Occasionally it changed its course, so that it went nearly at right angles. At such times, its colossal proportions were brought out in full relief, looking like some Titan as it took its giant strides over the prairie.
The distance was too great to scrutinize the phenomenon closely; but they could see that a black volume of smoke issued either from its mouth or the top of its head, while it was drawing behind it a sort of carriage, in which a single man was seated, who appeared to control the movements of the extraordinary being in front of him.
No wonder that something like superstitious have filled the breasts of the two men who had ceased hunting for gold, for a few minutes, to view the singular apparition; for such a thing had scarcely been dreamed of at that day, by the most imaginative philosophers; much less had it ever entered the head of these two men on the western prairies.
'Begorrah, but it's the ould divil, hitched to his throttin 'waging, wid his ould wife howlding the reins!' exclaimed Mickey, who had scarcely removed his eyes from the singular object.
'That there critter in the wagon is a man,' said Hopkins, looking as intently in the same direction. 'It seems to me,' he added, a moment later, 'that there's somebody else a-sit-ting alongside of him, either a dog or a boy. Wal, naow, ain't that queer?'
'Begorrah! begorrah! do ye hear that? What shall we do?'
At that instant, a shriek like that of some agonized giant came home to them across the plains, and both looked around, as if about to flee in terror; but the curiosity of the Yankee restrained him. His practical eye saw that whatever it might be, it was a human contrivance, and there could be nothing supernatural about it.
It was away back in 1633 that the first Englishman bearing the name of Dewey arrived in Massachusetts with a number of other emigrants. They settled in Dorchester, and in 1636 Thomas Dewey, as he was named, removed to Windsor, Connecticut, where he died in 1648, leaving a widow and five children. Following down the family line, we come to the birth of Julius Yemans Dewey, August 22, 1801, at Berlin, Vermont. He studied medicine, practiced his profession at Montpelier, the capital, and became one of the most respected and widely known citizens of the State. He was married three times, and by his first wife had three sons and one daughter. The latter was Mary, and the sons were Charles, Edward, and George, the last of whom became the famous Admiral of the American navy and the hero of the late war between our country and Spain. He was born in the old colonial house of Dr. Dewey, December 26, 1837.
George was a good specimen of the mischievous, high-spirited and roystering youngster, who would go to any pains and run any risk for the sake of the fun it afforded. This propensity was carried to such an extent that the youth earned the name of being a "bad boy," and there is no use of pretending he did not deserve the reputation. He gave his parents and neighbors a good deal of anxiety, and Dr. Dewey, who knew how to be stern as well as kind, was compelled more than once to interpose his authority in a way that no lad is likely to forget.