Before Mark Twain: A Sampler of Old, Old Times on the Mississippi

By John Francis McDermott | Go to book overview

A SEVERE TIME ON THE MISSISSIPPI

CODDINGTON C. JACKSON

[Yet another contributor to the New York Spirit of the Times who delighted readers with sketches of the Mississippi was Coddington C. Jackson, who used the pen name of "The Little 'Un." His "Severe Time on the Mississippi" appeared in the issue of June 14, 1851 (XXI, 194). His obituary was published in the Spirit in 1856 (XXV, 534).]

Many of the readers of the Spirit are somewhat familiar with the nom de plume which has been attached to most of my "quail tracks" in the Spirit.

At the time the incidents (I am about to relate) occurred, I was, in reality, more of a "Little 'Un" than I am at this present writing—as the darkey would say, "Quite more mucher smaller," in fact, I was the "Little 'Un" of that crowd.

In the Fall of 184— I took passage on board the steamer Annawan, at New Orleans, bound for St. Louis. I had at that time that interesting complaint, the "Every-other-day-ague," a complaint for which I have a most thorough contempt, from the fact that I can cure it in twenty-four hours (and if any of the "Spirit's" readers wish, I can furnish them with the recipe of an infallible remedy), and also because one day a person feels perfectly well, and the next as if he had been "dragged through a sick Frenchman." In my hurry at leaving I had neglected to provide myself with the necessary preventives, and a return of the ague was the consequence.

The next morning I observed considerable excitement among the passengers, and felt that the boat was very much jarred; on looking astern I saw the cause: another St. Louis boat was about a mile below us, doing her very tallest, and our captain, who wasn't one to be beaten without an effort, was cramming in the pine-knots, and crowding her hard. We had stopped at a

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