|September 1871||Vol. 43, Issue 256, p. 640|
A select squad of us went from an inland village to the Ohio River on a fishing excursion. No sooner had we pitched our tent and rigged our tackle than we were honored with a visit from Jake Henthorn. Jake is a man of too independent a spirit to be tyrannized over by despotic fashion or arbitrary conventionalities. Accordingly he goes barefoot twelve months in the year; and in consequence of the expanded valley which his "footsy-tootsies" make in the mud (frequently in the vicinity of hen-roosts) he is best known as "Barefooted Jake." However, it is not with Jake's "bug-mashers" that we have to do, but with the "elastic receptivity" of his maw. One morning Bill Lynch and I were running the fishing business, while Bill Read prepared breakfast. Jakes instincts prompted him to "shassay" around the fire, and feast his nostrils on the odor of a ten-pound perch which was then baking. In due time Lynch and I returned to camp for our breakfasts, and found Read coming in with an armful of wood.
"Well, how about grub?" was our greeting."
"Oh, all right; I'll set it out for you in a minute, boys. But just come this way, and see the nicest baked perch you ever laid eyes on."
We went and we looked; but saw only a rick of bones, from which every fibre of meat had been picked! Jake had been there before us. I don't distinctly remember whether we swore or not. It don't seem to me as if we did. Anyhow, we ate breakfast without fish.
During the afternoon, while we were all lounging on the bank, Jake yawned, and drawled out:
"I'd like to have as many fish as I could eat, jist oust. I hain't had a mess since Tom Whitten ketched the big cat-fish."
"Jake," said I, in a tone meant to be scornfully sarcastic, I thought you had a pretty fair mess this morning. You ate at least fifteen pounds."
"Oh yes," replied Jake, "I ate that; but what I mean is a reel, reg'lar mess."