Skip to main content

Huckstep Of The Swamps: Chapter Xxiv

March 2023
1min read


ALL now must be lost. The portmanteau was last spied tumbling down the ravine-side, with good Dr. Mudlow close behind. Not a trice later, the sounds of gunplay were to be heard echoing from Bad Man’s Rock. In camp, Miss Eulalie read and read again the billet-doux, writ in Indian code and wrapped around a rock, that the mysterious Dragoman had delivered. And whatever, wondered she, had become of Huckstep?

“Never fear,” a strong voice boomed. “I aver that by this same time tomorrow, Grady and his entire gang will be safely delivered into the hands of John Law, and you and your Father will need have no fear again from that quarter. Will it be back to Arkansas, then?”

That it was Huckstep who thus spoke must be true and yet not true, thought Miss Eulalie; but, can such a thing be both true, and not true, at one and the same time? For she had last glimpsed dear Huckstep from the river bank, a human salmon-fish, leaping upstream. His hat had floated; Huckstep, not. But then, if events had run so, how could he be—

“Crunch-o!” With the loud snapping of a nearby twig did the young schoolmarm of the pine barrens’ reverie of a sudden, perforce, cease.

“Gotcher, pard!” For it was Grady himself, a shadow pantomiming Menace itself from just behind the campfire’s cheery glow. Did any storm-tossed Atlantic packet ever sink so fast as did Miss Eulahe’s heart in that moment?

“By the great Allah, may this teapot become a cannon ball!” Did any western sunrise e’er lift the human heart as was Miss Eulalie’s tender cardiacian pump now lifted? It was the Dragoman, in the tree-tops behind.


“R-r-r-ragggh! ” From nowhere had come Huckstep! In the millionth particle of a jot, that worthy had set down his hookah, moved back the divan on which he had been resting, placed his sombrero on his head, taken up a sack of chestnuts in his fist, and leapt toward the shadow as a panther leaps toward its prey.

“Tuh!” Like the proverbial sack of chestnuts did brave Huckstep sag and sprawl prostrate across the campfire; the dragoman’s teapot had hit home; but if we take skulls for houses, it had knocked at the wrong address.

We hope you enjoy our work.

Please support this 72-year tradition of trusted historical writing and the volunteers that sustain it with a donation to American Heritage.


Stories published from "December 1993"

Authored by: The Editors

Ella Fitzgerald: First Lady of Song

Authored by: The Editors

Homespun Songs of the C.S.A.: Volume 5

Authored by: The Editors

American Originals

Authored by: The Editors

The Kennedys

Authored by: The Editors

The Tiger: The Rise and Fall of Tammany Hall

Authored by: The Editors

The Landmarks of New York II

Authored by: T. A. Heppenheimer

After every war in the nation’s history, the military has faced not only calls for demobilization but new challenges and new opportunities. It is happening again.

Authored by: Roger J. Spiller

The general responsible for remaking the American Army in the aftermath of the Cold War knows a great deal of history, and it sustains him in a very tough job.

Featured Articles

Famous writers including Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne, and the Alcotts turned Sleepy Hollow Cemetery into our country’s first conservation project.

Native American peoples and the lands they possessed loomed large for Washington, from his first trips westward as a surveyor to his years as President.

In his Second Inaugural Address, Abraham Lincoln embodied leading in a time of polarization, political disagreement, and differing understandings of reality.

A hundred years ago, America was rocked by riots, repression, and racial violence.

During Pres. Washington’s first term, an epidemic killed one tenth of all the inhabitants of Philadelphia, then the capital of the young United States.

Now a popular state park, the unassuming geological feature along the Illinois River has served as the site of centuries of human habitation and discovery.  

The recent discovery of the hull of the battleship Nevada recalls her dramatic action at Pearl Harbor and ultimate revenge on D-Day as the first ship to fire on the Nazis.

Our research reveals that 19 artworks in the U.S. Capitol honor men who were Confederate officers or officials. What many of them said, and did, is truly despicable.

Here is probably the most wide-ranging look at Presidential misbehavior ever published in a magazine.

When Germany unleashed its blitzkreig in 1939, the U.S. Army was only the 17th largest in the world. FDR and Marshall had to build a fighting force able to take on the Nazis, against the wishes of many in Congress.

Roast pig, boiled rockfish, and apple pie were among the dishes George and Martha enjoyed during the holiday in 1797. Here are some actual recipes.

Born during Jim Crow, Belle da Costa Greene perfected the art of "passing" while working for one of the most powerful men in America.