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Befo' de war : echoes in Negro dialect / by A.C. Gordon and Thomas Nelson Page. Gordon, Armistead C. (Armistead Churchill), 1855-1931. 400dpi TIFF G4 page images University of Kentucky, Electronic Information Access & Management Center Lexington, Kentucky 2002 b92-232-31280861 Electronic reproduction. 2002. (Beyond the shelf, serving historic Kentuckiana through virtual access (IMLS LG-03-02-0012-02) ; These pages may be freely searched and displayed. Permission must be received for subsequent distribution in print or electronically. Befo' de war : echoes in Negro dialect / by A.C. Gordon and Thomas Nelson Page. Gordon, Armistead C. (Armistead Churchill), 1855-1931. C. Scribner's, New York : 1893, c1888. vi, 131 p. ; 19 cm. Coleman Poems. Microfilm. Atlanta, Ga. : SOLINET, 1994. 1 microfilm reel ; 35 mm. (SOLINET/ASERL Cooperative Microfilming Project (NEH PS-20317) ; SOL MN04807.05 KUK) Printing Master B92-232. IMLS This electronic text file was created by Optical Character Recognition (OCR). No corrections have been made to the OCR-ed text and no editing has been done to the content of the original document. Encoding has been done through an automated process using the recommendations for Level 1 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines. Digital page images are linked to the text file. Black English.Page, Thomas Nelson, 1853-1922. BEPO' DL WAR F&hoes ero IDi Ie bjA'C-Gordon and Thomz.s Nelson P& e This page in the original text is blank. BEFO' DE WAR ECHOES IN NLEGRO DIALECT BY THOMAS NELSON PAGE. ELSKET AND OTHER STORIES. i2in, i.oo NEWFOUND RIVER. 2ino, . . . X00 IN OLE VIRGINIA. 12mo,, , 1.25 THE SAME. Cameo Edition. With an etch- ing by W. L. Sheppard. i6mo, . . 1.25 AMONG THE CAMPS. Young People's Stories of the War. Ilustrated4 Sq. 8vo, i.;o TWO LITTLE CONFEDERATES. Illus- trated. Square 8vo,. . . . . 1.50 "BEFO' DE WAR." Echoes of Negro Dia- !est. By. A. C. Gordon and Thomas Nelson Page. i2mo, . . . . 1100 BEFO' DE WAR ECHOES IN NE(RO DIALECT BY A. C. GORDON AND THOMAS NELSON PAGE NEW YORK CHARLES SC'.':NER'S 53N-3 I 893 COPYRIGHT, ,888, BV CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS MTPI4YNG A.0 -O1K'ND115G COMPAWY, lices 10ORK. 'Co THE MEMORY OF IRWIN RUSSELL WHO AWOKE THE FIRST I CHO This page in the original text is blank. C O N T E N T S. Thnomas Nelson Page. PAGE UNCLE (GABE'S WHITE FOLKS, . ZEKYL'S INFIDELITY, . . , . . 17 ASiCAE, . . 89 ,iTTiE JACK, II.. . . 1 MARSE PHIL, . 117 ONE MOURNER, . . 127 A. C. Gordon. NIGGER Twis', . . . . 6 KYARLINA JIM, . . . . . 10 DE OLE 'OMAN AN' ME, . . 13 OLE LAUGHIN', . 21 X130,. . . . . . . 25 DEPARTED LUCK, . . . . . . 30 IK EE, . . . . . . . 34 PAGE MINE OYSTER, . . . . . 38 POKE O' MOONSHINE. . . . . 43 THE LAMENT (IF ORPIIfEUS, . . . . 4S LOFTY AND LOWLY, . . . . GOD KNoWs, . . . . 56 VIRGINIA CREEPERS, . . . . . 6o BEFORE TIlE PARTY , . . . 63 AT WHITEHALL, . . . . MARS' RODNEYvS HAT, 70 A NANIAS, . . . . 75 DEAD, . . . . . . . 79 FESTINA LENTE, . .83 JUCKS, . . . . . . 86 ICHABOD, . . . 94 SIMEON, F0.om GEORGY, . 9S DISAPPOINTMENT. . . . . . 102 To You, ;.. . . . 10 SWEET HOME, . , . . .o8 I TOME AGAIN, , . . . 123 UNCLE GABE'S WVHITE FOL KS. SARVENT, Marster ! Yes, sah, dat's me- Ole Unc' Gabe's my name; I thankee, Marster, I'm 'bout, yo' see. " An' de ole 'ooman " She's much de same, Po'ly an' 'plainin', thank de Lord ! But de -Marster's gwine ter come back from 'broad. "Fine ole place '" Yes, salh, 'tis so; An' mighty fine people my white folks war- But you ought ter 'a' seen it years ago. When de Marster an' de Mistis lived tup dvah When de niggers 'd stan' all roun' de do', Like grains o' corn on de cornhouse flu'. I 2 UNCLE GABE'S [U.1TE FOLKS. "Live mons'ous high " Yes, Marster, yes Cut'n' onroyal 'n' gordly clash ; Eat an' drink till you couldn' res'. Ma' folks war'n' none o' yo' po'-white-trash. Nor, sah, dey was ob high degree- Dis heah nigger am quality! Tell you 'bout 'em " You mus' 'a' hearn 'Bout my ole white folks, sho' ! I tell you, stull, dey was gre't an' stern D' didn' have nuttin' at all to learn D' knowed all dar was to know; Gol' ober (le' head an' onder dey feet; An' silber! dey sowed 't like folks sows wheat. Use ter be rich " Dat warn' de wud! Jes' wallowed an' roll' in wealf. Why, none o' my wvhite folks ever stir'd Ter lif' a han' for d'self; UNCLE GABE'S WHITE FOLA-S. De niggers use ter be stan'in' roun' Jes' d' same ez leaves when dey fus' fall down; De stable-stalls up heah at home Looked like teef in a fine-tzof comb; De cattle was p'digious-mus' tell de fac'! An' de hogs mecked de hill-sides look like black An' de flocks ob sheep was so gre't ail' white Dey 'peared like clouds on a moonshine night. An' when my ole Mistis use' ter walk- Jes' ter her kerridge (dat was fur Ez ever she walked)-I tell you, sir, You could almnos' heah her silk dress talk flit use' ter soun' like de mnornin' breeze, When it wakes an' rustles de Gre't House trees. An' de Marster's face !-de Marster's face, Whenever de Marster got right pleased- Well, I 'clar' ter Gord, 'twculd shine wid grace De same ez his countenance had been greased. De cellar, too, had de bes' ob wine, 3 4 UAC -iNl' GAL BE'S Ilf'ZJ1T /E AS. An' bran(ly, an' sperrits dat yo' could fine An' ev'ything in dvah rvas stored, 'Skusin' de Glory of de Lord ! "Warn' dvahl a son " Yes, sah, voti knows ie's (le voung -Marster now Btit we heah dat dey tooken he very clo'es Ter pay what ole Marster owe He's done been gone ten year, I s'pose. But he's comin' back some clay, of co'se An' my ole 'ooman is altiz pyard, An' meckin' de Blute-Room baid; An' ev'rv day dem sheets is ayard, An' will be till s/hs (laid An' de styars she'll scour, An' dat roorm she'll ten', Ev'y blessed day dat (le Lord do sen'! What say, Marster Yo' say, you knows- He's voung an' slender-like an' fvah UNVCLE GABE'S WHITE FOLKS. Better-lookin' 'n you, of co'se ! Hi! you's lie 'Fo' Gord, 'tis him! 'Tis de very voice an' eyes an' hyah, An' mouf an' smile, on'y yo' ain' so slim- I wonder whah-whah's de ole 'ooman Now let mny soul Depart in peace, For I behol' Dy glory, Lord !-I knowed you, chile- I knowed you soon's I see'd your face! Whar has you been dis blessed while Done come back an' buy de place Oh, bless de Lord for all his grace De ravins shell hunger, an' shell not lack De Marster, de young Marster's done come back 5 NIGGER-TWIS'. RIGHT hard work while it lasts-dat's so- Worruming 'backer all day long; Miz'ry gits in yer back, you know, Speshly deni what ain't so strong. Dat's my fix. But it seems ter me Ise paid fur it all when it comes ter dis My long-stem pipe, little Jake on my knee, An' my pocket chock full o' nigger-twis'. "Corn-cob " Yes, sir. It ain't so fine As dat 'hogany-colored one o' yourn; But I gits as much out o' dis o' mine As de fines' one you ever did own. NVIGGER-TWIS'. De juice all dries in de cob, you see- Dat's de philos'phy o' pipes like dis; An' a reed-root stem is de stem fur me, An' de sweetes' 'backer is nigger-twis'. Dem dar's cur'us things, sho' 'nuf- Dem little splinters what lights jes' so Hit dey heads whar de box are rough A sort o' hard-an4 away dey go! I never liked 'em. It seenis ter me De devil's in 'em some way. An' dis Is jes' as good an' as true, you see- A red-hot coal on de nigger twis'. "Wouildn' I like a cigar" you say. No, sir, I thank you. Ise tried dem dar- Diff'rent, sir, as de night from day; Fur apart as a cuss an' pra'r 7 -G (,' GER- TI [IS',. Hasn't no strength, it seems ter me Can't begin to compar' wid dis; Nothin' onder de sun can be Sweet as a cob an' some nigger-twis'. No-dat nuther ! Well, I'll declar' Dat is de beatenes' Ise seed yet ! What is de name dat you call dat 'ar Say it again, please " Cigarette " Little Jake, what sets on my knee, 'Ud turn up his nose at a thing like dis; Ise gwine ter teach him ter do like me, An' suck de comfort from nigger-twis'. Yes, dat's a fac'! 'Tis a lux'ry, sho', 'Backer is, whatever you say. Seems like I never wants nothin' mo', 'Ceptin' ter set down here dis way, 8 TIZGGERFTWIVIS'. 9 Take little Jake tip on my knee, Have me a corn-cob pipe like dis, Wid a stem as long as from you ter me, An' a pocket chock full o' nigger-twis'. KYARLINA JIM. (Fisherman's hft, ChJesapeake flatv, I876.) WHEN you was here, some sixteen year Or so aback, you says, A darkey named Kyarlina Jim He fished f'om dis here place Iat vonder's him-Kyarlinia Jim- On de bench (lar by de do' lie lhavc been ole an' weak an' biine Sence dat long time ago. Yes, dat's de -way lhe spen's each day O de blessed year, Idout fall Wid face turned out'ards to'ds de Bay, Like watcblin fur a sail. AYARLIJVA JIM. Eben when clouds 'till come in crowds, An' beatin' win's ull blow, He still keeps settin' pashunt dar In his ole place by de do'. An' de sweet sunlight, 'tis jes' like night Ter po' Kyarlina Jim; He's weak an' bline, an' rain an shine Is all de same ter nim. Dat chile you see dar on his knee, She never fails ter come, About dis time o' ev'ry day, Ter fetch Kyarlina home. I seldom cries; but when my eves Lights on de chile an' Jim, Dar's sumpin' sort o' makes me feel Kind ter his gal atn' him. I I 12 K-YARLLNVA JIM. Another chile he los', long while Ago, Ise ficerd him say, Is out dar waitin' in a boat, On de blue waves o' de Bay. I 'spec's, beca'se o' what he says, Dat chile he los' 'ull come 'Fo' Iong, jes' like dis here one does, An' fetch Kyarlina home. " DE OLE 'OMAN AN' ME." WEF doesn't live as cnst we did De grub's done struck a change; An' when I mentions ash-cake now, My wife she thinks it strange. She's got sot-up dese las' few years, An' wheat-bread's all de go; But, somehow, seenms I'd like ter tas'e Some ask-cake-pcne onst mo'. De buttermilk has (lone give way Ter tea an' coffee now; "An' possum-fat," she always says, "Is low-flung grub, nohow!" 4 "DE OLE 'OMIAN AN' AME." She doesn' ever foot it now, Like how she used ter do; But drives my yaller mule ter town, An' wushes he was two! She hasn' had a homespun coat For many a long day, But V'ars de fines' sort o' clo'es, Made jes' de white folks' way. She doesn' call me " Ichabod," Or " Ich," or " Ole Fool," now An' ef I mentioned " Anniky," 'T 'ud sartin raise a row. 'Tis " Mister Brown " an' " Mistis Brown," Ontwel it seems ter me We's done gone changed our nat'rel selves F'om what we used ter be. 14 "DE OLE 'OMA1N4-V AN' .il ." " I know, beca'se a, how Ise tried An' never seed it gee, It's awful hard ter teach new tricks Ter ole dogs sich as me. Dat broad-clof coat she made me buy, It don't feel half so good As dat ole jeans I used ter w'ar A-cuttin' Marster's wood. An' beefsteak ain't for sich as me, Instid o' possu:;n-fat; An' " Mister Brown " ain't " Ichabod I can't git over dat ! So Mistis Brown may go ter town, A drivin' o' dat mule, Jes' when she likes; but, sartin sho', I ain't gwi' play de fool ! I : "-, 011/ '0t1/. At AX' 1,_'." An' as fur her insistin' how DaE I should try ter learn Dem A B C's de chillun reads- 'Tis no consarn o' her'n. I doesn' keer what grub she eats, Or what she calls herself, Or ef she has a bofy now 'Stid o' a cubbud-shelf; I doesn' keer how fine her clo'es, May be, or what's de style- I'm able fur ter pay fur dat, An' has been so some while. Dar's only one o' all her ways Gits over me fur sho'- I p'int'ly hones fur possum-fat An' ash-cake-pone onst mo' ZEKYL'S INFIDELITY. MISTIS, I r'al'y wish you'd hole A little conversation Wid my old Zekyl 'bout his soul. Dat nigger's. sitiwation Is mons'us serious, 'deed 'n' 'tis, 'Skusin' he change clat co'se o' his. Dat evil sinner's sot he face Gin ev'v wyid I know; Br'er Gabrul say, he's fell from grace, An' Hell is ;ot him sho'. He don' believe in sperits, 'Skusin' 'tis out a jug! 2 8 EK YL'ES IA-F.LDEL'L it Say 'tain' got no mo' merits Den a ole half-cured lug; 'N' dat white cat I see right late, One evelin' nigh de grave-yard gate, Warn' nuttin' sep some ole cat whar Wuz sot on suppin' off old l.yah. He 'oont allow a rooster, By crowin' in folks' do', Kin bring death dyah ; and useter Say, lie xvish mine would crow. An' he even say, a hin mout try, Sep wvomen-folks would git so spry, An' wvant to stick deeselves up den, An' try to crow over de men. Say 'tain' no good in preachin' Dat ni-gers is sich fools- Don' know no mo' 'bout teachin' 'N white folks does 'bout mules I18 /ZA'K-YL' I J 1.\7T1ij, 19,Y, An' whenl br'er Ga-brul's hollered tell You mos' kin see righlt into Hell, An' rambled Scriptures fit to bus', Dat hard-mouf nigger's wus an' wuis. Say quality (dis is mainer 'N all Ise told you. yit)- Savs 'tain' no better 'n 'arf-strainer An' dat hi's master'll git Good place in Heaven-po' white folks, mark!- As y'all whar comne right out de ark An' dat-now jes' heah dis !-dat lhe, A po'-white-folks' nigger's good as me! He's gwine straighlt to de deble An' sarve him ;jes' right, too He's a outdacious rebel, Arter all Ise done do !- Ise sweat an' arguified an' blowed Over dat black nigger mo' 19 20 /PK'I' IA, L .N AL,/1TY 'N Nvotild 'a' teck a c'inal-boat load Over to Canyan sho'! Ise tried ;-efeelion-'twarn' no whar! Ise wrastled wid de Lord in pra'r; Ise qtioiled tell I wuz mos' daid; Ise th'owed de spider at his haid- But he ole haid 'twuz so thick th'oo Hit btus' my skillit spang in two. You kin dye black hyah an' meck it light; You kin tu'n de Ethiope's spots to white; You mout grow two or three cubits bigger- But you carn't onchange a po'-white-folks' nigger. When you's dwellin' on golden harps an' chunes, A po'-white-folks' nigger's thinkin' 'bout coons; An' when you's snifflin' de heaven'y blossoms, A po'-white-folks' nigger's studyin' 'bout possums. 20 OLE LAUGHIN'. WHEN I was a boy in Ferginyer, At de plantation down on de Jeems, Years aback 'fo' de war kim, an' freedom- What a long time ago it all seems!- Mv Marster he owned an ole nigger Dat de wvhite folks, beca'sc o' his mouf, Never called nothin' 'ceptin' " Ole Lauglhin',` Down dar in de Souf. He had de mos' cur'uses' notions 'Botit jokin' an' havin' o' fun. An' dar wasn't no stoppin' dat darkeA. Hf cvur he onst had begun. 02 E LA UGILIV'. Ise seed him like bustin' his wveskit A-lagliin' at things dat most folk- Spite o' whatever funny he foun' dar- Never 'sidered a joke. He would laugh when his chillun was crvin', He wvould laug.h when de cryin' was done Seems like evvything struck him ridic'1'Tus Dat de Lord has made onder de sun; An whatever frolic dar happened '.Mongst de darkeys, ef Laug-hin' warn't dar Things mos'ly wvent on purty solemn- For dey missed him, I 'clar'. Ise seed folk whose laughin' was hurtin', Seemin' like it was scornful some wny But his'n warn't dat sort o' music- As diff'rent as night-time f'oni dav. 22 OLE L;A UGIZIA'. 3 When he opened den- jaw-bones o' his'n An' let it all out in one ro', EvvN body what heerd hinin lau-ghed wid him An' wanted some mo'. Laughin' seemed ter take life sort o' cur'us, For I never did know him ter cry But sometimes Ise noticed a misty Sort o' sorrowful look in his eve. Ole Marster he said: " philos'pher Ole Laughin' is, sartin an' sho'; He looks on de bri-ht side o' all thlings, An' who can do nm' When Marster got sick, an' deceasded, An' de coffin sot dar on de groun By de grave, all de plantation darkeys Kim weepin' an' moanin' aroun'; 23 o24 LE .E-1 UGIIZN. An' Laughin' was dar, but de devil, In spite o' de grief in his face, Seemed ter have a grip on him as uIsual, Eben dar at dat place- For when, arter de words, " Dus' ter ashes! De Preacher stood silent in pra'r, Ole LaLghlin' he 'rupted de silence Wid his reg'lar music, I 'clar' But he didn' live long arter Marster, An' he died wid a snmile on his mouf. Dev bofe on 'era sleeps in Ferginver, D)own dar in de Souf. 24 EBO. ALL o' dese here doin's Don't suit me; Ise an ole-time nigger- Don't you see Dis here eddication's Humbug, sho'; It's done played de devil Wid Ebo. Somewhar Tout Dicey she Tuk'n' struck a Don't you see lars' summer, notion- 26 i B. Says she : " Ise been thinkin'." An' I says "What you done thunk, honey ' Says she: "Yes, "Ise been thinkin' mons'ous 'Bout Ebo; Ile's fo'teen +ear ole now- Don't you know " S'I: "Ole 'oman, you is Right, I 'spec' Dar's fo'teen-he kim fus'- Dat's kerrec' !" Says she: " He's a-growin Up a fool; An' Ise gwinc tel scn' hilml Ter (le school." 26 EBO. Bein's how it looked like She was bent On de projick, Ebo Tuk 'n' went. An' sence dat lars' summer- Don't vou see - Dat 'ar boy have p'int'ly Outdone me! Whe-ew! de norrations, Dem o' his'n ! Urnph ! I 'busses laughin' Jes' ter lissen ! What you think dat Ebo Come tell me Dat all dis here y'arth here- Flat, you see- 27 EBO. Dat it's roun', an' rolls jes' Like a ball! Ebo, dat's a lie," I Says, " dat's all ! "Don't you see yer Mammy, Evvy night, Set de water-piggin Out o' sight "Ob you chillun, up dar On de shelf - Now, Mars' Spellin'-booker, 'Splain yerself- "Sunrise, dat 'ar water's In dar still; Ef de y'arth turned over, It 'ud spill !" 28 EBO. 2 But he keeps resistin' It are so- Eddication's done gone Sp'ilt Ebo. He's forever tellin' Some sich lie; He's gwi' fine out better By-urni-by. Ef Ebo keeps l'arnin' At dat school, Nex' thing, he'll be provin' Ise a fool I are p'int'ly gwine ter Take Ebo Way f'oin dat ar school-'ouse, Sartin sho' ! 29 DEPARTED LUCK. JOHN, put one nio' stick on de harf. Jes' one Well, lay it on; An' den we'll freeze afo' we starve, beca'se de bread's all gone. My trem'lin' lim's won't hole out long; an' what's de use ter pray Lord, pity dese po' niggers who has gin dere luck away! You's been too sick ter do a bit o' work sence dat 'ar time I started down ter Denny's store, an' foun' dat silber dime DEPART.ED L( L'CAK. Jes' in de turnin' o' de road; an', like a fool dat day, Instid o' keepin' it, I tuk an' gin my luck away. John, don't you 'member, long ago, when iittle Bill was born, We worked down at (le Edgeworth place, amongst ole Marster's corn De eatin's dat we used ter have, an' not a cent ter pay- Dat time when we wvas never 'feard ter give our luck away A little while aback, when you was layin' moanin' dar, I kep' a-thinkin' o' dem days, an' tried ter turn ter pra'r; Btit, somchow, evvy bit o' pra'r dis w'ared-out mouf could say Was, " Lord, for dat 'ar time, afo' I gin my luck away! " 3 1 DEPAR TE) LUCA- An' den it seemed like, sho' enuf, it had come back onst mo'- Seemed like I seed Miss Ellen dar, a-standin' in de do', Jes' like as how she used ter come each Chris'nius, wvid a tray O' Chris'mus things, long, long afo' I gin my luck away. Seemed like I heerd de music dat de white folks always had Up at de Gre't House, Chris'mus-time, when evvy soul was glad; Seemed like a gre't big fyer burned here on de harf, some way; I thought we never had been po', an' gin our luck away. 32 DEP:ARTE D LUYC3. An' you was settin' over dar, an' Bill A playin' like he used ter play in ago; But den de cole gript on me, an' de den stay: We're weak an' starvin', John, beca'se away. wvas on de flu, dat long time dream it wud- I gin my luck But take it easy, John ! I know we never is gwi' see Sich days as dem ag'in; 'fo' long dey'il bury you an' me. Bread gone, de little stick burnt out ; de embers gittin' gray- Lord, fetch us whar we never mo' can give our luck away! 3 33 KREE. MY boy Kree He played wid you when you was a chile You an' lie Growed up tergether Wait! Lemme see! Closer ! so I can look in yer face Mars' George's smilc ! Lord love you, Marster! Dar 'neaf dat cypress is whar Kree lays. Sunburnt an' grown Mars' George, I shudden ha' knowed you, son 'Count o' de beard dat yer face has on, But for dat ole-time smile (' your'n- KAWEE. 3 An' Kree " you say. Hadn't you heerd, Marster, He 'ceasded de year dat you wvent away Kree an' you How de ole times comes back onst mo'- Moonlight fishin's, an' hyars in de sno'; Squirrels an' jaybirds tip overhead, In de oak-trees dat de sun shined through !- Look at w-e, Marster! Here is me livin' an' Kree, he's dead. 'Pears ter me strange Now, when I thinks on 'em, dose ole years: Mars' George, sometimes de b'ilin' tears Fills tup my eyes, 'Count o' de mizery now, an' de change- De sun dims, Marster, Ter an ole man, when his one boy dies. 3 5 KREE. Did you say " Ilow " Out in de dug-out, one moonshine night, Fishin' wvid your baby brother-he Wid de curls o' yaller, like streaks o' light, An' de dancin' big blue eyes. Dead, now-. Kree died for him; An' yearnin' for Kree, De Lord tuk him, Marster: De green grass kivers 'em bofe f'om sight. Heerd o' de tale Didn' know Kree was de one dat drowned Savin' Mars' Charley Well, 'twere he. De boy waxed weaker, his face mo' pale, Arter de corpse o' poor Kree were found. Two months later he went, you see: God bless you, Marster! Nine years has rolled over bofe onder ground. 36 k-REE. 37 Worn out an' gray, Here I sets waitin', Mars' George, alone. All on 'em's gone- Marster an' Mistis, an' Charley an' he. You an' me only is lef'. Some day, When you's gone 1)ack ter yer ship on de sea, I'll hear h.m say, Jes' as he used ter, a-fishin', ter me: " Daddy, come offer! " An' passin' away, Dat side de river, again I'll be Wid my boy Kree. " MINE OYSTER." No, it never did agree wid de likes o' dis here nig- ger, For de a'r is sort o' stiflin' twix' dese mountains, Eas' an' Wes' Evvy blessed year 1 lives here, seems dese hills is growin' bigger Ter de miz'ry in my knee-j'ints an' de trouble in my ches'. Ise a Tuckahoe Ferginyan f'om Tide-water of Fer- ginver, Whar de oshters am delishus an' de fish is hard ter beat; "MINVE OYSTER." Lord, I hasn' seed an oshter, in de time dat I has been here, Dat dis nigger have cornsidered fittin' any ways ter eat. Dey fetches 'em in cans tip, dese here railroad sojer- fellows, An' it takes a good day's workin' ter perkture an oshter-stew. Dese ain't nothin' but runt-oshters; yet de reste- ranters tell us Dat dey come f'onm Mobjack Bay, sir. Pshaw! I know dat can't be true I lived down dar myself onst, an' I think I l'arnt de fashion O' dem oshters in dat water-shape, an' size, an' ta'se, an' all; 39 " 4il/ME 0 I'STEAe'. " Dis here darkey may be ign'ant, an' widout no ed' dication, But a Mobjack oshter p'int'ly is beknownst ter Uncle Saul. You may brag o' roasted possum an' de glories o' hog-killin', You can 'numerate de hom'ny, you can shout de ole ash-cake; But one dish o' Mobjack oshters, an' ole Saul is p'int'ly willin' Ter denounce de other eatin's for de Mobjack oshters' sake! Umph! dis mouf o' mine jes' waters at de thought o' dem dar critters- Fried, an' baked, an' stewed, an' raw ones-how we 'stroyed 'em down dar; 40 " AI11VA" 0 YSTER. 4 Soft as mush, an' f'arly better dan merlasses on yer fritters- But de glory am departed, an' dem oshters ain't nowhar! I have trabbled through Ferginyer sence Mars' Linkum sont de freedom; I have cotch 'em, an' I've eat 'em, Norf an' Souf an' Eas' an' Wes'. Oh, dey's prime at Glcrster P'int ; dar it's mighty hard ter beat 'enm; But de oshters fo'm ole Mobjack am de sugares' an' bes'. It is seben year, an' ober, sence I 'zided in dat sec- tion, An' I'm 'feared dis hil.y Valley 'ull lay on me when I die; 41 42, -1A7A 'L 'ST'ERA'." But I holds de ole Tide-water in my warmes' ree- collection, An' I'd like ter slip down dar onst nmo' an' make dem oshters fly. I would like ter eat demn oshters 'twel I perish jes' f'om eatin'; Dat's de kind o' death dat seems like it 'ud suit yer Uncle Saul. Yes, I'd ruther go dat way, sir, dan ter drap down dead in meetin'; Fur ter die f'om eatin' osliters is de sweetes' death o' all. 42 POKE O' MOONSHINE. MOONSHINE Yes, sir, Right smart ahead; Ten mile, at bes', sir. Git down an' res', sir, Outen de rain. Onder dat shed Is a good place ter tie him, Or Joe can stan' by him 'Twel you's readv ter set out again. " Know Poke o' Moonshine Yes, sir, I docs. -Marster, you won't fine Many o' his kine 44POKE 0' MOONVS1IN'E. 'Roun' dis here way!- Much as he was Sence I remember; Ole John's December Is haler dan mos' folkses' May. Moonshine Played outi When dey was rich, 'Twas widout doubt De fines' about- Pictur's an' things, Flowers an' sich- All sorts o' doin's: Now it's in ruins- But dat's what wvar gen'tilly brings. Moonshine 'bout den 'Longed ter Mars' Sidney. All o' de men O' dat family's been 44 POKE O' MOO-NSZh1VE. 45 Purty good grit- Folks o' fine kidney; So, when de war kim, Nothin' could Lender him But what he mus' go inter it. John Poke, o' co'se, Went in dar, too; Mis' Agnes stays Home, jes' beca'se Wimen can't b'ar What men goes through- Lovely an' young she were, When Mars' Sid went f'om her Ter be shot in dat turrible war. Home kim John Poke Wid de lad dead: " In all de smoke An' de fightin' he spoke 45 46 POKE 0 AlOONSHIN4. Ter me only," says he, "An' here's what he said: 'John, take good keer o' her- Guard de welfare o' her-- Ef death comes betwix' heran' me.' All dese here years John Poke have been True ter dem tears. Moonshine affairs Mars' Sid' lef' bad; John's been a frien'- So he has keered fur her, What he's had, spared fur her, All fur de sake o' dat lad. Dat's a fine hoss! Lead him out, Joe! Rain's over, boss; Not much time los' 46 IPOA'E 60 ' Af 0 c-iWSfiXA.V 4 Stoppin' wid me- Gently, dar! whoa! Marster, in passin' by On yer way back, sir, I Hope you'll tell me how John Poke may be, Switch, sir I says You'll hardly fine Sich, nowadays; 'Speshly dey's skase 'Roun' dis here way, Men o' his kine. I'm de man orter know Better dan mos' folks, sho'. My daddy, sir Yes, sir. Good-day! 47 THE LAMENT OF ORPHEUS. BEEN travellin' " Don't you see I is " Whar ter," hey Ole Green Su'phur: I tried it for my rheumatic, An' never knowed it rougher. I used ter go dar long ago, When I was young an' healthy: It ain't like what it was, you know, When Souvern folks was wealthy. Wel], yes; I s'pose as many now Goes dar, as used ter go dar: But seems like it have changed somehow- Sersi'ty's gittin' low dar. THE LAMEVT 0F ORPfE US. Ise knowed de time de F. F. V.'s An' none else run it, honey: But things is changed; an' so, you sees All goes dat's got de money. When Marster sot out evvy June, Sometime about de middle, I always went ; an' many a chune Ise played dar on dis fiddle: But fiddlin' now is done gone out, An' brass ban's is de fashion, An' Garmnins ; riot a night widout De Garmin like de nation! You never seen de Garmin, hey You orter seen it, honey; Jes' take an' go down dar, some day; It's p'int'ly wmlti de money. 4 49 50 THE LAME'1VT OF OAi'IL US. You never seed a monkey-show Could ever stan' a-showin' Ter one o' dem things all ago, WVid all de ban' a-blowin'. You knows de ole Ferginyer Reel, Whar two goes down de middle I never think o't 'daut I feel A hankerin' fur dis fiddle. Dat was a dance an F. F. V. .Mought well be proud ter dance in; But dis here Garmin-I can't see How white folks stan's sich prancin'! "How does dey dance de Garmin " Well, De ban' it 'gins ter sizzle; An' den, befo' you's time ter tell, A fellow blows a, whistle; TL/ZE, LA AZEL7 OF ORPILE L. E'. An' den de ladies an' de men Dey takes an' grabs each other, An' spins an' whirls an' spins agen- An' never lets go, nuther! I know de white folks knows a heap, An' Ise jes' an ole nigger Wid brains 'bout big enough ter keep F'om gittin' hurt-no bigger; But, somehow, it do look ter me Like things had. got alarinin', Ter see an ole-time F. F. V. A-dancin' dis new Garmin. Well, sence my trip down dar I feel Like hangin' up de fiddle. Dey's done forsook de fine ole reel, Whar two goes down de middle; 5 1 ;2 TfFH LA MENT Of' ORPI! F'1S. An' ole-time folks an' ole-time chunes Is woted miighty slow dar- For monkey ban's an' whistlin' l(-Kons Has run sersi'ty low dar' LOFTY AND LOWLY. DE white man's got de 'vantage O' le cullud pusson, sartin: You's done been free Longer dan mne- An' dat's one thing in startin'. You never worked terbarker, Bta tuLk it out at college; I never looks Inter de Books- You has me on sich knowledge. I ain't got no high notions, Let 'lone de eddication; 5 LOFTY AND LOWLY. Nor money 'twel You can't stan' still- As much as all creation! My wife don't play de panny, Nor drive brash hosses, nuther Nor w'ar fine clo'es, Like she o' your's- Mine's some below dat, ruther! But lissen at me, Marster: I knows all dese things fits you 0' co'se, you ought Ter have dis sort- But dar's one place I gits you I don't have harf de worry What troubles your life, honey; 54 LO/107Y flAA) LOWVLY. De bank, you see, MIought bus' for me- I wudden lose no money! Ef all your bocks an' pictur's Was somehow ter git 'stroyed, Marster, I know Dat, sartin sho', You'd mourn for what you's 'joyed. You never is contented You wants yer big pile bigger; Ain't I kerrec', Den, when I 'spec' You's outdone by a nigger "GOD KNOWS." TEL1L you a tale, eh Bless de chillun! It's been sich a very long time ago Dat I don't know whether I ain't forgotten All o' dem tales dat I used ter know. Your daddy was always axin' fur 'em, When he was a chap, jes' like you two. Ise tole him lots; but I disremember- It's been so long-all de bes' I knew. 'Twas a wile March mont', an' de win' was blowin'- Blowin' great guns, de sailors say; De water was foamin', an' all de riggin' Wropt ter de mas's, in de Chessypeake Bay. " GOD 'VO I VS." I7 A wreck tuk place not fur f'om Norfolk- A sloop f'om Boston, an' all han's drowned; Four men an' a chile an' a yaller-hyared 'oman, Dese was de corpses de sho'-folk found. 'Twas close ter de lan' whar de vessel stranded, But de waves was runnin' so orful high It was boun' ter come-da:: was no help fur it- All o' dem people was marked ter die. One o' de papers drifted inwards, XVhat 'longed ter de sloop; an' dar on it De name o' de men an' de long-lhvared 'oman Dat kim f'om Boston was plainly writ. Three o' de men was de Cap'en's sailors, De Cap'en's self was de tother one An' we jedged his wife was de white-faced 'oman, But de name o' de little chile was gone. 57 " (;O) KVOIVS." De Kurriner-him what sets on bodies- i-e copied inter his book all dose; Den he axed me: " How shell I write dis baby" An' I answered de Kurriner "Sir, God knows! So when dey kim fur ter bury dce bodies O' de Boston men by de Chessypeake Bay, Dey put uip a head-mark over each on 'em, Wid his name an' his death an' his drownin'-day. An' de valler-hyared 'omnan was buried wid 'em, An' her name an' her death an' her day was writ On de head-board plain; but dat one over De chile-dar was nothin' ter put on it. But one what sot on de Kurriner's jury-- A gray-head man wid a kinely eye- Sez: " Let it alone, an' I'll ten' ter it, An' write a name on it by an' by." "GOD KiNOWS." 59 Dar's a marble sharf' not fur f'on Norfolk, By de Bay down dar ; an' vhoever goes Up de Shipwreck Road kin read de writin' Dat's writ up over dat chile: " God knows! " VIRGINIA CREEPERS. (I868.) OLE Mistis often afo' she died- You know how she used ter set Out dar on de Gre't House porch, o' days; I thinks I sees her yet- Often she said: " You's good enough- But Anniky's pizen mean; An' dem chillun o' her'n an' yourn's de scruff (' (le v'arth!" Now, y'all done seen I-lor whxvt she tole me is done come true I alwvays knowed it, and said so, too. What is dat sass you's up ter, now What does you want ter know VIRGLI.l C'EAIPA: RS. Ef you says one worcL 'gin ole 'Mistis, boy, I'll smack you, sartin sho'! How come she go call you scruff" Jes dis: Y'all wvas de lazies' crew Dat de Lord ever made, in doin' de work Dat she wanted you ter do "Ferginyer Creepers! " she used ter say, When she seen you a-pokin' along all day. An' now sence de freedom come, it's wus' Dan ever it was afo'; You stretches out dar in de sun, an' sleeps An' sleeps foreber nio'. Ef you's got a rag ter yer back, somehow You thinks dat dai:'s enough-. An', boy, dat's de reason o' how come why Ole Mistis called you scruff. You lets me slave fur de grub you eat You sleeps, while I ipethers de bread an' meat. 61 62 1 VIk(IAiA CRAEEPAWS. I'm gittin' w'ared out wid dis here thing (' t'ilin' fur all o' you ; Sometimes I wishes de ole slave ways Was back fur a week or two. "How come " Jes dis: ter make you work! De niggers never did lay Out on a bench in de sunshine den, An' sun deyselves all day. "Ferlcinyer Creepers" was bad, at fus' "Ferginyer Sleepers" is p'int'ly wus'! BEFORE THE PARTY. YES, honey, yoti p'int'ly is purty; Hlow Iong 'fo' de ball gwi' begin "Some time yet" An' when you's all dancin, Can't ver o e Mammy come an' peep in Dat white silk, it sho'ly do suit you- An' demn vi'lets wropt inter yer hyar Mars' Ranny loves c ern sort o' blossoms- I 'spec', Baby, dat's why dey's dar. Lord, chile ! you looks jes' like yer mother, When you turn ver head sidewvays, dat way Has vout been showed verself ter Ole Marster You has, hey An' what did hie say BEFORE THlE PARTY. lie never said nothin'-jes' only His mouf twitch like ketchin' a cry An' he kissed you, an' turn off an' lef you, Wid de water done come ter his eye " Yes, honey, you's like her; dat's gospel; An' I knows, by de way dat he done, Dat you fotch her up ter him adzactly, An' de ole times dat's over an' gone. She used ter v'ar vi'lets dat summer- He loved 'em, like Mars' Ranny do- Her fus' season at de White Suff'rer, When she was a young gal like you. I went wid her dar, dat 'ar season- Dey called her de Belle o' de Springs; De young bucks run crazy about her- You never did see sich fool things ! 64 BiWEORAi 11' iT'ARAT'Y. But Marster was dar, de bes'-lookin' An' de smartes', I hearn 'em all say An' lhe owned a Jeems River plantation, An' so he jes' kerried dc day. She w'ared a white dress de fls' ebenin' She danced at de ball ; an' she hel' Some vi'lets like dem in her fingers- I 'membe-s it all very xvell. I hasn't no doubt dat Ole Marster, When he seed you, he thought o' dat night An', mebbe, some other times, honey, When lie 'membered her 'rayed out in white. Now I thinks, she was drest de same fashion At de weddin' at Springfield, You know Some vi'lets de onlies' color, An' her white silk mo' shiny dan snow; 5 65 6 BEFORE THE PAR7'Y. An', Baby, her fingers wropt over Fresh blossoms, fotch foom de ole place, Like deni ; an' wvhite garnmen's was on her, De las' time I looked at her face. It do make me feel sorter ole-like, Fur ter see you growed hansum an tall I hardly cornsidered it, honey, 'Twel -ott fixed tup ter 'ten' ver fus' ball- 'Ca'se you's never seemed nothin' but Baby, An' it looks sich a short time ago: Yes, Mlistis, I'm gwi' come an' see you, When you dances wid Mars' Ranny, sho'. 66 AT Wfi:ITEHALL. (Prerinzc IrW'. 32, Al/bemarle Comitn: / Nosember, 1878.) " Oi.F. " How ole does you have ter be Warn't dat Reuiben I jes' now see Walk up an' puit his paper in Don't you 'spec' [se as ole as he M-arster, you mui,' be makin' fun Ain't got ter be bUt twenty-one I'm pas' two-hund'ed, as sho' as sin! Look at dat ReUben over dar ! AiD-t no grav in his kinky hyar Now adzarmine dis wool o' mine. My back's bent wid de rheumatiz; Nothin' (le martl:er at all wid his. AAT WHliT THALL. Miarster, sho' as de sun do shine, Ole Jim's over two-hund'ed, sir. " Prove it " Well, sir, you keep de sco' Keep it fvar, an' I'll prove it, sho' Ole Jim's over two-hund'ed year- My ole Marster, I buried himn- Sixty-nine years dat counts fur Jim; Mistis was forty; young Mars' Joe He was nigh about thirty-fo'- I tuk 'n' buried bofe o' dem dar. How many's dat, sir Well, keep 'count- I'm gwine ter give you de 'zact amount. Mv ole 'oman was sixty-three- Gittin' on to'ds it, don't you see Over two-hund'ed, fvar an' squar'-- Two o' de chillun Ise put away- Over two-hund'ed now, you say Jes' you adzamine dat ar sco', Down on yer paper dar, onst mo'- 68 AT WHITEHALL. 69 Over two-hund'ed, sho' as sin! Here is de vote, sir ! Put it in. Twenty-one years ! Umph! what's dat Hope I may never eat possum-fat, Never tetch. ash-cake-pone no mo', Ef I ain't over two-hund'ed, sho' ! MARS' RODNEY'S HAT. (i867.) TER be sho', dar's some holes in it- What o' clat Yes, it's greasy ; an' de ban's gone F'om de hat. Sun clone tuk out all de color; Al' de rain's Done gone kivered it wid rusty Sort o' stains: But it suits me, an' I likes it. Caesar, dar, He's done mounted a new beaver 'Top his hyar. MARS' ROI)A'JY'S HfA T. Boy, I wudden trade my kiver, Narv ptll, Not for twenty like dat 'ar one On your wvool. Dar's a story 'tached ter dis 'tin, Mistis ;aid, 'Ca'se it ounst 'longed ter a soijer Dat is -ead. "Who " Mars' Rodney, in de war-time, Went ter fight Wid dis hat on; plumes swung f'om it Black as night. He were shot down dar by Richniun' In dis hat: See dis split here by de rim It Kim f'om dat Long years back, onst I was comin' Down d(ht Lane- 71 AilA AS'' A OD E F'IS' A 11 T Heish yer cussed jabberin', nigger! I was say'n' Yes, a-trabellin' f'orn de Quarters; An' he stood By de big oak at de cornder O' de wood. Don't you 'member dat young lady Used ter come, Reg'lar ev'ry summer, up here F'om her home, Visitin' o' young -liss Nellie Well, dat day She were wid him. As I pas', I Hear him say: "Yes, I love you !" but I missed jes' 'What she said; An' when I looked back, dis hat were On her head! Seems ter me you don't see ladies 72 MARS' RODNVEY'S HAT. Like her now; An' de men ain't fine as he was, I'll allow. 'Twas de purtiest pictur' ever Struck my sight: His face drapped ter her'n, turned up'ards, Tetched wid light. Young Mars' Rodney, two days arter, XVent away. He were young, (le war mos' over; So, da: day, He 'peared keerless-like, an' happy Fur ter go- But he never kim back livin' Any mo'. She went, too, an' never is been Here sence den. 73 MA//RS' RODAA JEY'S IfAT. I had tuk a notion she had Met her en', 'Twel ole Mis' sez: " She is livin' Surn'ers yet; But I'm 'fear'd," sez she, " her brightes' Sun have set." So I jedge she ain't so happy, Jes' by dat, As dat mornin' when he kissed her 'Neaf dis hat. 74 ANANI AS. HE'S a two-forty team, sir, on tellin' a lie, An' I'm sartin de devil 'ill get him bimeby; I'll jes' mention you why: He's done been out here on dis Chessypeake Road, At work like a mule fur his clo'es an' his board- As dey tole me, dat knowed; He stayed dar, I 'specs, about half o' a year, An' de fus' thing I know he's a-comnin' back here- Purty 'zumnptiotis, yes, sir! 76 A1Vl AlA S. " How come so " Jes' cca'se dat de nigger per ten's Dat he's trabelled de worl', an' done been ter it. en's; But I has got some sense, An' I ain't He needn' gwine ter swallow dat tarbaby's lies: be flingin' his dus' in my eyes- I kin see when I tries! Ef you jes' hear his racket, f'on what he have tole, He's done made some twenty-odd sacksful o' gole, An' had it all stole ! An' he talks 'bout Kenturky, an' what he have seen; How de hosses is one-twenty whar he has been, An de bluegrass all green. 76 A RA A'l1 S.77 Circus-ridin', he says, is one thing he's been at; An' his circus has Junvbugs big as my hat. An' what gits over dat Is his ellyphant yarns, sir; an' den, ter be sho', He's been huntin' o' krokydiles dar, sir, you know, An' killed b'ars by de sco'. I 'spec' ef his Marster could come back an' see How dis boy have turned out, he would p'int'lv agree Wid his mammy an' me, Dat de name he hitched ter him is sartin come true. "What's dat " Ananias: an' 'twix' me an' you, He kin outlie dat Jew! Ise knowed dat 'ar boy sence he warn't but so high, An' hb's never tole nothin' yet 'cep' 'twas a lie! He's gwi' ketch it bimeby! 77 X8 A iVA AA S Sence de day I wvas born, I could never stan' liars De wus' thing my wife an' me has for ter try us, Is dis here Ananias. DEAD. OLE Marster's dead ter-night- Tuk sudden, when he looked as peart an' strong, An' brash an' lhearty-like, as all along He's been dese fifteen year "Done dead!" Young Doctor Galinett said Ter me, yistiddy, break o' light. Hard fur ter know we never is gxvi' see Ole Marster 'roun' here like hie used ter be- Beca'se he's dead ter-night. De bes' man ever lived, he were- I never is been hear Nothin' but good o' him; Do -1)kD. An' now ter think denm bright blue eyes is dim! Done gone ter bed, Ter sleep fur good-dirt pillows 'neaf his head- Beca'se he's dead. We buried our dead Marster dar Ter-day, In de ole church-yard whar We used ter play When we was bar'foot boys, some sixty year ago; An' all his cullud folks, dat loved him so- Beca'se he was as near An' dear Ter us as ter his own- Dey tuk 'n' come Ter lay ole Marster in his norrer home; An' each one flung A shovelful in on him. Den a groan So 8)I Vent utp, so loud (le preaclher cudden pray. But den, Standin' aroun' de half-full grave, we sung Lat hymn-l Ise often hicerd roll off his tongue "I wudden live alway!" Dat Nwas de en'- Amen! As I sets here, A-watcihin' o' dem stars up clar on high In dat blue sky, It do appeal-, Somneway, Dat he is furder off f'om me dan dey; It do appear Like it was hard ter know he's tuk 'n' gone, Like it was hard, somrhow, ter jes" live on- We folks dat's worf 6 D,r,, ..X1)A. So little-while de clug-up earf IHas kivered him f'om sight My 'Marster, my ole Marster, dead ter-night! He never done no harm ter any livin' thing IDe good Lord made He fed de po'-I know de news '11 bring Miz'rv ter many a one dat's prayed Often an' over dat his years mought be Like de nunmerous leaves on a tree. But it's bes'-- De Lord, He knows what's right " (n Jesus' breas' He gives ter his beloved sleep," Dc good Book say: An' so, someway, I 'spec' ole Marster's happy dar ter-night. 82 1) A'. 1 1). FESTINA LENTE. I WUSH you hadn' gone an' did Jes' what I tole ye not ter ! De Chris'muis dinner's tuk 'n' slid Long o' yo' fooliin', drot yer I axed you, f us', ter be mo' slow; But you mus' go a-skeetin', An' let de hyar cut in de snow- Our onlies' Cliris'mus eatin'. You needn' stan' up dar an' grin, Jes' like 'twar sutmpin' funny! Ef dat 'ar hyar ain't tuk you in, Iare mistaken, honey. I'/ASTIA'l LZEZXTA. Ise 'vised voil, time an' time agwin, 'B[i3t rushin' 'roUIn' an' tarin' L)e Nvav yot- (does, Joe, are a sin Ter set a preacher sw'arin' Dar ain't no sense in starin' ';-oun' Ter see ef lhe's in sight, sir; He's five mile off, I'll jes' be boun', An' sarves you 'zactly right, sir Not for ter know no mo' dan dat 'Bout handlin' o' gum triggers, An' let him go, slick as my hat- It's jes' like you young niggers. Now, lemme tell you onst ag'in: Don't do things in a skurry; Ixcess o' zeal are boun' ter win, But not ixcess o' hurry. FESTLIVZ' LEATTE. So, Joe, ef ever you let's go Another Chriis'mus dinner, I'll lay a hick'ry on you, Joe, As sho' as I'm a sinner! JUCKS. YONDER he comes, jes' as peart: Dat's de way He will be singin' an' whistlin' all day. Seems like lie don't mind dem crutches no mo' Dan nothin'; an' as for dat eye, ter be sho', He says he wouldl ruther have two eyes dan one, But it's done been knocked out-an' what's done gone, is gone. "How do he inanage ter live " WVell, you see, He han'les de fiddle jes' like A B C. An' dance ' Lord, you jes' orter see what a huf Dat 'ar lame nigger slings, wvhen he tries sho' enuf! JlUCVS. 'Calse, bein' as howl he are crippled an' lame, White folks dey doesn' treat Jucks jes' de same As den whlat has got all dcv lim's safe an' soull'- Dem niggers what's able ter ten' ter de grotun' Dey sorter feels sorry ter see himt dat wav, An' dey's always a-givin' him quarters ter play.- lIe got IlJUsAC(l tp so a-InLIssill' .1 Mill Dat Mars' Tihonmas ruLn, over dar on (Ie hill. You knows Mars' Tom's twvo little gals Well, one day- Dem chillun for-ever woua1t)' git in Jucks' way- WVell, dev was a-foolin' aromin' wid de 'sheen- 'Twas one o' dese here hig steam saw-mills you's seen- 87 JuCKS. An' dey got ter come pullin' an' yerkin' de screws An' de thingumajigs dat a steam saw-mill use. Jucks, hle cudden watch 'em an' do his work, too, So arter a while dey jes' pulled de wrong screw; As soon as he seed 'em, Jucks tuk out an' run- But hie knowed 'twas too late for ter men' what dey'd done, So he grabbed 'em an' chunked 'ern out in de saw- dus', Way off ter one side: an' de 'sheen tuk 'n' bus'! Dat's howV come he walks wid dem crutches, an' why He can't see on one side, for lack o' an eye. " He's a mighty fine fiddler," Mars' Thomas he say " An' he never shall want while Fim livin', no way! 88 ASHCAKE. WELL, yes, sir, dat am a comical name- It are so, for a fac'- But I knowved one, dowin in Ferginyer, Could 'a' toted dat on its back. "What was it " I'm gwine to tell you- 'Twas inons'us long ago: 'Twas " Asicake," sali; an' all on us Use' ter call 'im jes' Ashcake," so. You see, sir, my ole Marster, he Was a pow'ful wealfy man, Wid mo' plantatiors dan hyahs on you haid- Gre't acres o' low-roun' Ian', 9.4 S1ICA KE. Jeems River bottonms, dat used ter stall A fo'-hoss plough, no time An' he'd knock you down ef you jes' had dyared Ter study 'bout guano 'n' lime. De corn used ter stan' in de row dlat thick You jes' could follow de balk; An' rank ! well, I 'clar' ter de king, Ise seed Five 'coons up a single stalk He owned mo' niggers 'n arr' a man About dyar, black an' brighlt; He owned so many, b'fo' de Lord, He didn' know all by sight ! XVell, sir, one evelin', long to'ds dusk. I seen de Marster stan' An' watch a yaller boy pass de gate Wid a ashcake in his han'. 90 A SHCA KE. He never had no mamimy at all- Leastways, she was d.ead by dat- An' de cook an' de handIs about on de place Used ter see dat de boy kep' fat. Well, he trotted along down de parf dat night, An' de Marster he seen him go, An' hollered, " Say, boy-say, what's yer name " " A-ashcake, sir," says Joe. It 'peared ter tickle de Marster much, An' he called him up to de do'. "XWell, dat is a curisomn name," says he; " But I guess it suits you, sho'." "Whose son are you " de Marster axed. " Young Jane's," says Joe; " she's daid." A sperrit cudden 'a' growed mo' pale, An' " By Gord ! " I heerd him said. 9I A SIICA A-E. He tuk de child 'long in de house, Jes' 'count o' dat ar whim; An', dat-time-out, you never see Sich sto' as he sot by him. An' Ashcake swung his cradle, too, As clean as ever you see; An' stuck as close ter ole Marster's heel As de shader sticks to de tree. 'Twel one dark night, when de river was out, De Marster an' Ashcake Joe Was comin' home an' de skiff upsot, An' Marster 'd 'a' drownded, sho', Excusin' dat Ashcake cotch'd him hard An' gin him holt o' de boat, An' saved him so; but 'twas mo'n a week B'fo' his body corned afloat. 92 ASHCA KR. 93 An' de Marster he grieved so 'bouten dat thing, It warn' long, sah, befo' he died; An' he's sleep, way down in Ferginyer, Not fur from young Ashcake's side. IC HA BOD. ALL o' de glory's done departed- Tuk 'n' gone! It p'intedly makes me right down-hearted, Sho's vou're born. All on it comes o' dis books an' schoolin' De clhilluns git; I never ain't credit no sich foolin,' An' doesn't, yit. What say " De 'fects o' de eddication " I doesn' know Nothin' 'bout 'fects; but dis nigger nation Is sp'ilin', sho'. iCII. B Lol). I doesn' anchor my shlip ter l'arnin' XVhat makes chlaps say Things dat 'ucd never be thunk by niggers Dat's done got gray. 1)ev doesn' believe one blessed cushtion Outside de lhooks Jes' call tip one an' 'scuss a stibjec', An' mark his looks. Ax ef lie thinks dat de salt upsotted Is signl o' grief Not one o' dese eddicated young uns Has sich belief. Ax ef he thinks dose dat inherit Up above Kin ever come back, ef dey wish, in sperit Ter dem dey love 95 6ICIJAIBOD). Ax ef he thinks dat a rusty horseshoe Over de do' 'UlI keep de witch f'om ridin' you nightmar' An' he'll say, " No !" Jes' 'quire, will you, ef de books tells him 'Bout de harnt-lights In de grave-yard, down by de bank o' de river, We sees at nights An' see ef de little nigger doesn' Up an' say, "De ph'los'phy 'splains dey's jack-my-lanterns, Cl'ar as day." Dunno nothin' 'bout 'fects; but sartin, Sho's you're born, Dar's too much books, an' too little grubbin' 'Mongst de corn. 96 1(.CA BOD. Yes, sir! de glory's done uptwisted Flat o's back ! De new words don't suit de ole-time music, Dat's a fac' ! SIMEON, F'OM GEORGY. WE had haauled in de corn f'olc de corn-fiel' Two wveeks 'fo' you kiro along here, An' shocked it up dar in de barn-yard- We shocks it up dar, ev'vy year: An' lars' niglht, We slhcked it all out, purty near. I knowed how as you was a stranger, An' thotulght, perihaps, whar you was born, 'Mongst de cotton an' cane down in Georgy, Dat yo'ed never seed niggers shuck corn So I 'spicioned, O' case, dat you'd want ter hia' gone. SL1A A F' `031 CE OAG EGY9 An' I looked fur yoi all 'roiun' de place here, Ter try fur ter git you ter ten' But you wasn' nowhar', an' I'm sorry Dat Vout missed de corn-sliickin', my frietn' It was gran' Dar was mnusic an' whiskev 'dout en'. Marster sets out de liquor-pervisions, Ev'vv corn-shuckin' time, in de fall- Only jes' 'bout enough ter be jolly An' not ter make fools on uIS all An' ole Lem An' his fiddle, dey opens de ball. Lars' nioht, Leem was dar wid de fiddle, An' de fiddle it go: up an' Sung. I never knowed Lem'el so livelv, Nor seed siclh a bow as lhe swung, Sence de days When me an' ole Leem'el was voting. 99 SIMEOAI, F'OAYM GEORGY. An' de niggers pitched inter de corn-pile An', I tell you, de shucks fa'rly flew; De pile o' shucked corn it growed bigger, An' was lovely an' yaller an' new: An sho'ly, I sartinly wished, Sim, for you. For de jug it kep' comin' down lmy way- Lem'el's Bill was a-passin' it 'roun'- An' de niggers was singin' like forty, Seemin' like dey was tryin' ter drown Lem's fiddle; But Lem'el, he stuck ter his groun'. 'Twel presen'ly, here comes a nigger-- De blackes' dat ever I see- An' say a few words fus' ter Marster, Den steps up an' sets side o' me Well, I never Seed a tarbaby shuck corn like he! IOO SIMEON', F'OMI GEORGY. He didn' talk none whilst he sot dar, But he leant hisself over dat corn An' he handled it right smartly pearter Dan Ise seed it did sence I was born: 'Twasn' long 'Fo' de mos' o' dat corn-pile was gone. An' Marster he kim wid de whiskey, An' hisself po'ed it out dar for him, An' 'couraged him smartly; an' Lem'el Stopped fiddlin' a minnit, an' kirn- Wlhat's de martter Den 'twasyou at de corn-shuckin', Sim 101 DISAPPOINTMENT. HOIE de light yar! De dogs done treed! I knowed dey'd almos' co't him, De way dey barked. What's dat you seed Out on which lim' Yes, sir; dat's him- We sartin sho' is got him! Shet up dat howlin' Kick him, Joe! Dese dogs is p'int'ly eager Wait 'twel he gits down here below, Onter de groun', Den, I'll be boun', HIe'll whup 'em like a nigger! DISAs POP 0IEVTMT. 103 Joseph, my son, gimine de light, An' vou kin do de cuttin' 1 wudden git dat 'coon ter-night. Take holt de axe; Six or eight cracks 'UlI fix de critter's mutton! Jes' look-a-dar ! I nuver see 'Coon's eyes so much like fire. De way he's staria' down at me- Hole on dar, Joe, He's 'bout ter go No-hie jes' crep' up higher. T-Here, Cxsar-Nero-sick him ! sick! Stan' back ! de tree's a-fallin'! Now let de dogs git in dar, quick! Ugh! Shoo dar! Scat! Ole Toby's cat ! Jes' lissen at dat squallin' 103 DISAPPOINTMENT. I never see de beat o' dat In all my time o' seein'! Folks what can't 'stinguish 'coon f'om cat Better be sleep In bed, a heap, Dan up o' nights 'coon-tIeein'. 104 " TO YOU." DAR! thankee, Marster. Dat's enough. Don't git de ole man tight ! Lord ! see de srinshine comin' through! Ain't it a purty sight I Dis here is what de Cohees calls De ray-el Mount'in Jew- It looks almos' as ole as me: My Marster, here's ter you! Ah-h ! dat 'ar licker fetches back De mern'bry o' de days When peach an' honey wvas de drink AboUt yer father's place. "7-0T YOU." De sideboard shined jes' like de moon, De punch-bowvl like de sun: An' Marster an' de gentle-incus Dey stepped tup, one by one. "Here's Apple Jack," ole Marster says, " Some sebenteen year ole; An' dat peach-brandy are, I think, About as good as gole In dat recanter over dar Is native Mount'in Jew." Den turns his back ; an' all fills up Den "My regards ter you De gtggle at dat 'canter-moouf- Lord, sakes ! Seems like I hears De glasses ring, de spoons ker-ling, Dis side o' all dese years! 106 "TO ]O U 1.0 Ah ! 'fo'-de-war is gone away, Jes' like yistiddy's sun An' Alarster an' dem gentle-mens Has stepped off, one by one. No, not no more, I thankee, sir! Dat fur, I'm F. F. V.- Jes' ooze drink at a time, dell days, Was 'nuf for quality. Dey say dat age is mons'ous fine Upon de Mount'in Jew; 'Twill keep an hour or so, I 'specs' Wid my regards ter you. lop SWEET HOME. MANY long years I has spent here; Now, dey says, I mus' be leavin'. Well, I can't he'p grievin', Jes' beca'se Love an' sorrow dey bofe bine me Ter dis spot I leaves behine me, An' de happy cdays dat wvent here At dis ole home place. In my age I is departin', When my han' lhave los' its cunnin', Wid de ebenin' sun in My dim face. SWEET HoAME. Over dar, beyant dern beeches, Whar de long-slant shadder reaches, Is de spot I leaves my heart in At de ole home place. My Marster an' my Mistis, My chillun an' my wife, sir- Lights o' my pas' life, sir- Dey all lays Dar beneaf dat groun'; me only Lef' behine, po', ole, an' lonely. Imus' leave now, while de rest is At dere ole home place. Oh, it hurts me, dis forsakin' 0' de place whar I was born in, Whar fus' de light c' mornin' Tetched my face. I09 0S WEE 7' 11OME. I had hoped an' prayed 'douit ceasin' Dat I'd fine my en' in peace in Dis here house. My heart is breakin' Fur de olc home place. Lord o' Mussy, in Dy pity, When Death's shadders dey come o' me, An' de valley lays afo' me In a maze, Let it be dat I shell straightway Enter through de pearly gateway O' de sain's' eternal city F'um dis ole home place. I IO LITTLE JACK. YES, sah. 'Twas jes' 'bout Stindown Dad went-two nmiiths ago I always used ter ru n down Dat time, bec'us', you know, I wudden like ter had him die, An' no one nigh. You see, we cudden git him Ter come 'wax off dat Ian'- Said NewI House didn' fit him, No mo' dan new shoes ; an' Gord mout miss him at Jedgmen' day, Ef hle moved 'way. 112 How ole " Ef we all wondered How oie he was, he'd frown An' say he was " a hunderd- Ole Miss done sot it down, An' she could tell-'twas fo' or five- Ef she was live." Well, when, as I was sayin', Dat night I come on down, I see he bench was layin' Flat-sided on de groun' An' I kinder hurried to'ds cie do'- Quick-like, you know. Inside I seen him layin' Back, quiet, on de bed; An' I mecked out he was sayin' Dat's what ole Marster said An' Marster, cert'n'y, he warn't wrong: We'll meet 'fo' long." _/7 /TTIF .CA-. LIT7YLL" JACK. 113 I axed how he wva3 gettin'. " Nigh ter de ft;:rrow's een'," He said ; " dis ebenin', settin' Outside de do', I seen De thirteen curlews come in line, An' knowed de sign. "You know, ole Marster tole me He'd come for me 'fo' long; 'Fo' you was born, he sole me- But den he pined so strong He come right arter Little Jack, An' buyed hirn back. "I went back ter de kerrige An' tuk dem rein.s ag'in. I druv him ter his marriage An', chile, it was a sin Ter see de high an' mighty way I looked dat day. 8 113 '/4 ./i/ / JA/CA . "Dat coat had nary button 'Ceptin' it was ob gole; Mv hlat-but dat warn't nuttin' ! 'Twas noble ter behole De way dem hosses pawed de yar, Wid me up dyar. "But all's w'ared out befo' me !- Marster, an' coat, an' all; Me onl0 lef'-you know me !- Cheat wheat's de lars' ter fall De rank grain ben's wid its own weight, De light stan's straight. " But heah ! Ole Marster's waitin'- So I mus' tell you raise De jice dyar; 'neaf de platin', De sweat o' many days Is in dat stockin'-toil an' pain In sun an' rain. 11l4 /.ii'!' L: /- ( 'A-. "I worked ter save dem figgers Ter bu)y) yoll buhlt (Ie 1ol-d lie sot free all de niggers, Same as ivhite-fols, 'fo' Gord Free as de crows ! Free as cle stars! Free as ole hyars ! "Now, chile, you teck dat money, Git on young Marster's track, An' pay it ter him, honey An' tell him Little Jack Worked forty year, dis Chris'mus come, Ter save dat sum; "An' dat 'twas for ole Marster, Ter buy your time f'om him But dat de war come farster, An' squandered stock an' lim'- Say you kin work an' don't need none, An' he carn't, son. I 1 5 L127'I/s JACK. "He ain' been use ter diggin' His livin' out de dirt; Ile carn't drink out a piggin, Like you; an' it 'ud hurt Ole Marster's pride, an' make him sw'ar, In glory dar!" Den all his strength seemed fallin' He shet his eyes awhile, An' den said " Heish ! he's callin' Dyar he ! Now watch him smile! Yes, suh-you niggers jes' stan' back! Marster, here's Jack !" MARSE PHIL. YES, yes, you is Marse Phil's son ; you favor 'm might'Ily, too. We wuz like brothers, we wuz, me an' him. You tried to fool d' ole nigger, but, Marster, 'twouldn' do; Not do-yo' is done growed so tall an' slim. Hii! Lord! Ise knowed yo', honey, sence long befo' yo' born- I mean, Ise knowed defamily dat long; An' dee's been thile folks, Marster-dee han's white ez voIing corn- An', ef ciee want to, couldn' do no wrong. 8Il.AI A'SI l'HIL. You' gran'pa bought my mammy at Gen'l Nelson's sale, An' Deely she come out de same estate An' blood is jes' like pra'r is-hit tain' gwine nuver fail Flit's sutney gwine to come out, soon or late. When I wuz born, yo' gran'pa. gi' me to young Marse Phil, To be his body-servant-like, you know; An' we growed up together like two stalks in a hill- Bofe tarslin' an' den shootin' in de row. Marse Phil vuz born in harves', an' I dat Christmas come; My mammy niussed bofe on we de same time No matter what one got, stih, de oder gwine git some- We wvuz two fibe-cent pieces in one dime. I I8 ARAASE 1'/IL. We cotch ole hyahs together, an' possums, him an' mne We fished dat mill-pon' over, night an' day Rid horses to de water ; treed coons up de samne tree; An' when you see one, turr warn' fur away. When Marse Phil went to College, 'tVLUZ " Sam- Sam's got to go." Ole iMarster said, " Dat boy's a fool'bouit Sam." Ole Mistis jes' said, " Dear, Phil wants him, an', you know-" Dat " Dear"-hit used to soothe him like a lamb. So we all went to College-'way down to Williams- burg- But 'twarn' much l'arnin' o it o' books we got Dem urrs warn' no mo' to him I'1 a ole vorflrv lug Yes, sub, We WvUz de ve'v top (de pot. I 19 120 RRSE PHIL. An' ef he didn' study dem Latins an' sich things, Ile wuz de popularetis all de while; De ladies use' to call him, De angel widout wings; An' when he come, I lay dee use' to smile. Yo' see, he ivuz ole Marster's only chile ; an' den, lie had a bodv-serzantf-at he will; An' wid dat big plantation, dee'd all like to be brides Dat is ef dee could have de groom, Marse Phil. 'Twuz dyah he met young Mistis-she wuz yo' ma, of co'se ! I disremermbers nowv what mont' it wuz, One night, he comes, an' seys he, " Sam, I needs new clo'es; " An' sevs 1, " M arse Phil, yes, suh, so X o' does." 120 ALIJRSE PI/IL. Well, suh, he made de tailor meck ev'y thing bran' new; lie wouldn' w'ar one stitch he had on han'- Jcs' throwed 'em in de chip box, an' seys, " Sam, dem's fur you.' Marse Phil, I tell yo', wuz a gentleman. So Marse Phil co'tes de Mistis, an' Sam he co'tes de maid- We always sot our traps upon one parf; An' when we tole ole Marster we bofe wuz gwine, he seyd, "All right, we'll have to kill de fatted calf." An' dat wuz what dee did, suh--de Prodigal wuz home ; Dee put de ring an' robe upon yo' ma. Den you wvuz born, young Marster, an' den de storm hit come 5 An' den de darkness settled from afar. 121 22iAARSE A1-i. De storm hit corned an' wrenchted de branchce from dc tree- De war-you' pa-bc's sleep dyahl on de hill; An' do I know, young Marster, de war hit sot US free I seys. " Dat's so; but tell me whar's Marse Phil "A dollar ! "-thankee, Marster, you sutney is his son; You is his spitt an' image, I declar'! What sey, young Marster Yes, suh, you sey, " It's fizve-not one "- Yo' favors, honey, bofe yo' pa an' ma! 122 " HOME AGAIN." DE place is changed sence de ole times- Dis place whar I wIvs born, An' played, an' groweJ, an' lived, an' worked Amongst de yaller corn De cabin-flo' is t'ared up now, De chimbley's tumblin' down, An' I doesn't see de palin'-fence About (le patch o' groun'. But de sunshine 'pears ter be as bright, An' de birds as full o' song, An' de bees as busy at dey work In de clover all day long. 14"HOME A GAIN. " So, spite o' de cabin's tumblin' down, An' de ragged worrum fence, De ole-time scenes comes back ag'in- Ise missed 'em ev'ry sence. I kin see my wife dar by de do', Wid de baby on her knee; An' de tother chillun playin' here, Whar de peach-tree used ter be. But she is sleepin' on de hill, Wid her baby on her breas' An' de tother chillun's out dar, too, All peacefully at res'. De little branch runs on de same As how it used ter run; Ise crossed it often to'des de night, When arter my work was done ; 124 "110,11E AGAIN." De Great House still is standin' dar, Jes' over de tother side; But I hasn' been dar sence de day My blessed Mistis died. Ise wandered over de Si:ate, at large, A-doin' what I could; Workin' de railroad, now an' den, An' sometimes cuttin' wood. It had been some years sence I was here; So, passin' by to-day, I felt as how I mus' see de place, An' so kim by dis way. I'm sorry I kim: de ole glad days Comes back so fresh ter me, Dat it cuts my heart ter see de place Ain't what it used ter be. 125 "10J1OL' AG.JLV. I'll never hear as onst I heerd, In de happy times long gone, De darkeys singin' like dey sung, Amongst de yaller corn. I'm goin' now. I ain't gwi' see De ole home place no mo'; But I 'spec' I never shell forgit My wife dar by de do', Wvid de little baby on her knee, An' de chillun here at play; I'll 'member de ole place like it was, When I am fur away. 126 ONE MOURNER. (For Irwin Russell, wo/i died in ANew Orleans in great destitiA tion, on Christnias 18C', I879.) WELL, wvell, I declar' ! I is sorry. He's 'ceasted, yo' say, Marse Joe.- Dat gent'man down in New Orleans, Whar writ 'bout 'n niggers so, An' tole, in all dat poetry You read some time lars' year, 'Bout niggers, an' 'coons, an' 'possums, An' ole times, an' mules an' gear 02VE 1110 PA'AEN. Jes' name dat ag'in, seh, please, seh; Destricalion's de word yo' said Dat signifies he wuz mons'us po', Yo' say-want meat an' bread Hit mout: I never knowed him Or hearn on him, 'sep' when you Read me dem valentines o' his'n; But I lay you, dis, seh's, true- Dat he wuz a rael gent'man, Bright fire dat burns, not smokes An' ef he did die (les/ridcie, He warn't no po'-white-folks. Dat gent'man knowed 'bout niggers. Fleah me! when niggers wuz Ez good ez white-folks mos', seh, I knows dat thin-, I does. 12S OQAE MOURAVER. An' he could 'a' tetched his hat, seh, To me jes' de same ez you An' folks gwine to see what a gent'man He wuz, an' I wuz, too. He couldn' 'a' talked so natchal 'Bout niggers in sorrow an' joy, Widdouten he had a black mammy To sing to him 'long ez a boy. An' I think, when he tole 'bout black-folks An' ole-times, an' all so sweet, Some nigh him mout 'a' acted de ravins An' gin him a mouf-ful to eat, An' not let him starve at Christmas, When things ain't sca'cc nowhar- Ef he hed been a dog, young Marster, I'd 'a feeded him den, I 'clar' 9 129 0A30O MO URNER. But wait ! Maybe Gord, when thinkin' How po' he'd been himself, Cotch sight dat gent'man scufflin', An' 'lowed fur to see what wealf Hit mout be de bes' to gin him, Ez a Christmas-gif', yo' know; So he jes' took him up to heaven, Whar he carn' be po' no mo'. An' jes' call his name ag'in, seh. flow -IRWIN RUSSELL-SO I'se gwvine fur to tell it to Nancy, So ef I'd furgit, she'd know. An' I hopes dey lay him to sleep, seh, Somewhar, whar de birds will sing About him de live-long day, seh, An' de flowers will bloom in Spring. 130 ONE; MOUW.NVER. 131 An' I wish, young Marster, you'd meck out To write down to whar you said, An' sey, dyar's a nigger in Richmond Whar's sorry Marse Irwin's dead.