'Tis really astonishin what a monstrous sight of mischief there is in a pint of rum. If one of 'em was to be submitted to an analization, as the doctors call it, it would be found to contain all manner of devilment that ever entered the hed of man, from cussin and stealin up to murder and whippin his own mother, and nonsense enuff to turn all the men in the world out of their senses. If a man's got any badness in him, it'll bring it out jest as sassafras tea does the measles, and if he's a good for nothin sort of feller, without no bad traits in pertikeler, it'll bring out all his greenness. It affects different people in different ways---it makes some men monstrous brave and full of fight, and some it makes cowards---some it makes rich and happy, and some poor and miserable; and it has a different effect on different people's eyes---some it makes see double, and some it makes so blind that they can't tell themselves from a side of bacon. One of the worst cases of rum-foolery that I've heard of for a long time, tuk place in Pineville last fall.
Bill Sweeney and Tom Culpepper is the two greatest old coveys in our settlement for coon-huntin. The fact is, they don't do much of anything else, and when they can't ketch nothin you may depend coons is scarce. Well, one night they had everything reddy for a regu- lar hunt, but owin to some extra good fortin, Tom had got a pocket- pistol, as he called it, of reglar old Jimmakey, to keep off the rumatics. After takin a good startin horn, they went out on their hunt, with their life-wood torch a blazin, and the dogs a barkin and yelpin like forty thousand. Evry now and then stoppin to wait for the dogs, they would drink one another's helth, till they begun to feel very comfortable, and chatted away bout one thing and another, without mindin much which way they was gwine. Bimeby they cum to a fence. Well, over they got, 'thout much difficulty.
"Who's fence is this?" ses Bill.
"'Taint no matter," ses Tom, "let's take suthin to drink."
After takin a drink they went on, wonderin what on yearth had cum of the dogs. Next thing they cum to was a terrible muddy branch. After pullin through the briers and gettin on tother side, they tuck another drink, and after gwine a little ways they cum to another branch, and a little further they cum to another fence---a monstrous high one this time.
"Whar upon yearth is we got to, Culpepper?" ses Bill, "I never seed sich a heap of branches and fences in these parts."
"Why," ses Tom, "it's all old Sturlin's doins----you know he's always bildin fences and making infernal improvements, as he calls 'em. But never mind---we's through them now."
"Guess we is," ses Bill; "here's the all-firedest tall fence yet."
Share enuff, thar they was right agin another fence. By this time, they begun to be considerable tired and limber in the gints, and it was sich a terrible high fence---Tom dropped the last piece of the torch, and thar they was in the dark.
"Now you is done it," ses Bill.
Tom know'd he had, but he thought it was no use to grieve over spilled milk, so ses he, "Never mind, old hoss----cum ahead, and I'll take you out," and the next minit kerslash he went into the water.
Bill hung on to the fence with both hands like he thought it was slewin round to throw him off.
"Hellow, Tom," ses he, "whar in the world is you got to?"
"Here I is," ses Tom, spoutin the water out of his mouth, and coffin like he'd swallowed something. "Look out, thar's another branch here."
"Name o 'sense, whar is we?" ses Bill. "If this isn't a fancy country, dad fetch my buttons."
"Yes, and a branchy one, too," ses Tom; "and the highest, and deepest, and thickest that I ever seed in my born days."
"Which way is you?" ses Bill.
"Here, rite over the branch."
The next minit in Bill went, up to his middle in the branch.
"Cum ahead," ses Tom, "let's go home."
"Cum thunder! in such a place as this, whar a man haint more'n got his cute tail unhitched from a fence, fore he's over his head and ears in the water."
After gettin out and feelin about in the dark a little, they got together agin. After takin another drink, they sot out for home, denouncin the fences and the branches, and helpin one another up now and then; but they hadn't got more'n twenty yards fore they brung up all standin in the middle of another branch. After gettin thro' the branch and gwine about ten steps, they was brung to a halt by another fence.
"Dad blame my pictur," ses Bill, "if I don't think we is bewitched. Who upon yearth would bild fences all over creation this way?"
It was but a ower's job to get over this one, but after they got on the top they found the ground on tother side 'thout much trouble. This time the bottle was broke, and they come monstrous near having a fight about the catastrofy. But it was a very good thing, it was, for after crossin two or three more branches, and climbin as many more fences, it got to be daylight, and they found out that they had been climbin the same fence all night, not more'n a hundred yards from whar they first cum to it.
Bill Sweeney ses he can't account for it no other way but that the licker sort o' turned their heads, and he says he does really believe if it hadn't gin out they'd been climbin the same fence, and wadin that same branch till yet. Bill promised his wife to jine the Temper- ance Society if she won't never say no more bout that Coon-Hunt.