CHARACTERS, INCIDENTS, &c.,
FIRST HALF CENTURY OF THE REPUBLIC.
A NATIVE GEORGIAN.
WITH ORIGINAL ILLUSTRATIONS.
NEW - YORK:
HARPER & BROTHERS, 82 CLIFF-STREET.
Entered, according to Act of Congress,
in the year 1840, by
HARPER & BROTHERS,
In the Clerkís Office of the Southern District of
TO THE FIRST EDITION.
THE following sketches were written rather in the
hope that chance would bring them to light when time
would give them an interest, than in the belief that they
would afford any interest to the readers of the present
day. I knew, however, that the chance of their surviving
the author would be increased in proportion to
their popularity upon their first appearance; and, therefore,
I used some little art in order to recommend them
to the readers of my own times. They consist of nothing
more than fanciful combinations
of real incidents
and characters; and throwing into those scenes, which
would be otherwise dull and insipid, some personal
incident or adventure of my own, real or imaginary, as
it would best suit my purpose; usually
real , but happening
at different times and under different circumstances
from those in which they are here represented. I have
not always, however, taken this liberty. Some of the
scenes are as literally true as the frailties of memory
would allow them to be. I commenced the publication
of them, in one of the gazettes of the State, rather
more than a year ago; and I was not more pleased
than astonished to find that they were well received by
readers generally. For the last six months I have been
importuned by persons from all quarters of the State
to give them to the public in the present form. This
volume is purely a concession to their entreaties.
From private considerations, I was extremely desirous
of concealing the author, and, the more effectually to do
so, I wrote under two signatures. These have now
become too closely interwoven with the sketches to be
separated from them, without an expense of time and
trouble which I am unwilling to incur.
Hall is the
writer of those sketches in which
men appear as the
principal actors, and Baldwin
of those in which women
are the prominent figures. For the " Company
I am indebted to a friend, of whose labours I would
gladly have availed myself oftener. The reader will
find in the object of the sketches an apology for the
minuteness of detail into which some of them run, and
for the introduction of some things into them which
would have been excluded were they merely the
creations of fancy.
I have not had it in my power to superintend the
publication of them, though they issue from a press in
the immediate vicinity of my residence. I discovered
that, if the work was delayed until I could have an
opportunity of examining the proof sheets, it would linger
in the press until the expenses (already large) would
become intolerable. Consequently, there may be many
typographical errors among them, for which I must
crave the reader's indulgence.
I cannot conclude these
introductory remarks without
reminding those who have taken exceptions to the
coarse, inelegant, and sometimes ungrammatical language
which the writer represents himself as occasionally
that it is language
accommodated to the capacity
of the person to whom he represents himself as speaking.
NOTE BY THE PUBLISHERS.
IN justice to the author, the publishers feel bound to
state, that the present edition of the "Georgia Scenes"
has been reprinted verbatim from the original edition
published at the South several years since. As yet,
they have been unable to prevail upon the author to
revise the work. The urgent demands for a new edition
would not admit of a longer delay. The publishers,
therefore, in compliance with the wishes of the
booksellers, have printed a small edition of the work in its
present shape, hoping the author may find it convenient
to revise and extend the volume before another edition
shall be required.
The Dance . . . . .
The Horse-Swap . . . . .
A Native Georgian . . . . .
The Song . . . . .
The Turn Out . . . . .
The"Charming Creature" as a Wife . . . . .
The Gander Pulling . . . . .
The Ball . . . . .
The Mother and her Child . . . . .
The Debating Society . . . . .
The Militia Drill . . . . .
The Turf . . . . .
An Interesting Interview . . . . .
The Fox Hunt . . . . .
The Wax-Works . . . . .
A Sage Conversation . . . . .
The Shooting-Match . . . . .
GEORGIA SCENES, &c.
IF my memory fail me not, the 10th of June, 1809
found me, at about 11 o'clock in the forenoon, ascending
a long and gentle slope in what was called "The
Dark Corner" of Lincoln. I believe it took its name
from the moral darkness which reigned over that
portion of the county at the time of which I am speaking.
If in this point of view it was but a shade darker than
the rest of the county, it was inconceivably dark. If
any man can name a trick or sin which had not been
committed at the time of which I am speaking, in the
very focus of all the county's illumination (Lincolnton),
he must himself be the most inventive of the tricky,
and the very Judas of sinners. Since that time, however
(all humour aside), Lincoln has become a living
proof "that light shineth in darkness." Could I venture
to mingle the solemn with the ludicrous, even for
the purposes of honourable contrast, I could adduce
from this county instances of the most numerous and
wonderful transitions, from vice and folly to virtue and
holiness, which have ever, perhaps, been witnessed since
the days of the apostolic ministry. So much, lest it
should be thought by some that what I am about to
relate is characteristic of the county in which it occurred.
Whatever may be said of the
moral condition of the
Dark Corner at the time just mentioned, its natural
condition was anything but dark. It smiled in all the
charms of spring; and spring borrowed a new charm
from its undulating grounds, its luxuriant woodlands,
its sportive streams, its vocal birds, and its blushing
Rapt with the enchantment of the season and the
scenery around me, I was slowly rising the slope, when
I was startled by loud, profane; and boisterous voices,
which seemed to proceed from a thick covert of
undergrowth about two hundred yards in the advance of
me, and about one hundred to the right of my road.
"You kin, kin you?"
"Yes, I kin, and am able to do it! Boo-oo-oo.
Oh, wake snakes, and walk your chalks! Brimstone
and fire! Don't hold me, Nick Stoval! The
fight's made up, and let's go at it. - my soul if I
don't jump down his throat, and gallop every chitterling
out of him before you can say 'quit!' "
"Now, Nick, don't hold him! Jist let the wild-cat
come, and I'll tame him. Ned'll see me a fair fight
won't you, Ned?"
"Oh, yes; I'll see you a fair fight, blast my old shoes
if I don't."
"That's sufficient, as Tom Haynes said when he
saw the elephant. Now let him come."
Thus they went on, with countless oaths interspersed,
which I dare not even hint at, and with much that I
could not distinctly hear.
In Mercy's name! thought I, what band of ruffians
has selected this holy season and this heavenly retreat
for such Pandæmonian riots! I quickened my gait,
and had come nearly opposite to the thick grove whence
the noise proceeded, when my eye caught indistinctly,
and at intervals, through the foliage of the dwarf-oaks
and hickories which intervened, glimpses of a man or
men, who seemed to be in a violent struggle; and I
could occasionally catch those deep-drawn, emphatic
oaths which men in conflict utter when they deal blows.
I dismounted, and hurried to the spot with all speed.
I had overcome about half the space which separated
it from me, when I saw the combatants come to the
ground, and, after a short struggle, I saw the uppermost
one (for I could not see the other) make a heavy plunge
with both his thumbs, and at the same instant I heard
a cry in the accent of keenest torture, "Enough!
My eye's out!"
I was so completely horrorstruck, that I stood
transfixed for a moment to the spot where the cry met me.
The accomplices in the hellish deed which had been
perpetrated had all fled at my approach; at least I
supposed so, for they were not to be seen.
"Now, blast your corn-shucking soul," said the victor
(a youth about eighteen years old) as he rose from
the ground, "come cutt'n your shines 'bout me agin,
next time I come to the Courthouse, will you! Get
your owl-eye in agin if you can!"
At this moment he saw me for the first time. He
looked excessively embarrassed, and was moving off,
when I called to him, in a tone
sacredness of my office and the iniquity of his crime,
"Come back, you brute! and assist me in relieving
your fellow-mortal, whom you have ruined for ever!"
My rudeness subdued his embarrassment in an
instant; and, with a taunting curl of the nose, he
replied, "You needn't kick before you're spurr'd. There
a'nt nobody there, nor ha'nt been nother. I was jist
seein' how I could 'a'
fout." So saying, he bounded
to his plough, which stood in the corner of the fence
about fifty yards beyond the battle ground.
And, would you believe it, gentle reader! his report
was true. All that I had heard and seen was nothing
more nor less than a Lincoln rehearsal; in which the
youth who had just left me had played all the parts of
all the characters in a Courthouse fight.
I went to the ground from which he had risen, and
there were the prints of his two thumbs, plunged up to
the balls in the mellow earth, about the distance of a
man's eyes apart; and the ground around was broken
up as if two stags had been engaged upon it.
A PERSONAL ADVENTURE OF THE AUTHOR.
SOME years ago I was called by business to one of
the frontier counties, then but recently settled. It
became necessary for me, while there, to enlist the
services of Thomas Gibson, Esq., one of the magistrates
of the county, who resided about a mile and a half
from my lodgings; and to this circumstance was I
indebted for my introduction to him. I had made the
intended disposition of my business, and was on the eve
of my departure for the city of my residence, when I
was induced to remain a day longer by an invitation
from the squire to attend a dance at his house on the
following day. Having learned from my landlord that
I would probably "be expected at the frolic" about the
hour of 10 in the forenoon, and being desirous of seeing
all that passed upon the occasion, I went over about
an hour before the time.
The squire's dwelling consisted of but one room,
which answered the threefold purpose of dining-room,
bedroom, and kitchen. The house was constructed of
logs, and the floor was of
puncheons ; a term which, in
Georgia, means split logs, with their faces a little
smoothed with the axe or hatchet. To gratify his
daughters, Polly and Silvy, the old gentleman and his
lady had consented to camp out for a day, and to
surrender the habitation to the girls and their young friends.
When I reached there I found all things in readiness
for the promised amusement. The girls, as the old
gentleman informed me, had compelled the family to
breakfast under the trees, for they had completely
stripped the house of its furniture before the sun rose.
They were already attired for the dance, in neat but
plain habiliments of their own manufacture. "What!"
says some weakly, sickly, delicate, useless, affected,
"charming creature" of the city, "dressed for a ball
at 9 in the morning!" Even so, my delectable Miss
Octavia Matilda Juliana Claudia Ipecacuanha: and
what have you to say against it? If people must
dance, is it not much more rational to employ the hour
allotted to exercise in that amusement, than the hours
sacred to repose and meditation? And which is entitled
to the most credit; the young lady who rises
with the dawn, and puts herself and whole house in
order for a ball four hours before it begins, or the one
who requires a fortnight to get herself dressed for it?
The squire and I employed the interval in conversation
about the first settlement of the country, in the
course of which I picked up some useful and much
interesting information. We were at length interrupted,
however, by the sound of a violin, which proceeded
from a thick wood at my left. The performer soon
after made his appearance, and proved to be no other
than Billy Porter, a negro fellow of much harmless
wit and humour, who was well known throughout the
state. Poor Billy! "his harp is now hung upon the
willow;" and I would not blush to offer a tear to his
memory, for his name is associated with some of the
happiest scenes of my life, and he sleeps with many a
dear friend, who used to join me in provoking his wit
and in laughing at his eccentricities; but I am leading
my reader to the grave instead of the dance, which I
promised. If, however, his memory reaches twelve
years back, he will excuse this short tribute of respect
to BILLY PORTER.
Billy, to give his own account of himself, "had been
taking a turn with the brethren (the Bar); and, hearing
the ladies wanted to see
pretty Billy , had come to
give them a benefit." The squire had not seen him
before; and it is no disrespect to his understanding or
politeness to say, that he found it impossible to give
me his attention for half an hour after Billy arrived.
I had nothing to do, therefore, while the young people
were assembling, but to improve my knowledge of
Billy's character, to the squire's amusement. I had
been thus engaged about thirty minutes, when I saw
several fine, bouncing, ruddy-cheeked girls descending
a hill about the eighth of a mile off. They, too, were
attired in manufactures of their own hands. The
refinements of the present day in female dress had not
even reached our republican
cities at this time; and,
of course, the country girls were wholly ignorant of
them. They carried no more cloth upon their arms
or straw upon their heads than was necessary to cover
them. They used no artificial means of spreading
their frock tails to an interesting extent from their
ankles. They had no boards laced to their breasts, nor
any corsets laced to their sides; consequently, they
looked, for all the world, like human beings, and could
be distinctly recognised as such at the distance of two
hundred paces. Their movements were as free and
active as nature would permit them to be. Let me
not be understood as interposing the least objection to
any lady in this land of liberty dressing just as she
pleases. If she choose to lay her neck and shoulders
bare, what right have I to look at them? much less to
find fault with them. If she choose to put three yards
of muslin in a frock sleeve, what right have I to ask
why a little strip of it was not put in the body? If she
like the pattern of a hoisted umbrella for a frock, and
the shape of a cheese-cask for her body, what is all
that to me? But to return.
The girls were met by Polly and Silvy Gibson at
some distance from the house, who welcomed them -
"with a kiss, of course" - oh, no; but with something
much less equivocal: a hearty shake of the hand and
smiling countenances, which had some meaning.
Note. - The custom of kissing, as practiced in these
days by the amiables , is borrowed from the French,
and by them from Judas.]
The young ladies had generally collected before any
of the young men appeared. It was not long, however,
before a large number of both sexes were assembled,
and they adjourned to the
But for the snapping of a fiddle-string, the young
people would have been engaged in the amusement of
the day in less than three minutes from the time they
entered the house. Here were no formal introductions
to be given, no drawing for places or partners, no
parade of managers, no ceremonies. It was perfectly
understood that all were invited to
dance, and that none
were invited who were unworthy to be danced with;
consequently, no gentleman hesitated to ask any lady
present to dance with him, and no lady refused to
dance with a gentleman merely because she had not
been made acquainted with him.
In a short time the string was repaired, and off went
the party to a good old republican six reel. I had
been thrown among
fashionables so long that I had
almost forgotten my native dance. But it revived
rapidly as they wheeled through its mazes, and with it
returned many long-forgotten, pleasing recollections.
Not only did the reel return to me, but the very persons
who used to figure in it with me, in the heyday
Here was my old sweetheart, Polly Jackson, identically
personified in Polly Gibson; and here was Jim
Johnson's, in Silvy; and Bill Martin's, in Nancy Ware.
Polly Gibson had my old flame's very steps as well as
her looks. "Ah!" said I, "squire, this puts me in
mind of old times. I have not seen a six reel for
five-and-twenty years. It recalls to my mind many a happy
hour, and many a jovial friend who used to enliven
it with me. Your Polly looks so much like my old
sweetheart, Polly Jackson, that, were I young again, I
certainly should fall in love with her."
"That was the name of her mother," said the squire.
"Where did you marry her?" inquired I.
"In Wilkes," said he; "she was the daughter of
old Nathan Jackson, of that county."
"It isn't possible!" returned I. "Then it is the
very girl of whom I am speaking. Where is she?"
"She's out," said the squire, "preparing dinner for
the young people; but she'll be in towards the close of
the day. But come along, and I'll make you acquainted
with her at once, if you'll promise not to run away
with her, for I tell you what it is, she's the likeliest
in all these parts yet."
"Well," said I, "I'll promise not to run away with
her, but you must not let her know who I am. I wish
to make myself known to her; and, for fear of the
worst, you shall witness the introduction. But don't
get jealous, squire, if she seems a little too glad to see
me; for, I assure you, we had a strong notion of each
other when we were young."
"No danger," replied the squire; "she hadn't seen
me then, or she never could have loved such a hard
favoured man as you are."
In the mean time the dance went on, and I employed
myself in selecting from the party the best examples of
the dancers of my day and Mrs. Gibson's for her
entertainment. In this I had not the least difficulty; for
the dancers before me and those of my day were in all
Jim Johnson kept up the double shuffle from the
beginning to the end of the reel: and here was Jim
over again in Sammy Tant. Bill Martin always set
to his partner with the same step; and a very curious
step it was. He brought his right foot close behind his
left, and with it performed precisely the motion of the
thumb in cracking that insect which Burns has
immortalized; then moved his right back, threw his weight
upon it, brought his left behind it, and
that as before; and so on alternately. Just so did Bill
Kemp, to a nail. Bob Simons danced for all the world
like a "Suple Jack" (or, as we commonly call it, a
" Suple Sawney"), when the string is pulled with varied
force, at intervals of seconds: and so did Jake Slack. Davy Moore went like a suit of clothes upon a clothing
line on a windy day: and here was his antitype in
Ned Clark. Rhoda Nobles swam through the reel like
a cork on wavy waters; always giving two or three
pretty little perchbite diddles as she rose from a coupee:
Nancy Ware was her very self. Becky Lewis
made a business of dancing; she disposed of her part
as quick as possible, stopped dead short as soon as she
got through, and looked as sober as a judge all the
time; even so did Chloe Dawson. I used to tell Polly
Jackson, that Becky's countenance, when she closed a
dance, always seemed to say, "Now, if you want any
more dancing, you may do it yourself."
The dance grew merrier as it progressed; the young
people became more easy in each other's company, and
often enlivened the scene with most humorous remarks.
Occasionally some sharp cuts passed between the boys,
such as would have produced half a dozen duels at a
city ball; but here they were taken as they were
meant, in good humour. Jim Johnson being a little
tardy in meeting his partner at a turn of the reel, "I
ax pardon, Miss Chloe," said he, "Jake Slack went to
make a crosshop just now, and tied his legs in a hard
knot, and I stop'd to help him untie them." A little
after, Jake hung his toe in a crack of the floor, and
nearly fell; "Ding my buttons," said he, "if I didn't
know I should stumble over Jim Johnson's foot at last;
Jim, draw your foot up to your own end of the reel."
(Jim was at the other end of the reel, and had, in truth,
a prodigious foot.)
Towards the middle of the day, many of the neighbouring
farmers dropped in, and joined the squire and
myself in talking of old times. At length dinner was
announced. It consisted of plain
fare, but there was a
profusion of it. Rough planks, supported by stakes
driven in the ground, served for a table; at which the
old and young of both sexes seated themselves at the
same time. I soon recognized Mrs. Gibson from all
the matrons present. Thirty years had wrought great
changes in her appearance, but they had left some of
her features entirely unimpaired. Her eye beamed
with all its youthful fire; and, to my astonishment, her
mouth was still beautified with a full set of teeth,
unblemished by time. The rose on her cheek had rather
freshened than faded and her smile was the very same
that first subdued my heart; but her fine form was
wholly lost, and, with it, all the grace of her movements.
Pleasing but melancholy reflections occupied
my mind as I gazed on her dispensing her cheerful
hospitalities. I thought of the sad history of many of
her companions and mine, who used to carry light
hearts through the merry dance. I compared my after
life with the cloudless days of my attachment to
Polly. Then I was light hearted, gay, contented, and
happy. I aspired to nothing but a good name, a good
wife, and an easy competence. The first and last
were mine already; and Polly had given me too many
little tokens of her favour to leave a doubt now that the
second was at my command. But I was foolishly told
that my talents were of too high an order to be employed
in the drudgeries of a farm, and I more foolishly believed
it. I forsook the pleasures which I had tried
and proved, and went in pursuit of those imaginary
joys which seemed to encircle the seat of Fame.
From that moment to the present, my life had been little
else than one unbroken scene of disaster, disappointment,
vexation, and toil. And now, when I was
too old to enjoy the pleasures which I had discarded, I
found that my aim was absolutely hopeless; and that
my pursuits had only served to unfit me for the humbler
walks of life, and to exclude me from the higher.
The gloom of these reflections was, however, lightened
in a measure by the promises of the coming hour, when
I was to live over again with Mrs. Gibson some of the
happiest moments of my life.
After a hasty repast the young people returned to
their amusement, followed by myself, with several of
the elders of the company. An hour had scarcely
elapsed before Mrs. Gibson entered, accompanied by a
goodly number of matrons of her own age. This accession
to the company produced its usual effects. It
raised the tone of conversation a full octave, and gave
it a triple time movement; added new life to the wit
and limbs of the young folks, and set the old men to
At length the time arrived for me to surprise and
delight Mrs. Gibson. The young people insisted upon
the old folks taking a reel; and this was just what I
had been waiting for; for, after many plans for making
the discovery, I had finally concluded upon that which
I thought would make
her joy general among the company:
and that was, to announce myself, just before
leading her to the dance, in a voice audible to most of
the assembly. I therefore readily assented to the proposition
of the young folks, as did two others of my age,
and we made to the ladies for our partners. I, of
course, offered my hand to Mrs. Gibson.
"Come," said I, "Mrs. Gibson, let us see if we can't
out-dance these young people."
"Dear me, sir," said she, "I haven't danced a step
these twenty years."
"Neither have I; but I've resolved to try once more,
if you will join me, just for old time's sake."
"I really cannot think of dancing," said she.
"Well," continued I (raising my voice to a pretty
high pitch, on purpose to be heard, while my countenance
kindled with exultation at the astonishment and
delight which I was about to produce), "you surely
will dance with an old friend and sweetheart, who used
to dance with you when a girl!"
At this disclosure her features assumed a vast variety
of expressions; but none of them responded precisely
to my expectation: indeed, some of them were
of such an equivocal and alarming character, that I
deemed it advisable not to prolong her suspense. I
"Have you forgot your old sweetheart, Abram Baldwin?"
"What!" said she, looking more astonished and
confused than ever. "Abram Baldwin! Abram Baldwin!
I don't think I ever heard the name before."
"Do you remember Jim Johnson?" said I.
"Oh, yes," said she, "mighty well,"
brightening with a smile.
"And Bill Martin?"
"Yes, perfectly well; why,
who are you?"
Here we were interrupted by one of the gentlemen,
who had led his partner to the floor, with, "Come,
stranger, we're getting mighty tired o' standing. It wonít
do for old people that's going to dance to take up much
time in standing; they'll lose all their
stand begging Polly Gibson, she never dances; but take
my Sal there, next to her; she'll run a reel with you, to
old Nick's house and back agin."
No alternative was left me, and therefore I offered
my hand to Mrs. Sally - I didn't know who.
"Well," thought I, as I moved to my place, "the
squire is pretty secure from jealousy; but Polly will
soon remember me when she sees my steps in the reel.
I will dance precisely as I used to in my youth, if it
tire me to death." There was one step that was almost
exclusively my own, for few of the dancers of my
day could perform it at all, and none with the grace
and ease that I did. "She'll remember Abram Baldwin,"
thought I, "as soon as she sees the
double cross-hop." It was performed by rising and crossing the
legs twice or thrice before lighting, and I used to carry
it to the third cross with considerable ease. It was a
step solely adapted to setting or balancing, as all will
perceive; but I thought the occasion would justify a
little perversion of it, and therefore resolved to lead off
with it, that Polly might be at once relieved from suspense.
Just, however, as I reached my place, Mrs.
Gibson's youngest son, a boy about eight years old,
ran in and cried out, "Mammy, old Boler's jump'd upon
the planks, and dragg'd off a great hunk o' meat as big
as your head, and broke a dish and two plates all to
darn smashes!" Away went Mrs. Gibson, and off
went the music. Still I hoped that matters would be
adjusted in time for Polly to return and see the double
cross-hop; and I felt the mortification which my
delay in getting a partner had occasioned somewhat
solaced by the reflection that it had thrown me at the
foot of the reel.
The first and second couples had nearly completed
their performances, and Polly had not returned. I began
to grow uneasy, and to interpose as many delays
as I could without attracting notice.
The six reel is closed by the foot couple balancing at
the head of the set, then in the middle, then at the foot,
again in the middle, meeting at the head, and leading
My partner and I had commenced balancing at the
head, and Polly had not returned. I balanced until my
partner forced me on. I now deemed it advisable to
save myself up wholly to the double cross-hop; so that,
if Polly should return in time to see any step, it should
be this, though I was already nearly exhausted. Accordingly,
I made the attempt to introduce it in the
turns of the reel; but the first experiment convinced
me of three things at once: 1st. That I could not have
used the step in this way in my best days; 2d. That
my strength would not more than support it in its proper
place for the remainder of the reel; and, 3d. If I
tried it again in this way, I should knock my brains out
against the puncheons; for my partner, who seemed
determined to confirm her husband's report of her,
evinced no disposition to wait upon experiments; but,
fetching me a jerk while I was up and my legs crossed,
had wellnigh sent me head foremost to Old Nick's
house, sure enough.
We met in the middle, my back to the door, and from
the silence that prevailed in the yard, I flattered myself
that Polly might be even now catching the first glimpse
of the favourite step, when I heard her voice at some
distance from the house: "Get you gone! G-e-e-e-t
you gone! G-e-e-e-e-e-t you gone!" Matters out
doors were now clearly explained. There had been
a struggle to get the meat from Boler; Boler had
triumphed, and retreated to the woods with his booty,
and Mrs. Gibson was heaping indignities upon him in
the last resort.
The three "
Get-you-gones" met me precisely at the
three closing balances; and the last brought my moral
energies to a perfect level with my physical.
Mrs. Gibson returned, however, in a few minutes
after, in a good humour; for she possessed a lovely
disposition, which even marriage could not spoil. As
soon as I could collect breath enough for regular
conversation (for, to speak in my native dialect, I was
mortal tired"), I took a seat by her, resolved not to
quit the house without making myself known to her, if
"How much," said I, "your Polly looks and dances
like you used to, at her age."
"I've told my old man so a hundred times," said she.
"Why, who upon earth are you!"
"Did you ever see two persons dance more alike than
Jim Johnson and Sammy Tant?"
"Never. Why, who can you be!"
"You remember Becky Lewis?"
"Well, look at Chloe Dawson, and you'll see her
"Well, law me! Now I know I must have seen you
somewhere; but, to save my life, I can't tell where.
Where did your father live?"
"He died when I was
"And where did you
use to see me?"
"At your father's,
and old Mr. Dawson's, and at
Mrs. Barnes's, and at Squire Noble's, and many other
"Well, goodness me!
it's mighty strange I can't call
you to mind."
I now began to get petulant, and thought it best to
The dance wound up with the old merry jig, and the
The next day I set out for my residence. I had been
at home rather more than two months, when I received
the following letter from Squire Gibson:
"DEAR SIR: I send you the money collected on the
notes you left with me. Since you left here, Polly has
been thinking about old times, and she says, to save
her life, she can't recollect you."
DURING the session of the Supreme Court, in the
village of - , about three weeks ago, when a number
of people were collected in the principal street of the
village, I observed a young man riding up and down
the street, as I supposed, in a violent passion. He
galloped this way, then that, and then the other; spurred
his horse to one group of citizens, then to another;
then dashed off at half speed, as if fleeing from danger;
and, suddenly checking his horse, returned first in
a pace, then in a trot, and then in a canter. While
he was performing these various evolutions, he cursed,
swore, whooped, screamed, and tossed himself in every
attitude which man could assume on horseback. In
short, he cavorted most magnanimously (a term which,
in our tongue, expresses all that I have described, and
a little more), and seemed to be setting all creation at
defiance. As I like to see all that is passing, I determined
to take a position a little nearer to him, and to
ascertain, if possible, what it was that affected him so
sensibly. Accordingly, I approached a crowd before
which he had stopped for a moment, and examined it
with the strictest scrutiny. But I could see nothing
in it that seemed to have anything to do with the cavorter.
Every man appeared to be in good humour,
and all minding their own business. Not one so much
as noticed the principal figure. Still he went on. After
a semicolon pause, which my appearance seemed to
produce (for he eyed me closely as I approached),
fetched a whoop, and swore that "he could out-swap
any live man, woman, or child that ever walked these
hills, or that ever straddled horseflesh since the days of
old daddy Adam. "Stranger," said he
to me, "did you
ever see the Yallow Blossom from Jasper?"
"No," said I, "but
I have often heard of him."
"I'm the boy," continued he; "perhaps a
a leetle, of the best man at a
horse-swap that ever trod
I began to feel my situation a little awkward, when I
was relieved by a man somewhat advanced in years,
who stepped up and began to survey the "
horse with much apparent interest. This drew
the rider's attention, and he turned the conversation
from me to the stranger.
"Well, my old coon," said he, "do you want to swap
"Why, I don't know," replied the stranger; "I believe
I've got a beast I'd trade with you for that one, if
you like him."
"Well, fetch up your nag, my old cock; you're jist
the lark I wanted to get hold of. I am perhaps a
jist a leetle, of the best man at
a horse swap that ever
stole cracklins out of his mammy's fat
"I'll bring him presently; but I want to examine
your horse a little."
"Oh! look at him," said the Blossom, alighting and
hitting him a cut; "look at him. He's the best piece
hossflesh in the thirteen united
There's no sort o' mistake in little Bullet. He can
pick up miles on his feet, and fling 'em behind him as
fast as the next man's hoss, I don't
care where he comes
from. And he can keep at it as long as the sun can
shine without resting."
During this harangue, little Bullet looked as if he
understood it all, believed it, and was ready at any
moment to verify it. He was a horse of goodly countenance,
rather expressive of vigilance than fire; though
an unnatural appearance of fierceness was thrown into
it by the loss of his ears, which had been cropped pretty
close to his head. Nature had done but little for Bullet's
head and neck; but he managed, in a great measure,
to hide their defects by bowing perpetually. He
had obviously suffered severely for corn; but if his ribs
and hip bones had not disclosed the fact,
he never would
have done it; for he was in all respects as cheerful and
happy as if he commanded all the corn-cribs and
fodder-stacks in Georgia. His height was about twelve
hands; but as his shape partook somewhat of that of
the giraffe, his haunches stood much lower. They
vere short, strait, peaked, and concave. Bulletís tail,
however, made amends for all his defects. All that
the artist could do to beautify it had been done; and
all that horse could do to compliment the artist, Bullet
did. His tail was nicked in superior style, and exhibited
the line of beauty in so many directions, that it
could not fail to hit the most fastidious taste in some
of them. From the root it dropped into a graceful
festoon; then rose in a handsome curve; then resumed
its first direction; and then mounted suddenly upward
like a cypress knee to a perpendicular of about
two and a half inches. The whole had a careless and
bewitching inclination to the right. Bullet obviously
knew where his beauty lay, and took all occasions to
display it to the best advantage. If a stick cracked,
or if any one moved suddenly about him, or coughed,
or hawked, or spoke a little louder than common, up
went Bullet's tail like lightning; and if the going up
did not please, the coming down must of necessity, for
it was as different from the other movement as was its
direction. The first was a bold and rapid flight upward,
usually to an angle of forty-five degrees. In
this position he kept his interesting appendage until
he satisfied himself that nothing in particular was to be
done; when he commenced dropping it by half inches,
in second beats, then in triple time, then faster and
shorter, and faster and shorter still, until it finally died
away imperceptibly into its natural position. If I might
compare sights to sounds, I should say its settling was
more like the note of a locust than anything else in
Either from native sprightliness of disposition, from
uncontrollable activity, or from an unconquerable habit
of removing flies by the stamping of the feet, Bullet
never stood still; but always kept up a gentle fly-scaring
movement of his limbs, which was peculiarly interesting.
"I tell you, man," proceeded the Yellow Blossom,
"he's the best live hoss that ever trod the grit of Georgia.
Bob Smart knows the hoss. Come here, Bob,
and mount this hoss, and show Bullet's motions."
Here Bullet bristled up, and looked as if he had been
hunting for Bob all day long, and had just found him.
Bob sprang on his back. "Boo-oo-oo!" said Bob,
with a fluttering noise of the lips; and away went Bullet,
as if in a quarter race, with all his beauties spread
in handsome style.
"Now fetch him back," said Blossom. Bullet turned
and came in pretty much as he went out.
"Now trot him by." Bullet reduced his tail to "
sidled to the right and left airily, and exhibited
at least three varieties of trot in the short space of
"Make him pace!" Bob commenced twitching the
bridle and kicking at the same time. These inconsistent
movements obviously (and most naturally) disconcerted
Bullet; for it was impossible for him to learn,
from them, whether he was to proceed or stand still.
He started to trot, and was told that wouldn't do. He
attempted a canter, and was checked again. He stopped,
and was urged to go on. Bullet now rushed into
the wide field of experiment, and struck out a gait of
his own, that completely turned the tables upon his rider,
and certainly deserved a patent. It seemed to
have derived its elements from the jig, the minuet, and
the cotillon. If it was not a pace, it certainly had
in it, and no man would venture to call it anything else;
so it passed off to the satisfaction of the owner.
"Walk him!" Bullet was now at home again; and
he walked as if money was staked on him.
The stranger, whose name, I afterward learned, was
Peter Ketch, having examined Bullet to his heart's content,
ordered his son Neddy to go and bring up Kit.
Neddy soon appeared upon Kit; a well-formed sorrel
of the middle size, and in good order. His
threw Bullet entirely in the shade, though a
glance was sufficient to satisfy any one that Bullet had
the decided advantage of him in point of intellect. tout ensemble
"Why, man," said Blossom, "do you bring such a
hoss as that to trade for Bullet? Oh, I see you're no
notion of trading."
"Ride him off, Neddy!" said Peter. Kit put off at
a handsome lope.
"Trot him back!" Kit came in at a long, sweeping
trot, and stopped suddenly at the crowd.
"Well," said Blossom, "let me look at him; maybe
he'll do to plough."
"Examine him!" said Peter, taking hold of the bridle
close to the mouth; "he's nothing but a tacky.
He an't as
pretty a horse as Bullet, I know; but he'll
do. Start 'em together for a hundred and fifty mile;
and if Kit an't twenty mile ahead of him at the coming
out, any man may take Kit for nothing. But he's
a monstrous mean horse, gentleman; any man may
see that. He's the scariest horse, too, you ever saw.
He won't do to hunt on, no how. Stranger, will you
let Neddy have your rifle to shoot off him? Lay the
rifle between his ears, Neddy, and shoot at the blaze
in that stump. Tell me when his head is high enough."
Ned fired, and hit the blaze; and Kit did not move
a hair's breadth.
"Neddy, take a couple of sticks, and beat on that
hogshead at Kit's tail."
Ned made a tremendous rattling, at which Bullet
took fright, broke his bridle, and dashed off in grand
style; and would have stopped all farther negotiations
by going home in disgust, had not a traveller arrested
him and brought him back; but Kit did not move.
"I tell you, gentlemen," continued Peter, "he's the
scariest horse you ever saw. He an't as gentle as
Bullet, but he won't do any harm if you watch him.
Shall I put him in a cart, gig, or wagon for you, stranger?
He'll cut the same capers there he does here.
He a a monstrous mean horse."
During all this time Blossom was examining him
with the nicest scrutiny. Having examined his frame
and limbs, he now looked at his eyes.
"He's got a curious look out of his eyes," said
"Oh yes, sir," said Peter, "just as blind as a bat.
Blind horses always have clear eyes. Make a motion
at his eyes, if you please, sir."
Blossom did so, and Kit threw up his head rather as
if something pricked him under the chin than as if fearing
a blow. Blossom repeated the experiment, and
Kit jerked back in considerable astonishment.
"Stone blind, you see, gentlemen," proceeded Peter;
"but he's just as good to travel of a dark night
as if he had eyes."
"Blame my buttons," said Blossom, "if I like them eyes."
"No," said Peter, "nor I neither. I'd rather have
'em made of diamonds; but they'll do, if they don't
show as much white as Bullet's."
"Well," said Blossom, "make a pass at me."
"No," said Peter; "you made the banter, now make
"Well, I'm never afraid to price my hosses. You
must give me twenty-five dollars boot."
"Oh, certainly; say fifty, and my saddle and bridle
in. Here, Neddy, my son, take daddy's horse."
"Well," said Blossom, "I've made my pass, now
you make yours."
"I'm for short talk in a horse-swap, and therefore
always tell a gentleman at once what I mean to do.
You must give me ten dollars."
Blossom swore absolutely, roundly, and profanely,
that he never would give boot.
"Well," said Peter, "I didn't care about trading;
but you cut such high shines, that I thought I'd like to
back you out, and I've done it. Gentlemen, you see
I've brought him to a hack."
"Come, old man," said Blossom, "I've been joking
with you. I begin to think you do want to trade;
therefore, give me five dollars and take Bullet. I'd
rather lose ten dollars any time than not make a trade,
though I hate to fling away a good hoss."
"Well," said Peter, "I'll be as clever as you are.
Just put the five dollars on Bullet's back,and hand him
over; it's a trade."
Blossom swore again, as roundly as before, that he
would not give boot; and, said he, "Bullet wouldn't
hold five dollars on his back, no how. But, as I
bantered you, if you say an even swap, here's at you."
"I told you," said Peter, "I'd be as clever as you,
therefore, here goes two dollars more, just for trade
sake. Give me three dollars, and it's a bargain."
Blossom repeated his former assertion; and here
the parties stood for a long time, and the by-standers
(for many were now collected) began to taunt both
parties. After some time, however, it was pretty unanimously
decided that the old man had backed Blossom out.
At length Blossom swore he "never would be backed
out for three dollars after bantering a man;" and,
accordingly, they closed the trade.
"Now," said Blossom, as he handed Peter the three
dollars, "I'm a man that, when he makes a bad trade,
makes the most of it until he can make a better. I'm
for no rues and after-claps."
"That's just my way," said Peter; "I never goes
to law to mend my bargains."
"Ah, you're the kind of boy I love to trade with.
Hereís your hoss, old man. Take the saddle and bridle
off him, and I'll strip yours; but lift up the blanket
easy from Bullet's back; for he's a mighty tender-backed
The old man removed the saddle, but the blanket
stuck fast. He attempted to raise it, and Bullet bowed
himself, switched his tail, danced a little, and gave
signs of biting.
"Don't hurt him, old man," said Blossom, archly;
"take it off easy. I am, perhaps, a leetle of the best
man at a horse-swap that ever catched a coon."
Peter continued to pull at the blanket more and more
roughly, and Bullet became more and more cavortish:
insomuch that, when the blanket came off, he had reached
kicking point in good earnest.
The removal of the blanket disclosed a sore on Bullet's
back-bone that seemed to have defied all medical
skill. It measured six full inches in length and four in
breadth, and had as many features as Bullet had motions.
My heart sickened at the sight; and I felt that
the brute who had been riding him in that situation
deserved the halter.
The prevailing feeling, however, was that of mirth.
The laugh became loud and general at the old man's
expense, and rustic witticisms were liberally bestowed
upon him and his late purchase. These Blossom continued
to provoke by various remarks. He asked the
old man "if he thought Bullet would let five dollars lie
on his back." He declared most seriously that he had
owned that horse three months, and had never discovered
before that he had a sore back, "or he never should
have thought of trading him," &c., &c.
The old man bore it all with the most philosophic
composure. He evinced no astonishment at his late
discovery, and made no replies. But his son Neddy
had not disciplined his feelings quite so well. His
eyes opened wider and wider from the first to the last
pull of the blanket; and, when the whole sore burst
upon his view, astonishment and fright seemed to contend
for the mastery of his countenance. As the
blanket disappeared, he stuck his hands in his breeches
pockets, heaved a deep sigh, and lapsed into a profound
revery, from which he was only roused by the
his father. He bore them as long as he could; and,
when he could contain himself no longer, he began,
with a certain wildness of expression which gave a
peculiar interest to what he uttered: "His back's mighty
bad off; but dod drot my soul if he's put it to daddy
as bad as he thinks he has, for old Kit's both blind and
deef , I'll be dod drot if he eint."
"The devil he is," said Blossom.
"Yes, dod drot my soul if he
eint. You walk him,
and see if he eint. His eyes don't look like it; but
he'd jist as leve go agin the house with you, or in a
ditch, as any how. Now you go try him." The
laugh was now turned on Blossom; and many rushed
to test the fidelity of the little boy's report. A few
experiments established its truth beyond controversy.
"Neddy," said the old man, "you oughtn't to try
and make people discontented with their things.
Stranger, don't mind what the little boy says. If
you can only get Kit rid of them little failings, you'll
find him all sorts of a horse. You are a
leetle the best
man at a horse-swap that ever I got hold of; but don't
fool away Kit. Come, Neddy, my son, let's be moving;
the stranger seems to be getting snappish."
THE CHARACTER OF A NATIVE GEORGIAN.
THERE are some yet living who knew the man whose
character I am about to delineate; and these will
unanimously bear testimony, that, if it be not faithfully
drawn, it is not overdrawn. They cannot avouch for
the truth of the anecdotes which I am about to relate
of him, because of these they know nothing; but they
will unhesitatingly declare, that there is nothing herein
ascribed to him of which he was incapable, and of
which he would not readily have been the author,
supposing the scenes in which I have placed him to be
real, and the thoughts and actions attributed to him to
have actually suggested themselves to him. They
will farther testify, that the thoughts and actions are in
perfect harmony with his general character.
I do not feel at liberty as yet to give the name of the
person in question, and therefore he shall be designated
for the present by the appellation of Ned Brace.
This man seemed to live only to amuse himself with
his fellow beings, and he possessed the rare faculty of
deriving some gratification of his favourite propensity
from almost every person whom he met, no matter
what his temper, standing, or disposition. Of course
he had opportunities enough of exercising his uncommon
gift, and he rarely suffered an opportunity to pass
unimproved. The beau in the presence of his mistress,
the fop, the pedant, the purse-proud, the over-fastidious
and sensitive, were Ned's favourite game.
These never passed him uninjured; and against such
he directed his severest shafts. With these he commonly
amused himself, by exciting in them every variety
of emotion, under circumstances peculiarly ridiculous.
He was admirably fitted to his vocation. He
could assume any character which his humour required
him to personate, and he could sustain it to perfection.
His knowledge of the character of others seemed to be
It may seem remarkable, but it is true, that, though
he lived his own peculiar life for about sixteen years,
after he reached the age of manhood he never involved
himself in a personal rencounter with any one. This
was owing, in part, to his muscular frame, which few
would be willing to engage; but more particularly to
his adroitness in the management of his projects of fun.
He generally conducted them in such a way as to render
it impossible for any one to call him to account
without violating all the rules of decency, politeness
and chivalry at once. But a few anecdotes of him
will give the reader a much better idea of his character
than he can possibly derive from a general description.
If these fulfil the description which I have given
of my hero, all will agree that he is no imaginary
being: if they do not, it will only be because I am
unfortunate in my selection. Having known him from
his earliest manhood to his grave - for he was a native
Georgian - I confess that I am greatly perplexed in
determining what portions of his singular history to lay
before the reader as a proper specimen of the whole.
A three day's visit, which I once made with him to
Savannah, placed him in a greater variety of scenes,
and among a greater diversity of characters, than perhaps
any other period of his life, embracing no longer
time; and, therefore, I will choose this for my purpose.
We reached Savannah just at nightfall of a cold
December's evening. As we approached the tavern of
Mr. Blank, at which we designed to stop, Ned proposed
to me that we should drop our acquaintance until
should choose to renew it. To this proposition I most
cordially assented, for I knew that, so doing, I should
be saved some mortifications, and avoid a thousand
questions which I would not know how to answer.
According to this understanding, Ned lingered behind,
in order that I might reach the tavern alone.
On alighting at the public house I was led into a
large dining room, at the entrance of which, to the
right, stood the bar, opening into the dining-room.
On the left, and rather nearer to the centre of the
room, was a fireplace, surrounded by gentlemen. Upon
entering the room, my name was demanded at the bar:
it was given, and I took my seat in the circle around
the fire. I had been seated just long enough for the
company to survey me to their satisfaction and resume
their conversation, when Ned's heavy footstep at the
door turned the eyes of the company to the approaching
"Your name, sir, if you please?" said the restless
little barkeeper, as he entered.
Ned stared at the question with apparent alarm;
cast a fearful glance at the company; frowned and
shook his head in token of caution to the barkeeper;
looked confused for a moment; then, as if suddenly
recollecting himself, jerked a piece of paper out of his
pocket, turned from the company, wrote on it with
his pencil, handed it to the barkeeper, walked to the
left of the fireplace, and took the most conspicuous
seat in the circle. He looked at no one, spoke to no
one; but, fixing his eyes on the fire, lapsed into a
The conversation, which had been pretty general
before, stopped as short as if every man in the room
had been shot dead. Every eye was fixed on Ned, and
every variety of expression was to be seen on the
countenances of the persons present. The landlord came
in; the barkeeper whispered to him and looked at
Ned. The landlord looked at him too with astonishment
and alarm; the barkeeper produced a piece of
paper, and both of them examined it, as if searching
for a fig-mite with the naked eye. They rose from
the examination unsatisfied, and looked at Ned again.
Those of the company who recovered first from their
astonishment tried to revive the conversation; but the
effort was awkward, met with no support, and failed.
The barkeeper, for the first time in his life, became
dignified and solemn, and left the bar to take care of
itself. The landlord had a world of foolish questions
to ask the gentlemen directly opposite to Ned, for which
purpose he passed round to them every two minutes,
and the answer to none did he hear.
Three or four boarders coming in, who were unapprized
of what had happened, at length revived the conversation;
not, however, until they had created some
confusion, by inquiring of their friends the cause of their
sober looks. As soon as the conversation began to
become easy and natural, Ned rose and walked out into
the entry. With the first movement all were as hush
as death; but, when he had cleared the door, another
Babel scene ensued. Some inquired, others suspected,
and all wondered. Some were engaged in telling the
strangers what had happened, others were making
towards the bar, and all were becoming clamorous, when
Ned returned and took his seat. His re-entry was as
fatal to conversation as was the first movement of his
exit; but it soon recovered from the shock; with the
difference, however, that those who
led before were
now mute, and wholly absorbed in the contemplation
of Ned's person.
After retaining his seat for about ten minutes, Ned
rose again, inquired the way to the stable, and left the
house. As soon as he passed the outer door, the barkeeper
hastened to the company with Ned's paper in
his hand. "Gentlemen," said he, "can any of you tell
me what name this is?" All rushed to the paper in
an instant; one or two pair of heads met over it with
considerable force. After pondering over it to their
heart's content, they all agreed that the first letter was
an "E," and the second a "B" or an "R," and the d-l himself could not make out the balance. While they
were thus engaged, to the astonishment of everybody,
Ned interrupted their deliberations with, "Gentlemen,
if you have satisfied yourselves with that paper, I'll
thank you for it." It is easy to imagine, but impossible
to describe, the looks and actions of the company
under their surprise and mortification. They dropped
off, and left the barkeeper to his appropriate duty of
handing the paper to Ned. He reached it forth, but
Ned moved not a hand to receive it for about the space
of three seconds, during which time he kept his eyes
fixed upon the arch offender in awfully solemn rebuke.
He then took it gravely and put it in his pocket, and
left the barkeeper with a shaking ague upon him.
From this moment he became Nedís most obsequious
and willing slave.
Supper was announced; Mrs. Blank, the landlady,
took the head of the table, and Ned seated himself next
to her. Her looks denoted some alarm at finding him
so near to her, and plainly showed that he had been
fully described to her by her husband or some one else.
"Will you take tea or coffee, sir?" said she.
"Why, madam," said Ned, in a tone as courteous as
Chesterfield himself could have used, "I am really
ashamed to acknowledge and to expose my very
singular appetite; but habitual indulgence of it has made it
necessary to my comfort, if not to my health, that I
should still favour it when I can. If you will pardon
me, I will take both at the same time."
This respectful reply (which, by-the-way, she alone
was permitted to hear) had its natural effect. It won
for him her unqualified indulgence, raised doubts whether
he could be the suspicious character which had been
described to her, and begat in her a desire to cultivate
a farther acquaintance with him. She handed to him
the two cups, and accompanied them with some
remarks, drawn from her own observation in the line of
her business, calculated to reconcile him to his whimsical
appetite; but she could extract from Ned nothing
but monosyllables, and sometimes not even that much.
Consequently, the good lady began very soon to
relapse into her former feelings.
Ned placed a cup on either side of him, and commenced
stirring both at the same time very deliberately.
This done, he sipped a little tea, and asked Mrs.
B. for a drop more milk in it. Then he tasted his
coffee, and desired a little more sugar in it. Then he
tasted his tea again, and requested a small lump more
sugar in it. Lastly, he tasted his coffee, and desired
a few drops more milk in that. It was easy to discover,
that, before he got suited, the landlady had solemnly
resolved never to offer any more encouragements
to such an appetite. She waxed exceedingly
petulant, and, having nothing else to scold, she scolded
the servants, of course.
Waffles were handed to Ned, and he took one: battercakes
were handed, and he took one; and so on of
muffins, rolls, and corn bread. Having laid in these
provisions, he turned into his plate, upon his waffle and
batter cake, some of the crumbs of the several kinds of
bread which he had taken, in different proportions, and
commenced mashing all together with his knife. During
this operation the landlady frowned and pouted,
the servants giggled, and the boarders were variously
Having reduced his mess to the consistency of a hard
poultice, he packed it all up to one side of his plate in
the form of a terrapin, and smoothed it all over nicely
with his knife. Nearly opposite to Ned, but a little
below him, sat a waspish little gentleman, who had been
watching him with increasing torments from the first
to the last movement of Ned's knife. His tortures
were visible to blinder eyes than Ned's, and, doubtless,
had been seen by him in their earliest paroxysms.
This gentleman occupied a seat nearest to a dish of
steak, and was in the act of muttering something about
"brutes" to his next neighbour, when Ned beckoned
a servant to him, and requested him "to ask that
gentleman for a small bit of steak." The servant obeyed
and, planting Ned's plate directly between the gentleman's
and the steak dish, delivered his message. The
testy gentleman turned his head, and the first thing he
saw was Ned's party-coloured terrapin right under his
nose. He started as if he had been struck by a snapping-turtle;
reddened to scarlet; looked at Ned (who
appeared as innocent as a lamb); looked at the servant
(who appeared as innocent as Ned); and then fell to
work on the steak as if he were amputating all Ned's
limbs at once.
Ned now commenced his repast. He ate his meat
breads in the usual way, but he drank his liquids
in all ways. First a sip of tea, then of coffee; then
two of the first and one of the last; then three of the
last and one of the first, and so on.
His steak was soon consumed, and his plate was a
second time returned to the mettlesome gentleman "for
very small bit of steak." The plate paid its
second visit precisely as it had its first; and, as soon
as the fiery gentleman saw the half-demolished terrapin
again under his nose, he seized a fork, drove it
into the largest slice of steak in the dish, dashed it into
Ned's plate, rose from the table, and left the room,
cursing Ned from the very inmost chamber of his soul.
Every person at the table, except Ned, laughed outright
at the little man's fury; but Ned did not even smile;
nay, he looked for all the world as if he thought the
laugh was at him.
The boarders one after another retired, until Ned
and the landlady were left alone at the table.
"Will you have another cup of tea and coffee, sir?"
said she, by the way of convincing him that he ought
to retire, seeing that he had finished his supper.
"No, I thank you, madam," returned Ned.
"Will you have a glass of milk, and a cup of tea or
coffee, or all three together?"
"No, ma'am," said Ned. "I am not blind, madam,"
continued he, "to the effects which my unfortunate
eccentricities have produced upon yourself and your
company; nor have I witnessed them without those
feelings which they are well calculated to inspire in a
man of ordinary sensibilities. I am aware, too, that I
am prolonging and aggravating your uneasiness, by
detaining you beyond the hour which demands your
presence at the table; but I could not permit you to
retire without again bespeaking your indulgence of the
strange, unnatural appetite which has just caused you
so much astonishment and mortification. The story
of its beginning might be interesting, and certainly
would be instructing to you if you are a mother: but
I am indisposed at this time to obtrude it upon your
patience, and I presume you are still less disposed to
hear it. My principal object, however, in claiming
your attention for a moment at this time, is to assure
you that, out of respect to your feelings, I will surrender
the enjoyment of my meals for the few days that I
have to remain in Savannah, and conform to the customs
of your table. The sudden change of my habits
will expose me to some inconvenience, and may,
perhaps, affect my health; but I will willingly incur these
hazards rather than renew your mortification, or impose
upon your family the trouble of giving me my
meals at my room."
The good lady, whose bitter feelings had given place
to the kinder emotion of pity and benevolence before
Ned had half concluded his apology (for it was delivered
in a tone of the most melting eloquence), caught at this
last hint, and insisted upon sending his meals to his
room. Ned reluctantly consented, after extorting a
pledge from her that
she would assume the responsibilities
of the trouble that he was about to give the family.
"As to your
boarders , madam," said Ned, in conclusion,
"I have no apology to make to them. I grant
them the privilege of eating what they please and as
they please, and, so far as they are concerned, I shall
exercise the same privileges, reckless of their feelings
or opinions; and I shall take it as a singular favour if
you will say nothing to them or to any one else which
may lead them to the discovery that I am acquainted
with my own peculiarities."
The good lady promised obedience to his wishes,
and Ned, requesting to be conducted to his room, retired.
A group of gentlemen at the fireplace had sent many
significant "hems" and smiles to Mrs. Blank during
with Ned; and as she approached them,
on her way out of the room, they began to taunt her
playfully upon the impression which she seemed to have
made upon the remarkable stranger. tête-á-tête
"Really," said one, "I thought the
on the other side."
"And, in truth, so it was," said Mrs. B. At this
moment her husband stepped in.
"I'll tell you what it is, Mr. Blank," said one of the
company, "you'd better keep a sharp look out on that
stranger; our landlady is wonderfully taken with him."
"I'll be bound," said Mr. B., "for my wife; the less
like anybody else in the world he is, the better will she
"Well, I assure you," said Mrs. B., "I never had
my feelings so deeply interested in a stranger in my
life. I'd give the world to know his history."
"Why, then," rejoined the landlord, "I suppose he
has been quizzing us all this time."
"No," said she, "he is incapable of quizzing. All
that you have seen of him is unaffected, and perfectly
natural to him."
"Then, really," continued the husband, "he is a very
interesting object, and I congratulate you upon getting
so early into his confidence; but, as I am not quite as
much captivated with his unaffected graces as you
seem to be, I shall take the liberty, in charity to the
rest of my boarders, of requesting him, to-morrow, to
seek other lodgings."
"Oh," exclaimed Mrs. B., in the goodness of her
heart, and with a countenance evincive of the deepest
feeling, "I would not have you do such a thing for the
world. He's only going to stay a few days."
"How do you know?"
"He told me so, and do let's bear with him that
short time. He sha'n't trouble you or the boarders
"Why, Sarah," said the landlord, "I do believe you
are out of your senses!"
"Gone case!" said one boarder. "Terrible affair!"
said another. "Bewitching
little fellow," said a third.
"Come, Mrs. Blank, tell us all he said to you! We
young men wish to know how to please the ladies, so
that we may get wives easily. I'm determined, the
next party I go to, to make a soup of everything on
the waiters, and eat all at once. I shall then become
irresistible to the ladies."
"Get along with your nonsense," said Mrs. B., smiling
as she left the room.
At 8 o'clock I retired to my room, which happened
(probably from the circumstance of our reaching the
hotel within a few minutes of each other) to be adjoining
Ned's. I had no sooner entered my room than
Ned followed me, where we interchanged the particulars
which make up the foregoing story. He now expended
freely the laughter which he had been collecting
during the evening. He stated that his last interview
with Mrs. Blank was the result of necessity; that
he found he had committed himself in making up and
disposing of his odd supper; for that he should have to
eat in the same way during his whole stay in Savannah,
unless he could manage to get his meals in private;
and, though he was willing to do penance for
one meal in order to purchase the amusement he had
enjoyed, he had no idea of tormenting himself three
or four days for the same purpose. To tell you the
honest truth, said he, nothing but an appetite whetted
by fasting and travelling could have borne me through
the table scene. As it was, my stomach several times
threatened to expose my tricks to the whole company,
by downright open rebellion. I feel that I must make
it some atonement for the liberty I have taken with it,
and therefore propose that we go out and take an
oyster supper before we retire to rest. I assented:
we set out, going separately until we reached the street.
We were received by the oyster-vender in a small
shop which fronted upon the street, and were conducted
through it to a back door, and thence, by a flight
of steps, to a convenient room on the second floor of
an adjoining building. We had been seated about
three minutes, when we heard footsteps on the stairs,
and directly caught this sentence from the ascending
stranger: "Aha, Monsieur Middletong! you say you
hab de bes oyster in de cittee? Vel, me shall soon see."
The sentence was hardly uttered before the door
opened, and in stepped a gay, smirky little Frenchman.
He made us a low bow, and, as soon as he rose from
his obeisance, Ned rushed to him in transports of joy
seized him by the hand, and, shaking it with friendship's
warmest grasp, exclaimed, "How do you do, my old
friend? I had no idea of meeting you here; how do
you do, Mr. Squeezelfanter? how have you been this
"Sair," said the Frenchman, "me tank you ver
much to lub me so hard; but you mistake de gentleman;
my name is not de Squeezilfaunter."
"Come, come, John," continued Ned, "quit your old
tricks before strangers. Mr. Hall, let me introduce
you to my particular friend, John Squeezelfanter, from
"Perhaps, sir," said I, not knowing well what to
say or how to act in such an emergency, "perhaps
you have mistaken the gentleman."
said monsieur, "he is mistake eberyting
at once. My name is not
Zhaun; me play no
treek; me is not de gentlemong fren'; me did not come
from Paree, but from Bordeaux; and me did not suppose
dare was a man in all France dat was name de
"If I am
mistaken," said Ned, "I humbly ask your
pardon; but, really, you look so much like my old
Jack, and talk so much like him, that I would
have sworn you were he."
said monsieur, looking at Ned as though
he might be an acquaintance after all; "vel, sair, dis
time you tell my name right; my name is Jacques
"There," proceeded Ned, "I knew it was impossible
I could be mistaken; your whole family settled on
Sandy Creek; I knew your father and mother, your
sister Patsy and Dilsy, your brother Ichabod, your
aunt Bridget, your - "
* This name in
French is pronounced very nearly like "Jack" in
"Oh, mon Dieu, mon Dieu!" exclaimed the Frenchman,
no longer able to contain his surprise; "dat is
von 'Mericane familee. Dare vas not one French familee
hab all dat name since dis vorl' vas make."
"Now look at me, good Jack," said Ned, "and see
if you don't recollect your old friend Obadiah Snoddleburg,
who used to play with you, when a boy, in Sandy Creek."
"Vel, Monsieur Snotborg, me look at you ver' vell,
and, begar, me neber see you in de creek, nor out de
creek. 'Tis ver' surprise you not know one
from one creek."
"Oh, very well, sir, very well; I forgot where I
was; I understand you now, perfectly. You are not
the first gentleman I have met with in Savannah who
knew me well in the country and forgot me in town.
I ask you pardon, sir, and hope you'll excuse me."
"Me is ver' will' to know you
now, sair; but, begar,
me will not tell you one lie, to know you twenty-five
and tirty years ago."
"It makes no difference, sir," said Ned, looking
thoughtfully and chagrined. "I beg leave, however,
before we close our acquaintance, to correct one
mistake which I made. I said you were from Paris; I
believe, on reflection, I was wrong; I think your sister
Dilsy told me you
were from Bordeaux."
"Foutre, de sist' Dils! Here, Monsieur Middletong!
My oystar ready?"
"Vel, if my oystar ready, you give dem to my fren'
Monsieur Snotborg; and ask him to be so good to carry
dem to my sist' Dils, and my brodder Ichbod on Sand'
Creek." So saying, he vanished like lightning.
The next morning, at breakfast, I occupied Ned's
seat. Mrs. Blank had no sooner taken her place, than
she ordered a servant to bring her a waiter, upon
which she placed a cup of tea and another of coffee;
then ordering three plates, she placed them on it; sent
one servant for one kind of bread, and another for an
other, and so on through all the varieties that were on
the table, from which she made selections for plate No
1. In the same way did she collect meats for plate
No. 2; No. 3 she left blank. She had nearly completed
her operations, when her husband came to
know why every servant was engaged, and no gentleman
helped to anything, when the oddly furnished
waiter met his eye, and fully explained the wonder.
"In God's name, Sarah," said he, "who are you
mixing up those messes for?"
"For that strange gentleman we were speaking of
last night," was the reply.
"Why doesn't he come to the table?"
"He was very anxious to come, but I would not let him."
You would not let him! Why not?"
"Because I did not wish to see a man of his delicate
sensibilities ridiculed and insulted at my table."
"Delicate devilabilities! Then why didn't you send
servant to collect his mixtures?"
"Because I preferred doing it myself to troubling
the boarders. I knew that, wherever his plates went,
the gentlemen would be making merry over them, and
I couldn't bear to see it."
The landlord looked at her for a moment with
commingled astonishment, doubt, and alarm; and then,
upon the breath of a deep drawn sigh, proceeded:
the man! He hasn't been in the
house more than two hours, except when he was asleep,
and he has insulted one half my boarders, made fools
of the other half, turned the head of my barkeeper,
crazed all my servants, and run my wife right stark,
staring, raving mad; a man who is a perfect clown in
his manners, and who, I have no doubt, will, in the
end, prove to be a horse thief."
Much occurred between the landlord and his lady in
should certainly omit such expressions as this, could I do so
with historic fidelity; but the peculiarities of the times of which I
am writing cannot be faithfully represented without them. In
recording things as they are, truth requires me sometimes to put
profane language into the mouths of my characters.
relation to Ned which we must, of necessity, omit.
Suffice it to say, that her assiduities to Ned, her
unexplained sympathies for him, her often-repeated desires
to become better acquainted with him, conspiring with
one or two short interviews which her husband saw
between her and Ned (and which consisted of nothing
more than expressions of regret on his part at the
trouble he was giving the family, and assurance on
hers that it was no trouble at all), began to bring upon
the landlord the husband's worst calamity. This she
soon observed; and, considering her duty to her husband
as of paramount obligation, she gave him an explanation
that was entirely satisfactory. She told him
that Ned was a man of refined feelings and highly
cultivated mind, but that, in his infancy, his mother had
forced him to eat different kinds of diet together, until
she had produced in him a vitiated and unconquerable
appetite, which he was now constrained to indulge, as
the drunkard does his, or be miserable. As the good
man was prepared to believe any story of
he was satisfied.
This being the Sabbath, at the usual hour Ned went
to church, and selected for his morning service one of
those churches in which the pews are free, and in
which the hymn is given out, and sung by the
congregation, a half recitative.
Ned entered the church in as fast a walk as he could
possibly assume; proceeded about half down the aisle,
and popped himself down in his seat as quick as if he
had been shot. The more thoughtless of the congregation
began to titter, and the graver peeped up slyly,
but solemnly at him.
The pastor rose, and, before giving out the hymn,
singing was a
part of the service in which
he thought the whole congregation ought to join. Thus
saying, he gave out the first lines of the hymn. As
soon as the tune was raised, Ned struck in, with one
of the loudest, hoarsest, and most discordant voices
that ever annoyed a solemn assembly.
"I would observe," said the preacher, before giving
out the next two lines, "that there are some persons
who have not the gift of singing; such, of course, are
not expected to sing." Ned took the hint and sang no
more; but his entrance into church and his entrance
into the hymn had already dispersed the solemnity of
three fifths of the congregation.
As soon as the pastor commenced his sermon, Ned
opened his eyes, threw back his head, dropped his
under jaw, and surrendered himself to the most intense
interest. The preacher was an indifferent one; and by
as much as he became dull and insipid, by so much did
Ned become absorbed in the discourse. And yet it
was impossible for the nicest observer to detect anything
in his looks or manner short of the most solemn
devotion. The effect which his conduct had upon the
congregation, and their subsequent remarks, must be
left to the imagination of the reader. I give but one
remark: "Bless that good man who came in the church
so quick," said a venerable matron as she left the church
door, "how he was affected by the
Ned went to church no more on that day. About
four o'clock in the afternoon, while he was standing at
the tavern door, a funeral procession passed by, at the
foot of which, and singly, walked one of the smallest
men I ever saw. As soon as he came opposite the
door, Nod stepped out and joined him with great solemnity.
The contrast between the two was ludicrously
striking, and the little man's looks and uneasiness
plainly showed that he felt it. However, he soon became
reconciled to it. They proceeded but a little
way before Ned inquired of his companion who was
"Mr. Noah Bills," said the little man.
"Nan?" said Ned, raising his hand to his ear in token
of deafness, and bending his head to the speaker.
"Mr. Noah Bills," repeated the little man, loud
enough to disturb the two couple immediately before
"Mrs. Noel's Bill!" said Ned, with mortification
and astonishment. "Do the white persons pay such
respect to niggers in Savannah?
sha'n't do it." So
saying, he left the procession.
The little man was at first considerably nettled; but,
upon being left to his own reflections, he got into an
uncontrollable fit of laughter, as did the couple immediately
in advance of him, who overheard Ned's remark.
The procession now exhibited a most mortifying
spectacle: the head of it in mourning and in tears, and
the foot of it convulsed with laughter.
On Monday Ned employed himself in disposing of
the business which brought him to Savannah, and I saw
but little of him; but I could not step into the street
without hearing of him. All talked about him, and
hardly any two agreed about his character.
On Tuesday he visited the market, and set it all in
astonishment or laughter. He wanted to buy something
of everybody, and some of everything; but could not
agree upon the terms of a trade, because he always
wanted his articles in such portions and numbers as no
one would sell, or upon conditions to which no one
would submit. To give a single example: he beset
an old negro woman to sell him the half of a living
"Do, my good mauma, sell it to me," said he; "my
wife is very sick, and is longing for chicken pie, and
this is all the money I have" (holding out twelve and
a half cents in silver), "and it's just what a half chicken
comes to at your own price."
"Ki, masssa! how gwine cut live chicken in two?"
"I don't want you to cut it in two alive; kill it, clean
it, and then divide it."
"Name o' God! what sort o' chance got to clean
chicken in de market-house! Whay de water for scall
um and wash um?"
"Don't scald it at all; just pick it, so."
"Ech-ech! Fedder fly all ober de buckera-man
meat, he come bang me fo' true. No, massa, I mighty
sorry for your wife, but I no cutty chicken open."
In the afternoon Ned entered the dining room of the
tavern, and who should he find there but Monsieur
Sancric, of oyster-house memory. He and the
tavernkeeper were alone. With the first glimpse of Ned,
"La diable," exclaimed the Frenchman, "here my
broder Ichbod 'gain!" and away he went.
"Mr. Sancric!" said the landlord, calling to him as
if to tell him something just thought of, and following
him out, "what did you say that man's name is?"
"He name Monsieur Snotborg."
"Why, that can't be his name, for it begins with a
B. or an R. Where is he from?"
"From Sand Creek."
"Where did you know him?"
"Begar, me neber did know him." Here Ned
sauntered in sight of the Frenchman, and he vanished.
"Well," said the landlord, as he returned, "it does
seem to me that everybody who has anything to do
with that man runs crazy forthwith."
When he entered the dining-room he found Ned
deeply engaged reading a child's primer, with which
he seemed wonderfully delighted. The landlord sat
for a moment, smiled, and then hastily left the room.
As soon as he disappeared, Ned laid down his book,
and took his station behind some cloaks in the bar,
which at the moment was deserted. He had just
reached his place when the landlord returned with his
"Oh," said the first, "he's gone! I brought you in
to show you what kind of books your man of 'refined
feelings and highly cultivated mind' delights in. But
he has left his book, and here it is, opened at the place
where he left off; and do let's see what's in it?"
They examined, and found that he had been reading
the interesting poem of "Little Jack Horner."
"Now," continued the landlord, "if you'll believe
me, he was just as much delighted with that story, as
you or I would be with the best written number of the
"Well, it's very strange," said Mrs. Blank; "I
reckon he must be
flighty, for no man could have made
a more gentlemanly apology than he did to me for his
peculiarities, and no one could have urged it more
"One thing is very certain," said the husband; "if
he be not flighty himself, he has a wonderful knack of
making everybody else so. Sancric ran away from
him just now as if he had seen the devil; called him
by one name when he left the room, by another at the
door, told me where he came from, and finally swore
he did not know him at all."
Ned having slipped softly from the bar into the entry
during this interview, entered the dining-room as if
from the street.
"I am happy," said he, smiling, "to meet you together
and alone, upon the eve of my departure from
Savannah, that I may explain to you my singular conduct,
and ask your forgiveness of it. I will do so if you
will not expose my true character until I shall have left
This they promised. "My name, then," continued
he, "is Edward Brace, of Richmond county. Humour
has been my besetting sin from my youth up.
It has sunk me far below the station to which my native
gifts entitled me. It has robbed me of the respect
of all my acquaintances; and, what is much more to
be regretted, the esteem of some of my best and most
indulgent friends. All this I have long known; and I
have a thousand times deplored, and as often resolved
to conquer, my self-destroying propensity. But so
deeply is it wrought into my very nature, so completely
and indissolubly interwoven is it with every fibre and
filament of my being, that I have found it impossible
for me to subdue it. Being on my first visit to Savannah,
unknowing and unknown, I could not forego the
opportunity which it furnished of gratifying my
ungovernable proclivity. All the extravagances which you
have seen have been in subservience to it."
He then explained the cause of his troubling the
kind lady before him to give him his meals at his
room, and the strange conduct of Monsieur Sancric;
at which they both laughed heartily. He referred them
to me for confirmation of what he had told them.
Having gone thus far, continued he, "I must sustain my
character until to-morrow, when I shall leave Savannah."
Having now two more to enjoy his humour with him
and myself, he let himself loose that night among the
boarders with all his strength, and never did I see two
mortals laugh as did Mr. and Mrs. Blank.
Far as I have extended this sketch, I cannot close
without exhibiting Ned in one new scene, in which
accident placed him before he left Savannah.
About 2 o'clock on the morning of our departure,
the town was alarmed by the cry of fire. Ned got up
before me, and taking one of my boots from the door,
and putting one of his in its place, he marched down
to the front door with odd boots. On coming out and
finding what had been done, I knew that Ned could not
have left the house, for it was impossible for him to
wear my boot. I was about descending the stairs,
when he called to me from the front door, and said the
servant had mixed our boots, and that he had brought
down one of mine. When I reached the front door,
I found Ned and Mr. and Mrs. Blank there; all the
inmates of the house having left it, who designed to
leave it, but Ned and myself.
"Don't go and leave me, Hall," said he, holding my
boot in his hand, and having his own on his leg.
"How can I leave you," said I, "unless you'll give
me my boot?" This he did not seem to hear.
"Do run, gentlemen," said Mrs. Blank, greatly
alarmed; "Mr. Brace, you've got Mr. Hall's boot;
give it to him."
"In a minute, madam," said he, seeming to be beside
himself. A second after, however, all was explained
to me. He designed to have my company to the fire,
and his own fun before he went.
A man came posting along in great alarm, and crying
"Mister, mister," said Ned, jumping out of the house.
"Sir," said the man, stopping and puffing awfully.
"Have you seen Mr. Peleg Q. C. Stone along where
you've been?" inquired Ned, with anxious solicitude.
"D--n Mr. Peleg Q. C. Stone," said the stranger.
"What chance have I of seeing anybody, hopping up
at two o'clock in the morning, and the town a fire!"
and on he went.
Thus did he amuse himself, with various questions
and remarks to four or five passengers, until even Mrs.
Blank forgot for a while that the town was in flames.
The last object of his sport was a woman, who came
along exclaiming, "Oh, it's Mr. Dalby's house; I'm
sure it is Mr. Dalby's house!" Two gentlemen assured
her that the fire was far beyond Mr. Dalby's house;
but still she went on with her exclamations. When
she had passed the door about ten steps, Ned permitted
me to cover my frozen foot with my boot, and we moved
on towards the fire. We soon overtook the woman
just mentioned, who had become somewhat pacified.
As Ned came alongside of her, without seeming to notice
her, he observed, "Poor Dalby, I see his house is gone."
"I said so," she screamed out; "I knew it!"and
on she went, screaming ten times louder than before.
As soon as we reached the fire, a gentleman in military
dress rode up and ordered Ned into the line to
hand buckets. Ned stepped in, and the first bucket
that was handed to him, he raised it very deliberately
to his mouth and began to drink. In a few seconds,
all on Ned's right were overburdened with buckets,
and calling loudly for relief, while those on his left were
unemployed. Terrible was the cursing and clamour,
and twenty voices at once ordered Ned out of the line.
Ned stepped out, and along came the man on horseback,
and ordered him in again.
"Captain," said Ned, "I am so thirsty that I can do
nothing until I get some water, and they will not let me
drink in the line."
"Well," said the captain, "step in, and I'll see that
you get a drink."
Ned stepped in again, and receiving the first bucket,
began to raise it to his lips very slowly, when some
one hallooed to him to pass on the bucket, and he
brought it down again and handed it on.
"Why didn't you drink?" said the captain.
"Why, don't you see they won't let me?" said Ned.
"Don't mind what they say; drink, and then go on
with your work."
Ned took the next bucket, and commenced raising
it as before, when some one again ordered him to pass
on the bucket.
"There," said Ned, turning to the captain, with the
bucket half raised, "you hear that?"
"Why, blast your eyes," said the captain, "what
do you stop for? Drink on and have done with it."
Ned raised the bucket to his lips and drank, or pretended
to drink, until a horse might have been satisfied.
"Ain't you done?" said the captain, general mutiny
and complaint beginning to prevail in the line.
"Why, ha'n't you drank enough?" said the captain,
becoming extremely impatient.
"Most," said Ned, letting out a long breath, and still
holding the bucket near his lips.
"Zounds and blood!" cried the captain, "clear yourself;
you'll drink an engineful of water."
Ned left the ranks and went to his lodgings; and
the rising sun found us on our way homeward.
IN the younger days of the Republic there lived in
the county of -- two men, who were admitted on all
hands to be the very best men in the county; which, in
the Georgia vocabulary, means they could flog any
other two men in the county. Each, through many a
hard-fought battle, had acquired the mastery of his own
battalion; but they lived on opposite sides of the Courthouse,
and in different battalions: consequently, they
were but seldom thrown together. When they met,
however, they were always very friendly; indeed, at
their first interview, they seemed to conceive a wonderful
attachment to each other, which rather increased
than diminished as they became better acquainted; so
that, but for the circumstance which I am about to
mention, the question, which had been a thousand times
asked, "Which is the best man, Billy Stallions (Stallings)
or Bob Durham?" would probably never have
Billy ruled the upper battalion, and Bob the lower.
The former measured six feet and an inch in his stockings,
and, without a single pound of cumbrous flesh
about him, weighed a hundred and eighty. The latter
was an inch shorter than his rival, and ten pounds
lighter; but he was much the most active of the two.
In running and jumping he had but few equals in the
county; and in wrestling, not one. In other respects
they were nearly equal. Both were admirable specimens
of human nature in its finest form. Billy's victories
had generally been achieved by the tremendous
power of his blows, one of which had often proved
decisive of his battles; Bob's, by his adroitness in bringing
his adversary to the ground. This advantage he
had never failed to gain at the onset, and, when gained,
he never failed to improve it to the defeat of his
adversary. These points of difference have involved
the reader in a doubt as to the probable issue of a contest
between them. It was not so, however, with the
two battalions. Neither had the least difficulty in
determining the point by the most natural and irresistible
; and though, by the same course
of reasoning, they arrived at directly opposite conclusions,
neither felt its confidence in the least shaken by
this circumstance. The upper battalion swore "that
Billy only wanted one lick at him to knock his heart,
liver, and lights out of him; and if he got two at him,
he'd knock him into a cocked hat." The lower battalion
retorted, "that he wouldn't have time to double his
fist before Bob would put his head where his feet ought
to be; and that, by the time he hit the ground, the
meat would fly off his face so quick, that people would
think it was shook off by the fall." These disputes
often led to the á priori , but with such
equality of success on both sides as to leave the main
question just where they found it. They usually ended,
however, in the common way, with a bet; and
many a quart of old Jamaica (whiskey had not then
supplanted rum) were staked upon the issue. Still,
greatly to the annoyance of the curious, Billy and Bob
continued to be good friends. argumentum ad hominem
Now there happened to reside in the county just alluded
to a little fellow by the name of Ransy Sniffle:
a sprout of Richmond, who, in his earlier days, had fed
copiously upon red clay and blackberries. This diet
had given to Ransy a complexion that a corpse would
have disdained to own, and an abdominal rotundity
that was quite unprepossessing. Long spells of the
fever and ague, too, in Ransy's youth, had conspired
with clay and blackberries to throw him quite out of
the order of nature. His shoulders were fleshless and
elevated; his head large and flat; his neck slim and
translucent; and his arms, hands, fingers, and feet
were lengthened out of all proportion to the rest of his
frame. His joints were large and his limbs small; and
as for flesh, he could not, with propriety, be said to
have any. Those parts which nature usually supplies
with the most of this article - the calves of the legs,
for example - presented in him the appearance of so
many well-drawn blisters. His height was just five
feet nothing; and his average weight in blackberry
season, ninety-five. I have been thus particular in
describing him, for the purpose of showing what a great
matter a little fire sometimes kindleth. There was
nothing on this earth which delighted Ransy so much
as a fight. He never seemed fairly alive except when
he was witnessing, fomenting, or talking about a fight.
Then, indeed, his deep-sunken gray eye assumed
something of a living fire, and his tongue acquired a
volubility that bordered upon eloquence. Ransy had been
kept for more than a year in the most torturing suspense
as to the comparative manhood of Billy Stallings
and Bob Durham. He had resorted to all his usual
expedients to bring them in collision, and had entirely
failed. He had faithfully reported to Bob all that had
been said by the people in the upper battalion "agin
him," and "he was sure Billy Stallings started it. He
heard Billy say himself to Jim Brown, that he could
or any other man in his battalion;" and this
he told to Bob; adding, "Dod darn his soul, if he was
a little bigger, if he'd let any man put upon his battalion
in such a way." Bob replied, "If he (Stallings)
thought so, he'd better come and try it." This Ransy
carried to Billy, and delivered it with a spirit becoming
his own dignity and the character of his battalion, and
with a colouring well calculated to give it effect. These,
and many other schemes which Ransy laid for the
gratification of his curiosity, entirely failed of their object.
Billy and Bob continued friends, and Ransy had
began to lapse into the most tantalizing and hopeless
despair, when a circumstance occurred which led to a
settlement of the long disputed question.
It is said that a hundred gamecocks will live in perfect
harmony together if you do not put a hen with
them; and so it would have been with Billy and Bob
had there been no women in the world. But there
were women in the world, and from them each of our
heroes had taken to himself a wife. The good ladies
were no strangers to the prowess of their husbands,
and, strange as it may seem, they presumed a little
The two battalions had met at the Courthouse upon
a regimental parade. The two champions were there,
and their wives had accompanied them. Neither knew
the other's lady, nor were the ladies known to each
other. The exercises of the day were just over, when
Mrs. Stallings and Mrs. Durham stepped simultaneously
into the store of Zephaniah Atwater, from "down east."
"Have you any Turkey-red?" said Mrs. S.
"Have you any curtain calico?" said Mrs. D. at the
"Yes, ladies," said Mr. Atwater, "I have both."
"Then help me first," said Mrs. D., "for I'm in a hurry."
"I'm in as great a hurry as she is," said Mrs. S.,
"and I'll thank you to help me first."
"And, pray, who are you, madam?" continued the other.
"Your betters, madam," was the reply.
At this moment Billy Stallings stepped in. "Come,"
said he, "Nancy, let's be going; it's getting late."
"I'd a been gone half an hour ago," she replied, "if
it hadn't been for that impudent huzzy."
"Who do you call an impudent huzzy, you nasty,
good-for-nothing, snaggle-toothed gaub of fat, you?"
returned Mrs. D.
"Look here, woman," said Billy, "have you got a
husband here? If you have, I'll
lick him till he learns
to teach you better manners, you sassy heifer you."
At this moment something was seen to rush out of the
store as if ten thousand hornets were stinging it; crying,
"Take care - let me go - don't hold me - where's
Bob Durham?" It was Ransy Sniffle, who had been
listening in breathless delight to all that had passed.
"Yonder's Bob, setting on the Courthouse steps,"
cried one. "What's the matter?"
"Don't talk to me!" said Ransy. "Bob Durham,
you'd better go long yonder, and take care of your
wife. They're playing h-l with her there, in Zeph
Atwater's store. Dod eternally darn my soul, if any
man was to talk to my wife as Bill Stallions is talking
to yours, if I wouldn't drive blue blazes through him
in less than no time."
Bob sprang to the store in a minute, followed by a
hundred friends; for the bully of a county never wants
"Bill Stallions," said Bob, as he entered, "what have
you been saying to my wife?"
"Is that your wife?" inquired Billy, obviously much
surprised and a little disconcerted.
"Yes, she is, and no man shall abuse her, I don't
care who he is."
"Well," rejoined Billy, "it an't worth while to go
over it; I've said enough for a fight: and, if you'll
step out, we'll settle it!"
"Billy," said Bob, "are you for a fair fight?"
"I am," said Billy. "I've heard much of your manhood,
and I believe I'm a better man than you are. If
you will go into a ring with me, we can soon settle
"Choose your friends," said Bob; "make your ring,
and I'll be in with mine as soon as you will."
They both stepped out, and began to strip very deliberately,
each battalion gathering round its champion,
except Ransy, who kept himself busy in a most honest
endeavour to hear and see all that transpired in both
groups at the same time. He ran from one to the other
in quick succession; peeped here and listened there;
talked to this one, then to that one, and then to himself;
squatted under one's legs and another's arms
and, in the short interval between stripping and stepping
into the ring, managed to get himself trod on by
half of both battalions. But Ransy was not the only
one interested upon this occasion; the most intense
interest prevailed everywhere. Many were the conjectures,
doubts, oaths, and imprecations uttered while
the parties were preparing for the combat. All the
knowing ones were consulted as to the issue, and they
all agreed, to a man, in one of two opinions: either
that Bob would flog Billy, or Billy would flog Bob.
We must be permitted, however, to dwell for a moment
upon the opinion of Squire Thomas Loggins; a
man who, it was said, had never failed to predict the
issue of a fight in all his life. Indeed, so unerring had
he always proved in this regard, that it would have
been counted the most obstinate infidelity to doubt for
a moment after he had delivered himself. Squire
Loggins was a man who said but little, but that little
was always delivered with the most imposing solemnity
of look and cadence. He always wore the aspect of
profound thought, and you could not look at him without
coming to the conclusion that he was elaborating
truth from its most intricate combinations.
"Uncle Tommy," said Sam Reynolds, "you can tell
us all about it if you will; how will the fight go?"
The question immediately drew an anxious group
around the squire. He raised his teeth slowly from
the head of his walking cane, on which they had been
resting; pressed his lips closely and thoughtfully together;
threw down his eyebrows, dropped his chin,
raised his eyes to an angle of twenty-three degrees,
paused about half a minute, and replied, "Sammy,
watch Robert Durham close in the beginning of the
fight; take care of William Stallions in the middle of
it; and see who has the wind at the end." As he uttered
the last member of the sentence, he looked slyly
at Bob's friends, and winked very significantly; whereupon
they rushed, with one accord, to tell Bob what
Uncle Tommy had said. As they retired, the squire
turned to Billy's friends, and said, with a smile, "Them
boys think I mean that Bob will whip."
Here the other party kindled into joy, and hastened
to inform Billy how Bob's friends had deceived themselves
as to Uncle Tommy's opinion. In the mean time
the principals and seconds were busily employed in
preparing themselves for the combat. The plan of attack
and defence, the manner of improving the various turns
of the conflict, "the best mode of saving wind," &c.,
&c., were all discussed and settled. At length Billy
announced himself ready, and his crowd were seen
moving to the centre of the Courthouse Square; he and
his five seconds in the rear. At the same time, Bob's
party moved to the same point, and in the same order.
The ring was now formed, and for a moment the silence
of death reigned through both battalions. It was soon
interrupted, however, by the cry of "Clear the way!"
from Billy's seconds; when the ring opened in the centre
of the upper battalion (for the order of march had
arranged the centre of the two battalions on opposite
sides of the circle), and Billy stepped into the ring from
the east, followed by his friends. He was stripped to
the trousers, and exhibited an arm, breast, and shoulders
of the most tremendous portent. His step was
firm, daring, and martial; and as he bore his fine form
a little in advance of his friends, an involuntary burst
of triumph broke from his side of the ring; and, at the
same moment, an uncontrollable thrill of awe ran along
the whole curve of the lower battalion.
"Look at him!" was heard from his friends; "just
look at him."
"Ben, how much you ask to stand before that man
"Pshaw, don't talk about it! Just thinkin' about
it 's broke three o' my ribs a'ready!"
"What's Bob Durham going to do when Billy let's
that arm loose upon him?"
"God bless your soul, he'll think thunder and lightning
a mint julip to it."
"Oh, look here, men, go take Bill Stallions out o' that
ring, and bring in Phil Johnson's stud horse, so that
Durham may have some chance! I don't want to see
the man killed right away."
These and many other like expressions, interspersed
thickly with oaths of the most modern coinage, were
coming from all points of the upper battalion, while Bob
was adjusting girth of his pantaloons, which walking
had discovered not to be exactly right. It was just
fixed to his mind, his foes becoming a little noisy, and
his friends a little uneasy at his delay, when Billy called
out, with a smile of some meaning, "Where's the bully
of the lower battalion? I'm getting tired of waiting."
"Here he is," said Bob, lighting, as it seemed, from
the clouds into the ring, for he had actually bounded
clear of the head of Ransy Sniffle into the circle. His
descent was quite as imposing as Billy's entry, and
excited the same feelings, but in opposite bosoms.
Voices of exultation now rose on his side.
"Where did he come from?"
"Why," said one of his seconds (all having just entered),
"we were girting him up, about a hundred
yards out yonder, when he heard Billy ask for the
bully, and he fetched a leap over the Courthouse and went
out of sight; but I told them to come on, they'd find
Here the lower battalion burst into a peal of laughter,
mingled with a look of admiration, which seemed
to denote their entire belief of what they had heard.
"Boys, widen the ring, so as to give him room to jump."
"Oh, my little flying wild-cat, hold him if you can!
and, when you get him fast, hold lightning next."
"Ned, what do you think he's made of?"
"Steel springs and chicken-hawk, God bless you!"
"Gentlemen," said one of Bob's seconds, "I understand
it is to be a fair fight; catch as catch can, rough
and tumble: no man touch till one or the other halloos."
"That's the rule," was the reply from the other side.
"Are you ready?"
"We are ready."
"Then blaze away, my game cocks!"
At the word, Bob dashed at his antagonist at full
speed; and Bill squared himself to receive him with
one of his most fatal blows. Making his calculation,
from Bob's velocity, of the time when he would come
within striking distance, he let drive with tremendous
force. But Bob's onset was obviously planned to avoid
this blow; for, contrary to all expectations, he stopped
short just out of arm's reach, and, before Billy could
recover his balance, Bob had him "all under-hold."
The next second, sure enough, "found Billy's head
where his feet ought to be." How it was done no one
could tell; but, as if by supernatural power, both
Billy's feet were thrown full half his own height in the
air, and he came down with a force that seemed to
shake the earth. As he struck the ground, commingled
shouts, screams, and yells burst from the lower battalion,
loud enough to be heard for miles. "Hurra, my
little hornet!" "Save him!" "Feed him!" "Give
him the Durham physic till his stomach turns!" Billy
was no sooner down than Bob was on him, and lending
him awful blows about the face and breast. Billy made
two efforts to rise by main strength, but failed. "Lord
bless you, man, don't try to get up!
Lay still and take
it! you bleege to have it!"
Billy now turned his face suddenly to the ground, and
rose upon his hands and knees. Bob jerked up both
his hands and threw him on his face. He again recovered
his late position, of which Bob endeavoured to
deprive him as before; but, missing one arm, he failed,
and Billy rose. But he had scarcely resumed his feet
before they flew up as before, and he came again to
the ground. "No fight, gentlemen!" cried Bob's
friends; "the man can't stand up! Bouncing feet are
bad things to fight in." His fall, however, was this time
comparatively light; for, having thrown his right arm
round Bob's neck, he carried his head down with him.
This grasp, which was obstinately maintained, prevented
Bob from getting on him, and they lay head to head,
seeming, for a time, to do nothing. Presently they
rose, as if by mutual consent; and, as they rose, a
shout burst from both battalions. "Oh, my lark!"
cried the east, "has he foxed you? Do you begin to
feel him! He's only beginning to fight; he ain't got
"Look yonder!" cried the west; "didn't I tell you
so! He hit the ground so hard it jarred his nose off.
Now ain't he a pretty man as he stands? He shall
have my sister Sal just for his pretty looks. I want to
get in the breed of them sort o' men, to drive ugly out
of my kinfolks."
I looked, and saw that Bob had entirely lost his left
ear, and a large piece from his left cheek. His right
eye was a little discoloured, and the blood flowed
profusely from his wounds.
Bill presented a hideous spectacle. About a third of
his nose, at the lower extremity, was bit off, and his
face so swelled and bruised that it was difficult to
discover in it anything of the human visage, much more
the fine features which he carried into the ring.
They were up only long enough for me to make the
foregoing discoveries, when down they went again,
precisely as before. They no sooner touched the ground
than Bill relinquished his hold upon Bob's neck. In
this he seemed to all to have forfeited the only advantage
which put him upon an equality with his adversary.
But the movement was soon explained. Bill wanted
this arm for other purposes than defence; and he had
made arrangements whereby he knew that he could
make it answer these purposes; for, when they rose
again, he had the middle finger of Bob's left hand in
his mouth. He was now secure from Bob's annoying
trips; and he began to lend his adversary tremendous
blows, every one of which was hailed by a shout from
his friends. "Bullets!" "
"That'll do for his face; now feel his short ribs, Billy!"
I now considered the contest settled. I deemed it
impossible for any human being to withstand for five
seconds the loss of blood which issued from Bob's ear
cheek, nose, and finger, accompanied with such blows
as he was receiving. Still he maintained the conflict,
and gave blow for blow with considerable effect. But
the blows of each became slower and weaker after the
first three or four; and it became obvious that Bill
wanted the room which Bob's finger occupied for breathing.
He would therefore, probably, in a short time,
have let it go, had not Bob anticipated his politeness by
jerking away his hand, and making him a present of
the finger. He now seized Bill again, and brought him
to his knees, but he recovered. He again brought him
to his knees, and he again recovered. A third effort,
however, brought him down, and Bob on top of him.
These efforts seemed to exhaust the little remaining
strength of both; and they lay, Bill undermost and Bob
across his breast, motionless, and panting for breath.
After a short pause, Bob gathered his hand full of dirt
and sand, and was in the act of grinding it in his
adversary's eyes, when Bill cried "ENOUGH!" Language
cannot describe the scene that followed; the shouts,
oaths, frantic gestures, taunts, replies, and little fights,
and therefore I shall not attempt it. The champions
were borne off by their seconds and washed; when
many a bleeding wound and ugly bruise was discovered
on each which no eye had seen before.
Many had gathered round Bob, and were in various
ways congratulating and applauding him, when a voice
from the centre of the circle cried out, "Boys, hush
and listen to me!" It proceeded from Squire Loggins,
who had made his way to Bob's side, and had gathered
his face up into one of its most flattering and intelligible
expressions. All were obedient to the squire's command.
"Gentlemen," continued he, with a most knowing
smile, "is - Sammy - Reynold - in - this - company
- of - gentlemen?"
"Yes," said Sam, "here I am."
"Sammy," said the squire, winking to the company,
and drawing the head of his cane to his mouth with an
arch smile as he closed, "I - wish - you - to tell - cousin
- Bobby - and - these - gentlemen here present -
what - your - Uncle - Tommy - said - before - the -
fight - began?"
"Oh! get away, Uncle Tom," said Sam, smiling
(the squire winked), "you don't know nothing about
fighting." (The squire winked again.) "All you
know about it is how it'll begin, how it'll go on, how
it'll end; that's all. Cousin Bob, when you going to
fight again, just go to the old man, and let him tell you
all about it. If he can't, don't ask nobody else nothing
about it, I tell you."
The squire's foresight was complimented in many
ways by the by-standers; and he retired, advising "the
boys to be at peace, as fighting was a bad business."
Durham and Stallings kept their beds for several
weeks, and did not meet again for two months. When
they met, Billy stepped up to Bob and offered his hand
saying, "Bobby, you've
licked me a fair fight; but you
wouldn't have done it if I hadn't been in the wrong. I
oughn't to have treated your wife as I did; and I felt
so through the whole fight; and it sort o' cowed me."
"Well, Billy," said Bob, "let's be friends. Once in
the fight, when you had my finger in your mouth, and
was pealing me in the face and breast, I was going to
halloo; but I thought of Betsy, and knew the house would
be too hot for me if I got whipped when fighting for
her, after always whipping when I fought for myself."
"Now that's what I always love to see," said a by-stander.
"It's true I brought about the fight, but I
wouldn't have done it if it hadn't o' been on account
Miss (Mrs.) Durham. But dod etarnally darn my
soul, if I ever could stand by and see any woman put
upon, much less Miss Durham. If Bobby hadn't been
there, I'd o' took it up myself, be darned if I wouldn't,
even if I'd o' got whipped for it. But we're all friends
now." The reader need hardly be told that this was
Thanks to the Christian religion, to schools, colleges,
and benevolent associations, such scenes of barbarism
and cruelty as that which I have been just describing
are now of rare occurrence, though they may still be
occasionally met with in some of the new counties.
Wherever they prevail, they are a disgrace to that
community. The peace-officers who countenance them
deserve a place in the Penitentiary.
IT is not to avoid the
malediction of Shakspeare
such "as have not music in themselves, and are not
charmed with the concord of sweet sounds," that I profess
to be fond of music; but because I am, in truth,
extravagantly fond of it. But I am not fond of French
music; and as for the Italian, I think that any one who
will dare to inflict it upon an American ear, ought to be
sent to the Penitentiary without a trial. It is true that
some of the simple, national French airs are very fine;
but there is not one in a thousand Italian tunes, simple
or compound, which is not manslaughter. The German
compositions are decidedly the best from the Continent
of Europe; but even these are, of late, partaking so
much of the vices of France and Italy, that they have
become scarcely sufferable. As yet, however, they
may be safely admitted into a land of liberty and sense.
Scotland has escaped the corruptions which have crept
into the empire of music, and, consequently, her music
recommends itself, with irresistible charms, to every
ear which is not vitiated by the senseless rattle of the
Continent. Ireland is a little more contaminated; but
still her compositions retain enough of their primitive
simplicity and sweetness to entitle them to the
patronage of all who would cultivate a correct taste in
this interesting department of the fine arts. I would
not be understood as speaking here without any limitations
or restrictions; but I do maintain, that, with
some few exceptions, all of the soul of music which is
now left in the world is to be found in Scotland or
But Germans, Frenchmen, and Italians are decidedly
the best, that is,
the most expert performers in the world.
They perform all over the world, and, in order to exhibit
themselves to the best advantage, they select the
most difficult and complicated pieces. The people at
large presume that the best performers must be the
best judges of music, and must make the best selections;
they therefore forego the trouble of forming an
opinion of their own, and pin their faith upon the
decisions, or, rather, the practice of the amateurs. It
was somehow in this way, I presume, that the fashionable
music of the day first obtained currency. Having
become prevalent, it has become tolerable; just as
has the use of tobacco or ardent spirits. And, while
upon this head, I would earnestly recommend to the
friends of reform in our favoured country to establish
an "Anti-mad-music Society," in order to suppress, if
possible, the cruelties of our modern musical
If the instrumental music of France and Italy be
bad, their vocal music is, if possible, a thousand times
worse. Neither the English
nor the Georgia language
furnishes me with a term expressive of the horrors of
a French or Italian song, as it is agonized forth by one
of their professed singers. The law should make it
justifiable homicide in any man to kill an Italian in the
very act of inflicting an upon a refined
American ear. il penseroso
And yet, with all the other European abominations
which have crept into our highly-favoured country, the
French and Italian style of singing and playing has
made its way hither; and it is not uncommon to hear
our boarding-school misses piping away, not merely in
the style, but in the very language of these nations.
This I can bear very well if there happen to be a
Frenchman or an Italian present, because I know that
he suffers more from the
words than I do from the music; for I confess that upon such occasions I feel something
of the savage malignity which visits the sins of a nation
upon any of its citizens. But it most frequently happens
that I am put to the tortures of which I have been
speaking without this mitigation. It was thus with
me a few evenings ago, at Mrs. B - 's party.
Tea had been disposed of, and the nonsensical chit-chat
of such occasions had begun to flag, when I invited
Miss Mary Williams to the piano. She rose promptly
at my request, without any affected airs, and with
no other apology than that "she felt some diffidence at
playing in the presence of
Miss Crump." The piano
was an admirable one, and its tones were exquisitely
fine. Mary seated herself at it, and, after a short but
beautiful prelude, she commenced one of Burns's plaintive
songs, to a tune which was new to me, but which
was obviously from the poet's own land, and by one who
felt the inspiration of his verse. The composer and the
poet were both honoured by the performer. Mary's
voice was inimitably fine. Her enunciation was clear
and distinct, with just emphasis enough to give the
verse its appropriate expression, without interrupting
the melody of the music; and her modulations were
She had closed, and was in the act of rising, before
I awoke from the delightful
into which she had
lulled me. I arrested her, however, and insisted upon
her proceeding; when she gave me one of Allan Ramsey's
best, to measure equally appropriate. This she
followed with Tannahill's "Gloomy Winter's now awa,"
and was again retiring, when my friend Hall observed,
"See, Miss Mary, you've brought a tear to Mr. Baldwin's
eye, and you must not cease until you chase it
away with some lively air." My friend was right.
The touching pathos of Mary's voice, conspiring with a
train of reflections which the song inspired, had really
brought me to tears. I thought of poor Tannahill's fate.
He was the victim of a bookseller's stupidity. With
men of taste and letters, his fugitive pieces, particularly
his lyrics, had gained him a well-deserved reputation;
but he was not exempt from the common lot of
authors. He was attacked by the ignorant and the
invidious; and, with the hopeless design of silencing
these, he prepared a volume or more of his poems with
great care, and sent them to a bookseller for publication.
After the lapse of several weeks, they were returned
without a compliment, or an offer for them. The
mortification and disappointment were too severe for his
reason. It deserted him, and soon after he was found
dead in a tunnel of the burn which had been the scene
of one of his earliest songs. Unfortunately, in his madness
he destroyed his favourite works.
Such was the train of reflection from which Mary
was kind enough, at the request of my friend, to relieve
me by a lively Irish air. Had it not been admirably
selected, I could hardly have borne the transition. But
there was enough of softening melody, mingled with the
sprightliness of the air, to lead me gently to a gayer
mood, in which she left me.
In the mean time, most of the young ladies and gentlemen
had formed a circle round Miss Aurelia Emma
Theodosia Augusta Crump, and were earnestly engaged
in pressing her to play. One young lady even went
so far as to drop on her knees before her, and in this
posture to beseech "her dear Augusta just to play the
delightful overture of - ," something that sounded
to me like "
Blaze in the frets." This petition was
urged with such a melting sweetness of voice, such a
bewildering leer at the gentlemen, and such a theatric
heave of the bosom, that it threw the young gentlemen
into transports. Hall was rude enough to whisper in
mine ear, "that he thought it indelicate to expose an
unmantled bosom to a perpendicular view of a large
company;" and he muttered something about "republican
simplicity," I knew not exactly what. But I assured
him the fair petitioner was so overcome by her
solicitude for the overture, that she thought of nothing
else, and was wholly unconscious that there was a
gentleman in the room. As to his insinuation about
"points of view," I convinced him by an easy argument
that it was wholly unfounded, for that this was
the very point of view in which an exposed neck must
always be seen, while men continue taller than women;
and that, as the young lady must have been apprized
of this, she would hardly take so much trouble for
nothing. But to return.
Miss Crump was inexorable. She declared that she
was entirely out of practice. "She scarcely ever
touched the piano;" "Mamma was always scolding
her for giving so much of her time to French and Italian,
and neglecting her music and painting; but she
told mamma the other day, that it really was so irksome
to her to quit Racine and Dante, and go to thrumming
upon the piano, that, but for the obligations of
filial obedience, she did not think she should ever touch
Here Mrs. Crump was kind enough, by the merest
accident in the world, to interpose, and to relieve the
company from farther anxiety.
"Augusta, my dear," said she, "go and play a tune
or two; the company will excuse your hoarseness."
Miss Crump rose immediately at her mother's bidding,
and moved to the piano, accompanied by a large
group of smiling faces.
"Poor child," said Mrs. Crump as she went forward,
"she is frightened to death. I wish Augusta could
overcome her diffidence."
Miss Crump was educated at Philadelphia; she had
been taught to sing by Madam Piggisqueaki, who was
a pupil of Ma'm'selle Crokifroggietta, who had sung
with Madam Catalani; and she had taken lessons on
the piano from Seignor Buzzifussi, who had played with
She seated herself at the piano, rocked to the right,
then to the left, leaned forward, then backward, and
began. She placed her right hand about midway the
keys, and her left about two octaves below it. She
now put off to the right in a brisk canter up the treble
notes, and the left after it. The left then led the way
back, and the right pursued it in like manner. The
right turned, and repeated its first movement; but the
left outran it this time, hopped over it, and flung it
entirely off the track. It came in again, however, behind
the left on its return, and passed it in the same style.
They now became highly incensed at each other, and
met furiously on the middle ground. Here a most
awful conflict ensued for about the space of ten seconds,
when the right whipped off all of a sudden, as I thought,
fairly vanquished. But I was in the error against
which Jack Randolph cautions us: "It had only fallen
back to a stronger position." It mounted upon two
black keys, and commenced the note of a rattlesnake.
This had a wonderful effect upon the left, and placed
the doctrine of "snake charming" beyond dispute.
The left rushed furiously towards it repeatedly, but
seemed invariably panic-struck when it came within six
keys of it, and as invariably retired with a tremendous
roaring down the bass keys. It continued its assaults,
sometimes by the way of the naturals, sometimes by
the way of the sharps, and sometimes by a zigzag
through both; but all its attempts to dislodge the right
from its stronghold proving ineffectual, it came close
up to its adversary and expired.
Any one, or rather no one, can imagine what kind
of noises the piano gave forth during the conflict.
Certain it is, no one can describe them, and, therefore,
I shall not attempt it.
The battle ended, Miss Augusta moved as though
she would have arisen, but this was protested against
by a number of voices at once: "One song, my dear
Aurelia," said Miss Small; "you must sing that sweet
little French air you used to sing in Philadelphia, and
which Madame Piggisqueaki was so fond of."
Miss Augusta looked pitifully at her mamma, and her
mamma looked "sing" at Miss Augusta: accordingly,
she squared herself for a song.
She brought her hands to the campus this time in
fine style, and they seemed now to be perfectly
reconciled to each other. They commenced a kind of
colloquy; the right whispering treble very softly, and the
left responding bass very loudly. The conference had
been kept up until I began to desire a change of the subject,
when my ear caught, indistinctly, some very curious
sounds, which appeared to proceed from the lips
of Miss Augusta: they seemed to be compounded of a
dry cough, a grunt, a hiccough, and a whisper; and
they were introduced, it appeared to me, as interpreters
between the right and left. Things progressed in
this way for about the space of fifteen seconds, when I
happened to direct my attention to Mr. Jenkins, from
Philadelphia. His eyes were closed, his head rolled
gracefully from side to side; a beam of heavenly
complacency rested upon his countenance; and his whole
man gave irresistible demonstration that Miss Crump's
music made him feel good all over. I had just turned
from the contemplation of Mr. Jenkins's transports, to
see whether I could extract from the performance
anything intelligible, when Miss Crump made a fly-catching
grab at half a dozen keys in a row, and at the same
instant she fetched a long, dunghill-cock crow, at the
conclusion of which she grabbed as many keys with
the left. This came over Jenkins like a warm bath,
and over me like a rake of bamboo briers.
My nerves had not recovered from this shock before
Miss Augusta repeated the movement, and accompanied
it with a squall of a pinched cat. This threw me
into an ague fit; but, from respect to the performer, I
maintained my position. She now made a third grasp
with the right, boxed the faces of six keys in a row
with the left, and at the same time raised one of the
most unearthly howls that ever issued from the throat
of a human being. This seemed the signal for universal
uproar and destruction. She now threw away all
reserve, and charged the piano with her whole force.
She boxed it, she clawed it, she raked it, she scraped
it. Her neck-vein swelled, her chin flew up, her face
flushed, her eye glared, her bosom heaved; she screamed,
she howled, she yelled, cackled, and was in the act
of dwelling upon the note of a screech-owl, when I took
the St. Vitus's dance and rushed out of the room.
"Good Lord," said a by-stander, "if this be her
what must her crying be!" As I reached the
door I heard a voice exclaim, "By heavens! she's the
most enchanting performer I ever heard in my life!"
I turned to see who was the author of this ill timed
compliment, and who should it be but Nick Truck, from
Lincoln, who seven years before was dancing "Possum
up the Gum-tree" in the chimney corner of his father's
kitchen. Nick had entered the counting-room
of a merchant in Charleston some five or six years
before; had been sent out as supercargo of a vessel to
Bordeaux, and, while the vessel was delivering one
cargo and taking in another, had contracted a wonderful
relish for French music.
As for myself, I went home in convulsions, took sixty
drops of laudanum, and fell asleep. I dreamed that
I was in a beautiful city, the streets of which intersected
each other at right angles; that the birds of the air
and the beasts of the forest had gathered there for battle,
the former led on by a Frenchman, the latter by
an Italian; that I was looking on their movements towards
each other, when I heard the cry of "Hecate
is coming!" I turned my eye to the northeast, and
saw a female flying through the air towards the city,
and distinctly recognized in her the features of Miss
Crump. I took the alarm and was making my escape,
when she gave command for the beasts and birds to fall
on me. They did so, and, with all the noises of the
animal world, were in the act of tearing me to pieces,
when I was waked by the stepping of Hall, my
roommate, into bed.
"Oh, my dear sir," exclaimed I, "you have waked
me from a horrible dream. What o'clock is it?"
"Ten minutes after twelve," said he.
"And where have you been to this late hour?"
"I have just returned from the party."
"And what kept you so late?"
"Why, I disliked to retire while Miss Crump was playing."
"In mercy's name!" said I, "is she playing yet?"
"Yes," said he; "I had to leave her playing at last."
"And where was Jenkins?"
"He was there, still in ecstasies, and urging her to
"And where was Truck?"
"He was asleep."
"And what was she playing?"
"An Italian - "
Here I swooned, and heard
THE TURN OUT.
IN the good old days of ,
fescues , and
terms which used to be familiar in this country
during the Revolutionary war, and which lingered
in some of our county schools for a few years afterward,
I visited my friend Captain Griffen, who resided
about seven miles to the eastward of Wrightsborough,
then in Richmond, but now in Columbia county. I
reached the captain's hospitable dome on Easter, and
was received by him and his good lady with a Georgia
welcome of 1790. It was warm from the heart, and
taught me in a moment that the obligations of the
visit were upon their side, not mine. Such receptions
were not peculiar, at that time, to the captain and his
family; they were common throughout the state.
Where are they now! and where the generous hospitalities
which invariably followed them! I see them
occasionally at the contented farmer's door and at his
festive board, but when they shall have taken leave of
these, Georgia will know them no more.
The day was consumed in the interchange of news
* The fescue was a sharpened
wire or other instrument used by
the preceptor to point out the letters to the children.
contraction of the words "a by itself, a." It was
usual, when either of the vowels constituted a syllable of a word, to
pronounce it, and denote its independent character by the words
just mentioned thus: "a by itself, Abisselfa
a-c-o-r-n corn, acorn;" "e by itself,
e-v-i-l, evil," &c.
The character which stands for the word "
(&) was probably
pronounced by the same accompaniment, but in terms borrowed from
the Latin language, thus: "& per se " (by itself) & Hence,
between the captain and myself (though, I confess, it
might have been better employed), and the night found
us seated round a temporary fire, which the captain's
sons had kindled up for the purpose of dying eggs. It
was a common custom of those days with boys to dye
and peck eggs on Easter Sunday and for a few days
afterward. They were coloured according to the fancy
of the dyer; some yellow, some green, some purple,
and some with a variety of colours, borrowed from a
piece of calico. They were not unfrequently beautified
with a taste and skill which would have extorted a
compliment from Hezekiah Niles, if he had seen them
a year ago, in the hands of the "
young operatives," in
some of the northern manufactories. No sooner was
the work of dying finished, than our "young operatives"
sallied forth to stake the whole proceeds of their
" domestic industry" upon a peck. Egg was struck
against egg, point to point, and the egg that was broken
was given up as lost to the owner of the one which
came whole from the shock.
While the boys were busily employed in the manner
just mentioned, the captain's youngest son, George,
gave us an anecdote highly descriptive of the Yankee
and Georgia character, even in their buddings, and at
this early date. "What you think, pa," said he, "Zeph
Pettibone went and got his Uncle Zach to turn him a
wooden egg; and he won a whole hatful o' eggs from
all us boys 'fore we found it out; but, when we found
it out, maybe John Brown didn't smoke him for it, and
took away all his eggs, and give 'em back to us boys;
and you think he didn't go then and git a guinea-egg,
and win most as many more, and John Brown would
o' give it to him agin if all we boys hadn't said we
thought it was fair. I never see such a boy as that
Zeph Pettibone in all my life. He don't mind whipping
no more 'an nothing at all, if he can win eggs."
This anecdote, however, only fell in by accident, for
there was an all-absorbing subject which occupied the
minds of the boys during the whole evening, of which
I could occasionally catch distant hints, in under tones
and whispers, but of which I could make nothing, until
they were afterward explained by the captain himself.
Such as "I'll be bound Pete Jones and Bill Smith
stretches him." "By Jockey, soon as they seize him,
you'll see me down upon him like a duck upon a June-bug."
"By the time he touches the ground, he'll think
he's got into a hornet's nest,"&c.
"The boys," said the captain, as they retired, "are
going to turn out the schoolmaster tomorrow, and you
can perceive they think of nothing else. We must go
over to the schoolhouse and witness the contest, in order
to prevent injury to preceptor or pupils; for, though
the master is always, upon such occasions, glad to be
turned out, and only struggles long enough to present
his patrons a fair apology for giving the children a
holyday, which he desires as much as they do, the boys
always conceive a holyday gained by a "turn out" as
the sole achievement of their valour; and, in their
zeal to distinguish themselves upon such memorable
occasions, they sometimes become too rough, provoke
the master to wrath, and a very serious conflict ensues.
To prevent these consequences, to bear witness that
the master was
forced to yield before he would withhold
a day of his promised labour from his employers,
and to act as a mediator between him and the boys in
settling the articles of peace, I always attend; and you
must accompany me to-morrow." I cheerfully promised
to do so.
The captain and I rose before the sun, but the boys
had risen and were off to the schoolhouse before the
dawn. After an early breakfast, hurried by Mrs. G.
for our accommodation, my host and myself took up
our line of march towards the schoolhouse. We reached
it about half an hour before the master arrived, but
not before the boys had completed its fortifications. It
was a simple log-pen, about twenty feet square, with a
doorway cut out of the logs, to which was fitted a rude
door, made of clapbords, and swung on wooden hinges.
The roof was covered with clapboards also, and retained
in their places by heavy logs placed on them. The
chimney was built of logs, diminishing in size from the
ground to the top, and overspread inside and out with
red clay mortar. The classic hut occupied a lovely
spot, overshadowed by majestic hickorys, towering
poplars, and strong-armed oaks. The little plain on which
it stood was terminated, at the distance of about fifty
paces from its door, by the brow of a hill, which
descended rather abruptly to a noble spring, that gushed
joyously forth from among the roots of a stately beech
at its foot. The stream from this fountain scarcely
burst into view, before it hid itself beneath the dark
shade of a field of cane, which overspread the dale
through which it flowed, and marked its windings, until
it turned from the sight among vine-covered hills, at a
distance far beyond that to which the eye could have
traced it without the help of its
of the captain's, as we viewed the lovely country
around us, will give the reader my apology for the minuteness
of the foregoing description. "These lands,"
said he, "will never wear out. Where they lie level,
they will be as good fifty years hence as they are now."
Forty-two years afterward I visited the spot on which
he stood when he made the remark. The sun poured
his whole strength upon the bald hill which once supported
the sequestered schoolhouse; many a deep-washed
gully met at a sickly bog where gushed the limpid
fountain; a dying willow rose from the soil which nourished
the venerable beech; flocks wandered among
the dwarf pines, and cropped a scanty meal from the
dale where the rich cane bowed and rustled to every
breeze, and all around was barren, dreary, and cheerless.
But to return.
As I before remarked, the boys had strongly fortified
the schoolhouse, of which they had taken possession.
The door was barricaded with logs, which I should have
supposed would have defied the combined powers of the
whole school. The chimney, too, was nearly filled
with logs of goodly size; and these were the only
passways to the interior. I concluded, if a
was all that was necessary to decide the contest in
favour of the boys, they had already gained the victory.
They had, however, not as much confidence in their
outworks as I had, and, therefore, had armed themselves
with long sticks: not for the purpose of using them
upon the master if the battle should come to close quarters,
for this was considered unlawful warfare; but for
the purpose of guarding their
works from his approaches,
which it was considered perfectly lawful to protract by
all manner of jobs and punches through the cracks.
From the early assembling of the girls, it was very obvious
that they had been let into the conspiracy, though
they took no part in the active operations. They would,
however, occasionally drop a word of encouragement
to the boys, such as "I wouldn't turn out the master
but if I did turn him out, I'd die before I'd give up."
These remarks doubtless had an imboldening
upon " the young freeborns," as Mrs. Trollope would
call them; for I never knew the Georgian of any age
who was indifferent to the smiles and praises of the
ladies - before his marriage.
At length Mr. Michael St. John, the schoolmaster,
made his appearance. Though some of the girls had
met him a quarter of a mile from the schoolhouse, and
told him all that had happened, he gave signs of sudden
astonishment and indignation when he advanced to the
door, and was assailed by a whole platoon of sticks from
the cracks: "Why, what does all this mean?" said
he, as he approached the captain and myself, with a
countenance of two or three varying expressions.
"Why," said the captain, "the boys have turned you
out, because you have refused to give them an Easter holyday."
"Oh," returned Michael, "that's it, is it? Well, I'll
see whether their parents are to pay me for letting their
children play when they please." So saying, he
advanced to the schoolhouse, and demanded, in a lofty
tone, of its inmates, an unconditional surrender.
"Well, give us holyday then," said twenty little
urchins within, "and we'll let you in."
"Open the door of the
Academy " - (Michael would
allow nobody to call it a schoolhouse) - "Open the door
of the academy this instant," said Michael, "or I'll
break it down."
"Break it down," said Pete Jones and Bill Smith,
"and we'll break you down."
During this colloquy I took a peep into the fortress,
to see how the garrison were affected by the parley.
The little ones were obviously panic-struck at the first
words of command; but their fears were all chased
away by the bold, determined reply of Pete Jones and
Bill Smith, and they raised a whoop of defiance.
Michael now walked round the academy three times,
examining all its weak points with great care. He
then paused, reflected for a moment, and wheeled off
suddenly towards the woods, as though a bright thought
had just struck him. He passed twenty things which
I supposed he might be in quest of, such as huge stones,
fence-rails, portable logs, and the like, without bestowing
the least attention upon them. He went to one
old log, searched it thoroughly, then to another, then
to a hollow stump, peeped into it with great care, then
to a hollow log, into which he looked with equal
caution, and so on.
"What is he after?" inquired I.
"I'm sure I don't know," said the captain, "but the
boys do. Don't you notice the breathless silence which
prevails in the schoolhouse, and the intense anxiety with
which they are
him through the cracks?"
At this moment Michael had reached a little excavation
at the root of a dogwood, and was in the act of
putting his hand into it, when a voice from the garrison
exclaimed, with most touching pathos, "Lo'd o'
messy, he's found my eggs! boys, let's give up."
"I won't give up," was the reply from many voices
"Rot your cowardly skin, Zeph Pettibone, you
wouldn't give a wooden egg for all the holydays in the
If these replies did not reconcile Zephaniah to his
apprehended loss, it at least silenced his complaints. In
the mean time Michael was employed in relieving
Zeph's storehouse of its provisions; and, truly, its
contents told well for Zeph's skill in egg-pecking.
However, Michael took out the eggs with great care, and
brought them within a few paces of the schoolhouse,
and laid them down with equal care in full view of the
besieged. He revisited the places which he had searched,
and to which he seemed to have been led by intuition;
for from nearly all of them did he draw eggs, in
greater or less numbers. These he treated as he had
done Zeph's, keeping each pile separate. Having
arranged the eggs in double files before the door, he
marched between them with an air of triumph, and
once more demanded a surrender, under pain of an
entire destruction of the garrison's provisions.
"Break 'em just as quick as you please," said George
Griffin; "our mothers 'll give us a plenty more, won't
"I can answer for yours, my son," said the captain;
"she would rather give up every egg upon the farm,
than see you play the coward or traitor to save your
Michael, finding that he could make no impression
upon the fears or the avarice of the boys, determined
to carry their fortifications by storm. Accordingly,
he procured a heavy fence-rail, and commenced the
assault upon the door. It soon came to pieces, and
the upper logs fell out, leaving a space of about three
feet at the top. Michael boldly entered the breach,
when, by the articles of war, sticks were thrown aside
as no longer lawful weapons. He was resolutely met
on the half-demolished rampart by Peter Jones and
William Smith, supported by James Griffin. These
were the three largest boys in the school; the first
about sixteen years of age, the second about fifteen,
and the third just eleven. Twice was Michael repulsed
by these young champions; but the third effort carried
him fairly into the fortress. Hostilities now ceased
for a while, and the captain and I, having levelled the
remaining logs at the door, followed Michael into the
house. A large three inch plank (if it deserve that
name, for it was wrought from the half of a tree's trunk
entirely with the axe), attached to the logs by means
of wooden pins, served the whole school for a writing
desk. At a convenient distance below it, and on a line
with it, stretched a smooth log, resting upon the logs
of the house, which answered for the writers' seat.
Michael took his seat upon the desk, placed his feet
on the seat, and was sitting very composedly, when,
with a simultaneous movement, Pete and Bill seized
each a leg, and marched off with it in quick time. The
consequence is obvious; Michael's head first took the
desk, then the seat, and finally the ground (for the house
was not floored), with three sonorous thumps of most
doleful portent. No sooner did he touch the ground
than he was completely buried with boys. The three
elder laid themselves across his head, neck, and breast,
the rest arranging themselves
equanimity was considerably disturbed by the first
thump, became restive with the second, and took flight
with the third. His first effort was to disengage his
legs, for without them he could not rise, and to lie in
his present position was extremely inconvenient and
undignified. Accordingly, he drew up his right, and
kicked at random. This movement laid out about six
in various directions upon the floor. Two rose crying:
"Ding his old red-headed skin," said one of them, "to
go and kick me right in my sore belly, where I fell
down and raked it, running after that fellow that cried
ad libitum *
* I have never
been able to satisfy myself clearly as to the literal
meaning of these terms. They were considered an unpardonable
insult to a country school, and always justified an attack by the whole
fraternity upon the person who used them in their hearing. I have
known the scholars pursue a traveller two miles to be revenged of
the insult. Probably they are a corruption of "The school's
" Better" was the term commonly used of old to denote a
as it sometimes is in our day: "Wait till your betters are served,"
for example. I conjecture, therefore the expression just alluded to
was one of challenge, contempt, and defiance, by which the person
who used it avowed himself the superior in all respects of the whole
school, from the preceptor down. If any one can give a better account
of it, I shall be pleased to receive it.
"Drot his old
snaggle-tooth picture," said the other,
"to go and hurt my sore toe, where I knocked the nail
off going to the spring to fetch a gourd of
him, and not for myself n'other."
Captain Griffin, "young Washingtons
mind these trifles! At him again."
The name of Washington
cured their wounds and
dried up their tears in an instant, and they legged him
. The left leg treated six more as unceremoniously
as the right had those just mentioned; but the
talismanic name had just fallen upon their ears before
the kick, so they were invulnerable. They therefore
returned to the attack without loss of time. The
struggle seemed to wax hotter and hotter for a short
time after Michael came to the ground, and he threw
the children about in all directions and postures, giving
some of them thumps which would have placed the
de novo ruffle-shirted little darlings of the present day under the
discipline of paregoric and opodeldoc for a week; but
these hardy sons of the forest seemed not to feel them.
As Michael's head grew easy, his limbs, by a natural
sympathy, became more quiet, and he offered one day's
holyday as the price. The boys demanded a week;
but here the captain interposed, and, after the common
but often unjust custom of arbitrators, split the difference.
In this instance the terms were equitable enough,
and were immediately acceded to by both parties.
Michael rose in a good humour, and the boys were,
of course. Loud was their talking of their deed
of valour as they retired. One little fellow about
seven years old, and about three feet and a half high,
jumped up, cracked his feet together, and exclaimed,
"By jingo, Pete Jones, Bill Smith, and me can hold
any Sinjin that ever trod Georgy grit." By-the-way,
the name of St. John was always pronounced " Sinjin"
by the common people of that day; and so it must
have been by Lord Bolingbroke himself, else his friend
Pope would never have addressed him in a line so
my St. John, leave all meaner things."
Nor would Swift, the friend and companion of both,
St. John's skill in state affairs,
Ormond's valour, Oxford's cares."
folly, pride, and faction sway,
from St. John, Pope, and Gray."
THE "CHARMING CREATURE" AS A WIFE.
MY nephew, George Baldwin, was but ten years
younger than myself. He was the son of a plain, practical,
sensible farmer, who, without the advantages of a
liberal education, had enriched his mind, by study and
observation, with a fund of useful knowledge rarely
possessed by those who move in his sphere of life.
His wife was one of the most lovely of women. She
was pious, but not austere; cheerful, but not light;
generous, but not prodigal; economical, but not close;
hospitable, but not extravagant. In native powers of
mind she was every way my brother's equal; in
acquirements she was decidedly his superior. To this I
have his testimony as well as my own; but it was
impossible to discover in her conduct anything going to
show that she coincided with us in opinion. To have
heard her converse, you would have supposed she did
nothing but read; to have looked through the departments
of her household, you would have supposed she
never read. Everything which lay within her little
province bore the impress of her hand or acknowledged
her supervision. Order, neatness, and cleanliness
prevailed everywhere. All provisions were given out
with her own hands, and she could tell precisely the
quantity of each article that it would require to serve
a given number of persons, without stint or wasteful
profusion. In the statistics of domestic economy she
was perfectly versed. She would tell you, with astonishing
accuracy, how many pounds of cured bacon you
might expect from a given weight of fresh pork; how
many quarts of cream a given quantity of milk would
yield; how much butter so much cream; how much
each article it would take to serve so many persons
a month or a year. Supposing no change in the family,
and she would tell to a day when a given quantity
provisions of any kind would be exhausted. She
reduced to certain knowledge everything that could
be; and she approximated to it as nearly as possible
with those matters that could not be. And yet she
scolded less and whipped less than any mistress of a
family I ever saw. The reason is obvious. Everything
under her care went on with perfect system. To
each servant was allotted his or her respective duties,
and to each was assigned the time in which those
duties were to be performed. During this time she
suffered them not to be interrupted, if it was possible to
protect them from interruption. Her children were
permitted to give no orders to servants but through
her, until they reached the age at which they were
capable of regulating their orders by her rules. She
laid no plans to detect her servants in theft, but she
took great pains to convince them that they could not
pilfer without detection; and this did she without
betraying any suspicions of their integrity. Thus she
would have her biscuits uniformly of a size, and, under
the form of
instructions to her cook, she would show
her precisely the quantity of flour which it took to
make so many biscuits. After all this, she exposed
her servants to as few temptations as possible. She
never sent them to the larder unattended if she could
avoid it; and never placed them under the watch of
children. She saw that they were well provided with
everything they needed, and she indulged them in
recreations when she could. No service was required
of them on the Sabbath farther than to spread the table
and to attend it; a service which was lightened as
much as possible by having the provisions of that day
very simple, and prepared the day before.
Such, but half described,
were the father and mother
of George Baldwin. He was their only son and eldest
child, but he had two sisters, Mary and Martha; the
first four, and the second six years younger than himself
- a son next to George having died in infancy.
The two eldest children inherited their names from
their parents, and all of them grew up worthy of the
stock from which they sprang.
George, having completed
his education at Princeton,
where he was graduated with great honour to himself,
returned to Georgia and commenced the study of
the law. After studying a year he was admitted to
the bar, just after he had completed his one-and-twentieth
year. I have been told by gentlemen who belong
to this profession, that one year is too short a time for
preparation for the intricacies of legal lore; and it may
be so, but I never knew a young man acquit himself
more creditably than George did in his maiden speech.
He located himself in the
city of -, seventy miles
from his father's residence; and, after the lapse of three
years, he counted up eight hundred dollars as the
profits of his last year's practice. Reasonably calculating
that his receipts would annually increase for several
years to come, having no expenses to encounter
except for his board and clothing (for his father had
furnished him with a complete library), he now thought
of taking to himself a helpmate. Hitherto he had led
a very retired, studious life; but now he began to court
the society of ladies.
About this time Miss Evelina Caroline Smith returned
to the city from Philadelphia, where, after an absence
of three years, she had completed her education. She
was the only child of a wealthy, unlettered merchant,
who, rather by good luck than good management, had
amassed a fortune of about fifty thousand dollars. Mr.
Smith was one of those men who conceived that all
earthly greatness, and, consequently, all earthly bliss
concentred in wealth. The consequence was inevitable.
To the poor he was haughty, supercilious, arrogant,
and, not unfrequently, wantonly insolent; to the
rich he was friendly, kind, or obsequious,as their purses
equalled or overmeasured his own. His wife was even
below himself in moral stature; proud, loquacious, silly.
Evelina was endowed by nature with a good mind;
and, what her parents esteemed of infinitely more value,
she was beautiful, from her infancy to the time when I
introduced her to the reader, which was just after she
had completed her seventeenth year. Evelina's time,
between her sixth and fourteenth year, had been chiefly
employed in learning from her father and mother what
a perfect beauty she was, and what kind of gewgaws
exhibited her beauty to the greatest advantage; how
rich she would be; and "what havoc she would make
of young men's hearts, by-and-by." In these instructive
lectures her parents sometimes found gratuitous help
from silly male and female visitors, who, purely to win
favour from the parents, would expatiate on the perfections
of "the lovely," "charming," "beautiful little creature"
in her presence. The consequence was, that
pride and vanity became, at an early age, the leading
traits of the child's character, and admiration and
flattery the only food which she could relish. Her parents
subjected themselves to the loss of her society for three
years, while she was at school in Philadelphia, from no
better motive than to put her on an equality with Mr.
B.'s and Mr. C.'s daughters; or, rather, to imitate the
examples of Messrs. B. & C., merchants of the same
city, who were very rich.
While she was in Philadelphia Evelina was well instructed.
She was taught in what female loveliness
truly consists; the qualities which deservedly command
the respect of the wise and good; and the deportment
which ensures to a female the admiration of all. But
Evelina's mind had received a bias from which these
lessons could not relieve it; and the only effect of them
upon her was to make her an accomplished hypocrite,
with all her other foibles. She improved her instructions
only to the gratification of her ruling passion. In
music she made some proficiency, because she saw in it
a ready means of gaining admiration.
George Baldwin had formed a partial acquaintance
with Mr. Smith before the return of his daughter; but
he rather shunned than courted a closer intimacy.
Smith, however, had intrusted George with some
professional business, found him trustworthy, and thought
he saw in him a man who, at no very distant day, was
to become distinguished for both wealth and talents; and,
a very short acquaintance, he took occasion to tell
him, "that whoever married his daughter should receive
the next day a check for twenty thousand dollars.
That'll do," continued he, "to start upon; and, when
I and the old woman drop off, she will get thirty more."
This had an effect upon George directly opposite to that
which it was designed to have.
Miss Smith had been at home about three weeks, and
the whole town had sounded the praises of her beauty
and accomplishments; but George had not seen her,
though Mr. Smith had, in the mean time, given him
several notes to collect, with each of which he "wondered
how it happened that two so much alike as himself
and George had never been more intimate; and
hoped he would come over in a sociable way and see
him often." About this time, however, George received
a special invitation to a large tea-party from
Mr. and Mrs. Smith, which he could not with propriety
reject, and accordingly he went. He was received
at the door by Mr. Smith, announced upon entering the
drawing-room, and conducted through a crowd of
gentlemen to Miss Smith, to whom he was introduced with
peculiar emphasis. He made his obeisance and retired;
for common politeness required him to bestow
his attentions upon some of the many ladies in the
room, who were neglected by the gentlemen in their
rivalship for a smile or word from Miss Evelina. She
was the admiration of all the gentlemen, and, with the
exception of two or three
young ladies, who "thought
her too affected," she was praised by all the ladies.
In short, by nearly universal testimony, she was
pronounced " a charming creature."
An hour had elapsed before George found an opportunity
of giving her those attentions which, as a guest
of the family, courtesy required from him. The
opportunity was at length, however, furnished by herself.
In circling round the room to entertain the company,
she reached George just as the seat next to him had
been vacated. This she occupied, and a conversation
ensued, with every word of which she gained upon
his respect and esteem. Instead of finding her that
gay, volatile, vain creature whom he expected to find
in the rich and beautiful daughter of Mr. and Mrs.
Smith, he found her a modest, sensible, unassuming
girl, whose views upon all subjects coincided precisely
with his own.
"She yielded to the wishes of her parents, from a
sense of duty, in giving and attending parties, but she
always left them, under the conviction that the time
spent at them was worse than wasted. It was really
a luxury to her to retire from the idle chit-chat of them,
and to spend a few minutes in conversation with a male
or female friend, who would consider it no disrespect
to the company to talk rationally upon such occasions.
And yet, in conducting such conversations at such
times, it was so difficult to avoid the appearance of
pedantry, and to keep it from running into something too
stiff or too grave for a social circle, that she really was
afraid to court them." As to books, "she read but
very few novels, though her ignorance of them often
exposed her to some mortification; but she felt that
her ignorance here was a compliment to her taste and
delicacy, which made ample amends for the mortifications
to which it forced her occasionally to submit.
With Hannah More, Mrs. Chapone, Bennett, and other
writers of the same class, she was very familiar" (and
she descanted upon the peculiar merits of each); "but,
after all, books were of small consequence to a lady,
without those domestic virtues which enable her to
blend superior usefulness with superior acquirements;
and if learning or usefulness must be forsaken, it had
better be the first. Of music she was extravagantly
fond, and she presumed she ever would be; but she
confessed she had no taste for its modern refinements."
Thus she went on with the turns of the conversation,
and as she caught George's views. It is true she
would occasionally drop a remark which did not
harmonize exactly with these dulcet strains; and, in her
rambles over the world of science, she would sometimes
seem at fault where George thought she ought
to have been perfectly at home; but he found a
thousand charitable ways of accounting for all this, not
one of which led to the idea that she might have learned
these diamond sentiments by rote from the lips of
her preceptress. Consequently, they came with resistless
force upon the citadel of George's heart, and
in less than half an hour overpowered it completely.
thought George, "she is a charming creature!
When was so much beauty ever blended with
such unassuming manners and such intellectual
endowments! How wonderful, that the daughter of
Mrs. Smith should possess such accomplishments!
How dull - with all her filial affection - how dull must
be her life under the parental roof! Not a companion,
not a sympathetic feeling there! How sweet it would
be to return from the toils of the courts to a bosom
friend so soft, so benevolent, so intelligent."
Thus ran George's
thoughts as soon as Miss Smith
had left him to go in quest of now conquests. The
effects of her short interview with him soon became
visible to every eye. His conversation lost its spirit;
was interrupted by moody abstractions, and was sillier
than it had ever been. George had a fine person, and,
for the first time in his life, he now set a value upon
it. To exhibit it to the greatest advantage, he walked
the room under various pretences; and when in his
promenades he caught the eye of Miss Smith resting
upon him, he assumed a more martial or theatric step,
which made him look ridiculous at the time, and feel
so immediately afterward. In his listless journeyings,
his attention was arrested by a beautiful cottage scene,
at the foot of which glittered in golden letters,
EVELINA CAROLINE SMITH,
OF - , GEORGIA."
This led him to another, and another, from the same
pencil. Upon these he was gazing with a look and
attitude the most complimentary to Miss Evelina that
he could possibly assume, while the following remarks
were going the rounds.
"Do you notice George Baldwin?"
"Oh yes! he's in for it; dead, sir; good-by to bail-writs
"Oh, she's only put an
attachment on him."
"Really, Miss Smith, it was too bad to serve George
Baldwin so cruelly!"
"Ah, sir, if reports are true, Mr. Baldwin is too fond
of his books to think of any lady, much less of one so
unworthy of his attentions as I am."
George heard this; nestled a little; threw back his
shoulders; placed his arms akimbo, and looked at the
picture with wonderful independence.
Then Miss Evelina was handed to the piano, and to
a simple, beautiful air, she sang a well written song,
the burden of which was an apology for love at first
sight. This was wanton cruelty to an unresisting captive.
To do her justice, however, her performance
had not been equalled during the evening.
The company at length began to retire; and, so long
as a number remained sufficient to give him an apology
for staying, George delayed his departure. The
last group of ladies and gentlemen finally rose, and
George commenced a fruitless search for his hat;
fruitless, because he looked for it where he knew it
was not to be found. But a servant was more successful,
and brought it to him just as he was giving up
the search as hopeless, and commencing a conversation
with Miss Smith for the night.
"Why, where did you find it?" said George, with
seeming surprise and pleasure at the discovery.
"Out da, in de entry, sir, whay all de gentleman put
"Oh, I ought to have known that.
Evelina!" said George, throwing a melting eloquence
into the first word, and reaching forth his hand.
"Good evening, Mr. Baldwin!" returned she; "I
hope you will not be quite so great a stranger here as
you have been. Pa has often wondered that you never
visit him." Here she relinquished his hand with a
gentle but sensible pressure, which might mean two or
three things. Whatever was its meaning, it ran like
nitrous oxide through every fibre of George's composition,
and robbed him for a moment of his last ray of intellect.
"Believe me, Miss Smith," said he, as if he were
opening a murder case, "believe me, there are fascinations
about this hospitable dome, in the delicate
touches of the pencil which adorn it, and in the soft
breathings of the piano, awaked by the hand which I
have just relinquished, which will not permit me to delay,
as heretofore, those visits which professional duty
requires me to make to your kind parent (your father)
a single moment beyond the time that his claims to
my respects become absolute. Good evening, Miss
"Did ever mortal of common sense talk and act so
much like an arrant fool as I have this evening!" said
George, as the veil of night fell upon the visions which
had danced before his eyes for the four preceding
Though it was nearly twelve o'clock at night when
he reached his office, he could not sleep until he laid the
adventures of the evening before his father and mother.
The return mail brought him a letter from his parents
written by his mother's hand, which we regret we cannot
give a place in this narrative. Suffice it to say, it
was kind and affectionate, but entirely too cold for the
temperature of George's feelings. It admitted the
intrinsic excellence of Miss Smith's views and sentiments
but expressed serious apprehensions that her habits of
life would prove an insuperable barrier to her ever putting
them in full practice. "We all
admit, my dear
George," said the amiable writer, "the value of industry,
economy - in short, of all the domestic and social
virtues; but how small the number who practise them!
Golden sentiments are to be picked up anywhere. In
this age they are upon the lips of everybody; but we
do not find that they exert as great an influence upon
the morals of society as they did in the infancy of our
Republic, when they were less talked of. For ourselves,
we confess we prize the gentleman or lady who habitually
practises one Christian virtue, much higher than we
do the one who barely
lectures eloquently upon them
all. But we are not so weak or so uncharitable as to
suppose that none who discourse fluently upon them
can possess them."
* * * * * * * *
"The whole moral which we would deduce from the
foregoing remarks, is one which your own observation
must have taught you a thousand times; that but little
confidence is to be reposed in fine sentiments which do
not come recommended by the life and conduct of the
person who retails them. And yet, familiar as you are
with this truth, you certainly have more command over
your judgment than have most young men of your age,
if you do not entirely forget it the moment you hear such
sentiments from the lips of '
a lady possessing strong
personal attractions.' There is a charm in beauty
which even philosophy is constrained to acknowledge,
and which youth instinctively transfers to all the moral
qualities of its possessor."
* * * * * *
"When you come to know the elements of which
connubial happiness is composed, you will be astonished
to find that, with few exceptions, they are things which
you now consider the veriest trifles imaginable. It is a
happy ordination of Providence that it should be so;
for this brings matrimonial bliss within the reach of all
classes of persons." * * * * * *
* * * * "Harmony of thought and feeling upon
the little daily occurrences of life, congeniality of views
and sentiments between yourselves and your connexions
on either side, similarity of habits and pursuits among
your immediate relatives and friends, if not essential to
nuptial bliss, are certainly its chief ingredients." *
* * * * "Having pointed you
to the sources of conjugal felicity, your own judgment
will spare my trembling hand the painful duty of pointing
you to those fountains of bitterness and
- but I
forget that I am representing your father as well as
George read the long letter, from which the foregoing
extracts are taken, with deep interest and with some
alarm; but he was not in a situation to profit by his
parents' counsels. He had visited Miss Smith repeatedly
in the time he was waiting to hear from his parents;
and though he had discovered many little foibles in her
character, he found a ready apology or an easy remedy
for them all.
The lapse of a few months found them engaged, and
George the happiest mortal upon earth.
"And now, my dear Evelina," said he, as soon as
they had interchanged their vows, "I go to render myself
worthy of the honour you have conferred upon me.
My studies, which love, doubt, and anxiety have too long
interrupted, shall now be renewed with redoubled intensity.
My Evelina's interest, being associated with all
my labours, will turn them to pleasures; my honour
being hers, I shall court it with untiring zeal. She
will therefore excuse me if my visits are not repeated
in future quite as often as they have been heretofore."
"What, a'ready, Mr. Baldwin!" exclaimed she,
weeping most beautifully.
"Why no, not for the world, if my dear Evelina
says not! But I thought that - I flattered myself - I
hoped - my Evelina would find a sufficient apology in
The little mistake was rectified in the course of an
hour, and they parted more in raptures with each other
than they had ever been.
George continued his visits as before, and, in the
mean time, his business began to suffer from neglect,
of which his clients occasionally reminded him, with all
the frankness which one exhibits at seeing a love affair
carried on with too much zeal and at his expense. In
truth, George's heart had more than once entertained
a wish (for his lips dare not utter it) that his charming
Evelina's affection could come down to a hundred of
Wedgewood when the circuit commenced, and give
him a temporary respite.
The evening before he set out he spent with his
"charming Evelina," of course, and the interview closed
with a most melting scene; but I may not stop to
describe it. Candour constrains me to say, however, that
George got over it before he reached his office, which
he entered actually whistling a merry tune.
He was at the second court of the circuit, and had
been from home nearly a fortnight, when one of his
friends addressed him with, "I'll tell you what it is,
Baldwin, you'd better go home, or Dr. Bibb will cut you
out. There have been two or three parties in town
since you came away, at all of which Miss Smith and
Bibb were as thick as two pickpockets. The whole
town's talking about them. I heard a young lady say
to her, she'd tell you how she was carrying on with
Bibb; and she declared, upon her word and honour
killniferously at Bibb), that she only knew you
as her father's collecting attorney."
George reddened deeper and deeper at every word
of this, but passed it off with a hearty, hectic laugh.
It was on Thursday afternoon that he received this
intelligence, and it met him forty miles from home, and
twenty-five from the next court in order. Two of his
cases were yet undisposed of. Of these he gave hasty
notes to one of his brethren, in order to guide him if he
should be forced to trial, but instructing him to continue
them if he could. Having made these arrangements,
Friday afternoon, at five o'clock, found his jaded horse
at his office door. George tarried here no longer than
was necessary to change his apparel, and then he
hastened to the habitation of his "charming Evelina."
He was received at the door by a servant, who escorted
him to the drawing-room, and who, to heighten
Evelina's joy by surprise, instructed her maid to tell her
that there was a
gentleman in the drawing-room who
wished to see her.
Minute after minute rolled away, and she did not
make her appearance. After he had been kept in suspense
for nearly a quarter of an hour, she entered the
room, dressed in bridal richness and taste.
"Why, is it you!" said she, rushing to him in transports:
"I thought it was Dr. Bibb."
"And who is Dr. Bibb, Evelina?" said George.
"He's a young physician, with whom I had a partial
acquaintance in Philadelphia, and who has just settled
himself in this place. I want you to get acquainted
with him, for he is one of the most interesting young
gentlemen I ever knew in my life."
"No doubt I should be much pleased with him; but
do you think he would feel
himself much honoured or
improved by an acquaintance with ' your father's collecting
"Why! Is it possible that Rebecca Freeman has
told you that! I never will speak to her again. I am
the most persecuted being upon earth. I can say nothing
nor do nothing, no matter how innocent, which
some one does not make a handle of to injure me."
Here Miss Evelina burst into tears, as usual; but
there being a little passion mingled with her tears on
this occasion, her weeping was not quite as interesting
as it had been before. It subdued George, however,
and paved the way to a reconciliation. The obnoxious
expression was explained, rather awkwardly, indeed,
but satisfactorily; and Miss Freeman was acquitted of
Matters were just placed in this posture, when a servant
arrived to inform George "that something was the
matter with his horse, and Mr. Cox (his landlord)
thought he was going to die."
George rose, and was hastening to the relief of his
favourite of all quadrupeds, when Miss Smith burst into
a very significant but affected laugh.
"Why, what is it amuses you so, Evelina?" inquired
George, with some surprise.
"Oh, nothing," said she; "I was only thinking how
quick Mr. Baldwin forgets me when his
his attentions. I declare I'm right jealous of my
"Go back, boy, and tell your master I can't come
just now; but I'll thank him to do what he can for the
Mr. Cox, upon receiving this intelligence, and learning
the business which engrossed George's attention
left the horse to take care of himself; and he died just
before George returned from Mr. Smith's.
These, and a thousand little annoyances which we
may not enumerate, urged upon George the importance
of hastening the nuptials as speedily as possible.
Accordingly, by all the dangers, ills, alarms, and
anxieties which attend the hours of engagement, he
pressed her to name the happy day within the coming
month when their hearts and their destinies should be
But "she could not think of getting married for two
years yet to come; then one year at least. At all
events, she could not appoint a day until she consulted
her dear Morgiana Cornelia Marsh, of Canaan, Vermont.
Morgiana was her classmate, and, at parting
in Philadelphia, they had interchanged pledges that
which ever got married first should be waited upon by
In vain did George endeavour to persuade her that
this was a school-girl pledge, which Morgiana had
already forgotten, and which she never would fulfil. His
arguments only provoked a reproof of his unjust
suspicions of the "American fair."
Finding his arguments here unavailing, he then entreated
his "charming Evelina" to write immediately
to Miss Marsh, to know when it would be agreeable to
her to fulfil her promise.
Weeks rolled away before Miss Smith could be prevailed
upon even to write the all important letter. She
despatched it at last, however; and George began to
entertain hopes that a few months would make the dear
Evelina his own.
In the mean time his business fell in arrears, and his
clients complained loudly against him. He was incessantly
tortured with false rumours of his coldness and
indifference towards Miss Smith, and of the light and
disrespectful remarks which he had made upon her;
but he was much more tortured by her unabated thirst
for balls and parties of pleasure; her undiminished
love of general admiration, and the unconcealed
encouragement which she gave to the attentions of Dr. Bibb.
The effect which these things had upon his temper was
visible to all his friends. He became fretful, petulant,
impatient, and melancholy. Dr. Bibb proved, in truth,
to be a most accomplished, intelligent gentleman; and
was the man who, above all others, George would have
selected for his friend and companion; had not the
imprudences of Evelina transformed him into a rival. As
things were, however, his accomplishments only
imbittered George's feelings towards him, provoked from
George cruel, misplaced, and unnatural sarcasms,
which the world placed to the account of jealousy, and
in which George's conscience forced him to admit that
the world did him nothing more nor less than sheer
At length Miss Morgiana's letter arrived. It opened
with expressions of deep contrition that the writer
"should have got married without giving her beloved
Evelina an opportunity of fulfilling her promise, but
really, after all, she was not to blame; for she did propose
to write to her beloved Evelina to come on to
Canaan; but papa and Mr. Huntington (her husband)
would not hear of it; indeed, they both got almost vexed
that she should think of such a thing." * *
* * * " But, as soon as my beloved
Evelina gets married, she must appoint a time at which
we can meet at Philadelphia with our husbands, and
compare notes." * * * * *
* * "I have a thousand secrets to tell you
about married life; but I must reserve them till we
meet. A thousand kisses to your dear George for me;
and tell him, if I were not a married woman, I should
certainly fall in love with him, from your description
"Well, I declare," said Evelina, as she folded up the
letter, "I could not have believed that Morgiana would
have served me so. I would have died before I would
have treated her in the same way."
The great obstacle being now removed, the wedding
night was fixed at the shortest time that it could be to
allow the necessary preparations, which was just three
Before these three months rolled away, George became
convinced that he had staked his earthly happiness
upon the forlorn hope of reforming Miss Smith's errors
after marriage; but his sense of honour was too refined
to permit him to harbour a thought of breaking the
engagement; and, indeed, so completely had he become
enamoured of her, that any perils seemed preferable to
giving her up for ever.
He kept his parents faithfully advised of all the incidents
of his love and courtship, and every letter which
he forwarded went like a serpent into the Eden of peace
over which they presided. Their letters to him never
came unembalmed in a mother's tears, and were never
read without the tender response which a mother's
tears ever draws from the eyes of a truly affectionate
The night came, and George and Evelina were
A round of bridal parties succeeded, every one of
which served only to heighten George's alarms and to
depress his spirits. He could not discover that marriage
had abated, in the smallest degree, his wife's love
of general admiration and flattery. The delight which
she felt at the attentions of the young gentlemen was
visible to more eyes than his, as was plainly evinced by
the throngs which attended her wheresoever she moved.
Occasionally their assiduities assumed a freedom which
was well calculated to alarm and to inflame one whose
notions of married life were much less refined than those
which George had ever entertained; but there was an
apology for them, which he knew he would be forced
to admit, flimsy as it was in truth, namely, "they
were only those special attentions which were due to
the queen of a bridal party." Another consideration
forced him to look in silence upon those liberties.
wife had taken no offence at them. She either did not
repel them at all, or she repelled them in such a
good-humoured way, that she encouraged rather than
prevented the repetition of them. For him, therefore, to
have interposed, would have been considered an act of
To the great delight of George, the parties ended,
and the young couple set out on a visit to Lagrange, the
residence of George's parents. On their way thither,
Evelina was secluded, of course, from the gaze of every
person but her husband; and her attachment now became
as much too ardent as it had before been too cold.
If, at their stages, he left her for a moment, she was
piqued at his coldness or distressed at his neglect. If
he engaged in a conversation with an acquaintance or
a stranger, he was sure to be interrupted by his wife's
waiting-maid, Flora, with "Miss V'lina say, please go
da, sir;" and when he went, he always found her in
tears or in a pet at having been neglected so long by
him, "when he knew she had no friend or companion
to entertain her but himself."
George had been long acquainted with the ladies of
the houses at which they stopped. They all esteemed
him, and were all anxious to be made acquainted with
his wife; but she could not be drawn from her room,
from the time she entered a house until she rose to leave
it. All her meals were taken in her room; and George
was rebuked by her because he would not follow her
example. It was in vain that he reasoned with her
upon the impropriety of changing his deportment to
his old acquaintances immediately after his marriage.
He stated to her that the change would be attributed
to pride; that he should lose a number of humble but
valuable acquaintances, which, to a professional gentleman,
is no small loss. But "she could not understand
that a gentleman is at liberty to neglect his wife for
'humble but valuable acquaintances.' "
When they reached Lagrange, they received as warm
a welcome from George's parents, as parents, labouring
under their apprehensions, could give; but Mary and
Martha, having nothing to mar their pleasures (for they
had not been permitted to know the qualifications which
George's last letters had annexed to his first), received
her with all the delight which the best hearts could feel,
at welcoming to the family, in the character of a sister,
the beautiful, amiable, accomplished, intelligent, wealthy
Miss Smith. In anticipation of her coming, the
girls had brushed up their history, philosophy, geography,
astronomy, and botany, for her especial entertainment,
or, rather, that they might appear a little at home
when their new sister should invite them to a ramble
over the fields of science. The labour answered not
its purpose, however: Evelina would neither invite nor
be invited to any such rambles.
The news of George's arrival at Lagrange with his
wife brought many of his rustic acquaintances to visit
him. To many of them George was as a son or a
brother, for he had been acquainted with them from his
earliest years, and he had a thousand times visited their
habitations with the freedom with which he entered his
father's. They met him, therefore, with unrestrained
familiarity, and treated his wife as a part of himself.
George had endeavoured to prepare her for the plain
blunt, but honest familiarities of his early friends. He
had assured her that, however rude they might seem,
they were perfectly innocent; nay, they were tokens of
guileless friendship; for the natural disposition of plain
unlettered farmers was to keep aloof from "the quality,"
as they called the people of the town, and that, by as
much as they overcame this disposition, by so much did
they mean to be understood as evincing favour; but
Evelina profited but little by his lessons.
The first visitor was old Mr. Dawson, who had
dandled George on his knee a thousand times, and who
next to his father, was the sincerest male friend that
George had living.
"Well, Georgy," said the old man, "and you've got
"Yes, Uncle Sammy, and here's my wife; what do
you think of her?"
"Why, she's a mighty pretty creater; but you'd better
took my Nance. She'd 'ave made you another sort
of wife to this pretty little soft creater."
"I don't know, sir," said Evelina, a little fiery, "how
you can tell what sort of a wife a person will make
whom you never saw. And I presume Mr. Baldwin is
old enough to choose for himself."
now I know he'd better 'ave took my
Nance," said the old man, with a dry smile. "Georgy,
my son, I'm afraid you've got yourself into bad business;
but I wish you much happiness, my boy. Come,
Neighbour Baldwin, let's go take a look at your farm."
"Oh no," said old Mr. Baldwin, "we will not go till
I make my daughter better acquainted with you. She
is unused to our country manners, therefore, does
not understand them. Evelina, my dear, Mr. Dawson
is one of our best and kindest neighbours, and you and
he must not break upon your first acquaintance. He
was only joking George in what he said, and had no
idea that you would take it seriously."
"Well, sir," said Evelina, "if Mr. Dawson will say
that he did not intend to wound my feelings, I'm willing
to forgive him."
"Oh, God love your pretty little soul of you," said
the old man, "I didn't even know you had any feelings;
but as to the
forgiving part, why,
that's neither here
nor there." Here Evelina rose indignantly and left
"Well, Georgy, my son," continued the old man,
"I'm sorry your wife's so touchy! but
forget old Daddy Dawson. Come, my boy, to our house,
like you used to, when you, and Sammy, and Nancy
used to sit round the bowl of buttermilk under the big
oak that covered Mammy Dawson's dairy. I always
think of poor Sammy when I see you" (brushing a tear
from his eye with the back of his hand). "I'm obliged
to love you, you young dog; and I want to love your
wife too, if she'd let me; but, be that as it may, Sammy's
playmate won't forget Daddy Dawson, will he,
George could only say "Never!" with a filling eye,
and the old men set out for the fields.
Most of the neighbours who came to greet George
upon his return to Lagrange shared Mr. Dawson's fate.
One wanted to span Evelina's waist, for he declared
"she was the littlest creater round the waist he ever
seed." Another would " buss her, because she was
George's wife, and because it was the first chance he
ever had in all his life to buss 'the quality.' " A third
proposed a swap of wives with George; and all made
some remark too blunt for Evelina's refined ear. Having
no tact for turning off these things playfully, and
as little disposition to do so, she repelled them with a
town dignity, which soon relieved her of these
intrusions; and less than a week, stopped the visits
of George's first and warmest friends to his father's
Her habits, views, and feelings agreeing in nothing
with the family in which she was placed, Evelina was
unhappy herself, and made all around her unhappy.
Her irregular hours of retiring and rising, her dilatoriness
in attending her meals, her continual complaints
of indisposition, deranged all the regulations of the
family, and begat such confusion in the household, that
even the elder Mrs. Baldwin occasionally lost her
equanimity; so that, when Evelina announced, a week
before the appointed time, that she must return home, the
intelligence was received with pleasure rather than pain.
Upon their return home, George and his lady found
a commodious dwelling handsomely furnished for their
reception. Mr. Smith presented him this in lieu of the
check of which he had spoken before the marriage of
his daughter; and though the gift did not redeem the
promise by $14,000, George was perfectly satisfied.
Mrs. Smith added to the donation her own cook and
carriage driver. Flora, the maid, had been considered
Evelina's from her infancy. Nothing could have been
more agreeable to George than the news that greeted
him on his arrival, that he was at liberty to name the
day when he would conduct Evelina to his own house;
for his last hope of happiness hung upon this last change
of life. He allowed himself but two days after his return
to lay in his store of provisions; and on the third,
at four in the afternoon, he led his wife to their mutual
"To this moment, my dear Evelina," said George,
as they seated themselves in their own habitation, "to
this moment have I looked forward for many months
with the liveliest interest. I have often figured to myself
the happy hours that we should enjoy under the
common roof, and I hope the hour has arrived when we
will unite our endeavours to realize my fond anticipations.
Let us, then, upon the commencement of a new
life, interchange our pledges that we will each exert
ourselves to promote the happiness of the other. In
many respects, it must be acknowledged that our
views and dispositions are different; but they will
soon be assimilated by identity of interest, community
of toil, and a frank and affectionate interchange of
opinions, if we will but consent to submit to some little
sacrifices in the beginning to attain this object.
Now tell me, candidly and fearlessly, my Evelina, what
would you have me be, and what would you have me
do, to answer your largest wishes from your husband?"
"I would have you," said Evelina, "think more of
me than all the world beside; I would have you the
first lawyer in the state; I would have you overcome
your dislike to such innocent amusements as tea-parties
and balls; and I would have you take me to the
Springs, or to New-York, or Philadelphia, every summer.
Now what would you have me do?"
"I would have you rise when I do; regulate your
servants with system; see that they perform their
duties in the proper way and the proper time; let all
provisions go through your hands; and devote your spare
time to reading valuable works, painting, music, or any
other improving employment or innocent recreation.
Be thus, and I '
will think more of you than all the world
beside,' 'I will be the first lawyer in the state;' and,
after a few years, 'you shall visit the North or the
Springs every summer, if you desire it.' "
"Lord, if I do all these things you mention, I shall
have no time for reading, music, or painting."
"Yes you will. My mother - "
"Oh, for the Lord's sake, Mr. Baldwin, hush talking
about your mother. I'm sick and tired of hearing you
talk of 'my mother' this, and 'my mother' that; and,
when I went to your house, I didn't see that she got
along a bit better than my mother, except in her cooking:
and that was only because your mother cooked
the meats, and your sisters made the pastry. I don't
see the use of having servants if one must do everything
"My sisters make the pastry, to be sure; because
mother desires that they should learn how to do these
things, that they may better superintend the doing of
them when they get married; and because she thinks
such things should not pass through the hands of
servants when it can be avoided; but my mother never
"She does, for I saw her lifting off a pot myself."
"She does not - "
Here the entry of the cook stopped a controversy
that was becoming rather warm for
the first evening at
"I want the keys, Miss 'V'lina, to get out supper,"
said the cook.
"There they are,
aunt * Clary," said Evelina; "try
and have everything very nice."
"My dear, I wouldn't send her to the provisions
unattended: everything depends upon your commencing
right - "
"Hush!" said Evelina, with some agitation; "I
* "Aunt" and "mauma," or
"maum," its abbreviation, are terms of
respect commonly used by children to aged negroes. The first
generally prevails in the up country, and the second on the seaboard.
wouldn't have her hear you for the world. She'd be
very angry if she thought we suspected her honesty.
Ma always gave her up the keys, and she says she
never detected her in a theft in all her life."
"Very well," said George, "we'll see."
After a long waiting, the first supper made its
appearance. It consisted of smoked tea, half baked
biscuit, butter, and sliced venison.
"Why," said Evelina, as she sipped her first cup of
tea, "this tea seems to me to be smoked. Here, Flora,
throw it out and make some more. Oh me! the biscuit
an't done. Aunt Clary's made quite an unfortunate
beginning. But I didn't want any supper - do you?"
"I can do without it," said George, coldly, "if you can."
"Well, let's not eat any, and that will be the very
way to mortify aunt Clary, without making her mad.
To-morrow I'll laugh at her for cheating us out of our
supper; and she won't do so any more. The old creature
has very tender feelings."
"I'll starve for a week to save Clary's feelings," said
George, "if you will only quit
aunting her. How can
you expect her to treat you or your orders with respect,
when you treat her as your superior?"
"Well, really, I can't see any great harm in treating
aged people with respect, even if their skins are
"I wish you had thought of that when you were
talking to old Mr. Dawson. I should think he was
entitled to as much respect as an infernal black wench!"
This was the harshest expression that had ever
escaped George's lips. Evelina could not stand it.
She left the room, threw herself on a bed, and burst
In the course of the night the matter was adjusted.
The next morning George rose with the sun, and he
tried to prevail upon his wife to do the same; but "she
could not see what was the use of her getting up so
soon, just to set about doing nothing: and, to silence
all farther importunities then and after upon that score,
she told him flatly she never would consent to rise at
At half after eight she made her appearance, and
breakfast came in. It consisted of muddy coffee,
hard-boiled eggs, and hard-burnt biscuit.
"Why, what has got into aunt Clary," said Evelina
"that she cooks so badly!"
"Why, we mortified her so much, my dear, by eating
no supper," said George, "that we have driven her
to the opposite extreme. Let us now throw the breakfast
upon her hands, except the coffee, and perhaps
she'll be mortified back to a medium."
"That's very witty, indeed," said Evelina; "you
must have learned it from the amiable and accomplished
Miss Nancy Dawson."
This was an allusion which George could not withstand;
and he reddened to scarlet.
"Evelina," said he, "you are certainly the strangest
being that I ever met with; you are more respectful to
negroes than whites, and to everybody else than your
"Because," returned she, "negroes treat me with
more respect than some whites; and everybody else
with more respect than my husband."
George was reluctant to commence tightening the
reins of discipline with his servants for the first few
weeks of his mastership: and, therefore, he bore in
silence, but in anger, their idleness, their insolence,
and their disgusting familiarities with his wife. He
often visited the kitchen, unobserved, of nights; and
almost always found it thronged with gay company,
revelling in all the dainties of his closet, smokehouse,
sideboard, and pantry. He communicated his
discoveries to his wife, but she found no difficulty in
accounting satisfactorily for all that he had seen.
"Clary's husband had always supplied her with everything
she wanted. Flora had a hundred ways of
getting money; and Bill (the carriage-driver) was
always receiving little presents from her and others."
At the end of three weeks
aunt Clary announced
that the barrel of flour was out.
"Now," said George, "I hope you are satisfied that
it is upon
your flour, and not upon her husband's, that
aunt Clary gives her entertainments."
"Why, law me!" said Evelina, "I think it has lasted
wonderfully. You recollect ma and pa have been
here most every day."
boarded with us," said George, "we
could not have consumed a barrel of flour in three
In quick succession came the news that the tea, coffee,
and sugar were out; all of which Evelina thought
"had lasted wonderfully."
It would be useless to recount the daily differences
of George and his wife. In nothing could they agree;
and the consequence was, that, at the end of six weeks
they had come to downright quarrelling; through all
which Evelina sought and received the sympathy of
Miss Flora and aunt Clary.
About this time the Superior Court commenced its
session in the city; and a hundred like favours, received
from the judge and the bar, imposed upon George
the absolute necessity of giving a dinner to his brethren.
He used every precaution to pass it off well. He gave
his wife four days' notice; he provided everything himself,
of the best that the town could afford; he became
all courtesy and affection to his wife, and all respect
and cheerfulness to aunt Clary, in the interim. He
promised all the servants a handsome present each if
they would acquit themselves well upon this occasion
and charged them all, over and over, to remember,
that the time between two and half past three was all
that the bar could allow to his entertainment; and,
consequently, dinner must be upon the table precisely
The day came and the company assembled. Evelina,
attired like a queen, received them in the drawing-room,
and all were delighted with her. All were
cheerful, talkative, and happy. Two o'clock came
and no dinner; a quarter after, and no dinner. The
conversation began to flag a little. Half past two rolled
round, and no dinner. Conversation sunk to temperate,
and George rose to intemperate. Three quarters
past two came, but no dinner. Conversation sunk
to freezing, and George rose to fever heat.
At this interesting moment, while he was sauntering
every way, George sauntered near his wife, who was
deeply engaged in a conversation with his brother
Paine, a grave, intelligent young man, and he detected
her in the act of repeating,
pretty sentences which first subdued his heart. verbatim et literatim
"Good Lord!" muttered George to himself; "Jenkinson,
in the Vicar of Wakefield, with his one sentence
of learning revived!"
He rushed out of the room in order to inquire what
delayed dinner; and, on leaving the dining-room, was
met at the door by Flora, with two pale-blue, dry, boiled
fowls; boiled almost to dismemberment, upon a
dish large enough to contain a goodly-sized shote;
their legs sticking straight out, with a most undignified
straddle, and bowing with a bewitching grace and
elasticity to George with every step that Flora made.
Behind her followed Billy, with a prodigious roast
turkey, upon a dish that was almost concealed by its
contents, his legs extended like the fowls, the back and
sides burned to a crisp, and the breast raw. The old
gentleman was handsomely adorned with a large black
twine necklace; and through a spacious window that,
by chance or design, the cook had left open, the light
poured into his vacant cavity gloriously.
George stood petrified at the sight; nor did he wake
from his stupor of amazement until he was roused by
a burned round of beef and a raw leg of mutton making
by him for the same port in which the fowls and turkey
had been moored.
He rushed into the kitchen in a fury. "You infernal
heifer!" said he to aunt Clary; "what kind of
cooking is this you're setting before my company?"
"Eh - eh! Name o' God, Mas George how anybody
gwine cook ting good when you hurry 'em so?"
George looked for something to throw at her head,
but fortunately found nothing.
He returned to the house, and found his wife entertaining
the company with a never-ending sonata on the
Dinner was at length announced, and an awful sight
it was when full spread. George made as good apologies
as he could, but his wife was not in the least disconcerted;
indeed, she seemed to assume an air of
self-complaisance at the profusion and richness which
crowned her board.
The gentlemen ate but little, owing, as they said, to
their having all eaten a very hearty breakfast that morning.
George followed his guests to the Courthouse,
craved a continuance of his cases for the evening on
the ground of indisposition, and it was granted, with an
unaccountable display of sympathy. He returned
home, and embarked in a quarrel with his wife, which
lasted until Evelina's exhausted nature sunk to sleep
under it, at three the next morning.
George's whole character now became completely
revolutionized. Universal gloom overspread his
countenance. He lost his spirits, his energy, his life, his
temper, his everything ennobling; and he had just began
to surrender himself to the bottle, when an accident
occurred which revived his hopes of happiness
with his wife, and determined him to make one more
effort to bring her into his views.
Mr. Smith, by an unfortunate investment in cotton,
failed; and, after a bungling attempt to secrete a few
thousand dollars from his creditors (for he knew George
too well to claim his assistance in such a matter), he
was left without a dollar that he could call his own.
Evelina and her parents all seemed as if they would
go crazy under the misfortune; and George now assumed
the most affectionate deportment to his wife,
and the most soothing demeanor to her parents. The
parents were completely won to him; and his wife,
for once, seemed to feel towards him as she should.
George availed himself of this moment to make another,
and the last attempt, to reform her habits and
"My dear Evelina," said he, "we have nothing now
to look to but our own exertions for a support. This,
and indeed affluence, lies within our reach, if we will
but seek them in a proper way. You have only to use
industry and care within doors, and I without, to place
us, in a very few years, above the frowns of fortune.
We have only to consult each other's happiness to
make each other happy. Come, then, my love, forgetting
our disgraceful bickerings, let us now commence
a new life. Believe me, there is no being on this earth
that my heart can love as it can you, if you will but
claim its affections; and you know how to command
them." Thus, at much greater length, and with much
more tenderness, did George address her. His appeal
had, for a season, its desired effect. Evelina rose with
him, retired with him, read with him. She took charge
of the keys, dealt out the stores with her own hand,
visited the kitchen; in short, she became everything
George could wish or expect from one of her inexperience.
Things immediately wore a new aspect.
George became himself again. He recommenced his
studies with redoubled assiduity. The community
saw and delighted in the change, and the bar began to
tremble at his giant strides in his profession. But alas,
his bliss was doomed to a short duration. Though
Evelina saw, and felt, and acknowleged the advantages
and blessings of her new course of conduct, she had to
preserve it by a struggle against nature; and, at the
end of three months, nature triumphed over resolution,
and she relapsed into her old habits. George now
surrendered himself to drink and to despair, and died the
drunkard's death. At another time I may perhaps
give the melancholy account of his ruin in detail,
tracing its consequences down to the moment at which I
am now writing. Should this time never arrive, let
the fate of my poor nephew be a warning to mothers
against bringing up their daughters to be "CHARMING
THE GANDER PULLING.
In the year 1798 I resided in the city of Augusta
and, upon visiting the market-house one morning in
that year, my attention was called to the following
notice, stuck upon one of the pillars of the building.
"Thos woo wish To be inform heareof, is heareof
notyfide that edwd. Prator will giv a gander pullin, jis
this side of harisburg, on Satterday of thes pressents
munth to All woo mout wish to partak tharof.
"e Prator, thos wishin to purtak
will cum yearly, as the pullin will begin soon.
If I am asked why "jis this side of harisburg" was
elected for the promised feat instead of the city of
Augusta, I answer from conjecture, but with some
confidence, because the ground chosen was near the
central point between four rival towns, the citizens of
all which "
mout wish to partak tharof;" namely, Augusta,
Springfield, Harrisburg, and Campbellton. Not
that each was the rival of all the others, but that the
first and the last were competitors, and each of the
others backed the pretensions of its nearest neighbour.
Harrisburg sided with Campbellton, not because she
had any interest in seeing the business of the two states
centre upon the bank of the river, nearly opposite to her;
but because, like the "Union Democratic Republican
Party of Georgia," she thought, after the adoption of
the Federal Constitution, that the several towns of the
confederacy should no longing be "separated" by the
distinction of local party; but that, laying down all
former prejudices and jealousies as a sacrifice on the
altar of their country, they should become united in a
single body, for the maintenance of those principles
which they deemed essential to the public welfare.
Springfield, on the other hand, espoused the State
Rights' creed. She admitted that, under the Federal
Compact, she ought to love the sister states very much;
but that, under the
Social Compact, she ought to love
her own state a little more; and she thought the two
compacts perfectly reconcilable to each other. Instead
of the towns of the several states getting into
single bodies to preserve the public welfare, her doctrine
was, that they should be kept in separate bodies
to preserve the private welfare. She admitted frankly,
that, living, as she always had lived, right amid
gullies, vapours, fogs, creeks, and lagoons, she was
wholly incapable of comprehending that expansive
kind of benevolence, which taught her to love people
whom she knew nothing about, as much as her next-door
neighbours and friends. Until, therefore, she
should learn it from the practical operation of the
Federal Compact, she would stick to the oldfashioned
Scotch love, which she understood perfectly, and "go
in" for Augusta, live or die, hit or miss, right or
wrong. As in the days of Mr. Jefferson, the Springfield
doctrines prevailed, Campbellton was literally
nullified; insomuch that, ten years ago, there was not
a house left to mark the spot where once flourished
this active, busy little village. Those who are curious
to know where Springfield stood at the time of
which I am speaking, have only to take their position
at the intersection of Broad and Marbury streets, in
the city of Augusta, and they will be in the very heart
of old Springfield. Sixty steps west, and as many
east of this position, will measure the whole length of
this Jeffersonian republican village, which never boasted
of more than four dwelling-houses; and Broad-street
measures its width, if we exclude kitchens and stables.
And, while upon this subject, since it has been predicted
by a man for whose opinions I entertain the profoundest
since the prediction), that
my writings will be read with increased interest a
hundred years to come; and as I can see no good
reason, if this be true, why they should not be read
a thousand years hence with more interest, I will take
the liberty of dropping a word here to the curious
reader of the year 1933. He will certainly wish to
know the site of Harrisburg (seeing it is doomed, at
no distant period, to share the fate of Springfield) and
Supposing, then, that if the great fire in Augusta, on
the 3d of April, 1829, did not destroy that city, nothing
will; I select this as a permanent object.
In 1798, Campbell-street was the western verge of
Augusta, a limit to which it had advanced but a few
years before, from Jackson-street. Thence to Springfield
led a large road, now built up on either side, and
forming a continuation of Broad-street. This road
was cut across obliquely by a deep gully, the bed of
which was an almost impassable bog, which entered
the road about one hundred yards below Collock-street
on the south, and left it about thirty yards below
Collock-street on the north side of now Broad-street. It
was called Campbell's Gully, from the name of the
gentleman through whose possessions and near whose
dwelling it wound its way to the river. Following the
direction of Broad-street from Springfield westward,
1347 yards, will bring you to Harrisburg, which had
nothing to boast of over Springfield but a warehouse
for the storage of tobacco, then the staple of Georgia.
Continue the same direction 700 yards, then face to
your right hand, and follow your nose directly across
Savannah river, and, upon ascending the opposite bank,
you will be in the busiest part of Campbellton in 1798.
Between Harrisburg and Springfield, and 1143 yards
from the latter, there runs a stream which may be
perpetual. At the time just mentioned, it flowed between
* The Editor
of the "Hickory Nut."
banks twelve or fourteen feet high, and was then called,
as it still is, "Hawk's Gully."
Now Mr. Prator, like the most successful politician
of the present day, was on all sides in a doubtful contest;
and, accordingly, he laid off his gander-pulling
ground on the nearest suitable unappropriated spot to
the centre point between Springfield and Harrisburg.
This was between Harrisburg and Hawk's Gully, to
the south of the road, and embraced part of the road,
but within 100 yards of Harrisburg.
Satterday of thes pressents munth" rolled
round, I determined to go to the gander-pulling.
When I reached the spot, a considerable number of
persons, of different ages, sexes, sizes, and complexions,
had collected from the rival towns and the country
around. But few females were there, however;
and those few were from the lowest walks of life.
A circular path of about forty yards diameter had
already been laid out; over which, from two posts
about ten feet apart, stretched a rope, the middle of
which was directly over the path. The rope hung
loosely, so as to allow it, with the weight of a gander
attached to it, to vibrate in an arc of four or five feet
span, and so as to bring the breast of the gander within
barely easy reach of a man of middle stature upon a
horse of common size.
A hat was now handed to such as wished to enter
the list; and they threw into it twenty-five cents each;
this sum was the victor's prize.
The devoted gander was now produced; and Mr.
Prator, having first tied his feet together with a strong
cord, proceeded to the
may be to all who respect the tenderer relations of
life, Mrs. Prator had actually prepared a gourd
goose-grease for this very purpose. For myself,
when I saw
Ned dip his hands into the grease, and commence stroking
down the feathers from breast to head, my thoughts
* It took its
name from an old man by the name of Hawk, who
lived in a log hut on a small knoll on the eastern side of the gully
and about 100 yards south of the Harrisburg road.
took a melancholy turn. They dwelt in sadness upon
the many conjugal felicities which had probably been
shared between the
greasess and the greasee. I could
see him as he stood by her side, through many a chilly
day and cheerless night, when she was warming into
life the offspring of their mutual loves, and repelled,
with chivalrous spirit, every invasion of the consecrated
spot which she had selected for her incubation. I
could see him moving with patriarchal dignity by the
side of his loved one, at the head of a smiling, prattling
group, the rich reward of their mutual care, to the
luxuries of the meadow or to the recreations of the pool.
And now, alas! an extract from the smoking sacrifice
of his bosom friend was desecrated to the unholy
purpose of making his neck "a fit object" for Cruelty to
reach "her quick, unerring fingers at." Ye friends
of the sacred tie! judge what were my feelings when,
in the midst of these reflections, the voice of James
Prator thundered on mine ear, "Darn his old dodging
soul; brother Ned! grease his neck till a fly can't
light on it!"
Ned, having fulfilled his brother Jim's request as
well as he could, attached the victim of his cruelty to
the rope directly over the path. On each side of the
gander was stationed a man, whose office it was to lash
forward any horse which might linger there for a moment;
for, by the rules of the ring, all pulling was to
be done at a brisk canter.
The word was now given for the competitors to
mount and take their places on the ring. Eight appeared:
Tall Zubley Zin, mounted upon Sally Spitfire;
Arch Odum, mounted on Bull and Ingons (onions);
Nathan Perdew, on Hellcat; James Dickson, on Nigger;
David Williams, on Gridiron; Fat John Fulger,
on Slouch; Gorham Bostwick, on Gimlet; and Turner
Hammond, on 'Possum.
gentlemen," said Commandant Prator, "fall
in. All of you git behind one another, sort o' in a row."
All came into the track very kindly but Sally Spitfire
and Gridiron. The former, as soon as she saw
a general movement of horses, took it for granted there
was mischief brewing, and, because she could not tell
where it lay, she concluded it lay everywhere, and
therefore took fright at everything.
Gridiron was a grave horse; but a suspicious eye
which he cast to the right and left, wherever he moved,
showed that "he was wide awake," and that "nobody
better not go footing with him," as his owner sometimes
used to say. He took a sober but rather intense
view of things; insomuch that, in his contemplations,
he passed over the track three times before he could be
prevailed upon to stop in it. He stopped at last, however;
and when he was made to understand that this
was all that was required of him for the present, he
surrendered his suspicions at once, with a countenance
which seemed plainly to say, "Oh, if this is all you
want, I've no objection to it."
It was long before Miss Spitfire could be prevailed
upon to do the like.
"Get another horse, Zube," said one; "Sal will
never do for a gander pullin."
"I won't," said Zube. "If she won't do, I'll make
her do. I want a nag that goes off with a spring; so
that, when I get a hold, she'll cut the neck in two like a
At length Sally was rather flung than coaxed into
the track, directly ahead of Gridiron.
"Now, gentlemen," said the master of the ceremonies,
"no man's to make a grab till all's been once
round; and when the first man
are got round, then the
whole twist and tucking of you grab away as you come
under ("Look here, Jim Fulger! you better not stand
too close to that gander, I tell you"), one after another.
Now blaze away!" (the command for an onset of every
kind with people of this order).
Off they went, Miss Sally delighted; for she now
thought the whole parade would end in nothing more
nor less than her favourite amusement, a race. But
Gridiron's visage pronounced this the most nonsensical
business that ever a horse of sense was engaged
in since the world began.
For the first three rounds Zubly was wholly occupied
in restraining Sally to her place; but he lost nothing
by this, for the gander had escaped unhurt. On
completing his third round, Zube reached forth his long
arm, grabbed the gander by the neck with a firmness
which seemed likely to defy
goose-grease, and, at the
same instant, he involuntarily gave Sally a sudden
check. She raised her head, which before had been
kept nearly touching her leader's hocks, and for the
first time saw the gander in the act of descending upon
her; at the same moment she received two pealing lashes
from the whippers. The way she now broke for
Springfield "is nothing to nobody." As Zube dashed
down the road, the whole Circus raised a whoop after
him. This started about twenty dogs, hounds, curs,
and pointers, in full chase of him (for no one moved
without his dog in those days). The dogs alarmed
some belled cattle, which were grazing on Zube's path,
just as he reached them; these joined him, with tails
up and a tremendous rattling. Just beyond these went
three tobacco-rollers, at distances of fifty and a hundred
yards apart; each of whom gave Zube a terrified
whoop, scream, or yell as he passed.
He went in and out of Hawk's Gully like a trapball,
and was in Springfield "in less than no time." Here
he was encouraged onward by a new recruit of dogs;
but they gave up the chase as hopeless before they
cleared the village. Just beyond Springfield, what
should Sally encounter but a flock of geese! the tribe
to which she owed all her misfortunes. She stopped
suddenly, and Zube went over her head with the last
acquired velocity. He was up in a moment, and the
activity with which he pursued Sally satisfied every
spectator that he was unhurt.
Gridiron, who had witnessed Miss Sally's treatment
with astonishment and indignation, resolved not to pass
between the posts until the whole matter should be
explained to his satisfaction. He therefore stopped
short, and, by very intelligible looks, demanded of the
whippers whether, if he passed between them, he was
to be treated as Miss Spitfire had been? The whippers
gave him no satisfaction, and his rider signified,
by reiterated thumps of the heel, that he should go
through whether he would or not. Of these, however,
Gridiron seemed to know nothing. In the midst of
the conference, Gridiron's eye lit upon the oscillating
gander, and every moment's survey of it begat in him
a growing interest, as his slowly rising head, suppressed
breath, and projected ears plainly evinced. After
a short examination, he heaved a sigh, and looked behind
him to see if the way was clear. It was plain
that his mind was now made up; but, to satisfy the
world that he would do nothing rashly, he took another
view, and then wheeled and went for Harrisbug as if
he had set in for a year's running. Nobody whooped
at Gridiron, for all saw that his running was purely
the result of philosophic deduction. The reader will
not suppose all this consumed half the time which has
been consumed in telling it, though it might have been
so without interrupting the amusement; for Miss Spitfire's
flight had completely suspended it for a time.
The remaining competitors now went on with the
sport. A few rounds showed plainly that Odum or
Bostwick would be the victor; but which, no one could
tell. Whenever either of them came round, the gander's
neck was sure of a severe wrench. Many a
half pint of Jamaica was staked upon them, besides
other things. The poor gander withstood many a
strong pull before his wailings ceased. At length,
however, they were hushed by Odum. Then came
Bostwick, and broke the neck. The next grasp of
Odum, it was thought, would bear away the head; but
it did not. Then Bostwick was sure of it; but he
missed it. Now Odum must surely have it. All is
interest and animation; the horses sweep round with
redoubled speed; every eye is upon Odum; his backers
smiling, Bostwick's trembling. To the rope he
comes; lifts his hand; when, lo! Fat John Fulger had
borne it away the second before. All were astonished,
all disappointed, and some were vexed a little; for it
was now clear that, "if it hadn't o' been for his great,
fat, greasy paw," to use their own language,"Odum
would have gained the victory." Others cursed "that
long-legged Zube Zin, who was so high he didn't know
when his feet were cold, for bringing such a nag as
Sal Spitfire to a gander pullen; for if he'd o' been in
his place, it would o' flung Bostwick right where that
gourd o' hog's lard (Fulger) was."
Fulger's conduct was little calculated to reconcile
them to their disappointment.
"Come here, Neddy Prater," said he, with a triumphant
smile; "let your Uncle Johnny put his potato
stealer (hand) into that hat, and tickle the chins of
are shiners a little! Oh you little shining sons
o' bitches! walk into your Mas' Johnny's pocket, and
jingle so as Arch Odum and Gory Bostwick may hear
you! You hear 'em, Gory? Boys, don't pull with
men any more. I've jist got my hand in; I wish I had
a pond full o' ganders here now, jist to show how I
could make their heads fly. Bet all I've won, you
may hang three upon that rope, and I'll set Slouch at
full speed, and take off the heads of all three the first
grab; two with my hands and one with my teeth."
Thus he went on, but really there was no boasting
in all this; it was all fun; for John knew, and all were
convinced that he knew, that his success was entirely
the result of accident. John was really "a good-natured
fellow," and his
cavorting had an effect directly
opposite to that which the reader would suppose it had;
it reconciled all to their disappointment save one. I
except little Billy Mixen, of Spirit Creek; who had
staked the net proceeds of six quarts of huckleberries
upon Odum, which he had been long keeping for a safe
bet. He could not be reconciled until he
into a pretty little piney -woods fight, in
got whipped; and then he went home perfectly satisfied.
* I give them
their Georgia name. I should hardly be understood
if I called them whortleberries.
Fulger spent all his winnings with Prator in
treats to the company; made most of them drunk,
and thereby produced four Georgia
which all parted good friends.
BEING on a visit to the city of - about ten
years ago, my old friend, Jack De Bathle, gave me an
invitation to a ball, of which he was one of the managers.
Jack had been the companion of my childhood,
my boyhood, and my early manhood; and through
many a merry dance had we hopped, and laughed, and
tumbled down together in the morning of life. Dancing
was really, in those days, a merry-making business.
Except the minuet, which was introduced only
to teach us the graces, and the congo, which was only
to chase away the solemnities of the minuet, it was all
a jovial, heart-stirring, foot-stirring amusement. We
had none of your mathematical cotillons; none of
your immodest waltzes; none of your detestable,
disgusting gallopades. The waltz would have
the cheek of every young lady who attended a ball in
my day; and, had the gallopade been commenced
the ballroom, it would have been ended in the
I am happy to say that the waltz has met with but very
little encouragement in Georgia as yet; the gallopade
with none. Ye fair of my native land! ye daughters
of a modest race! blush them away from the soil,
which your mothers honoured by their example, and
consecrated with their ashes. Born to woman's loftiest
* I borrowed
this term from Jim Inman at the time. "Why,
Jim," said I to him, just as he rose from a fight, "what have
been doing?" "Oh," said he, "nothing but taking a
with Bob M'Manus."
destinies, it ill becomes you to stoop from your
high estate to ape the indecencies of Europe's slaves.
It is yours to command, not to obey. Let vice approach
you in what form she may - as the handmaid
of wit and talents, the mistress of courts, or the queen
of fashion - fail not to meet her with the frown of
indignant virtue and the flush of offended modesty.
There is a majesty in these which has ever commanded
her homage. There is a loveliness in these which
will ever command the admiration of the world. The
interest which I feel in the character of the fair daughters
of America is my apology for this sober digression.
Though De Bathle is but two months younger than
I am, he still dances occasionally; and to this circumstance
in part, but more particularly to the circumstance
of his being a married man, is to be ascribed
his appointment of manager; the custom now being
to have one third or one half the managers married
men. This would be a great improvement on the
management of balls in olden time, could the married men
manage to keep out of the cardroom. Would
they take the direction of the amusement into their
hands, their junior colleagues would then have an
opportunity of sharing the pleasures of the evening, a
privilege which they seldom enjoy as things are now
conducted. However, married men are not appointed
with the expectation that they will perform the duties
of the office; but to quiet the scruples of some half
dozen or more " charming creatures," who, though they
never fail to attend a ball, will not condescend to do so
until they are perfectly satisfied it is to be conducted
with the utmost gravity, dignity, decorum, and propriety.
For these assurances they look first to "the face
of the paper" (the ball ticket); and if they do not find
on it a goodly member of responsible names (such as,
by reasonable presumption, are well broke to petticoat
government), they protest against it; tell a hundred
amiable little fibs to conceal the cause of their opposition;
torture two or three beaux half to death with
suspense, and finally conclude to go "
just to keep from
giving offence." But if the endorsers be "potent, grave,
and reverend seniors," schooled as aforesaid, why, then
one difficulty is at least removed; for though it is well
known that these are "endorsers without recourse in
the first instance," it is equally well known that they
may be ultimately made liable; for if the juniors fail
to fulfil their engagements, a lady has nothing to do
but to walk into the cardroom, take a senior by the
nape of the neck, lead him into the ballroom, present
her ticket with his name upon it in the presence of the
witnesses there assembled, and she is sure of ample
When De Bathle and I reached the ballroom, a large
number of gentlemen had already assembled. They
all seemed cheerful and happy. Some walked in couples
up and down the ballroom, and talked with great
volubility; but neither of them understood a word that
himself or his companion said.
"Ah, sir, how do you know that?"
Because the speakers showed plainly by their looks
and actions that their thoughts were running upon their
own personal appearance, and upon the figure they
would cut before the ladies when they should arrive,
and not upon the subject of the discourse. And,
furthermore, their conversation was like that of one
talking in his sleep; without order, sense, or connexion.
The hearer always made the speaker repeat in sentences
and half sentences; often interrupting him with
"what?" before he had proceeded three words in a
remark; and then laughed affectedly, as though he
saw in the senseless, unfinished sentence a most excellent
joke. Then would come his reply, which could
not be forced into connexion with a word that he had
heard; and in the course of which he was treated with
precisely the civility which he had received. And yet
they kept up the conversation with lively interest as
long as I listened to them.
Others employed themselves in commenting
good-humouredly upon each other's dresses and figure,
while some took steps - awkwardly.
In the mean time, the three junior managers met
and agreed upon the parts which they were to perform.
Herein I thought they were unfortunate. To Mr. Flirt
a bustling, fidgety, restless little man, about five feet
two and a half inches high, was assigned the comparatively
easy task of making out and distributing the numbers.
Mr. Crouch, a good-humoured, sensible, but rather
unpolished gentleman, undertook to attend the carriages,
and to transport their precious treasures to the
ballroom, where Mr. Dupree was to receive them, and
see to their safe keeping until the dancing commenced.
The parts of the married men, up to the opening of the
ball, was settled by common law. They were to keep
a sharp look-out; lend a helping hand in case of emergency;
drink plenty of wine; see that other gentlemen,
particularly strangers, did the same; and, finally, to
give any gentleman who might have come to the ball
encumbered with a little loose change, an opportunity
of relieving himself.
Things were thus arranged, Crouch standing with a
group of gentlemen, of which I was one, in the entry
leading to the ballroom, when Mr. Flirt broke upon
us as if the whole town was on fire, and all the * * * * * * *
had risen, with, "Good God, Crouch! there's Mrs.
Mushy's carriage at the door, full of ladies, and not a
manager there to receive them! I'll swear it is too
"Horrible!" said Crouch; and away he went.
But Mrs. Mushy, with Miss Feedle and Deedle, had
reached the foot of the stairs unattended, before Crouch,
or even Flirt, who was considerable in advance of him,
met them. Mrs. Mushy, who was a lady of very full
habit, looked huffishly as Flirt took her hand, and Miss
Feedle and Miss Deedle blushed sarcastically; Flirt
made a hundred apologies, and Crouch looked first at
Mrs. Mushy, then at Flirt, and tittered. "What a
lovely figure Mrs. Mushy is!" said he, as he turned off
from delivering his charge to Dupree.
"Oh, Mr. Crouch," said Flirt, "if you begin making
your fun of the ladies already, we'd better break up
the ball at once. By Heaven, it's a shame."
"Upon my honour, Mr. Flirt," said Crouch. "I think
she's beautiful. I always liked a light and airy figure,
particularly for a ballroom."
By this time Dupree had joined us. Flirt left us,
obviously in a pet; but we hardly missed him, before
back he rushed from the ballroom, exclaiming, "Why,
gracious Heavens, Dupree! there are those three ladies
sitting in the ballroom, and not a gentleman in the
room to entertain them. Do go and introduce some of
the gentlemen to them, if you please."
"Flugens!" said Dupree, "what an oversight!"
and off he went for
entertainers. After several
ineffectual attempts, he at length prevailed on Mr.
Noozle and Mr. Boozle to be made acquainted with the
Mr. N. seated himself to the right of Miss F., and
Mr. B. to the left of Miss D.; Mrs. M. occupying a
seat between the girls, and looking, for all the world,
as if she thought, "Well, this is the last ball I'll ever
attend, unless it's a little better managed." But the
young ladies looked like a May morning as soon as
the gentlemen approached. After a pause of two minutes,
"It's a very pleasant evening," said Mr. Noozle to
"Delightful," said Miss Feedle to Mr. Noozle.
"It's a delightful evening," said Miss Deedle to Mr.
"Very pleasant," said Mr. Boozle to Miss Deedle.
"I thought there were some
married managers of
the ball," said Mrs. Mushy, emphatically. Here
ensued a long pause.
"Are you fond of dancing?" said Mr. Noozle.
"Ah! what's that you say, Noodle?" said Boozle;
"you are not fond of dancing! Come, come, that'll
never do. You tip the pigeon-wing too well for that."
"You quite misapprehend me, sir," returned Mr.
Noozle. "Mine was not a declaration touching in the
remotest degree my personal predilections or antipathies,
but a simple interrogatory to Miss Feedle. No,
sir; though I cannot lay claim to the proficiency of
Noverre in the saltant art, I am, nevertheless, extravagantly
fond of dancing; too much so, I fear, for one
who has but just commenced the
, as that inimitable and fascinating expositor
of the elements of British jurisprudence, Sir William
Blackstone, observes. To reach these high attainments
in forensic - " veginti lucubrationes
Here the young gentlemen were forced to resign
their seats to a number of ladies who now entered the
"What an intelligent young gentleman!" said Miss
Feedle. "I declare I must set my cap for him."
"I think the other much the most interesting of the
two," said Miss Deedle. "He's too affected, and too
fond of showing off his learning. What did he call
that 'inimitable expositor?'
The seats were soon filled with ladies; almost all of
whom (except Mrs. Mushy) entered the room in the
same style, which seemed to have been strictly copied
from the movement of the kildee. They took their
seats with precisely the motion with which the school
girls in my younger days used to make "
they called them, with their frocks.
The musicians were all blacks, but neatly dressed.
The band consisted of three performers on the violin,
one on the clarinet, one on the tambourine, and one on
The ladies ceased coming, and nothing seemed now
wanting to begin the amusement but the distribution of
the numbers; but Mr. Flirt was running up and down
stairs every minute after - no one knew what; and
with great anxiety - no one knew why. He would enter
the room, look the ladies all over, then down he
would go; then return and go through the same evolutions.
The band struck up a spirit-stirring tune, in
which the tambourine player distinguished himself.
For dignified complaisancy of countenance, under his
own music, he rivalled Mr. Jenkins; and he performed
the rattlesnake note with his middle finger in a style
which threw Miss Crump entirely in the shade. The
band ceased, and the inquiry became general, "Why
doesn't the drawing begin?" but Mr. Flirt still kept up
his anxious movements.
"In the name of sense, Flirt," said Crouch, impatiently,
as the little man was taking a third survey of
the ladies, "what are you bobbing up and down stairs
for? Why don't you distribute the tickets?"
"Oh," said Flirt, "it's early yet. Let's wait for
Miss Gilt and Miss Rino. I know they're coming,
for Mr. Posey and Mr. Tulip told me they saw them
dressed, and their carriages at the door, an hour ago."
"Blast Miss Gilt and Miss Rino!" returned Crouch.
"Is the whole company to be kept waiting for them?
Now, sir, if the tickets are not handed round in three
minutes, I'll announce to the company that Mr. Flirt
will permit no dancing until Miss Gilt and Miss Rino
shall think proper to honour us with their presence."
"Oh, zounds!" said Flirt, "I'm not waiting for them.
I thought it was too early to begin the drawing. It's
quite unfashionable in New-York to commence drawing
before 9 o'clock." (Miss R.'s father was computed
at a cool hundred and fifty, and Miss G.'s at a round
In a few minutes the tickets were distributed, and
Mr. Flirt proceeded to call, "No. 1 -
with most imposing majesty. Then numbers 2, 3,
and 4 of the same; then No. 1, of the second, and
Five sets of cotillons could occupy the floor at a
time; and Flirt had just called No. 2 of the fifth,
when Miss Rino entered the room, and immediately
afterward Miss Gilt. Flirt had put two supernumerary
tickets in the hat, in anticipation of their coming;
and, forgetting everything else, he suspended the calling,
and rushed to deliver them, as soon as the ladies
made their appearance.
He went to Miss Rino first, as she entered first
but she was obviously piqued at seeing the sets on the
floor before her arrival. She refused to take a number;
declaring (very sweetly) that she left home with
no idea of dancing. Flirt insisted, earnestly and prettily,
upon her taking a number; but she hesitated
looked in the hat, then looked at Flirt bewitchingly,
and declared she did not wish to dance.
In the mean time Miss Gilt began to feel herself
slighted, and she said, in a pretty audible tone, "As
for her part, she would like very well to draw a number
if she could be permitted to do so." Several gentlemen
who had gathered around her hastened to Flirt
to remind him of the indignity which he was offering
to Miss Gilt; but, before they reached him, Miss Rino
drew No. 3 of the fifth cotillon from the hat.
Unfortunately, Crouch's patience had worn out just
before Miss R. made up her mind to take a ticket; and
he took the office which Flirt had abdicated. He called
No. 3 twice, but the call was not responded to.
He then called No. 4, when Miss Jones appeared and
took her place. He next called No. 1 of the sixth
set, when a lady appeared, which completed the cotillon.
The last lady had but just taken her place, when
Miss Rino, led on by Mr. Noozle, advanced, and
announced that hers was No. 3 of the fifth set. Miss
Jones was instinctively retiring from the august presence
of Miss Rino, when she was stopped by Crouch,
with, "keep your place, Miss Jones; I think you are
entitled to it."
"Isn't this No. 3 of the fifth cotillon?" said Miss
Rino, holding out her ticket to Mr. Crouch.
"Yes, miss," said Crouch, "but I think it has forfeited
its place. Indeed, I do not think it was even
drawn when Miss Jones took her place."
This drew from Miss Rino the expression of countenance
which immediately precedes a sneeze.
"Upon every principle of equity and justice," said
Mr. Boozle, "Miss Rino is entitled to - "
"Music!" said Crouch.
"Hands round!" said the fiddler; and the whole
band struck into something like "The Dead March."
"This matter shall not end here," said Noozle, as
he led Miss Rino back to her seat.
"Oh, Mr. Noozle," returned Miss Rino, "don't
think anything of it. I declare I had not the least
wish in the world to dance. Surely you would not
object to anything the
polite and accomplished Mr.
Crouch would do!"
Noozle walked the floor in portentous abstraction,
wiped his face with terrific emphasis, and knocked his
hair back with the slap belligerent.
The ladies who were not dancing became alarmed
and sedate (Miss Gilt excepted); the gentlemen collected
in groups, and carried on an animated conversation.
As all but myself, who could give a correct
version of the affair, were engaged in the dance, the
Noozle party had gained over to their side most of
the company present before the dance ended. After
various inquiries, rumours, and corrections, the company
generally settled down upon the following statement,
as confirmed by the joint testimony of Rino,
Flirt, and Noozle.
"Crouch had an old spite against Miss Rino for nothing
at all; began cursing and abusing her because
she was not the first lady in the room; refused to wait
two minutes for her arrival; as soon as he saw her
enter the ballroom, ursurped Mr. Flirt's appointment,
and commenced calling the numbers on purpose to
cut her out. She, seeing his object, snatched up a
number and rushed to her place; but it was occupied
by Miss Jones; who, seeing the superiority of her
claims, offered to give way, and was actually retiring,
when Crouch seized her by the arm, jerked her
back, and said, '
Keep your place, miss! You're entitled
to it, if Miss Rino has got the number; and you
shall have it.' And when Mr. Noozle was pleading
with him just to look at Miss Rino's ticket, he just
turned upon his heel and called for the music." This
was all reported to Crouch, as confirmed by the trio
before mentioned. He pronounced it all an infamous
lie, from beginning to end, and was with difficulty
restrained from going immediately after Flirt, to pick
him up, as he said, and wear him out upon Noozle.
As soon as the first cotillon ended, the Crouch party
began to gain ground; but not without warm words
between several gentlemen, and a general depression
of spirits through the company.
The dancing of the ladies was, with few exceptions,
much after the same fashion. I found not the least
difficulty in resolving it into the three motions of a
turkey-cock strutting, a sparrow-hawk lighting, and a
duck walking. Let the reader suppose a lady beginning
a strut at her own place, and ending it (precisely
as does the turkey-cock) three feet nearer the gentleman
opposite her; then giving three sparrow-hawk
bobs, and then waddling back to her place like a duck;
and he will have a pretty correct idea of their dancing.
Not that the three movements were blended at
every turn of the dance, but that one or more of the
three answered to every turn. The strut prevailed
most in balancing; the bobs, when balanced to; and
the waddle, when going round. To all this Mrs.
Mushy was an exception. When she danced, every
particle of her danced, in spite of herself.
There was as little variety in the gentlemen's dancing
as there was in the ladies'. Any one who has
seen a gentleman clean mud off his shoes on a door
mat, has seen nearly all of it; the principal difference
being, that some scraped with a pull of the foot, some
with a push, and some with both.
"I suppose," said I to a gentleman, "they take no
steps because the music will not admit of them?"
"Oh no," said he; "it's quite ungenteel to take
steps." I thought of the wag's remarks about Miss
Crump's music. "If this be their
dancing," thought I,
"what must their mourning be!"
A splendid supper was prepared at twelve o'clock;
and the young ladies ate almonds, raisins, apples, oranges,
jelly, sillabub, custard, candy, sugar-plums, kisses
and cake, as if they had been owing them an old
grudge. But the married gentlemen did not come up
"And how did the quarrel end?"
"Oh; I had like to have forgot the
denouément of the
A correspondence opened the next morning between
the parties, in which Noozle was diffuse and Crouch
laconic. They once came this near an amicable adjustment
of the difference. Noozle's second (for the fashion
is, for the principals to get into quarrels, and for the
seconds to get them out) agreed, if Crouch would strike
the word "it" out of one of his letters, his friend would
be perfectly satisfied.
Mr. Crouch's second admitted that the removal of the
word would not change the sense of the letter the least;
but that Mr. Crouch, having put his life and character
in his hands, he felt bound to protect them with the most
scrupulous fidelity; he could not, therefore, consent to
expunge the objectionable word, unless the challenge
were withdrawn. To show, however, his reluctance to
the shedding of blood, and to acquit his friend, in the
eyes of the public, of all blame, he would take it upon
himself to say, that if Mr. Noozle would withdraw his
objections to the "t," Mr. Crouch should expunge the
"i." This proposition was rejected; but, in return, it
was submitted, that if Mr. Crouch would expunge the
"t," the "i" might remain. To which it was replied,
that the alteration would convert the whole sentence
into nonsence; making it read "
i is," instead of " it
is," &c. Here the seconds separated, and soon after
the principals met; and Crouch shot Noozle, in due
form and according to the latest fashion, through the
knees. I went to see him after he had received his
wound; and, poor fellow, he suffered dreadful tortures.
So much, said I, for a young lady's lingering
from a ball an hour too long, in order to make herself
THE MOTHER AND HER CHILD.
WHENCE comes the gibberish which is almost invariably
used by mothers and nurses to infants? Take,
for example, the following, which will answer the two-fold
purpose of illustrating my idea and of exhibiting
one of the peculiarities of the age.
A few days ago I called to spend an hour in the
afternoon with Mr. Slang, whose wife is the mother
of a child about eight months old.
While I was there, the child in the nurse's arms, in
an adjoining room, began to cry.
"You Rose," said Mrs. Slang, "quiet that child!"
Rose walked with it, and sang to it, but it did not hush.
"You Rose! if you do not quiet that child, I lay I
"I is tried, ma'am," said Rose, "an' he wouldn't get
Child cries louder.)
"Fetch him to me, you good-for-nothing hussy you.
What's the matter with him?" reaching out her arms
to receive him.
"I dun know, ma'am."
"Nhei - nhun - nho - nha'am!" (
mocking and grinning
As Rose delivered the child, she gave visible signs
of dodging just as the child left her arms; and, that
she might not be disappointed, Mrs. Slang gave her
a box, in which there seemed to be no anger mixed at
all, and which Rose received
as a matter of course,
without even changing countenance under it.
"Da den!" said Mrs. Slang; "come elong e muddy
(mother). Did nassy Yosey (Rose) pague muddy
thweety chilluns!" (children) - pressing the child to her
bosom, and rocking it backward and forward tenderly.
"Muddins will whippy ole nassy Yosey. Ah!
you old uggy Yosey!" (
knocking at Rose playfully.)
"Da den; muddy did whippy bad Yosey." (
"Why, what upon earth ails the child? Rose, you've
hurt this child somehow or other!"
"No, ma'am, 'cla' I didn't; I was just sitt'n down
dar in the rock'n-chair 'long side o' Miss Nancy's
bureau, an' wasn't doin' nothin' 't all to him, jis playin'
wid him, and he jis begin to cry heself, when nobody
wasn't doin' nothin' 't all to him, and nobody wa'n't in
dar nuther sept jis me and him, and I was - "
"Thing - nhing - nhing - and I expect you hit his
head against the bureau."
"Let muddy see where ole bad Yosey knocky heady
'gin de bureaus. Muddy
will see," taking off the
child's cap, and finding nothing. ( Child cries on.)
"Muddy's baby was hongry. Dat was what ails
muddy's darling, thweety ones. Was cho hongry, an'
nobody would givy litty darling any sings 't all for eaty?"
loosing her frock bosom.) "No, nobody would gim
thweety ones any sings fo' eat 't all." ( Offers the
breast to the child, who rejects it, rolls over, kicks, and
screams worse than ever.)
"Hush! you little brat! I believe it's nothing in the
world but crossness. Hush!" (
shaking it), "hush, I tell
you. ( Child cries to the NE PLUS ULTRA.)
"Why surely a pin must stick the child. Yes, was
e bad pin did ticky chilluns. Let muddy see where de
uggy pin did ticky dear prettous creter" (
"Why no, it isn't a pin. Why what can be the matter
with the child! It must have the cholic, surely. Rose,
go bring me the paregoric off the mantelpiece. Yes,
muddy's baby did hab e tolic. Dat was what did ail
muddy's prettous darly baby." ( Pressing it to her
bosom, and rocking it. Child cries on.)
Rose brought the paregoric, handed it, dodged, and
got her expectations realized as before.
"Now go bring me the sugar, and some water."
Rose brought them, and delivered both without the
customary reward; for at that instant, the child, being
laid perfectly still on the lap, hushed.
The paregoric was administered, and the child
received it with only a whimper now and then. As soon
as it received the medicine, the mother raised it up and
it began to cry.
"Why, Lord help my soul, what's the matter with
the child! What have you done to him, you little hussy?"
rising and walking towards Rose.)
" 'Cla,'missis, I eint done noth'n' 't all; was jis sittin'
down da by Miss Nancy's bu - "
"You lie, you slut" (
hitting her a passing slap), "I
know you've hurt him. Hush, my baby" ( singing the
Coquet), "don't you cry, your sweetheart will come
by'm'by, da de dum dum dum day, da de dum diddle
dum dum day." ( Child cries on.)
"Lord help my soul and body, what can be the matter
with my baby!" (
tears coming in her own eyes.)
"Something's the matter with it, I know it is" ( laying
the child on her lap, and feeling its arms, to see
whether it pinched at the touch of any particular part).
But the child cried less while she was feeling it than
"Yes, dat was it; wanted litty arms yubb'd. Mud
will yub its sweet little arms." (
Child begins again.)
"What upon earth can make my baby cry so!" rising
and walking to the window. (
Stops at the window,
and the child hushes.)
"Yes, dat was it: did want to look out 'e windys.
See the petty chickens. O-o-o-h! look at the beauty,
rooster!! Yonder's old aunt Betty! See old aunt
Betty, pickin' up chips. Yes, ole aunt Betty, pickin'up
chip fo' bake bicky (biscuit) fo' good chilluns. Good
aunt Betty fo' make bicky fo' sweet baby's supper."
Child begins again. )
"Hoo-o-o! see de windy!" (
knocking on the window.
Child screams. )
"You Rose, what have you done to this child! You
little hussy you, if you don't tell me how you hurt him,
I'll whip you as long as I can find you."
"Missis, I 'cla' I never done noth'n' 't all to him, I
was jis sett'n' down da by Miss Nancy's bu - "
"If you say '
Miss Nancy's bureau' to me again, I'll
stuff Miss Nancy's bureau down your throat, you little
lying slut. I'm just as sure you've hurt him as if I'd
seen you. How did you hurt him?"
Here Rose was reduced to a
; for, upon the
peril of having a bureau stuffed down her throat, she
dare not repeat the oft-told tale, and she knew no other.
She therefore stood mute. non plus
"Julia," said Mr. Slang, "bring the child to me, and
let me see if I can discover the cause of his crying."
Mr. Slang took the child, and commenced a careful
examination of it. He removed its cap, and beginning
at the crown of its head, he extended the search slowly
and cautiously downward, accompanying the eye
with the touch of the finger. He had not proceeded
far in this way, before he discovered in the right ear
of the child a small feather, the cause, of course, of all
its wailing. The cause removed, the child soon changed
its tears to smiles, greatly to the delight of all, and
to none more than to Rose.
THE DEBATING SOCIETY.
THE following is not strictly a " Georgia Scene;"
but, as Georgians were the chief actors in it, it may
perhaps be introduced with propriety in these sketches.
About three-and-twenty years ago, at the celebrated
school in W - n, was formed a Debating Society,
composed of young gentlemen between the ages
of seventeen and twenty-two. Of the number were
two, who, rather from uncommon volubility than from
any superior gifts or acquirements which they possessed
over their associates, were, by common consent,
placed at the head of the fraternity. At least this was
true of one of them: the other certainly had higher
claims to his distinction. He was a man of the highest
order of intellect, who, though he has since been
known throughout the Union as one of the ablest
speakers in the country, seems to me to have added
but little to his powers in debate since he passed his
twenty-second year. The name of the first was Longworth,
and M'Dermot was the name of the last. They
were congenial spirits, warm friends, and classmates
at the time of which I am speaking.
It was a rule of the society, that every member
should speak upon the subjects chosen for discussion,
or pay a fine; and as all the members valued the little
stock of change with which they were furnished
more than they did their reputation for oratory, not a
fine had been imposed for a breach of this rule from
the organization of the society to this time.
The subjects for discussion were proposed by the
members and selected by the president, whose prerogative
it was also to arrange the speakers on either side
at his pleasure; though, in selecting the subjects, he
was influenced not a little by the members, who gave
their opinions freely of those which were offered.
It was just as the time was approaching when most
of the members were to leave the society, some for
college, and some for the busy scenes of life, that
M'Dermot went to share his classmate's bed for a
night. In the course of the evening's conversation,
the society came upon the tapis. "Mac," said Longworth,
"wouldn't we have rare sport if we could impose
a subject upon the society which has no sense in
it, and hear the members speak upon it?"
"Zounds," said M'Dermot, "it would be the finest
fun in the world. Let's try it, at all events; we can
lose nothing by the experiment."
A sheet of foolscap was immediately divided
between them, and they industriously commenced the
difficult task of framing sentences, which should
form of a debatable question, without a
particle of the substance. After an hour's toil, they at
length exhibited the fruits of their labour, and, after
some reflection and much laughing, they selected from
about thirty subjects proposed, the following, as most
likely to be received by the society:
"WHETHER, AT PUBLIC ELECTIONS, SHOULD THE
VOTES OF FACTION PREDOMINATE BY INTERNAL
SUGGESTIONS OR THE BIAS OF JURISPRUDENCE?
Longworth was to propose it to the society, and
M'Dermot was to advocate its adoption. As they
had every reason to suppose, from the practice of the
past, that they would be placed at the head of the
list of disputants, and on opposite sides, it was agreed
between them, in case the experiment should succeed,
that they would write off and interchange their
speeches, in order that each might quote literally from
the other, and thus
seem, at least, to understand each
The day at length came for the triumph or defeat of
the project; and several accidental circumstances
conspired to crown it with success. The society had
entirely exhausted their subjects; the discussion of the
day had been protracted to an unusual length, and the
horns of the several boarding houses began to sound
just as it ended. It was at this auspicious moment
that Longworth rose and proposed his subject. It
was caught at with rapture by M'Dermot, as being
decidedly the best that had ever been submitted; and
he wondered that none of the members had never
thought of it before.
It was no sooner proposed, than several members
exclaimed that they did not understand it; and
demanded an explanation from the mover. Longworth
replied that there was no time then for explanations,
but that either himself or Mr. M'Dermot would explain
it at any other time.
Upon the credit of the
maker and endorser, the
subject was accepted; and, under pretence of
economizing time (but really to avoid a repetition of the
question), Longworth kindly offered to record it for the
secretary. This labour ended, he announced that he
was prepared for the arrangement of the disputants.
"Put yourself," said the president, "on the affirmative,
and Mr. M'Dermot on the negative."
"The subject," said Longworth, "cannot well be
resolved into an affirmative and negative. It consists,
more properly, of two conflicting affirmatives; I have
therefore drawn out the heads under which the speakers
are to be arranged, thus:
Internal Suggestions. Bias of Jurisprudence."
"Then put yourself Internal Suggestions, Mr. M'Dermot
the other side; Mr. Craig on your side, Mr. Pentigall
the other side," and so on.
M'Dermot and Longworth now determined that they
would not be seen by any other member of the society
during the succeeding week, except at times when
explanations could not be asked, or when they were too
busy to give them. Consequently, the week passed
away without any explanations; and the members
were summoned to dispose of the important subject,
with no other lights upon it than those which they
could collect from its terms. When they assembled,
there was manifest alarm on the countenances of all
but two of them.
The society was opened in due form, and Mr. Longworth
was called on to open the debate. He rose and
proceeded as follows:
Mr. President - The subject selected for this day's
discussion is one of vast importance, pervading the
profound depths of psychology, and embracing within
its comprehensive range all that is interesting in morals,
government, law, and politics. But, sir, I shall
not follow it through all its interesting and diversified
ramifications, but endeavour to deduce from it those
great and fundamental principles, which have direct
bearing upon the antagonist positions of the disputants;
confining myself more immediately to its psychological
influence, when exerted, especially upon the
votes of faction: for here is the point upon which the
question mainly turns. In the next place, I shall consider
the effects of those 'suggestions' emphatically
internal' when applied to the same subject.
And, in the third place, I shall compare these effects
with 'the bias of jurisprudence,' considered as the only
resort in times of popular excitement; for these are
supposed to exist by the very terms of the question.
"The first head of this arrangement, and indeed the
whole subject of dispute, has already been disposed
of by this society. We have discussed the question,
'Are there any innate maxims?' and with that subject
and this there is such an intimate affinity, that it is
impossible to disunite them, without prostrating the
vital energies of both, and introducing the wildest
disorder and confusion, where, by the very nature of
things, there exists the most harmonious coincidences
and the most happy and euphonic congenialities.
Here then might I rest, Mr. President, upon the decision
of this society with perfect confidence. But, sir,
I am not forced to rely upon the inseparable affinities
of the two questions for success in this dispute, obvious
as they must be to every reflecting mind. All
history, ancient and modern, furnish examples corroborative
of the views which I have taken of this deeply
interesting subject. By what means did the renowned
poets, philosophers, orators, and statesmen of antiquity
gain their immortality? Whence did Milton,
Newton, Locke, Watts, Paley, Burke, Chatham,
Pitt, Fox, and a host of others whom I might name,
pluck their never-fading laurels? I answer boldly,
and without the fear of contradiction, that, though they
all reached the temple of Fame by different routes,
they all passed through the broad vista of ' internal
suggestions.' The same may be said of Jefferson,
Madison, and many other distinguished personages of
our own country.
"I challenge the gentlemen on the other side to
produce examples like these in support of their cause."
Mr. Longworth pressed these profound and logical
views to a length to which our limits will not permit
us to follow him, and which the reader's patience would
hardly bear, if they would. Perhaps, however, he will
bear with us while we give the conclusion of Mr.
Longworth's remarks: as it was here that he put forth all
Mr. President - Let the bias of jurisprudence
predominate, and how is it possible (considering it
merely as extending to those impulses which may with
propriety be termed a bias), how is it possible for a
government to exist whose object is the public good! The
marble-hearted marauder might seize the throne of
civil authority, and hurl into thraldom the votaries of
rational liberty. Virtue, justice, and all the nobler
principles of human nature would wither away under
the pestilential breath of political faction, and an
unnerved constitution be left to the sport of demagogue
and parasite. Crash after crash would be heard in
quick succession, as the strong pillars of the republic
give way, and Despotism would shout in hellish triumph
amid the crumbling ruins. Anarchy would wave her
bloody sceptre over the devoted land, and the bloodhounds
of civil war would lap the crimson gore of our
most worthy citizens. The shrieks of women and the
screams of children would be drowned amid the clash of
swords and the cannon's peal: and Liberty, mantling
her face from the horrid scene, would spread her golden-tinted
pinions, and wing her flight to some far-distant
land, never again to revisit our peaceful shores.
In vain should we then sigh for the beatific reign of
those 'suggestions' which I am proud to acknowledge
as peculiarly and exclusively 'internal.' "
Mr. M'Dermot rose promptly at the call of the
president, and proceeded as follows:
Mr. President - If I listened unmoved to the very
laboured appeal to the passions which has just been
made, it was not because I am insensible to the powers
of eloquence; but because I happen to be blessed
with the small measure of sense which is necessary to
distinguish true eloquence from the wild ravings of an
unbridled imagination. Grave and solemn appeals,
when ill-timed and misplaced, are apt to excite ridicule:
hence it was that I detected myself more than
once in open laughter during the most pathetic parts
of Mr. Longworth's argument, if so it can be called.
In the midst of 'crashing pillars,' 'crumbling
'shouting despotism,' 'screaming women,' and
Liberty,' the question was perpetually recurring to me,
what has all this to do with the subject of dispute? I
will not follow the example of that gentleman. It shall
be my endeavour to clear away the mist which he has
thrown around the subject, and to place it before the
society in a clear, intelligible point of view: for I must
say, that, though his speech ' bears strong marks of the
pen' (sarcastically), it has but few marks of sober reflection.
Some of it, I confess, is very intelligible and very
plausible; but most of it, I boldly assert, no man living
can comprehend. I mention this for the edification
of that gentleman (who is usually clear and forcible),
to teach him that he is most successful when he labours
Mr. President - The gentleman, in opening the debate,
stated that the question was one of vast importance;
pervading the profound depths of psychology,
and embracing within its ample range the whole circle
of arts and sciences. And really, sir, he has verified
his statement; for he has extended it over the
whole moral and physical world. But, Mr. President,
I take leave to differ from the gentleman at the very
threshold of his remarks. The subject is one which is
confined within very narrow limits. It extends no farther
than to the elective franchise, and is not even
commensurate with this important privilege: for it
stops short at the vote of faction. In this point of light
the subject comes within the grasp of the most common
intellect: it is plain, simple, natural, and intelligible.
Thus viewing it, Mr. President, where does the gentleman
find in it, or in all nature besides, the original
of the dismal picture which he has presented to the
society? It loses all its interest, and becomes supremely
ridiculous. Having thus, Mr. President, divested the
* This was
extemporaneous, and well conceived for Mr.
M'Dermot had not played his part with becoming gravity.
subject of all obscurity; having reduced it to those
few elements with which we are all familiar, I proceed
to make a few deductions from the premises, which
seem to me inevitable, and decisive of the question.
I lay it down as a self-evident proposition, that faction
in all its forms is hideous; and I maintain, with equal
confidence, that it never has been nor never will be
restrained by those suggestions which the gentleman
emphatically terms internal.' No,
sir, nothing short of
the bias, and the very strong bias too, of jurisprudence,
or the potent energies of the sword, can restrain it.
But, sir, I shall here, perhaps, be asked, whether there
is not a very wide difference between a turbulent, lawless
faction, and the vote of faction? Most unquestionably
there is; and to this distinction I shall presently
advert, and demonstrably prove that it is a distinction
which makes altogether in our favour."
Thus did Mr. M'Dermot continue to dissect and expose
his adversary's argument, in the most clear, conclusive,
and masterly manner, at considerable length.
But we cannot deal more favourably by him than we
have dealt by Mr. Longworth. We must therefore
dismiss him after we shall have given the reader his
concluding remarks. They were as follows:
"Let us now suppose Mr. Longworth's principles
brought to the test of experiment. Let us suppose his
language addressed to all mankind. 'We close the
temples of justice as useless; we burn our codes of
laws as worthless; and we substitute in their places
the more valuable restraints of
Thieves, invade not your neighbour's property: if you
do, you will be arraigned before the august tribunal
of conscience. Robbers, stay your lawless hand; or
you will be visited with the tremendous penalties of
psychology. Murderers, spare the blood of your fellow-creature;
or you will be exposed to the excruciating
tortures of innate maxims - when it shall be discovered
that there are any.' Mr. President, could there be a
broader license to crime than this? Could a better plan
be devised for dissolving the bands of civil society? It
requires not the gift of prophecy to foresee the consequences
of these novel and monstrous principles. The
strong would tyrannize over the weak; the poor would
plunder the rich; the servant would rise above the
master; the drones of society would fatten upon the
hard earnings of the industrious. Indeed, sir, industry
would soon desert the land; for it would have neither
reward nor encouragement. Commerce would cease;
arts and sciences would languish; all the sacred relations
would be dissolved, and scenes of havoc, dissolution,
and death ensue, such as never will visit it until
mankind learn to repose their destinies upon 'those
emphatically termed internal.' From all
these evils there is a secure retreat behind the brazen
wall of the 'bias of jurisprudence.' "
The gentleman who was next called on to engage in
the debate was John Craig; a gentleman of good hard
sense, but who was utterly incompetent to say a word
upon a subject which he did not understand. He
Mr. President - When this subject was proposed, I
candidly confessed I did not understand it, and I was
informed by Mr. Longworth and Mr. M'Dermot that
either of them would explain it at any leisure moment.
But, sir, they seem to have taken very good care, from
that time to this, to have no leisure moment. I have
inquired of both of them repeatedly for an explanation;
but they were always too busy to talk about it.
Well, sir, as it was proposed by Mr. Longworth, I
thought he would certainly explain it in his speech; but
I understood no more of his speech than I did of the
subject. Well, sir, I thought I should certainly learn
something from Mr. M'Dermot; especially as he promised,
at the commencement of his speech, to clear away
the mist that Mr. Longworth had thrown about the
subject, and to place it in a clear, intelligible point
of light. But, sir, the only difference between his
speech and Mr. Longworth's is, that it was not quite
as flighty as Mr. Longworth's. I couldn't understand
head nor tail of it. At one time they seemed to argue
the question as if it were this: 'Is it better to have
law or no law!' At another, as though it was, 'Should
faction be governed by law, or be left to their own
consciences?' But most of the time they argued it as if
it were just what it seems to be - a sentence without
sense or meaning. But, sir, I suppose its obscurity is
owing to my dulness of apprehension; for they appeared
to argue it with great earnestness and feeling,
as if they understood it.
"I shall put my interpretation upon it, Mr. President,
and argue it accordingly.
" 'WHETHER, AT PUBLIC ELECTIONS' - that is, for
members of Congress, members of the Legislature, &c.,
'SHOULD THE VOTES of
faction' - I don t know what
' faction' has got to do with it; and therefore I shall throw
it out. 'SHOULD THE VOTES PREDOMINATE, BY INTERNAL
SUGGESTIONS OR THE BIAS' - I don't know what the
article is put in here for. It seems to me it ought to
be, be BIASED by 'jurisprudence' or law. In short, Mr.
President, I understand the question to be, should a
man vote as he pleases, or should the law say how
he should vote?"
Here Mr. Longworth rose and observed, that though
Mr. Craig was on his side, he felt it due to their
adversaries to state, that this was not a true exposition of the
subject. This exposition settled the question at once
on his side; for nobody would for a moment contend
the law should declare how men should vote. Unless
it be confined to the vote of faction and the bias of
jurisprudence, it was no subject at all. To all this Mr.
M'Dermot signified his unqualified approbation; and
seemed pleased with the candour of his opponent.
"Well," said Mr. Craig, "I thought it was impossible
that any one should propose such a question as that to
the society; but will Mr. Longworth tell us, if it does
not mean that, what does it mean? for I don't see
what great change is made in it by his explanation."
Mr. Longworth replied, that if the remarks which he
had just made, and his argument, had not fully explained
the subject to Mr. Craig, he feared it would be out
of his power to explain it.
"Then," said Mr. Craig, "I'll pay my fine, for I
don't understand a word of it."
The next one summoned to the debate was Mr. Pentigall.
Mr. Pentigall was one of those who would
never acknowledge his ignorance of anything which
any person else understood; and that Longworth and
M'Dermot were both masters of the subject, was clear,
both from their fluency and seriousness. He therefore
determined to understand it, at all hazards. Consequently,
he rose at the president's command with considerable
self-confidence. I regret, however, that it is
impossible to commit Mr. Pentigall's
manner to paper,
without which his remarks lose nearly all their interest.
He was a tall, handsome man; a little theatric in his
manner, rapid in his delivery, and singular in his
pronunciation. He gave to the e and i of our language
the sound of u; at least his peculiar intonations of voice
seemed to give them that sound; and his rapidity of
utterance seemed to change the termination " tion" into
" ah." With all his peculiarities, however, he was a
fine fellow. If he was ambitious, he was not invidious,
and he possessed an amicable disposition. He proceeded
Mr. President - This internal suggestion which has
been so eloquently discussed by Mr. Longworth, and
the bias of jurisprudence which has been so ably advocated
by Mr. M'Dermot - hem! - Mr. President, in order
to fix the line of demarcation between - ah - the internal
suggestion and the bias of jurisprudence - Mr.
President, I think, sir, that - ah - the subject must be
confined to the vote of faction and the bias of jurisprudence."
Here Mr. Pentigall clapped his right hand to his forehead,
as though he had that moment heard some
over-powering news; and, after maintaining this position
for about the space of ten seconds, he slowly withdrew
his hand, gave his head a slight inclination to the right,
raised his eyes to the president as if just awakening
from a trance, and with a voice of the most hopeless
despair, concluded with, "I don't understand the subject,
The rest of the members on both sides submitted to
be fined rather than attempt the knotty subject; but,
by common consent, the penal rule was dispensed with.
Nothing now remained to close the exercises but the
decision of the chair.
The president, John Nuble, was a young man not
unlike Craig in his turn of mind, though he possessed
an intellect a little more sprightly than Craig's. His
decision was short.
"Gentlemen," said he, "I do not understand the subject.
This," continued he (pulling out his knife, and
pointing to the silvered or
cross side of it), "is 'Internal
Suggestions.' And this" (pointing to the other, or
pile side) "is 'Bias of Jurisprudence:' " so saying, he
threw up his knife, and upon its fall determined that
"Internal Suggestions" had got it; and ordered the
decision to be registered accordingly.
It is worthy of note, that in their zeal to accomplish
their purpose, Longworth and M'Dermot forgot to
destroy the lists of subjects from which they had
selected the one so often mentioned; and one of these lists,
containing the subject discussed, with a number more
like it, was picked up by Mr. Craig, who made a public
exhibition of it, threatening to arraign the conspirators
before the society for a contempt. But, as the
parting hour was at hand, he overlooked it with the
rest of the brotherhood, and often laughed heartily at
THE MILITIA COMPANY DRILL.
I HAPPENED, not long since, to be present at the
muster of a captain's company in a remote part of one
of the counties; and as no general description could
convey an accurate idea of the achievements of that
day, I must be permitted to go a little into detail, as
well as my recollection will serve me.
The men had been notified to meet at nine o'clock,
"armed and equipped as the law directs;" that is to
say, with a gun and cartridge box at least, but, as
directed by the law of the United States, "with a good
firelock, a sufficient bayonet and belt, and a pouch with
a box to contain no less than twenty four sufficient
cartridges of powder and ball."
At twelve, about one third, perhaps one half, of the
men had collected, and an inspector's return of the
number present, and of their arms, would have stood
nearly thus: 1 captain, 1 lieutenant; ensign, none;
fifers, none; privates, present, 24; ditto, absent, 40;
guns, 14; gunlocks, 12; ramrods, 10; rifle pouches,
3; bayonets, none; belts, none; spare flints, none;
cartridges, none; horsewhips, walking canes, and
umbrellas, 10. A little before one, the captain, whom I
shall distinguish by the name of Clodpole, gave directions
for forming the line of parade. In obedience to
this order, one of the sergeants, whose lungs had long
supplied the place of a drum and fife, placed himself
in front of the house, and began to bawl with great
vehemence, "All Captain Clodpole's company parade
here! Come, GENTLEMEN, parade here!" says he;
"all you that hasn't got guns fall into the lower
He might have bawled till this time, with as little success
* This is
from the pen of a friend who has kindly permitted me
to place it among the " Georgia
Scenes." It was taken from the life,
and published about twenty years ago. - The
as the sirens sung to Ulysses, had he not changed
his post to a neighbouring shade. There he was
immediately joined by all who were then at leisure; the
others were at that time engaged as parties or spectators
at a game of fives, and could not just then attend.
However, in less than half an hour the game was finished,
and the captain enabled to form his company,
and proceed in the duties of the day.
Look to the right and dress!"
They were soon, by the help of the non-commissioned
officers, placed in a straight line; but, as every
man was anxious to see how the rest stood, those on
the wings pressed forward for that purpose, till the
whole line assumed nearly the form of a crescent.
"Why, look at 'em," says the captain; "why, gentlemen,
you are all a crooking in at both
eends, so that
you will get on to me by-and-by! Come, gentlemen,
This was accordingly done; but, impelled by the
same motives as before, they soon resumed their
former figure, and so they were permitted to remain.
"Now, gentlemen," says the captain, "I am going
to carry you through the
revolutions of the manual
exercise; and I want you, gentlemen, if you please, to
pay particular attention to the word of command, just
exactly as I give it out to you. I hope you will have
a little patience, gentlemen, if you please; and if I
should be agoing wrong, I will be much obliged to any
of you, gentlemen, to put me right again, for I mean
all for the best, and I hope you will excuse me if you
please. And one thing, gentlemen, I caution you
against, in particular, and that is this: not to make
any mistakes if you can possibly
help it; and the best
way to do this will be to do all the motions right at
first; and that will help us to get along so much the
faster; and I will try to have it over as soon as possible.
Come, boys, come to a shoulder.
contraction and corruption of "firelock."
Cock, foolk! Very
Ram down, catridge! No! no! Fire! I recollect
now that firing comes next after taking aim, according
to Steuben; but, with your permission, gentlemen,
I'll read the words of command just exactly
as they are printed in the book, and then I shall be sure
to be right."
"Oh, yes! read it, captain, read it!" exclaimed
twenty voices at once; "that will save time."
'Tention the whole! Please to observe, gentlemen,
that at the word 'fire!' you must fire; that is, if any
of your guns are loaden'd, you must not shoot in yearnest,
but only make pretence like; and you, gentlemen
fellow-soldiers, who's armed with nothing but sticks,
riding-switches, and cornstalks, needn't go through
the firings, but stand as you are, and keep yourselves
Half cock, foolk! Very well done.
S-h-e-t (spelling) Shet, pan! That too would have
been handsomely done, if you hadn't handled catridge
instead of shetting pan; but I suppose you wasn't
noticing. Now 'tention one and all, gentlemen, and do
that motion again.
Shet, pan! Very good, very well indeed; you did
that motion equal to any old soldier; you improve
Handle, catridge! Pretty well, considering you
done it wrong end foremost, as if you took the catridge
out of your mouth, and bit off the twist with the catridge-box.
Draw, rammer! Those who have no rammers to
their guns need not draw, but only make the motion;
it will do just as well, and save a great deal of time.
Return, rammer! Very well again. But that
would have been done, I think, with greater expertness
if you had performed the motion with a little more
S-h-o-u-l - Shoulder, foolk! Very handsomely
done indeed! Put your guns on the other shoulder
Order, foolk! Not quite so well, gentlemen; not
quite altogether; but perhaps I did not speak loud
enough for you to hear me all at once. Try once
more, if you please. I hope you will be patient, gentlemen;
we will soon be through.
Order, foolk! Handsomely done, gentlemen!
Very handsomely done! and all together too, except
that one half of you were a leetle too soon, and the
other half a leetle too late.
"In laying down your guns, gentlemen, take care to
lay the locks up and the other side down.
'Tention the whole! Ground, foolk! Very well.
Some of the men) - "That can't be, captain: pray
look again; for how can we charge bayonet without
Captain) - "I don't know as to that, but I know I'm
right, for here 'tis printed in the book; c-h-a-r - yes,
charge, bayonet, that's right, that's the word, if I know
how to read. Come, gentlemen, do pray charge bayonet!
Charge, I say! Why don't you charge! Do
you think it aint so? Do you think I have lived to
this time o' day, and don't know what charge bayonet
is? Here, come here, you may see for yourselves;
it's as plain as the nose on your fa - stop - stay - no
- halt! no! Faith, I'm wrong! I turned over two
leaves at once. I beg your pardon, we will not stay
out long; and we'll have something to drink as soon
as we have done. Come, boys, get off the stumps
and logs, and take up your guns; we'll soon be done:
excuse me if you please.
Advance, arms! Very well done: turn the stocks
of your guns in front, gentlemen, and that will bring
the barrels behind; hold them straight up and down, if
you please; let go with your left, and take hold with
your right hand below the guard. Steuben says the
gun should be held p-e-r - pertic'lar; yes, you must
always mind and hold your guns very pertic'lar. Now,
boys, 'tention the whole!
Present, arms! Very handsomely done! only
hold your gun over t'other knee - t'other hand up -
turn your hands round a little, and raise them up higher
- draw t'other foot back - now you are nearly right
- very well done.
"Gentleman, we come now to the
you have all got into a sort of snarl, as I may say;
how did you all get into such a higglety pigglety?"
The fact was, the shade had moved considerably to
the eastward, and had exposed the right wing of these
hardy veterans to a galling fire of the sun. Being
poorly provided with umbrellas at this end of the line,
they found it convenient to follow the shade; and in
huddling to the left for this purpose, they changed the
figure of their line from that of a crescent to one which
more nearly resembled a pair of pothooks.
"Come, gentlemen," says the captain, "spread yourselves
out again into a straight line; and let us get into
the wheelings and other matters as soon as possible."
But this was strenuously opposed by the soldiers.
They objected to going into the
revolutions at all,
inasmuch as the weather was extremely hot, and they
had already been kept in the field upward of three
quarters of an hour. They reminded the captain of
his repeated promise to be as short as he possibly could,
and it was clear he could dispense with all this wheeling
and flourishing if he chose. They were already
very thirsty, and if he would not dismiss them, they
declared they would go off without dismission, and
get something to drink, and he might fine them if that
would do him any good; they were able to pay their
fine, but would not go without drink to please anybody;
and they swore they would never vote for another
captain who wished to be so unreasonably strict.
The captain behaved with great spirit upon the
occasion, and a smart colloquy ensued; when at length
becoming exasperated to the last degree, he roundly
asserted that no soldier ought ever to
think hard of the
orders of his officer; and, finally, he went so far as
to say, that he did not think any gentleman on that
ground had any just cause to be offended with him.
The dispute was finally settled by the captain sending
for some grog for their present accommodation, and
agreeing to omit reading the military law, and the
performance of all the manoeuvres, except two or three
such easy and simple ones as could be performed within
the compass of the shade. After they had drank their
grog and had spread "themselves," they were divided
'Tention the whole! To the right wheel!"
Each man faced to the right about.
"Why, gentlemen, I did not mean for every man to
stand still and turn himself na'trally right round; but
when I told you to wheel to the right, I intended you
to wheel round to the right, as it were. Please to try
again, gentlemen; every right-hand man must stand
fast, and only the others turn round."
In the previous part of the exercise, it had, for the
purpose of sizing, been necessary to denominate every
second person a "right-hand man." A very natural
consequence was, that, on the present occasion, these
right-hand men maintained their position, all the
intermediate ones facing about as before.
"Why, look at 'em, now!" exclaimed the captain
in extreme vexation; "I'll be d-d if you understand
a word I say. Excuse me, gentlemen, it
as if you could not come at it exactly. In wheeling
to the right, the right-hand eend of the platoon stands
fast, and the other eend comes round like a swingle-tree.
Those on the outside must march faster than
those on the inside. You certainly must understand
me now, gentlemen; and please to try it once more."
In this they were a little more successful.
'Tention the whole! To the left - left, no - right -
that is, the left - I mean the right - left, wheel, march!"
In this he was strictly obeyed; some wheeling to
the right, some to the left, and some to the right-left, or
Stop! halt! Let us try it again! I could not just
then tell my right hand from my left! You must excuse
me, if you please; experience makes perfect, as
the saying is. Long as I have served, I find something
new to learn every day; but all's one for that.
Now, gentlemen, do that motion once more."
By the help of a noncommissioned officer in front
of each platoon, they wheeled this time with
"Now, boys, you must try to wheel by divisions;
and there is one thing in particular which I have to
request of you, gentlemen, and that is, not to make any
blunder in your wheeling. You must mind and keep
at a wheeling distance, and not talk in the ranks, nor
get out of fix again; for I want you to do this motion
well, and not to make any blunder now.
'Tention the whole! By divisions, to the right
In doing this it seemed as if Bedlam had broke loose:
every man took the command. Not so fast on the
right! Slow now! Haul down those umbrellas!
Faster on the left! Keep back a little there! Don't
scrouge so! Hold up your gun, Sam! Go faster
there! faster! Who trod on my - ? D-n your
huffs! Keep back! Stop us, captain, do stop us!
Go faster there! I've lost my shoe! Get up again,
Ned! Halt! halt! halt! Stop, gentlemen! stop!
By this time they had got into utter and inextricable
confusion, and so I left them.
"COME," said my friend Baldwin to me, a few months
ago, "let us go to the turf."
"No," said I, "I take no interest in its amusements."
"Nor do I," rejoined he; "but I visit it to acquire
a knowledge of the human character, as it exhibits itself
in the various scenes of life, and with the hope of
turning the knowledge thus acquired to some good
account. I am the more desirous that you should accompany
me," continued he, "because, as one pair of eyes
and ears cannot catch all that passes within a scene
so spacious, I shall lose many instructing, interesting,
or amusing incidents without the assistance of a friend
and therefore I wish to enlist your services."
"Well," said I, "with this view I will accompany
We went; and the following is the result of our
We went early, when as yet no one had reached the
ground but those who occupied the booths for the
purpose of traffic. It was not long, however, before
crowds of persons, of all ages, sexes, conditions, and
complexions, were seen moving towards the booths;
some on foot, some on horseback, some in gigs, some
in carriages, some in carts, and some in wagons. The
carriages (generally filled with well-dressed ladies)
arranged themselves about thirty or forty paces from
the starting-point, towards the centre of the turf.
Around these circled many young gentlemen, each
riding his prettiest, whipping, spurring, and curbing his
horse into the most engaging antics, and giving visible
token that he thought every eye from the carriages was
on him, and every heart overpowered by his horsemanship.
As many more plied between the booths
and carriages, bearing messages, rumours, apples,
oranges, raisins, lemonade, and
"But surely no lady drank the punch!"
"Yes, three of them did; and if I know what large
swallows mean, they loved it too - but they didn't drink
long. The ladies ought to be informed, however,
that a countryman passing them observed, 'the way
them women love punch is nothing to nobody!' "
The gentlemen generally collected about the booths,
and employed themselves in loud talking and drinking.
Here I saw Major Close, who two hours before declared
he had not enough to pay a poor woman for the making
the vest he had on, treat a large company to a dollar
bowl of punch; and, ten minutes after, I saw the
same man stake fifty dollars on the race. I saw another
gentleman do the same, who, four days before,
permitted his endorser to lift his note in bank for one
hundred dollars, which note the endorser still held.
But, thought I, the way these gentlemen treat their
creditors "is nothing to nobody." One thing I remarked
upon this occasion, which should not be passed
in silence. I saw many gentlemen drink
upon the turf, whom I never saw taste it anywhere
else; some because it seemed fashionable, and some
because they would bet nothing but a glass of toddy
or a bowl of punch, and, having bet it, they must help
I had been employed perhaps three quarters of an
hour in making observations upon the scene which
was before me, when I observed a group of negroes
and boys enter one of the gates of the turf, following,
with much seeming interest, a horse which was led by
an aged black, by whose side walked a little negro boy
about thirteen years of age, dressed in pink throughout.
I had no doubt but that the horse was one which
was entered for the day's running; and as I was desirous
of seeing all the competitors before the race, I
advanced to meet him apart from the crowd. As soon
as I approached near enough to distinguish the features
of the old negro who led the animal, I discovered
that he was a gentleman who, upon that day at
least, was to be approached only with the most
profound respect. His step was martial, his eye looked
directly forward, and his countenance plainly indicated
that he had many deep things shut up in his brain,
which the world had long been trying to pry into,
in vain. I concluded, however, that I might venture
to ask him a question, which all who had read the
morning's Chronicle could have answered. I therefore
took the liberty of addressing him, as soon as he
came near me, with,
"Old man, what horse is that?"
The question seemed to come like a thunder-bolt
among his contemplations; and, without speaking a
word, he bent upon me a look which I perfectly
understood to mean,
"Pray, sir, where were you born and brought up?"
Having been thus foiled by the old man, I resolved,
to try my luck with the rider; accordingly, I repeated
the question to him. He stopped, and was in the act,
as I thought, of answering, when the old man bawled
out to him, in an angry tone,
"Come along, you Bill; never keep behind you
when you fuss (first) come on the ground."
Bill obeyed promptly, and took his position by
majesty , who observed to him, in an under tone, as he
"Never tell de name you hoss; it's bad luck."
Bill's confusion plainly showed that he ought to have
known a thing so obvious from his infancy. I was as
much disconcerted as Bill; but was soon relieved by
a pert little blackamoor, who, rather to persuade me
that he was in all the secrets of the turf than in charity
to me, addressed me with,
"Master, I'll tell you what hoss dat is."
"Well, my boy," said I, "what horse is it?"
"He young Butteram, son o'
ole Butteram, dat usen
to belong to Mr. Swingletree."
"And do you know all the horses that are going to
run to-day?" said I.
"La, yes, sir," said he; "I know ebery one dat's
gwine to run ebery day."
I concluded I would take advantage of the boy's
knowledge; and therefore gave him twelve and a half
cents to stand by me, and give me the names of the
racers as they passed; for by this time they were all
on the ground, and following the direction of the first.
"This one," said my Mentor, as the next approached,
"name Flory Randle; she b'long to Mr. Pet; but
I don't know what hoss he daddy, though."
"This one" (as the next came up) "name Sir William;
he come all de way from Virginny, and I tinks
dey say he got by Virginny too."
"And this" (as the last approached) "name 'Clipse;
by jokey, he look to me like he could clip it too; and
I be swinged if I don't go my seb'n-pence on him any
Thus I learned that the four horses which were to
run were Bertrand, Flora Randolph, Sir William, and
Eclipse. At this moment, a voice from the judges'
stand cried, "Prepare your horses!" and in an instant
the grooms were engaged in saddling the animals.
This preliminary was soon disposed of, and the owners
proceeded to give the riders their instructions.
"Now, Bob," said Mr. Pet, "I know that I have the
heels of any horse on the turf, but I'm a little afraid
of my bottom; therefore, save your wind as much as
possible. Trail the leading horse upon a hard rein,
about half a distance behind, until you come to the last
half mile, and then let Flora off at full speed. As soon
as you pass the leading horse about a length, bear
your rein, and don't come in more than a length ahead."
"Sam," said the owner of Sir William, "you've got
none to fear but Bertrand, and you've got the bottom
of him; therefore give him no rest from the word 'go!'
unless you find that your heels are as good as his;
and if so, you needn't waste your wind. Feel Bertrand
at the first rise of the course; if he stands it
pretty well, try how you can move with him going
down the hill; and if you find that you are too hard
for him either at rises or falls, pinch him hard at all of
them places; and when you come to the last half mile
of each heat, run his heart, liver, lights, and soul-case
out of hire."
"Ned," said the owner of Eclipse, "you are not to
run for the first heat at all, unless you find you can
take it very easy. Let Sir William take the first heat.
You can beat the others when you please, and William
can't stand a push for two heats; therefore, just play
alongside of him handsomely for the first three miles,
and at the coming in, just drop in the distance pole.
The next heat take the track, and press him from the
"Bill," said the owner of Bertrand, "do you take
the track at the start, and keep it, and run only just fast
enough to keep it."
Here the roll of the drum and a cry from the judges'
stand put the horses in motion for the starting-point.
Over this point I now observed suspended from a pole
a beautiful blue silk purse, spangled with silver and
embroidered with gold, on both sides of which were
marked in golden characters, "$500!!!"
It would require a volume to describe the scene
which now ensued.
"Captain, do you run Bertrand for the heat?"
"I do, sir."
"Five hundred dollars, Bertrand against the field."
"Major, will Eclipse run for the heat?"
"One hundred to fifty that Flora Randolph beats
Eclipse the first heat!"
"Done, sir" - "Done, sir" - "Done, sir."
"I took the bet first."
"No, sir, I took it first."
"No matter, gentlemen, I'll go you all fifty apiece."
"It's a bet, sir" - "It's a bet" - "A bet, sir."
"Here, Uncle Sam, hold dese trups."
"Now mind de bet. Bob, he bet dat Flory Randle
take de fus heat. I bet he take no heat at all."
"Yes, dat be de bet - you hear him, Uncle Sam?"
"Tell him over agin, le' me listen."
"Well, dis him: If Flory take de fus heat, Bob
win; if he take no heat at all, I win."
"Berry well, I got him now fass in my head."
"Pa, give me a quarter to bet."
"What horse do you want to bet upon, my son?"
"Oh no - there's a quarter - bet it upon Bertrand."
"Well, Miss Flora, don't you wish to bet?"
"Yes, sir, I'll bet you a pair of gloves."
"Well, what horse will you take?"
"Oh, my namesake, of course."
"It's a bet; you take Flora against the field, of
"To be sure I do."
Thus it went; men, women, and children, whites and
blacks, all betting.
Such was the bustle, confusion, and uproar among
the men, that I could hardly see or hear anything
distinctly; and therefore I resolved to take my position
among the carriages, in order to observe the ladies
under the delights of the turf.
The signal was now given, and off went the horses;
Flora ahead, Bertrand next, Sir William next, and
Eclipse in the rear.
"Only look at that rascal," said Mr. Pet, as he
charged by us at full speed, "how he is riding. Hold
her in, you rascal, or I'll give you five hundred lashes
as soon as you light. Hold her in, I tell you, you
abominable puppy, or I'll cut your throat." Bob did
his best to restrain her, for he bore upon the rein until
his back came nearly in contact with Flora's, but to
no purpose. Ahead she would go for the first two
"Only see, mamma," said Miss Flora, "how beautifully
Flora runs! Oh, that dear little rider" (
"how handsomely he carries himself. I knew I
should win my gloves."
At the completion of the second mile Flora became
more manageable, and the other horses passed her in
their order. As the last gained about a length of her,
"Now," said Pet, "keep her at that." The rider
straightened himself in the saddle, but the space widened
perceptibly between him and Eclipse. "Don't bear
upon the rein so hard," said Pet. "Let her play
easy." Bob slackened the rein; but Flora seemed
not to improve her liberty. "Look how you're dropping
behind," continued Pet. "Let her out, I tell you!"
let her out, but she would not go out. "Let her
out, I tell you, or I will blow your brains out." Here
Bob gave her a cut. "You infernal rascal you, don't
give her the whip! Bring her up to Eclipse." Bob
gave her the lash again; but Flora obstinately refused
to keep company with Eclipse. "Very well, sir," said
Pet, "ride your own way, and I'll whip mine when
you get home; I see how it is." Bob seemed to hear
only the first member of the sentence, and he gave the
whip without mercy.
"Why, Pet," said a gentleman, "what is the matter
with Flora to-day?"
"What's the matter with her, sir! Don't you see
that I can't make Bob do anything I tell him? I'll
learn him how to take a
bribe in future."
As Flora received the twentieth cut, she switched
her tail. "Ah!" said Mr. Dimple, "I fear you've lost
your gloves, Miss Flora; see, your favourite switches
"Does Flora switch her tail?" said Miss Flora.
"Mamma, Mr. Dimple says Flora switches her tail!"
"Does Flora switch her tail?" said Mrs. Blue.
"Does Flora switch her tail?" said Miss Emma.
"Oh, what a pity!"
The horses preserved their order through the heat.
Flora was distanced; but her rider maintained his
grace and dignity to the last, and rode as if perfectly
satisfied that every eye was upon him, and that all were
saying, "To be sure Flora is beaten; but her rider is
decidedly the best on the ground." In spite of his
cry of "Clear the track!" however, the crowd closed in
between him and the foremost horses, extinguished his
graces from general view, and forced him to come in
in the mere character of a spectator.
Between the first and second heats, I saw the owners
of Sir William and Eclipse in a pleasing conversation,
but I did not hear what they said.
After a rest of about a quarter of an hour, the horses
were again brought to the starting-point; and, at
the tap of the drum, went off with great velocity. Bertrand
took the lead as before, and William pursued him
very closely. They kept within two lengths of each
other for three miles and a half, when William locked
his adversary, and both riders commenced giving the
whip and spur without mercy. When they came in, it
was evident to my eye that Bertrand's
rider (for I
could not see the horses' heads) was more than his
width ahead of William's; but the judges decided that
William won the heat by two inches and a quarter.
Eclipse just saved his distance. At the close of the
heat the two former exhibited a pitiable spectacle.
There was not a dry hair upon either of them, and the
blood streamed from the flanks and sides of both.
"Mr. Dimple," said Miss Emma, "which horse
shall I bet on next time? Which seems the most distressed?"
"I declare, miss," said Dimple, "I don't know; they
both seem to be very much distressed; but I think
William seems to be in rather the worst plight."
Between this and the following heat, two little boys
engaged in a fight, and not less than fifty grown men
gathered around them to witness the conflict, with as
great an uproar as if a town were on fire. This fight
produced two more between grown persons; one of
whom was carried from the turf with a fractured scull,
as it was thought, from the blow of a stick. But none
of the ladies went to the fights.
Again the horses were brought up and put off. Bertrand
once more led the way, and Eclipse followed close
at his heels for about a mile and three quarters, when
William ran up under whip, nose, and tail to Bertrand.
Eclipse fell some distance behind, and continued so for
a mile and a half, when he came up and nearly locked
Bertrand. Thus they ran three fourths of the remaining
distance. On the last stretch they came side to
side, and so continued through. On this heat I
concurred with the judges that it was a draw race.
William was double distanced.
Bertrand and Eclipse put off upon the fourth heat:
Bertrand still taking the lead by about half his length.
Eclipse now pushed for the track; but Bertrand
maintained it. For two miles did the riders continue so close
together that they might have joined hands. They had
entered upon the third mile in this way, when, at the
first turn of the course from the judges' stand, Eclipse
fell and killed his rider. Bertrand, being now left without
a competitor, galloped slowly round to the goal,
where, with great pomp and ceremony, the pole which
held the purse was bent down to his rider, who dislodged
it, and bore it on high, backward and forward, in front
of the booth, to the sound of drum, fife and violin.
"I declare," said Mrs. Blue, as her carriage wheeled
off, "had it not been for that little accident, the sport
would have been delightful."
I left the turf in company with a large number of gentlemen,
all of whom concurred in the opinion that they
had never witnessed such sport in all their lives.
"What a pity it is," said General Grubbs, "that
this amusement is not more encouraged! We never
shall have a fine breed of horses until the turf is more
I returned home, and had been seated perhaps an
hour, when Baldwin entered. "Well," said he, "I
have just been favoured with a sight of the contents of
that beautiful purse which Bertand won; and what do
you think it contained?"
"Why, five hundred dollars, certainly," returned I.
"No," continued he, "it contained two half eagles,
sixteen dollars in silver, twelve one dollar bills, and a
subscription paper, which the owner offered to the
largest subscriber on it for one hundred and fifty dollars,
and it was refused. It is but right to observe, however,
that the gentleman to whom the offer was made assured
the owner that it was as good as gold."
AN INTERESTING INTERVIEW.
I HOPE the day is not far distant when drunkenness
will be unknown in our highly-favoured country. The
moral world is rising in its strength against the
all-destroying vice, and though the monster still struggles,
and stings, and poisons with deadly effect in many parts
of our wide-spread territory, it is perceptibly wounded
and weakened; and I flatter myself if I should live to
number ten years more, I shall see it driven entirely
from the higher walks of life at least, if not from all
grades of society. For the honour of my contemporaries,
I would register none of its crimes or its follies;
but, in noticing the peculiarities of the age in which I
live, candour constrains me to give this vice a passing
notice. The interview which I am about to present
to my readers exhibits it in its mildest and most
In the county of - , and about five miles apart,
lived old Hardy Slow and old Tobias Swift. They
were both industrious, honest, sensible farmers when
sober; but they never visited their county-town without
getting drunk; and then they were - precisely what
the following narrative makes them.
They both happened at the Courthouse on the same
day when I last saw them together; the former
accompanied by his wife, and the latter by his youngest
son, a lad about thirteen. Tobias was just clearly on
the wrong side of the line which divides drunk from
sober; but Hardy was "
royally corned" (but not falling)
when they met, about an hour by sun in the afternoon,
near the rack at which both their horses were
They stopped about four feet apart, and looked each
other full in the face for about half a minute; during
all which time Toby sucked his teeth, winked, and
made signs with his shoulders and elbows to the by-standers
that he knew Hardy was drunk, and was going
to quiz him for their amusement. In the mean
time, Hardy looked at Tobias, like a polite man
dropping to sleep, in spite of himself, under a long dull story.
At length Toby broke silence:
"How goes it, uncle Hardy?" (
winking to the company
and shrugging his shoulders.)
"Why, Toby! is that you? Well - upon my - why,
Toby! Lord - help - my - soul and - Why, Toby!
what, in, the, worl', set, you, to, gitt'n, drunk -
this, time o' day? Swear, poin' blank, you're drunk!
Why - you - must be, an old, fool - to, get, drunk, right,
before, all these, gentlemen - already, Toby."
"Well, but, now you see" (
winking), "uncle Hardy,
a gill-cup an't a quart-pot, nor a quart-pot an't a two-gallon
jug; and therefore" ( winking and chuckling),
"uncle Hardy, a thing is a thing, turn it which way
you will, it just sticks at what it was before you give it
first ox - ex - ploit."
"Well, the, Lord, help, my - Why, Toby! what,
is the reas'n, you, never, will, answer, me this, one -
circumstance - and, that, is - I, always, find, you,
drunk, when, I come, here."
"Well, now, but, uncle Hardy, you always know
circumstances alter cases, as the fellow said; and therefore,
if one circumstance alters another circumstance - how's
your wife and children?"
"I, swear, poin' blank, I sha'n't tell, you - because,
you r'ally, is, too drunk, to know, my wife, when, you,
meet, her, in the street, all, day, long, and, she'll, tell,
you, the, very, same, thing, as, all, these, gentlemen,
can - testimony."
"Well, but now you see, uncle Hardy, thinking's one
thing and knowing's another, as the fellow said;
and the proof o' the pudding's chawin' the bag, as the
fellow said; and you see - toll-doll-diddle-de-doll-doll-day"
singing and capering), "you
think I can't dance?
Come, uncle Hardy. let's dance."
"Why, Toby! you - come - to this?
make, you, drunk, did I? You, an't, took, a drink,
with, me, this, live, long, day - is you? I, say, is you,
"No, uncle Har - "
"Well, then, let's go, take a drink."
"Well, but you see, uncle Hardy, drinkin's drinkin';
but that's neither here nor there, as the fellow said.
singing) "all ye young sparkers, come listen to me,
And I'll sing you a ditti, of a pretti ladee."
"Why, Toby! ha - ha - ha! Well, I r'ally, did,
think, you, was, drunk, but, now I believe - blast the
flies! I b'lieve, they, jest, as li'f walk, in my, mouth,
as, in, my nose." (
Then looking with eyes half closed
at Toby for several minutes), "Why, Toby, you, spit
'bacco spit, all over, your jacket - and, that's jist, the
very, way, you, got, in your - fix."
At this moment Mrs. Slow came up, and immediately
after, Swift's son, William.
"Come," said the good lady, "old man, let's go
home; it's getting late, and there's a cloud rising;
we'll get wet."
"Why, Nancy! what in the worl' has got into you!
Is you drunk too? Well, 'pon, my word, and honour,
I, b'lieve, everybody, in this town, is, got drunk to-day.
Why, Nancy! I never, did, see, you, in, that fix, before,
in, all, my, live, long, born, days."
"Well, never mind," said she; "come, let's go
home. Don't you see the rain coming up?"
"Well, will, it rain, upon, my, cornfield, or my
cotton-patch? Say, Nancy! which one, will it, rain on?
But, Lord, help, my, soul, you are, too drunk, to tell
me, any, thing, about it. Don't my corn want rain,
Nancy? Now, jist, tell me, that?"
"Yes; but let's go home."
"Then, why, upon, the face, of the earth, won't you,
let it, rain, then? I, rather, it, should rain, than not."
"Come, old man," said several by-standers, touched
with sympathy for the good lady, "come, get on your
horse and go home, and we will help you."
"Oh yes, uncle Hardy," said Tobias, affecting to
throw all humour aside, and to become very sober all
at once, "go home with the old woman. Come, gentlemen,
let's help 'em on their horses - they're groggy
- mighty groggy. Come, old man, I'll help you"
staggering to Hardy).
"Jist look at daddy now!" said Billy; "he's going
to help Mr. Swift, and he's drunk as Mr. Swift is. Oh
daddy, come, let's go home, or we'll get mazin' wet."
Toby stooped down to help Hardy on his horse (before
the horse was taken from the rack), and throwing
his arm round Hardy's legs, he fell backward, and so
"Why - Lord, bless, my, soul," said Hardy, "I
b'lieve, I'm drunk, too. What, upon the, face, of the
earth, has got, into, all, of us, this day!"
"Why, uncle Hardy," said Toby, "you pull us both
"The old man's mighty groggy," said Toby to me
in a half whisper, and with an arch wink and smile, as
he rose up (I happening to be next to him at the
moment). "S'pose we help him up and get him off.
The old woman's in for it too," continued he, winking,
nodding, and shrugging up his shoulders very significantly.
"Oh no," said I, "the old woman is perfectly sober;
and I never heard of her tasting a drop in all my life."
"Oh," said Toby, assuming the gravity of a parson,
"loves it mightily, mightily! Monstrous woman for
drinking! at least that's my opinion. Monstrous fine
woman though! monstrous fine!"
"Oh, daddy, for the Lord's sake let's go home; only
see what a rain is coming!" said Billy.
"Daddy'll go presently, my son."
"Well, here's your horse; git up and let's go.
Mammy'll be sure to be sendin' for us."
"Don't mind him," said Toby, winking to me;
"he's nothing but a boy; I wouldn't take no notice of
what he said. He wants me" (
winking and smiling)
"to go home with him; now you listen."
"Well, come," said I to uncle Toby, "get on your
horse, and go home; a very heavy rain is coming up."
"I'll go presently; but you just listen to Bill," said
he to me, winking and smiling.
"Oh, daddy, for the Lord's sake let's go home."
Toby smiled archly at me, and winked.
"Daddy, are you going home or not? Jist look at
the rain comin'."
Toby smiled and winked.
"Well, I do think a drunken man is the biggest fool
in the county," said Bill, "I don't care who he is."
"Bill!" said the old man, very sternly, " 'honour
thy father and mother,' that - that the woman's seed
may bruise the serpent's head."
"Well, daddy, tell me if you won't go home! You
see it's going to rain powerful. If you won't go, may
"Bill! 'Leave not thy father who begat
thou art my beloved son Esau, in whom I am well
"Why, daddy, it's dropping rain now."
Here Bill was relieved from his anxiety by the appearance
of Aaron, a trusty servant, whom Mrs. Slow
had despatched for his master, to whose care Bill committed
him, and was soon out of sight.
Aaron's custom had long been to pick up his master
without ceremony, put him on his horse, and bear
him away. So used to this dealing had Toby been,
that, when he saw Aaron, he surrendered at discretion,
and was soon on the road. But as the rain descended
in torrents before even Bill could have proceeded half
a mile, the whole of them must have been drenched to
As to Hardy, whom in the proper order we ought
to have disposed of first, he was put on his horse by
main force, and was led off by his wife, to whom he
was muttering, as far as I could hear him, "Why,
Nancy! how, did, you, get, in, such a fix? You'll,
fall, off, your, horse, sure, as you're born, and I'll
have to put you up again." As they were constrained
to go on a walk, they too must have got wringing wet,
though they had a quarter of an hour the start of Toby.
THE FOX HUNT.
I HAD often read of the fox-chase and its soul-enlivening
pleasures before I was permitted to enjoy them;
and, had my reading upon this head been confined to
Somerville's Chase alone, I should have been inspired
with an irrepressible curiosity to experience its thrilling
enjoyments. Listen how he sanctifies the sport,
and mingles with it all that is gay and spirit-stirring:
yet, alas! the wily fox remain'd
subtle, pilfering foe, prowling around
midnight shades, and wakeful to destroy.
the full fold, the poor defenceless lamb,
by his guileful arts, with sweet warm blood
a rich repast. The mournful ewe,
dearest treasure lost through the dim night,
perplex'd, and darkling bleats in vain,
in th' adjacent bush poor Philomel
a parent once, till wanton churls
her nest) joins in her loud laments,
sweeter notes and more melodious wo.
these nocturnal thieves, huntsmen prepare
sharpest vengeance. Oh! how glorious 'tis
right th' oppress'd, and bring the felon vile
just disgrace! Ere yet the morning peep,
stars retire from the first blush of day,
thy far echoing voice alarm thy pack
rouse thy bold compeers. Then to the copse,
with entangling grass and prickly furze,
silence lead thy many-colour'd hounds,
all their beauty's pride. See! how they range
how busily this way and that
cross, examining with curious nose
likely haunt. Hark! on the drag I hear
doubtful notes, preluding to the cry
nobly full, and swell'd with every mouth.
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * *
what melodious strains! how beat our hearts,
with tumultuous joy! the loaded gales
harmony; and as the tempest drives
wood to wood, through every dark recess,
forest thunders and the mountains shake
* * * * * *
* * * * He breaks away.
horns proclaim his flight. Each straggling hound
o'er the lawn to reach the distant pack:
triumph all and joy. Now, my brave youths,
give a loose to the clean, generous steed;
the whip, nor spare the galling spur;
in the madness of delight forget
fears. For o'er the rocky hills we range,
dangerous our course; but in the brave
courage never falls. In vain the stream
foaming eddies whirls; in vain the ditch
threatens death. The craggy steep,
the poor dizzy shepherd crawls with care,
clings to every twig, gives us no pain;
down we sweep, as stoops the falcon bold
pounce his prey." * * * *
Filled with such ideas
as these lines are calculated
to inspire (and long as is the extract, it does but half
justice to the
poet, whatever we may think of his
subject), it was with kindling enthusiasm that I met the
question from my old friend Dause, on a clear, chill
"Will you not join us in a fox-chase to-morrow?"
"That I will," replied I, "with pleasure."
"Have you ever been in a fox-chase?" continued he.
"Never," said I; "but I have no doubt but that I
should be delighted with it."
"Oh, it's the finest sport in the world, with a full
pack! and we shall have a splendid pack to-morrow.
Major Crocket is coming in with his hounds, and
George Hurt is to bring in his, and all unite with Captain
Reid's here, and we shall have a pack of twenty-two
or three. We shall have glorious sport; you
must not fail to join us."
"No fear of that," said I; "I shall be among the
first on the ground."
I went home (no matter where), and hastened to
bed at an earlier hour than usual, that I might be the
surer to rise by times in the morning. But, so bright
was the anticipation of the coming joys, that it was
long before I could compose myself to sleep; and
when I did, it was rather the
semi-sleep of vigilance
than the sound sleep of rest. It was sufficient, however,
to beguile the intervening hours; and they seemed
but few, before the long drawn notes of Crocket's
horn roused me from my slumbers. I sprang from
my bed, and, without waiting to throw over me a stitch
of clothing (though the weather was extremely cold),
I seized my ram's-horn, hoisted a window, and blew a
blast which, if it had had fair play, would have waked
every hound within five miles round. But it had not
fair play; for, partly from hurry, and partly from my
indisposition to thrust my exposed body into the open
air, I just gave the mouth of my horn projection enough
to throw half its voice out and half inside the house.
The first half did no great things; but the last half
did wonders. Bursting upon the unsuspecting family
at that still hour, it created a sensation which no one
can understand who was not at the falling of the walls
of Jericho. The house trembled, the glasses rattled,
the women started, and the children screamed.
"What's that!" exclaimed the mistress of the household.
"Mr. Hall is going a fox hunting," said her husband.
"Well, I wish he'd blow for his foxes out of the
house. I can't see what any man of common sense
wants to be gitting up this time of night for, in such
cold weather, just to hear dogs run a fox."
It struck me there was a good deal of sound philosophy
in the good lady's remarks; but she was a
and she had never read Somerville.
I dressed myself, walked out, waked my servant, and
ordered my horse. Truly it was a lovely morning for
the season of the year: December never ushered in
one more lovely. Like a sheet of snow the frost
overspread the earth! Not a breath was stirring. The
coming huntsman had sounded his horn upon a distant
hill, and its unrepeated notes had died away. A cloudless
sky o'erspread the earth, as rich in beauty as ever
won the gaze of mortal. Upon the western verge, in
all his martial glory, stood Orion; his burnished epaulets
and spangled sash with unusual brightness glowing.
Capella glittered brighter still, and Castor, Procyon,
and Arcturus rivalled her in lustre. But Sirius
reigned the monarch of the starry host; and countless
myriads of lesser lights glowed, and sparkled, and
twinkled o'er all the wide-spread canopy.
"Oh!" exclaimed I, "how rich, how beautiful, how
glorious the firmament! See! yonder is Bootes in the
chase! His Chara and Asterion drive on the lusty
Bear! who shall condemn the chase, when its pleasures
are written in characters of deathless fire upon
the face of the heavens!"
I was lost in admiration of the splendours which
surrounded me, when another sound of the major's
horn informed me that he was upon the confines of
the village; and, at the same instant, my servant
announced that my horse was in waiting. As I
approached him for the purpose of mounting,
"Master," said he, "you
gwine fox huntin' on da hoss?"
"Yes," said I, promptly: "why?"
"Eh-eh," rejoined he, with a titter.
"Why, what is it amuses you so, Isaac?"
"Bess de Lord! Smooth-tooth wa'nt never made for
fox huntin', I know. He too lazy, bess de Lord.
Time de houn' give one squall, dey done leff
Smooth-tooth clean outen sight an' hearin'."
"Oh, I presume not, Isaac," said I. "I shall not
attempt to keep up with the hounds: I shall just keep
in full hearing of them by cutting across and heading
"Eh-eh! Fox run twice round a field 'fore
Smooth-tooth cut across him, I know: bess de Lord."
One would suppose that Isaac's hint would have
reminded me to take a whip or spur, or both, along with
me; but it did not.
Crocket's horn was answered by several from the
neighbouring hills; and, before I had proceeded the
eighth of a mile towards the point of rendezvous, a
loud chorus of horns and beagles announced that all
were assembled but myself. I raised my ram's-horn
and blew a more propitious blast than my first, in token
that I was on my way. My horse, as the reader
has perhaps conjectured, from the colloquy just repeated,
was not Somerville's "clean, generous steed;" but
he was a horse of uncommon gravity and circumspection.
I gave him the name of
Smooth-tooth simply because,
when he became my property, the faces of his
teeth were generally worn smooth. Though he was
kind and accommodating enough in all matters of
business, he had an utter aversion to everything like levity,
and to all rambles which seemed to have no definite
object. Age had done much, doubtless, in sobering
Smooth-tooth's temper; but infirmity had conspired
with age to produce this effect; for he was most
lamentably deaf: so that the common remark of our
state in relation to aged horses, "he has heard it
thunder too often," would by no means have applied
to Smooth-tooth; for, to my certain knowledge, he
had not heard it thunder for five years at least.
I bent my course towards the village, and as Smooth-tooth
was wholly unconscious of the uproar there, he
set out, as usual, upon a gentle
pace. By a diligent
application of heels, I signified to him that I looked
for something more sprightly upon this occasion.
Smooth-tooth took the hint, and mended his pace; but
I informed him, as before, that this would not do. He
then paced brisker still; but this did not abate my
rigour. He then paced to the top of his speed, and,
finding me still unsatisfied, he struck, most reluctantly,
into a lazy canter. This reduced my beats from triple
to common time, but did not bring them to a full
pause. At the end of five long, awkward, reluctant
lopes, Smooth-tooth stopped with a demi-semiquaver
rest, and wheeled at the same instant to go home, in
utter disgust; for he seemed now to have satisfied
himself that I had taken leave of my senses, and that
it was high time for him to "throw himself upon his
reserved rights." As I always entertained a high
respect for these, I accommodated myself to his views,
after having discovered that he was not to be
out of them. There was, however, some policy mixed
with my clemency; for, slowly as Smooth-tooth moved
in his master effort, he waked up an artificial
breeze, which seemed to search the very cavities of
my bones, and which already produced some
unacknowledged yearnings for the comfortable bed which I
When I reached the village I found all the huntsmen
collected; and after a little delay, occasioned by a
dog fight, or, rather, a fight of one dog against all the
rest (for hounds, like the wily politicians of the present
day, all jump on the undermost), we moved forward
to the hunting ground. This lay three miles
from the village; and, could anything have enlivened
the jaunt, my company would, for it consisted of a
merry group of every variety of disposition. But a
freezing man cannot be lively; and, consequently, I
Our pack consisted of eighteen or twenty hounds;
but there were but two of them which could be relied
on with confidence: George Hurt's Louder, and Captain
Reid's Rome. With these I was well acquainted,
having often been with them in the deer and rabbit
hunt. Could I say, like Horace, "
ære perennius," they should be immortalized; for
better dogs never mingled in the chase. They knew
perfectly well, from the hour of the hunt and the
equipments of the huntsmen, the game of which they were
in pursuit; and no other would they notice.
Music was said to be remarkably
" cold ;" but her veracity was questionable. Her
ambition never aimed at anything higher than finding
the track for fleeter-footed hounds. When the
game was up, she soon "knocked out," and went in
quest of cold trails; why or wherefore, no one could
tell, unless it was that she had the common fault of
those who possess peculiar accomplishments. Her
habit was to get a trail, and, if she could not lead off
on it readily, to "open" by the half hour upon so much
of it as lay within the compass of three rods square.
We had proceeded about two miles on our way, when,
in a washed field to ours right, Music opened.
"What dog's that?" inquired several voices at once.
"It's Music," said the captain; "she's the coldest
hound of the pack."
The majority were for moving on, regardless of Music's
cry; but, in courtesy to the captain, who had more
confidence in her than the rest of us, we agreed "to
wait on her a little."
"Speak to him, Music!" said the captain.
Music opened again.
"Try for him, Music!"
Music opened again.
"Let's go to her," said the captain; "there's not
much confidence to be placed in her, but it may be a
We went, and, as soon as Music saw us, she seemed
highly delighted at our attentions; ran into a little gully;
put her nose to the ground; seemed in doubt;
rooted in the dirt a little way; then raised her head,
paused a second, and trotted round a circle of ten yards'
circumference, opening all the time as if the whole horizon
were lined with foxes; that is, as though there
were an abundance of foxes about, but they were a
long way off.
"Try for him again, Music!" said the captain. Music
fidgeted about with great animation, shook her tail
spiritedly, and, after taking a sweep of sixty feet,
returned to the gully, and did as before.
"I'm afraid it's too cold," said the captain.
"Oh, no," said Colonel Peyton, waggishly, "let's
wait on her. 'Bundance o' foxes in that gully; only
give Music time, and she'll fill it full o' dead foxes
"I reckon," said Stewart Andrews, in a long, drawling,
dry way, "that Music has got upon a 'Miss Mary
Ann' that went along there last winter."
The reader must here be informed, that when I went
into the neighbourhood of which I have been speaking,
the common appellation of the rabbit was "Molly Cotton-tail,"
as it still is elsewhere in Georgia; but, as I
thought this inelegant, if not vulgar, I prevailed upon
my fellow-huntsmen to exchange it for a more classic
term, which would preserve the sense, without offending
the most squeamish delicacy. At my suggestion,
therefore, it was called the "Mary Cotton tail," and
afterward, by farther refinement, "Miss Mary Ann
Cotton-tail." But to return:
We were just about taking leave of Music, when a
young, awkward, overgrown hound trotted up to her
assistance. He arrived just as Music had paid a third
visit to the track in the gully, and, as soon as she left
it, he put his nose to the spot, snuffed a little, and then
raised one foot, and with it kindly scratched out the
tantalizing track. While I sat "waiting upon" Miss
Music, my freezing limbs forced me into this train of
reflection: "How could I have so far taken leave of
my senses as to promise myself any pleasure from such
a jaunt as this! It is extremely doubtful whether we
shall start a fox; and if we should, what are the cries
of twenty hounds to three or four hour's exposure, without
even an overcoat, upon such a piercing morning as
this! And wherein will the cry differ from that of the
same pack in pursuit of a rabbit on a fine sunny day.
And why seek amusement in the tortures of a poor
unoffending animal! In this country, at least, I never
heard of a single loss from a farmyard which could be
fairly traced to the fox; not even of a goose, much less
of a lamb. My rest broken, my health jeoparded, and
my immediate sufferings excruciating! Folly! madness
in the extreme!"
We had not proceeded far before groups of from
two to five hounds could be heard in all directions in
Miss Mary Ann's. Hitherto my hopes had
been buoyed up by the number of hounds; for I naturally
concluded that our chances of success increased
with their number: but now I plainly saw that our
only hope was upon Rome and Louder, for all the
others had resigned themselves unreservedly to Mary
We were moving on upon a skirt of woods, entirely
surrounded by fields, when, from the opposite side
of it, the well-known voice of the deep mouthed Louder
fell joyously upon our ears. "Hark!" cried all of us
at once. In an instant the clear, shrill note of Rome
confirmed his companion's report; for they always
hunted together, and each obeyed the call of the other
in a moment. Then both together, then alternately in
quick succession, they repeated their assurances. In
an instant, all the various groups of hounds of which
we were speaking were hushed, and from every direction
they could be seen dashing to the two favourites.
Such is the force of truth even with dumb brutes.
A loud scream of exultation and encouragement
broke involuntarily from all the huntsmen (not excepting
myself), and each dashed for the hounds as the
impulse of the moment urged him on. Some skirted
the forest in one way, some in another; but Crocket
plunged directly through it at half speed; how, Heaven
only knows; but I had hardly missed him before I
heard him encouraging the dogs in his presence. I
took a moment for reflection, which, of course, I was
permitted to enjoy alone. My conclusion was, that if
gallop through the wood with safety, I
certainly could pace through it without injury; and
as this was much the nearest way, I determined to
attempt it. My resolves were no sooner formed than
they were communicated to Smooth-tooth, who entered
the wood with his accustomed prudence and circumspection.
The first streaks of day had now appeared; but
they were entirely useless to me after I had entered the
forest. I had proceeded about sixty paces, when a limb
of some kind (I know not what) fetched me a wipe across
the face that set the principles of philosophy at defiance;
for it was certainly four times as severe as
Smooth-tooth's momentum would have justified upon
any known law of projectiles: at least it seemed so to
me; for it came like a flash of lightning over the icing
of my face; giving me, for the first time in my life, a
sensible idea of the Georgia
expression "feeling streaked;"
for my face actually felt as though it was covered
with streaks of fire and streaks of ice.
Twenty paces more had like to have wound up my
hunt with the felon's death; for, as I was moving on
with all due caution and sobriety, a little, supple,
infrangible grape-vine, attached to two slim, elastic
saplings, between which I passed, threw one of its festoons
gracefully around my neck, and politely informed me
that I must stop or be hung. I communicated this
intelligence to Smooth-tooth without loss of time; and,
stopping was his delight, he, of course, obeyed the
mandate as quick as he could. Prompt as was his
obedience, it was too slow for the petulant little grape -vine; for, though it consented to spare my life, it
dismissed me with most ungentlemanly rudeness. It just
took my profile from my neck upward, passing over all
the turns and angles of my face with a rigour that
Socrates himself could not have borne with patience. It
returned from its delineation like a bowstring, sending
my hat aloft, I know not how high; but, judging from
the time which intervened between its departure from
my head and its report on the ground, I should say
nearly to the height of the wedded saplings. Never
but once before had I such a lively sense of the value
of a hat in cold weather as I now had. The chills ran
from my head to my toes like ague-fits; and these I
had to bear for the space of a minute or two, before I
could feel out my hat. At last I recovered it and
remounted. "How was it possible," exclaimed I, "for
Crocket to get through this wood at half speed! It
must be true, that ' ,' and I'll e'en
risk a little upon the strength of the maxim." fortuna favet fortibus Switches
were convenient, as my misfortunes have proved;
and, having supplied myself with one, I drew my
hat over my eyes, brought my head down close to
Smooth-tooth's withers, hugged him tight with my legs,
and put whip to him manfully. Smooth-tooth now felt
his dignity assailed, and he put off at a respectable
fox-hunting gait. This soon brought me to the edge of
the old field, with no other accident than a smart blow
from a sapling upon my right knee, which, though it
nearly unhorsed me, did me no serious injury.
Here I found all my companions reassembled.
While the drag lay within the frost-covered field, the
dogs carried it briskly; but, as soon as it entered the
wood, they were at fault. In this situation they were
when I joined the huntsmen. It was long before we
had any encouragement to hope that they would ever
take it beyond the margin of the field; occasionally,
however, and at painful intervals, the two favourites
would bid us not to despair. Crocket and three or
four of the party remained with and encouraged the
hounds; while Andrews, Marden, and myself adjourned
to a narrow lane to enjoy the comforts of the risen
sun. The sluggish trail allowed us an hour's basking;
which so far relaxed my rigid members as to prepare
me for enjoying Marden's amusing stories and Steward's
dry humour. While we were thus engaged, and
after we had relinquished all hope of a chase for that
morning at least, the notes of the two favourites became
more and more frequent. Soon a third and
fourth voice joined them, and the chorus swelled and
varied with every second, until eight in the morning,
when the whole pack broke in full cry. Reynard was
up, and twenty foes in hot pursuit.
How or why I am unable to tell, but truth constrains
me to say, that for some moments I was enraptured
with the sport. The fox obliqued towards us, and
entered a field of which our position commanded a full
view. He must have left his covert with reluctance,
for he was not more than a hundred paces ahead of the
hounds when he entered the field. First of the pack,
and side by side, the heroes of the clamorous band
rose the fence. Then followed, in thick array, the
whole troop; and close on their rear, Crocket burst
through the copsewood and charged the fence without
a pause. Around me, in every direction, I could see
the huntsmen sweeping to the choir; and as, emerging
from the forests or gaining the heights around, they
caught the first glimpse of the gallant pack, they raised
a shout which none but the overcharged heart can give,
and none but the lifeless heart receive unmoved. I
was soon deserted as before; but, partly from the
inspiration of my recent experiment, I plied Smooth-tooth
with the whip most
astonishingly, and put off in
pursuit of the hounds in handsome style, via the lane,
which happened to have exactly the curvature which
The fox had hardly left the field through which my
eye followed him, before, all of a sudden, the voice of
every hound hushed. They were completely at fault;
and thus I found them when I once more joined my
company. They "knocked out," as the saying is,
near to the corner of 'Squire Snibby's field, which lay
contiguous to the first which they entered. Dogs and
men here toiled assiduously to take the trail away,
but in vain. At length Crocket suspected Reynard of
a trick: he conjectured that the cunning rogue had ascended
the squire's fence, and followed it some distance
before he alighted. And so it proved to be; for, taking
some of the dogs with him along the fence side,
Crocket introduced them again to the trail, at the distance
of full three hundred yards from the point at
which they lost it. The cry was now renewed with
all its former spirit. The fox, huntsmen, and hounds
took to the right; but, as fields lay in that direction, I
concluded that he would soon turn and follow the belt
of woodland in the opposite direction; I therefore took
to the left by a pretty little path, which might possibly
have exerted some influence upon my determination.
I had not proceeded far before I encountered a large
log lying directly across my path. Here I resolved to
experiment a little, unobserved, upon Smooth-tooth's
agility. "If," said I, "he clears that log in handsome
style, I'll charge the first (low) fence that intercepts
my pursuit." Accordingly, I put whip and heels to
Smooth-tooth, who neared it elegantly; but, as soon
as he came within jumping distance, he stopped with a
suddenness and self-composure which plainly signified
that he expected me to let it down for him. The
consequence was, that I was very near being laid across
the log for my pains. I now became testy, and resolved
that, as he would not "run and jump" it, he should
"stand and jump" it. I therefore brought him up to
it, and commenced the old discipline. After proposing
to go round it either way without my approbation,
he at length raised his fore feet, and threw them
lazily over the log, coming down upon them as the
white bear does in breaking ice, and stopped right
astride of the log. I was now prompted by curiosity
to see, if left to himself, whether he would stand there
or go on; and, strange as it may seem, his own free-will
led him to neither alternative: for he was in the
very act of drawing his fore feet back, with a kind of
fall-down motion, when I gave him the whip, and forced
him to drag, rather than lift, his hind feet over.
This feat performed, I moved on about two hundred
yards, when, as I had anticipated, I heard the hounds
coming directly towards me. I stopped, and in a minute's
time Reynard crossed the path within thirty steps
of me. Then came the dogs in the order in which they
entered the field; and hard upon them came Crocket
upon his foaming steed.
"Did you see him?" exclaimed he, finding me near
"Yes," said I, "distinctly."
"How was his tail?"
"I didn't notice particularly, but sticking to him, I
"Oh, nonsense!" said Crocket; "was his brush up
"Neither," said I; "he
brushed right across."
Here the major uttered something harsh, and dashed
on. I afterward learned that experienced fox-hunters
know the extent of his exhaustion from the manner in
which he carries his tail.
reasoned out the fox's movement this time
successfully, I concluded I could do the like again: I
therefore reasoned that, after rambling about a short
time, he would seek the neighbourhood of his burrow.
Accordingly, I paced back (going round the log this
time) to a position where I might intercept him. Here
I remained about an hour, without hearing man, horse,
or dog: and then I paced home, where I arrived at
eleven o'clock, perfectly satisfied with fox-hunting.
When my companions returned, they reported that,
five miles from where I was waiting for the fox, and
seven from the village, at about two o'clock P.M.,
right in the big road, near Richland Creek, the dogs
"knocked out," and could never be
knocked in again.
But they brought home a rich fund of anecdote from
the chase, which served to enliven many an idle hour
afterward; I reserved mine to the present moment,
to enliven the family fireside on these cold winter's
IN the city of - resided once a band of gay
spirits, who, though they differed from each other in
some respects, were all alike in this, that they were
fond of fun.
Billy Grossly was an odd compound of grave and
humorous. He seldom projected a scheme of amusement,
but never failed to take part in it when it was
set on foot by others. Why, it was not easy to tell;
for, if he enjoyed the most amusing pastime at all, his
enjoyment was all inward; for he rarely laughed, or
gave any other visible sign of lively pleasure.
Jack Clomes seemed to have been made for fun. It
was his meat and his drink: he could no more live
without it, than he could live without his ordinary diet.
Withal, Jack had a wonderful talent for manufacturing
food for his prevailing appetite. Indeed, his fault was
that he never could be got to perform his part in a
humorous exhibition, which required concert with others,
without digressing from the main plot whenever he
discovered a fair opportunity of picking up a delicate
morsel of fun precisely suited to his own palate.
James M'Lass was fond of a harmless frolic, and,
whenever he engaged in it, if by preconcert, he always
made it a point of honour to perform his part in strict
obedience to the original design.
These three, with six or eight others, whose dispositions
it is not necessary to mention, visited the village
of - in order to attend the races which were in
progress in the vicinity of that place.
Towards the close of the races, it was discovered
that the joint funds of the whole fraternity were not
sufficient to discharge the tavern-bills of any two of them.
What was to be done in this emergency? To have
borrowed would have been extremely mortifying, and
perhaps a little inconvenient; to have gone away without
paying their tavern-bills would have been contrary
to the first principles of Georgia honour. They were
soon relieved from their dilemma by the ingenuity of
During the races a "Down Easter" had been exhibiting
wax figures in the village; and concluding that the
profits of his business would end with the sports of the
turf, he had begun to pack up his portables for removal
to a more eligible station.
Clomes now proposed that his company should take
the places and parts of the retiring figures; or, to use
his own expression, "should play wax-works," until
they made enough to pay their bills. A single night,
it was thought, would suffice for this purpose.
The plan was no sooner proposed than it was
embraced by all. The room and its furniture were
engaged for the evening; the parts were cast without
difficulty; and each went industriously to work, to fit
himself for the part he was to perform.
Billy Grossly, having the advantage of all the rest in
height and abdominal rotundity, was, by common consent,
chosen as a proper representative of Daniel Lambert,
the prodigious Englishman, who weighed, if I remember
rightly, upward of six hundred pounds. The
reader need hardly be told, that, with all his advantages,
Billy required the aid of at least eight pillows, with
chinking, as we say in Georgia, to give him
a bulk corresponding with this enormous weight: nor
need he be told that divers of the most decent bags
which the village afforded, with a small sheet, were put
in requisition, to contain him and his adjuncts.
Freedom Lazenby was the only one of the company
who could, with any propriety, personify the Sleeping
Beauty; and, of course, this part was assigned to him.
Freedom's figure was quite too gross for the beau ideal
of female symmetry; and his face, though fine for a
man, had rather too much compass to represent nature's
finest touches of female beauty. However, it
was soon perceived that a counterpane would hide the
defects of the first, and a deep-frilled cap would reduce
the last to passable effeminacy. But there were two
other difficulties which were not so easily removed. It
is well known that the interest of the Sleeping Beauty is
much enlivened by an exposed bosom, by which reposes
a lovely infant. Even Clomes's ingenuity could not
supply these. A
living child would not answer; for,
whether taken to the arms of the Beauty asleep or
awake, it would be certain to give signs of life before
the exhibition ended; and there was not even a tolerable
manufacturer of bosoms in the whole village.
There was no alternative; the interest of the spectators
must yield to the necessities of the performers: it was
therefore determined that the Beauty's bosom should
share the fate of her person, and be covered; that an
infant should be manufactured in the best possible style,
out of rags; and that the paint-brush should supply
the place of wax for the face. As there were no
Raphaels, Titians, Wests, or Debuffes in the village,
the little innocent did not come from the hands of the
artist with the most perfect face imaginable; but it was
the best that could be given to it; and, if it wanted
interest, that was not the fault of the company.
To James M'Lass was assigned the part of Miss
Eliza Failes, the unfortunate girl who was murdered
by her unnatural lover, Jason Fairbanks; and Clomes
took the part of the murderer.
It was proposed to represent Miss Failes at the moment
when the blood was streaming from the lacerated
throat; but Jemmy refused to personify her in that
condition, and therefore they had to place him in another
part of the tragedy. That was selected in which Fairbanks
has his victim by the hair with the left hand, the
knife upraised in the right, in the act of commencing
his work of butchery.
The other figures, being merely distinguished
personages, were easily represented.
From some cause unknown,
perhaps to invite
or merely because, perhaps, it was a matter that
lay fully within the range of the company's art, they
resolved to exhibit a corpse in the antechamber gratis;
and Pleasant Halgroce, a jolly son of Bacchus, kindly
offered to play this part. Every child knows that a
plate of burning spirits, with a little salt thrown into it,
will throw over the features of a living person all the
paleness and ghastliness of death. This was the only
device used to convert Pleasant's smirky red face into
that of a corpse.
All matters being now arranged, and the performers
having practised their parts in their new characters
until they ceased to be ridiculous, they all took their
places after an early supper.
Before the doors were opened to the principal
exhibition, a little incident occurred in the antechamber
which suddenly closed the entertainment in this
quarter, and had a material bearing upon that in the
Pleasant Halgroce had taken his position, and was
playing a corpse to the life, or, rather, to the
number of persons gathered round him, with becoming
solemnity, when a dumb man, who was devotedly
attached to him, joined the group. As soon as his eyes
fell upon the prostrate body of Pleasant, he burst into
the most piteous and unaffected wailing. Nothing
could restrain him from embracing his departed friend.
He approached him, and was in the act of bending over
him, to give him affection's fondest adieu, when a pretty
stiff breeze from Pleasant's lips, strengthened by previous
suppression, charged with the fumes of about half
a pint of brandy, saluted the face of the mourner. The
transition from grief to joy was instantaneous with the
poor mute. He rose in transports; pointed to Pleasant's
face, then to his own, touched his nose, gave it
a significant curl, snuffed gently, and then clapping
both hands to his stomach, he commenced inhaling and
respiring, with all the tone and emphasis of a pair of
blacksmith's bellows. Pleasant, now perceiving that
exposure was inevitable, rose, and rushed upon the
dumb man with the fury of a tiger. This sudden
resuscitation of Pleasant to life in its most healthful
action, was as alarming to the mute as his breathing
had been joyous; and he fled, with Pleasant at his
heels, as though all the tenants of the churchyard had
risen upon him at once.
Pleasant had only to resume his dress, and appear in
a natural light, to pass unknown by all but the initiated;
for, aside from burning brandy, he was no more like a
corpse than a rose is like a lily.
Pleasant, being now out of employment, determined
to take upon himself the part of historian to the wax
The door leading to the figures was no sooner opened,
than several persons entered, and viewed them with
apparent satisfaction. The spectators had increased
to the number of eight or ten, when a raw-boned,
awkward, gawky son of the forest, named Rory Brushwood,
made his appearance, paid his money, and entered.
Pleasant, of course, undertook to enrich his mind
with historic lore, while he feasted his eye upon the
wonders of art.
"This," said Pleasant, leading Rory up to the Sleeping
Beauty, "is the Sleeping Beauty: she's given
up on all hands to be the prettiest creature in the
universal world. Now what would you give, my old
Snort, to have as pretty a wife and as pretty a baby as
"Humph!" said Rory, "I don't think she's so d-d
pretty as she mout be: and as for the baby, it looks
like a screech-owl in petticoats."
"Monstrous pretty! monstrous pretty!" continued
Pleasant. "But come here" - hurrying Rory off, lest
his remarks should wake the Sleeping Beauty - "come
here, and I'll show you something that'll make your
hair rise like a fighting cat's."
"There!" continued he, pointing to Billy Grossly
"just take a squint at that fellow, will you: that's Daniel
Lambert: he was born in Nocatchey, and was raised
upon nothing but grass-nuts and sweet potatoes; and
just see what he's come to! He weighs nine hundred
and fifty, dead weight."
"He's a whaler!" said Rory; "but his face is
mighty little for his belly and legs."
"Oh," said Pleasant, "that's owing to the grass-nuts
and potatoes: you know they always puff up the lower
Nobody but Billy could have withstood this lecture
upon himself without a smile; but he passed it off admirably.
The critical time was now at hand. Pleasant and
Rory advanced in front of Miss Failes and Mr. Fairbanks,
where they found another visitor viewing the
interesting couple. Pleasant deemed it unadvisable to
continue his lectures in the presence of Clomes; and,
had Clomes himself been equally prudent, things might
all have ended well: but he was not.
While the three gentlemen just named were gazing
on the figures before there, Jack took it into his head
to try a little experiment upon Miss Failes's muscles,
through the sensibilities of her head; accordingly, he
tightened his grip suddenly upon her hair. This
brought from her a slight wince; but Jack did not perceive
it. Encouraged by her philosophy, he made a
second pull with all the strength that lay in the muscles
and sinews of his left hand.
This brought a palpable grin from Miss Failes; and,
what was worse, in the zeal of his experiments upon
Jim's stoicism, Jack overacted his own part a little.
"Gentlemen," said Rory, in a tone of awful dignity
and self-satisfaction, as he turned gravely to the
by-standers, "gentlemen, it's flesh and blood."
"There," said Pleasant, "that just proves what I've
said: that these are the best wax-works that ever was
showed in all these parts. It's most impossible to tell
'em from live folks."
"Gentleman," repeated Rory, with the same unruffled
composure, "it's flesh and blood. If I didn't see
that fellow wink, and that woman
squinch her face, then
hell's a dancing room."
"No matter for that." said Pleasant, "they're nothin'
but wax for all that: and, if you don't b'lieve me, just
feel that fellow's cheek."
Rory raised his finger slowly, as if actually doubting
the evidence of his senses, and was just in the act of
touching Jack's cheek, when Jack snapped at his finger
like a shark, and caught it between his teeth with a
force most unreasonable for fun.
The shock was so unexpected and severe, that it
completely unmanned Rory for the instant, and he sunk
powerless upon the floor. He soon rose, however, and
rose with Miss Failes's chair, which happened to be vacant
just at this moment; and then (to use an expression
of one of the characters), "if ever you saw wax-works
cut dirt, they cut it then."
Mr. Fairbanks was the first to make his escape, but
not without being nearly overtaken by the chair. Miss
Failes followed next; then General Washington and
other distinguished personages, whose attitudes
prepared them for running. The Sleeping Beauty, being
a little encumbered with bedclothes, was rather slow in
retiring; she was enough in a hurry, however, to leave
her little infant in the middle of the floor to Rory's care,
who, discovering its true character just as Daniel Lambert
was removing his feathers to another apartment
let him have the baby, with all his force, between the
shoulders. As this was only rags against pillows, Daniel
escaped as free from injury as the rest of them.
Rory now became clamorous for his money; but
the doorkeeper was not to be found; and, indeed, claimed
and kept for his services all that was made, leaving
the performers to settle their bills as they could.
A SAGE CONVERSATION.
I LOVE the aged matrons of our land. As a class,
they are the most pious, the most benevolent, the most
useful, and the most harmless of the human family.
Their life is a life of good offices. At home they are
patterns of industry, care, economy, and hospitality;
abroad, they are ministers of comfort, peace, and
consolation. Where affliction is, there are they to
mitigate its pangs; where sorrow is, there are they to
assuage its pains. Nor night, nor day, nor summer's
heat, nor winter's cold, nor angry elements, can deter
them from scenes of suffering and distress. They are
the first at the fevered couch, and the last to leave it.
They hold the first and last cup to the parched lip.
They bind the aching head, close the dying eye, and
linger in the death-stricken habitation, to pour the last
drop of consolation into the afflicted bosoms of the
bereaved. I cannot, therefore, ridicule them myself, nor
bear to hear them ridiculed in my presence. And yet
I am often amused at their conversations; and have
amused them with a rehearsal of their own conversations,
taken down by me when they little dreamed that
I was listening to them. Perhaps my reverence for
their character, conspiring with a native propensity to
extract amusement from all that passes under my
observation, has accustomed me to pay a uniformly strict
attention to all they say in my presence.
This much in extraordinary courtesy to those who
cannot distinguish between a simple narrative of an
amusing interview, and ridicule of the parties to it.
Indeed, I do not know that the conversation which I am
about to record will be considered amusing by any of
my readers. Certainly the amusement of the readers
of my own times is not the leading object of it, or of
any of the "Georgia Scenes;" forlorn as may be the
hope that their main object will ever be answered.
When I seated myself to the sheet now before me,
my intention was merely to detail a conversation
between three ladies, which I heard many years since;
confining myself to only so much of it as sprung from
the ladies' own thoughts, unawakened by the suggestions
of others; but, as the manner of its introduction
will perhaps interest some of my readers, I will give it.
I was travelling with my old friend, Ned Brace, when
we stopped at the dusk of the evening at a house on
the roadside for the night. Here we found three nice,
tidy, aged matrons, the youngest of whom could not
have been under sixty; one of them, of course, was
the lady of the house, whose husband, old as he was,
had gone from home upon a land-exploring expedition.
She received us hospitably, had our horses well attended
to, and soon prepared for us a comfortable supper.
While these things were doing, Ned and I engaged the
other two in conversation; in the course of which, Ned
deported himself with becoming seriousness. The kind
lady of the house occasionally joined us, and became
permanently one of the party from the time the first
dish was placed on the table. At the usual hour we
were summoned to supper; and, as soon as we were
seated, Ned, unsolicited, and most unexpectedly to me,
said grace. I knew full well that this was a prelude
to some trick, I could not conjecture what. His
explanation (except so much as I discovered myself) was,
that he knew that one of us would be asked to say
grace, and he thought he might as well save the good
ladies the trouble of asking. The matter was, however,
more fully explained just before the moment of our
retiring to bed arrived. To this moment the conversation
went round between the good ladies and ourselves
with mutual interest to all. It was much enlivened by
Ned, who was capable, as the reader has been heretofore
informed, of making himself extremely agreeable
in all company; and who, upon this occasion, was upon
his very best behaviour. It was immediately after I
had looked at my watch, in token of my disposition to
retire for the night, that the conversation turned upon
marriages, happy and unhappy, strange, unequal,
runaways, &c. Ned rose in the midst of it, and asked
the landlady where we should sleep. She pointed to
an open shed-room adjoining the room in which we
were sitting, and separated from it by a log partition,
between the spaces of which might be seen all that
passed in the dining-room; and so close to the fireplace
of this apartment, that a loud whisper might be
easily heard from one to the other.
"The strangest match," said Ned, resuming the
conversation with a parson's gravity, "that ever I
heard of, was that of George Scott and David Snow:
two most excellent men, who became so much attached
to each other that they actually got married - "
"The lackaday!" exclaimed one of the ladies.
"And was it really a fact?" inquired another.
"Oh, yes, ma'am," continued Ned; "I knew them
very well, and often went to their house; and no people
could have lived happier or managed better than
they did. And they raised a lovely parcel of children;
as fine a set as I ever saw, except their youngest
son, Billy: he was a little wild, but, upon the whole,
a right clever boy himself. Come, friend Baldwin,
we're setting up too late for travellers." So saying,
Ned moved to the shed room, and I followed him.
The ladies were left in silent amazement, and Ned,
suspecting, doubtless, that they were listening for a
laugh from our chamber as we entered it, continued the
subject with unabated gravity, thus: "You knew those
two men, didn't you?"
"Where did they live!" inquired I, not a little
disposed to humour him.
"Why, they lived down there, on Cedar Creek, close
by Jacob Denman's. Oh, I'll tell you who their daughter
Nancy married: she married John Clarke; you
him very well."
"Oh, yes," said I, "I knew John Clarke very well.
was a most excellent woman."
"Well, the boys were just as clever, for boys, as she
was for a girl, except Bill; and I never heard anything
very bad of him, unless it was his laughing in church;
that put me more out of conceit of him than anything
I ever knew of him. - Now, Baldwin, when I go to
bed, I go to bed to sleep, and not to talk; and therefore,
from the time my head touches the pillow, there
must be no more talking. Besides, we must take an
early start to-morrow, and I'm tired." So saying, he
hopped into his bed, and I obeyed his injunctions.
Before I followed his example, I could not resist the
temptation of casting an eye through the cracks of the
partition, to see the effect of Ned's wonderful story
upon the kind ladies. Mrs. Barney (it is time to give
their names) was sitting in a thoughtful posture; her
left hand supporting her chin, and her knee supporting
her left elbow. Her countenance was that of one who
suffers from a slight toothache. Mrs. Shad leaned
forward, resting her forearm on her knees, and looking
into the fire as if she saw
groups of children playing in
it. Mrs. Reed, the landlady, who was the fattest of
the three, was thinking and laughing alternately at
short intervals. From my bed it required but a slight
change of position to see any one of the group at
I was no sooner composed on my pillow, than the
old ladies drew their chairs close together, and began
the following colloquy in a low under tone, which rose
as it progressed:
Mrs. Barney. Didn't that man say them was two
men that got married to one another?
Mrs. Shad. It seemed to me so.
Mrs. Reed. Why, to be sure he did. I know he
said so; for he said what their names was.
Mrs. B. Well, in the name o' sense, what did the
man mean by saying they raised a fine parcel of children?
Mrs. R. Why, bless your heart and soul, honey!
that's what I've been thinkin' about. It seems mighty
curious to me some how or other. I can't study it
out, no how.
Mrs. S. The man must be jokin', certainly.
Mrs. R. No, he wasn't jokin'; for I looked at him,
and he was just as much in yearnest as anybody I ever
seed; and besides, no Christian man would tell such a
story in that solemn way. And didn't you hear that
other man say he knew their da'ter Nancy?
Mrs. S. But, la messy! Mis' Reed, it can't be so.
It doesn't stand to reason; don't you know it don't?
Mrs. R. Well, I wouldn't think so; but it's hard for
me somehow to dispute a Christian man's word.
Mrs. B. I've been thinking the thing all over in my
mind, and I reckon - now I don't say it is so, for I don't
know nothing at all about it - but I reckon that one
of them men was a women dress'd in men's clothes;
for I've often hearn o' women doin' them things, and
following their true-love to the wars, and bein' a
waitin'-boy to 'em, and all sich.
Mrs. S. Well, maybe it's some how in that way;
but, la me! 'twould o' been obliged to been found out;
don't you know it would? Only think how many
children she had. Now it stands to reason, that at some
time or other it must have been found out.
Mrs. R. Well, I'm an old woman any how, and I
reckon the good man won't mind what an old woman
says to him; so, bless the Lord, if I live to see the
morning, I'll ask him about it.
I knew that Ned was surpassed by no man living in
extricating himself from difficulties; but how he was
to escape from this, with even tolerable credit to
himself, I could not devise.
The ladies here took leave of Ned's marvellous story,
drew themselves closely round the fire, lighted their
pipes, and proceeded as follows:
Mrs. B. Jist before me and my old man was married,
there was a gal name Nancy Mountcastle (puff,
puff), and she was a mighty likely gal (puff); I know'd
her mighty well; she dressed herself up in men's
clothes (puff, puff), and followed Jemmy Darden from
P'ankatank, in KING AND QUEEN (puff), clean up to
Mrs. S. (puff, puff, puff, puff, puff). And did he
Mrs. B. (sighing deeply). No: Jemmy didn't
marry her; pity he hadn't, poor thing.
Mrs. R. Well, I know'd a gal on Tar river done the
same thing (puff, puff, puff). She followed Moses
Rusher 'way down somewhere in the South State (puff,
Mrs. S. (puff, puff, puff, puff). And what did he do?
Mrs. R. Ah! (puff, puff). Lord bless your soul,
honey, I can't tell you what he did. Bad enough.
Mrs. B. Well, now, it seems to me - I don't know
much about it - but it seems to me, men don't like to
marry gals that take on that way. It looks like it
puts 'em out o' concait of 'em.
Mrs. S. I know'd one man that married a woman
that followed him from Car'lina to this state; but she
didn't dress herself in men's clothes. You both know
'em. You know Simpson Trotty's sister and Rachael's
son Reuben. 'Twas him and his wife.
Mrs. R. and Mrs. B. Oh yes, I know 'em mighty
Mrs. S. Well, it was his wife; she followed him
out to this state.
Mrs. B. I know'd 'em all mighty well. Her da'ter
Lucy was the littlest teeny bit of a thing when it was
born I ever did see. But they tell me that, when I
was born - now I don't know anything about it
myself - but the old folks used to tell me, that, when I
was born, they put me in a quart mug, and mought o'
covered me up in it.
Mrs. S. The lackaday!
Mrs. R. What ailment did Lucy die of, Mis' Barney?
Mrs. B. Why, first she took the ager and fever, and
took a 'bundance o' doctor's means for that. And
then she got a powerful bad cough, and it kept gittin'
worse and worse, till at last it turned into a consumption,
and she jist nat'ly wasted away, till she was nothing
but skin and bone, and she died; but, poor creater,
she died mighty happy; and I think, in my heart,
she made the prettiest corpse, considerin', of anybody
I most ever seed.
Mrs. R. and Mrs. S. Emph! (solemnly).
Mrs. R. What did the doctors give her for the fever
Mrs. B. Oh, they gin' her a 'bundance o' truck; I
don't know what all; and none of 'em holp her at all.
But at last she got over it, some how or other. If
they'd have just gin' her a sweat o' bitter yerbs, jist as
the spell was comin' on, it would have cured her right
Mrs. R. Well, I reckon sheep-saffron the onliest
thing in nater for the ager.
Mrs. B. I've always hearn it was wonderful in
hives and measly ailments.
Mrs. R. Well, it's just as good for an ager; it's a
powerful sweat. Mrs. Clarkson told me, that her
cousin Betsy's aunt Sally's Nancy was cured sound
and well by it, of a hard shakin' ager.
Mrs. S. Why, you don't tell me so!
Mrs. R. Oh, bless your heart, honey, it's every word
true; for she told me so with her own mouth.
Mrs. S. "A hard, hard shakin' ager!!"
Mrs. R. Oh yes, honey, it's the truth.
Mrs. S. Well, I'm told that if you'll wrap the inside
skin of an egg round your little finger, and go
three days reg'lar to a young persimmon, and tie a
string round it, and every day tie three knots in it, and
then not go agin for three days, that the ager will
Mrs. B. I've often hearn o' that, but I don't know
about it. Some people don't believe in it.
Mrs. S. Well, Davy Cooper's wife told me she
didn't believe in it; but she tried it, and it cured her
sound and well.
Mrs. R. I've hearn of many folks bein' cured in
that way. And what did they do for Lucy's cough,
Mrs. B. Oh, dear me, they gin her a powerful
chance o' truck. I reckon, first and last, she took at
least a pint o' lodimy.
Mrs. S. and Mrs. R. The law!
Mrs. S. Why that ought to have killed her, if nothing
else. If they'd jist gin' her a little cumfry and
alecampane, stewed in honey, or sugar, or molasses,
with a little lump o' mutton suet or butter in it, it
would have cured her in two days, sound and well.
Mrs. B. I've always counted cumfry and alecampane
the lead of all yerbs for colds.
Mrs. S. Horehound and sugar's mazin good.
Mrs. B. Mighty good, mighty good.
Mrs. R. Powerful good. I take mightily to a sweat
of sage-tea in desperate bad colds.
Mrs. S. And so do I, Mis' Reed. Indeed, I have a
great leanin' to sweats of yerbs, in all ailments sich as
colds, and rheumaty pains, and pleurisies, and sich;
they're wonderful good. Old brother Smith came to
my house from Bethany meeting in a mighty bad way
with a cold and cough, and his throat and nose all
stopped up; seemed like it would 'most take his breath
away; and it was dead o' winter, and I had nothin' but
dried yerbs, sich as camomile, sage, pennyryal, catmint,
horehound, and sich; so I put a hot rock to his
feet, and made him a large bowl o' catmint tea, and I
reckon he drank most two quarts of it through the
night, and it put him in a mighty fine sweat, and
loosened all the phleem, and opened all his head; and the
next morning, says he to me, says he, sister Shad -
you know he's a mighty kind spoken man, and always
was so 'fore he joined society; and the old man likes
a joke yet right well, the old man does; but he's a
mighty good man, and I think he prays with greater
libity than most any one of his age I most ever seed
don't you think he does, Mis' Reed?
Mrs. R. Powerful.
Mrs. B. Who did he marry?
Mrs. S. Why he married - stop, I'll tell you directly.
Why, what does make my old head forget so?
Mrs. B. Well, it seems to me I don't remember like
I used to. Didn't he marry a Ramsbottom?
Mrs. R. No. Stay, I'll tell you who he married
presently. Oh, stay! why I'll tell you who he married!
He married old daddy Johny Hooer's da'ter Mournin'.
Mrs. S. Why, la! messy on me, so he did!
Mrs. B. Why, did he marry a Hooer?
Mrs. S. Why, to be sure he did. You knew Mournin'.
Mrs. B. Oh, mighty well; but I'd forgot that brother
Smith married her: I really thought he married a
Mrs. R. Oh no, bless your soul, honey, he married
Mrs. B. Well, the law me, I'm clear beat!
Mrs. S. Oh, it's so, you may be sure it is.
Mrs. B. Emp, emph, emph, emph! And brother
Smith married Mournin' Hooer! Well, I'm clear put
out! Seems to me I'm gittin' mighty forgetful, some
Mrs. S. Oh yes, he married Mournin', and I saw
her when she joined society.
Mrs. B. Why, you don't tell me so!
Mrs. S. Oh, it's the truth. She didn't join till after
she was married, and the church took on mightily
about his marrying one out of society. But after she
joined they all got satisfied.
Mrs. R. Why, la! me, the seven stars is 'way over
Mrs. B. Well, let's light our pipes, and take a short
smoke, and go to bed. How did you come on raisin'
chickens this year, Mis' Shad?
Mrs. S. La messy, honey! I have had mighty bad
luck. I had the prettiest pa'sel you most every seed till
the varment took to killin' 'em.
Mrs. R and Mrs. B. The varment!!
Mrs. S. Oh dear, yes! The hawk catched a powerful
sight of them; and then the varment took to 'em,
and nat'ly took 'em fore and aft, bodily, till they left
most none at all hardly. Sucky counted 'em up t'other
day, and there warn't but thirty-nine, she said, countin'
in the old speckle hen's chickens that jist come off
of her nest.
Mrs. R and Mrs. B. Humph-h-h-h!
Mrs. R. Well, I've had bad luck too. Billy's
hound-dogs broke up most all my nests.
Mrs. B. Well, so they did me, Mis' Reed. I always
did despise a hound-dog upon the face of yea'th.
Mrs. R. Oh, they're the bawllinest, squallinest,
thievishest things ever was about one; but Billy will
have 'em, and I think in my soul his old Troup's the
beat of all creaters I ever seed in all my born days a
suckin' o' hen's eggs. He's clean most broke me up
Mrs. S. The lackaday!
Mrs. R. And them that was hatched out, some took
to takin' the gaps, and some the pip, and one ailment
or other, till they most all died.
Mrs. S. Well, I reckon there must be somethin' in
the season this year that an't good for fowls: for Larkin
Goodman's brother Jimme's wife's aunt Penny told
me, she lost most all her fowls with different sorts of
ailments, the like of which she never seed before.
They'd jist go 'long lookin' right well, and tilt right
over backward ( Mrs. B. The law!) and die right
away ( Mrs. R. Did you ever!), with a sort o somethin'
like the blind staggers.
Mrs B. and Mrs. R. Messy on me!
Mrs B. I reckon they must have eat somethin'
didn't agree with them.
Mrs. S. No they didn't, for she fed 'em every mornin'
with her own hand.
Mrs. B. Well, it's mighty curious!
A short pause ensued, which was broken by Mrs.
Barney with, "And brother Smith married Mournin'
Hooer!" It came like an opiate upon my senses, and
I dropped asleep.
The next morning, when we rose from our beds, we
found the good ladies sitting round the fire just as I
left them, for they rose long before us.
Mrs. Barney was just in the act of ejaculating,
"And brother Smith married Mournin' - " when she
was interrupted by our entry into the dining-room.
We were hardly seated before Mrs. Reed began to
verify her promise. "Mr. -," said she to Ned,
"didn't you say last night that them was two
got married to one another?"
"Yes, madam," said Ned.
"And didn't you say they raised a fine pa'cel of children?"
"Yes, madam, except Billy. I said, you know, that
he was a little wild."
"Well, yes; I know you said Billy wasn't as clever
as the rest of them. But we old women were talking
about it last night after you went out, and none of us
could make it out how they could have children; and
I said, I reckoned you wouldn't mind an old woman's
chat; and, therefore, that I would ask you how it could
be? I suppose you won't mind telling an old woman
how it was.
"Certainly not, madam. They were both widowers
before they fell in love with each other and got
"The lackaday! I wonder none of us thought o'
that. And they had children before they got married?"
"Yes, madam; they had none afterward that I
We were here informed that our horses were in
waiting, and we bade the good ladies farewell.
SHOOTING-MATCHES are probably nearly coeval with
the colonization of Georgia. They are still common
throughout the Southern States, though they are not
as common as they were twenty-five or thirty years
ago. Chance led me to one about a year ago. I
was travelling in one of the northeastern counties,
when I overtook a swarthy, bright-eyed, smerky little
fellow, riding a small pony, and bearing on his shoulder
a long, heavy rifle, which, judging from its looks,
I should say had done service in Morgan's corps.
"Good morning, sir!" said I, reining up my horse
as I came beside him.
"How goes it, stranger?" said he, with a tone of
independence and self-confidence that awakened my
curiosity to know a little of his character.
"Going driving?" inquired I.
"Not exactly," replied he, surveying my horse with
a quizzical smile; "I haven't been a driving
for a year or two; and my nose has got so bad
lately, I can't carry a cold trail without hounds to help
Alone, and without hounds as he was, the question
was rather a silly one; but it answered the purpose
for which it was put, which was only to draw him into
conversation, and I proceeded to make as decent a
retreat as I could.
"I didn't know," said I, "but that you were going
to meet the huntsmen, or going to your stand."
"Ah, sure enough," rejoined he, "that
mout be a
bee, as the old woman said when she killed a wasp.
It seems to me I ought to know you."
"Well, if you
ought, why don't you?"
mout your name be?"
might be anything," said I, with borrowed wit;
for I knew my man, and knew what kind of conversation
would please him most.
is it, then?"
is Hall," said I; "but you know it might as
well have been anything else."
"Pretty digging!" said he. "I find you're not the
fool I took you to be; so here's to a better acquaintance
"With all my heart," returned I; "but you must be
as clever as I've been, and give me your name."
"To be sure I will, my old coon; take it, take it,
and welcome. Anything else about me you'd like to
"No," said I, "there's nothing else about you worth
"Oh, yes there is, stranger! Do you see this?"
holding up his ponderous rifle with an ease that astonished
me. "If you will go with me to the shooting-match,
and see me knock out the
bull's-eye with her a
few times, you'll agree the old Soap-stick's worth
something when Billy Curlew puts his shoulder to her."
This short sentence was replete with information to
me. It taught me that my companion was
that he was going to a shooting-match; that he
called his rifle the Soap-stick, and that he was very
confident of winning beef with her; or, which is
nearly, but not quite the same thing, driving the cross
"Well," said I, "if the shooting-match is not too
far out of my way, I'll go to it with pleasure."
"Unless your way lies through the woods from
here," said Billy, "it'll not be much out of your way;
for it's only a mile ahead of us, and there is no other
road for you to take till you get there; and as that
thing you're riding in an't well suited to fast travelling
among brushy knobs, I reckon you won't lose
much by going by. I reckon you hardly ever was at
a shooting-match, stranger, from the cut of your coat?"
"Oh yes," returned I, "many a time. I won beef
at one when I was hardly old enough to hold a shot-gun
Children don't go to shooting-matches about here,"
said he, with a smile of incredulity. "I never heard
of but one that did, and he was a little swinge cat.
He was born a shooting, and killed squirrels before he
I ever hear of but one," replied I, "and
that one was myself."
"And where did you win beef so young, stranger?"
"At Berry Adams's."
"Why, stop, stranger, let me look at you good! Is
"The very same," said I.
"Well, dang my buttons, if you an't the very boy
my daddy used to tell me about. I was too young to
recollect you myself; but I've heard daddy talk about
you many a time. I believe mammy's got a
neck-handkerchief now that daddy won on your shooting at
Collen Reid's store, when you were hardly knee high.
Come along, Lyman, and I'll go my death upon you at
the shooting-match, with the old Soap-stick at your
"Ah, Billy," said I, "the old Soap-stick will do
much better at your own shoulder. It was my mother's
notion that sent me to the shooting-match at Berry
Adams's; and, to tell the honest truth, it was altogether
a chance shot that made me win beef; but that
wasn't generally known; and most everybody believed
that I was carried there on account of my skill in
shooting; and my fame was spread far and wide, I
well remember. I remember too, perfectly well, your
father's bet on me at the store.
He was at the shooting-match,
and nothing could make him believe but
that I was a great shot with a rifle as well as a shot-gun.
Bet he would on me, in spite of all I could say,
though I assured him that I had never shot a rifle in
my life. It so happened, too, that there were but two
bullets, or, rather, a bullet and a half; and so confident
was your father in my skill, that he made me
shoot the half bullet; and, strange to tell, by another
chance shot, I like to have drove the cross and won
"Now I know you're the very chap; for I heard
daddy tell that very thing about the half bullet. Don't
say anything about it, Lyman, and darn my old shoes
if I don't tare the lint off the boys with you at the
shooting-match. They'll never 'spect such a looking
man as you are of knowing anything about a rifle. I'll
I soon discovered that the father had eaten sour
grapes, and the son's teeth were on edge; for Billy
was just as incorrigibly obstinate in his belief of my
dexterity with a rifle as his father had been before him.
We soon reached the place appointed for the
shooting-match. It went by the name of Sims's Cross
Roads, because here two roads intersected each other;
and because, from the time that the first had been laid
out, Archibald Sims had resided there. Archibald had
been a justice of the peace in his day (and where is
the man of his age in Georgia who has not?); consequently,
he was called
'Squire Sims. It is the custom
in this state, when a man has once acquired a title,
civil or military, to force it upon him as long as he
lives; hence the countless number of titled personages
who are introduced in these sketches.
We stopped at the 'squire's door. Billy hastily dismounted,
gave me the shake of the hand which he had
been reluctantly reserving for a mile back, and, leading
me up to the 'squire, thus introduced me: "Uncle
Archy, this is Lyman Hall; and for all you see him in
these fine clothes, he's a
swinge cat; a darn sight cleverer
fellow than he looks to be. Wait till you see
him lift the old Soap-stick, and draw a bead upon the
bull's-eye. You gwine to see fun here today. Don't
say nothing about it."
"Well, Mr. Swinge-cat," said the 'squire, "here's
to a better acquaintance with you," offering me his
"How goes it, Uncle Archy?" said I, taking his
hand warmly (for I am always free and easy with
those who are so with me; and in this course I rarely
fail to please). "How's the old woman?"
"Egad," said the 'squire, chuckling, "there you're
too hard for me; for she died two-and-twenty years
ago, and I haven't heard a word from her since."
"What! and you never married again!"
"Never, as God's my judge!" (a solemn asseveration,
truly, upon so light a subject.)
"Well, that's not my fault."
"No, nor it's not mine
nither," said the 'squire.
Here we were interrupted by the cry of another
Rancey Sniffle. "Hello, here! All you as wish to
put in for the shoot'n'-match, come on here! for the
riddy to begin."
About sixty persons, including mere spectators, had
collected; the most of whom were more or less obedient
to the call of Mealy Whitecotton, for that was
the name of the self constituted commander-in-chief.
Some hastened and some loitered, as they desired to be
first or last on the list; for they shoot in the order in
which their names are entered.
The beef was not present, nor is it ever upon such
occasions; but several of the company had seen it,
who all concurred in the opinion that it was a good
beef, and well worth the price that was set upon it -
eleven dollars. A general inquiry ran round, in order
to form some opinion as to the number of shots
that would be taken; for, of course, the price of a
shot is cheapened in proportion to the increase of that
number. It was soon ascertained that not more than
twenty persons would take chances; but these twenty
agreed to take the number of shots, at twenty-five cents
The competitors now began to give in their names;
some for one, some for two, three, and a few for as
many as four shots.
Billy Curlew hung back to the last; and when the
list was offered him, five shots remained undisposed of.
"How many shots left?" inquired Billy.
"Five," was the reply.
"Well, I take 'em all. Put down four shots to me,
and one to Lyman Hall, paid for by William Curlew."
I was thunder struck; not at his proposition to pay
for my shot, because I knew that Billy meant it as a
token of friendship, and he would have been hurt if I
had refused to let him do me this favour; but at the
unexpected announcement of my name as a competitor
for beef; at least one hundred miles from the place of
my residence. I was prepared for a challenge from
Billy to some of his neighbours for a
upon me; but not for this.
I therefore protested against his putting in for me,
and urged every reason to dissuade him from it that I
could, without wounding his feelings.
"Put it down!" said Billy, with the authority of an
emperor, and with a look that spoke volumes intelligible
to every by-stander. "Reckon I don't know what
I'm about?" Then wheeling off, and muttering in an
under, self-confident tone, "Dang old Roper," continued
he, "if he don't knock that cross to the north corner
of creation and back again before a cat can lick
Had I been king of the cat tribe, they could not
have regarded me with more curious attention than did
the whole company from this moment. Every inch of
me was examined with the nicest scrutiny; and some
plainly expressed by their looks that they never would
have taken me for such a bite. I saw no alternative but
to throw myself upon a third chance shot; for though,
by the rules of the sport, I would have been allowed to
shoot by proxy, by all the rules of good breeding I was
bound to shoot in person. It would have been unpardonable
to disappoint the expectations which had been
raised on me. Unfortunately, too, for me, the match
differed in one respect from those which I had been in
the habit of attending in my younger days. In olden
time the contest was carried on chiefly with
a generic term which, in those days, embraced three
descriptions of firearms: Indian-traders (a long, cheap,
but sometimes excellent kind of gun, that mother Britain
used to send hither for traffic with the Indians);
the large musket, and the shot-gun, properly so called
Rifles were, however, always permitted to compete
with them, under equitable restrictions. These were,
that they should be fired off-hand, while the shot-guns
were allowed a rest, the distance being equal; or that
the distance should be one hundred yards for a rifle,
to sixty for the shot gun, the mode of firing being equal.
But this was a match of rifles exclusively; and these
are by far the most common at this time.
Most of the competitors fire at the same target;
which is usually a board from nine inches to a foot
wide, charred on one side as black as it can be made
by fire, without impairing materially the uniformity of
its surface; on the darkened side of which is
square piece of white paper, which is larger or smaller,
according to the distance at which it is to be placed
from the marksmen. This is almost invariably sixty
yards, and for it the paper is reduced to about two and
a half inches square. Out of the centre of it is cut a
rhombus of about the width of an inch, measured
diagonally; this is the bull's-eye, or diamond, as the
marksmen choose to call it: in the centre of this is
the cross. But every man is permitted to fix his target
to his own taste; and accordingly, some remove one
fourth of the paper, cutting from the centre of the
square to the two lower corners, so as to leave a large
angle opening from the centre downward; while others
reduce the angle more or less: but it is rarely the
case that all are not satisfied with one of these figures.
The beef is divided into five prizes, or, as they are
commonly termed, five
quarters - the hide and
counting as one. For several years after the revolutionary
war, a sixth was added; the lead which was
shot in the match. This was the prize of the sixth
best shot; and it used to be carefully extracted from
the board or tree in which it was lodged, and afterward
remoulded. But this grew out of the exigency of the
times, and has, I believe, been long since abandoned
The three master shots and rivals were Moses Firmby,
Larkin Spivey, and Billy Curlew; to whom was
added, upon this occasion, by common consent and with
awful forebodings, your humble servant.
The target was fixed at an elevation of about three
feet from the ground; and the judges (Captain Turner
and 'Squire Porter) took their stands by it, joined by
about half the spectators.
The first name on the catalogue was Mealy Whitecotton.
Mealy stepped out, rifle in hand, and toed the
mark. His rifle was about three inches longer than
himself, and near enough his own thickness to make
the remark of Darby Chislom, as he stepped out, tolerably
appropriate: "Here comes the corn-stock and
the sucker!" said Darby.
"Kiss my foot!" said Mealy. "The way I'll creep
into that bull's-eye's a fact."
"You'd better creep into your hind sight," said Darby.
Mealy raised and fired.
"A pretty good shot, Mealy!" said one.
"Yes, a blamed good shot!" said a second.
"Well done, Meal!" said a third.
I was rejoiced when one of the company inquired,
"Where is it?" for I could hardly believe they were
founding these remarks upon the evidence of their
"Just on the right-hand side of the bull's-eye," was
I looked with all the power of my eyes, but was unable
to discover the least change in the surface of the
paper. Their report, however, was true; so much
keener is the vision of a practised than an unpractised
The next in order was Hiram Baugh. Hiram was
like some race-horses which I have seen; he was too
good not to contend for every prize, and too good for
nothing ever to win one.
"Gentlemen," said he, as he came to the mark, "I
don't say that I'll win beef; but if my piece don't blow,
I'll eat the paper, or be mighty apt to do it, if you'll
b'lieve my racket. My powder are not good powder,
gentlemen; I bought it
thum (from) Zeb Daggett, and
gin him three quarters of a dollar a pound for it; but
it are not what I call good powder, gentlemen; but if
old Buck-killer burns it clear, the boy you call Hiram
Baugh eat's paper, or comes mighty near it."
"Well, blaze away," said Mealy, "and be d-d to
you, and Zeb Daggett, and your powder, and Buck-killer,
and your powder-horn and shot-pouch to boot!
How long you gwine stand thar talking 'fore you
"Never mind," said Hiram, "I can talk a little and
shoot a little too; but that's nothin'. Here goes!"
Hiram assumed the figure of a note of interrogation,
took a long sight, and fired.
"I've eat paper," said he, at the crack of the gun,
without looking, or seeming to look, towards the target.
"Buck-killer made a clear racket. Where am
"You're just between Mealy and the diamond," was
"I said I'd eat paper, and I've done it; haven't I,
"And 'spose you have!" said Mealy, "what do that
'mount to? You'll not win beef, and never did."
"Be that as it mout be, I've beat Meal 'Cotton mighty
easy; and the boy you call Hiram Baugh are able
to do it."
"And what do that 'mount to? Who the devil an't
able to beat Meal 'Cotton! I don't make no pretense
of bein' nothin' great, no how: but you always makes
out as if you were gwine to keep 'em makin' crosses
for you constant, and then do nothin' but '
at last; and that's a long way from eatin' beef,
to Meal 'Cotton's notions, as you call him. "
Simon Stow was now called on.
"Oh Lord!" exclaimed two or three: "now we
have it. It'll take him as long to shoot as it would
take 'Squire Dobbins to run round a
"Good-by, boys," said Bob Martin.
"Where are you going, Bob?"
"Going to gather in my crop; I'll be back agin
though by the time Sime Stow shoots."
Simon was used to all this, and therefore it did not
disconcert him in the least. He went off and brought
his own target, and set it up with his own hand.
He then wiped out his rifle, rubbed the pan with his
hat, drew a piece of tow through the touch-hole with
his wiper, filled his charger with great care, poured
the powder into the rifle with equal caution, shoved in
with his finger the two or three vagrant grains that
lodged round the mouth of his piece, took out a handful
of bullets, looked them all over carefully, selected
one without flaw or wrinkle, drew out his patching,
found the most even part of it, sprung open the
grease-box in the breech of his rifle, took up just so much
grease, distributed it with great equality over the chosen
part of his patching, laid it over the muzzle of his
rifle, grease side down, placed his ball upon it, pressed
it a little, then took it up and turned the neck a little
more perpendicularly downward, placed his knife handle
on it, just buried it in the mouth of the rifle, cut off
the redundant patching just above the bullet, looked at
it, and shook his head, in token that he had cut off too
much or too little, no one knew which, sent down the
ball, measured the contents of his gun with his first
and second fingers on the protruding part of the ramrod,
shook his head again, to signify there was too much
or too little powder, primed carefully, placed an arched
piece of tin over the hind sight to shade it, took his
place, got a friend to hold his hat over the foresight to
shade it, took a very long sight, fired, and didn't even
eat the paper.
"My piece was badly
loadned," said Simon, when
he learned the place of his ball.
"Oh, you didn't take time," said Mealy. "No man
can shoot that's in such a hurry as you is. I'd hardly
got to sleep 'fore I heard the crack o' the gun."
The next was Moses Firmby. He was a tall, slim
man, of rather sallow complexion; and it is a singular
fact, that though probably no part of the world is
more healthy than the mountainous parts of Georgia,
the mountaineers have not generally robust frames or
fine complexions: they are, however, almost inexhaustible
Moses kept us not long in suspense. His rifle was
already charged, and he fixed it upon the target with a
steadiness of nerve and aim that was astonishing to me
and alarming to all the rest. A few seconds, and the
report of his rifle broke the deathlike silence which
"No great harm done yet," said Spivey, manifestly
relieved from anxiety by an event which seemed to me
better calculated to produce despair. Firmby's ball
had cut out the lower angle of the diamond, directly
on a right line with the cross.
Three or four followed him without bettering his
shot; all of whom, however, with one exception, "eat
It now came to Spivey's turn. There was nothing
remarkable in his person or manner. He took his
place, lowered his rifle slowly from a perpendicular
until it came on a line with the mark, held it there like
a vice for a moment, and fired.
sevigrous, but nothing killing yet," said
Billy Curlew, as he learned the place of Spivey's ball.
Spivey's ball had just broken the upper angle of the
diamond; beating Firmby about half its width.
A few more shots, in which there was nothing
remarkable, brought us to Billy Curlew. Billy stepped
out with much confidence, and brought the Soap-stick
to an order, while he deliberately rolled up his shirt
sleeves. Had I judged of Billy's chance of success
from the looks of his gun, I should have said it was
hopeless. The stock of Soap-stick seemed to have
been made with a case-knife; and had it been, the tool
would have been but a poor apology for its clumsy
appearance. An auger-hole in the breech served for a
grease-box; a cotton string assisted a single screw in
holding on the lock; and the thimbles ware made, one
of brass, one of iron, and one of tin.
"Where's Lark Spivey's bullet?" called out Billy to
the judges, as he finished rolling up his sleeves.
"About three quarters of an inch from the cross,"
was the reply.
"Well, clear the way! the Soap-stick's coming, and
she'll be along in there among 'em presently."
Billy now planted himself astraddle, like an inverted
V; shot forward his left hip, drew his body back to an
angle of about forty five degrees with the plane of the
horizon, brought his cheek down close to the breech
of old Soap-stick, and fixed her upon the mark with
untrembling hand. His sight was long, and the swelling
muscles of his left arm led me to believe that he
was lessening his chance of success with every half
second that he kept it burdened with his ponderous
rifle; but it neither flagged nor wavered until Soap-stick
made her report.
"Where am I?" said Billy, as the smoke rose from
before his eye.
"You've jist touched the cross on the lower side,"
was the reply of one of the judges.
"I was afraid I was drawing my bead a
fine," said Billy. "Now, Lyman, you see what the
Soap-stick can do. Take her, and show the boys how
you used to do when you was a baby."
I begged to reserve my shot to the last; pleading,
rather sophistically, that it was, in point of fact, one of
Billy's shots. My plea was rather indulged than
sustained, and the marksmen who had taken more than
one shot commenced the second round. This round
was a manifest improvement upon the first. The
cross was driven three times: once by Spivey, once
by Firmby, and once by no less a personage than Mealy
Whitecotton, whom chance seemed to favour for
this time, merely that he might retaliate upon Hiram
Baugh; and the bull's-eye was disfigured out of all
The third and fourth rounds were shot. Billy
discharged his last shot, which left the rights of parties
thus: Billy Curlew first and fourth choice, Spivey second,
Firmby third, and Whitecotton fifth. Some of
my readers may perhaps be curious to learn how a
distinction comes to be made between several, all of whom
drive the cross. The distinction is perfectly natural
and equitable. Threads are stretched from the uneffaced
parts of the once intersecting lines, by means of
which the original position of the cross is precisely
ascertained. Each bullet-hole being nicely pegged up
as it is made, it is easy to ascertain its circumference.
To this I believe they usually, if not invariably, measure,
where none of the balls touch the cross; but if
the cross be driven, they measure from it to the centre
of the bullet-hole. To make a draw shot, therefore,
between two who drive the cross, it is necessary that
the centre of both balls should pass directly through
the cross; a thing that very rarely happens.
The Bite alone remained to shoot. Billy wiped out
his rifle carefully, loaded her to the top of his skill, and
handed her to me. "Now," said he, "Lyman, draw
a fine bead, but not too fine; for Soap-stick bears up
her ball well. Take care and don't touch the trigger
until you've got your bead; for she's spring-trigger'd,
and goes mighty easy: but you hold her to the place
you want her, and if she don't go there, dang old Roper."
I took hold of Soap-stick, and lapsed immediately
into the most hopeless despair. I am sure I never
handled as heavy a gun in all my life. "Why, Billy,"
said I, "you little mortal, you! what do you use such
a gun as this for?"
"Look at the bull's-eye yonder!" said he.
"True," said I, "but
I can't shoot her; it is impossible."
"Go 'long, you old coon!" said Billy; "I see what
you're at;" intimating that all this was merely to make
the coming shot the more remarkable; "Daddy's little
boy don't shoot anything but the old Soap-stick here
to-day, I know."
The judges, I knew, were becoming impatient, and,
withal, my situation was growing more embarrassing
every second; so I e'en resolved to try the Soap-stick
without farther parley.
I stepped out, and the most intense interest was
excited all around me, and it flashed like electricity
around the target, as I judged from the anxious gaze
of all in that direction.
Policy dictated that I should fire with a falling rifle,
and I adopted this mode; determining to fire as soon
as the sights came on a line with the diamond,
no bead. Accordingly, I commenced lowering old
Soap-stick; but, in spite of all my muscular powers,
she was strictly obedient to the laws of gravitation,
and came down with a uniformly accelerated velocity.
Before I could arrest her downward flight, she had not
only passed the target, but was making rapid
encroachments on my own toes.
"Why, he's the weakest man in the arms I ever
seed," said one, in a half whisper.
"It's only his fun," said Billy; "I know him."
"It may be fun," said the other, "but it looks mightily
like yearnest to a man up a tree."
I now, of course, determined to reverse the mode of
firing, and put forth all my physical energies to raise
Soap-stick to the mark. The effort silenced Billy, and
gave tongue to all his companions. I had just strength
enough to master Soap-stick's obstinate proclivity, and,
consequently, my nerves began to exhibit palpable signs
of distress with her first imperceptible movement upward.
A trembling commenced in my arms; increased,
and extended rapidly to my body and lower
extremities; so that, by the time that I had brought
Soap-stick up to the mark, I was shaking from head to
foot, exactly like a man under the continued action of a
strong galvanic battery. In the mean time my friends
gave vent to their feelings freely.
"I swear poin' blank," said one, "that man can't shoot."
"He used to shoot well," said another; "but can't
now, nor never could."
git away from 'bout that mark!" bawled
a third, "for I'll be dod darned if Broadcloth don't
give some of you the dry gripes if you stand too close
"The stranger's got the
* said a fourth,
with humorous gravity.
"If he had bullets enough in his gun, he'd shoot a
ring round the bull's-eye big as a spinning wheel," said
As soon as I found that Soap-stick was high enough
(for I made no farther use of the sights than to ascertain
this fact), I pulled trigger, and off she went. I
have always found that the most creditable way of
relieving myself of derision was to heighten it myself as
much as possible. It is a good plan in all circles, but
by far the best which can be adopted among the plain,
rough farmers of the country. Accordingly, I brought
old Soap-stick to an order with an air of triumph; tipped
Billy a wink, and observed, "Now, Billy, 's your
time to make your fortune. Bet 'em two to one that
I've knocked out the cross."
"No, I'll be dod blamed if I do," said Billy; "but
I'll bet you two to one you han't hit the plank."
"Ah, Billy," said I, "I was joking about
I never bet; nor would I have you to bet: indeed, I
do not feel exactly right in shooting for beef; for it is a
species of gaming at last: but I'll say this much: if
that cross isn't knocked out, I'll never shoot for beef
again as long as I live."
"By dod," said Mealy Whitecotton, "you'll lose no
great things at that."
"Well," said I, "I reckon I know a little about wabbling.
Is it possible, Billy, a man who shoots as well
as you do, never practised shooting with the double
wabble? It's the greatest take in in the world when
you learn to drive the cross with it. Another sort for
* This word
was entirely new to me, but like most, if not all
words in use among the common people, it is doubtless a legitimate
English word, or, rather, a compound of two words, the last a little
corrupted, and was very aptly applied in this instance. It is a compound
of " pee," to peep with one eye, and
" daddle," to totter or
getting bets upon, to the drop-sight, with a single wabble!
And the Soap-stick's the very yarn for it."
"Tell you what, stranger," said one, "you're too
hard for us all here. We never
hearn o' that
shoot'n' in these parts."
"Well," returned I, "you've seen it now, and I'm
the boy that can do it."
The judges were now approaching with the target,
and a singular combination of circumstances had kept
all my party in utter ignorance of the result of my shot.
Those about the target had been prepared by Billy
Curlew for a great shot from me; their expectations
had received assurance from the courtesy which had
been extended to me; and nothing had happened to
disappoint them but the single caution to them against the
"dry gripes," which was as likely to have been given
in irony as in earnest; for my agonies under the
weight of the Soap-stick were either imperceptible to
them at the distance of sixty yards, or, being visible,
were taken as the flourishes of an expert who wished
to "astonish the natives." The other party did not
think the direction of my ball worth the trouble of a
question; or if they did, my airs and harangue had put
the thought to flight before it was delivered.
Consequently, they were all transfixed with astonishment
when the judges presented the target to them, and
gravely observed, "It's only second best, after all the
"Second best!" exclaimed I, with uncontrollable
The whole of my party rushed to the target to
have the evidence of their senses before they would
believe the report: but most marvellous fortune decreed
that it should be true. Their incredulity and
astonishment were most fortunate for me; for they
blinded my hearers to the real feelings with which the
exclamation was uttered, and allowed me sufficient time
to prepare myself for making the best use of what I had
said before with a very different object.
"Second best!" reiterated I, with an air of despondency,
as the company turned from the target to me.
"Second best only? Here, Billy, my son, take the old
Soap-stick; she's a good piece, but I'm getting too old
and dimsighted to shoot a rifle, especially with the
drop-sight and double wabbles."
"Why, good Lord a'mighty!" said Billy, with a
look that baffles all description, "an't you
"Oh, driv the cross!" rejoined I, carelessly. "What's
that! Just look where my ball is! I do believe in my
soul its centre is a full quarter of an inch from the
cross. I wanted to lay the centre of the bullet upon
the cross, just as if you'd put it there with your fingers."
Several received this palaver with a contemptuous
but very appropriate curl of the nose; and Mealy
Whitecotton offered to bet a half pint "that I couldn't
do the like again with no sort o' wabbles, he didn't
care what." But I had already fortified myself on this
quarter by my morality. A decided majority, however,
were clearly of opinion that I was serious; and
they regarded me as one of the wonders of the world.
Billy increased the majority by now coming out fully
with my history, as he had received it from his father;
to which I listened with quite as much astonishment as
any other one of his hearers. He begged me to go
home with him for the night, or, as he expressed it, "to
go home with him and swap lies that night, and it
shouldn't cost me a cent;" the true reading of which
is, that if I would go home with him, and give him the
pleasure of an evening's chat about old times, his house
should be as free to me as my own. But I could not
accept his hospitality without retracing five or six miles
of the road which I had already passed, and therefore
I declined it.
"Well, if you won't go, what must I tell the old
woman for you? for she'll be mighty glad to hear from
the boy that won the silk handkerchief for her, and I
expect she'll lick me for not bringing you home with
"Tell her," said I, "that I send her a quarter of beef,
which I won, as I did the handkerchief, by nothing in
the world but mere good luck."
"Hold your jaw, Lyman!" said Billy; "I an't a gwine
to tell the old woman any such lies; for she's a
reg'lar built Meth'dist."
As I turned to depart, "Stop a minute, stranger!"
said one: then lowering his voice to a confidential but
distinctly audible tone, "What you offering for?"
continued he. I assured him I was not a candidate for
anything; that I had accidentally fallen in with Billy
Curlew, who begged me to come with him to the
shooting-match, and, as it lay right on my road, I had
stopped. "Oh," said he, with a conciliatory nod, "if you're
up for anything, you needn't be mealy mouthed about
it 'fore us boys; for we'll all go in for you here up to
"Yes," said Billy, "dang old Roper if we don't
go our death for you, no matter who offers. If ever
you come out for anything, Lyman, jist let the boys
of Upper Hogthief know it, and they'll go for you
to the hilt, against creation, tit or no tit, that's the
I thanked them kindly, but repeated my assurances.
The reader will not suppose that the district took its
name from the character of the inhabitants. In almost
every county in the state there is some spot or district
which bears a contemptuous appellation, usually derived
from local rivalships, or from a single accidental circumstance.