The Southern communities are just as peaceful and religious as the Northern.
The Southerner may be more highly cultured, and anything he does is naturally
conspicuous. Carrying a revolver is a fad, just a fad or a fashion; but
the revolvers are mightly harmless. Of course there are desperadoes on
the frontier, but that is the only part of the world they live in. Their
deeds give a false character to their district. I have carried a revolver;
lots of us do, but they are the most innocent things in the world.
Don't meddle with old unloaded firearms. They are the most deadly and
unerring things that have ever been created by man. You don't have to
take any pains at all with them; you don't have to have a rest, you don't
have to have any sights on the gun, you don't have to take aim, even.
No, you just pick out a relative and bang away, and you are sure to get
him. A youth who can't hit a cathedral at thirty yards with a Gatling
gun in three-quarters of an hour, can take up an old empty musket and
bag his mother every time at a hundred. Think what Waterloo would have
been if one of the armies had been boys armed with old rusty muskets supposed
not to be loaded, and the other army had been composed of their female
relations. The very thought of it makes me shudder.
Allen "pepperbox" photo
George Bemis . . . wore in his belt an old original "Allen" revolver, such
as irreverent people called a "pepper-box." Simply drawing the trigger back,
cocked and fired the pistol. As the trigger came back, the hammer would begin
to rise and the barrel to turn over, and presently down would drop the hammer,
and away would speed the ball. To aim along the turning barrel and hit the thing
aimed at was a feat which was probably never done with an "Allen" in the world.
But George's was a reliable weapon, nevertheless, because, as one of the stage-drivers
afterward said, "If she didn't get what she went after, she would fetch something
else." And so she did. She went after a deuce of spades nailed against a tree,
once, and fetched a mule standing about thirty yards to the left of it. Bemis
did not want the mule; but the owner came out with a double-barreled shotgun
and persuaded him to buy it, anyhow. It was a cheerful weapon--the "Allen."
Sometimes all its six barrels would go off at once, and then there was no safe
place in all the region round about, but behind it.
- Roughing It
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