Obrazy na stronie


was his language, there is no cull'd folks, too. Fur a gen'lespace for even a sample of it. man as has bin raised


culi'd Upon this occasion, however, it folks, Mar'se Dab beats anythin' was cut short, and the venerable I ever seed. He don't seem to man's attention turned somewhat know more 'bout' em than ef he abruptly to earthly things, by his wur a Northern man. He don't mule, which he had left standing study neither character nor prinin the tobacco-rows, getting his cerples. Everybody layed out to

. leg over the trace-chain, and show- git on this yer place, as they know'd ing a disposition to leave the field, it war a good plantation, an' that plough and all.

Mar'se Dab had right smart money • Stan' still, sah ! What you by his wife an a good force of warnt to be cutt'n up fo'. It look mules. Dis yer nigger or dat ar like to me yo' oughter hev movin' nigger cum 'long about hirin?roun' enough, and be prepar'd to time, an' talks big to Mar’se Dab stay quiet once in a while, an' 'bout the wuk he'll do if de boss 'll study over yo' foolishness."

guv him a house an' land for de Unc' Ephraim's mind, however, comin' year. He runs on mightily was not yet unburdened, for he maybe about how he's been mindin' returned upon another count. a team for his ole mar’se since de

“It aint Mar'se Dab only. s'render, an' how as his ole mar'se 'Spite of the rumpus and fuss he was jes fit to kill himself at losin' raises 'roun' him, thar aint no sich a good hand; but how his wife kind-hearted man north of Jeems took sorter ailin, an' a whole parcel river, or dis side of the Blue of foolishness which Mar’se Dab Ridge. I could put up with takes stock in. Den dis yer nigger his rearin' an' pitchin' roun’, for tells Mar’se Dab he'll be satisfied the 'spect I bar to the fambly, but, with half the terbaccer an'a third bless grashus! the niggers that of the corn; an'as Mar’se Dab's Mar’se Dab's c’llected on this yer bin givin' half the corn, he thinks place! No one ever heern' me he's makin' the finest kind of agreesay a word 'gainst nobody; but I ment, not studyin' neither characswar de solemn truth that the ter nor princerples. cull'd folks on dis yer plantation is "Gord knows whar sich niggers de meanest, no 'countest, crowd of wur raised-up in de mount'ns as niggers that Gord ever made. I like as not." (The supreme conaint alltogether 'sprised, for I tempt at such a source of origin, know'd whar this yer north end of expressed by Uncle Ephraim's the county wur befo' the war. I shrug of the shoulders, could only don't hold as what some o' these be thoroughly appreciated by a yer plain white folks warn't mighty local expert.) “Dar's bin a heap good masters to their servants; but o' folk an'a heap o' house-buildin' then a cull'd man as aint belonged on dis yer plantation since de war. to a good fambly, whar is he? He Dar soon won't be a house-log don't know nuthin' 'bout manners left or a board-tree left in the or 'spect for hisself. Now, sah, woods. Dar's bin land clur'd so I bin raised, I has ! I bin raised! nat'ral po' it 'ud skeercely sprout I aint growed up like

a black-eyed pea in the first crap. fras bush in a ole turn'd-out I mind the time when I usetest to field anyhow! Thar's a heap o' come up yer in busy times. It difference 'tween white folks, an'wur a fine place, and de craps wur thar's a heap o' difference 'tween powerful heavy den. The wheat





wuz so rank I jest told the Jedge— wur skeered he wouldn't han'le it Mar’se Dab's pa—that ef he warn- agin. Well, sah, Brer Mose' in ted me to go up cradlin' wheat to front o' all de folks fust looked at Clover Hill, he'd jes have to trade one side o' de hat an' den at de me away fur some one who could other, an' den he crams it on his do it; for my rheumatics was too head an' hollered out, Well, bad, and I couldn't an' I warn't a- bredren, you isn't showin' yo’selves gwine ter do it, not if he cut me by yo' deeds 'preciative of all de in pieces fur it. Now, bless gra- blessin's showered upon yo', but shus! the heads ain't within hol- tank de Lord I’se got my old hat lerin' distance of one another. back

anyway,—dat's somethin' “ Yes, sah, dar's a heap too in these yer hard times.' In all many folk on this yer plantation, yo' born days, sah, you an' mighty po' kind of folk, too. seed a crowd of niggers look so It look like to me as if Mar’se mean. No, sah; I reckon I'll git Dab had been ridin' roun the on down to the old place agin. country fo'a year or two an’skeered Mar’se Ran, so long as he's thar, up all the meanest niggers 'twixt'll give me a house and terbaccerhere an’ the big mount'ns, an' sot patch. I ain't suited to these 'em plum' down in a muss. Sich a times nohow. A heap a hurrain' stealin' an' lyin' an'cussin' an'an' fuss was made 'bout dis yer rippin' an' rarin' an' tramplin' friddom? an' that; but I b’lieve roun' never wur seed, and yet thar's I'd as lief things had stayed as mo' talk 'bout 'ligion here than they wur.” most anywhar. To see 'em scufflin' Uncle Ephraim was, of course, up to the mourners'-bench a privileged person. preachin' Sundays--0-0-0-0-ee! loyalty, respectability, and "digni

“I laffed fit to kill myself las'fied manners" procured from him a Sunday when Brer Moses from licence and liberty of speech that Poplar Creek was guvin' a open-ar are submitted to, the world over, in preachin' for the noo church fund. ancient and faithful domestics. Well, sah, when Unc' Mose' had “Durn that old man Ephraim !” got through de preachin' he tuk off said Mar’se Dab to me one day not his felt hat, an' axed me to suk- long after this. kerlate it roun' for the c'lection. "What's he been up to?” said I. Fo' Gord, sah, that ar ole hat of " He's the best hand you've got." Brer Mose' passed aroun' from “Oh, Lord, yes! He's a good han’ to han' o' that bowdaciously enough hand; but I'm blamed if 'ligious crowd, and nar a quarter I stand his nonsense any more! nor a ten-cent piece, nor even a He's just been spoiled down at nickel, wur drapped in the crown home by our folks, and got to think of it. I saw Brer Mose' face I can't live without him. What wukin' powerfully as the empty d'ye think he did yesterday? He ole hat wur comin'roun' to him came up to the house 'bout sunagain, an' I could see he wur down and said he wanted to

When it got to the speak to I thought, of man as wur standin' next him, he course, a horse was sick or somereached out his han' and grabbed thing, and went out to him; and dat ar hat in de biggest kind of a I'll be dorgonned if he didn't hurry-sorter makin' out as if he stand and lecture me for a half


His years,


pretty mad.


1 Freedom,



• Kill me,

I bin yer

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hour, and would have gone on for and chestnut fell before the detwo hours if I'd 'a let him. He stroying axe on ridges unfertile run on about my cut'n har, and for cultivation, and that the comsaid no Digges had ever cut har mon-sense of two centuries had before; and that my pa and ma left intact. So it was year after would get up out o' their graves year, red-land and grey-land, upand ramble roun' in 'straction if land and bottom, turned and they thote I was goin' on so. As heaved unceasingly beneath the

as I stand here, if the old recklessly driven ploughs. Year scamp didn't go on to tell me he after year the axe rang, and the was afeared I hadn't any o' the toppling trees crashed for new old Digges dignity, and Lord knows tobacco-ground. The negroes sang what, till I took up a swingle-tree and shouted, and Mar’se Dab holand told the old scoundrel I'd burst loaed and stormed, happy in the his head open if he gave me any pandemonium he had created, and more of his sass! Oh, that's hugging even closer, as their evil right-othat's right, Mar’se Dab,' fruit became apparent, the worst says he.

sah—for traditions of the past. Gord's sake kill me!

Tobacco, tobacco, wheat, wheat, in this wicked world long 'nuff maize, oats, wheat, oats, maize, anyway. I'se made my peace, maize- This, I think, would an' am ready to go right away. fairly have described Mar’se Dab's I'll suttenly go straight to the old method of rotation. This amazing mar’se and missus, an' tell them tax upon the soil was not modified how yo' cutt'n up an'swarin’an’rip- by any outside assistance. Some pin' aroun'. Yes, knock me on de phosphate or stimulating fertiliser head, Mar’se Dab; I ain't keerin' of some kind was dropped in the hill much anyway. Folk's ways these with the second crop of tobacco; but times ain't my ways.

I nussed the Colonel's favourite dictum was you, Mar’se Dab, when you was that “commercial fertilisers would so small you hadn't hardly com- break any man.”

howmenced to notice. I shuk down ever, an immense bank of barnapples for you, Mar’se Dab, befor' yard manure accumulated round ever you put pants on. Go on, the stables, scorched by the suns Mar’se Dab; kill me, sah! You're and bleached by the rains, it is mad now, an' jes' think I'm sassin'. true, of many years, but still by no One d'ese yer fine days you'll say means valueless. Never, Mar'se old man Ephraim warn't sich a Dab declared, when twitted by fule as I thote.' If you'd heard his friends upon the subject, could the old fellow, you'd have been he find time to devote his waggons powerfully tickled. I shouldn't and horses to such a secondary have cared, but the old man raised matter. such a fuss, a lot of the hands The rotation above formulated came round to listen."

with tolerable accuracy covers, it So old Ephraim, the last of the will be noticed, some ten years. old stock, went, and Clover Hill This was about the length of continued on its downhill course. Mar’se Dab's reign at Clover Hill, The Colonel's notions of the capac- the year of collapse, when the longity of land were drawn from no suffering soil at last gave out in human standpoint. He ploughed indignation, and absolutely reup the hillsides; he ploughed up fused to bear further the burden so the bottoms. Noble groves of oak unjustly laid upon it, and Clover

There was,

Hill, in the estimation even of the barometers. The signs had never most reactionary Ethiopians, was been known to fail. When “de "run clean out.' The corn-stalks mis’ry” took that venerable henchhad shrunk to the size of your man “in de left shoulder, there'd little finger, and, save in the rich be fallin' wedder befo' day, cert'n hollows by the streams, produced and sho'." nothing but “rubbins.” 1 The No growing crop was better wheat-straw was so miserably short, 'tended than Mar’se Dab's tobacco; and the ears so scanty, that Uncle and if some of the tenants' houses Ephraim's forcible illustration as “cured up a little blotchy or ran to their being scarcely within hol- some" during that critical period, lerin' distance of one another, was it was because the boss, “rustler" by no means so far-fetched. The though he was, couldn't be everyoat-crops had grown so weak that where at the same time. But the briers and bushes, rioting in while Mar'se Dab's tobacco was the filthy soil, simply choked them well done by, everything else was out of existence; while the fierce neglected; and economical laws winter rains had cut gullies down were defiantly and aggressively the hillsides, which the thunder- flouted. Clover Hill was

not storms of summer rent into ravines quite in the real tobacco-belt,so deep that men and mules nearly that group of counties where the disappeared from sight when they highest grade of leaf is produced, floundered through them.

and where other crops may be Mar'se Dab “died fighting.” It safely made subservient to tobacco was the extraordinary dry year culture. These are technicalities, of 187– that finished him. The however, that would only bore the sight of the crops on Clover Hill non-agricultural reader. I will that year made venerable agri- simply quote once more that oraculturists weep who remembered cle Uncle Ephraim, who was fond the glories of the past. Mar’se of declaring that “any one who Dab believed in tobacco till the put his main 'pendance on terlast, nor was there anything un- baccer in North Berkeley, 'ud git reasonable in his faith, considered in inter the porehouse sho'.” Mar'se the abstract. It was his mode of Dab put his 'pendance on tobacco. applying it that was wrong. His He didn't go to the poorhouse, tobacco he managed admirably. because he had a brother-in-law His plant-beds were burnt in good in Western Kansas of a kindly season. When the spring frosts turn of mind; but the latter alcut other folks young plants, or ternative was, I fear, only one dethe fily got them in cold dry gree removed from the former in weather, Mar'se Dab had always a the Colonel's mind. plentiful supply. When “plant- I can recall his figure, as it were ing out” came in June, the Col- but yesterday, sitting on the roadonel always had his land ploughed, side fence on a hot June morning, harrowed, and hilled up, ready for looking wistfully towards the west the first good “season,” and every- for the long-expected rain that body in the plantation had ample will enable him to plant out his warning of the coming rain. For tobacco. so long as Uncle Ephraim was One glance at Mar'se Dab is there, he was better than fifty sufficient to discover that he ig

i Short deformed heads.


nores the assistance of the tailor when sectional bitterness was exeven more completely than he treme. It made your flesh creep does that of the manure-merchant. to hear the pains and penalties to But there is method and not mad- which Mar’se Dab consigned in ness in this. In his patriotic fer- fancy his fellow-citizens north of vour, Mar’se Dab swore that he Maryland. At election times he would wear nothing that was not the terror of Republican manufactured in old Virginia. To stump-orators and carpet-baggers. a man who was fastidious about At the same time I am perfectly his personal appearance, such a sure that if a Connecticut man, resolution would have amounted even though he were loaded down (in those days anyhow) to an as- with wooden nutmegs, stood in tonishing pitch of self-denial. It need of a dinner, and Mar'se Dab

a was very praiseworthy in Mar’se had only a crust, he would have Dab, no doubt, but I don't think shared it with him. it weighed oppressively upon him. There is something, I think, in

He had yellow homespun pants, the culture of tobacco, as pursued the cloth of which had been woven from time immemorial in the old by an old lady of colour up on the Dominion, that appeals to the mountain, who still possessed that patriarchal instincts of the condisappearing art. The cut suggested servative Virginian. The unnumMrs Digges's sewing-machine. His bered waggon-loads of wood that boots were made by Uncle Ephraim, are set to blaze upon the new plantwho solaced himself in his cabin beds in midwinter, to kill the during the long winter evenings germs of weeds and prepare the with shoemaking and the weaving woodland soil for the tender seed; of baskets. I once had a pair of the crashing and tumbling of the boots from Uncle Ephraim myself; forest-trees when “new grounds” but we will draw a veil over the are being opened; the cheery recollection, and hasten on. Mar’se shouting of the negroes, and the Dab despised a waistcoat even in unwonted energy that any momencold weather. His coat was always tous undertaking, more especially out at both elbows: whether this if it is connected with tobacco, was because he got the cloth by calls forth; the excitement and the piece from the new woollen rush of transplanting from the beds mills at Barksville or not, I can't to the field in early summer, when say. It was, I think, a kind of the necessary rain, perhaps, is defiant tatterdemalionism that the scarce, and opportunities conseColonel liked to hug as a sort of quently few. mute undying protest against the Then there is the pleasure of forcible disruption of the South's watching, through the hot days old institutions. For however of July and August, the gradual great his financial difficulties might growth and expansion of the broadhave been, they were not on a ening gummy leaves to the sun, scale so trilling as to necessi- and all the risks of shattering hailtate an exposure of both elbows. storms and of early night-frosts When his neighbours joked with catching the “crinkley” ripening him about his ragged edges, he plants before they are fit to cut. used to say, "times were too Then the critical period of curing; durned hard for fancy dressin'." and lastly, the long journey, plungMar’se Dab's hatred of Yankees ing through the mud to the market, was conspicuous even at a period where the interests of master and

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