University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The Literature Collection

Page View

Wells, Chester Caesar (ed.) / The Wisconsin magazine
Volume X, Number 6 (March 1913)

Reed, Jesse Horatio
The silver king,   pp. [unnumbered]-38



THE SILVER KING
    By Jesse Horatio Reed, '15
UNCLE BILLY looked the Yankee over
     with a languid curiosity. Then he
looked down the wharf to where the
Yankee's little launch lay, like a nicely
varnished walnut shell, against the landing,
and back at the Yankee again. He was
such a fat, prosperous looking Yankee,
with his flannels and panama hat and mas-
sive watchchain, that it seemed a pity to let
him slip through, and yet-
   "I reckon yo' all aint never been heah
befo', is you'?" queried Uncle Billy, tenta-
tively.
   "No, thank the Lord," snapped the
 £tranger, mopping his sun-burned face and
 then feeling his nose, gently. "I prefer to
 live where you don't have to dynamite a
 mosquito to kill it!"
   "Yas," said Uncle Billy, sweetly, "Th'
 skeeters is putty tolable bad round heah-
 thickern they-ve been fo' some time." He
 looked out across the sparkling waters of
 the bay at the long lines of white fishing
 boats that came and went along the coast.
   "That's what you natives always say!"
 snorted the Yankee. "It's always hotter
 than it's ever been and dryer than it's ever
 been, and there's more mosquitoes than
 there've ever been, and poorer fishing than
 there ever was or ever will be again-I
 know it all by heart !" He slapped a mos-
 quito viciously. "If Florida keeps on get-
 ting worse than it ever was, all I've got to
 say is that you fellows will have a nice little
 particular H 1 all your own! That aint
 the point, tho. Can you, or can you not,
lead me to a tarpon?"
  Uncle Billy shifted his quid from one
cheek to the other  and looked slowly
around at the stranger. How peevish all
these Yanks were to-be-sure! Always in
such a confounded hurry!
  "Yas'm," he drawled, "ef any one c'n
ketch yo' tahpon, ah'm th' man.  How
much'll yo' give?"
  "Five a day, an' grub," growled the
Yankee, fishing out a cigar from his vest
pocket. "My name's Mastersman. Yours?"
  "Jest Uncle Billy," was the reply, and
Masterman strode away to the store for
some tackle, leaving Uncle Billy standing
in the middle of the wharf, astounded at his
good fortune. Five dollars a day was be-
yond his wildest expectations. The man
must be a millionaire!
  And yet-Uncle Billy knew perfectly well
that there was just about as much chance
of catching a tarpon in July as there was of
catching a seal. But rather than let a rich
and unsuspecting Yankee get by him, he
was going to take that chance, let the
Yankee catch something and trust to luck
to get him out of the reach of the 'boys.' It
was dollars to doughnuts that the Yankee
wouldn't know a tarpon from a cat-fish
anyway, and he was that bull-headed no-
body could tell him anything.
   So Uncle Billy reasoned as he leaned
 over the railing of the pier and looked
 down at the varnished launch below.
               * * *
}A


Go up to Top of Page