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and prepared for a hunt.  We rode together about a mile to where the deer crossed the road, and put his dogs on the trail.  He then told me if I was disposed to kill a deer, to take the rifle and stand, and the deer would certainly cross there.  But, not wishing to stop, I declined, and passed over a knoll, so as to be out of sight, and left the Doctor at the stand.  In a few minutes he fired.  The poor deer rose a steep hill, followed by a single hound bitch, and fell dead not fifty yards from where I was, having run about 100 yards after it was shot.  The other dogs had all taken the back track; the bitch was the only one that followed the deer.  She kept up a sharp cry until it fell, and immediately ceased, and stood by it.  The Doctor, in a minute, came running up in search of his victim.  The place of which he knew with wonderful accuracy, by the course it ran and by the cessation in the cry of the bitch.  It proved to be a fine buck.  He insisted on our taking two quarters along with us, but were already overpacked, and declined it.  We left him, deeply impressed with the kindness and hospitality of himself and wife.

Crossed the country and gained the Ridge Road.  Land very broken and unpromising, but, like Dr. Smith's hillside, astonishingly productive.  Stopt at night at Mrs. Chambers'.  A filthy place; poor supper, poor house and mean beds, a vile, filthy stable, the yard of which was ankle deep with mud; and yet her son, a pert, forward puppy, bragged of their owning fifty Negroes, and having 400 acres of land in cultivation.  And that he could make as much money as he pleased, and lie late in bed (he was the last to rise in the house); said there was nothing to be made by rising early!  And for this dirt and meanness were charged $1.25 each for supper, lodging and horse.  Annoyed all night with noisy Negroes, dogs, bleating calves, a cow with a bell on, which took a special fancy to the house, cock crowing, landlady coughing, and a loud belled clock, stuck on the wall just over our bed, which I heard toll every hour through the night, except the hour of one.

Friday, Nov. 20, 1835

Left Mrs. Chambers' at sunrise, unrefreshed and out of humor.  Rode until 11 o'clock before we could get food for our horses or ourselves, and then had to intreat for both, at a dirty cabin in the woods, the keeper of which is a Methodist and a Thompsonian doctor.  He was from home, and his wife, a very slattern in dress and person, got our breakfast, which consisted of badly fried pork and eggs, bad coffee, good coarse corn bread and milk.  Ate heartily, although the table cloth was so foul that under other circumstances it would have spoilt my meal.

Missed our way, which we did not discover until within two miles of Sautartia; turned back, and regained the Ridge Road.  This threw us back seven miles

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The Diary of William Fairfax Gray, from Virginia to Texas, 1835-1837
Copyright 1997 William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies
Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas