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Sunday, August 3, 2014

LIFE OF PERIL - Chapter Two


Helping the Poor Plant a Garden
 
It was hard going having to hide out and forage for food at the same time. Ordinarily either of the boys could have supplied themselves with more than enough food but they couldn’t risk firing off a shot which left them with using snares to catch animals.

They had traveled about thirty miles from where they took their horses and came to a farm house. There was a young widow (her husband being killed in the war) living on the place.

Les took to her right off (he took to ever woman we met) and was a mind to stay with her but, I told him we should move on for the Yankees would want to know why he wasn’t fighting for the south.

Meanwhile we took a chance and shot some game during the time we stayed with her. It was plowing time so we used our horses to break up her fields and do some planting for her till we spotted some soldiers getting to close to us so we took off.

We often wondered how the widow made out. Had it been safe I suspect one of us might have stayed with her for she were as comely as most ever are.

The next few days we moved as fast as was safe and once again found ourselves in a place where a young woman needed help.  She was sickly and her pa wasn’t much help. He tried to do work, but just wasn’t up to it. We put in a large garden for them and stayed till the woman was on her feet again. We cut enough stove wood to last for the summer but they were going to have to get some winter wood somehow.

We kept moving West and it was getting later in the summer and we seldom seen any blue bellies anymore.  A couple of them we met were pretty evil men who were raping any woman they found. They would leave them beat up and bleeding and rob them of anything of value.

We came across a woman who they had just left and she told us what happened.  I stayed with her and fixed her up the best I could while Les went after the men. He came back at dusk leading two horses and said early in the morning we should go and bury the men so no one would know what happened. I agreed and fixed some side meat Les had brought back with him.

The next morning we took the wagon and went to the camp where the men were staying and loaded up the goods they had stolen including a lot of food. We buried them in a sink hole and threw a lot of rocks on top of them.

It came rain a day later and it was as if they never existed except for their horses’ I didn’t expect anyone to come by here for it was a bit out of the way and we burned a scar over the Yankee brand so it didn’t show.

I told the woman to say she bought the horses from a man who came by wanting to sell them. I wrote up a bill of sale and gave it to her. She mended quicker than I figured so we went on our way.

I never asked Les what happen when he found the evil men but I know what I would have done. Killing had become as natural as breathing since we became soldiers. The dead Yankee soldiers had a wad of cash on them from all the robberies they had done. We kept most of it but gave the woman enough to get her by. It wouldn’t have done for her to have too much to spend for someone would have gotten suspicious about where it came from.

This was the way the summer went. We helped several farmers to get their crops in and gave some of them a little money.

There was one farmer that tried to turn us in.  He thought there might have been a reward for us. When they came looking for us all they found was an empty cabin and some stock wandering around. It didn’t pay to be betraying someone who only wanted to help.  The informer didn’t know we had another side they didn’t want to see.

After that distasteful event we headed to St. Louis.

We had never been this far from home and it was exciting to be in a large and busy town such as this. We sold all our gear and tried to blend in with the town folk.

They had a different accent although they were speaking the same language as we did.

We spent our spare time practicing their French accent and while it wasn’t like theirs by using some of their expressions we blended in very well.


To Be Continued

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