The Old Flag. (Tyler, Tex.), Vol. 1, No. 3, Ed. 1

Transcription starts in top,‭ ‬left-hand corner:

The Old Flag.

Vol.‭ ‬1.‭ ‬Camp Ford,‭ ‬Tyler,‭ ‬Texas,‭ ‬March‭ ‬13th,‭ ‬1864.‭ ‬No.‭ ‬3

‎[‏Written Expressly For the OLD FLAG.‭]

HIGH-BIRD‭;

OR

THE LEAGUE OF BLOOD‭!

A TALE OF THE MYSTERIES AND MISERIES OF FORD CITY,‭ ‬TEXAS.

BY MEIGH,‭ ‬D.K.‭

CHAPTER‭ ‬1.‭

THE MIDNIGHT PROWLER.

Hark‭! ‬dost hear the thunder roll‭?‬/‭ ‬Johnny,‭ ‬fill up the bowl‭!

It was the still hour of midnight‭! ‬The winds of a fierce‭ ‬norther whistled a mournful dirge at the doors of the‭ ‬shebangs‭ ‬of the inhabitants of Ford City,‭ ‬and the weary conscript more closely hugged‭ ‬– not the old flint-lock,‭ ‬but-‭ ‬the large log fire,‭ ‬blazing on his beat,‭ ‬while the Sergent of the Guard,‭ ‬wrapped his carpet-blanket still closer about his aged form,‭ ‬dreaming of

‎“‏The days of yore,/‭ ‬When he had more,/‭ ‬Of flour and meat,/‭ ‬Than he could eat./‭ ‬and d‭___‬_d the‭ “‬S.C.‭”

At this lonely hour‭ “‬a man might have been seen slowly wending his way‭”‬ through the now quiet streets of this Yankee City.‭ ‬He was wrapped in a Confederate blanket,‭ ‬drawn closely about his face as a protection against the biting wind and sleet.‭ ‬Let us follow this man.‭ ‬Why does he dodge behind that large chimney‭! ‬Ah‭! ‬There comes that faithful guardian of the night‭ ‬– Watchman HAY LEY‭ ‬– it must be him this mysterious person avoids encountering.‭”

“Past‎ ‏12‎ ‏o‭’‬clock and all is‭ ‬bully‭!”‬ is the Watchman‭’‬s cry,‭ ‬as he passes up fifth Avenue,‭ ‬and is soon lost to view.

Now the mysterious night-prowler resumes his way,‭ ‬crosses a portion of Park Square and passing around to the rear of a low,‭ ‬one-story building,‭ ‬signals those within for admission.

One‭! ‬Two‭! ‬Three knocks,‭ ‬and a deep moan‭ ‬– a‭ ‬chicken‭ ‬crows‭ ‬within‭ ‬– the stranger answers by a noise much resembling the‭ ‬squealu‭ ‬of‭ ‬a‭ ‬pig‭! __ ‬The door is opened,‭ ‬and he disappears from our view.

CHAPTER II

THE LOVIERS AND THE CRUEL PARIENT.

THE‭ “‬God of Day‭”‬ had sunk to rest behind a mountain of fire and pale Luna‭ ‬– if we remember‭ ‬correctly‭ ‬– on‭ ‬this occasion arose in the East.

Sealed in a fine arm-chair which was‭ “‬for strength of back and durability of bot-tom a master-piece,‭”‬ in front of the Fifth Avenue House,‭ ‬was our lovely heroine,‭ ‬Miss Julia Wilhemena Dainah,‭ ‬engaged in the delicious pastime of smoking a pipe‭!

Many the aspirant for that hand had she turned away‭; ‬among them one who had loved her almost to madness‭! ‬This man‭ ‬– of powerful frame,‭ ‬and an‭ ‬imense beard,‭ ‬nearly reaching to the eyes‭ ‬– was well known as HIGH-BIRD.‭ ‬He had sworn a fearful oath,‭ ‬that on him she placed her heart‭’‬s affections,‭ ‬his vengeance should fall,‭ ‬and the fair girl trembled for the life of her darling Pierce Manchase.

We would describe our lovely heroine,‭ ‬but knowing our inability to do her beauty of mind or person justice can only refer the reader to that portion of‭ “‬Milton‭’‬s Paradise Lost‭”‬ which describes her mother‭ ‬– Eve,‭ ‬and desire them to apply the same to Julia.

Her gaze is fixed on a form coming up the Avenue.‭ ‬It is a tall,‭ ‬majestic,‭ ‬noble person‭ ‬– as straight as a rail‭ ‬– graceful in carriage,‭ ‬and as handsome in feature as‭ “‬Honest Old Abe‭”‬ himself‭!

With a winning smile he flourishes a white handkerchief,‭ ‬bows his head with the grace of a mule,‭ ‬and with a meaning glance,‭ ‬passes by.‭

Directly she rises from her seat of‭ ‬case,‭ ‬rushes into the house,‭ ‬and soon after appears,‭ ‬with her bonnet on,‭ ‬and slowly and gracefully meanders up the street in the direction that handsome youth has gone.‭ ‬She is passing thru Shin-bone Alley,‭ ‬when he again appears,‭ ‬rushes to her side,‭ ‬seizes her delicate‭ ‬fin,‭ ‬and clasps her to his gizard in an extasy of bliss‭!

“My precious Julia Wilhemena‎!”

“My darling Pierce Manchase‎!”

“HARK‎! ‏a step,‭ ‬me-thought I heard‭!”‬ cried Pierce.

‎“‏I tremble lest‭ ‬pa mistrust us,‭”‬ responded the happy girl.

‎“‏O‭! ‬That I had wealth‭) ‬he would then ow me worthy you.‭ ‬But the day‭ ‬will come when he will be‭ ‬proud to own the now humble me-chande as son-in-law‭! ‬Know,‭ ‬darling,‭ ‬I have a plan laid for honors and riches‭! ‬I feel,‭ ‬dearest,‭ ‬that I am a‭ ___”

“SCOUNDREL‎!”‏ cried the proud parent,‎ ‏suddenly showing himself in a towering passion.‭ “‬AWAY‭! ‬You d‭____‬d land-shark,‭ ‬and if I catch you cruising about these waters again,‭ ‬I‭’‬ll hang you to a black Jack as sure as my name is BRINEY AMOS‭!”

CHAPTER III

THE LEAGUE OF BLOOD‭!

We let the midnight prowler of the door of a suspicious looking house on Park Square:‭ ‬we will enter where he did at the close of our first Chapter,‭ ‬as there is that occurring within which greatly concerns our story.

Seated around a‭ ‬large,‭ ‬long table were a half dozen as villainous looking set of men as ever met for hellish purpose.‭

As the new-comber stepped into their midst,‭ ‬they all arose and cried,

‎“‏Welcome,‭ ‬worthy Chieftan‭! ‬All hail‭!”

“No‎!”‏ responded the grum voice,‎ “‏nothing but a cold rath‭ ‬– no‭ ‬hail‭!”

As he gave utterance to this reply,‭ ‬he flung from him the Confederate blanket,‭ ‬and revealed the compacked form of HIGH-BIRD‭!

“Now,‎”‏ said he,‎”‏I have a‭ ‬job to be done,‭ ‬and will amdit on the start,‭ ‬that I want none to engage with me‭ ‬in this work but those whose hearts are of iron,‭ ‬and whose hands grow stronger and more steady at flow of blood.‭”

“BLOOD‎! ‏BLOOD‭!”‬ cried one after another,‭ ‬in amazement,‭ ‬if not somewhat of horror.

‎“‏Ay‭! ‬Blood‭! ‬Red life-blood must flow‭!! ‬Come,‭ ‬are ye old women that ye must needs repeat that‭ ‬five‭ ‬lettered‭ ‬word.‭ ‬I want vol-unteers‭ ‬– step forward,‭ ‬those who would belong to HIGH-BIRD‭’‬S LEAGUE OF BLOOD‭!”

At once the whole moved forward as one man,‭ ‬and the Chief cried,

‎“‏Tis well‭ ‬– let it be so recorded‭!”

Then stepping to the table on which stood a large iron kettle filled with hot drink,‭ ‬each one filled his cup,‭ ‬raised it over his head,‭ ‬while the Chief rendered,‭ ‬and they repeated after him the following,

‎“‏To the LEAGUE OF BLOOD‭! ‬May the first blood shed under its new leader be a warning to all interlopers hereafter,‭ ‬who may deem it safe to cross the paths of HIGH-BIRD,‭ ‬to steer clear‭!”

All drank and caroused until the‭ “‬small hours‭”‬ were come,‭ ‬and the‭ ‬last‭ ‬drop of that intoxicating Texian drink‭ ‬-‭ ‬of that intoxicating Texian drink‭ ‬– Rye‭ ‬Coffee‭ ‬– was‭ ‬drunk.

CHAPTER IV

THE‭ ‬LOWER‭ ‬‘MILLION‭!!

Tear‭’‬ly candle-light that notorious Dance House of John,‭ ‬Son‭ & ‬Co.,‭ ‬UDAUNTED HALL,‭ ‬Corner of Battery Place and Shin-bone Alley,‭ ‬began to fill with the‭ ‬fancy-men of the city,‭ ‬who,‭ ‬instead of remaining at their homes,‭ ‬entertaining and instructing their families by readings from the‭ “‬Tyler Reporter,‭”‬,‭ ‬or playing chess,‭ ‬are to be found nightly in some of those bad places,‭ ‬dancing with lewd wimen‭ ‬-‭ ‬else at the Fifth Avenue House,‭ ‬playing at billiards,‭ ‬or on the pave making night hedeous with their cries of debauchery.

The‭ ‬fiddler generally plays for his‭ ‬rum,‭ ‬getting disgustingly drunk,‭ ‬while a‭ ‬guy‭ ‬sport‭ ‬comes‭ ‬in on the banjo,‭ ‬winking at the g‭’‬hals,‭ ‬and drinking‭ ‬– when not fighting-‭ ‬with the b‭’‬hoys.‭

The light of the great log fire leant a strange and ghastly appearance to the revellers,‭ ‬as they sat and stood grouped about the room.‭ ‬At every‭ ‬fling or‭ “‬jump-Jim-Crow‭”‬ of the dancers were drawn out fierce‭ ‬Texan‭ ‬yells stamping of feet,‭ ‬encouragement by such exailing cries on‭ “‬right smart‭!”‬ “goin‭’‬ old man‭!”‬ “Bully for‭ ‬Mad‭ ‬Anthony‭!”‬,‭ ‬ye,‭ “‬Go in on the‭ ‬GRAY more‭!”‬ and other immoral suggestions,‭ ‬or words to that effect‭ ____ ‬when suddenly

A long,‭ ‬low,‭ ‬thrilling,‭ ‬shrilly shriek was heard‭!! ‬All rushed to unbar the ponderous door,‭ ‬and emerging into the impenetrable darkness,‭ ‬beheld

‎“‏A sight to harrow up the soul-/‭ ‬Freeze the hot blood-/‭ ‬Make the wild eyes,‭ ‬like stars,‭ ‬start from their spheres,/‭ ‬The knotted and conjoined locks to part/‭ ‬And each particular hair to stand on end/‭ ‬Like quills upon the‭ ‬fretful‭ ‬porcupine‭!”

CHAPTER V

THE CONGLAGRATION

IT was a fearful,‭ ‬yet splendid spect acle.‭ ‬In the midst‭ ‬of the impenetrable murk and Cimmerian gloom which enveloped all the distract of Ford City a fierce and baleful light was shining with such horrid glare as to cause each rocky pavement of the streets to gleam like molten lava,‭ ‬boiling in ashpaltic pills of red bituminous Tartarus.

A terrible conflagration was raging.

The entire block adjoining the UNDAUNTED HALL was wrapped in a blue sheet of mingled smoke and flame,‭ ‬over this blue sheet the distracted in-mates were vainly endeavoring to cast a wet blanket.‭ ‬The entire chimney of that palatial mansion occupied by the Duke of Wellington,‭ ‬and his‭ ‬soot,‭ ‬was a pray to the devouring element and at all the lofty easements might have been seen the started inmates,‭ ‬wildly wringing their hands,‭ ‬and exposing charms which out to have soothed to mercy even the demon Arson himself.‭ ‬Vainly waving her white kerchief for aid,‭ ‬could be discerned the amiable Lady Tomasina O‭’‬Deign,‭ ‬then in an interesting situation‭ ‬– the result of her recent elopment while at a dormer window,‭ ‬the Rt.‭ ‬Hon.‭ ‬Robin Red-Breast,‭ ‬P.B.,‭ ‬who writes for the‭ “‬TYLER Reporter‭”‬ was endeavoring to reconcile himself to the impending fate,‭ ‬by chanting in a voice like the dying swan or poor Low the Indian,‭ ‬a‭ ‬meek and plaintive dilly on the overturn of the cruel war.‭ ‬It was indeed a heart-rending scene‭! ‬The stout hands of our gallant firemen almost failed them at this crisis,‭ ‬but they were rallying at the stentori-an shouts of Foreman Kerbre to repel the flame when,‭ ‬O‭! ‬horror‭! ‬–

A savage war whoop rang upon the mid-night air‭!!

A legion of dusky forms danced defyingly around the flames,‭ ‬and the shuddering population of the city saw that they were surrounded by an invading war party of Choctaws,‭ ‬Creeks and Cherokees.

CHAPTER VI

THE RES Q‭ !!!!!

[The letter T in‎ ‏Tomahawk is a drawing of a tomahawk.‭]

TOMAHAWKS gleamed in the crimson light,‭ ‬and a chorus of yells and whoops affrighted every heart.‭ ‬A‭ ‬tall plumed Chieftain led the Cherokees,

May, William H. The Old Flag. (Tyler, Tex.), Vol. 1, No. 3, Ed. 1. Camp Ford, Tyler, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth312474/. Accessed July 29, 2014.