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[182] my negro boy Jem, and a guide, a stupid, hulking fellow, who did us more harm than service. Leaving Jacksonport in the morning, we rode twelve miles to the spacious and hospitable farm house of a planter named Bryan, I think. I shall be sorry if I have not given his name, for he was very intelligent and very hospitable, and with him and the kind mistress of his house and her daughters, we found the most cordial and comfortable entertainment we ever met with beyond the Mississippi, and in the trials and disappointments which soon after befell us, we often reverted to that night as a “green spot” in our Arkansas experience.

Next morning, February 24th, we set out, after a most abundant breakfast, on our ride across the State of Arkansas. Van Dorn, on his black mare, a powerful, hardy thoroughbred, led off in a trot which, for the ensuing five days, carried us along at about fifty miles a day.

He wore a very beautiful Turkish cimiter, the gift of a friend. It was the only article of personal belonging in which I ever knew him to evince especial pleasure. When about five miles from the house he missed his sabre from its sheath. Sullivan insisted on riding back to look for it, while we pursued our way in that relentless trot. Something was said about the “bad omen,” which jarred on my feelings, and was remembered. Sullivan soon rejoined us with the sword, which he found lying in the road a mile or so behind us.

On the second day, February 25th, we crossed Black river. The stream was narrow, but rapid, and deep to the banks. The ferryboat was a long “dug out.”

Van Dorn entered first, taking with him Jem, and at the moment of leaving the shore, the guide also stepped into the boat and capsized it. Van Dorn, being at the further end, was thrown well out into the stream — encumbered with his heavy cavalry cloak, boots, spurs, and sabre; but he struck strongly out for the shore, with a countenance as smiling as ever a schoolboy wore in a summer bath.

Seeing he was all right, I directed my interest and efforts to Jem, who, though a stout swimmer, and not excessively encumbered by raiment, seemed to realise all the gravity of his position. His round eyes were distended to their utmost, and he blew the water out at every stroke with the snort of a porpoise, and was the picture of a negro who knew he was swimming for his life. I stood ready with my sash to throw out to him, but he soon struck bottom at


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