', a changin' of the good ole conditions of Kentucky. Things ain't the same's they was down theah. in my time, that is, alus leavin' out Harrodsburg, you undehstan'. "If you have any teahs to shed prepaah to shed them now when I tell you of the death of Clabe Jones, whut occu'd jes' outside o' Harrodsburg on the Lexington pike, about fo' miles from town.
"Clabe Jones he was originally from Rowan county. When Proc he called that theah peace conference, Clabe he run away ruthah than suffah the humiliation of attendin' of it. He run away to Harrodsburg so's to live out the res' of his days in peace 'n quietude. Seems he didn't know ve'y much about Harrodsburg.
"But, ennyway, Clabe he was natchully a ve'y peaceful, long sufferin' man. He didn't have mo'n eighteen notches in his stick, Clabe didn', and he was a perfect gentleman. Theah wa'n't a soul in Rowan but would tell you that Clabe Jones was a perfec' gentleman.
"You've nevah bin to Rowan county? It's jes' 's well. The people theah walk about in the da'k with lanterns-mountainousl distric', you know. Well, whenevah a man with a lantern saw Clabe Jones a loomin' in the distance he dropped his lantern and run. You could allus tell wheah Clebe had been walkin' the night befo' by the numbah of lanterns strewed laik ovah the road. But these same people 't dropped their lanterns they would be the fust to tell you that Clabe was a perfec' gentleman.
"Clabe he wa'n't to say a venomous man. He was just thorough. That was all. He would allus stop shootin' when he had finished.
"He wouldn't keep on shootin' and shootin' jes' fo' devilment when theah wa'n't nuthin' to shoot at. He was a patient, quiet man, with a long gray beahd, Clabe was, and sevvul shotguns.
"Once he stahted out huntin' fo' some man or othah he thought needed pepperin' and he mus' 'a' needed it or Clabe wouldn't a thought of givin' it to him when the Sheriff, embold'ned by a extra drink or somethin', stepped up to him and called to him to halt. You'd hahdly call it a call eithah. It was mo' laik a whispah.
“Mistah Jones,' says he waverin'ly, I'm afeahd I'll have to arres' you fo' carryin' of concealed weppuns.'
"Clabe was a patient, long sufferin' man, as I tell you. He didn't shoot him. He jes looked ovah his head and said to him, a p'intin' explanito'ily to the hoss pistols protrudin' frum his hip pockets, the bowie knives, the handles of which was stickin' out o' his boots, and the double barr'led shotgun ovah his shouldah, and he says, says he:
" 'Do you call these heah weppuns concealed weppuns, sah?'
"Then he pushed him gently aside without puttin' a single bullet through him and went on a huntin' fo' his man.
"No. Clabe he wa'n't 's hasty 's they make him out. He wouldn't deliberately up and shoot everybody he come across. Not a tall. "I used to visit Clabe quite frequently aftah he come to Harrodsburg, and to show you how honorable he was, mus' tell you how he allus offered me a shotgun to protec' myse'f in case the conversation took a unexpected tu'n and annoyed him.
"Sevvul friends and me we used to take dinnah with Clabe now and agin. We all set aroun' the table with ouah double barr'ld shotguns at ouah sides, ready; but Clabe he wa'n't nevah to say himse'f aftah that theah peace conference of Proctor Knott's. Nevah was himse'f. Nevah in a single instance did he allow the conversation to lead into a channel whut would lead to the use of the double barr'Id shotguns.
"What's that? Yes. As you say, we mus' a bin somewhat particulah ourse'ves. You ah right, 's usual. We was.
"Oh, yes. Proc lie's responsible fo' the condition of things now in Kentucky. No promiscuss shootin' to amount to anything, no cleanin' out of communities, no nuthin'. Mos' 's still and peaceful 's a civilized country Kentucky is these days, 'xceptin', of cose, a pitched battle now and then in Harrodsburg.
"But Clabe Jones's death, that wus the saddest paht of it all. Not that he died to say a natchul death, but wait till I tell you. "Ole Clabe he was putty fon' of drink in his las' days, putty fond of drink. Took to drink, in fac,' to drown his troubles aftalh that thealh peace conference.
"Well, one day aftah he'd bin howlin' drunk fo' a couple of days befo', old Clabe he woke up with a head on him. I happened to be with him at the time. He was absolutely perishin' fo' a leetle of the hide of the dog whut bit him.
"He'd sent his servant to Harrodsburg fo' a couple of bottles of the hide. He was walkin' up and down, up and down, me settin' theah with him, my double barr'l'd shotgun, whut he had handed me's usual upon my enterin' of the room, standin' handy beside me.
"How fah you reckon he is by now."
" 'How fah you reckon he is by now?' he asks, meanin' of the servant, all the time walkin' up and down of the room like some caged lion. 'Do you reckon he's done got 's far 's old man Grimes's?"
"Ole man Grimes's is about half way to town, you remember.
"'I reckon he has,' says I, consolin'ly, my fingah on the triggah; 'I reckon he has.'
"Ole man Clabe he walks up an' down fo' anothah half houah, then he puts anothah question:
" 'Do you reckon,' he asks, ye'y wistful, 'that he's done got 's far 's the toll-gate by now?'
"The toll-gate's a mile frum town, yoh remembah.
"'I reckon he has,' savs I, still consolin' of him 'n still a keepin' of my han' on the triggah, because old man Clabe's eve was a gittin' mighty wild and theah wa'n't no tellin' whut might happ'n.
"He walks up and down, up and down, like a ole lion, completely perishin' of his te'ible thu'st.
"'Do you s'pose,' says he, beginnin' agin presently, 'that that theah confounded servant has got as' the toll-gate yet?'
"'I s'pose he has,' says I, addin' hastily, as Clabe come putty close to me in his walkin' up and down, 'I s'pose he has.'
"Jes' then ole Clabe he heahd a noise in the vicinity of the stable. He rushes out the do', me at his heels, because he thinks to himse'f, 'Theah, now, that theah blamed servant he's done come with the whiskey aftah all, darn his ole black soul,' and a thinkin' of this to hisse'f, he cries out in stento'ian tones:
"'You Caleb!' that was the name of the servant; 'you Caleb, is that you? Have you done got them theah bottles? Bring 'em to me quick, you -' but it wouldn't do to repeat the wuhds he used, in the presence of ladies.
"I had followed ole Clabe. We had got neahly to the stable when I heahd the voice of ole Caleb callin' back: "
"Law, Mars Clabe, I ain't got no whiskey yet. I ain't stahted yet. I couldn' fin' de bridle fo' de mule.'
"I hate to tell you whut followed. It is too te'ible, but I s'pose I mus'.
"Seems like that theah peace conference had tak'n all the heart out of ole Clabe. He nevah wah himse'f aftahwahd.
"He jes drew his double barr'l shotgun on hisse’f and shot hisse'f through the head with it. Then he fell dead in his tracks because lie couldn' stan' to wait anothah three houahs fo' that theah. whiskey.
"Didn' wait to shoot the servant and the mule, as he would 'a' done if it hadn't 'a' bin fo' that theah peace conference. Jes' shot hisse'f.
Oh yes, Proctor Knott, he'll have a good deal to answah fo' at the Bah of Jedgment fo' changin' of the good ole conditions in ouah nativ' lan.
That's all theah is to that."
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