HOUSTON AND HOUSTONIANS 31
chickens were "ripe," so Dick gladly agreed to the proposition.
The next morning by daylight the two were out on the prairie
by Pierce Junction. But I suspect I had best let Dick tell the
story of the actual hunt.
"When the professor came down out of the hotel to get in
the buggy I scarcely recognized him. He wore a little skull
cap and had on a canvas hunting jacket that was nothing but
pockets. He had on knee breeches and high laced shoes and
was the breathing picture of those photographs you see of kings
and dukes in the magazines. He had a little shotgun swung
over his shoulder and a big belt full of cartridges. His uniform
must have weighed fifty pounds at least, and it was August, too,
when I wanted to hunt in my shirt-tail. Well, the professor
said nothing about taking a drink, but I could smell whiskey
mighty plain, so I knew he had made his peace before coming
"The old fellow was very dignified and very silent all the way
out. He seemed to be thinking of something and, like that
famous race horse, he did not seem to have his mind on his
business. We started in with luck, for we started a drove of
chickens just across Brays Bayou and I got two. After I started
to drive on I smelt that whiskey again, though I saw no signs
of it. When we got to Pierce Junction we got-out and soon got
in among lots of prairie chickens. The sport was fine, for after
flushing they would fly only a short way and come down again.
I yelled to the professor to come on, but he stood like a post
in the prairie with his gun over his arm, and did not pretend
to take any part in the sport. I gathered up my birds, and going
to him, I rammed them in his big pockets. It was the funniest
thing I ever saw. He did not notice me but stood there gazing
off in the distance. I concluded that some great problem had
come to him and that it had so absorbed his mind that he was
oblivious to everything else and did not know what was going on.
"Finally I killed two more chickens and when I got to the
professor to put them in his pockets he looked at me in a faraway
manner and said: 'Dick, why are you discharging that
fowling piece so often? I see nothing to cause such a fusillade.'
When I told him I was killing chickens he would not believe me
and I had to pull them out of his pockets and show them to
him. When I did so I dislodged a quart bottle of whiskey, half
empty, and discovered the truth. The professor was as drunk
as a monkey. It was no common drunk, either, but it was a real
professorial drunk with all the dignity of his high position
thrown in. I have seen lots of various kinds of drunks, but
that was the first time I recognized the genuine article from
which the name 'Stone, stiff drunk' came. The professor could
Young, Samuel Oliver. True stories of old Houston and Houstonians: historical and personal sketches / by S. O. Young.. Galveston, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth24646/. Accessed July 29, 2014.