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The Life and Adventures of Nat Love (1854-1921)
"Deadwood Dick"

CHAPTER I: SLAVERY DAYS. THE OLD PLANTATION. MY EARLY FORAGING. THE STOLEN DEMIJOHN. MY FIRST DRINK. THE CURSE OF SLAVERY. (cont.)

One day when Master and the family went to town mother decided to make some wine of which she was very fond, accordingly she gathered some grapes and after pressing them she made some fairly good wine. This she placed in a demijohn, and this for better security she hid in the garden, as she thought unknown to anyone, but my brother, sister and myself had been watching the process with considerable curiosity, which finally reached such a pitch that there was nothing to it; we must sample a liquid that looked so good. So Jordan went to the hay loft from where a good view could be obtained all around, while myself and Sally busied ourselves in the vineyard. Presently mother thinking all secure left the house with the demijohn and proceeded to hide it. Jordan, from the hay loft, noted that mother never left the garden until she returned to the house, empty handed, but he was unable to see the exact hiding place.

It was several days later while passing through the garden that we ran across the lost demijohn. It did not take us long to discover that its contents suited our tastes. Sally and Jordan dragged it into a sweet corn patch, where we were safe from observation. An oyster can was secured to serve as a glass and the way we attacked that wine was a caution to the Temperance Workers. And I can assure you that we enjoyed ourselves for a while, but for how long I am unable to tell exactly. Mother soon missed us but being very busy she could not look for us until evening, when she started out to look us up, after searching and calling in vain. She decided to take the dogs to help find us. With their aid we were soon located, lying in the corn, "dead drunk," while the demijohn, quite empty, bottom side up, stared at mother with a reproachful stare, and the oyster can which had served near by, bearing mute witness against us. Mother picked me up and took me to the house, and let Sally and Jordan lie in the sweet corn all night, to dwell on the events. Immediately preceding our return to consciousness is a painful subject to me as it was exceedingly painful then. I was most feverish the next day with a head on my shoulders several sizes larger than the one I was used to wearing. Sally and Jordan were enjoying about the same health as myself, but the state of our health did not exempt us from my mother's wrath. We all received a good sound old-fashioned thrashing. A fitting prelude to my first "drunk."

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Excerpts from the electronic edition of The Life and Adventures of Nat Love Better Known in the Cattle Country as "Deadwood Dick" by Himself; a True History of  Slavery Days, Life on the Great Cattle Ranges and on the Plains of the "Wild and Woolly" West, Based on Facts, and Personal Experiences of the Author, are the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  The full electronic edition, which also includes original illustrations of this text may be viewed here. All other text and graphics on this website are 2002 http://www.natlove.com Send mail to webmaster@natlove.com
Last modified: October 18, 2002