LIBRARY OF CONGRESS
■':■:■: ■ ■ '
GULLAH STORIES OF
THE CAROLINA COAST
(With a Glossary)
AMBROSE E. GONZALES
COLUMBIA, S. C.
THE STATE COMPANY
THE STATE COMPANY
ROBERT ELLIOTT GONZALES
Noblesse Oblige 19
My Maussuh 24
An Antemortem Demise 29
The Lion of Lewisburg • 35
The Lion Killer 45
Old Barney 53
A Short Cut to Justice 64
Sam Dickerson 72
Simon the "Squerril" Hunter 82
The "Cunjuh" That Came Back 87
The Raccoon Hunter 96
The Turkey Hunter 107
The 'Gator Hunter 116
The "Wiles That in the Women Are" 12S
A Ricefield Idyll 134
The Dower House 142
At the Cross Roads Store 150
Mingo the Drill Master 158
Old Harrison 166
A Marriage of Convenience 174
The Plat-Eye 183
Old Picketl 190
The Lost Buck 202
Jim Moultrie's Divorce 212
Buh Alligettuh en' Buh Deer 216
Buh Hawss en' Buh Mule (a Fable) 219
Liss "Bin Eensult" 221
The Retort Courteous 223
The Cat Was Crazy 225
A Congaree Water-Color 230
Waiting Till the Bridegrooms Come 233
A Gullah's Tale of Woe 238
The Doctor Didn't "Exceed"' 242
The Lady Couldn't "Specify" 240
A Question of Privilege 249
Conductor Smith's Dilemma 252
One Was Taken— the Other Left 256
An Interrupted Offertory 262
A Flaw in the "Eenditement" 267
Old Wine— New Bottles 271
A Glossary of the Gullah 277
The Tar-Baby Story, as Told by Col. C. C.
Jones and Joel Chandler Harris 343
Just under the left shoulder of Africa, which juts
out boldly into the Atlantic, as though to meet half
way the right shoulder of South America, lie, between
Sierra Leone and the Bight of Benin, the Slave Coast,
the Ivory Coast, and the Gold Coast. It was the lure
of gold and ivory that brought to these shores the
enterprising traders who first offered the African
slave-holders a stable foreign market for the captives
of bow and spear and knobkerrie.
Out of this fetid armpit of the Dark Continent came
the first black bondsmen to curse the "Western world.
Thence, across the narrowing ocean, but a night's flight
for Walt Whitman's "Man-of- War-Bird"—
"At dusk that loolrst on Senegal, at morn America" —
Portuguese and Spanish traders, but a few years
after Columbus had set foot on San Salvador, trans-
ported their first human cargoes to the plantations of
Brazil and the rich islands of the Caribbean. Here the
labor of the blacks proved so profitable that the envi-
ous English soon engaged in the traffic, and during the
reign of the virginal Elizabeth certain of her noble
subjects sought concessions for the monopoly of the
West Indian slave trade.
A generation or two later, the first slaves filtered
through to the mainland colonies of North America
from the Barbados, Antigua, and other West Indian
Islands. After the institution had become firmly es-
tablished, the New England eye, not lacking "specu-
lation," saw the promise of the East, and New Eng-
land, pocketing her prayer book while pouching her
musket balls, freighted her bluff-bowed ships with red
flannel and glass beads with which to accentuate, if not
to clothe, the heathen nakedness, and set sail for the
rising sun. Thenceforth the New England slavers
sailed in cycles, and their course was charted by rum,
slaves, and molasses. The "black-birders" bartered
their human cargoes for West Indian molasses, which,
by a spirituous, if not a spiritual, process, became New
England rum. "Old Medford" filled their holds, west-
erly winds filled their bellying sails, and the rum was
soon converted into more slaves, to be in turn con-
verted again into molasses in completing the gainful
* For a hundred and fifty years Rhode Island and
Massachusetts competed successfully with England for
the North American trade, and these colonies (with
"God's grace" ) throve exceedingly. In the early years
of the last century, however, the importation of slaves
was interdicted and the last Yankee slaver converted
the last rum-bought slave into cash, then, converting
himself, he became an Abolitionist, and the well-
known "New England conscience" was developed.
But the Puritan slaver, whatever "woes unnum-
bered" he brought upon his own race, was. in trans-
ferring these bought or stolen blacks to the humane
Cavalier planters of the South, an unconscious bene-
factor to thousands of Negro captives and to mil-
lions of their descendants, whose masters gave them
Christianity and such a measure of civilization, that,
in the short space of two hundred years from the can-
nibal savagery of the stew-pot and the spit, they were
fitted, in the New England mind, at least, for man-
hood suffrage, which came t«» enlightened England only
after more than a thousand years of development!
None of the encyclopedias mentions the Gullah
Negroes, nor does the name appear in the dictionaries.
Mr. John Bennett, the well-known writer of Charles-
ton, who has, for twenty years, been gathering data
concerning this interesting people, places the Gnllahs
among the Liberian group of tribes; "formerly power-
ful and numerous, they have been crowded and over-
run; their remnant remains about thirty miles inward
from Monrovia;" but in 1822, in a publication by the
Charleston City Council at the time of the attempted
Negro insurrection, reference is made to "Gullah
Jack" and his company of '"Gullah or Angola"
Negroes, thereby making the suggestion that "Gullah"
is a corruption of Angola. As Angola and Liberia
are at least fifteen hundred miles apart, the former
being nearly one thousand miles south of the Equator,
these two opinions seem to be in hopeless conflict.
Mr. Bennett says further : "Among the many African
tribes brought to this country, the presence of very
many Gullah Negroes is apparent from the earliest
times. On some plantations, before the days of ex-
perienced precaution, it is highly probable they formed
a majority of the hands. As early as 1730 a plan had
been hatched against Charleston by these Negroes. . . .
"The dialect of the West Coast, from which came
these Gullah Negroes, was early commented upon as
peculiarly harsh, quacking, flat in intonation, quick,
clipped and peculiar even in Africa. Bosnian, the
Dutch sailor, described its peculiar tonality, and calls
its speakers the 'Qua-quas,' because they gabbled like
"The clinging together of these Gullah tribesmen, as
indicated above, and their apparent resolute and per-
sistent character, evidently assisted in impressing their
dialectical peculiarities on weaker and more plastic
natures brought in contact with them, and fixed the
tonality of the Negro dialect of the Carolina low-coun-
"For the above reason, of prevalence and domination
as a peculiar dialect with singular and marked tonali-
ty, the characteristic patois of the districts where these
Negroes most abounded, came to be universally referred
to as the Gullah dialect."
Whatever the origin of these Gullahs, Mr. Bennett
is probably correct in his estimate of their influence
upon low-country Negro speech.
Slovenly and careless of speech, these Gullahs seized
upon the peasant English used by some of the early
settlers and by the white servants of the wealthier
Colonists, wrapped their clumsy tongues about it as
well as they could, and, enriched with certain expres-
sive African words, it issued through their flat noses
and thick lips as so workable a form of speech that it
was gradually adopted by the other slaves and became
in time the accepted Negro speech of the lower dis-
tricts of South Carolina and Georgia. With charac-
teristic laziness, these Gullah Negroes took short cuts
to the ears of their auditors, using as few words as
possible, sometimes making one gender serve for three,
one tense for several, and totally disregarding singular
and plural numbers. Yet, notwithstanding this econo-
my of words, the Gullah sometimes incorporates into
his speech grotesquely difficult and unnecessary English
words; again, he takes unusual pains to transpose num-
bers and genders.
On some of the sea-islands and on portions of the
mainland, sparsely inhabited by whites, the Gullah
speech still persists in its original "purity." The
explanation for this is that the Negroes, before and
after the war, were in so tremendous a majority on the
great plantations of the low-country that only the
house servants came in frequent contact with their
masters 1 families, and these house servants, certainly
those who had been "in the house" for generations,
spoke with scarcely a taint of Negro speech. The field
hands, seldom coming in contact with whites, had
neither opportunity nor temptation to amend their
speech. There was none to "impeach" their language,
and so virile was this Gullah that, in some sections
higher up the state, as in Barnwell and Sumter coun-
ties, where, in the settlement of estates certain fami-
lies or colonies of coast-bred Negroes were sold before
the war, the Gullah tongue, although with difficulty
understood by the other Negroes of the community,
still persists like lingual oases in the desert of up-
country Negro speech.
This Gullah dialect is interesting, not merely for
its richness, which falls upon the ear as opulently as
the Irish brogue, but also for the quaint and homely
similes in which it abounds and for the native wit and
philosophy of its users. Isolated from the whites as
were these coast Negroes, and having no contact with
the more advanced slaves of the up-country, who.
belonging as a rule to small slave-holders, were in
close touch with their masters' families, the coast
Negroes retained more of the habits and traditions of
their African ancestry and presented, therefore, a more
interesting study of the Negro as he was, and to a cer-
tain extent "ever shall be." Living close to nature,
they were learned in woodcraft and the ways of ani-
mals and birds and fish, and used this knowledge to
illustrate their dealings with their own kind.
The peasantry, the lower classes generally, are the
conservators of speech. Writers who have exploited
the white mountaineers of the Appalachian ranges of
North Carolina and Tennessee have heard from their
lips Biblical and Shakesperean English now almost
forgotten among educated people. So these coast
Negroes still use fragments of Shakesperean English
long obsolete among their former masters.
To Mr. Bennett and other philological investigators
must be committed the task of working out the sources
of many words of this interesting tongue. The pur-
pose here is simply to record the oddities of the dialect
as the Coast Country Negroes use it. After all, gro-
tesque and interesting as is this speech to those famil-
iar with it, it is only a vehicle for carrying to the
reader the thought and life of an isolated group
among the varied peoples that make up the complex
population of this Republic.
There have been many writers of Negro dialect.
Some stories that have come out of the North, feminine
effusions chiefly, have been fearfully and wonderfully
made; the thoughts of white people, and very com-
mon-place thoughts at that, issuing from Negro mouths
in such phonetic antics as to make the aural angels
In fact, no Northern writer has ever succeeded even
indifferently well in putting Negro thought into
Negro dialect. Even Poe, in "the Goldbug," put into
the mouth of a Charleston Negro such vocables as
might have been used by a black sailor on an English
ship a hundred years ago, or on the minstrel stage,
but were never current on the South Carolina coast.
To recent Southern writers, therefore, one must turn
for intelligent understanding of the Negro character
and the recording of his speech, which varies in the
different sections of the South.
Thomas Nelson Page, recognized as the outstanding
exponent of the Virginia Negro in literature, has yet
touched his field lightly, considering chiefly the old
family man servant and his relations with his master's
household. Very beautifully and tenderly, because very
truthfully, Mr. Page has portrayed the ante-bellum
Negro man servant; but as to the younger Negro,
Negro life before and since the war, and the relations
of Negroes to one another, it is to be regretted that he
has contributed little or nothing.
The genius of Joel Chandler Harris, who, with
Judge Longstreet and his "Georgia Scenes," fixed
Georgia firmly upon the literary map of the world,
embalmed the Negro myths and folk-tales of the South
so subtly in the amber of his understanding that
"Uncle Remus" is known and loved by the children
of half the civilized world. There was little creative
work in "Uncle Remus." Mr. Harris claimed to record
the stories only "like hit wer' gun ter me." These
myths were known and told by Negro nurses to the
white children over all the Southern states, and in the
West Indian Islands as well, but the artistry of
Harris lay in the sympathetic understanding of
children prompted by his kindly heart, and the human
appeal of the tender relations of "the little boy" and
the old Negro family servant was irresistible, not only
to the children, but to those happy grown-ups who
It is interesting to know that in the low-country of
South Carolina, instead of ''Brer Rabbit and Brer
Fox," it is invariably "Buh Rabbit en' Buh Wolf."
Strange, too, because wolves must have been found in
upper Georgia and Carolina for more than a hundred
years after they were exterminated along the coast,
within whose forests still abound the grey foxes whose
natural prey is the rabbit.
Encouraged by the success of the "Uncle Remus"
stories, which greatly surprised this singularly modest
man, Mr. Harris wrote novels and other stories of
Georgia life among whites and blacks. While these
were published successfully, it is upon the animal tales
of "Uncle Remus" that his fame has been permanently
In the introduction to one of his volumes Mr. Harris
has made a rather exhaustive study and analysis of the
origin of these Negro myths. That they are of African
origin none can doubt, but as on the West Coast of
Africa, whence the slaves came to the American con-
tinent and the West Indian Islands, there are neither
wolves, foxes, nor rabbits, it would be interesting to
know what African animals were their legendary
prototypes. In Jamaica many of the "Uncle Remus"
tales are current and have been told to English child-
ren by their black nurses for generations, but there the
Anancy Spider, a black, hairy tarantula-like creature,
is substituted for the rabbit in the mythical triumph of
mind over matter — cunning over physical strength —
while the tiger does duty for the outwitted fox. Whence
comes the Jamaican tiger? One can only surmise that
tales of the strength and ferocity of the Jaguar ("el
tigre" to the Spaniards) the great spotted cat of
South and Central America, were brought from the
mainland to the West Indies by the Indians of the
Caribbean Coast or the earlier Negro slaves; but in
.Jamaica even the saddle-horse story is told complete in
all its details, the spider, clapping spurs to the tiger's
flanks and riding him up to the house of the "nyung
ladies" (Mis" Meadows an de gals) hitching him to a
post and walking boldly in to love's conquest. For the
•'Tar Baby" story, instead of the violated spring, the
drinking preserve of fox or wolf, a "tar pole" is set
up in a banana grove, and to this sticky lure the pil-
fering spider is found stuck fast by the lord of the
plantation when he makes his morning rounds.
Harry Stillwell Edwards, of Macon, is another
Georgian whose charming stories in the up-country
or cotton plantation dialect have given pleasure to
thousands. With an unusual knowledge of the Negro
character — the first consideration, if one would present
truthful pictures of Negro life — he combines a charm-
ing literary style, and his writings deservedly rank
high among Xegro stories.
Harris touched the Gullah dialect very lightly and
not with authority. In "Nights with Uncle Remus."
a later collection of Negro myths, he puts into the
mouth of "Daddy Jack" certain variants of the Uncle
Remus stories told in the dialect of the coast, and in
his introduction to this volume he acknowledges his
obligation to correspondents in Charleston and else-
where on the Carolina and Georgia Coasts for
the Gullah stories. It is almost certain that he
lacked first-hand contact with the story-tellers, and
thus missed some of the subtleties of. their speech as
well as the peculiar construction of their sentence ,
differing entirely, as they do, from those of the up-
country Negroes. Mr. Harris also includes in his in-
duction a brief glossary of Gullah words and ex-
presses the opinion that this peculiar dialect is more
e Uy read than the Georgia dialect of "Uncle Remus "
an opinion in which, unfortunately for the popularity
of "Gullah," few will concur.
In "Myths of the Georgia Coast," Col. Charles Col-
cock Jones, of Georgia (and South Carolina a so by
the way) has given, in generally correct Gullah di lee ,
the stories current along the coast, many of then
variants of those told in "Uncle Remus." A careful
lawyer, Col. Jones has set down, with most meticulous
exactness, and without imagination or embellishment,
the stories as they were told him on the plantation.
One familiar with Negro speech recognizes that these
tales are recorded as they fell from Negro lips, and as
such they must be regarded, as far as they go, as the
most authentic record of Negro myths on the conti-
nent-probablv the originals of many of the Uncle
Remus" stories, for the slaves first came from Africa
to the coast, bringing with them their myths and
legends which gradually infiltrated into the hinter-
land. ... ,
\ comparison of Jones's story of the rabbit and
the tar baby with Uncle Remus's version of the same
tale will be interesting as showing, not only the richer
and quainter dialect of the Gullah, but also his more
direct and homely mode of thought.
The "Coteney" sermons of the Reverend John (i.
Williams, of Barnwell County, which appeared in
the Charleston News & Courier about twenty-five
years ago and were subsequently published in pam-
phlet form, purporting to be pulpit deliverances and
consequently showing chiefly the Negro's conception of
his relation to religion, are full of homely wit, and.
written in the language of the coast, constitute a note-
Avorthy contribution to dialectal literature.
Mrs. A. M. H. Christensen, of Beaufort, although of
Northern birth, enjoyed soon after the war unusual
opportunities for acquiring folk-lore stories of the
sea-islands and littoral, and she has set forth in a small
volume certain of the tales that were told her, which
are in the main variants of versions of those already
related by Harris and Jones.
Another booklet, by the late J. Jenkins Hucks, of
Georgetown, S. C, recording some of the cases that
came before him as Magistrate, is, perhaps, the most
humorous example extant of Gullah undefiled.
Following the Stories, will be found a fairly com-
plete Glossary of the Gullah speech as used by the
Negroes of the Carolina-Georgia Coast and sea-islands,
perhaps the only extensive vocabulary of Gullah that
has yet been compiled.
The words are, of course, not African, for the Afri-
can brought over or retained only a few words of his
jungle-tongue, and even these few are by no means
authenticated as part of the original scant baggage
of the Negro slaves.
What became of this jungle-speech? Why so few-
words should have survived is a mystery, for, even
after freedom, a few native Africans of the later im-
portations were still living on the Carolina Coast
and the old family servants often spoke, during and
after the war, of native Africans they had known;
but, while they repeated many tales that came by word
of mouth from the Dark Continent-the story-tellers
were almost invariably of royal blood, and did not
hesitate to own it—they seem to have picked from the
mouths of their African brothers not a single jungle-
word for the enrichment of their own speech.
As the small vocabulary of the jungle atrophied
through disuse and was soon forgotten, the con-
tribution to language made by the Gullah Negro is
insignificant, except through the transformation
wrought upon a large body of borrowed English
words. Adopting, as needed and immediately when
needed, whatever they could assimilate, they have
reshaped perhaps 1,700 words of our language by
virtue of an unwritten but a very definite and vigor-
ous law of their own tongue.
In connection with the Glossary, certain character-
istic features of this strange tongue are noted. Their
consideration will facilitate the reader's exploration
of "The Black Border."'
Of the stories included in this volume, the last
fourteen were written and published in The State in
the Spring of 1892. The remaining twenty-eight
were written and published during the year 1918.
Ambrose E. Gonzales.
Columbia, August, 1922.
THE BLACK BORDER
Joe Fields was the most onery looking darkey on
Pon Pon. Squat, knock-kneed, lopsided, slew-footed,
black as a crow, pop-eyed, with a few truculent looking
yellow teeth set "slantindicularly" in a prognathous
jaw, he was the embodiment of ramshackle inefficien-
cy. Although he worked only now and then, thanks
to the industry of a hardworking wife, he usually
owned, encumbered by a chattel mortgage, a wretched
half-starved horse upon which he rode to his occa-
Joe, runt as he was, had two sources of pride — the
aristocratic lineage of his "owners," for he had
belonged to the Heywards, and the achievement, on his
own behalf, of the paternity of twins. Poor, patient
Philippa, being only the mother, and a person of no
family to speak of, having been the slave of a Charles-
ton baker — whose fortunes rose during the war, though
his Confederate yeast didn't — Philippa, of the bour-
geoisie, was not taken into account. "Dem two twin
duh my'own," and "Me nyuse to blonx to Mass Clinch,*'
were the Andante and Allegro of Joe's prideful song.
When some lusty young wench, during the customary
"chaffing" of the plantation dinner hour, would ridi-
cule his small size, Joe would swell with impor-
tance, grin like a 'possum, and overwhelm her with the
retort: "Little axe cut down big tree! You see dem two
twin, entyi Dem duh my'own.'''' But the "two twins,"
poor little dusky wights, were in evidence in the
neighborhood and could be estimated :it their true
THE BLACK BORDER
value and Joe's paternal prowess appraised accord-
ingly, but "Mass Clinch" lived away off "een Walter-
burruh" and, later, as governor, in Columbia, and his
name, mouthed unctuously by his former slave, carried
with it a weird, mystical importance, a portentous
something that held his auditors with staring eyes
and dropping jaws till Joe reached his climax, when
the tension relaxed and they returned to earth.
Once started, Joe's imagination fed upon his words
as a dog upon his own fleas. One day when Philippa
reprobated his want of industry, Joe, other negroes
being present, began to brag: "Wunnuh haffuh wu'k
'cause wunnuh blan blonx to po' buckruh. Yo' niaus-
suh \se7f haffuh wu'k ! Enty I shum een town one time
duh stan' een 'e bake sto' duh mek bread, en' 'e kibbuh
wid flour 'tell 'e baid stan' sukkuh deseyuh cedar hedge
duh wintuhtime w'en w'ite fros' dey 'puntop'um?"
"Enty yo' maussuh wu'k, Joe?"
"Who? My Maussuh? Mass Clinch? 'Ooman, you
mils' be fool ! Enty wunnuh know him duh quality ?
You ebbuh yeddy 'bout quality wu'k? Wuffuh him
haffuh wu'k? No, suh ! Him hab him ob'shay, Mistuh
Jokok, fuh wu'k. My maussuh tek 'e pledjuh. 'E ride
hawss, 'e eat ricebu'd en" summuh duck en" t'ing'. Him
hab t'irteen plantesshun 'puntop Cumbee Kibbuh.
Him plant seb'n t'ous'n' acre' rice."
"Seb'n tfous^n' acre 1 P
"Yaas, enty uh tell wunnuh 'e plant nine t'ous'n'
acre' rice? Wunnuh t'ink me duh lie, enty? Uh sway-
togawd, w'en uh bin Cuinbee one time uh count fo'
t'ous'n* head uh nigguh' duh hoe rice een de baa'n-
yaa'd fiel'. Xigguli" stan' een Mass Clinch' fiel' sukkuh
crow' duh mustuh! En' him hab seb'n hund'ud mule'!"
"De mule' wu'k 'pun Cumbee?" asked an iconoclast.
"Co'se de mule' wu'k, en' de nigguh' wu'k, en' Mistuh
Jokok wu'k. Eb'rybody wu'k 'scusin' my maussuh.
Dem mule' hab long tail' dull summuhtime fuh switch
fly, but w'en wintuhtime come en' dem 'leb'n hund'ud
mule' tail' roach, de pyo' hair wuh shabe off'um mek
one pile stan' big mo'nuh rice rick!"
"Hukkuh yo' maussuh plant all dat rice en' t'ing' ef
'e yent wu'k?"
"Enty I tell wunnuh him lib een Walterburruh ?
Duh summuhtime 'e does dribe duh plantesshun now
en' den full see how him crap stan'. Him dribe two
hawss', en' de buckle on 'e haa'ness shine lukkuh gol'.
One nigguh dull seddown behine 'e buggy wid alltwo
'e han' fol' befor'um lukkuh hog tie. Mass Clinch hab
on one kid glub 'pun 'e han' wuh come to 'e elbow.
W'en 'e git Cumbee, 'e light out 'e buggy. T'ree nig-
guh' run up fuh hoi' 'e hawss' head. Mistuh Jokok
mek'um uh low bow. Mass Clinch iz uh berry mannus-
subble juntlemun, alldo' him iz quality, en' him 'spon'
to de bow. Den 'e biggin fuh walk. Him hab shishuh
rich walk ! Den 'e cock 'e hat one side 'e head. You
nebbuh see nobody kin cock 'e hat stylish lukkuh
Mass Clinch. Den 'e onbutt'n 'e weskit. 'E pit 'e lef
han' een 'e britchiz pocket, en' swing 'e walkin' stick
een 'e right han', en' biggin full quizzit him ob'shay.
By dis time 'e git 'puntop de baa'nyaa'd hill en' look
obuh 'e fiel'.
" 'Jokok'," 'e say, " 'dat de stretch flow you got on
my rice, enty?' "
" 'No, suh, dat de haa'bis' flow.' "
" 'De debble'!" 'e say. " "E mus' be mos' time fuh
ricebu'd !' "
" 'Yaas, suh. We gwine hab some fuh dinnuh'."
THE BLACK BORDER
" 'Wuh else you got fuh eat?' ' Maussuh quizzit'um.
" 'We got one cootuh soup mek out'uh tarrypin' wuh
bin een one pen duh fatten 'pun gritch en' ting,' en'
one trout fish, en' summuh duck'."
"'You hab enny mint?'"
" 'Yaas, suh, we hab 'nuf ."
" 'Berry well, mek we a few julip'," 'e say. " 'You
got enny mo' "pawtun* bidness dat 'quire my 'ten-
'"Yaas, suh: snake hole en' crawfish en" t'ing' spile
one uh we bank, en' de trunk blow out, en* uh hab uh
berry bad break, en' Cumbee ribbuh comin' een de fiel\
You wantuh shum, suh?'"
" 'No, I t'engk you',"' 'e say. " 'Leh de ribbuh tek
'e co'se. Leh we eat'."
"Wen 'e gitt'ru 'e bittle, 'e hab 'e fo" hawss* hitch up,
en" Mistuh Jokok pit two-t'ree bag uh cootuh en* rice-
bu'd en' summuh duck een him cyaaridge, en' 'e gone
spang Walterburruh, same lukkuh bu'd fly ! Da" duh
my maussuh !"
By the time Joe concluded his story the noon hour
was over, and the awed negroes rose silently to resume
their work. One old mauma, turning to Joe as she
knocked the ashes out of her clay pipe and carefully
stuck it in the knotty wool behind her ear, said, "Joe,
dat duh Gawd you binnuh talk 'bout, enty?"
"No, enty I tell wunnuh duh Mass Clinch Heywu'd!
Him duh my maussuh, me duh him nigguh. Me ain'
ha Huh wu'k, him ain' haffuh wu'k. Wen wunnuh look
'puntop'uh she, wunnuh look 'puntop'uh me. Me en'
him alltwo stan' same fashi'n."
k 'I t'aw't," said the old woman, scornfully, "I t'aw't
V nius" be de blessed Gawd you bin gib shishuh high
praise, but I always yeddy suh Him duh de ainjul'
maussuh, en' I yeddy suh de ainjul' w'ite en' shiny
lukkuh^taar een de sky, but you, nigguh ! YOU black
ez uh buzsut.'" 1
How beneficent must have been the institution of
slavery under kindly masters which could cause Joe
Fields, black, yellow-eyed, knock-kneed, slew-footed,
longtime husband of Philippa, sometime father of
twins, to boast, 53 years after the war, of the prowess
and attainments of his former master, Duncan Clinch
Heyward, sometime governor of South Carolina, now
collector of internal revenue and sitting at the receipt
of customs in the tall Palmetto building at Columbia,
with dominion over war tax, surtax and every other
impost internally levied by a benevolent government
upon its loyal people. Although, perhaps, an infant in
arms when Joe first looked freedom in the face, this
"master" was exalted in, the mind of his former slave
to almost Godlike proportions. "Joe' maussuh duh
him Jedus," conservatively remarked Philippa.
The negroes about Pon Pon had been considerably
exercised over the lengthening of the daylight hours
by pushing forward the hands of the clock. Always
suspicious of a Caucasian in the woodpile, it was gen-
erally regarded as a device for increasing the hours of
negro labor. At a recent gathering of the idle black
at Adams Run station, the opinion was expressed that
the President, although a "Dimmycrack," must be "a
smaa't man" to have lengthened the days on the dar-
keys and taken over the railroads.
New York, in the minds of the coast negroes, is the
ultima Thole — at once the farthest North, and the
very core and center of Yankeedoni, where, in awful
majesty, the President of the United States is sup-
posed to sit like Zeus upon Mt. Olympus, or "my
maussuh" in Columbia.
"Yaas, man," said Joe, "de Prezzydent smaa't man,
fuh true, but 'e vent smaa't lukkuh maussuh, 'cause my
maussuh hatf'uh gone New Yawk fuh tell de Prezzy-
dent wiih fuh do. Same lukkuh maussuh tell Mistuh
Jokok, him ob'shay 'puntop Cumbee, huminueh rice
en' t'ing' fuh plant, same fashi'n him tell de Prezzy-
dent wuh fuh do, en' de Prezzydent smaa't 'nuf fuh
"Todduh day uh hab uh hebby disapp'int. Uh yeddv
suh uh big buckruh wedd'n' bin fuh hab een Adam*
Run billage, en' uh yeddy suh my maussuh fuh come
spang f'um Cuhlumbia to de wedd'n'. Uh gone en'
pit on me shoe' en' da' new britchiz wuh uh buy yeah
'fo' las', en' uh pit on uh old weskit wuh uh bin hab,
so 'e kin mek me fuh look lukkuh maussuh, en' uh tek
me two foot en' walk, 'cause da' las' oxin wuh uh buy
done dead onduhneet' de mawgidge da' buckruh mek
me fuh pit 'puntop'um, en' uh yent hab nutt'n' fuh
ride, en' uh gone slam Adam' Run billage to de
wedd'n', so uh kin see maussuh, en' uh stan' outside de
'Piskubble chu'ch en uh fast'n' alltwo me yeye 'pun de
do' fuh see w'en de buckruh' gone een en' w'en dem
come out, en' 'nuf buggy en' cyaaridge en' t'ing' dribe
up to de do', en' some dem torruh t'ing wuh buckruh
hab now — uh cyan' call "e name, but 'e hab fo' w'eel en*
'e run lukkuh bu*d fly, en' 'e smell lukkuh kyarrysene—
en' uh see de buckruh git out en' gone een de chu'ch en'
de preechuh pit on *e new shroud, 'cause 'e done buy
anodduh one attuh Estelle t'ief de fus' one *e hab.
Bimeby, eb'rybody come out de do', en' uh look 'tell uh
pop-eye,' but uh nebbuh see no maussuh: en' den uh
fin' out suh maussuh ent hab uh chance fuh come to de
THE BLACK BORDER
wedd'n' cause him haffuh gone Xew Yawk fuh tell de
Prezzydent wuh fuh do ! Yaas, suh, da' duh my maus-
suh ! Same way 'e mek Mistuh Jokok en' dem nigguh'
en' t'ing' fuh stan' 'roun' 'puntop'uh Cumbee ribbuh,
uh yeddy suh same fashi'n him fuh do een Cuhlumbia
en' New Yawk. Uh yeddy suh my maussuh fuh lib
een Cuhlumbia een one high house. 'E high mo'nuh
loblolly pine tree. De house hab seb'n hund'ud room',
but dem buckruh' wuh bin Cuhlumbia tell me de house
ent hab no step fuh climb. Wen maussuh ready fuh
go to de top uh 'e house, 'e gone een one leetle room,
en' 'e shet de do' en 1 'e shet 'e yeye. Fus' t'ing you
know, 'e gone spang to de top uh 'e house. Wen 'e
op'n 'e yeye de do' op'n, en' 'e walk een 'e office en' 'e
hab 'nuf man en' nyung lady een 'e office. 'E seddown
befo' "e table. 'E table big lukkuh winnuh-house flat-
fawm. 'E pit uh seegyaa' een 'e mout\ 'E cross "e
foot. 'E call one dem nyung lady. 'You got any
match?' maussuh ax'um.
" 'Yaas, suh,' 'e say."
" 'Please gimme uh matches,' maussuh say, berry
puhlite, 'en' light'um fuh me.' De nyung lady g'em de
match, but him say suh maussuh hab mo' 'speriunce
fuh light match' den w'at him hab. Maussuh say,
"berry well,' en' him 'cratch' de match 'pun 'e britchiz.
'E ketch fire. 'E light 'e seegyaa". 'E blow smoke! 'E
study ! Bimeby 'e reach obuh 'e table. 'E tetch one
leetle sump'n'nurruh lukkuh rattlesnake' butt'n. De
t'ing hab lightnin' een'um, but 'e nebbuh t'unduli.
Wen maussuh tetch'um, de felluh go 'ping,'' same
lukkuh oonuh t'row stick 'puntop tallygraf wire.
Bimeby, fo' man' run een de room. 'Hummuch money
oonuh tek f'um de buckruh teday?' maussuh ax'um.
'You tek all dem got?'"
" 'Yaas, suh,' dem say. 'Eb'n so we tek dem fowl off
de roos'!' "
" 'Berry well,' maussuh say. 'Ef you tek all dem
got, uh haffuh study 'pun uh plan full git mo', en" V
tell de fo' man 1 fun gone. Wen dem gone, maussuh
study. 'E pit 'e head one side sukkuh blue jay. 'E
blow smoke, en' 'e study. Maussuh too schemy !
Bimeby, 'e say to 'eself : 'Wuh me en' de Prezzvdent
gwine do? Us done ketch all de money wuh de buck-
ruh got, en' us yent lef urn nutt'n' 'cep' de railroad.
Niffsruh' ent got nutt'n' but dem han' en' dem foot'.
Nigguh' ent fuh hab no money. Nigguh' fuh w'uk.
Leh we see,' 'e say. 'Fus' t'ing, me en' de Prezzydent
haffuh wu'k! Alltwo uh we duh juntlemun, en' jun-
tlemun ent fuh wu'k.' Maussuh pit on 'e hat. 'E gone
deepo' een Cuhlumbia. 'E ride de westyblue strain,
en' 'e nebbuh git off 'tell 'e git spang New Yawk ! 'E
gone to de Prezzydent' house. De Prezzydent mek'um
uh bow. 'E ax'um, 'How you lef yo' fambly en' yo'
crap?' Maussuh treat'um berry mannussubble. 'E
tell'iim 'e fambly well, but 'e crap ent stan' so berry
good, 'cause nigguh' seem lukkuh dem ent lub fuh
wu'k 'fo' day clean een de mawnin', en' dem dat good-
fuhnutt'n' dem wan' knock-off soon ez daa'k come.
k Dem eegnunt tuh dat,' de Prezzydent tell'um. 'Ent
you hab moonlight night' 'puntop Cumbee ribbuh?'
Maussuh tell'um yaas, him hab monlight, fuh true.
but seem lukkuh moonlight night' duh suinmuhtime
niffffuh' fuhrebbuh duh shout en' beat stick. Maussuh
tell'um ef him kin mek uh law fuh pit anodduh hour
een eb'ry day, him kin git mo' wu'k out de nigguh'.
'Berry well,' de Prezzydent tell'um. En' 'e mek law
full sattify maussuh. same lukkuh maussuh tell'um.
THE BLACK BOEDER
"Den maussuh cross 'e foot, en' 'e study some mo'. 'E
git schemy 'gen ! Maussuh tell'um t'engky fuh de
law wuh 'e mek, but 'e tell'um one t'ing wuh bod-
duhr'um duh de railroad wuh run f'um Wite Hall
fuh gone town. 'E tell'um eb'ry Sattyday Wite Hall
deepo' black wid nigguh' fuh gone town fuh t'row'way
dem money. Maussuh tell'um de ticket en' de 'scusshun
too cheap, en' ef de Prezzydent gi' him de railroad,
him will chaa'ge mo' money fuh de ticket, en' den de
nigguh' cyan' trabble so fas'. De Prezzydent tell'iim,
yaas, 'e plan berry good, but him hab uh sonny-law
wuh hab uh berry good ecknowledge fuh git money
out'uh buckruh', en' ef him kin git'um out'uh buckruh',
him kin git'um out'uh nigguh' alltwo, so 'e say 'e gwine
tek de railroad f'um de buckruh' en' g'em to 'e sonny-
law, en' maussuh tell'um berry well, him 'low'um fuh
do dat, en' den maussuh come home en' write uh ansuh
to Mistuh Jokok fuh tell'um nigguh' fuh wu'k one mo'
hour eb'ry day Gawd sen', en' Mistuh Jokok pass de
wu'd; en', please Gawd, de Prezzydent' sonny-law mek
nigguh' fuh pay mo' fuh ride de railroad, en eb'rybody
say suh de Prezzydent shishuh smaa't man fuh mek
dem law, but, oonuh yeddy me ! duh my maussuh mek
de Prezzydent fuh mek law ! Him schemy fuh t'ink
all dem t'ing so him en' de Prezzydent ent haffuh
wu'k! My maussuh ent full wu'k. No, suh.'"
AN ANTEMORTEM DEMISE
Under whatever star Philippa had been born, she
had known only ill luck since her acquisition of a hus-
band in Joe Fields, the slew-footed former slave of
former Governor Heyward. Joe's pride in his for-
mer master was too great to permit him to walk, and
the mortgaged horse or mule which he usually owned
seldom lived very long on the light rations and scant
attention it received. Its demise would soon be fol-
lowed by another animal purchase, another mortgage,
and another death. Joe occasionally worked when it
suited him, but Philippa toiled unceasingly, and,
although she seldom lived at home, she was very proud
of the little establishment which her labor maintained.
Always distrustful of Joe, she yet gave him the cus-
tody of, and dominion over, the few material things
she possessed, representing in her character the con-
tradictions not infrequently met with among those of
her sex in higher circles.
Once upon a time, Philippa aspired to animal hus-
bandry. Tired of buying bacon for Joe at the Cross
Roads store, she applied the savings of several months
of hard labor to the purchase of a young sow, and, per-
haps in compliment to Joe, she bought a Berkshire,
the blackest pig she could find. During the months
of anticipation, while she worked for the money with
which to make the purchase, her mind was full of the
little black pigs that some time would be running
about her yard around the cabin in the woodland, fur-
nishing meat in prospect, and immediate companion-
ship for Joe and their taciturn black daughter, Chris-
TEE BLACK BORDER
topher Columbus, who kept the home fires burning
with whatever lightwood knots she could pick up in
the pineland, while the wife and mother worked for
"de buckruh" several miles away.
"Joe en' Cuhlumbus sho' gwine hab uh good cum-
p'ny w'en uh buy da' hog en' sen' um home," she
thought. "Ef uh kin raise ten pig' dis'yeah, maybe
nex' yeah uh kin raise two-t'ree hund'ud, en' dem kin
git 'nuf fuh eat een de swamp en' de pinelan' bidout
buy "urn no bittle."
So her fancy pictured her humble premises teeming
with little pigs, first squirming in their beds among
the straw, then grunting and running about the place,
while Joe and Columbus, squatting on the door step
of the cabin, communed with them in spirit and
watched them grow. Later, the husky shoats would
forage the pinelands and swamps for mast and acorns,
and root about in the muddy branches for slugs and
crayfish, then, grown to fat porkers, they would be
slaughtered, salted and smoked, and hams, shoulders,
and flitches would hang in festoons from the cabin
rafters. So they successively passed through the seven
ages of swine. At last the sow that was to transmute
Philippa's dreams into realities was bought and paid
for, and a message dispatched to Joe to come and take
her home. In due time he arrived with ox and cart and,
admonished by Philippa to meet the responsibility
placed upon him, he drove away, the guardian of her
But Joe was not a forward-looking man. His eyes,
lacking speculation, were filled with the insistent mate-
rialism of the moment. A present pig was worth a
hundred in prospect. His eyeballs popped and his lips
leaked as he viewed Opportunity that grunted so tan-
AN ANTEMORTEM DEMISE
talizingly at his door, and the gnawing* of "Guamba"
(the meat hunger of the savage African tribes) played
Lady Macbeth to his halting thoughts of murder and
turned them into resolution.
'"Yaas, ma'am, uh glad fuh git uh chance fuh wu'k
out 'gen, 'cause Joe' shishuh po' puhwiduh. 'E nebbuh
hab no bittle een de house fuh eat. 'E lub fuh eat, but
"e say suh "cause him maussuh duh quality, suh him
ent fuh nyam no dry bittle. Cawn hom'ny ent wut'
fuh Joe 'scusin' 'e got hog meat 'long'um fuh greese 'e
mout', en' da' time we'n uh binnuh wu'k Pon Pon uh
lavuh' haa'd fuh two munt' fuh buy uh sow so uh kin
raise hog meat fuh keep f'um fuhrebbuh duh run duh
sto' fuh bodduh wid dem Jew' en' t'ing", en' w'en uh
done pay fuh de sow, uh sen' one metsidge fuh tell Joe
fuh come fuh fetch'um home. Yuh come Joe een 'e
oxin cyaa't ! *E dat swonguh, "e mos' mek somebody
wuh ent know'um t'ink suh himself wu'k fuh buy de
hog. Joe tie all fo' de sow' foot, "e pit'um een 'e cyaa't,
en' *e gone ! Attuh uh week done gone, uh sen' wu'd
fuh tell Joe fuh come fuh see me fuh tell me how de
hog git 'long. Bimeby Joe come, 'e tell me de hog hab
nil berry good he'lt'. Uh t'engkful fuh yeddy dat,
"cause uh study 'puntop da' hog tummuch. Anodduh
week done gone, uh sen' fuh Joe 'gen. 'E come. Uh
ax'um how de hog' he'lt'. 'E say 'e he'lt' ent so berry
good, 'e say seem lukkuh de hog kind'uh poly. Uh
baig'um fuh ent tek "e yeye off de hog, en' 'e mek me
uh prommus suh 'e gwine watch'um same lukkuh de
sow duh 'e own chile. Anodduh week gone. Joe come
'gen. 'E fetch uh berry sad news f'um de hog. 'cause
'e say suh de hog duh leddown, en" him berry 'f'aid
suh 'e (ley at de p'int uh de't'. Wen him tell me dat.
THE BLACK BORDER
uh seddown en' uh cry, but w'en uh look "puntop'um
uh see suh Joe hab uh berry sattify' face, en' 'e jaw
look hebby 'tell 'e stan' lukkuh mufflejaw fowl, but
stillyet uh nebbuh 'spishun nutt'n', en' uh ax Joe
wutfuh mek 'e jaw fat. 'E tell me 'e hab uh teet'ache,
en' dat w'ymekso 'e jaw swell. Joe gone. Nex' week
'e come 'gen. 'E jowl hebby ez uh buckruh' barruh
Chris'mus time, en' 'e face look berry sattify. Uh
ax'um how de hog ? 'E say de hog dead ""tell buzzut done
eat'um. Wen uh yeddy dat wu'd, me h'aa't hebby 'tell
'e ready fuh drap out me t'roat 'pun de du't. Uh look
'pun Joe 'gen. Uh study 'pun how 'e jaw fat. Uh
biggin fuh 'spishun. Uh ax'um ef 'e still hab uh teet'-
ache een 'e jaw. 'E tell me yaas, 'e teet'ache hot'um 'tell
'e cyan' nyam 'e cawn hom'ny. Uh ax'um ef 'e teet'
hot'um to dat, hukkuh him mout' kin grin lukkuh pos-
sum mout' dull wintuhtime w'en 'e dey een possimmun
tree ? 'E say suh 'e teet'ache hot'um 'tell 'e mek'um fuh
grin. W'en 'e tell me dat, uh know him duh lie, en' uh
know berry well weh de hog gone, 'cause him hab
shishuh selfish face uh know suh nutt'n' gwine mek'um
grin 'cep'n' 'e belly tight. Dat, en' brag 'bout e maus-
suh, duh de only two t'ing fuh sweet'n 'e face fuh mek
laugh come een 'e mout' ! Uh tell'um, berry well, uh
fret 'bout de hog 'tell uh haffuh gone home en' look
'puntop de po' creetuh' bone. 'E tell me suh buzzut done
scattuh 'e bone. Uh tell'um, nemmine, uh gwine fin'um
ef uh haffuh hunt spang tuh Caw Caw Swamp ! Joe
stick out 'e mout' 'tell 'e oagly ez uh catfish, but uh vent
mine'um, en' uh climb' een de oxin cyaa't en' mek'um
fuh dribe tuh de house. Uh know berry well suh uh kin
mek Cuhlumbus fuh tell me de straight 'bout de hog,
'cause uli train'uui fuh watch 'e Pa same ez beebu'd
watch beehibe. W'en uh git home uh holluh fuh
AN ANTEMOBTEM DEMISE
Cuhiumbus, but 'e vent mek no ansuh en' uh know 'e
mus'be gone deepo. Uh look full de key een de knot
hole een one de house' log weh e does lef'iim w'en
'e gone out, but befo' uh gone een de house uh tell Joe
fuh show me weh de hog done dead, so uh kin look 'pun
'e bone. Joe look shanieface' ez uh suck-aig dog w'en
oonuh ketch'um een uh hen nes,' but e nebbuh crack
*e teet', en' 'e gone tuh de aige uh de swamp en' 'e tell
me suh dey de hog dead, en' de buzzut mus'be Hew 'way
'long 'e bone, 'cause none ain' lef . Uh tell'um 'e buzzut
strong fuh true, but de nigguh lie so easy, uh haifuh
suck me teet' at'um. Uh gone dull house, uh onlock
de do' en' uh gone een. De fiah done out een de chimbly,
but een de cawnuh uh de chimbly uh see de big spiduh
duh set, kibbuh' up wid ashish en' dead coal'. Uh ax
Joe wuh 'e got fuh eat. 'E say 'e dunno wuh Cuhium-
bus cook' befo' 'e gone out. 'E say 'e 'spec' Cuhiumbus
him roas' tettuh, eeduhso bile' hom'ny een de spiduh.
Uh tek off de kibbuh. Please me Jedus, uh see de hog'
head dey een de spiduh done cook, en' uh know 'e duh
my'own, 'cause 'e hab de w'ite people' maa'k wuh uh
buy'um f 'um een alltwo 'e yez ! W'en uh look 'puntop
de sow head, en' 'membuh all de t'ing uh bin agguhnize
'bout fuh git da' hog, uh hab uh berry hebby sperrit en'
water full' alltwo me yeye. Uh ax Joe weh da' hog meat
come f'um? 'E say him ent know nutt'n' 't'all 'bout'um,
'e say suh somebody mus'be gi' Cuhiumbus de meat. "K
say suh him binnuh nyam de pyo' cawn hom'ny 'tell
him hab uh dry drought een 'e t'roat. Uh teH'um, 'Joe,
you sho' iz uh fait'ful liah fuh tell lie. Yo' jaw swell
wid de pyo' fat you git f'um eat my hog, en' da' berry
sow gwine ride you dull night time. 'E fuh haant you
long ez you lib.' Cuhiumbus come. Uh ax'um hukkuh
TEE BLACK BORDER
de sow git 'e de't'. 'E say suh ebbuh sence de hog come
home, 'e Pa binnuh hankuh at'um fuh eat. 'E say suh
eb'ry day 'e Pa seddown on de do' step duh watch de
hog duh root 'bout de yaa'd, en' eb'ry time de hog
grunt, 'e Pa dat hongry fuh eat'um, 'e gnash 'e teet' en'
water run out 'e mout'. One time de hog git ketch een
de fench en' squeal. Wen Joe yeddy 'e woice 'e run
out, en' 'stead'uh 'e loose'um out de fench, 'e tek axe,
knock'um een e' head, en' 'e tell Cuhlumbus 'e kill'um
fuh pit'um out 'e mis'ry. Den 'e staa't fuh eat'um to
'e tail en' eat spang t'ru de hog 'tell 'e git to 'e head
wuh uh fin' een de pot ! De berry day da' nigguh tell
me suh de sow eenjy uh berry po' he'lt', 'e done eat de
hog' two hanch ! Uh done wid feed Joe ! Ef 'e maus-
suh lub'um tuh dat, him kin feed'um ! Meself, uh
Though the abandoned Joe made bones of Philippa's
hopes, he made none about acknowledging the butch-
ery, and boasting of it, away from home.
"Joe, you sho' iz fat."
"Yaas, man, uh fat fuh true. Uh binnuh eat hog
meat. Philpuh him buy uh hog en' sen' urn home, en'
de hog meet uh acksident een de fench, en' uh 'f'aid
*e gwine dead lukkuh da' todduh hog 'e hab fuh dead
on me han' one time, en' buzzut git'um 'fo' uh hab uh
chance fuh eat'um. Buzzut git uhhead'uh me one
time, but 'e nebbuh do'um two time ! My maussuh' nig-
guh haffuh smaa't mo'nuh buzzut ! Stepney* ain' fuh
come een my house ! Me fuh 'low my maussuh' nigguh
fuh perish fuh hog meat '( Me jaw full dry 'long cawn
hom'ny, en' buzzut mout" full greesy 'long de 'ooman
hog meat, enty? No suh! Uh gwine nyam'um f us' !
Uh hilVvm 'jo" >e dead!
•A Gullah synonym for hunger.
THE LION OF LEWISBURG
Several years ago there lived on the "Lewisburg"
rice plantation of former Governor Duncan Clinch
Heyward, one Monday White, a yellow negro and a
persistent and imaginative practical joker. The little
"Devil's Fiddles'' which boys construct of empty tin
cans and rosined string emit unchristian squeaks and
groans when played upon with smooth hardwood
sticks, and Monday believed that a similar device on a
larger scale could be so manipulated as to frighten into
hysterics half the negro population along Combahee
Eiver. Begging from the store a large empty powder
keg, he surreptitiously rigged it up with stout twine
which, well rubbed with rosin and scraped with a dry
hickory stick for a bow, produced a hoarse and horri-
ble sound which might have passed among the un-
initiated for the roar of a lion — or for anything else.
Monday knew that the superstitious negroes feared
most the unknown. The negro who would have taken
a chance with alligator or bull, or the even more dan-
gerous hind legs of a mule, could be scared stiff by a
weird, unfamiliar sound in the woods at night. So
Monday decided that the ear- jarring sound emitted by
his double-bass "'Devil's Fiddle" should do service for
the roar of a lion, as these creatures were unknown on
Combahee, and the few negroes who had once seen lions
when the circus visited Walterboro, brought back mar-
velous tales of their ferocity and their terrible voices.
Monday baited his victims skilfully. One Saturday
night when the store was crowded with trading
negroes, he led the conversation lionwards. He needed
THE BLACK BORDER
tales of terror, and the two or three negroes who had
once seen lions were willing to oblige. One of them
had even seen them fed. "Wen uh bin Walterburruh,
nh look 'puntop one dem annimel f uh call lion, en' uh
shum w'en dem duh gem 'e bittle fuh eat."
"Nigguh g'em 'e bittle?
"No man, buckiuih feed'um. Nigguh ent fuh feed'um.
Da' t'ing dainjus tummuch ! Nigguh duh him bittle.
Lion en' nigguh alltwo come f'uni Atf'iky, en' w'en dem
Ait'ikin king en' t'ing hab lion een dem cage, 'e gem uh
nigguh fuh eat eb'ry day Gawd sen', en' 'e crack nig-
guh' hambone een 'e jaw sukkuh dem Beefu't nigguh
crack crab claw' w'en 'e done bile. Him done fuh lub
nigguh ! Wen dem sukkus man fuh feed'um een Wal-
terburruh, dem fetch half uh bull yellin' fuh 'e bittle,
en' w'en da' t'ing look 'puntop de meat, 'e tail t'rash'
'pun de flo' sukkuh nigguh duh t'rash rice 'long flail,
en' 'e gyap 'e mout' same lukkuh Mistuh Jokok op'n 'e
trunk mout' fuh t'row uh flow 'puntop Mass Clinch'
rice ! 'E woice roll lukkuh t'unduh roll, en' w'en *e
holluh, eb'ry Chryce' nigguh t'row 'e han' obuh e' two'
yez en' run out de tent, en' gone !"
"Tengk Gawd dem annimel nebbuh come 'puntop
Cumbee!" a woman fervently exclaimed.
"Yaas, tittie," said another, "ef da' t'ing ebbuh come
yuh, me fuh run Sabannuh. Uh nebbuh stop run 'tell
uh done pass de Yamassee!"
Others joined in the trembling chorus and Monday,
when they had become sufficiently worked up, shrewdly
spilled the first spoonful of powder leading to his mine.
"Oonuh nigguh, one buckruh binnuh talk 'puntop de
llatfawm to W'ite Hall deepo dis mawnin', en' uh
yeddy'um tell dem torruh buckruh suh one sukkus hab
TEE LION OF LEWISBURG
uh acksident to Orangebu'g, en' one lion git out 'e
cage en' run een de swamp en' gone, en' de buckruh try
fuh ketch'um but dem 'f'aid fuh gone een de swain p.
en' dem sen' dem dog attuhr'um, en' de lion kill t'irteen
beagle one time!"
"Oh Jedus!" cried an excited woman, "Uh berry
'f'aid da' t'ing gwine come Cumbee! Hummuch mile
Orangebu'g stan' f'um yuh?"
"Uh dunno hummuch mile," Monday replied, "but
uh know lion kin mek'um 'tween middlenight en' day-
clean, en' ef uh ebbuh yeddy 'e woice roll een dish'yuh
swamp, meself gwine git een me trus'me'gawd coonoo
en' uh fuh gone down Cumbee ribbuh, en' uh nebbuh
stop paddle 'tell uh git Beefu't !"
A week passed. Like the waves from a stone thrown
into still waters, the lion stories spread among the out-
lying plantations in all directions. Saturday night
found Monday early at the store. Another convenient
buckra at White Hall station had told that morning of
the lion's escape from the Edisto and his crossing over
the intervening pinelands into the Salkehatchie
Swamp and, as most people know, the Salkehatchie
River, below the line of the Charleston and Savannah
railway, becomes the Combahee. The lion was loose,
therefore, in their own proper swamp, and might even
now be riding a floating log down the current of their
beloved river !
Monday stealthily slipped out. An hour later, when
the negroes in and about the store had worked them-
selves up to a delectable pitch of excitement, an
unearthly groaning roar came from the woods nearby.
The night was hot, but the negroes almost froze with
fear, and the clerk, in whom Monday had confided,
TEE BLACK BORDER
raised no objection when the negroes within the store
called in their companions from the outside and asked
permission to bar the door.
"Oonuh yeddy'um, enty ! Wuh uh tell you 'bout da'
t'ing' woice?" said the negro who had seen lions in
Monday's "Devil's Fiddle" groaned again, and as its
dying notes trembled on the summer night, a rush was
made to close and bolt the windows. The kerosene
lamps smoked and flared in the fetid air. The men
listened and shuddered as the recurrent roars, now
muffled, reached their expectant ears. The women
wailed. "O Gawd ! uh lef me t'ree chillun shet up een
me house," cried one. "Uh 'spec' da' t'ing done
nyam'um all by dis time!"
"Shet yo' mout', 'ooman," said a masculine comforter.
"Hukkuh him kin eat en' holluh alltwo one time ? Yo'
chillun ent fuh eat."
"Me lef my juntlemun een de house," said another
woman, with resignation, "Uh 'spec' him done eat."
"Wuh you duh bodduh 'bout loss uh man?" said the
mother. "Man easy fuh git tummuch. Me vent duh bod-
duh 'bout man. Uh kin git anodduh juntlemun ef da'
t'ing nyam my 'own, but weh uh fuh git mo' chillun?"
"Go'way, gal, ef you kin fuh git anodduh juntlemun,
same fashi'n Gawd help you fuh git anodduh chillun."
After a while the roaring ceased and the clerk, being
perilously near suffocation, calmed the fears of the
negroes and opened the windows. The trembling
darkeys cocked their ears and listened apprehensively,
but the shrilling of the Cicada among the pines and the
bellowing of the bullfrogs in the distant canals were
the only sounds that broke the silence of the night so
TEE LION OF LEWISBURG
recently full of terrors. After awhile the door also
was unbarred and opened, and a bold man borrowed an
axe from the storekeeper and adventured far enough
to cut some slabs of lightwood from a familiar stump.
The hero added to his popularity by splitting these up
and distributing them among the members of the
gentler sex, whose escorts lighted torches and convoyed
them in a body back to the quarters, where the children
and husbands whom they left at home were found
At church on Sunday, the Lewisburg negroes spread
among their brethren from the other plantations the
news of the coming of the lion, and the "locus pastuh"
fervently touched upon the king of beasts. "Puhtec'
we, Maussuh Jedus, f'um da' t'ing oonuh call lion.
Lead'um, Lawd, to weh de buckruh' cow en' t'ing' duh
bite grass so him kin full 'e belly bedout haffuh nyam
nigguh, en' ef 'e yiz haffuh tek nigguh fuh 'e bittle. do,
Lawd, mek'um fuh tek dem sinful nigguh wuh ent wut,
en' lef de Lawd' renointed. Mek'um fuh do wid de
good sistuh en' bredduh 'puntop dis plantesshun same
lukkuh oonuh mek'um fuh do long Dannil — " "Yaas,
Lawd," shouted Monday, the hypocrite, "ef 'e yiz fuh
eat nigguh, mek'um fuh eat dem nigguh 'puntop'uh
Bonny Hall 'cross de ribbuh, en' tek 'e woice out'uh we
pinelan'." "Yaas, Lawd!" "Please suh fuh do'um,
Lawd !" shouted the fervent brethren and sisters. And
stealthily, about two hours after dark that night, while
the emotional negroes were alternately laughing, shout-
ing and praying, Monday put his Devil's Fiddle into
a sack, slipped into his canoe, and, crossing to the
opposite shore of the river, roared frightfully along
the Bonny Hall water line, terrifying the negroes on
THE BLACK BORDER
that plantation and filling the Lewisburg darkeys with
thankfulness that their prayers had been answered.
Another week passed. Monday, playing with them
as a cat plays with a mouse, kept quiet, until by Satur-
day night, no news having come of any damage at
Bonny Hall, the Lewisburg negroes hoped that the lion
had been captured by "de sukkus buckruh," or had left
the neighborhood, and soon after nightfall, half the
plantation gathered at the store.
About nine o'clock, when the store was jammed with
briskly trading negroes, from afar in the woods came
the ominous roar of the hand-made lion. It was dis-
tant, and the negroes, while badly frightened, stood
their ground to await developments, but a few minutes
later the awful sound came again from a nearer point,
and by the time the roaring had come within a
quarter of a mile of the place, the negroes were
panic-stricken, and most of them hurried from the
store and ran to the quarters, where they bolted them-
selves in, to pass a night in fear and trembling, for at
intervals until past midnight, their ears carried terror
to their souls. On Sunday, Monday, wearing the sanc-
timonious expression of a cat that has just swallowed
the canary, moved among them, listening with sympa-
thetic ears to the tales of perilous adventures that some
of them had experienced. "Bredduh W'ite," said a
church sister, "lemme tell you. Las' night uh gone to
Sistuh Bulow' house attuh daa'k. Uh did'n' bin to de
sto', 'cause las' week de buckruh credik me, en' uh 'f'aid
'e gwine ax'me fuh pay'um wuh uh owe'um, en' uh gi'
Sistuh Bulow de money fuh buy me rashi'n' en' t'ing',
en' uh seddown een 'e yaa'd fuh wait 'tell e come back.
Him house ent dey een nigguhhouse yaa'd, 'e stan' to
THE LION OF LEWISBURG
'eself 'pun de aige uh de pinelan'. Bumby uh yeddy
da' t'ing' woice. Wen uh yeddy'um fus', 'e bin fudduh,
en' uh t'awt 'e bin Jackass duh holluh, but w'en 'e git
close, uh ruckuhnize 'e woice, en' uh know 'e duh lion.
Uh dat 'f aid, uh cyan' talk. Uh trimble sukkuh mule'
shoulduh duh shake off cowfly. W'en da' t'ing come t'ru
de bush en' look 'puntop me, me two eye' pop' out me
head ! 'E stan' high mo'nuh Mass Clinch' mule. 'E
yeye shine lukkuh dem fiah buckruh does mek 'pun-
top'uh Jackstan' duh pinelan' duh summuhtime fuh
keep off muskittuh ! W'en 'e op'n 'e jaw, 'e t'roat red
lukkuh beef haslett! 'E mout' full'up wid teet' sukkuh
harruh, en' blood duh drip out 'e jaw sukkuh water
drap outuh nigguh mout' w'en 'e look 'puntop'uh
watuhmilyun ! W'en uh shum stan' so, uh drap' "puntop
me two knee' en' uh baig' me Jedus fuh sabe me ! Uh
dat T aid, uh shet me yeye', en' w'en uh done pray en'
op'n'um' 'gen, de t'ing gone !" And so on, each tale of
dreadful experience told by one negro, being over-
matched by the next, who, if one gave ''free rein" to her
imagination, would be sure to strip the bridle off her's
and throw it away. "Meself shum," related a 20th Cen-
tury Munchausen in petticoats. "Uh bin down de road
uh piece 'bout two hour' attuh daa'k fuh try fuh ketch
da' gal, 'cause uh kinduh 'spishun my juntlemun, en' uh
binnuh folluh 'e track fuh ketch'um, but uh nebbuh
ketch 'um yet, but uh gwine fuh ketch'um, 'cause uh got
me yeye 'puntop da' gal f'um W'ite Hall wuh tote dem
bottle en' t'ing onduhneet' 'e frock fuh sell rum to all
dese man eb'ry Satt'd'v night, en' mek'um fuh t'row
'way dem money 'stead'uh g'em to dem wife en' t'ing',
en' uh bin swif 'pun da' gal track, 'cause yistidd'y wen
my juntlemun git pay'off fuh 'e wu'k, 'e come en' pit
THE BLACK BORDER
half *e money een me han' befo' uh kin ax'um fuhr'um,
en* da' t'ing mek me f uh know him duh fool me. Uh look
"puntop'um en* uh shum duh grin. Sattifaction duh run
roun' da' nigguh mout' same lukkuh puppy run roun'
de yaa'd attuh 'e own tail ! Uh know man tummuch, en'
w'en 'e stan' so, 'e yent fuh trus' ! Eb'ry time man gi'
money to 'e lawfully lady, 'e h'aa't duh cry, en' w'en
him look lukkuh *e glad fuh g'em, 'e face duh lie, 'e try
fuh kibbuh up 'e h'aa't, en' 'e done mek'up 'e min' fuh
fool'um, but me ! uh got uh ecknowledge fuh look t'ru
'e face, en' w'en uh look 'puntop 'e h'aa't, 'e stan'
crookety ez uh cowpaat' ! Da' gal kin fool some dem
todduh 'ooman, but 'e yent fuh fool me ! Him hab two
petticoat', one mek out'uh homespun clawt', lukkuh
we'own, en' todduh one hab skollup', lukkuh buckruh
lady' own. W'en him hab on de clawt' petticoat, none
de man nebbuh bodduhr'um, but w'en 'e walk t'ru
Lewisbu'g nigguhhouse yaa'd wid da' skollup' petticoat
staa'ch' stiff, en' *e frock hice up high fuh show'um, en'
dem man look 'puntop de skollup en' yeddy de staa'ch
duh talk 'she, she, she"* w'en 'e walk, dem know suh *e
got rum fuh sell — dat duh 'e sign — dem t'roat' biggin
fuh dry, en' dem eb'ry Gawd' one pick uh chance fuh
folluhr'um, but dem todduh 'ooman, dem t'ink suh man
lub da' skollup' t'ing 'cause 'e stylish, en' dem study
'bout git skollup' petticoat demself fuh mek man fuh
folluhr'um, but duh nutt'n' but de pyo' rum dem man
dey attuh. Dem fuh folluh da' gal ef *e petticoat mek
out'uh grano sack !
"Wen uh did'n' ketch de gal, uh staa't' fuh gone
home, en' uh look 'way off t'ru de pinelan' en' uh see
two t'ing duh shine sukkuh injine headlight! Uh look
*gen, 'e come close, .en' uh see 'e duh annimel eye ! Bum-
TEE LION OF LEWISBURG
by 'e op'n' 'e mout' fuh holluh. Spaa'k' duh come out-
uhr'um en' 'e woice roll 'tell de groun' shake. Uh neb-
buh hab no time fuh pray. Wen uh see da' fiah come
out 'e mout', uh tell'um, 'so long, bubbuh, uh gone! 1 en'
uh hice me 'coat en' uh tek me two foot een me han' en'
uh nebbuh study 'bout no road. Uh gone slam t'ru de
bush ! Brian 'cratch' me, uh dunkyuh. Jackwine' ketch"
me foot en' obuht'row me, uh jump up, uh gone 'gen !
One harricane tree bin 'cross de paat', uh bus' t'ru'um
sukkuh fiah gone t'ru broom grass fieP. Nutt'n' nebbuh
stop me, 'cause, bubbuh, uh run! Wen uh git een de
big road, uh hog binnuh leddown fuh tek 'e res'. Wen
'e yeddy me foot duh beat groun', 'e jump up fuh run,
but uh obuhtek'um dat swif , me foot kick'um ez uh
gwine, en' uh yeddy'um holluh behin' me sukkuh tar-
rier duh graff'um by 'e yez ! Briah tayre off me frock
'tell, time uh git nigguhhouse yaa'd, uh yent hab nutt'n'
lef but me shimmy, en' w'en dem nigguh look 'puntop
me dem t'ink uh sperrit come out de 'ood. Uh run een
me house, uh shet me do', en' uh nebbuh come out 'gen
Monday inclined his ear and listened to the negroes,
but he showed them no mercy, and before the end of
the third week his lion became so bold that a roar came
even in broad daylight from among the reeds along the
river bank, frightening the laborers out of the fields
and even prompting a neighboring planter to order his
foreman to lock up the mules for safety when he saw
the hands flying in terror from the ricefields! At last,
to avoid industrial paralysis, the owner of the planta-
tion, discovering Monday's plot, suppressed the powder
keg lion. And the master saved his people, the Hal-
cyon nested again on the waves of the Combahee,
THE BLACK BORDER
bringing peaceful days and peaceful ways to the
Lewisburg plantation, with nothing more exciting
than the quest of u da' skollup' petticoat," but — "that's
THE LION KILLER
The lion of Lewisburg was dead. By order of former
Governor Duncan Clinch Heyward, the Devil's Fiddle
with which Monday White, yellow-skinned plantation
practical joker, had terrorized the negroes of the neigh-
borhood for three weeks, had been hidden away, and
the groaning roar of the powder keg lion was no longer
heard in the land. Monday, the clerk at the store and
the master of the plantation, guarded the secret care-
fully and the negroes, who no longer heard the ter-
rible voice echoing through the woods at night, or
along the reeds by the river, believed that the lion,
exorcised by the spirit of prayer, had departed from
among them and gone to some less regenerate com-
munity. Those who had told marvelous tales of the
fierce creature whose flaming eyes had burned into
their souls, whose bloody jaws had frozen them with
fright, told and retold with elaboration and close atten-
tion to detail, — and finally themselves believed, the first
told stories of their encounters with the monster. Some
of those who had had no personal experience with the
lion of Lewisburg believed only part of the oft told
tales. Others were frankly skeptical, for, while prac-
tically all of them believed in the lion, few were willing
to yield to the storytellers the prestige of having come
unscathed through such perilous adventures. These
stories are alwavs liberallv discounted among the
negroes, however. At a "baptizing"' on the Combahee,
the big black pastor had doused in the canal one after
another of the "seeking" sisters. They emerged from
the turbid waters gurgling and choking, but all were
TEE BLACK BORDER
too full of water, or the spirit, for utterance. At last
one lusty wench with better breath control than the
others came up smiling, and with wind enough for
speech. "Oh Jedus!" she yelled, determined to create
a sensation, "uh see Gawd onduhneet' de water! Uh
fin' me Gawd. '# look 'puntop me!"
"You lie!" said the envious sister who had just pre-
ceded her, " His cootuh! Enty I shum?"
Gradually the negroes recovered their confidence,
and resumed their nocturnal rambles, visiting from one
plantation to another, but they usually went in small
companies and seldom adventured alone, save when
some bibulous man, glimpsing the "skollup' petticoat"
of the peripatetic bootlegger from White Hall as she
swished her starched symbol through the Lewisburg
quarters on Saturday nights, followed with parched
tongue and arid throat to some convenient spot where
coin could be exchanged for contraband.
In some way it was generally understood that, sup-
plementing the plantation prayers, "Mass Clinch,"
through personal magnetism or the exercise of some
former-gubernatorial authority, had had a great deal
to do with speeding the going leonine guest. This
rumor traveled by grapevine thirty-odd miles from
Combahee to Adams Run, the abiding place of Joe
Fields, the former governor's former slave, whose con-
fidence in "Maussuh's" powers of accomplishment,
equalled the Mohammedan belief in the esteemed
Prophet's ability to stock the Hereafter with Houris.
It was true that "Maussuh" had commanded the roar-
ing to cease — and it did, but Joe's imagination insisted
upon supplying all the "corroborative detail."
Joe foregathered with some of his friends at the rail-
THE LION KILLER
way station, for things were not going pleasantly at
home. His wife Philippa was one of those hard-work-
ing, aggravating creatures who, by her very industry
and se'f -abnegation, forced upon the lordly loafer by
whom she was husbanded a sense of his own inferior-
ity. Philippa worked out among the white people,
cooking and washing and scrubbing, while Joe rode
about on a mortgaged horse or ox and boasted as a Sir
Oracle at the Cross Roads or the station. Philippa
was always willing to feed Joe, but she was none the
less ready to season his food with the sauce of her
tongue, and whenever she came home, her sense of duty
urged her to remind Joe of his shortcomings. Once a
fighter, hard work and scanty food had worn her body
and somewhat broken her spirit, and she no longer
thrashed her grown daughter Christopher Columbus
as she once did, "jes' 'cause 'e look lukkuh 'e pa," but
Joe, having to take the sauce with the meat, seldom
wasted time in replying that he could utilize in eating,
and thus the more speedily put himself out of earshot.
Once away among his cronies, however, he expressed
himself boldly and truculently. u Da' 'ooman keep on
fuh onrabble 'e mout' 'tell uh w'ary fuh yeddy'um.
'E stan' sukkuh briah patch w'en blackberry ripe. 'E
gi' you bittle fuh eat, but 'e 'cratch you w'ile you duh
eat'um ! Him iz uh fait'ful 'ooman fuh true, en' 'e lub
fuh wu'k, but w'en him dey home, uh yent fuh hab no
peace. Seem lukkuh nutt'n' wuh uh do nebbuh suit'um.
Ef uh seddown een me rockin' cheer duh fiah fuh tek
me res' w'ile uh duh nyam me bittle, 'e fau't me fuh
dat. Same fashi'n ef uh git 'puntop me oxin fuh ride
to de Cross Road, oonuh kin yeddy'um talk 'bout uh
lazy man ent wut !"
THE BLACK BORDER
" 'E ebbuh fau't you w'en you got axe, eeduhso hoe
een yo' han'?"
"Who, me ? Me f uh hab hoe een me han' ? No, suh !
Maussuh' nigguh ent f uh hoi' hoe ! Wuffuh me haffuh
hoi' hoe w'en uh hab po'buckruh nigguh f uh wife ? Him
f uh hoi' hoe ! Philpuh' maussuh duh po' buckruh f'um
town. Him binnuh bake bread ebbuh sence slabery
time. Wuh him ebbuh do? Him ebbuh kill lion?"
"Kill lion! Wuh you duh talk 'bout nigguh? Who-
ebbuh you ebbuh yeddy kin kill lion?"
"My maussuh fuh kUl'uin!"
"Go'way, Joe ! You duh dream. Een de f us' place,
no lion ent fuh dey een dis country, een de two place,
you ent got no maussuh, en' een de t'ree place, ef you iz
bin hab maussuh, him ent able fuh kill no lion."
"Me yent hab no maussuh ! Enty you know suh uh
nyuse to blonx to Mass Clinch Heywu'd to Lewisbu'g
plantesshun 'puntop Cumbee? Oonuh eegnunt nigguh',
oonuh yent know suh him hab t'ree t'ous'n' acre' rice
en' mo'nuh t'ree t'ous'n' nigguh' en' mule en' ting'?
Oonuh nebbuh yeddy 'bout da' lion wuh git'way fum
de sukkus to Orangebu'g todduh day en' gone down
Sawlketchuh swamp 'tell 'e git Cumbee, en' 'e run all
Maussuh' nigguh' out 'e fiel' en' 'e mek Maussuh 1
ob'shay, Mistuh Jokok, fuh climb tree?"
"Nobody nebbuh yeddy 'bout'um, Joe, en' you neb-
buh yeddy 'bout'um. Hukkuh you fuh yeddy 'bout'um?
You bin Cumbee?"
"Uh yent bin no Cumbee, but uh got uh tittle lib on
Maussuh' place Cumbee, dat how uh yeddy 'bout'um."
"Wuh yo' tittie tell you, Joe?"
"W'en de lion git'way out de sukkus 'e gone spang
THE LION KILLER
f'um Orangebu'g to Sawlketchuh swamp en' 'e neblmh
stop 'tell 'e git Lewisbu'g!"
"Wuffuh him haffuh stop Lewisbu'g, Joe?"
"Enty you know suh Maussuh' nigguh' fat? Maus-
suh' nigguh' fat f uh sowl ! Lion hab sense 'nuf fuh
know fat nigguh w'en 'e shum, en' him kin smell fat
nigguh mo' fudduh den him kin smell /><?' nigguh, en"
Maussuh mek shishuh hebby crap uh rice en' 'tettuh
en' t'ing dat him nigguh' fat mo'nuh all dem todduh
nigguh' 'puntop Cumbee ribbuh !
''Soon ez de lion git Lewisbu'g, 'e stop. 'E know suh
him bittle dey dey, en' 'e mout' biggin fuh run water.
Bumbye dull nighttime, 'e Avoice roll een Maussuh'
pinelan' en' all dem nigguh' tarrify' sukkuh chickin
tarrify' w'en fu'lhawk' wing t'row shadduh obuhr'um !
Dem nigguh' 'f ' aid 'tell dem fool ! Dem lock demself
een dem house duh night, en', alldo' 'e dull summuh-
time, dem mek fiah fuh bu'n so de lion cvan' come
down de chimbly. Wen de lion cyan' git no nigguh'
fuh eat 'cause dem all lock'up, 'e gone dull 'ood en'
meet uh cow en' 'e kill him fuh 'e bittle. Wen 'e done
nyam de t'ree cow — "
^T'ree cow! Joe, hukkuh him kin eat t'ree cow' w'en
"e only kill one?"
"Him nyam t'ree cow', enty? Him kin nyam'um uh
(lunkvuh ef *e vent dead. You ebbuh see lion? Wuh
Pon Pon nigguh know 'bout lion? Seem lukkuh w'en
'e done nyam dem t'ree cow', 'e jis' mek'um fuh hongry
good, en' 'e gone back nigguhhouse yaa'd fuh see ef him
kin git uh chance fuh nyam nigguh'. 'E walk up en'
down, 'e t'rash' 'e tail, 'e gnash' *e teet' en' 'e holluh
sukkuh jackass en' alligettuh en' bull all free one time !
You kin yeddy dem nigguh' een dem house duh pray.
TEE BLACK BORDER
Dem eb'ry Gawd' one prommus dem Jedus fuh folluh
Him wu'd, ef 'e only spayre dem life. One tell'um
suh ef Him tek de lion' jaw off'um, him nebbuh t'ief
Maussuh' rice no mo', en' eb'ry one tell de Lawd 'bout
some uh dem light sin wuh dem willin' fuh t'row'way
ef dem life sabe."
"Light sin ! Mekso dem ent prommus fuh t'row'way
dem hebby sin?"
"No, man, dem ent fuh t'row'way dem hebby sin. uh
dunkvuh ef lion crack dem bone'. Een slaberv time
nigguh baig 'e maussuh' paa'd'n fuh t'ief 'e fowl w'en
'e git ketch, but w'en 'e kill cow, 'e nebbuh crack 'e teet',
en' eb'n so ef 'e maussuh ketch'um duh skin de cow, him
fuh tell 'e maussuh *e fin'um dead een de 'ood, en' 'e duh
skin'um fuh tek de hide to 'e maussuh fuh sabe'um
f urn buzzut ! No, man ; oonuh fuh hoi' oonuh hebby
sin sukkuh sheep buhr hoi' mule' tail, 'tell Gabrull
blow 'e hawn en' de Lawd tek'um off!''
"Bumbye w'en day clean en' de lion nebbuh git no
nigguh, 'e gone en' kill fo' mo' cow', en' w'en 'e done
nyam'um 'e gone duh 'ood en' leddown fuh tek 'e res',
en' nobody nebbuh yeddy'um 'gen 'tell Sat'd'y night
come. All t'ru de week de nigguh' swonguh en' sattifv
een dem min' 'cause dem t'ink suh dem pray' mek de
lion fuh gone'way en' le'm'lone, but 'e yent duh no
pray' mek'um fuh gone, duh dem fo' cow' wuh 'e nyain.
mek' 'e belly full 'tell *e yent hah no room fuh nigguh !"
"W'en Sat'd'y night come, de lion holluh *gen en' all
de nigguh' run out de sto" en' gone een dem house fuh
hide. Monday come, en' de nigguh' 'f'aid fuh gone een
Maussuh' fiel' fuh wu'k. Mistuh Jokok dunno wuh fuh
do. Him sen' uh ansuh to Cuhlumbia fuh tell Maussuh
Vep'n' him come Lewisbu'g, all him nigguh' fuh eat.
TEE LION KILLER
Maussuh ride de train. 'E come. 'E git off W'ite Hall
deepo, 'e git 'pun *e hawss, 'e tu'n to 'e ob'shay, 'Jokok,'
*e say, 'Weh da' annimel fuh hide? Lemme shum!*'
"Mistuh Jokok teirum de las' time dem yeddy 'e
woice, "e bin een de t'icket en' reed en' t*ing by de rib-
buh bank. Maussuh nebbuh wait fuh yeddy no' mo'. 'E
snatch 'e rifle out'uh Mistuh Jokok" han', *e jam 'e two
spuhr een e* hawss' belly, "e hawss jump' nine foot off
de groun' een de ellyment, en" "e gone ! Maussuh run 'e
hawss 'tell *e git 'cross de causeway 'pun de ribbuh
bank, den *e biggin fuh ride slow en' t*row "e yeye
befor'um fuh see weh da' t'mg fuh hide. Wen 'e git
close de briah en' t'ing, *e hawss cock' 'e yez befor'um, 'e
snawt' en' "e 'tan'up 'trait 'pun *e hine foot. Wen 'e do
dat, Maussuh know suh de lion dey een dem bush ! De
hawss come down 'pun 'e fo' foot. 'E duh shake sukkuh
rice t'rasher shake. Maussuh yeddy sump'nurruh duh
groan een de t'icket. Bumbye de lion come out. Wen
'e op*n' 'e mout" 'e teet* long sukkuh cawncob ! Maus-
suh t'row 'e rifle to 'e veye. 'E only hab one ball een'um
en'' 'e know suh ef him ent kill da' t'ing dead, da' lion
fuh nyam him en' 'e hawss alltwo. Maussuh tek aim at
'e t'roat. 'E cut loose, 'bamP Wen de gun crack, 'e
look ! De lion' head roll down de bank 'tell 'e fall een
de ditch! Maussuh cantuh up to Lewisbu"g. 'E tell
Mistuh Jokok fuh sen' uh waagin en' fo* 11^16* fuh
fetch 'um to de yaa'd. Dem medjuhr'um en' 'e stan'
t'irteen foot long! AV'en de nigguh' yeddy suh 'e dead,
dem stop wu'k en' dem fuh mek fiah en' shout roun' da'
lion de Gawd' night ! Bumbye buckruh' come fuh look
'puntop'um en' w'en dem yeddy suh 'e seb'nteen foot
long, dem 'stonish !"
"Yaas, uh 'spec' nigguh' en* buckruh' alltwo fuh
THE BLACK BORDER
'stonish ef dem kin yeddy you fuh tell'um, Joe. Da 1
lion duh git mo' longuh ! W'ile ago you bin fuh mek'-
um t'irteen foot long."
"Fus' time dem medjuhr'um 'e yent bin hab no head.
Enty 'e fuh medjuh mo' attuh dem tie 'e head back 'pun
'e neck weh Maussuh' ball cut'um off ? Oonuh mus'be
"Joe," said another doubting crony, "hukkuh da'
leely ball kin fuh cut off da' lion' head? 'E tek soad,
eeduhso axe, fuh do da' t'ing?"
"Who' Maussuh kill da lion! Duh yo' Maussuh,
enty ? Enty uh tell oonuh eegnunt nigguh' suh de hawss
skayre 'tell 'e shake, en', same time Maussuh pull' 'e
trigguh, de hawss trimble' 'tell 'e mek da' ball fuh
wabble 'cross de lion' neck 'tell V cut \e throat fum
yez to yez/"
Old Friday Giles was the English purist of Penny
Creek. A former "■driver" and slave of Mr. Edward
Barnwell, his manners were pompous, though ingratiat-
ing. Plis speech was unusually good save for his ludic-
rous use of "she" and "her" for all things singular,
animate or inanimate.
For many years "Old Barney," an Ayrshire bull
acquired from the Barnwell family, was the terror of
all the negroes roundabout. True to his Scottish
breeding. Barney was both stubborn and acquisitive
and lived up to
"The good old rule * * * the simple plan
That they should take who have the power
And they should keep who can."
Barney had the power. Therefore he took. He loved
green pea vines as the Scot loves his haggis, and when-
ever he fancied them he had but to lean against the
miserable fences enclosing the negroes' patches, walk
through, and help himself. The negroes would shoot
him up with firearms and ammunition of all sorts and
his hide was constantly full of lead of every size from
mustard seed to swan shot, but fear kept the marksmen
from getting near enough to hurt him seriously, so
Barney philosophically took the lead without, and the
peavines within, and after eating his fill would lie
down in the field and chew his cud complacently, walk-
ing out later through the owner's front yard, pausing
to paw the dirt contemptuously and pull a few mouth-
THE BLACK BORDER
fuls from the Seewee bean vines that climbed about
the garden palings.
One day Friday's field was invaded, and, hat in
hand, he came to the doorstep to complain. "Missis,"
he said, "dat bull Baa'ney, she is ridickilus ! Missis, I
mek my fench ten rail high. I stake her and I rider
her, but ole Baa'ney she put her breas' agains' my
fench, she lean on her, she break her down. She enter
my fiel', she eat my peas. I shoot her, but she is indif-
ferent to my shot. When she conclude eatin' my peas,
she lie down, and, Missis, she was so full that she could
not rise! 1 ' But Fridav was a gentlemanlv old darkey
and treated his sturdy, quick-talking wife, Minda, with
great gallantry, practical gallantry, too, as she bore
him (and raised) 17 sons and daughters, thereby earn-
ing the well-done of her kindly though thrifty old
master. "Maussuh lub me 'cause uh hab chillun so fas',"
she boasted. "I fetch'um uh fine nigguh eb'rv year
Gawd sen'!" — meaning that the old gentleman had a
pre-Rooseveltian objection to race suicide on the plan-
Although old Bo'sun Smashum, the herdsman, who
had raised Barney from a calf, would twist his tail in
the barnyard and chevy him about with impunity, the
bull was truculent toward outsiders and on more than
one occasion disputed the highway with planters of the
neighborhood, who were forced to turn back and drive
a mile or so out of the way in the interest of safety;
while negroes riding or driving oxen, on sighting Bar-
ney in the road half a mile away, would take to the
woods or the fields and make a wide and respectful
detour. The danger would be enhanced should the ani-
mal between the shafts of the primitive cart be one
of the "bull yelliivs" so much affected by the freedmen
for combination purposes. The silly song, "Everybody
works but father," had not then been evolved from the
near-brain of the writer of music hall lyrics, and the
labors of a beast of burden were held not incompatible
with the paternity of a bovine family. So these little
creatures multiplied and continued to lead their double
lives. Barney held in utter contempt even the authen-
ticated bulls of the community, but he so terrorized
the little harnessed scrubs that their owners could
hardly avert a stampede when the great bull bellowed
in the vicinity.
One hot Sunday afternoon three or four hundred
negroes were holding services at the old log church
near the Parker's Ferry cross-roads. Too numerous
for the building, they were using outdoor bush shelters
covered with green boughs and with hewn saplings for
seats. At the tail of a "distracted meetin' " that had
been running for several days, while grass grew in
their crops, they were in a state of exaltation, and the
high, sweet voices of the women blended in harmony
with the deep, rich basses of the men in the perfect
rhythm characteristic of African music. Old time
hymns and "sperrituals" alternated. At first, only two
or three voices followed the leader, then one by one
the singers joined in major and minor keys, until at
the last the entire congregation swelled the diapason
that floated away on the summer wind. The little oxen
and bulls, whose harness permitted the indulgence, lay
down at their hitching posts, the less fortunate stood
between the shafts and chewed their cuds, drowsing
with half-closed eyes in the soft, warm air of the pine-
land, fragrant with the blossoming partridge peas.
THE BLACK BORDER
The singers walked up and down the aisles of the
open-air church, working up enthusiasm in camp meet-
"Sistuh Chizzum, won't you meet me yonduh?"
Sister Chisolm would, so she responded to the mascu-
line invitation, "Oh yaas, Lawd!"
"Bredduh Hacklus, won't you meet me yonduh?"
And Brother Hercules, a wizened little member of Sis-
ter Chisolm's "class," shouted in acquiescent gallantry,
"Oh yaas, Lawd!"
The meeting drew to a close, the last inspiring "sper-
ritual," of African suggestiveness, remained to be
sung. Who should raise the tune? Simon Jenkins
the "squerril" hunter, a devout old rascal, called to his
brother-in-law, John Chisolm, "hice'um, Chizzum !
You hice de chune."
John's resonant voice rolled out —
"Jedus, hoi' de lion jaw,
Jedus, hoi' de lion jaw,
Jedus, hoi' de lion jaw,
'Tell I git on de grazin' groun',
Oh, 'tell I git on de grazin' groun',"
"Dorf turi'urrb loose, Lawd!"
"Maussuh Jedus, hoV 'e jaw!''' 9
came the responses in bass and treble, then, as the
refrain again swelled and died away, "Oh-h 'tell I git
on de grazin' groun'," an ominous "mmmm, mmmm,
mmmm, mmh ! mmh ! nmih !" rolled through the woods.
u Duh Baa y ney! Great Gawd, duh Baa'ney!" shrieked
the panic-stricken women who scattered in every direc-
tion, while the men ran to release their hitched animals
as old Barney leisurely approached, routing sonorous-
ly. "Mek'ace, gal, mek'ace! Him duh walk sedate but
"e bex," shouted a man to a leggy, dry-boned black girl
who, although guiltless of shoes and stockings, had
worn to the meeting an antiquated hoopskirt which
now impeded her progress. "Hice'um, gal ! Hice yo'
'coat en' run/" She "hiced" her petticoat and ran, but
the crinoline billowed about her knees as she passed
Dick Smashum on her way to the Savage plantation.
Dick was duck-legged and as slow of speech as of foot,
but discretion had urged him to get an early start and
he was well out of the danger zone. Later, when
Atalanta's mother overtook him and asked, "You see
my gal? Wen 'e gone?" he replied. "Uh yiz see one
sumpnurruh duh run like de debble, gwine Sab-
bidge. 'E pass me duh paat', en' 'e binnuh trabble so
swif uh yent ruckuhnize urn 'zackly, but 'e stan' suk-
kuh two blacksnake duh 'tretch out een one bu'dcage."
Billybedam was bibulous.
None knew how he achieved his devilmaycare nick-
name — the only name he had, but everybody around
Pocotaligo knew that he came by his thirst through
patient industry, and that he loved his work. No
round-paunched monk of the Middle Ages, no Falstaff
of the English taverns, ever absorbed dusky Tuscan
wine or Sherris Sack with more appreciative avidity
than Billybedam soaked up the "Fus' X" corn sold
on the sly by Yemassee blind tigers and bootleggers,
for Billybedam had acquired his "liquorish mouth"
during the days, the glorious, honorable days, of the
State Dispensary, when, under the operation of that
"Great Moral Institution," certain sons of "Grand old
South Carolina'' had shown the world that the Cau-
casian was not "played out," but could, upon occasion,
graft like any freedman of the good old days of Recon-
So the bibulousness of Billybedam became a byword
all about "de Yamassee," where "de Po' Trial" Rail-
way — significant name — crosses the Atlantic Coast
Line, and, not infrequently, the tempers of passengers
bound for Beaufort and Port Royal.
Perhaps it was the frequent pouring of libations —
his gods were all in his gullet — that enabled Billy-
bedam to crook his elbow so expertly, but this facility,
and a marvelous twist of the wrist, contributed to his
success as a fisherman, and the greater part of what
he ate and drank and wore, came from the brown
waters of the Salkehatchie, whose deep and narrow
"BILLY BE DAM"
current flowed between wooded banks a mile or so
away. With rod and line he fished the stream by day.
and many a string of bream and redbreast perch was
sold at the station to buy the precious whiskey, while
the narrow-mouthed "blue cats,"' caught on his set lines
over night, were traded among the negroes in exchange
for his scanty food and shelter, for Billybedam was a
bachelor and a vagabond, unattached and unaffiliated,
and called no roof his own.
Sometimes in the spring when the sturgeon were
running, the fisherman would get the big-game fever,
and. armed with a ''grain'" which he threw as the
whaler throws a harpoon, stationed himself on some
log that jutted out over the water, or in the fork of a
low, overhanging tree, and took toll from the passing
thousands. During the sturgeon run, when, too, mul-
berries and blackberries were plentiful, the negroes
grew fat and "swonguh" and became more than usually
The heavy, sensuous Southern spring was in the
air. The bayous or "backwaters," which irrigated the
inland swamp ricefields, were dotted with the sweet
white pond lilies, or aflame with the yellow lotus, while
over the broad leaves of lily and lotus, purple galli-
nules tripped daintily. Every log that floated and
every stump that rose above the water carried a string
or a cluster of terrapins, their glistening backs reflect-
ing the sunshine. The sloping trunks of the willows
that fringed the banks were festooned with water
snakes, basking in the grateful warmth. Here and
there on tussock or muddy flat, rough-backed alligators
lay dozing. Blue flags flaunted along the marges. Tall
white cranes stalked slowly about the shallows, paus-
TEE BLACK BORDER
ing now and then with spear-like bill poised, watch-
Billybedam was full of the magic of the springtime,
but it was not altogether a satisfying fullness, and as
he pushed the shallow flat-bottomed skiff off from
shore, he laid down the paddle long enough to eat a
hunk of coarse corn bread and swallow a nip from his
"Fus' X" flask. And then, thoroughly satisfied with
the world, he dipped his blade and, with alternate
strokes to right and left, pushed the clumsy snub-nosed
bateau across the backwater to a famous "drop," a
deep pool just below a gap in the dam where the dark
waters flowed slowly through from an upper reservoir.
This was Billybedam's favorite preserve whenever
high water in the Salkehatchie forced the river fisher-
men to seek their living elsewhere.
Today, however, he made an unpropitious start.
After his earthworm bait had been repeatedly stripped
from his hook by the troublesome silver fish, whose
small mouths enabled them to nibble it away piecemeal
without getting hooked, his cork bobbed furiously,
and he jerked quickly, only to bring swinging over the
boat one of the malodorous little black turtles common-
ly called "limus cootuh" by the low-country negroes.
This unwelcome catch he disengaged from the hook
and threw as far away from him as possible. "You
good fuh nuttV nigguh! Yunnuh fink me come spang
fnm Macfuss'nbil fuh ketch limus cootuh, enty? Who
eenwite you fuh eat 'long fish ? You ebbuh see nigguh
eat 'long buckruh? De debble!" Running his cork a
foot or two higher up the line, he fished at a deeper
level and soon began to ha id in fine perch, which he
strung on the willow withes he had provided. At the
"B ILLY B EDAM"
end of two hours he hud several strings of marketable
fish, and, as the sun had set, he paddled to shore, threw
away his now empty flask, tied his boat to a snag, and
started for Yemassee to convert his catch into cash.
An hour later, with silver jingling in his pocket, he
encountered in the dusk, Miss Maria Wineglass, a
much sought-after ornament of colored society. Miss
Wineglass was, in a manner of speaking, a peripatetic
paradox. Altho" dour-looking and glum, she was noted
for her spirits (80 proof) ; bootless and bare-legged.
she was McPhersonville's most daring and accom-
plished bootlegger, and so circumspect and resourceful
that she seldom met the law face to face.
When her course crossed that of Billybedam. she
was traveling an unfrequented path on the outskirts
of the settlement, and, with little need for caution, she
walked rapidly, giving out as she moved a faint, hollow
sound like the subdued tones of a xylophone. She
hailed the bibulous one as a regular and valued cus-
"Weh you gwine, bubbuh?"
"Wuh you got? I gwine 'tell I fin'um."
"I got 'nuf."
"Gimme uh pint;" and he held out half a dollar.
"Gimme seb'nty ft" cent. Dishyuh t'ing hoi' mo'n uh
•'Wuh kinduh t'ing dat? Lemine shum."
"Yuh him,"' and Miss Wineglass fumbled under her
skirt and, from a marvelously durable and comprehen-
sive pair of bloomers made of two cottonseed meal
sacks sewed together at the top, produced a gourd
holding about three half-pints, and passed it over.
The gourd was bottle-shaped and cob-stoppered and
TEE BLACK BORDER
ingeniously laced about with hickory bark, as flasks
of Chianti are wrapped with flags. The knocking
together of half a dozen of these gourds, tied around
her waist and suspended within her bloomers, had pro-
duced the xylophone music. The money paid, they
Billybedam went his ways. Whatever the nature of
the nepenthe the "Fus X" extracted from the calabash,
it so 'whelmed his wits that oblivion lurked in the
bottom of the gourd and overcame him. He fell among
thieves, who stripped him of a new shirt he wore and
left him, in his trousers only, by the roadside, where
a local constable found him next morning and haled
him before the magistrate for being inadequately
clothed on the public highway.
"What have you to say for yourself?"
"Cap'n, uh yent hab nutt'n' fuh say. Uh gone fish
duh backwatuh, en' een de fus' gwinin' off, uh did'n'
hab no luck, 'cause silbuhfish tek me bait en' uh nubbuh
ketch "urn, en' one limus cootuh grab de hook en' uh
ketch him, en' t'row'um'way, en' den uh ketch 'nuf fish,
en' uh gone Yamassee en' sell'um, en' uh binnuh walk
duh paat', en' uh meet one gal duh walk duh paat',
name 'Riah Wineglass, en' uh yeddy'um befo' uh shiun,
'cause "e mek one soun' w'en 'e walk sukkuh cow foot
crack w'en him duh run, en' w'en uh yiz shum close, 'e
frock duh bunch out all roun'um sukkuh cootuh 'tring
out 'puntop'uh log, en' uh ax'um, 'gal, wuh you got fuh
fifty cent?' en' 'e say 'e yent got nutt'n' fuh fifty cent
but 'e hab "nuf fuh seb'nty fi' cent, en' I tell'um 'lemme
shum,' en' 'e hice 'e frock, en' him hab one t'ing onduh-
neet' him frock, dem call'um bloomuh, uh nubbuh see
shishuh debble'ub'uh t'ing befo' sence uh bawn ! 'E
"BILLY BED AM'
hoi' 'bout t'ree-fo' bushel, en' 'e mek outuh grano sack,
en' britchiz duh 'e farruh en' frock duh 'e murruh, en'
*e stan' sukkuh alltwo. Den de gal graft" een da' t'ing
wunnuh call'um so, en' 'e fuU'uh de pyo' killybash
'long Fus' X, en' 'e keteh'out one en' gimme, en' uh
gone off en' drink'um, en' fus' t'ing uh know uh yent
know nutt % n\ 'tell de eounstubble fin' me dis mawnin',
en' las' night w'en uh bin een one strance, some dem
Macfussn'nbil nigguh' t'ief one new shu't off me back,
en'," said Billybedam, "uh tengk Gawd uh did'n' bin
hab on uh new britchiz!"
A SHORT CUT TO JUSTICE
Ever since the days of Solomon, the courts and
tribunals of the law in all lands have sought short cuts
to justice, but one of the straightest and strangest
in the history of jurisprudence was achieved by one
Daniel W. Robinson, colored, sometime Magistrate or
Trial Justice of the sovereign State of South Carolina,
for the Bailiwick of Jacksonboro, in lower Colleton
Count} 7 .
Under the trying days of Reconstruction in South
Carolina, the white men and boys living in the
so-called "black belt," comprising the coastal counties
of the State, were constantly seeking to lure the black
voters into the fold of Democracy, with but indifferent
success, for the wary freedman, under the secret
instructions given him by the leaders of his own race
and the white-skinned spoilers, native and alien, who
controlled his political activities for their own profit,
was hard to wean away from the idols set up for him
within "the awful circle" of the Republican fold.
These poor, deluded negroes, absolutely dependent
upon their former masters, the landholders, for food,
for clothing, for shelter, for remunerative work — often
for free medicines and medical treatment in communi-
ties where there were no doctors and no drug stores —
though making profuse lip service for benefits
received, forgot them all on election day when, under
the influence of the knaves who manipulated them,
they turned away from their best friends and, hurdled
at the polls like sheep, voted blindly the ballots put
into their hands by the corruptionists.
A SHORT OUT TO JUSTICE
At one of these elections the Republican ballot was
headed with the national flag in colors, swathed around
the ample loins and spreading hips of the figure of
Liberty, with the legend "Union Republican ticket."
One of these flamboyant affairs was secured from the
printer a day or two before the election and the Demo-
cratic tickets were also printed in red ink with a
rooster at the top, in the hope that some of the negroes
might accept and vote them for Republican ballots.
One of these rooster ballots was offered an old darkey at
the polls by a Democratic negro worker, but the wary
old fellow had been rehearsed in his lesson too well,
and he rejected it indignantly, saying: "No, man! till
vent want da' t'ing! Gimme da' ticket fuh wote wuh
hab de gal wid de Balmuhral sku't wrop roun'um !"
And he got it.
Then came '76 and the "Straight-Out" campaign.
Every white man and boy who coidd raise two or
three dollars to buy a few yards of flannel, sported a
red shirt, usually put together by the loving hands of
some member of his family, but, occasionally, fearfully
and wonderfully made by a sweetheart or feminine
acquaintance — some perhaps "a little more than kin,'"
but all "less than kind." The boys, however, upon
whom had been wished the needlework activities of
their lady friends, wore them jauntily nevertheless,
absolutely indifferent to the want of co-ordination of
"seam and gusset and band."
As the campaign progressed and enthusiasm in-
creased, an occasional courageous black, taking his
life in his hands and braving the hatred and ostracism
of his fellows, even of his church and his family,
would boldly put on a red shirt and ride with the whites
TEE BLACK BORDER
to political meetings or rallies. One of these, old
Clitus Wilson, a life-long Democrat, who, as his
master's body servant, fought with him in the battle
of Gettysburg, flaunted his red shirt bravely and
defiantly. Another was Paul Jenkins, a thrifty, prop-
erty-owning negro, whose courageous work in the first
Hampton campaign was remembered by the whites,
who elected him county commissioner soon after
the Democrats came into power. Paul, a wiry, coal-
black negro, was once beset by several members of the
Grant family, "Free- Issue''' mulatto Republicans, and
cruelly beaten. In the courts of radicalism there was
no redress for a negro Democrat, but Paul bided his
time and, meeting one of the Grants alone, retaliated
so vigorously that the mulatto was laid up for a week.
The victim went before Trial Justice Robinson, over
the river at Jacksonboro, and swore out a warrant,
charging Paul with aggravated assault and battery.
Paul, summoned to appear on the following Satur-
day, came in great trouble to a stripling planter of
the neighborhood who willingly accompanied him to
see that the Democrat got justice, and to go on his
bond in case he should be sent up to a higher court.
On Saturday morning the deep and swift Edisto,
lacking a ferry, was crossed in a shallow bateau, the
saddle-horses, held by their bridles, swimming along-
side, and the accused and his protector soon appeared
before the august Court, sitting in a small shanty,
facing an imposing layout of writing materials and a
copy of the statutes. The young planter told the
Court that he had come over with Paul to look after
his interests and see that he got justice. The Court
responded graciously that he was "glad to welcome the
A SHORT CUT TO JUSTICE
distinguished counsel from across the river" and took
pleasure in extending to him the courtesies of his
A jury was asked for and Justice Robinson, calling
up some of the idle negroes who hung about his office,
selected five elderly darkeys, all of them as black as
crows. To these five jurors the magistrate added "the
distinguished counsel from across the river," whom he
graciously requested to consent to serve as foreman.
In the interest of justice the request was complied
Grant, the aggrieved, appeared as prosecuting wit-
ness, "tore a passion to tatters" in describing the sud-
den and furious onslaught made upon him by the
black Democrat, and rantingly demanded justice. Paul
simply told the story of the attack made upon him by
the Grant family and admitted his retaliation, which
he held was justifiable, and the jury withdrew to a
vacant room nearby which was indicated as the place
The foreman was given a primitive split white-oak
chair with a rawhide seat, while his five dusky as-
sociates ranged themselves like roosting buzzards upon
a teetering bench, whose supports, two short boards
sawed into the semblance of legs at the bottom, were
placed so close together that the utmost skill was
required on the part of the sitters to maintain their
equilibrium, for if the central section rose, both end
men had to sit tight until they could rise simul-
taneously, else the laggard would be in jeopardy.
And now the jurors were ready for the case. Paul,
having beaten his man fairly and in righteous retalia-
tion, was entitled to an acquittal and to this end the
THE BLACK BORDER
foreman directed his efforts. As a preliminary, Paul
was called to the shanty window, provided with sixty
cents, and despatched to Arnold's store for a quart of
corn whiskey. Upon his return with the pallid pop-
skull, there was an excited shifting of five seats on
the shaky bench and five pairs of eagerly expectant
eyes rested their kindly regard upon the messenger of
Bacchus as he withdrew, leaving his fate in their
The lone and crafty Caucasian, playing Iago to five
Othellos, picked out a gorilla-like old codger on the
near end of the bench as the dominant personality
among them, and extending the flask told him to take
a drink and serve his fellows. Hacklus Manigo
jumped up with such alacrity, and was followed so
quickly by the negroes who sat next him, that the near
end of the bench, relieved of their combined weight,
flew up, and the two remaining jurors tumbled igno-
miniously and indignantly to the floor. The grum-
bling of the fallen and the derisive guffawing of the
risen, ceased suddenly, however, as eight saucered and
fascinated eyes fastened upon old Manigo's Adam's
apple which moved up and down his neck in perfect
unison with the "glug, glug," of the liquid flowing so
easily down his throat. The drinker's ocular and
auricular demonstration of hydraulics was too much
for his associates, who cried out in indignant protest.
"Tek'care, man! We'own dey een da' t'ing!" "Cap'n,
please, suh, mek'um tek 'e mout' off da' bottle. 'E
gwine drink eb'ry Gawd' drap !"
Manigo, having absorbed almost one-fourth of the
contents of the flask, gave it into the nearest of the
eager hands held out to receive it, drew his coat sleeve
A SHORT CUT TO JUSTICE
with a great swipe across his wet and glistening mouth,
gave a grateful grunt, "umh, da' t'ing good! Tengky,
Boss, tengky, suh!" accompanied by an elaborate
scrape of the foot and a low obeisance, and took his
seat in the center of the bench, where he was soon
Hanked by the four, whose watchful eyes, each upon
the other, had not permitted their attainment of
Manigo's state of exaltation.
"Now, Manigo, and you boys," said Iago. "This is
a plain story. Three or four yellow men double-team
a black man and beat him up. He doesn't take them
to court but waits his chance, and when he catches one
of these yellow men away from his gang, why the
black man beats him to pay him back for what the
yellow man helped to do to him. Now, that's what
Paul did to this free-issue yellow fellow Grant. Paul
is black like all of you. Do you want to send him to
jail for laying hands on a mulatto, just because mulat-
toes think themselves better than you blacks?"
"Great Gawd, no, suh/" shouted Manigo, springing
up. Turning half way round out of respect to the
foreman, he alternately jumped in the air and squatted
like a gigantic frog, while he whirled his arms and
harangued his fellow blacks, cutting his eye around
now and then for a nod of approval from Iago. "De
debble! Punkin skin' nigguh fuh beat black nigguh
en' black nigguh ent fuh beat'um back, enty? Oonuh
ebbuh yeddy 'bout shishuh t'ing sence you bawn? Me
fuh low yalluh nigguh fuh knock me en' me vent fuh
knock'um back ! No, man ! I T h knock'um ef uh dead !"
"Yaas, man, Jmorl/um, knock'um/" came the cries
of approval as old Hacklus, having put up his yellow
man of straw, leaped about as he proceeded to bowl
THE BLACK BORDER
"Uh yent fuh wait 'tell 'e knock me fus'. Uh gwine
knock'um befo' 'e hice 'e han'! Uh knock'um een 'e
yeye, uh kick'um on 'e shin, alltwo one time. Den uh
butt'um een e belly. Uh double'um up 'cause 'e too
swonguh, 'e too 'laagin' ! Cap'n, who dis yalluh nig-
guh nyuse to blonx to een slabery time?" he asked the
''To nobody. He was free. He belonged to him-
"Great Gawd! Cap'n, all dese'yuh mans blonx to
quality ! All uh we yuh nyuse to blonx to Baa 'n well,
eeduhso Heywu'd en' Wandross. All duh juntlemun'
nigguh. Nigguh stan' sukkuh 'e maussuh. Ef 'e blonx
to juntlemun, him gwine mannusubble, ef 'e blonx to
po'buckruh, him ent nutt'n', 'cause uh po'buckruh
nigguh ent wut, but ef 'e blonx to 'eself, 'e blonx to
nigguh, en' da' yalluh t'ing wuh blonx to nigguh
tek 't'oruhty 'puntop 'eself fuh knock nigguh wuh
blonx to juntlemun, en bex w'en de nigguh knock'um
back ! No, suh, 'e mus' be fool ! Leh we tu'n Bredduh
"Yaas, man, tu'nhim loose, tu'n'um loose!" came
"Well, boys, before we go, you'd better finish the
"Tengk Gawd, sun!" ejaculated old Hacklus whose
mouth was now as cottony as a stump-tailed water
moccasin's, as he lifted the flask to his lips, "me t'roat
dry. Uh binnuh talk."
"IIoV on, man!"
"Don' te/Sum all!"
"Manigo drink' too hebbv!"
"'E gwine dreen'um dry!" came the protests, but
A SHORT CUT TO JUSTICE
Manigo had swallowed the lion's share before he
passed the flask to the next man. "Boss, we fuh pit.
da' yalluh Grant een jail, enty?" and he was much
disappointed when told it couldn't be done.
The jury returned to the Court room with their
verdict of acquittal, and received the thanks of the
Court, who assured them all, "and especially the dis-
tinguished foreman," of his appreciation of the expedi-
tion with which they had dispatched the business of
the Court. As Paul and his protector mounted their
horses for the homeward ride, Daniel stood bare-
headed at the Court room door, and expressed the
hope that he might again welcome to his temple of
justice "the distinguished counsel from across the
For many years after the war, Sam Dickerson, a
former slave of the Horlbeck family, ranted around
the courts of the lower counties of South Carolina in
the practice of the legal profession, which he had
acquired in a jack-leg sort of way soon after his eman-
cipation. Tall, black, pompous, and as voluble as an
overshot water-wheel, he cut his grotesque antics in
higher and lower courts to the intense amusement of
blacks as well as of whites. He habitually carried with
him a bag of tawdry and greasy law books, which he
hauled out and spread upon tables, wherever the space
was available, to impress jurors and court-room spec-
tators with his importance. With monkey-like imita-
tiveness he copied the court-room gestures and man-
nerisms of prominent lawyers of the white race, and
he had memorized certain passages from the statutes
and the law blanks, which he spouted whenever oppor-
tunity offered. Upon one occasion Dickerson was de-
fending in a magistrate's court a negro accused of
larceny. The word written on the indictment pleased
him and he mouthed and slobbered over it as one
mouths the pit of a clingstone peach. "Dis man bin
chaa'ge', yo' onnuh, wid laa'ceny! He bin chaage'
wid laa'ceny! Wat am laa'ceny, yo' onnuh ?"
"Do you know what it is to steal?" retorted the
"Of co'se uh does, yo' onnuh. Laa'ceny is t'ief, en'
t'ief is steal, en' uh man w'ich steal is uh man w'ich
enter anodduh man' house een de dead ub night en'
did mos' feloniously steal, tek, carry away en' appro-
priate to he own use de whole or uh paa't dereof uh de
juntlemun' proputty. But de chaa'ge, yo' onnuh, am
Dickerson was so well known about the magistrates'
courts of the City of Charleston that many prominent
white citizens were attracted to the trials when it was
known that this simian-like advocate was going to
participate in the proceedings, and it was quite the
thing to take Northern visitors or the captains of
vessels in port, to the court room to see the black per-
form, and sometimes the magistrate, or the opposing
counsel, would be given a hint to stir him up for the
entertainment of the visitors.
In a trial before a Charleston magistrate, the black
lawyer once sought to have a bad case continued
because of "the absence of a material witness," that
threadbare plea so frequently urged in our courts. The
magistrate, inclined to bait him, insisted that the
material witness be produced in court forthwith.
"Yo' onnuh, I hope you will not insis' upun de
material witness bein' produce' een dis co't."
The court demanded his reason.
"Yo' onnuh, de material witness am a female en' she
cannot cunweenyuntly be produce' een dis co't."
"Why can't a female witness be produced in court?
What is the matter with the witness?"
"Yo' onnuh, I hope you will not compel me to state
w'at is de matter wid de material witness w'y she
cannot be produce' een dis co't."
"Unless you can give me good reasons why the mate-
rial witness should not be brought to court, I will
insist upon going on with the case," said the court.
"Yo' onnuh, I appeal to you as a juntlemun ub deli-
cacy not to fo'ce me to tell de co't w'y de material
witness cannot be produce' een co't."
THE BLACK BORDER
But the appeal to the magistrate's delicacy of mind
was of no avail and he peremptorily ordered the case
"Well, yo' onnuh, my delicacy will not permit me
to state een de English langwidge w'at is de reason
w'y de material witness cannot be produce' een co't" —
just then a laugh from a gentleman of French extrac-
tion in the audience, caused him to turn his head, and
he proceeded. "Yaas, suh, you kin laugh, but you
cannot fo'ce me to use de English langwidge, en' I will
haffuh fall back on my French." Then, wheeling
around and facing the magistrate, "de reason, yo'
onnuh, w'y de material witness cannot be produce' een
co't, is 'cause de material witness is" — just then a negro
woman entered the room, and, hurrying up to Dicker-
son pulled him by the sleeve and whispered in his ear.
Turning dramatically, he shouted, "may it please yo'
onnuh, I hab jus' hear from de material witness en' I
kin now resume de English langwidge. De reason w'y
de material witness cannot be produce' een dis co't, is
'cause de material witness hab two twin/"
On a certain summer day, twenty or thirty negroes
from the Toogoodoo section, assembled at the office of
the trial justice at Adams Run station to settle a legal
matter. The dispute to be adjusted involved the
ownership of a brindled ox, to which claims, appar-
ently equally strong, were set up by two black ladies
from "Down on de Salt." One, Bina Youngblood, the
"lawfully lady" of Scipio Youngblood, the other the
lone, though not lorn, Clara Jenkins, for the moment
unaffiliated. Scipio, the "sea-lawyer" of the Swinton
plantation, undertook to plead his wife's cause before
the magistrate, while Clara, having money in her
purse, because, perhaps, she had just then no man to
support, had "done git de buckruh fuh write uh Letter
town, fuh tell Sam Dickuhsin fuh come fuh rupezunt
me een de co't." At 9 o'clock Sam arrived from
Charleston on "de shoofly strain," as the negroes call
the local which stops at all way stations. The ox,
having caused mutual wool-pulling on the part of both
claimants, had been put in the custody of the magis-
trate's constable, and, tied to the picket fence surround-
ing a corn patch near the station, was chewing his
cud complacently, viewing with drowsy eyes the
human turmoil about him. Clara laid excited hands
upon the Charleston advocate and pulled him into the
presence of the ox, which she introduced. "Dish'yuh
duh him, Mistuh Dickuhsin. Dish'yuh duh de oxin
wuh me en' Mis' Nyungblood agguhnize 'bout. Uh
buy dis oxin f'um Bredduh Izick Puhshay wuh lib tuh
Slann' Hun' en' Buh Izick him buy'um f'um de Jew
wuh hab uh sto' to Wadmuhlaw, en' 'e buy'um f'um de
Jew 'cause de oxin gone een de maa'sh fuh eat, en' 'e
bog een de maa'sh, en' de Jew stan' 'puntop de bluff
en' 'e look 'puntop de oxin, en' 'e 'f'aid 'e gwine drown-
did, en' 'e shake alltwo 'e han' 'bout de oxin, en' Buh
Izick binnuh stan'up close'um, en' de Jew try fuh sell-
'um de oxin, 'cause 'e fink de oxin gwine dead een de
maa'sh, en' Buh Izick tell'um him willin' fuh g'em fibe
dolluh' fuh de oxin, en' him will tek'um out de maa'sh
"eself, eb'nso ef 'e dead, en' de Jew tell'um no, 'e vent
fuh sell him oxin fuh no fibe dolluh' 'cause him kin
sell e meat fuh mo'n fibe dolluh' eb'nso ef e done dead.
but 'e say 'e willin' fuh tek ten dolluh' fuhr'um weh V
stan'. Buh Izick tell'um him will nebbuh git'um out
ef 'e dead, 'cause him well acquaintun wid uh quicksan'
THE BLACK BORDER
dey een de maa'sh puhzackly well de oxin duh bog'up
een de maa'sh, en' 'e say suh de quicksan' gwine swal-
luhr'um up, en' den de Jew ent f uh git nutt'n'. Wen de
Jew yeddy 'bout de quicksan', 'e dat 'f'aid him gwine
loss 'e oxin, 'e sell'um tuh Buh Izick f uh de fibe dolluh',
en' soon ez 'e buy'um en' 'e done pit de money een de
Jew' han', Buh Izick know berry well suh no quicksan'
dey een de maa'sh, en' e' gone weh de oxin duh stan'up
een de mud, en' ketch'um by 'e tail en' twis'um twoVree
time, en' de oxin walk out de maa'sh jis' ez good ez
you en' me, en' Buh Izick git'uni een de flat en'
fetch'um 'cross, en' 'e nebbuh stop 'tell 'e git'um spang
home weh 'e lib. Uh bin to Buh Izick house de berry
day w'en him fetch de oxin home, en' uh yent hab
nutt'n' full plow, en' uh buy de oxin f'um Buh Izick
fuh fifteen dolluh', en' pay'um ten dolluh', en' owe'um
de odduh res' uh de money.
"W'en de Jew fin'out how Buh Izick obuhreach'um,
"e dat bex 'e yent able fuh nyam 'e bittle, en' 'e study
all day 'bout how him kin git 'e oxin 'gen. 'E h'aa't
hebby 'bout de oxin, en' 'e jaw drap eb'ry time "e t'ink
'pun Buh Izick, 'cause him t'ink suh nigguh ent fuh
smaa't 'nuf fuh cheat no Jew. Nex' day 'nuf nigguh
f'um Swintun en' Toale gone Wadmuhlaw full dig
Irish tettuh, en' dem gone tuh de Jew' sto' fuh buy
gunjuh en' nickynack en' t'ing. Mis' Nyungblood en'
'e juntlemun alltwo gone to de sto', en' de Jew yeddy-
'um duh talk 'bout one brinly oxin wuh buy een dem
nigguhhouse yaa'd, wuh come f'um "Wadmuhlaw Ilun',
en' de Jew tell'um yaas, duh him oxin, en' 'e teirum
de oxin sell fuh true, but all de money ent done pay,
en' 'e sen' ansuh full tell me wuh got de oxin fuh
sen'um ten dolluh' mo' fuh de oxin, 'scusin' him gwine
tek'um 'way en' sell'um 'gen. Buh Scipio en' 'e lady
alltwo fetch de Jew' metsidge jis' ez 'e come out 'e
mout', but uh nebbuh bodduh 'bout'um, 'cause uh know
uh hab witness fuh de money uh done pay Buh Izick,
en' uh look tuh Buh Izick fuh puhteck me, but de nex'
week Mis' Xyungblood gone Wadmuhlaw 'gen. en' de
Jew 'suade him fuh buy de oxin fuh fifteen dolluh',
en' him pay'um free dolluh' on de oxin, en' de Jew
g'em uh paper fuh tek de oxin wehrebbuh 'e kin fin'um.
Wen 'e git home, de 'ooman walk een my yaa'd wid
de Jew' papuh een 'e han', en' e' walk swonguh. en',
please Gawd, 'e gone to de oxin weh 'e duh bite grass
een de fench cawnuh, en' 'e tek'um by 'e bridle en'
staa't fuh lead'um out de yaa'd. Bubbuh, uh vent got
no man 'bout de house fuh puhteck me. but uh got
dese ten finger 'puntop alltwo me han' fuh puhteck
meself, en' w'en uh see de 'ooman 'long de oxin, blood
full' alltwo me yeye ! Uh peaceubble 'tell uh bex. but
w'en uh bex, uh ready fuh dead, en' uh light 'puntop'uh
da' 'ooman same lukkuh fu'lhawk light 'puntop'uh
chickin! Me en' him en' de oxin, alltwo tanglety'up
een de du't 'tell dem man een de nigguhhouse yaa'd
halt'uh suffuhrate we. Nex' day me' en' de 'ooman hitch
'gen, w'en him come een de yaa'd fuh onhitch de oxin
de twotime, en' uh 'cratch' him face en' him 'cratch'
my'own, en' attuh dat, de trial jestuss yeddy 'bout'um
en' sen' 'e counstubble fuh tek'way de oxin, en' let'"
one metsidge fuh alltwo uh we fuh come Adam' Run
deepo fuh try de case, en' uh glad dem fuh try'um
teday, teday, 'cause me en' da' 'ooman en' da' oxiu ent
fuh lib tuhgedduh 'puntop no Swintun plantesshun!"
"Come eento co't," yelled the constable, and Clara
and her counsel went within.
TEE BLACK BORDER
The two principals and their partisans, glowering
at one another, ranged themselves on opposite sides
of the little room, and the proceedings were opened.
Bina came to the witness stand with a slowly healing
gridiron of scratches covering her face, tokens of the
efficiency of Clara's finger nails, which courtesies she
had handsomely reciprocated.
"Uh gone Wadmuhlaw fuh dig Irish tettuh, en'
w'en middleday come, me en' all dem todduh man en'
'ooman gone to de Jew fuh buy bittle fuh eat, en' him
yeddy suh we come f'um Swintun place, en' him yeddy
we duh talk 'bout one brinly oxin wuh come f'um
Wadmuhlaw, wuh one uh we 'ooman buy f'um Izick
Puhshay, en' de Jew say suh de oxin duh him'own,
en' nex' time me en' my juntlemun gone Wadmuhlaw,
de Jew say suh de oxin ent pay fuh, en' him fuh
sell'um 'gen, en' w'en 'e say dat, uh buy 'urn en' pay
t'ree dolluh' exwance on'um en' de Jew gimme uh
papuh fuh tek de oxin wehrebbuh uh fin'um, en' w'en
uh gone home uh tek de papuh en' gone een de 'ooman"
yaa'd en' tek de oxin out de fench cawnuh en' staa't
fuh gone, en' 'fo' uh kin git out de yaa'd, da' deb-
ble'ub'uh blacksnake ub uh 'ooman tek uh exwantidge
w'en uh vent binnuh study 'bout'um, en' him git een
de fus' lick, en' 'e vent sattifv fuh 'cratch me eveball*
en' fight deestunt lukkuh lady fuh fight, but him
hatf'uh bite me een de same time, en' 'e teet' shaa'p ez
ottuh' teet'. en' de 'ooman mek 'e fang' fuh meet een
me yez, but me Jedus help me fuh obuht'row'um, en'
befo' dem man suffuhrate we, uh done spile 'e face
'tell 'e maamy yent fuh know'um! I T h gone t'ru'um
sukkuh bulltongue plow gone t'ru blackberry wine!
You shum stan' dey? Duh me mek 'e mout' fuh
twis'up oagly same lukkuh him binnuh chaw green
With a curtsy to the court and a scornful glance at
her opponent, Bina retired, and after Clara had
repeated word for word the story previously related
to her attorney — for some negroes have the faculty of
memorizing and repeating a romantic story over and
over again, omitting none of the mendacious min-
iitise — Scipio, a stout, self-conscious black, rose to
match his plantation wit with that of the experienced
"Jedge, w'en my lady ubtain dis cow f'um de Jew
tuh Wadmuhlaw — "
Old Sam rose impressively. "Do my distinguish"
fr'en' frum Toogoodoo allude to de annimel dat is
now een de custody ub dis honuhrubble co't ez cow?''''
"Yaas, uh call'um cow ! Cow duh 'e name ! Mekso
me yent fuh call'um cow ! Uh call'um cow, uh dunk-
yuh ef e' duh bull! Enty roost uh en' hen all two is
fowl? Uh call'um cow, yaas! Wuh de debble town
nigguh' know 'bout annimel?"
"Kin de 'town nigguh' eenfawm de distinguish'
counsel," observed Sam, sarcastically, "dat he is berry
well acquaintun wid uh sutt'n annimel dat eenhabit de
jungle ub Aff'iky, but, on tell teday, he hab always
obserb dis annimel fuh hab tail. Puhhaps de specie'
dat roam t'ru de fores' ub Toogoodoo is bawn bidout
"Great King! 'e fuh call me monkey!" protested
Scipio, as the audience exploded with laughter, for
however resentful they may be of such characteriza-
tion by the whites, in their lighter moments, the coast
negroes, at least, delight in the exchange among them-
selves of "monkey," "Vanguhtang," "crow," "buzzut,"
THE BLACK BORDER
"blacksnake," "nigguh" and like terms of opprobrious
endearment. "Da' 'ranguhtang f'um town fuh call me
monkey! Him g ran/ daddy ''self duh monkey/"
The magistrate put a stop to these amenities between
counsel, but Scipio's verbal machine gun was jammed
and, too full for utterance, he took his seat, muttering
wrathfully as Sam rose triumphant.
"Ef it please de co't," said Sam, "I repeah een dis
tribunul fuh rupezunt dis defenseless female ub de
Aff'ikin race f'um de paa'simony ub uh membuh ub de
tribe dat tek Juhruzelum f'um de Christ'un t'ree
t'ous'n' yeah' ago!"
"Now 'e duh talk'um!" commented a spectator.
"I am sattisfy', yo' onnuh, dat I kin repeal to yo'
onnuh' sense ub jestuss fuh gib dis po' 'ooman de
puhtekshun to w'ich de po' en' weak am eentitle' f'um
de rich en' de strong, 'cause, yo' onnuh, een de lang-
widge ub uh distinguish' membuh ub de Chaa'lstun
baa', w'enebbuh we enter de sacrid premussis ub uh
co't ub law, we all seddown onduhneet' de eagle ub
jestuss as de chicken seddown onduhneet' de hen !
"Now, yo' onnuh, what am de fack? Dish'yuh ten-
duh female, yo' onnuh, bidout de puhtekshun ub uh
man fuh gyaa'd'um f'um de human race, is t'rowed on
his back fuh puhteck 'eself, lukkuh de wil'cat t'row
'eself 'pun 'e back onduhneet' de harricane tree fuh
refen' 'eself 'genst de pack ub houn' by whom she is
"Yaas, him 'cratch lukkuh wil'cat fuh true!" com-
mented Mrs. Youngblood.
"Yo' onnuh, dis tenduh female buy de ox een ques-
chun f'um Izick Puhshay, uh respected citizen ub de
Newnited State', en' she hab witness fuh proobe dat de
money wuz to him een han' pay, en' to 'stablish his
't'oruhtv obuh de ox. De afo'sed Izick Puhshay buv
de ox f'um de Jew, de paa'ty ub de fus' paa't, residin'
een de premussis afo'sed 'pun de Ilun' 1 1 1 > Wadmuhlaw,
een de State ub Sous Cuhlina. De Jew' ox hab fall
eento de pit, yo' onnuh, en' 'less 'e is fuh perish, de ox
is sell to Izick Puhshay, dis respected citizen ub de
Newnited State' afo'sed, who by his ability twis' de tail
ub de ox en' mek'um fuh 'bandun he puhsishun een de
maa'sh, en' betake himself to de high groun'. Wen de
membuh ub de tribe ub Juhruzelum see dat de ability
ub de Atf'ikin race sabe de life ub de ox, he feel dis-
app'int' wid 'eself, en' he seek to agen ubtain de prop-
utty dat he hab loss, en' 'e sell de 'denticul ox de two
time, to de paa'ty ub de secon' paa't.
"Deyfo', yo' onnuh, I mek uh plea fuh dis tenduh
female ub de human race, alldo' his skin is black, dat
jestuss be done, en' dat his ox shall not be tek away."
His plea was effective, for Clara returned joyfully
to Toogoodoo with the restored ox tied behind the cart
in which she had come, while Bina nursed her wrath
to keep it warm until she could return to Wadmalaw
to seek to recover her three dollars '"exwance" from "de
membuh ub de tribe ub Juhruzelum."
SIMON, THE "SQUERRIL" HUNTER
As boys, a few years after the war, we knew him as a
mighty squirrel hunter, and the negroes in the neigh-
borhood knew him as a mighty slippery old scoundrel,
whose smoothness had earned him the sobriquet of
Okra — at once a tribute and a reproach — for the skill
acquired in slaughtering "de buckruh' cow en' t'ing' '
in the swamps, was sometimes used to lift a shoat from
some nearby colored brother or sister when Simon did
not care to hunt far afield, and, however commendable
one's prowess in preying upon "de buckruh," who, for
purposes of spoliation, stood in the same relation to the
newly freed slaves that the esteemed Egyptians did to
the children of Israel, it was regarded in dusky circles
as somewhat unethical to steal from one's own color.
Although always suspected, old Okra was never
caught. When he killed a cow or other large game, the
hide, and the head with its telltale earmarks, were
carefully buried in the woods, and part of the meat
distributed among his cronies, insuring not only their
protective silence, but a full crop of elaborate alibis for
Simon, should suspicion ripen into accusation. "Nig-
guh haffuh stan' by we coUuh," being the motto on all
the plantations round about.
The squirrel hunter was as lean and hungry-look-
ing as Cassius, with a shifty eye and a face deeply
pock-marked. His footfall was stealthy and noiseless
and he could walk the woods from dawn to dusk with-
For several years following the war, many low-coun-
try negroes carried condemned army muskets which
SIMON, THE "SQUERRIL" HUNTER
they bought for a dollar or two — long, heavy muzzle-
loaders, straight of stock and hard of trigger.
Although rifled, their proud owners rammed down and
shot out of their grooved barrels anything and every-
thing but ball. Shot of uniform size was not only held
unnecessary, but really undesirable, an assortment of
sizes running from No. 8 to No. 2, the latter called
"high duckshot," being regarded as a mixed dose
seriously jeoparding the safety of rabbit or "squerril"
at a distance of "two tas' " — two tasks (y 2 an acre).
Most of the new-fledged negro sportsmen were con-
tent to hunt the little cat squirrels that were plentiful
in the wooded swamps and the oak and hickory knolls,
but Simon was ambitious and habitually hunted the
beautiful fox squirrels, grays and blacks, wary crea-
tures, rarely met with and found only among tall
pines — sometimes in the long leaf palustris of the
ridges, but oftener in the great "loblollies" skirting the
bays, the height of the trees and the Spanish moss that
clustered thick about their towering tops, making them
safe retreats, once reached. One of these big squirrels
would sometimes be surprised on or near the ground,
offering a shot before he got far up the tall trunks
which he always ascended rapidly with a great clatter
of claws on the bark, cunningly keeping on the off side
from the hunter, but never slackening speed till a fork
or one of the higher branches was reached, upon which
he would flatten out and keep absolutely still. Even a
boy then knew it was wasting precious powder and shot
to attempt to make him break sanctuary, but not so old
Okra. He had implicit faith and infinite pride in the
shooting powers of his old "muskick,"— "Ole Betsey,
him cya' shot fuh sowl," and he would crack away as
THE BLACK BORDER
long as his ammunition lasted, at a gray or black spot
at the tip-top of some forest giant; often indeed, at a
dead squirrel, for these "foxes" have an exceedingly in-
considerate habit of digging their claws so deeply into
the bark that they hang on after death and are hard to
dislodge. Often the boy hunter roaming the woods, day-
dreaming of the buck or big gobbler that was always
about to spring up just ahead of him, to fall gloriously
to his little single barrel, would hear at intervals the
heavy "duhbaw /" of Simon's ordnance and know that
the indefatigable old sinner was, like most of us, reach-
ing up after the unattainable.
Curiosity to learn hoAv he was faring would some-
times overcome caution, for Simon always begged for
powder, and his ingratiating "Mass — — so freehan',"
seldom failed to coax from the flask part of the boy's
scanty store, but woe to the scanty store if Simon was
permitted to "po'rum." "Berry well den, suh, you
po'rum," and into the deeply cupped palm of the
avaricious hand he held out, the precious powder would
trickle. Simon never stinted his gun, and as long as
the donor would pour, the recipient had no scruples
about drams running into ounces. Whatever you
poured into his hand went into the gun, and when she
responded in recalcitrance to a double charge, sending
her owner staggering back among the gallberry bushes,
he would grin proudly and remark, "Him duh tell we
tengky fuh wuh we g'em. Betsey him hab uh hebby
belly fuh powder."
One crisp winter's day, Simon and his half-grown
son, "Boyzie," were encountered on a high pineland
plateau dotted with a chain of shallow, sedgy ponds.
Suddenly, from the marge of a pond a hundred yards
SIMON, THE "SQUERRIL" HUNTER
away, the plume-like tail of a big gray fox squirrel was
seen waving jerkily over the ground as he ran for the
timber. The party gave chase and succeeded in putting
him up in a clump of tall long-leaf saplings before he
could reach the big trees. Simon's eyes shone like
brown pebbles through the sunlit waters of a shallow
brook. His slouch was gone and he was all alertness,
"Weh him, Boyzie? Well him?"
"Yuh him, Pa ! Yuh him ! Shum ! Shum !"
u Duhbawf" boomed Betsey, and Simon reeled from
the recoil as the load cut the top from a sapling down
which the squirrel raced to the ground and scampered
off for a big pine not far away, rushing up the trunk
in long spirals. "Watch'um, Boyzie! Don' tu'n yo'
yeye loose off'um 'tell I git Betsey load'," and Simon
hurriedly rammed down his charge with many furtive
glances at the watching sentinel to see that he didn't
"tu'n 'e yeye loose." Extracting from a greasy rag a
huge copper cap of the grandfather's hat pattern, he
fitted the nipple and cocked his musket, as strenuous
an operation as pulling the trigger, for at half-cock
Betsey's hammer leaned back like the head of a strut-
ting gobbler, while at the full, the cup yawned toward
the heavens like the crater of a miniature Mauna Loa.
Circling the pine he tried to locate the squirrel now
lying flat in a crotch near the crown of the long-leaf,
his long tail hanging down while his body was securely
hidden. Boyzie pointed out the drooping tail. "Dey
him. pa, dey him, but 'e too fudduh. You cyan' reach-
"Whof Dat squerril? Watch'um!" The piece was
raised, two sinewy fingers clutched the trigger with a
THE BLACK BORDER
jerk that would have disconcerted any aim, and the
hammer, describing a parabola, fell upon the cap
which exploded with a report like a parlor rifle, but
Betsey's muzzle remained glum and silent.
" 'S'mattuh, Betsey ? You got 'ooman name en' you
ent got 'ooman mout'? You cyan' talk? De debble!"
Another cap was fitted, another hopeful aim taken and
another futile "paow!" echoed among the pines.
Simon, now having only two caps left, accepted the
suggestion that priming might help. He also accepted
the powder which he poured with a liberal hand down
the capacious nipple and rammed home with a light-
"Now watch'um come down." Another careful sight
at the tantalizing tail up aloft, another "popped" cap
with a little blue smoke from the priming, and a sorely
puzzled squirrel hunter.
"Witch mus' be pit bad mout' 'puntop Betsey. I
'spec' 'e done cunjuh."
"Pa, is you pit any powduh een dat gun?"'
"Who? Me? Wuh gun? Betsey? Cose I pit pow-
duh een 'um."
"Bettuh try'um," said doubting youth, and he did.
When the shot was drawn and the screw of the long
iron ramrod clicked against the breech of the musket,
old Okra's face was a study. "Yaas, ef I did'n' bin
hafi'uh watch Boyzie duh watch de squerril, I wouldn't
bin fuhgit fuh load'um." Consoling himself with this
shifting of responsibility, he loaded deliberately and
fired, bringing down, with a lot of pine needles, half
the squirrel's tail, which he stuck in the cord which
bound his old hat with the remark, "Well, ennvhow I
git all wuh I shoot at. Ef man kin git all wuh V try
fuh git, him ought uh tengkful/"
THE "CUNJUH" THAT CAME BACK
Lucy Jones, of Pon Pon, square and stout and wid-
owed, had in her youth been as frequently husbanded
as the Wife of Bath. One by one, however, through
death, incompatibility of temperament, or indifference,
she had lost these affiliations, and now, a "settled
woman," Lucy lacked the masterful ways and the lov-
ing club of a man about the house, for it is axiomatic
among the Gullah ladies of the Carolina coast that
love and physical chastisement are inseparable. "Ef
man ent lick you, "e vent lub you/' So, yearning for
the touch of a vanished hoe handle or axe helve, Lucy
languished. There was no longer satisfaction in
"eawnhom'ny"' or "tu'n flour." There was no savor in
"poke" greens or lamb's-quarter. Fat bacon, while
greasing her mouth, no longer anointed her soul. Her
cabin was snug and comfortable, her bed was wide,
and covered with a patchwork quilt that would have
made Joseph's coat look like a drab jacket of butternut
jeans. This quilt, slowly fabricated of all the bits of
bright cloth — silk, cotton and wool — that she had
begged from u de buckruh" during a period of several
years, she had stitched together with painstaking
fingers and exalted soul, absolutely confident that
with its completion would come a husband to
share its chromatic glories. "All de time uh bin-
nuh mek dat quilt uh bin agguhnize een me min" duh
study *pun wuh kinduh husbun' uh gwine git w'en 'e
done finish. Sometime' uh t'ink uh gwine git uh nyung
nigguh, en' den uh 'membuh suh dese'yuh nyung nig-
guh ent wut. Dem too lub fuh t'row bone. En' den, 'nod-
THE BLACK BORDER
dun time uh study en' uh t'ink uh'll git uh settle' man,
but uh know berry well uh haffuh git some kind'uh
man 'cause uh lonesome tummuch, en' uh keep on sew
de quilt 'tell 'e done, en' uh pit'um on de bed, en' dat
night w'en uh gone'sleep onduhneet' de quilt, uh hab
one dream, en' one sperrit come to me een de dream en'
tell me suh me fuh marry Isaac Middletun."
So the notion got into her head. Isaac was tall, as
Lucy was short ; Isaac was thin, as Lucy was stout, and
Isaac was wary, as Lucy was predaceous. Himself an
elderly widower, he was living alone when Lucy deli-
cately intimated to him her desire to change the Welsh
name of Jones for the aristocratic English patronymic
of Middleton. Middleton, acknowledging the compli-
ment, politely declined the offer, preferring to keep his
lonely cabin to himself. "Uh tell'um wuh de sperrit
say," she said, "en' uh tell'um de sperrit say him full
come fuh marry me dat same night. Uh hab fait' een
de sperrit' wu'd, en' uh scour' out de house en' uh mek
de bed, en' uh pit de tea by de fiah, en' still yet Mid-
dletun ent come. Uh nebbuh know shishuh eegnunt nig-
guh. Wen uh fin' suh 'e yent come, uh gone deepo fuh
fin'um, en' uh tell'iim 'gen wuh de sperrit say. Uh
tell'um 'bout de quilt en' de tea en' t'ing', en' uh tell'iim
nemmine' 'bout him house, cause myself hab house fuh
alltwo uh we fuh lib een, but Middletun ent haa'kee to
wuh uh tell'iim 'bout de sperrit. 'E say suh de sperrit
hab bidness fuh talk 'long nyung 'ooman ef de sperrit
fuh send wife fuh him. Uh tell'iim uh nyung 'ooman
cyan' specify fuh wife fuh settle' man lukkuh Middle-
tun, 'cause dem lub fuh dress tummuch, but seem luk-
kuh uh cyan' git Middletun' niin' straight." So she
"took her foot in her hand" and went home, dejected
THE "CUNJUH" THAT CAME BACK
but not hopeless, for she determined to stick to the
trail, as the hound to the slot, until she ran the wily
quarry to earth, to wit, cabin, for she hankered after
him with an intense hankering.
"Lucy Middletun," "Mis' Middletun," how it filled
the mouth and the ear, and exalted the spirit with satis-
faction! Ever since emancipation the negroes have
Laid great store by their "■titles,"' prefaced by "Mistuh"
or "Mis'." Very dear to their hearts was the evolution
of "Cuffee," "Cudjo" and "Sancho" of slavery, into
"Mistuh Scott," "Mistuh Hawlback" and "Mistuh Mid-
dletun," of freedom, and, in the twinkling of an eye.
"Dinah" and "Bina" and "Bella," the grubs, were
transformed into "Mis' Wineglass," "Mis' Chizzum"
and "Mis* Manigo," the butterflies. So, as Lucy mused
and spun the spider web of fancy in which she hoped
to entrap the wary and unappreciative Isaac, her mind
crossed the stormy seas of Endeavor, and, resting in the
snug harbor of Achievement, she thought of the deed
as done, and imagined herself as going to work on week
days, to church on Sundays, and to class meetings in
the evenings, carrying, as appurtenant to her person,
the longed-for "title" of Isaac, and as she thought upon
the occasions when on public road or by-path she
should "pass the time of day" in the ceremonial salu-
tations so dear to her kind, she was filled to the jowls
with ecstasy and her eardrums vibrated with the mel-
ody of "Middleton."
"Mawnin', Mis' Jones, how you do, ma'am?"
"Mawnin', Mis' Wineglass, uh tengk Gawd fuh life,
but you know uh vent name Mis' Jones now. Me duh
"Dat so? I nebbuh yeddy 'bout Bredduh Jones dead.*'
THE BLACK BORDER
"No, ma'am, 'e yent dead, ma'am, but him hab anod-
duh lady, en' me hab Isaac Middletun. You know dat
same Mistuh Middletun lib close Adam' Run deepo?
Well, she duh my juntlemun now, en' me duh Mis' Mid-
"Yaas, ma'am, well, mawnin', ma'am,'' and so on.
And always as Lucy sat in the sunshine before the
cabin door and smoked her short clay pipe, or in the
loneliness of night lay pondering and ponderable under
the quilt that looked like a county map of Texas, con-
stantly she projected thought waves towards Adams
Run station, near which abode the recalcitrant Middle-
ton. Along this main-traveled roadway of the Atlantic
Coast Line, many trains passed by day and by night.
The shrill shriek of the local freight, as it took the sid-
ing at the distant station, reminded her that Middle-
ton's ears were filled with the same sound. The hoarse
warning of the Florida Limited at the curve, as it
rushed southward filled with Northern tourists, who, —
viewing from observation cars the fruit-laden thickets
of gallberry bushes covering the damp, flat pinelands —
marveled at the prodigality of the Southern climate
that ripened huckleberries in midwinter, every whis-
tle that blew along the busy line reminded Lucy of the
railroad, and the railroad reminded her of the station,
and the station reminded her of Middleton. Theoreti-
cally, a member of the gentler sex has only to wish
herself upon a man and the man is as good as wived,
and the dogma that "a woman has only to make up her
mind to marry a man and she gets him,'' is probably as
old as the Creation, for Adam, like the gentleman he
was, accepted philosophically and uncomplainingly —
even gallantly — the spouse which kind Heaven had
THE "CUNJUII" THAT CAME HACK
wished upon him. But much thought had brought
Lucy to the conclusion that in her chase of a husband
she was after all a dachshund, while the elusive Mid-
dleton was a fox. His defenses having proved impene-
trable by direct attack, she had tried sapping and min-
ing without success, even the "sperrit" bomb projected
Middletonwards had fizzled at the fuse, and her cabin
and its encircling yard and garden were still, alas! "no
man's land !"
In her desperation Lucy decided to conjure ! Like
old Lorenzo in "La Mascotte," she believed in "signs,
omens, dreams, predictions," and also in the potency of
the dried frog, the blacksnake skin and the kerosene-
soaked red flannel rag, as charms to pull a bashful
wooer up to the scratch, to put a "spell," resulting in
sickness or death, upon an enemy, or for any other pur-
pose suggested by the mind of the one preparing the
charm, for, a sort of aftermath of voodooism, "cun-
juhs" are still believed in by many of these supersti-
Lucy bethought her of old Simon, not an authenti-
cated witch-doctor, for he demanded no fixed fees, but
a wily old sinner, a sort of amateur in black magic,
who gave advice free of charge, although his services
were always rewarded with gifts of eggs, or sweet
potatoes, or clean rice. As snake skins and dried frogs
were component parts of almost all old Simon's
"charms," the boys of the community frequently
brought him those they killed or found dead by the
roadside. These, at his convenience, old Simon skinned
and salted, or rubbed with ashes and smoked and dried
and put away, for use when occasion should require.
The low-country negroes seldom pass a dead frog lying
THE BLACK BORDER
on its back, believing that if so exposed for any length
of time, rain will inevitably follow, and those so found,
if not turned over to prevent the floods from Heaven,
were taken to old Simon and added to his store.
So in the dusk of the earlv night and the dark of the
moon, for Lucy did not wish the black sisterhood to
know her business, she locked her cabin door, put a
shawl over her head and slipped away to Simon.
The weather was cold and Simon's door was shut.
She rapped faintly and furtively, and a fierce bark
challenged from within. Simon hobbled to the door
and opened it, a black cur growling at his knee. Kick-
ing the dog away, he bade Lucy enter.
"Come een, sistuh, how you do?"
"Tengk Gawd fuh life, Unk' Simun. Uh come yuh
fuh ax you fuh gimme uh cunjuh fuh t'row uh spell
'puntop Isaac Middletun wuh lib Adam' Run deepo,
fuh mek'um haa'kee to de sperrit' wu'd, wuh tell'um
fuh hab me fuh wife, 'cause uh done tell'um two time
wuh de sperrit hab fuh say, but him ent study 'bout no
sperrit, en' 'e suck 'e teet' at me, en' him say suh him
fuh marry nyung 'ooman 'cause him ent hab no appe-
tite fuh marry settle' 'ooman, en' uh done tell'um suh
nyung 'ooman cyan' specify fuh settle' man, but Mid-
dletun dat eegnunt en' haa'dhead', uh cyan' git'um fuh
do nutt'n', en' please suh fuh mek one hebby cunjuh,
'cause Middletun stubbunt sukkuh oxin en' mule all-
two, en' w'en you gimme de cunjuh, tell me wuh fuh do
'long'um en' well uh mus' pit'um fuh t'row de spell
puntop'uh Middletun, en' uh fetch t'ree aig' en' some
yalluh yam tettuh fuh you fuh eat." And she took
these gifts out of her apron and presented them to the
weaver of spells.
THE "CUNJUH" THAT CAME BACK
Simon was a man of few words. Going to an old
cupboard where he kept his store of raw materials, he
fumbled about and at last drew forth the dried skin
of a "copper-belly" moccasin, about three feet long.
This he wound about a smoke-dried toad, to which
had been added two rusty horseshoe nails. Around
them all a dirty strip of red flannel, well soaked in
kerosene, was tied, and the charm was ready. Wrap-
ping it in a piece of brown paper he gave it to Lucy
who, tremulous with happiness and excitement, tied it
in a corner of her apron.
"Daughtuh, you f'aid fuh walk duh paat' duh mid-
"No, suh, uh yent 'f'aid fuh go Middletun' house.
"Berry well den, you fuh go Middletun' house mid-
dlenight tenight. You fuh tek dis cunjuh en' pit'um
"puntop de do'step to Middletun' house, en' you fuh
walk easv so him ent fuh yeddy you. Onduhstan'?"
"Yaas, suh, tengk Gawd." And she hurried home-
' For awhile she dozed before her fire, and then, an
hour before midnight, with that uncanny instinct
which guides those who live close to nature, she roused
herself? and with her precious charm, set out hot-foot
for the station. As she hurried through the dark a
raccoon padded noiselessly across the path. Farther
on, a grey fox trotted fearlessly in front of her for a
few yards then sprang into the bushes and disappeared.
The terrifying shriek and wild laugh of a barred owl
just overhead, as she passed along a dark aisle in the
forest, made her heart stand still for an instant, but
the thought of Middleton warmed its cockles again and
she kept on her way. At last she reached Middleton s
TEE BLACK BORDER
cabin and, thanking her stars that he kept no dog, she
cautiously lifted the latch of his yard gate and tip-
toed up to the steps where, with a silent prayer for
success, she deposited the precious "cunjuh" and quiet-
ly slipped away.
Just at the end of the "dog watch" of the mariners,
just before the "day clean" of the negroes — the hour
known to all night workers, when, with the imminence
of the dawn, somewhat of the weight of the world
seems lifted from their shoulders — Middleton rose from
his cornshuck couch and opening his cabin door looked
forth, as is the custom of the early-rising negroes, to
scan the sky and appraise the promise of the coming
day. A gibbous moon of dusky gold, new-risen, hung
low in the East. Diana had been banting for ten days
and altho' her waist was waning, she yet shed suffi-
cient light to open the eyes and engage the throats of
all the roosters round about, and from the yards of
lonely woodland cabin, and plantation quarters, their
voices, shrill and clear, deep and raucous, came to Mid-
dleton's ears as they saluted the fools' gold of the moon-
light in the belief that they were heralding the dawn.
"Fowl' mus' be t'ink day' clean," commented Middle-
ton, and as he opened the door wider to get a better
outlook, his bare toe came into contact with the gelid
snakeskin and he sprang back in fear. Striking a
match, he lit a lightwood splinter and discovered the
"cunjuh" mysteriously placed at his very threshold.
He scratched his puzzled head. "Eh, eh ! wuh dis
t'ing? Me nebbuh do nutt'n' to nobody. Uh wonduh
who dull try full t'row spell 'puntop me ! Tengk Gawd,
uh nebbuh 'tep obuhr'um," secure in the belief that as
he had not stepped over it, no harm could come to him.
THE "CUNJUH" THAT CAME BACK
So, picking it up fearlessly, he put it away in a chink
in the clay chimney until he should find use for the
dread instrument which Providence had placed in
his hands. All day he pondered, for, having no
enemies, there was none to whom he wished harm.
At last, as evening fell, dark thoughts came with
the dusk, and a sinister purpose slid into his soul,
which he lost no time in putting into execution. Venus
was the evening star but she told him nothing, for
there was no love in his heart and his mind held only
the definite purpose to rid himself once and for all
of the vexing importunities of the husband-hunter.
k 'Uh gwine tek dis t'ing to da' 'ooman' house en' t'row
one spell 'puntop'um fuh mek'um pit 'e min' 'puntop
some dem todduh man en' lemme 'lone," and walking
briskly to Lucy's house, where she slept unsuspiciously
beneath the unalluring quilt, he carefully placed the
charm in the middle of the top step and went his ways
under the starlit heavens.
THE RACCOON HUNTER
All through the autumn, when golden-rod and sumac
flaunted the colors of Spain from every neglected fence
corner, and the ripening sun burned from the blue
through the haze that hung over the earth, when the
crows, uttering their care-free harvest note, flew over
the tawny fields of corn, and negroes with nimble
fingers pulled the reluctant locks from the half-opened
Sea Island cotton bolls, when squirrels chattered and
barked contentedly among the hickories as they com-
menced to gather their winter's store, and wild pigs
nosed about for acorns among the rustling leaves in the
oak groves — all through these September and October
days, the boy had pestered old Abram, the most suc-
cessful 'coon hunter on Pon Pon, to organize a torch-
light hunt and take him along. Abram White, or
" 'Bram," as he was commonly called, was a slow-talk-
ing, slow-thinking, slow-moving old darkey; so delib-
erate that the mental effort involved in answering the
simplest question would furrow his brow like an old-
fashioned washboard. He had been allowed to clear
up a piece of rich land on Cotton Hill, far removed
from the ''quarters" of the other negroes, and this field
he held rent-free in return for the labor of bringing
it under cultivation. The task occupied old 'Bram for
several years. First building a substantial cabin for
his smart wife, Delia, he proceeded to "ring" the forest
trees and, leaving them to die, slowly grubbed up the
smaller trees and undergrowth, planting in the little
cleared plots patches of corn, peas and sweet potatoes,
increasing his field bit by bit each year. He was
THE RACCOON HUNTER
employed regularly as night watchman for the plan-
tation and, armed with his long "muskick" — a con-
demned army weapon — walked his beat about barn
and stables from dark till dawn, returning from each
round to drowse near the big fire which he invariably
made in an open spot, summer as well as winter, for
the coast negroes are true fire-worshipers and their
love for the flames that leap and the embers that glow
is as great as their skill in fire-making. Abram owned
the best 'coon dog in the community, a black mongrel
of medium size with a blaze in the face and a white
ring around his neck. Devoted as he was to Delia.
Abram's love for "Ring"' was almost as great, and his
pride in the dog's accomplishments and reliability was
infinite. The abandoned rice field now overgrown,
near old Abram's new-ground, was full of raccoons
and 'possums and the old hunter often got permission
to put on a substitute watchman for part of the night,
while he foraged the woods with almost invariable suc-
cess, and all through the winter the jambs of his wide-
throated clay chimney were hung with the smoked
flesh of his spoils, while their pelts — ring-tailed and
rat-tailed — adorned the outer walls of his log cabin.
The veteran 'coon dog will rarely follow any other
animal than raccoon or 'possum — the lawful prey of
his negro master — ignoring the frequently crossed
trails of deer or fox. Puppies and undisciplined dogs
often break away and run rabbits, of course, but they
are always caught and thrashed and the occasional
lapse is held derogatory to the dog's master. Both
objects of the chase are nocturnal feeders, sleeping
most of the day in hollow trees or logs. Sometimes
the hollow is high up in the fork of some forest giant.
THE BLACK BORDER
completely hidden by the lianas that run from the
ground to the topmost branches. A dog will occasion-
ally bark at a tree whence the 'coon has descended, or
one from which the quarry has crossed on a limb or
vine to another tree, and whenever the hunter finds
that his dog has "treed" at a vacant tree, the poor
animal is held to have "lied" and is given a severe
whipping, so seasoned dogs make few mistakes and old
Abram's Ring was always true.
At last, as October drew to a close and the first white
frost nipped the potato vines, the boy's importunities
bore fruit in a promise from Abram to take him on
the first clear night in the dark of the moon, the con-
dition being that the boy should furnish travel rations.
The night appointed proved fine and frosty, with a
sharp tang in the air, and an hour or two after dark
the hunt assembled. Besides his single-barreled muz-
zleloader, the boy "packed" a knapsack filled with
smoked herrings and hardtack from the plantation
commissary. Abram had his musket, and Tom Ford
and Joe Smashum, two young negroes, their axes. All
three carried bundles of "fat" lightwood for torches
strapped to their backs. Sike, a half-grown black boy,
carried himself. All the negroes were bare- footed, the
horny soles of their feet having become so toughened
as to make them indifferent to briars and snags. Ring
wagged his tail expectantly and, like his master, looked
contemptuously upon the two young curs that followed
And now they started single file, the boy in front,
then old 'Bram, the torch-bearers last, throwing a
flood of light ahead of them, the dogs at heel close to
their respective masters. So, down the broad avenue
of liveoaks, the great trees heavily bearded with the
THE RACCOON HUNTER
gray Spanish moss, assuming fantastic shapes in the
flare of the torches, on across the old King's Highway,
past the Big Spring and over a low causeway that
spanned an old rice field. Here the party hesitated
between tAvo "drives" that seemed equally promising,
one to the right across the "half moon"' dam to a
thickly wooded island in the big savanna, the other
with a slant to the left through a grove of big beeches
toward the "Blue House" back water. While old Abram
scratched his head for a decision which "the stubborn
glebe" was slow to yield, Ring, who had been nosing
about, dashed suddenly among the undergrowth of saw-
palmettoes that covered the ground under the beeches
and, giving tongue on a hot trail, ended his master's
cogitations. The other dogs followed the veteran in
full cry. and in a few minutes Ring's slow and meas-
ured barking apprised his master that he had "treed."
The negroes shouted encouragingly, "speak, Ring!"
"Speak tohtm, boy!" as the party pushed through the
thicket and found Ring sitting before a loblolly pine,
one of a group of three which grew close together
with their upper limbs almost touching.
There are three methods of getting a raccoon out of
a tree. By "shining" his eyes, which is done by hold-
ing the torch behind one, and shooting him; by cut-
ting down the tree and trusting to the dogs to capture
him before he gets away; or by climbing the tree and
shaking him down or making him jump off. As Tom
Ford was a noted climber and the tree was not too
large for him to "hug," it was decided to climb, after
the "shining" method had been resorted to without
success. Tom cut a stick about six feet long which he
tied around his neck and dragged up after him. This
THE BLACK BORDER
was to be used to poke the quarry off the limb in case
he came to close quarters. He threw off his jacket and
cap and commenced swarming up the trunk which
stretched full forty feet without a limb, lifting him-
self with his powerful ape-like arms and the cupped
hollows of his bare, horny feet, with which he gripped
the trunk. In a few minutes he reached the first limb
and the excitement below him increased, both hunters
and dogs looking earnestly upward as the climber stood
on the limb and looked above and around him, trying
to locate the quarry.
"Weh 'e dey, Tom?" called Abram. "You shum?"
"Uh yent shum," was the laconic response.
Tom again hugged the tree, whose narrowed trunk
now gave him a better hold, and went up ten or twelve
feet to the next limb. Just as he pulled himself over
it and got to his feet, there was a great rattling of
claws on the bark of a long outstretching limb a few
feet over his head, and, silhouetted against the patches
of starlight that broke the leafage above him, he could
make out the cunning 'coon running along the limb to
its very end where it touched a far-reaching bough
from the second tree of the group. Tom yelled, with
the hope that he might frighten the animal into miss-
ing its step and falling, but the sure-footed creature
passed safely and disappeared among the dark needles
that veiled his sanctuary.
"Look out, Unk' Ebbrum, look out ! 'E done cross
to de todduh tree," Tom called, as he began to slide
toward the earth. The group on the ground flared
torches and looked anxiously at the new retreat, but
no shining eyes were visible, and the futility of further
pursuit of this particular 'coon was realized, as he
THE RACCOON HUNTER
had demonstrated that he could cross too readily from
one to another of the three sister pines. The short
chase had lasted only a few minutes and the hunt took
up its equipment and returned to the Caw Caw
Swamp Road, Abram, after much pondering, having
decided to exploit the "Tombs" drive, a noted hunting
ground. Half a mile farther and the party turned to
the right and in a few minutes passed near "the
Tombs," one of the Colonial burying grounds found
occasionally in the low-country forests.
The solitary negro will seldom pass one of these
graveyards at night, and even with companions and
torches the 'coon-hunters walked more rapidly until
"the Tombs'' was passed. As they entered an old
field with several large persimmon trees full of ripen-
ing fruit, to Abram's experienced eye a presage of
"possums, sure enough, in a moment, one of Joe's curs,
with a shrill yelp, struck a hot trail and off they went
across the big field, followed rapidly by men and boys.
The dogs overtook the quarry at the edge of the clear-
ing and treed at a young oak, near whose top the
torches revealed a big 'possum about thirty feet from
the ground. As the tree was easy, Sike, the fourteen-
year-old novice, was given the place of honor as
climber, and up he went, full of the pride that goeth
before a fall. Sike was short and fat, and spread-
eagled himself like a great black frog as he laboriously
worked his way upward. The going was heavy, and
having his hands or his arms full, he did not take the
precaution to look above him until he had almost put
his hand on the animal. A sudden snarl from the
hunted, and a frightened yell from the hunter, who
lost his hold and fell six or eight feet toward the
THE BLACK BORDER
ground, clutching wildly at the branches on the way
down, fortunately landing on one strong enough to
bear his weight. He did not linger in the tree but
slid to the ground as quickly as possible, where he was
received with shouts of laughter. "Haw, Buck! ef
oonuh 'f'aid 'possum, how you gwine t'row down rok-
hoonV But Sike said nothing, while Joe went up the
tree and threw down the 'possum, which rolled into
a ball as soon as he touched the ground, and, after
having been mouthed over by the dogs, was tied up in
a sack and given to Sike to carry.
And now into the big swamp that stretched from the
Tombs to Long Life Spring, a noted water-hole that
never failed in even the worst drought. Ring gave
tongue querulously once or twice on a cold trail. "Rok-
koon," Abram laconically remarked, and, as a shrill
outcry from Joe's nondescripts rang through the woods
in another direction, "rabbit," he added contemptu-
ously. The younger negroes soon caught and thrashed
the rabbit-chasers and, as Ring had now developed
his trail and was giving tongue more freely, the other
dogs were hied away to join him and soon added
their voices to his. The cry skirted the swamp and in
a few minutes their barking indicated that they had
treed a quarter of a mile away. The 'coon had taken
refuge in a big rosemary, whose smooth bark and thick
trunk presented difficulties to a climber, and Abram
decided to cut it down. Tom and Joe on opposite sides
plied their axes vigorously. How many magnificent
forest trees have been sacrificed since the war by the
wasteful negro hunters who have no compunction
about cutting down a ten dollar tree, belonging to
some one else, to capture a "two-bit" raccoon ! And
TEE RACCOON HUNTER
the negro who would grunt grievously if had to fell
three or four big pines for a day's work, will throw
an equal number as a pastime, in an hour or two at
night! Soon the tree began to crack, and the dogs
were seized, to prevent them from rushing under the
falling trunk in their eagerness to be on hand when
the 'coon should jump out of the thick branches at the
top. They were released as the tree crashed to earth.
Although they quickly surrounded the top, the wary
Voon had already made a getaway, but the cry fol-
lowed hot-foot and forced him up a white oak a
hundred yards distant. The tree, of moderate size,
was thickly branched and no glimpse of the 'coon could
be discerned through the heavy leafage. Tom tied a
long stick over his shoulder and was soon on the first
big limb which he proceeded to explore, "cooning" it
out, while the torch-bearers held their lights under the
end of the limb, and thus the second and third limbs
vere explored, but no dark form appeared against the
light, and Tom climbed to a fork thirty feet from the
ground. He paused for a moment and looked about
him, then yelled "Great Gawd, Unk' Ebbrum, duh two
"Weh 'e dey, boy? T'row'um down!"
"Dem alltwo dey 'pun dish'yuh lef han' limb."
"Shine dem eye, Joe, lemme shoot'um," said Abram.
"Tek'sare oonuh ent shine my'own en' shoot me!"
"Niggvh eye yent fuh shine," Abram replied, but he
was spared the embarrassment of having to distinguish
between lom's eyes and the raccoons', for one of the
animals, a half grown individual, broke sanctuary,
and, dashing past Tom, slid down the tree to a lower
limb, from vhose extremity he sprung to the ground,
THE BLACK BORDER
unhappily for him, only a few feet distant from the
watching Ring, who was on him before he could get
started. There was a furious scuffle for a few minutes
but the veteran dog soon choked the "coon to death.
Tom now commenced crawling out on the limb after
the big raccoon, who growled menacingly and backed
as the negro neared him. At last the limb began to
sag under Tom's weight and the 'coon at the very end,
eight or ten feet beyond him, teetered uneasily, as the
torches flared beneath him and the dogs yelped expec-
tantly. The long stick was now brought into play and
Tom straddled the bough while he tried to pry off
the quarry, but in his zeal he overreached himself and
slid too far. The bough buckled under him like a whip
and he lost his balance, but while regaining his hold
with monkey-like agility he clutched so frantically at
the raccoon's end of the limb as to dislodge its occu-
pant, who fell in the very teeth of the dogs. In the
fierce fight that ensued, the raccoon slit the ears of the
younger dogs and mauled them severely before Ring
could get the throat-hold he wanted. Once secured,
however, he soon choked the 'coon to death. As mid-
night approached, it was decided to eat supper and go
A lot of dry wood was gathered and a big fire made
in a little glade. The younger negroes sat around the
flames waiting for the coals upon which to broil the
smoked herrings. Old 'Bram stretched out on the
ground with the soles of his bare feet toward, and
almost in, the fire, and, true to the traditions of a night
watchman, he soon fell asleep. The flame;- crackled.
Tom and Joe and the solemn Sike blinked it the light
and nodded, the dogs licked their wounds and whim-
THE RACCOON HUNTER
pered at the sharper twinges of pain. Suddenly old
Abram grunted and "sniffed the tainted gale."
"Eh, eh ! Uh smell foot duh bu'n ! Somebody' foot
mus' be duh bu'n! Uh wunduh who' foot duh bu'n?"
Then, as he sat up and saw the curling smoke rising
from the thick horny sole of one of his own feet, "Great
Gawd, duh my' 1 own! Duh my foot duh bu'n! Tom,
oonuh binnuh seddown duh fiah duh look 'puntop my
foot duh bun, hukkuh you nubbuh tell me?"
"Me shum duh bu'n fuh true, Unk' Ebbrum, but
oonuh binnuh sleep en' uh t'awt 'e would bex you fuh
"Oonuh had no bidness fuh t'awt nutt'n' ! You sed-
down duh fiah en' look 'puntop my foot duh bu'n en'
nubbuh tell me. Joe, oonuh binnuh seddown duh fiah
duh look 'puntop my foot duh bu'n, hukkuh you nub-
buh tell me?"
"Unk' 'Bram, I shum duh smoke, but uh nebbuh
t'ink 'e bu'n bad 'nuf fuh hot you."
"Co'se 'e didn' bu'n bad 'nuf fuh hot me, but ef uh
vent bin had sense 'nuf fuh smeH'um en' know suh
somebody' foot duh bu'n, 'e might uh bu'n off, en' you
seddown duh fiah en' look 'puntop my foot duh bu'n
en' nubbuh tell me. Sike, oonuh binnuh seddown duh
fiah duh look 'puntop my foot duh bu'n, hukkuh you
nubbuh tell me?"
"Me nebbuh shum, suh, uh binnuh sleep."
"Meself binnuh sleep. Enty uh smell somebody' foot
duh bu'n en' mek me fuh wake? Oonuh boy' grow up
sence freedum, oonuh ent wutP''
The herrings were broiled and eaten with the hard-
tack, the spoils were slung around the shoulders of the
hunters, the fire beaten out, the torches relit, and a
THE BLACK BORDER
short cut taken for home. As old Abram relieved his
substitute at the watchfire in the barnyard, his voice
rumbled through his beard like the muttering of slow
and distant thunder, "Uh done tell Mas' Rafe suh
dese'yuh nigguh' grow' up sence freedum, dem ent
wut ! Dem good fuh nutt'n' debble^uVuh no'count
boy, dem seddown duh fiah duh look 'puntop my foot
duh bu'n en' dem nubbuh tell me suh my foot duh
bu'n. Dem nubbuh tell me/"
THE TURKEY HUNTER
Sabey, a queer, misshapen mulatto, almost an albino,
with green eyes and yellow wool lighting and thatch-
ing a shrewd and twisted, though good-natured, mon-
key face, lived, a few years after the war, on Pon Pon.
His wife, Bess, a good-looking black girl, was devoted
to him as a good husband and a first-rate provider.
When twitted by the other negro women with her hus-
band's lack of personal pulchritude, she was always
ready with a retort.
"Mekso you marri'd monkey full man, BeSvS?"
"Sabey oagly en' him look lukkuh monkey fuh true,
but him iz uh good puhwiduh en' no odduh man
haffuh come een him house fuh feed him wife, en'
Stepney nebbuh come een needuh."
Sabey lived in a cabin at the edge of the woods,
far away from the other plantation settlements, sel-
dom mixing with the other negroes, who rather feared
him, having a vague sort of belief in his ability to
throw spells. When not hunting, he worked, but he
was usually hunting in winter, and hunting success-
fully, for although his piece was one of the condemned
army muskets carried by so many low-country negroes
after Freedom, he was a good shot and possessed in fi-
nite patience and considerable woodcraft. Energetic.
too, his twisted legs carried him for miles through
the forests and along the backwaters and abandoned
ricefields where, creeping on all-fours and worming
his way through cane-brakes and briars, he frequently
surprised summer ducks, and occasionally mallard and
teal, feeding on the grass seeds along the margins, or
THE BLACK BORDER
the rich acorns from the live-oaks whose far-flung
boughs stretched over the canals, and Sabey was an
economist and seldom wasted shot on a single bird.
On frosty mornings when he peeped over the embank-
ments and saw green- wing teal strung upon a floating
log basking in the first rays of the wintry sun. he
would maneuver and crawl around, regardless of bogs
or briars, until he got into a position where he could
line them up, when, after his old "muskick" had
spoken, he would sometimes gather up a dozen or more,
which he sold to a de buckruh" on the plantations, or at
the railway station; but it was as a turkey hunter that
Sabey achieved distinction in the community.
Wild turkeys were very plentiful in the low-country
soon after the war, and in the winter season flocks
sometimes came up in the live-oak avenues and tangled
gardens of the war-ruined plantations, making a boy's
heart thump against his ribs as he watched them pick-
ing up the acorns just out of gunshot of his little
single-barrel. In roaming the woods, Sabey knew every
dog-wood knoll between the Stackyard and Beaver
Dam, and when, in midwinter or later, he saw where
the turkeys had "scratched" among the leaf mould for
the glossy red berries that form their favorite wild
food, he scattered handfuls of peas or rough rice about
and returned a day or two later to see if the turkeys
had taken the bait. If the scattered grain was un-
touched, he would offer temptation elsewhere until the
wary birds had overcome suspicion and established
relations with the rich man-grown food placed before
them. The bait once taken, Sabey returned at two or
three-day intervals and spread the feast anew, which
after a while came to be to the turkeys as their daily
THE TURKEY IIVXTER
bread. Then, behind some hurricane tree or old log
nearby, the hunter prepared the ''blind" — usually a pit
three or four feet deep, camouflaged with boughs or
great pieces of pine bark, with a pun opening toward
an open space where, in a shallow trench, grain was
scattered. From the scratching ground under the dog-
woods, a trail would be laid to the trench, which was
visited and replenished day after day until the greedy
birds had become fearless and came regularly to their
breakfast table. Then "one fine day,'' just at dawn,
Sabey would shamble off to the forest and creep within
his blind, where he almost held his breath in "watch-
ful waiting"' for the coming of his quarry.
Nothing save Sir Walter's conception of the muta-
bility of the feminine mind, is quite so uncertain as
the hour of the coming of wild turkeys to a blind.
Sometimes at daylight, as they fly from their roosts
on the topmost limbs of the great pines, they go at
once to the bait. The next day, perhaps, they may
roam the woods for hours and not reach the blind until
noon, and on yet other days the fickle creatures resist
temptation altogether, so "it is well understood" that
whoso would shoot turkeys at a blind must have abun-
dant patience and a certain complacent attitude toward
his own society.
AVho can tell what thoughts moved through Sabey's
brain cells as he sat "steadfast, immovable" through
the waiting hours. Did the tips of Aurora's rosy
fingers mean anything to him as she lifted the somber
curtains of the night and ushered in the radiant God
of day? Did the harsh yet homey "chauw, chauw" of
the brown thrasher — the first winter bird to awaken in
copse or forest — take his thoughts to the lonely cabin
TEE BLACK BORDER
where Bess dreamed of the Sunday calico or the new
shoes that would follow Sabey's successful shot? Did
the last hoot of the barred owl as, his night hunting
over, he slipped away on muffled wing to the thick
woods to drowse his days away, tell him anything of
the human prototypes of all birds of prey? They, too,
the selfish and the predatory, clutter up the by-ways
of the world, closing their eyes to the light of service
and the pulsing of humanity about them till, with the
falling shadows, their eyes open and they prowl in
quest of the unwary !
But whatever Sabey's musings, he crept morning
after morning into his blind and waited patiently as
the hours slipped by, for the game that never came.
Perhaps the wary birds had sensed danger at the
blind — perhaps they had found a more convenient food
supply elsewhere — but late every morning for a week
Sabey had returned home weary and empty-handed,
but, with a true sportsman's spirit, determined to try
again. Sunday intervened. A strong superstition in
the negro's mind, that to fire a gun on Sunday is to
kt hab sin," kept him out of the woods, and he shambled
off to church, but four o'clock the next morning, an
hour before dawn, found him at the tryst which,
through thought-waves, he believed he had made with
the flock of turkeys.
They kept the tryst. The dawn came up slowly and
silently, bringing in one of those rare windless, low-
country winter days, when all the air is pale blue and
gold and the forests are green and purple and brown.
The first rays of the sun touched with pallid flame the
topmost boughs of the tall pines and glanced from the
myriad glistening needles that hung motionless in the
THE TURKEY HUNTER
chillv air. As the sun climbed yet higher, its sensuous
warmth drank up the white frost that lay like a crystal
blanket upon the open spaces and the light vapors
that hung over the dark places in the forest, and. as
the warmer and softer air fell about Sabey, he drowsed
at his post.
The outdoor negroes of the coast need neither watch
nor clock to tell the time of day. From "middlenight"
or "fus' fowl crow," on through the procession of the
hours to "dayclean," "sun'up," ''one,*' "two," "t'ree
hour attuh sun'up," to "middleday," and then on, as
the sun slants downward, through "t'ree hour," "two
hour," "one hour to sundown," and "fus" daa'k," he
makes a close approximation. So, as Phoebus shot with
flat trajectory across the Southern sky, Sabey, snug-
gled down among the dry pine needles with which he
had nearly filled his trench, dozed and listened and
dozed, and waking, muttered "middleday-" and dozed
A slight rustling of dead leaves like the whisper of
gently falling rain, and ten beautiful gobblers entered
the little glade and going straight to the trench, began
picking up the grain greedily. The sunlight flashed
from their gleaming breasts as from planished bronze.
Their iridescent plumage showed all the tints of glori-
fied autumn leaves, and, as they stooped to feed, their
long beards touched the ground. A braver sight to a
hunter's eye than bear or buck or any other game that
roams the Southern forests !
Sabey slowly opened his eyes and stiffened like a
setter at the point. His long musket, already aligned
to rake the trench, rested securely in a forked stick-
driven into the ground. As a sibilant whistle came
THE BLACK BORDER
from his twisted lips, ten heads uprose like the armed
men from the mythical dragon's teeth, and came in
line with the leveled gun. At a warning "putt" from
their suspicious leader, they stood on tiptoe for a
breakaway, but Sabey pulled his clumsy trigger, and
following the heavy roar, he clambered out of the blind
and ran forward to find seven great birds fluttering on
the ground, while the others ran at race-horse speed for
thirty or forty feet (your turkey, like your condor and
your aeroplane, must take wing from a running start)
and, rising on a long slant with a great beating of the
air, topped the pines a quarter of a mile away and
sailed off beyond "the Cypress." The big birds, shot
in the head, soon lay still and Sabey's simian face
wrinkled with satisfaction. "Tengk Gawd, uh git
oonuh at las','' he chuckled. "One, two, t'ree, fo\ fibe,
six, seb'n," he slowly counted — "t'ree git'way." And
then he scratched his head. Sabey was undersized,
"him leetle but 'e ole," the negroes observed, and could
he pack far more than his weight in turkeys to the
"big house" a mile away ? It seemed a task too great for
his strength, but his spirit was high, and, as he thought
of the wildcats and gray foxes that abounded in these
forests so seldom entered by hunter or woodman, he
shook his head, pulled out a formidable-looking clasp
knife and began to peel the bark from a young hickory.
"No," he said to himself, "uh yent fuh lef none. Uh
tote'um all ef 'e tek me 'tell sundown fuh git Pon Pon.
All wuh Mas' Rafe ent buy, uh gwine tek deepo. No
fox, needuhso wil'cat, nebbuh git 'e teet' een dem tuck-
rey!" and he quickly removed the outer bark from the
long strips he had skinned from the sapling and
scraped and twisted the tough inner fibre into service-
THE TURKEY HUNTER
able thongs. This strong hickory bark is the common
cordage of the plantation negroes and serves for girths,
bridles and harness for horse and ox, and is also
plaited into the long whips used by herdsmen ami
bird-minders, the "pop"' of whose lash or "cracker" is
as far-sounding as the report of a rifle. Sabey tied six
of the birds in pairs by their long necks, distributing
them as comfortably as he could about his ungainly
person — one pair over each shoulder, while the other,
hanging forward, supported by the back of his neck,
was balanced by the seventh bird hung at his back, sus-
pended from the barrel of his musket. Thus laden like
a pack donkey, he threaded the thick woods, avoiding
as best he could the tangled vines and dangerous stump
holes, and came at last to the open clearing of "Cotton
Hill." Here he laid down his burden and rested, "fuh
ketch me secun" win*.*' Half an hour later he took up
his load and, mindful of the fact that he had been
poaching, avoided the direct way through the fields to
the settlement and, skirting the old ricefield, traversed
with furtive eye the negro burying ground where,
shaded by giant live-oaks, seven generations of slaves
and freedmen slept under the thick mould. For many
of the far-scattered family negroes still bring their
dead to rest in these hallowed places on the old planta-
tions. Apart from the sentiment, it gives them stand-
ing among the low-caste darkeys who had belonged to
"po' buckruh" and whose forbears slept in no ancestral
graveyards. Passing behind the "Echo Oak," Sabey
reached the big road and, a quarter of a mile beyond,
tramped boldly up the great avenue to sell "Mas" Rafe"
his own game. He made a dramatic entrance into
the yard, his deformed body completely covered by the
THE BLACK BORDER
splendid birds, their black beards hanging from their
burnished breasts and their feet nearly touching the
ground. The hounds, which had run out with bristling
backs and open mouths at the unwonted sight, wagged
their tails and whimpered as they caught the familiar
scent of the game.
"Well, you copper-colored imp of Satan ! Where
did you shoot those turkeys?"
"Uh shoot'um Beabuh Dam."
"No, Sabey. Beaver Dam is more than two miles off,
and I heard a gun in the Stackyard."
"Yaas, suh, but duh Beabuh Dam uh shoot'um. Uh
mek uh bline' on da' po' buckruh' groun', 'cause him
all-time duh mek bline' 'puntop'uh yo' groun', en' uh
shoot him tuckrey fuh pay'um back, en' uh 'spec' da'
gun you yeddy shoot duh da' po' buckruh wuh bin
attuh da' gang uh tuckrey wuh use een dem dogwood
t'icket. Meself been yeddy uh gun shoot Stackyaa'd
w'en uh bin Beabuh Dam." "Mas' Rafe" passed his
hand admiringly over the glossy breast of the largest
bird while deftly feeling his crop. "What did you
bait these turkeys with?"
"Uh bait'um wid cawn, 'cause uh nebbuh mek no
peas las'yeah, needuhso no rice."
"Did you work here last week?"
"Yaas, suh, uh wu'k Chuesday and T'ursday eben-
"What did you do?"
"Uh beat rice, suh."
"How much rice did you take home in that bag you
"Eh, eh, Mas' Rafe! You see me wid bag? You
t'ink suh me t'ief yo' rice? Wuh nyuse me hab fuh
TEE TURKEY HUNTER
rice? Me en' Bess alltwo lub fuh eat cawn hom'ny
"You didn't bait these turkeys with rice, did you?"'
"Who? Me! Mas' Rafe, you hu't me feelin's fuh
talk 'bout bait dese tuckrey wid rice! Weh me fuh git
rice? Dese tuckrey nebbuh see uh rice sence dem
"How did the rice get in their crops?"
"Dem got rice een dem craw? Mas' Rafe, dem tuck-
rey mus'be bin spang Willtown dis mawnin' fuh use
een Baa'nwell' ricefiel', en' full dem craw, en' attuh dat
dem come six mile to de bline' weh uh kill'um."
"But it is only five miles from Willtown to Beaver
Dam, Sabey, and six miles to the Stackyard, where you
didnH kill the turkeys!"
Completely cornered, Sabey grinned. "Mas' Rafe.
you sho' hab uh good onduhstan' fuh know nigguh!
Nigguh ent fuh fool you ! No, suh !"
And then the former slaveholder bought the game
shot on his own land and baited with his own grain,
from the freedman who had stolen both, which is not
infrequently the way of former slaveholders in dealing
with former slaves.
THE GATOR HUNTER
Crook-legged, pumpkin-colored, yellow-wooled, green-
eyed Sabey — the mightiest turkey hunter on Pon
Pon — sat in the midsummer sunshine at his cabin door
and talked, partly to himself and partly to his black
wife, Bess, who busied herself within. A protracted
drought was over the land, and Sabey's summer har-
vest was at hand. Hunting turkeys and ducks in the
winter, he was equally successful in his summer quest
for the much-esteemed fresh water terrapins which
abounded in the backwaters and the sluggish lily-
covered canals that intersected the abandoned inland
ricefields. They found a ready market on the planta-
tions or at the railway station, whence they were
shipped to Charleston, to appear on the tables of her
discriminating gourmets in the form of highly spiced
soups and stews. These big terrapins were frequently
offered for sale by negroes who surprised the slow crea-
tures while crossing the road or path on their way from
one canal or pond to another, or trapped them in some
shallow water hole. A few negroes even hunted them
occasionally, the only equipment necessary being an
empty crocus bag and a pair of legs — naked or
trousered — with bare feet attached. Sneaking as close
as possible to the floating log on which the terrapins
sunned themselves, the hunter crept up until they
became alarmed and slid off into the water, when he
jumped in after them, and if the water was not more
than three or four feet deep he could usually locate
them by feeling about on the bottom near the log with
his bare feet, when he would bob his head and his
THE 'GATOR HUNTER
hands under, and the prize would go into the sack-
hung about his neck. But Sabey followed successfully,
not only the ordinary methods of capture, but during
dry spells adopted the hazardous expedient of going
down into the alligator holes after them. As Prairie
dogs, owls and rattlesnakes live together in the same
burrows on the Western plains, terrapins are always
found in alligator holes with their hosts in dry spells
when the water is low, and he who would secure them
must either get the alligator out first, or go down into
the hole with him — one a difficult, the other a dan-
In the cruel midsummer droughts that sometimes
occurred in the low-country, even the wet savannas
and backwaters were parched to desert dryness. The
muddy bottoms, ordinarily covered with water, even
the shallower canals and ditches, sun-baked and
cracked open, were abandoned by the life that some-
time swam or waded in the waters now receded. Only
the deeper places held water, and these roiled with the
teeming fish and eels and terrapins that cluttered up
the muddy pools. Crane and heron — greater and
lesser — flew squawking overhead, or stalked along the
marges taking heavy toll of their helpless prey, while
in the mud round about countless tracks of otter, mink
and raccoon showed that, like lions at the African
water holes, these lesser creatures, too, held nightly
carnival at the water. Now came the human spoilers —
negroes with "jampots" or "churnpots" — cylindrical
contrivances about fifteen inches in diameter by thirty
inches in height, made of canes tied together with
hickory bark thongs, and looking like tall, bottomless
waste-baskets. Wading in the shallow waters, the fish-
erman holds his jampot by the upper rim with both
TEE BLACK BORDER
hands, churning the water in front of him. Apprised
by splash or flutter that a fish has been trapped, he
reaches one hand into the cage, withdraws his catch,
which he bestows in a bag hung about his neck, and
"churns" again. When conditions were favorable for
this form of fishing, the negroes, in the years im-
mediately following the war, caught not only the
coarse mudfish and "cats" which they so affect, but
destroyed also countless thousands of trout and bream
and other fine food fish. In Sabey's time, almost every
other negro in the well-watered districts owned a jam-
pot, and the making of this was an important side line
of the old plantation chair and basket-makers, but,
synchronously perhaps with the destruction of the fish,
the art, or the practice, of "churning" passed away,
and it is seldom heard of now.
Now that a "hebby dry drought" was on, Sabey
licked his chaps in pleasant anticipation. No rain was
in prospect. The roaring of alligators is regarded by
low-country weather sharps as a sign of coming rain,
but, although the old bulls had bellowed lustily at dawn
on several consecutive mornings, the sun still blazed
from a cloudless sky and the heat waves danced and
shimmered in the breathless air, giving point to the
saw that in a drought all signs fail, which was once
strikingly illustrated by an old-time plantation driver,
whose master, needing rain, drew comfort from the
persistent bellowing of the alligators. "Did you hear
those 'gators this morning, Scipio? That should bring
"Yaas, Maussuh, uh yeddy'um, but dis duh Dry
"Yes, a very severe drought."
THE "GATOR HUNTER
"Berry well, suh. Enty you know, Maussuh, suh Dry
Drought duh him own maussuh, en' him ent Taid alli-
gettuh? En', Maussuh, Dry Drought him haa'd-head'
ez de berry Satan! Nobody ent full mek'um fuh do
nutt'nM All dem todduh kinduh wedduh dem berry
'f aid alligettuh. Wen alligettuh belluh fuh rain, dem
big Bloody noun frog dem jine'um, ^comehjuh rain,
comeyuK rain, come'yuh rainP Den dem po' leely
fros: een de tree, dem hab shishuh mo'nful woice, dem
biggin fuh cry. Bimeby, rain come. But Dry Drought,
him ent stan' so. Wen Dry Drought come, bullfrog
know suh alligettuh cyan' mek'um fuh wedduh, en' you
yeddy'um holluh ' *e yent fuh rain, '<? yent fuh rain, 'e
yent fuh rain!" Alligettuh bex. 'E holluh 'gen. Dry
Drought suck 'e teet' at'um. 'Scuse me fuh cuss, Maus-
suh, but Dry Drought him ent care uh dam 'bout alli-
gettuh, uh dunkyuh ef 'e holluh 'tell e belly bus'!"
So, as the unterrified "Dry Drought'' burned about
him, Sabey prepared to start his campaign. The
waters, long drying up, were now low enough. Many
alligators had been forced to move, and the smaller
ones were frequently encountered in the road — some-
times even on the high pineland plateaus — as they
traveled toward the river or adventured in search
of deeper canals or water holes. They always
showed fight, too, swelling up like pouter pigeons,
standing high off the ground, and hissing like
geese, while they watched for a chance to lash out with
dangerous tail. But, with the conservatism of age and
wealth, the big old fellows seldom moved from their
favorite pools on which opened their subterranean
holes or burrows, excavated with their forefeet, like
those of other burrowing creatures. Here in the deep
pools were fish at hand, and nearby were the pig paths
THE BLACK BORDER
along which unwary shoats, going to the water, or nos-
ing about in the soft earth for succulent roots, would
often come in reach of the sweeping tail, and add to
the variety of the big 'gator's fare. In these deep
underground holes, the ugly creatures hibernated from
autumn to spring, until, with the earliest warm sun-
shine, first the nose and eyes would appear cautiously
above the water which covered the entrance to the hole,
and, growing bolder day by day, as the weather became
warmer, next the head, and, at last the entire body
would be exposed, lying on the muddy bank, or on a
tussock among the rushes. Here, perhaps, he would be
descried by some adventurous boy, who, sighting care-
fully despite his palpitating heart, would shatter the
'gator's skull with a rifle bullet or reach his heart by a
well-aimed charge of buckshot behind the shoulder;
but, barring the boy, the days of the big 'gators were
long in the land, for they became more wary with
advancing years and seldom fell to the negroes 1 fire-
While the drought was yet young, the heaviest alli-
gator in the community had been located by Sabey at
the "Half Moon" dam, and now the deep pool into
which his hole opened contained all the water that was
left in the great savanna. The yawning mouth of the
big 'gator hole, ordinarily covered with water, now dis-
closed a parched throat wide enough to have taken in a
barrel. From day to day during the pendency of the
drought, Sabey had sneaked up to the pool hoping to
surprise the 'gator out of his hole and by a lucky shot
get him out of the way and clear the path to the ter-
rapins, but he had not been fortunate enough to see
him, although he knew he was there by the tracks and
THE 'GATOR HUNTER
the impress of his great body in the baked mud that
lay between the pool and the entrance to his hole.
Even had Sabey found him, he could have slain him
only with a close shot in the unprotected region just
under the arm, for the negro seldom shoots anything
larger than number two shot, which would have
glanced harmlessly off the tough scales with which the
'gator was almost completely armored.
Forced to oust the householder, in order to get at
his unbidden guests, the terrapin hunter was now
turned 'gator hunter. Although almost invariably
hunting alone, pulling the smaller 'gators out of their
holes with an iron hook and killing them with his axe,
the master of the Half Moon pool was too ugly a cus-
tomer to be so easily disposed of, and, after pondering
long, Sabe}' determined to organize a 'gator hunt for
the following day and call to his aid some of the plan-
On Saturday morning a dozen negroes, men and
boys, met Sabey at the Half Moon. They were making
holiday and laughed and chaffed in high spirits. A
few carried jampots, intending to churn the waters for
their favorite mudfish. Others, directed by Sabey,
had brought strong plow lines which they had bor-
rowed without leave from "de buckruh'," and three or
four were provided with axes. Besides his musket,
Sabey carried on his shoulder a stout seven-foot hick-
ory staff, at one end of which the village blacksmith
had attached an iron ring, while at the other he had
riveted a strong iron shaft shaped somewhat like a
medieval pike — a spear-like point with which to prod
and stir up his 'gatorship, and a sharp, though heavy,
hook with which to drag him out of his retreat.
THE BLACK BORDER
Although Sabey was the master craftsman of them all
in this form of adventure, the two or three old darkeys
in the bunch could not refrain from giving advice.
"Git een de hole. Sabey, git een de hole." said old Cato
Giles, the plantation foreman. "Tek de plow line en'
tie'um to 'e foot, den we mans kin drag'um out."
"Dim me gwine een de hole, enty? Hukkuh uh
gwine git at da' alligettuh' foot bedout git at 'e head
fus'? Me fuh pit my head een 'e mout' w'ile uh dull tie
'e foot, enty? No, suh!"
Cutting a long, supple pole from a nearby thicket,
Sabey ran it down the hole in order to determine its
underground course and locate its occupant. He knelt
at the opening and ran his sapling down carefully,
listening for the scraping of the far end against the
rough scales of the alligator. The hole, which slanted
downward at an angle of 45 degrees, proved to be
almost straight, and, when twelve feet of the pole had
been shoved in, Sabey heard the grating sound he had
been listening for, and knew what work was before
him. Withdrawing the pole, he first made fast a
double plow line to the ring end of his staff, while he
tied another line around one of his ankles and prepared
to go down into the hole. "Tek off yo' shu't, man,"
advised old Cato. "Ef da' 'gatuh bite you 'e gwine
spile'um, en' no use fuh t'row'way uh shu't."
~ "Yaas, man," another said, "tek'um off. You kin
slip een da' hole bettuh bedout'um."
So Sabey cast off shirt and hat, and, with a warning
to his companions to pull him out quickly if he should
call, went down on his hands and knees and crawled
head-foremost into the hole, pushing his billhook
before him. Wriggling like a snake, he dragged him-
THE 'GATOR HUNTER
self slowly and cautiously downward, and, about the
time he had gone down far enough to leave only his
toes sticking out of the mouth of the hole, the sharp
point of his staff rattled against the 'gator's skull as
he lay head on toward the entrance. The strong,
musky smell of the great saurian would have suffocated
one less tough than Sabey, but he paid no attention to
it. and prodded with his staff until he had maneuvered
the sharp point of his hook under the 'gator's throat
when, with a quick upward jerk, he fastened it in the
creature's lower jaw, and, as a hissing sigh met him in
the face, he shouted and kicked his heels at the same
time as a signal that he washed to come up. They
pulled so lustily that his crooked leg was almost jerked
out of its socket, and his head came out, grumbling and
scolding, "Oonuh t'ink me duh alligettuh 'long fo'
foot, enty ? Wuh me fuh do fiih foot attuh oonuh pull
off clem wuh uh got? Oonuh mus'be fool! Oonuh
nebbuh pull nigguh outuh alligettuh hole befo'?"
But they were now too excited to quarrel, and, seiz-
ing the double plow lines, they began, under Sabey 's
direction, to pull slowly on the 'gator. Had Sabey
hooked him in a less sensitive part, they could not have
budged him. He was too well braced for hanging
back, but his throat was comparatively tender, and
inch by inch he began to come up, while the negroes
shouted and chanted with delight, their excitement
increasing as the line shortened and the quarry neared
the mouth of the hole, till at last the ugly snout was
pushed forward, and then the head, full two feet long,
appeared as the fore feet followed, and the 'gator
reared up. Frightened, the negroes retreated to the very
end of the line. Meanwhile, Sabey had seized his mus-
THE BLACK BORDER
ket and executed a flank movement, and realizing that,
as the 'gator's tail was still underground, there was lit-
tle danger in a close approach, crept up and, firing
when the muzzle of his gun almost touched the 'gator's
side, tore a great hole just behind the shoulder. The
negroes shouted with joy, for they realized that the
wound was mortal. But 'gators take a long time to die,
and they kept pulling, and he kept crawling, until his
entire length of nine feet had been drawn out of the
hole. Sabey was wary, and insisted on their retaining
hold of the staff, which was still hooked in the 'gator's
throat, and he warned his companions of the danger
in approaching within reach of the treacherous tail,
but after awhile, as the great creature slowly bled to
death, several of the younger negroes walked too near,
and, while appraising with gastronomic appreciation
the great tail, which many of the negroes eat with
avidity, it lashed out suddenly. A feeble effort, but with
force enough to send the frightened negroes on both
sides of him sprawling and rubbing their bruised legs
which the 'gator's sweep, delivered with full force,
could have broken like pipe stems.
And now that the Dragon that guarded the treasure
had been haled from the dungeon and put hors de
combat, Sabey tied a couple of empty sacks, each to a
plow line, and essayed a second nose dive into the pit
of promise. There is always danger of getting jammed
or stuck in exploring a "gator hole, but Sabey was
experienced and cautious, and the hole was large, so
down he went, taking the sacks with him, and soon
reached the bottom, which had widened into a consid-
erable cavity eighteen feet from the mouth. His
exploring hands, feeling in front of him, found a small
THE 'GATOR HUNTER
pool of water literally alive with terrapins. Having
ample room to turn around, Sabey lost no time in fill-
ing one of his sacks with terrapins, which, at a jerk
of the line, was hauled up out of his way. The second
sack held all that remained, and, when this had fol-
lowed the first, he turned, and, facing upward, decided
to go head-foremost, preferring to crawl out like a self-
respecting caterpillar, under his own steam, rather
than be hauled up by the heels like a slaughtered shoat.
But, fearing suffocation in the close quarters under-
ground, he had admonished the men above, who man-
aged the rope attached to his foot, to pull him up
quickly at the first jerk, and, as he turned upward,
his free leg became entangled with the tied one.
In kicking loose, he gave the line a jerk, to
which his friends responded so suddenly that they
hauled his legs up under him, trussing him into
the semblance of a bronze statuette of a squatting
Buddha. Sabey yelled with pain and anger, for the
hole, while large enough for a man to pass extended,
was too close for him doubled up, and Sabey was stuck
in the barrel. His muffled cries reached his friends,
but they thought them calls for more speed, and the
harder they pulled, the tighter they jammed the
"Eh, eh! Da' felluh pull hebby!"
"Yaas, man, Buh Sabey pull hebby sukkuh alliget-
It was old Cato who noticed that they had not
budged him an inch. "'Top, oonuh man, Hop!" he
shouted. " 'Ee vent duh moobe. Slack de rope."
As they stopped pulling, Sabey hauled in the slack,
released his legs, and, hauling on the rope hand over
THE BLACK BORDER
hand, was soon at the mouth of the hole, where he lay
for several minutes to fill up with fresh air. When,
recovered sufficiently to get mad, he rose on all-fours
like an alligator, he presented a fearful sight. His
yellow wool, his face, and his copper-colored arms and
torso were smeared and streaked with black mud, his
ragged trousers, water-soaked and muddy, clung to his
crooked legs, and he looked like a composite of iguana
Though ordinarily a taciturn negro, Sabey, under
the spur of anger, galloped through his vocabulary of
invective at top speed. "Oonuh good fuh nutt'n' deb-
ble'ub'uh nc? count nigguh! Oonuh ent wutf Uh tell
oonuh 'sponsubble fuh haul cle rope w'en uh pull'um
'long me ham, uh nebbuh tell oonuh fuh hauFum wen
uh kick'um 'long me foot ! Oonuh ent know de diff-
"unce 'twix' man' han' em 'e foot? Ef man tell oonuh
fuh tek uh cucklebuhr outuh mule yez, oonuh gwine
saa'ch fuhr'um een 'e tail, enty? Oonuh mus'be tek
me fuh annimel !"
"Ef you ent wash off dem mud en' t'ing 'fo' you gone
home, Bess gwine tek you fuh cootuh, eeduhso fuh
'ranguhtang, en' him ent gwi' leh you fuh gone een
him house," they chaffed.
Sabey washed in the muddy pool, resumed his shirt,
tied the two sacks of terrapins together, hung them
over the gun barrel at his back, and prepared to shake
the mud of the Half Moon off his feet. "Wen uh done
sell dese yuh yalluhbelly cootuh en' gone een me house
wid alltwo me han' full'up wid money, Bess gwine lub
me tummuch, ef uh yiz look lukkuh 'ranguhtang.
Monkey hab fo' han', en' de mo'res' han' man hab, de
mo' 'ooman lub'um ! Oonuh black Aff'ikin Guinea nig-
TEE "GATOR HUNTER
guh! Oonuh kin nyam da' alligettuh, en' wen oonuh
yiz nyanvum, oonuh duh cannibelf"
"THE WILES THAT IN THE WOMEN ARE"
For many years old John, as country coachman for
the late Governor Aiken, periodically drove a pair of
switch-tailed mules to the Governor's carriage, mak-
ing round trips between Jehossee Island and Adams
Run station, whenever his employer came from
Charleston to visit the great rice plantation. John
was a trim and finicky old darkey, with quite a man-
ner, and, in his old beaver hat and long-tailed coat,
made a notable figure among the darkeys usually loaf-
ing about the station.
Low-country negroes never miss a train. Journey-
ing by rail, they take no chances, but invariably reach
the station several hours ahead of train time, where,
chattering and gossiping, the waiting time passes
quickly and pleasantly.
Among these groups old John, with his long-handled
whip of plaited buckskin, correctly looped, and car-
ried coachman fashion, moved and exchanged pleas-
antries. He, too, was always ahead of time, and his
docile mules, switching their long, untrimmed tails
about, and hitched to the only closed carriage in the
community, were always objects of interest to the
"Uncle John, mekso oonuh ent shabe dem mule
tail?" inquired one of a group that squatted upon the
"Sistuh, you ebbuh yeddy 'bout Johossee muskit-
"Ahnhn, uh t'awt so. Gal, you ebbuh see blackbu'd'
'puntop'uh rice rick? You is shum, enty? Berry well;
"THE WILES THAT IN THE WOMEN ARE"
dem muskittuh' een Johossee maa'sh stan* same fashi'n.
Wen dem light 'puntop'uh mule, dem kibbuhr'um 'tell
oonuh cyan' see dem haa'ness! One time, jis' attuh
daa'k, uh binnuh dribe comin' een late f'um Adam'
Run, en' w'en uh 'trike de causeway, all ub uh sudd'nt
uh nebbuh yeddy no mule' foot duh trot 'puntop'uh de
groun' ! De cyaaridge duh moobe, but uh yent yeddy
no soun' f'um de mule' foot. Uh say tuh mese'f, eh, eh.
duh warruh dishyuh ? Uh look 'gen, en', uh 'cla' tuh
goodness, de muskittuh' dat t'ick 'puntop de mule'
belly, dem hice'um up off de groun', en' duh flew t'ru
de ellyment duh cya'um 'long! Dem wing' duh sing
sukkuh bee duh swawm, en' de mule' duh trot wid all
fo' dem foot, but 'e nebbuh tetch no groun' ! Uh neb-
buh do nutt V 'tell uh cross de bridge, 'cause de bridge
mek out'uh pole, en' dem berry slip'ry duh night time,
en' uh glad de mule' ent haffuh pit dem foot 'puntop '-
um, but attuh uh done cross de bridge, uh tek me lash
en' uh cut de mule'' two't'ree time onduhneet' dem belly,
en', uh 'cla' tuh my Mastuh, t'ree peck uh muskittuh'
drap 'puntop de groun' en' uh yeddy de mule' foot duh
trot 'gen een de road ! So, attuh dat, uh nebbuh shabe
de Gub'nuh' cyaaridge mule' tail no mo', en' now you
shum stan' dey, dem kin lick muskittuh', fly en' t'ing'
same lukkuh hawss."
So old John, coachman and raconteur, a faithful and
respected servant, lived his days, which were long, and
when at last he was gathered to his fathers, his
funeral was the talk of the colored countryside, and
his grave, ornately decorated with broken bits of old
blue china and the stone bottles in which Bass' ale
had once been imported, was much admired by those
whose sad occasions brought them to the plantation
THE BLACK BORDER
God's- Acre under the spreading live-oaks.
,k Eh, eh, Buh John sho' hab uh fine grabe. ,,
"Yaas, tittie, 'e fine full true. You see da' blue
chaney, enty? Dat chaney bin 'e Missis' pitchuh 'tell
de pitchuh' mout' done bruk out. One time 'e missis
sen' one leely nigguh gal duh big spring wid 'e blue
pitchuh fuh fetch watuh. De gal full' de pitchuh en'
pit'um 'puntop e head duh walk duh paat' comin' fuh
de house. De gal duh walk ca'less like, duh swing 'e
han', en' 'e yeye high, en' 'e nebbuh look 'puntop de
paat', en' one limus cootuh binnuh cross 'e paat', en'
him git to de paat' same time de gal git dey, en' de gal
"tump 'e toe 'puntop de cootuh, en' de cootuh t'row'um
down, en' de pitchuh fall off de gal' head en' 'trike
'puntop'uh root, en' de pitchuh' mout' bruk out en' de
gal gone back duh big spring en' full' de pitchuh 'gen,
en' pit'um 'puntop 'e head en' gone big house duh paat',
but 'e dat 'f'aid suh limus cootuh gwine hit'um 'gen,
'e 'tep' high, en' w'en 'e 'tep' high de watuh wuh 'e
fetch f'um big spring 'plash' out de pitchuh' bruk
mout' en' drap' 'puntop de gal two eye' en' run down 'e
face en' gone een *e mout', en' w'en de gal git duh big
house, 'e missis look 'puntop all de watuh en' t'ing' dey
'puntop *e face en' 'e missis t'ink de gal cry tuh dat, en'
*e missis sorry fuhr'um en' 'e nebbuh lick'um nuh
nutt'n', en' 'e gi' de bruk mout' pitchuh to de gal, en'
w'en de gal grow up, Buh John hab'um fuh wife, en'
da' de way Buh John git de pitchuh, en' attuh Buh
John done dead, 'e wife wuh 'e lef tek hatchitch en'
bruk de pitchuh 'gen, en' pit eb'ry Gawd piece 'puntop
Buh John' grabe, en' da' w'ymekso 'e stan' so."
" 'E grabe look stylish fuh true, but uh know berry
well w'en my juntlemun dead me yent fuh bruk no
"THE WILES THAT IN THE WOMEN ARE"
pitchuh en' t'ing fuh pit 'puntop him cawpse, 'cause
da' nigguh ent wut, 'e too lub fuh drink rum, on' wVn
'e fetch'uin home, him fuhrebbuh duh fall down en'
bruk de bottle wuh 'e fetch'um een, en' uh hab all dem
bruk bottle pile' een de fench cawnuh fuh pit 'puntop
him grabe w'en 'e dead. TwoVree time Joe seem luk-
kuh o kinduh spishus 'bout de bruk bottle, en' 'e ax
me wuffuh uh duh sabe'um, but uh tell'um uh sabe'um
fuh beat'um up 'long pessle, fuh pizen buekruh' dog.
en' dat sattify 'e mine' en' 'e lemme 'lone."
"You sho' hab uh good onduhstan', tittie, 'cause man
ent fuh know tummuch. Ef 'ooman tell'um de trute 'e
nobbuh sattify. 'Ooman haffuh fool'um fuh mek'um
easy een 'e mine'!"
"You duh talk trute, tittie, him lub you fuh fool'um.
Fool'um duh de only t'ing him gwine b'leobe."
"Yaas, man, meself hab uh good ecknowledge fuh
fool'um. One time Paul, him duh my juntlemun, bin-
nuh wu'k to de maa'l, duh dig rock, down to John
Ilun'. Monday mawnin', him git up soon, 'e gone
deepo, 'e ketch de shoofly strain, en' 'e gone ! Uh neb-
buh shum 'gen 'tell Sattyday night. Wuh me fuh do?
Soddown een me house 'tell him come home en' watch
'tettuh duh bile? No, suh ! Uh lub fuh talk tummuch!
Soon ez uh yeddy de strain blow, en' uh sattify' my
juntlemun gone, uh tek me two foot en' uh gone
Paa'ker" Ferry Cross Road' weh da' buekruh hab 'e big
sto'. All dem boy' wuh ent hab nutt'n' fuh do, dey dey
duh talk, en' 'nuf 'ooman' dey dey duh hoi' cumpuh-
shashun 'long de man en' t'ing. W'en daa'k come, uh
gone home. Uh cook, uh eat, uh leddown duh bed, uh
sleep. Chuesday mawnin', uh gone same fashi'n, on'
eb'ry Gawd' day 'tell bimeby Sattyday come 'gen. Uh
TEE BLACK BORDER
clean de house, uh wash, uh sweep de yaa'd, en' uh gone
Cross Road'. Uh pass de time uh day 'long dem tod-
duh nigguh' 'tell uh yeddy de strain f'um town blow
deepo, den uh gone home fuh wait 'tell Paul come.
Befo' uh lef de sto', Sancho Frajuh binnuh drink rum
en' 'e t'row'way 'e money berry freehan', en' 'e buy
'bout two quawt' uh candy, dese'yuh 'ticky kind'uh
t'ing, dem hab 'ooman name, de buckruh call'um Carrie
Mel, but eb'n so, 'e mek out'uh pinegum en' muhlassis,
en' ef oonuh chaw'um 'e gwine hoi' yo' jaw 'tell t'unduh
roll. De buckruh hab'um een 'e sto' sence las' yeah en
de t'ing haa'd ez uh i'un. Sancho gi' eb'ry 'ooman two
han'ful'. Uh wrop one de han'ful' een uh papuh en'
drap'um een me ap'un pocket. Uh t'row de todduh
han'ful een me mout' en' biggin fuh chaw. Uh chaw,
en' uh chaw, uh chaw, en' uh chaw. De t'ing sweet'n'
me fuh true, but 'e ketch me jaw' en' 'e hol'um same
lukkuh pinegum plastuh ! De mo' uh chaw'um de mo'
'e swell. Time uh git tuh me house, de t'ing wrop
roun' eb'ry teet' een me head lukkuh jackwine wrop
roun' tree. Alltwo me jaw' stan' same fashi'n ez muf-
Hejaw fowl, en' me mout' swell'up same lukkuh Buh
Quash' mout' stick out w'en 'e bex ! Wen uh git tuh
de do', Paul dey dey duh wait fuh me ! 'Fo' him kin
ax me no squeschun, uh smaa't 'nuf fuh t'row me ap'un
tuh me mout' fuh hide'um, en' uh kibbuhr'um up en'
biggin fuh moan. Uh moan, en' uh moan. Paul ax me
wuffuh uh mek shishuh hebby cumplain. Uh 'ca'cely
kin able fuh talk, but uh tell'um uh binnuh walk roun'
de fench en' uh walk 'puntop yalluh jacket nes' en' de
t'ing 'ting me tuh dat. 'E ax me w'ich one de jaw 'e
'ting me 'pun. Uh p'int tuh me lef han' jaw. 'E ax me
'smattuh mek alltwo de jaw' swell. Uh tell'um gum-
"THE WILES THAT IN THE WOMEN ARE"
bile mek todduh one full swell. Den uh biggin fuh
cry. Watuh stan' een me two eye'. Uh baig'um fuh
gone deepo en' baig some dem buckruh' fuh g'em some
linniment full de mis'ry een alltwo me jaw'. Paul say
suh him kin gone Cross Road' en' buy'um, but uh 'f aid
ef him gone Cross Road 1 , Sancho dem gwine tell'um
suh me bin dey, en' uh tell'um no, uh yent want'um fuh
t'row'way him money 'cause uh lub'um tummuch, en'
uh mo" redduh him fuh baig de buckruh", den fuh
buy'um out him own money. Dat mek'um sattify, en'
"e gone deepo. Soon ez 'e gone, uh try fuh git da' deb-
ble'ub'uh 'ceitful Carrie Mel out me mout\ De t'ing
"tick same lukkuh Bull Rabbit 'tick tuh Taar Baby.
"E won' tu'n me loose ! Den me bline'gawd tell me fuh
greese'um. Uh gone dull house, uh mek fiah, uh pit
one fat bakin een de pan, en' w'en de meat done fry,
uh tek'um een me mout' en' biggin fuh chaw. Bimeby
de greese biggin fuh loose de Carrie Mel, en' uh tek
alltwo me han' en' uh pull'um out me mout', en' uh
t'row'um 'way, en' uh t'row'um fudduh!
"W'en Paul come back wid de buckruh linniment, uh
duh hoi' me two jaw' en' uh dull moan. Him gimme
de t'ing, uh rub'um, en' attuhw'ile, w'en him done cook
de bittle wuh 'e fetch f'um John Ilun', uh call'um fuh
look 'puntop me two jaw' weh de swell' done gone, en'
*e dat sattify, 'e gimme de money wuh him bin fuh buy
linniment duh Cross Road, en' 'e nebbuh yeddy 'bout
"Yaas, tittle, 'ooman fool'um fuh true! Him done
fuh fool'iim !"
A RICEFIELD IDYLL
A brilliant tropical day in late August, A strong
breeze from the river moved the glistening leaves and
swayed the long pennons of gray Spanish moss that
swung from every bough and twig of the great live-
oaks, whose spreading arms stretched their protecting
shade over the plateau upon which stood the Big
House, crowning the highest point of Prospect Hill.
A mile away swept the flowing tide of the broad and
beautiful Edisto, whose shimmering waters, opposed
by the summer wind, danced and sparkled in the sun-
light. Upon the lower levels between the uplands and
the river lay the great fields of early rice, now ready
for the sickle. Intersecting the fields or "squares" at
regular intervals, and contrasting with their green and
gold opulence, shining silver-blue canals ran from
river to headland. Far across the river on "the
Island, 7 ' the eye rested upon an emerald expanse of
June rice which would come to harvest six weeks later.
From the ripening fields the "harvest flow" had been
taken off, the squares dried, and on this Monday morn-
ing 100 hands had gathered by sunrise, for, by the
mysterious grapevine telegraph through which negroes
on one plantation hear almost instantaneously what is
going forward on other plantations miles away, the
news had gone about that rice-cutting was to com-
mence at Prospect Hill, and the gregarious negroes,
deserting the smaller settlements, flocked hither to the
big plantation where, working in gangs, they could
exchange quip and jest and gather the gossip of the
countryside. Some of the best rice-cutters were the
A RICEFIELD IDYLL
sturdy young women, who, with skirts tied up above
their knees and wearing men's wool hats to mitigate the
heat of the sun, kept pace with the best of their mascu-
line associates. Cutting and tying by piece work, an
active hand could readily complete his task, the allot-
ment for a day's work, an hour before noon, and some
of those who had walked six or seven miles in the
morning would knock off as soon as the task was
finished and loaf around the quarters until sundown,
while others, pushing their luck, held on until the
evening, putting two days' work into one. Armed with
the saw-edged, sickle-like "rice hooks,'' the cutters
stretched across the squares, each seizing with her left
hand as large a bundle of the heavy-headed stalks as
she could conveniently grasp, which, with one stroke
of her right arm. she quickly severed a few inches
above the ground, laid the bundle on the stubble ready
for those who tied into sheaves behind her, and, with
a sweep of her left, gathered another handful for the
embrace of the crescent-shaped blade. Down the
steaming field moved a skirmish line of lusty black
wenches, bare-armed, bare-footed and bare-legged,
their skirts drawn above their knees by a cord about
the waist, which took up the slack. Here and there
among them worked men. and these, often physically
inferior to the females of the species, were subjected
to constant raillery and frequent challenges to equal
the self-appointed tasks of the women.
Venus Chisolm and Diana Smashum. two strapping
Amazons, were the most expert of the women rice-
cutters, and excelled most of the men in efficiency.
Scipio Jenkins, a smart young buck, was the special
butt of the sang of which Diana and Venus were the
THE BLACK BORDER
leaders. Scipio was unusually black, with the com-
mon combination of yellow eyes and blue gums, and
upon this color scheme his tormentors lit like bee mar-
tins on a crow.
"Blue gum, yalluh eye,
Black nigguh berry sly;
Yalluh eye, blue gum,
Black nigguh lub rum."
Yalluh eye, w'en you shum,
Black nigguh lub rum."
"Yaas, tittie, 'e stan' so fuh true. Sat'd'y night da"
nigguh gone Cross Road'. 'E buy uh killybash full uh
rum f'um de buckruh. 'E drink'um eb'ry Gawd' drap.
'E nebbuh gi' nobody none. 'E gone home. Sunday,
'e dead! 'E nebbuh know nutt'n' 'tell Sunday night 'e
maamy full' uh piggin full uh watuh out de well en'
t'row'um 'puntop'uh Scipio, weh 'e duh leddown 'pun-
top de flo', fuh mek'um fuh wake. De nigguh binnuh
leddown 'puntop 'e back fuh sleep. 'E sleep" haa'd. 'E
groan' en' 'e groan ! 'E groan' en' 'e groan' ! 'E mout'
op'n roun' same lukkuh snake hole. Wen de watuh
full' 'e mout', 'e blow lukkuh de 'strucshun strain
injine duh blow off steam w'en 'e duh load grabble!
De t'ing 'trangle'um. 'E choke! 'E jump out 'e
maamy' do' en' *e gone t'ru de briah-patch dat fas' 'e
lef ' half 'e britchiz 'puntop de briah ! Bumbye, w'en 'e
maamy gone duh 'ood fuh fine'um, please Gawd, de
nigguh binnuh leddown flat 'puntop 'e belly een de
du't, duh swim ! Da' piggin full uh watuh hab shishuh
cuntrady tas'e een 'e mout', 'e mek'um t'ink suh him
dey een de ribbuh ! 'E 'tretch out all fo' 'e han' en' 'e
A RICEFIELD IDYLL
foot. 'E ten finguh' duh grabble een de du't. Bumbye,
w'en 'e han' loos'n de du't, 'e feel uh pinetree root. 'E
graff'um een alltwo 'e han'! 'E holluh. *Ten<jh- Gawd,' 1
"e say. l uh done sabe! Uh yent fuh drowndid no mo!"
En' da' fool nigguh pull 'pun de pine-tree root fuh
bice 'eself out de ribbuh ! Da* rum do'um bad!"
Seipio swelled with wrath, but at first ''too full for
sound or foam," bent to his task and, cutting savagely
at the thickest stalks, under the impetus of anger, soon
forged ahead of the others and led the line. Before
he drew away, however, he projected this Parthian
shot with a torpedo in its tail: "Benus en' Diana,
oonuh alltwo duh bodduh me, w'ymekso oonuh ent
study 'bout Paul? Him duh alltwo oonuh sweeth'aa't
en' t'ing. Diana t'ink suh Paul duh him'own 'cause V
ge'm da* catfish 'e ketch las* Sat'd'v, en' Benus t'ink suh
him duh she'own, 'cause 'e buy gunjuh fuhr'um duh
Cross Road', but Paul nebbuh buy no frock fuh Diana,
en' 'e nebbuh buy none fuh Benus, but him buy'um fuh
Minda, en' 'e duh keep cump'ny 'long Minda, en' him
duh yalluh gal, en' Paul nebbuh fuh study 'bout no
black nigguh' no mo'! Him duh fool oonuh alltwo!"
The torpedo exploded.
Two dusky faces quickly changed from smirking
comedy to girding tragedy. Two stalwart forms stif-
fened in their tracks and stood astraddle like two
Colossi of Rhodes. Two pairs of powerful arms akim-
boed, and two sets of sinewy fingers clutched the
handles of their rice hooks !
"Hukkuh Paul happ'n fuh gi' you catfish? You
mus'be baig fuhr'um, enty?"
"Baig fuhr'um! Me fuh baig man fuh catfish! / iz
uh lady, uh wan' you fuh know, en' ef you ha Huh bai
THE BLACK BORDER
'lira fuh gunjuh, me yent haffuh baig'um full catfish I"
"Wuh you got fuh do wid wuh Paul gi' me? Him
duh yo" 1 juntlemun, enty?"
"Ef 'e yent my'own, uh know berry well suh him
ent fuh blonx to no black nigguh lukkuh you !"
"Nigguh! Who you call nigguh? De Debbie is uh
"Him duh nigguh fuh true, but dis ricefiel' full uh 'e
chillun, en' 'e gran'chillun alltwo, en' uh 'spec' you dull
one uh 'e gran'!"
A shriek of laughter from Scipio filled Diana's cup
of anger to overflowing, and, with a savage rice-
cutting swing, she sideswiped Venus with her saw-
edged sickle, and cut her acquaintance below, and
behind, the belt. Bustles were not then worn, but the
victim was saved from a most inconvenient wound by
the folds of her looped-up skirt, which, like a furled
sail, hung just abaft the beam, and she received only a
scratch. Starting at the scratch, however, Diana was
twenty feet away and going strong when Venus, yell-
ing with pain, turned and gave chase. Screams of
laughter mingled with shouts of excitement, as Diana
tripped and fell on the stubble, and Venus, too close to
check her speed, stumbled over her prostrate assailant
and came a cropper, the rice hook flying out of her
hand as she fell. Diana's weapon, having been taken
from her by one of the men, the two ladies were on
equal terms with nature's weapons, and, both being on
all-fours, literally and figuratively, they soon fastened
their "ten commandments" in each other's wool. They
fought viciously and silently, and not until, collapsed
from exhaustion, they had been separated by the men,
did they again become vocal. Venus' gingham skirt
A RICEFIELD IDYLL
had suffered a cruel rent. As she reached behind her
and felt the yawning gap in her .sartorial hinterland,
and realized the ignominy that had been put upon her
by this "most unkindest cut of all," she shrieked in
anger. "Uh gwine tek you Trial Jestuss ! You f uh
gone Adam' Eun fuh dis t'ing wuh you done do!" and
she flung wrathfully out of the field. Out of the babel
of voices that arose among the partisans of the two
goddesses, the dominant note was abuse of Scipio, who
had flung Paul, the apple, or rather the Guinea squash.
of discord among them.
"Wuh you haffuh do 'long Paul' name? Ef him iz
buy gunjuh en' frock en' t'ing fuh free 'ooman', uh
sho' 'e mo' bettuh den fuh nebbuh buy nutt'n' fuh
none!" showing the world-wide feminine appreciation
of a free spender. "Wuh you ebbuh buy fuh 'ooman?
Eb'ry Sat'd'y night da' buckruh' sto* duh Cross Road'
full up wid 'ooman, en' you ebbuh buy uh tencent wut'
uh bakin fuh greese dem mout'? No, suh ! You lub fuh
talk sweetmout' talk 'long'um, but you dat stingy you
nebbuh buy uh candy, eeduhso uh sugar, fuh sweet'n
dem mout'. Ent you know suh 'ooman lub uh freehan'
"Yaas, tittie ! You talk trute ! 'Ooman redduh hab
'e mout' full'uh muhlassis den 'e yez full'uh sweetmout'
"Him lub'um alltwo," observed a sapient one. "Him
mout' en' him yez alltwo fuh full one time!"
On the second Saturday thereafter, having been
summoned by Big Jim Green, the negro constable.
Venus and Diana, with their respective satellites,
appeared before the Trial Justice at Adams Run sta-
tion, where Diana, duly indicted, was charged in the
THE BLACK BORDER
comprehensive phraseology of the Criminal Code with
such a string of offenses against the peace and dignity
of the State of South Carolina and the proper person
of Venus Chisolm that her ears tingled and her eyes
popped with amazement.
"Guilty or not guilty?"
"Uh yent know wuh you call so, Jedge, but uh neb-
buh do none uh dem t'ing wuh da' papuh call dem
name. Ef Jedus yeddy me, uh nebbuh do uh GaAvd'
t'ing but cut da' 'ooman, en' uh nebbuh hab uh chance
fuh cut'um good, 'cause 'e hab 'e frock tie'up 'roun' 'e
wais', en' w'en uh cut at 'e hanch en' de rice hook ketch
"e frock weh 'e roll'up behine'um, dat sabe de 'ooman'
meat, en' uh only able fuh 'cratch 'e skin, but uh
'cratch'um 'nuf fuh mek'um holluh same lukkuh hog'
holluh w'en oonuh cut dem yez fuh maa'k'um, en'
alldo' uh yent puhzac'ly cut de 'ooman, uh try fuh
cut'um, but uh cut 'e frock en' uh only able fuh
'cratch'um, en' ef uh yiz bin cut'um, duh Scipio mek'
me fuh do'um, 'cause him come duh ricefiel' wid da'
bluegum mout' uh him'own full'uh pizen talk fuh bex
me nuh Benus, en' uh always yeddy suh ef uh bluegum
nigguh bite you 'e gwine pizen you same lukkuh moc-
casin, en' same fashi'n de talk wuh come out da' nig-
guh' jaw pizen alltwo uh we en' mek we fuh fight, but,
Jedge, uh nebbuh cut Benus lukkuh da' papuh say,
'cause ef uh had'uh cut'um fuh true, true! da' 'ooman
would 'uh haffuh stan'up 'puntop'uh 'e two foot fuh
t'ree week !"
"Received as information," observed the magistrate,
and he called Venus, who came up smiling. "You have
heard Diana's story. What have you to say?"
"Uh yeddy'um, suh. But 'e cut me."
A R1CEFIELD IDYLL
"Where did she cut you?"
"Where did she cut you?"
" 'E cut me een Mas' Edwu'd' ricefieP, suh."
"Yes, I know you were all in the ricefield, but where
did she cut you?"
" *R cut me een ten acre, suh."
"Cut you in ten acre!"
" 'E cut me een da' ten acre square wuh stan' close to
de baa'nyaa'd, suh."
"Well, you have given the location in the ricefield,
now, where on your person did Diana cut you with a
"Your person is your body. Did she cut vou on your
"Yaas, suh, *e cut me."
"Well, on what part of your body did she cut you '."
"Da' same place wuh you call 'e name, suh."
" 'E cut me on me pussmi, suh, en', Jedge, de t'ing
sweet V me so bad, ef uh could'uh ketch da' *ooman 'fo'
uh ketch me foot en' fall obuhr'um, da' '00111:111 would
As there was murderous intent in the sudden heat
and passion of both Venus and Diana, the court
imposed upon the defendant a fine only sufficient to
rehabilitate the wardrobe of the prosecuting witness,
who sailed out of court thoroughly satisfied with the
new frock in prospect and the present enrichment of
her vocabulary by the buckra word "pussun."
THE DOWER HOUSE
The "Dower House," which Abram Drayton had
inherited from his father, old John, now resting under
the great live-oaks of the plantation burying ground,
was quite a pretentious affair, two stories high, with
two chimneys and a leak. The stories were not very
high, only six or seven feet in the clear, but it was
sometimes convenient to be able to reach up and touch
the ceiling, and, after all, it was a two-story house and,
like all two-story houses among the negroes, added
greatly to the prestige of the owner's family. In the
usual one-story negro cabin, the boarded-over "loft,"
reached by ladder, is at once the sleeping room for the
children, the granary for corn and peas, and the hay
mow for whatever straw or fodder the householder
possesses, but the Dower House had a real second story,
attained by steps, narrow and teetering 'tis true, which
the ascending biped usually "cooned" on all-fours, but
they were steps, not rungs, and, however vigorously
the negro expresses in hymns and spirituals his will-
ingness, indeed anxiety, to "climb up Jacob's ladder,"
in the present life he prefers the creak of a boafd
under his foot.
Under the law of primogeniture, arbitrarily estab-
lished by old John for the disposition and control of
his landed property, the "Two-Chimbly House" was
bequeathed by word of mouth to his eldest son, and
similarly settled upon his eldest grandson, and so on,
as long as the line lasted, or until the shingles fell off,
when dynastic difficulties would inevitably intervene.
Perhaps he had heard of primogeniture and dower
THE DOWER HOUSE
houses while waiting at the table of his English-bred
master in the old times, but however the idea came into
his kinky head, once in, it stuck, and he determined
that a Dower House he would leave, and a Dower
House entailed. "Uh gwine tie de 'tail 'puntop da'
house fuh hol'um fas'! Uh tie'um fus" 'puntop my boy,
Ebbrum, en" den 'e fuh tie 'puntop him boy, my gran',
en* de 'tail ent fuh tek'off ! De 'tail ent fuh tie 'pun-
top no 'ooman. 'Ooman ent fuh hab no house. Man
fuh hab'um en' him fuh hol'um, so him kin fetch de
'ooman to "e han'!"
So, the " 'tail" still tied to Abram, in due time he
came into the Dower House, and here, in the woods on
the road from Adams Run Station to Caw Caw
Swamp, he lived and reared a family.
At the tail of the summer his wife partook "not
wisely but too well" of watermelon and buttermilk,
and through the unfortunate combination was forth-
with translated from the bosom of Abram to that of
Abraham. The widowed man resigned himself to the
will of the Lord, and accepted his bereavement not the
less philosophically that his crop was already made
and partly gathered. u Ef de Lawd haft'uh tek'um, uh
glad 'E vent tek'um "tell de crap done mek." he
reflected gratefully and reverently. In a week he had
picked and sold the last of his cotton, and out of the
proceeds outfitted his old mare with a new saddle,
bridle and cloth, notwithstanding which, the ungrate-
ful creature, with true feminine perversity, "gone en'
leddown en' dead, jis' 'cause uh yent feed'um fuh two'-
t'ree day. Uh nebbuh know da' mare gwine hongry
to dat! 'E hongry 'tell 'e dead, en' now uh haffuh tek
me two foot en' walk!"
THE BLACK BORDER
Abram, being now more than a "settled" man, jogged
along in single harness uneventfully for several
months. "Not so young, sir, to love a woman for sing-
ing, nor so old as to dote on her for anything," he now,
in the autumn of his days, became somewhat critical
in the matter of feminine needlework. His grown
daughter esteemed herself a competent, almost a skil-
ful, patcher of broken, frayed or frazzled raiment.
She knew very well how to put crocus or burlap
patches on the knees of the jeans or blue denim trousers
affected by her sire, but though she could attach them
in such fashion that they would hold, the edges always
overlapped like the strakes of a clinker-built whale
boat. But whatever these patches lacked in symmetri-
cal attachment, they served well enough, for, as Abram
advanced in years, he did not kneel so often as he sat.
The seats of his trousers, however, yawned in pathetic
neglect for, however acceptably his daughter repaired
his broken knees, the half-soling of the seats was a
much more serious matter, which she lacked the high
spirit to undertake, and he carried about with him,
whithersoever he went, gaping wounds in his sartorial
equipment where, according to Hudibras, "a kick in
that part more hurts honor than deep wounds before."
Not that anyone would ever have kicked him, for he
was of a quiet and inoffensive disposition.
Most observers of humanity have noted with interest
the close resemblance of certain types of the "wild (and
tame) animals one has known." The horse, the ass,
the bulldog, the pug, sheep and goat, fox, raccoon and
rat, the 'possum, grinning with pious hypocrisy, and
the Berkshire pig with slanting eyes and champing-
jowls, are all marked likenesses frequently reproduced
THE DOWER HOUSE
in human faces, representing the stupid, the sly, the
selfish, the grasping, the predaceous, the stubborn, the
sensual, the combative, the treacherous — all of them
to be avoided, or warily appraised, for the good of
one's soul — and of one's pocket, Unhappily, those who
have been blessed with so rich an experience as to have
suffered both fools and knaves, seldom learn to read
the buoys with which nature has wisely marked the
dangerous reefs in her physiognomonic charts, until
the keels of their craft grind upon the rocks! But
Abram's face was that of the mild-eyed, introspective
ox. There was no militant personality in the neigh-
borhood to "walk a mile out of his way to kick a
sheep,'' and, even had there been, to have kicked Abram
would have been anatomically impossible, for the
unsportsmanlike may shoot a sitting bird, but he can-
not kick (offensively) a sitting man, and Abram was
usually sitting! So, having held inviolate against the
insulting toe the seats of his trousers, which he had
lost only through the slow attrition of honest sloth, he
retained his self-respect, though he was a peripatetic
scandal whenever he went abroad upon his "peaceful
occasions." With praiseworthy propriety, he now came
in late to church or prayer-meeting, and, a vigorous
and devout "class leader," coached his class from the
bench, dreading the publicity of the sidelines. Then he
sat discreetly at the close of the services until "de
'ooman en' t'ing" had gained an offing and sailed away,
when, as he showed a fairly presentable front, he
would follow after them and engage in long distance
"Come on, Bredduh Drayton. Mekso you walk so
THE BLACK BORDER
"Uh haffuh walk slow, tittie, 'cause dese debble'ub'-
uh britchiz bus', en' dem ent wut. Da' gal uh my'own
able fuh pit uh berry deestunt patch 'puntop de knee,
but seem lukkuh him ent able fuh do nutt'n' 'long de
seat. Da' w'ymekso dish'yuh britchiz do berry well
fuh man fuh seddown een'um, but dem cyan' specify
"Wuh mekso you ent tek anodduh lady fuh wife?
You got big house en' 'nuf groun' fuh mek crap,
mekso you ent fuh hab ooman?"
"Uh hab house en' groun,' fuh true. Uh got uh
two-chimbly house, but 'ooman shishuh onsaa't'n t'ing,
uh kinduh 'f'aid fuh tek anodduh chance. Ebbuh
sence my lady nyam dem watuhmilyun en' buttuhmilk
en' him Jedus tek'um, uh yent hab nutt'n' fuh bodduh
me. Uh kin seddown een de sun-hot eenjurin' de whole
day en' nebbuh yeddy no 'ooman' woice duh call fuh
tell me fuh git'up. Uh kin seddown tell uh fuh gone
"Yaas, my Bredduh, you binnuh seddown, fuh
true!" a church sister laughingly retorted. "Da' de
reas'n w'ymekso you shame' fuh stan'up fuh lead yo'
class ! Long seddown mek short stan'up, you know."
"Go 'way, gal ! 'Nuf man wuh hab wife een dem
house, dem britchiz ent able fuh specify. Dem wife
lazy tummuch fuh patch'um." And so Abram, always
backward in company, put on the best front he could
for a Avhile and, unlike Edward Bellamy, never looked
behind him. At last the raillery told on him, however,
and he made up his mind to take another plunge into
the roiling waters of married life. Not the "uncertain
sea of matrimony" beloved of poets, but just the black
and sluggish current of the branch or run, in which,
THE DOWER HOUSE
among snags and cypress knees, swam the slimy catfish
and the venomous moccasin. The hazard was not
great, for, however forbidding they looked, the waters
were shallow, and the low-country negro, stepping into
matrimony, keeps at least one big toe on dry ground,
and. if one steps in the wrong place, one can always
step out again, and try elsewhere. So, with more than
a toe-hold of mental reservation, Abram at last, like
the storied frog, ''would a wooing go" — and he went.
"Uh gwine Cross Road'. Uh gwine Sat'd y night w'en
'nuf ooman dey dey, en' uh gwine saa'ch dem eb'ry
Gawd' one 'tell uh git one wuh kin specify. Uh yent
wan' no settle' 'ooman, 'cause dem done hab 'nuf man
fuh marri'd, en' dem know tummuch. Dem too
schemy! Seem lukkuh de mo' husbun' en' t'ing dem
fuh hab, de mo' schemy dem git ! Ef uh tek uh nyung
gal fuh wife, wuh ent know nutt'n', uh kin bruk'um
fuh suit, same lukkuh oxin bruk fuh pull plow. Uh
kin fetch'um onduhneet' me han'!"'
With these masterful masculine reflections, Abram
went his ways to the Cross Roads, and having, like
Poe's Raven, acquired the sitting habit, down he sat
near the store on a convenient log which offered :it
once rest for his weary bones and camouflage for his
sartorial infirmities. For an hour or more he watched
with an appraising eye the women coming and going,
acknowledging the salutations of those who passed
near him. At last, his approving regard rested upon
what the antebellum advertisements would have called
a "likely girl" who curtseyed as she came opposite him.
"Come'yuh, gal," he called. "Wuh you name?"'
"You duh An' Minda' gal. enty?"
TEE BLACK BORDER
"Yaas, suh, him dull my Grumma en' me dull him
'You onduhstan' 'bout cook en' wash, enty?"
"Yaas, suh, uh well acquaintun wid alltwo."
"Berry well. You know how fuh patch man'
britchiz en' t'ing?"
"No, suh, uh know how fuh patch ooman' frock,
but uh yent know nutt'n' 'bout no britchiz 'cause none
ent fuh dey een we house."
"You hab Pa, enty?"
"No, suh, uh yent hab no Pa. Uh yeddy 'bout'um
but uh nebbuh shum. Grumma tell me suh one time uh
bin hab Pa, but Ma run'um off en' 'e 'f'aid fuh come
back, en' attuhw'ile w'en uh biggin full grow big, Ma
sen' me fuh lib 'long Grumma, 'cause 'e say suh uh tek
attuh Pa 'tell eb'ry time 'e look 'puntop me 'e bex 'tell
him haffuh lick me, en' him say suh 'e yent hab time
fuh f uhrebbuh dull lick me."
"You tek attuh yo' Pa, enty?"
"Yaas, suh, uh nebbuh shum, but eb'rybody say suh
uh look luk'um en' tek attuhr'um alltwo."
"You ent tek attuh yo' Ma, iz you?"
"No, suh, uh yent tek attuh him."
"Berry well, uh gwine hab you fuh wife. You know
who uh yiz, enty? Me duh Ebbrum Drayton, en' uh
lib todduh side Adam' Run deepo, en' uh hab uh two-
chimbly house en' 'e got two story, en' uh bin hab uh
mare, but him gone en' dead. En' w'en you gone home,
tell yo' Grumma uh gwine fuh shum Sunday night full
tell'um uh gwine hab you fuh wife."
"Yaas, suh. Well, good ebenin', suh," and, with
another curtsy, she was gone.
But Abram's plans they gang'd agley, for old John,
THE DOVER HOUSE
in putting the word-of-mouth entail on the Dower
House, had tied the " 'tail" so loosely that its terms and
conditions were constantly subject to family discus-
sion and interpretation, and Abram's son now objected
to his father's marriage, believing that it would break
the entail and deprive him of the right of succession
to "de Two-Chimbly House." "Wen Grumpa him tie
de 'tail 'puntop de house, 'e say 'sponsubble suh 'e yent
full tek off, en' suh 'e yent fuh tie 'puntop no 'ooman.
Pa ent know uh Gawd" t'ing 'bout da' gal him dull talk
'bout hab full wife. 'E nebbuh see 'e Ma, 'e nebbuh
shum fight, Da' gal' Ma iz de debble ! Wen da' 'ooman
fight da' gal' Pa, 'e run'um 'long hoe en' hatchitch all-
two! Da' nigguh run 'tell 'e cross Jacksinburruh. 'E
nebbuh stop' 'tell 'e gone spang Ti Ti ! Wen 'e bog up
to 'e crotch 'mong dem waa'ment' en' t'ing 'e git sattify
een 'e mine'. No, suh ! Pa ent study nutt'ir 'cep' hab
wife full sweep 'e house en' patch 'e britchiz. Bumbye,
w'en da' gal' niaamy' sperrit git een'um en' 'e box fuh
true! Ki! Da' gal gwine tek de 'tail off Grumpa'
house en' none uh we gwine shum 'gen ! Wen Pa duh
bog up to 'e crotch een Ti Ti, wuh saa'bis den fuh hab
patch 'puntop 'e britchiz? No, suh!"
His daughter sought to comfort Abram, who. in the
short space of 30 hours, had loved and wooed, and won
and lost, "Nemmine', Pa, you got yo' Two-Chimbly
"Yaas, but uh cyan' seddown befo' alltwo de chim-
bly one time."
AT THE CROSS ROADS STORE
For many years after freedom came to the negroes
of the low-country, they were cruelly and ignobly
cheated by the tradespeople who set up little Cross
Roads stores in even' community. Many of these were
German corner-shopkeepers from the cities. Others
were wandering Jews, whose predatory instincts took
them wherever there were pickings to be had. Yet
others, to their shame, were certain low-class South
Carolinians that did not scruple to take advantage of
the ignorant freedmen who, a wasteful and improvi-
dent people, whose needs had all been supplied under
slavery, squandered the money they were unaccus-
tomed to handling and unable to compute.
Imitative as monkeys, however, it is to the credit of
their intelligence, if not of their morality, that they
soon learned to retaliate, and many a brick and rusty
plowshare was weighed in their bags of seed cotton
and paid for by the tricky shopkeeper who, knowing
that in many cases the cotton was stolen from the
planter for whom the negro worked, and brought
stealthily by night to the sophisticated merchant, did
not scan his purchase too closely, and many an ancient
nest Ggg, too, was sold to the shopkeeper as a new-laid
"yaa'd aig" and shipped away to city customers.
The marks upon the brass beams of the ^.counter-
scales with which the negroes' purchases were weighed,
were so obscured and tarnished that they could not be
deciphered, even by customers who could read, but the
wily shopman knew exactly where to put his weight
to give a twelve-ounce pound, which is what the negro
AT THE CROSS ROADS STORE
usually got. Always suspecting "de buckruh" of cheat-
ing him, and being unable to do even the smallest addi-
tion, the negro soon learned to protect himself, if not
from short weights, at least from short change, and it
was interesting to observe a shopper making her week's
purchases on Saturday nights at one of these neighbor-
hood stores. The women, commonly more alert, and
always more suspicious, than the men, were usually
charged with the buying. If a customer had a dollar
to spend, she would first price the various commodities
"Hummuch you ax full sugar?"
"Ten cents a pound."
'•Ten cent' uh poun'?"
"Hummuch fuh fibe cent'?"
"Half a pound."
"Gimme fibe cent' wut."
The short-weight sugar wrapped up and handed
out, the customer would draw it to her bosom and.
leaning on the counter, put her protecting arms around
it. The dollar, ceremonially unwrapped from a corner
of her apron, would be handed over, and ninety-five
cents in change returned, which she would count over
carefully before proceeding with her next purchase.
"You got any bakin'?"
"Wuh kind'uh bakin?"
"Side meat and shoulder meat."
"Hummuch fuh him?"
"Ten cents for the shoulders and twelve and a half
cents for the sides."
"Gimme ten cent' wut uh side meat."
THE BLACK BORDER
When that was delivered, ten cents would be slowly
taken from the little pile and paid over.
"Wuh kinduh clawt' you got?"
"Homespun, gingham, calico. What kind you
Bolts of each would be placed before her.
"Hummuch da' speckly kin'?" (pointing to the ging-
"Ten cents a yard."
"Gimme ten cent' wut."
A thirty-three-inch yard would be torn off.
"You got any salt?"
"Hummuch fuh him?"
"Five cents a quart."
"Gimme t'ree cent' wut."
"You got any flour?"
"Hummuch you ax fuh him?"
"Five cents a pound."
"Gimme ten cent' wut."
The flour and the salt would come within the encir-
cling arms, fifteen cents be counted out, and all trans-
actions suspended until the two cents change was
returned to her.
"Wuh kinduh tubackuh you got?"
Two or three samples of plug tobacco^ the only sort
in common use, would be offered for inspection, and
perhaps the advice of a colored sister asked before
deciding upon a selection.
By the time the dollar was expended, the clerk had
walked a hundred yards or so, had used up lots of
AT THE CROSS ROADS STORE
brown paper and paper twine and had had his patience
sorely tried, but he charged liberally for his time and
trouble, and the poor darkey got far less than she paid
In the funny columns of Northern periodica!-, and
in the immemorial minstrel jokes and songs, the negro
not only steals chickens, but eats them. The low-coun-
try negroes, however, while all of them keep chickens.
seldom, if ever, eat them, the coarsest fat bacon being
far more to the negro's taste than the juiciest broiler.
Then, too, eggs and chickens are currency in most
negro communities and can always be converted into
cash at the country store or at the back door of the
nearest white family.
The country negroes on the coast still speak of
'•fo'punce" chickens and '"seb'npunce" chickens, mean-
ing the sizes that were sold for four pence and seven
pence respectively before the Revolution, when British
coinage was the currency of the country.
"Gal, ketch da' seb'npunce ehickin en* dem t'ree
fo'punce ehickin' en tek dese'yuh six aig', en' tek'um to
de Cross Road", en' buy de six aig' wut'uh tubackuh en'
de seb'npunce ehickin wut'uh flour, en' one de fo'punce
ehickin' wut'uh sugar, en' norruh one uh de fo'punce
ehickin' wut'uh side meat, en' de todduh fo'punce
ehickin wut'uh muhlassis, en' tek dish'yuh bucket fuh
fetch'um een, en' don' 'low de buckruh fuh cheat yon.
en' tie de aig' een yo' hengkitchuh. en' tie all fo' de fowl'
foot so dem cyan' git'way, en' hol'um een yo' ap'un,
en' don' stay duh sto' too long, en' w'en yon tek de
ehickin' out de ap'un, hol'um by 'e two foot fuh mek
'e head heng down, so 'e wing' kin 'pread out fuh
mek'um look big so de buckruh t'ink suh de fo'punce
TEE BLACK BORDER
chickin' duh seb'npunce chickin', en' w'en de buckruh
po' out de muhlassis, mek'um fuh po'rum 'tell de muh-
lassis stop run out de medjuh, 'cause ef you ent
watch'um 'e sho' fuh lef some een de quawt cup, en'
w'en you come back duh night'time, walk middle'uh de
paat', 'cause 'e rain' teday en' toadfrog does jump
'bout w'en de ground en' t'ing wet, en' moccasin does
folluhr'um fuh ketch'um, en' uh yent wan' you fuh git
'structed by no snake duh paat'."
The little girl leaned on the counter, slowly unrolled
an old bandanna handkerchief, and spread the six eggs
before her, carefully keeping the unhappy chickens
concealed in her apron.
"Ebenin', suh. Ma tell me fuh git uh plug'uh
tubackuh wid dese aig'."
"You can get only half a plug for half a dozen eggs.
Eggs are ten cents a dozen ! "
"Yaas'suh, but Ma tell me fuh git'uh whole plug,"
said the shrewd little trader. "Ma tell me fuh ax you
ef you ent g'em uh whole plug uh tubackuh fuh de six
aig', please, suh, fuh gimme uh gunjuh — tengky, suh."
as the obliging clerk handed her a big scalloped
molasses cake and short-cut the plug of tobacco enough
to pay for it.
The tobacco trade consummated, the girl fumbled
furtively in her apron, and, feeling about deftly,
located and drew forth the "seb'npunce" chicken. That
adolescent fowl, a rooster whose voice was changing,
alternately peeped and squawked, as the seller with
out-stretched arm dangled him by the legs high over
the counter, his outspread wings making him look a
full size larger, but the shopkeeper was country-bred,
and felt the rooster's breastbone. "Fifteen cents," he
AT THE CROSS ROADS STORE
"Ma toll me fuh git twenty-fibe cent" wut ah flour
'long dish'yuh one," she fibbed.
"I'll give you twenty cents' worth," he countered,
and, as she nodded in acquiescence, jubilant at the
thought of having outwitted him, he plunged his scoop
into a barrel and weighed out twelve cents' worth of
flour. When this had been wrapped and delivered, the
clerk, knowing by her expectant look that further com-
mercial transactions were imminent, stood at attention,
while the girl abstracted the first of the three
"fo'punce" chickens from her apron and held the noisy
fledgling, naked and unashamed, at arm's length above
the counter. "Ma tell me fuh git dis seb'npunce
chickin wut uh side meat," she ventured, craftily
watching the face of the Caucasian whom she sought
"Why, that's a fo'punce chicken. He ain't half the
size of the other one."
"Yaas'suh, alltwo come out de same nes' en' alltwo
hatch out de same time. Da' todduh one duh dish'yuh
one bubbuh, en' dish'yuh one duh da' todduh one
tittie. Him look big mo'nuh dish'yuh one 'cause him
duh roostuh en' him hab comb, en' dish'yuh one duh
pullet en' him ent hab no comb, en' de roostuh greedy
mo'nuh de pullet, en' him nyam de mor'is' bittle, en'
dat mek 'e stan' so," she prevaricated unblushingly.
These earnest asseverations had no effect on the pur-
chaser, however, and, appraising the gallinaceous juve-
niles at ten cents each, he stood pat, and one by one
they were withdrawn from the apron and exchanged
for bacon, sugar and molasses. Upon the pouring oi
the latter commodity, however, Aryan and African
again locked horns. The weather was warm, and as
THE BLACK BORDER
even the thick "blackstrap" molasses flowed freely, the
careless shopman very nearly gave his customer the
full quart for which she had paid — an inadvertence
which, it should be said in justice to his commercial
acumen, he very seldom committed. Realizing too late
that nearly all the molasses had run into the tin bucket
out of the quart measure (false-bottomed as it was)
he gave it a quick upward flirt to save what he could,
and started back to the barrel, but was checked by the
girl's scream of protest. "Ma tell' me fuh tell you
'sponsubble fuh mek you fuh po'rum out 'tell eb'ry
drop done dreen een de bucket," she cried excitedly,
and, in shame-faced compliance, he let her hold the
measure till the uttermost drop had been "dreened"
out. With a sideswipe of a very questionable finger,
she garnered the dulcet drops that clung to the curved
lip of the cup and, sucking the sweetened digit greedi-
ly, she grinned with satisfaction. And now, with the
packages carefully tied up in the bandanna in one
hand, and the covered tin bucket in the other, she
dropped a curtsy, for she was a polite little darkey,
and went her ways homeward, sweetened in soul and
The night was dark, and the path traversed a small
bay, where the sweetgums spread their limbs above the
track, and their heavy foliage hid the stars and deep-
ened the shadows along the way. Along the edge of
the bay, in the sodden soil, grew lush water-grasses,
and they were very sweet to a vagabond ox, as he
cropped them, undisturbed by flies, in the cool night
air. But the peaceful ox, playing truant, poor wretch,
from his negro master, was full of tragedy, for the ox
was white, and no solitary negro in the low-country,
AT THE CROSS ROADS STORE
where the forests are full of little negro graveyards,
can bear the sight of anything white in the woods at
night. The fear of ghosts is always with them, and
a white cow, grazing in or near a graveyard, will often
stampede a road full of worshipers returning from a
As she reached the shadowy places along the way,
the child heard a rustling sound in the bushes that
suggested snakes. She instinctively jumped to the
other side of the path, at the same time looking over
her shoulder in the direction of the sound. One glance
was enough! The pallid ox loomed gigantic in her
affrighted eyes, and, with a scream of terror, she fled
homeward and was soon, wide-eyed and trembling,
before her mother. Faithful to her trust, she had held
on to bundle and tin bucket, but the molasses was spat-
tered liberally over her bare legs and had soaked her
homespun skirt and apron.
"Wuh 'smattuh, gal? You done t'row'way half de
muhlassis! Wuh de debble mek you duh trimble '."
"Ma, w'en uh binnuh walk t'ru de branch, een da'
daa'k ticket onduhneet' dem gum tree, uh yeddy
sump'nurruh duh shake de bush, en' uh t'ink 'e duh
snake, en' uh jump en' look 'roun', en' uh see uh sperrit,
one big w'ite sump V high mo'nuh dis house, en* de
t'ing groan' at me, en' uh dat 'f'aid'um, uh run'way,
en' 'e nebbuh ketch me, en' uh mek de buckruh gimme
twenty cent' wut uh flour fuh de seb'npunce chickin.
en' 'e gimme uh gunjuh!"'
"Tell yo' bubbuh fuh git da' hom'ny spoon en' 'crape
da' muhlassis off yo' two knee, en' pit'um een da' pan.
en' tek off yo' ap'un, en' you en' yo' bubbuh alltwo kin
chaw'um, so de muhlassis ent fuh t'rowway."
MINGO, THE DRILL MASTER
At the close of the war, thousands of disbanded
negro troops, how many, only the Lord knows and the
pension roll shows, swarmed over the Coast Counties
comprising the South Carolina Black Belt. Swagger
in their new-minted freedom, and resplendent in the
light blue trousers and dark blue coats of the Federal
uniform, with ridiculous little forage caps perched
aslant upon the sides of their kinky heads, like
chickens roosting on leaning poles, girdled with great
brass-buckled U. S. Belts, and shouldering army mus-
kets, full of insolence and of ribaldry, they took the
highways and the by-ways for their own. Their for-
mer masters, however kindly they had been to them
before and since freedom, were frequently spoken of
behind their backs as "de rebel," and the days of
slavery were referred to as "rebel time"' (times). Some
of these soldiers had served for years, perhaps, others
for months or weeks, few of them had smelt powder,
all of them had smelt and fattened upon the bad —
wickedly bad — bacon with which the loyal sutlers had
supplied the invading army. (And, by the way, thous-
ands of tierces of that same sutler's bacon of the years
'64 and '65 were still at large for full five years there-
after, supplied by the Charleston and Savannah fac-
tors to the low-country planters for their plantation
In addition to the disbanded troops, thousands of
other negroes, who had never seen service, wore cheaply
bought Federal uniforms and long, light blue overcoats,
and sported caps and belts and condemned muskets,
MINGO, THE DRILL MASTER
so that the whole countryside was black and blue, and
they were constantly drilling, while the women, pea-
hens that they were, worked for them and admired
the strutting of their lordly peacocks. Often at night,
from the quarters of a distant plantation, instead of
the peaceful "tap, tap-a-tap, tap-a-tap, tap-a-tap," of
the sticks which the negroes beat on the floor to mark
time for their dancing and "shouting," there would
come the rattle of a snaredrum, and one knew that an
awkward squad was being put through awkward evo-
lutions in the compound or "nigguhhouse yaa'd" for
the edification of the quarters.
It was a psychological study to watch one of these
squads or companies drilling or parading on the public
highway, when a white man of a former slave-holding
family approached. Neither stern disciplinary eye,
nor sharp command, could keep the lines straight until
after "de buckruh" had passed. There were sure to be
some members of the squad whose hereditary respect —
stronger far than the fear of the drill master — would
impel them to scrape a foot or pull wool, till the align-
ment was as wabbly as a swimming moccasin.
One August day in the early '70s, Prince Manigo,
captain of the Adams Run Company, ordered his com-
mand out for drill, inspection and maneuvers. Sixty-
five men reported; these were of all ages from 17 to
70. Some of them belonged around the village, but
most of them came from about Toogoodoo, "down on
de Salt," as the inland negroes designate the sea coast
and the contiguous lands lying along the salt rivers
The place of assembly indicated by Captain Manigo
was about a mile south of the village on the way t<>
Toogoodoo. Once a member of Col Thomas Went-
THE BLACK BORDER
worth Higginson's negro regiment, the "First South
Carolina Volunteers," organized at Beaufort in 1862,
he had known picket duty about Port Koyal Ferry
during the war, and wished to familiarize his dusky
outfit with service in the field. The road ran along
the edge of a deep swamp, or bay. The growth on the
rich lowlands was heavy, and beautiful magnolias,
close-limbed and tall, as is their habit of growth in
thick places, rose to a height of sometimes a hundred
feet, the sunlight flashing from the curved backs of
their dark and glossy leaves. Under these great trees,
sweet bay, red bay, beech and maple grew in a tangle,
and below these, tall canes and great sword ferns, with
riotous vines of bamboo and wild grape, thickened into
an almost impenetrable chaparral. In these woods,
dimmed to a twilight darkness, Captain Manigo
established his picket posts. Fifteen or twenty men
were selected for this dangerous duty, for, at this
season, the swamp was full of rattlesnakes and some of
those picked for outpost duty objected. "Man, I cyan'
go een da' t'icket. Snake dey dey fcumnmch."
"Snake cyan' see fuh bite now," said another. "Ent
you know suh rattlesnake' hab skin 'puntop 'e yeye een
Augus'munt'? 'E bline'. 'E cyan' see fuh bite."
"Uh dunkyuh ef 'e viz bline', ef uh 'tep 'puntop'um
'e gwine bite me."
"Go 'way, man, snake ent gwine bite you w'en you
hab muskick een you han' wid dat shaa'p bay'net en
So all objections were overruled, and the posts estab-
lished at intervals of a few hundred yards, the pass-
word "raccoon" was given to the corporals, and the
captain and his inspectors, dismissing the remaining
MINGO, THE DRILL MASTER
members of the company for a rest period, prepared
to test the line of outposts. Making a wide detour they
sneaked through the woods almost noiselessly. The
dead leaves, fallen during the preceding winter, had
softened long ago and were rapidly settling into the
thick mold that covered the damp earth. Sneaking up
on the farthest sentinel from the rear, Prince was
almost upon him before the startled negro challenged
"Halt! Weh oonuh gwine? Gimme de passwu'd!"
"Kaecoon," Prince responded.
"Oonuh cyan' go t'ru 'puntop dat wu'd."
Prince expostulated. "Raccoon" was the password
he had given the corporals to pass on to their men. and
having been selected as a word of singular appeal to
the negroes, should have been one of the easiest to
remember, so he repeated petulantly "Raccoon, rac-
coon, raccoon.' 1 ''
" 7T yent ivut" insisted the sentinel, as the long
bayonet projected threateningly through the gum
bushes. "Dat passwu'd cyan' specify. Da' longmout'
nigguh Turn Slann' Hun", name Mingo, him dull de
cawprul en' him done tell me de wu'd two time, en'
scusin' oonuh hab dat wu'd, oonuh yent full pass."
As the corporal was several hundred yards away.
Prince retired grumbling, and attempted the line at
another point. He approached a wary old picket, a
noted 'coon hunter, whose experienced ear detected
even the soft footfalls of the inspectors, and he hailed
them at a distance of 50 yards, in most unmilitary
language. "Haw, buck! Oonuh try full sneak 'puntop
me, enty? Uh binnuh hunt rokkoon en' dem todduh
waa'ment en' t'ing 'fo' you bawn! Come out. bubbuh !
Ill yeddy you' foot en' uh see bush duh shake alltwo.
THE BLACK BORDER
Come out de t'icket. Exwance en' gimme de passwu'd !"
But they couldn't give it ; not at least intelligibly to
the ear of old Caesar. Prince spoke with only a slight
taint of Gullah, and when he had given "raccoon" to
his Toogoodoo corporals, who understood him only
after several repetitions, he didn't realize that they
would pass it on as "rokkoon" and that as "rokkoon"
the "open sesame" of the countersign must be given.
Again, therefore, with his own password correctly pro-
nounced, the Captain had reached an impasse, and as
Caesar truculently stuck out both his mouth and his
bayonet, the Corporal of the guard was demanded.
"Cawprul uh de gyaa'd ! Pos' number t'ree!" he
bellowed. "Mekace en' come'yuh ! T'ree mans dey
yuh duh try fuh git t'ru bedout no passwu'd. Ef dem
got'um dem cyan' call 'e name. Uh dunkyuh ef one
is de cap'n, oonuh done tell me 'sponsubble suh 'e yent
fuh pass bedout 'e got de wu'd."
The thick-lipped corporal came.
"'Smattuh, Unk' Caesar? Yuh fuh call me?"
"Yaas, uh fuh call you fuh true. Mek dese'yuh man
fuh gi' we de sign."
"Raccoon!" bellowed Prince.
"You shum, entv ! Entv uh tell vou e vent hab'um !"
"Yaas, man, da' duh him! 'Rokkoon' duh de pass-
wu'd wuh Buh Prince gi' we, but him ent call 'e name
lukkuh we call'um, 'cause him bin Beefu't rebel time
'long dem Nyankee en' t'ing, en' duh so dem call'um."
"Uh dunkyuh how dem eegnunt Nyankee call rok-
koon' name, demself cyan' pass dis t'icket 'scusin' dem
call'um lukkuh we call'um 'puntop Toogoodoo. En'
'cause dis nigguh bin Beefu't, him fuh 'spute 'long me
en' tell me how fuh call rokkoon' name wen uh binnuh
MINGO, THE DRILL MASTER
ketch rokkoon befo' "e daddy hab 'e maamy ! Ef "e
cyan' call rokkoon' name, nh keep'um yuh "tell t'unduh
"RokkoonP conceded the chapfallen captain, and he
passed, somewhat chagrined at the outcome of his
The outposts were recalled, the other negroes aroused
from among the roadside bushes where they had been
resting, and the full company assembled for drill. The
outfit was heavily officered, and the captain allowed
them to take turns at putting the men through their
paces. At last they were turned over to Mingo Brown,
a pompous corporal, so puffed up with "a little brief
authority" that most of the negroes grinned in his face,
and some openly guffawed, "eh, eh, Bull Mingo
swonguh fuh sowl!" The men, a ragged line, were
ranged on one side of the road, and, facing them on
the other, Mingo drew a great cavalry sabre and
began to cut such anthropoidal antics before high
heaven, that three gentlemen, returning from a suc-
cessful hunt, reined in their horses a few yards away
and paused to see the fun.
" Tenshun ! Tan'up traight, oonuh man ! Oonuh
stan* 1 crookety sukkuh wurrum fench w'en dem staa't
fuh t'row off 'e riduh fuh tayre'um down fuh moobe
"Shoulduh, aamf Pit oonuh muskick 'puntop oonuh
shoulduh en' hol'iim 'traight. You mus'be t'ink dem
duh hoe, enty? Fo' man fuh stan' side en' side fuh
mek one t'ickness. Faw-wud, mactch! "fop! Weh de
debble oonuh gwine? Uh done tu'n oonuh head fuh
face Toogoodoo Bridge, en', please Gawd, oonuh w'eel
sukkuh mule hab cucklebuhr een 'e yez, 'en fuh gone
TEE BLACK BORDER
Adam' Run billage !" Sure enough, as the execution of
the command would have taken them over hunters and
pack, they had reversed the order and started in the
"Fuh true, bubbuh, enty you see Mas' Eafe en' Mas'
Tom en' dem dull paat'? Nigguh fuh maa'ch obuh
"Buckruh, de debble ! Enty de Freedmun Bruro mek
we fuh free? Uh free tell uh fool! Prizzunt, aamP
Some were shouldered, others ordered, a few "pre-
sented" with the butt of the piece against the waist
and the bayonet sticking out at right angles to the
body. " 'Tenshun ! Da' man f 'urn Slann" Hun' wuh duh
'tan 'up close da' 'tump fuh hoi' 'e gun een alltwo 'e
han'. Him mus'be t'ink suh gun duh oshtuh rake !
Groun', aam/" And the whole perspiring line squatted
and laid their pieces on the ground, rising just as the
hunters gathered up their reins and rode along the
line, while the hounds, with lofty tails, trotted after
them, sniffing scornfully at the warriors' legs as they
"Huddy, Mas' Rafe. How ole Missis en' dem?"
"Mas' Tom, you look nyung mo'nuh Mas' 1 Rafe."
"Yaas, suh. Phyllis him well, suh, tengk Gawd."
"Mas' Dick, you sho' hab uh hebby buck," as the
great velveted horns of a fine buck tied behind the hun-
ter's saddle brushed against him. And all down the
line, their hands being free, men touched their little
monkey caps or tugged at their kinky forelocks and
scraped their feet, in token of the kindly respect in
which, spite of freedom and franchise, muskets and
uniforms, and the poisonous propaganda of the Freed-
man's Bureau, they yet held those known throughout
MINGO, THE DRILL MASTER
the countryside as having been kindly masters to their
slaves, and just and liberal employers of the freedmen.
"Mas* Rafe, please suh, gimme some tubackuh," and
the outstretched hand received a generous share of the
contents of the donor's pouch.
u Da' dull my maussuh," said the recipient proudly,
filling his pipe as the hunters rode away.
"Cump'ny fawm two t'ickness' een de rank," shouted
Mingo savagely. u I)on' > look at de buekruh, look at yo'
officer/'' and, turning to the smoker, he added: "Me
vent hab no maussuh. Uh free ez uh buzzut l"
"Yaas, bubbuh. Buzzut free en' buzzut black, but
buzzut ent free 'nuf fuh light 'puntop nutt'n' 'cep'n" 'e
dead, en' nigguh ent free 'nuf fuh mek buckruh fuh
A few years after the war old John Harrison came
into the coast country from somewhere beyond Caw
Caw Swamp. He boasted a strain of Indian blood,
and he showed it in his pigeon-toed walk and the red,
coppery tint that stained his bronzed face. Six feet
tall and powerfully built, he carried his fifty-odd
years lightly, although his high, heavy shoulders were
somewhat hunched from the heavy burdens to which
they were accustomed for, a noted "pot hunter," he
thought nothing of "packing" a hundred and fifty-
pound buck five or ten miles through the forest. Dur-
ing the close season for game he was not averse to
working, and had quite a local reputation as a shingle-
maker and rail-splitter. His speech was the ordinary
"cracker" dialect of the low-country with a suggestion
of the Gullah, but he clipped his words, and when
excited, his sentences ran into a quick crescendo, almost
unintelligible and defying reproduction in print.
When he came to Pon Pon he was allowed to clear
a small field in a distant part of the plantation, a mile
away from the "big house," now only a beautiful ruin,
with ivy, woodbine, and Lamarque roses clambering
50 feet in the air over the 200-year-old chimneys of
English brick. On his "new ground," old Harrison
built a large and trim-looking log cabin, and here he
took up residence with his motherless children, two
small girls and a straight and strapping son of 18,
who helped his father with his work, but not in the
chase, for Harrison hunted alone, sometimes, with a
single well-trained hound, disappearing for two or
three days at a time, to return laden with venison or
wild turkeys which were sold at the railway station.
His dog:, like those of most of the "pot hunters" who
follow the chase on foot, was trained to silence, and
never gave tongue. A small bell was attached to his
collar and he was seldom out of sight of his master,
who could tell by the movement of his ears and tail
when the animal had found a trail, and when the lift-
ing of the ears and the more rapid wagging of the
tail indicated the near approach to the myrtle thicket
where the deer lay in his bed, both barrels of the muz-
zle-loader were cocked and Harrison usually got a shot
as the deer "jumped."
Ben Summers, a large black negro in late middle-
age, was a "locus" preacher in the neighborhood and,
a jackleg carpenter, worked as well as preached.
Throughout his life he had been partial to wives, hav-
ing been more or less affiliated with six or seven, whom
he put away and took back again, with no more cere-
mony than his change of mind. Unruly and insub-
ordinate as a slave, he became "sw 7 onguh" with free-
dom, and was more or less insolent, save to his former
master's family. He was regarded as a rascal by
whites and blacks, and when a calf or a shoat was
missed in the community, Ben was not infrequently
suspected of having shared the meat, either as a par-
ticipant in the slaughter, or as a welcomed guest at
the banqueting board of the thief.
One of Ben's wives had achieved a son bv a former
husband, before Ben took her over, and this stepson
had acquired a wife, a husky, corn fed wench, an Ama-
zon in strength and fierceness. Soon after her mar-
riage, old Ben, a rough-talking, brutal fellow, who
tyrannized over the women of his entourage, under-
took to discipline this step-daughter-in-law with phy-
THE BLACK BORDER
sical chastisement. Cutting a hickory, he proceeded to
manhandle her as he had been accustomed to use his
wives. She accepted two or three blows, and then
turned upon him so swiftly that he was swept off his
feet and mauled almost into unconsciousness. After he
had been patched up and rehabilitated, and the first
bitterness of defeat had worn off, he really liked to
tell the story, laying the unction to his soul that only
his Christian spirit had stayed his hand and saved the
life of the virago.
"Ben, you are a big strong man, why did you let
that woman beat you?"
"Gin'ul, lemme tell you de trute, Gawd bin wid me
dat day. You know, all me life uh bin uh strong man.
Uh nebbuh hab no man fuh outdo me fuh wu'k, eeduh-
so fuh fight, en' uh bin nyuse fuh lick 'ooman en' t'ing
all me life. Wen 'ooman ent sattify me wid 'e wu'k,
eeduhso 'e mannus, uh lick'um fuh mek'um mannusub-
ble. Wen my wife Sarah' son John' wife come een my
house dat day, 'e sassy 'tell 'e mek me bex. Uh nebbuh
tek sassy film no 'ooman, uh dunkyuh ef "e big ez cow,
en' da' gal big 'ooman fuh true. So uh cut one 'tick en'
uh graff'um by 'e sleebe en' biggin fuh lick'um. Gin'ul,
de 'ooman tu'n on me en' box me same lukkuh him dull
man. Blood bin een me yeye ! Uh 'membuh de time
w'en uh could'uh box'um en' kick'um a lit wo one time,
en' ef uh ebbuh leh de foot folluh de han\ uh would uh
kill'um dead. But Gawd hoi' me han' en' me foot,
alltwo, Gawd tell me fuh peaceubble, en' spayre de
'ooman life. Gin'ul, me don' want no 'ooman life 'pun
me han'. Enty you know, suh, ef uh had uh kick dat
'ooman 'e would uh dead? Gawd tek'care uh ol' Ben
dat day. Da' 'ooman t'ink suh him lick me, Gin'ul, but
entv vou know suh him ought uh tengk Gawd fuh sabe'-
um? Ef uh didn' bin hab "lij'un, da' 'ooman' cawpse
would'uh gone Jacksinburruh een one oxin cyaa't weh
'e come f'um. All tie time e binnuh box me, uh bin
study 'bout how da' 'ooman' cawpse would'uh look ef
uh had uh hit 'urn like tie time w'en uh nyuse to be uh
Ben ! En' uh study 'pun him husbun', my wife Sarah'
bov John, en' uh study 'pun John' maainv, en' uh t'iuk
'bout how dem will mo'n ef uh kill dis 'ooman, en' wid
Gawd' help uh hab strengk 'nuf fuh hoi' me han*.
(iin'ul. w'enebbuh uh look 'puntop tie* tlead 'ooman een
me mine', uh tengk Gawd eb'ry day fuh hoi' me han'!"
Once a fine shoat strayed too near to Ben's little field
and soon found its way into the old man's larder, where
it was found by a search party in charge of old Harri-
son. An examination showed that the animal had been
shot with duck shot, and shot of the same size having
been found in the undischarged barrel of the negro's
double-barrel, Ben was arrested and sent to Walter-
boro jail and Harrison was summoned as a witness.
Harrison was fond of a dram and looked forward to
the approach of court week which would bring him a
visit to the county seat with witness fees of 50 cents a
day and mileage. Walterboro was 35 miles away, and
five cents a mile both ways meant $3.50, which loomed
large in the mind of the old hunter. On the Saturday
night before the convening of court, he prepared a
week's rations of cornbread, bacon and baked sweet
potatoes, and early Sunday morning filled a great
knapsack, and, with his long gun on his shoulder,
walked all the way to the county scat. On the follow-
ing day the pig thief was duly arraigned, the jury
organized, and old Harrison, loaded to the muzzle with
THE BLACK BORDER
Walterboro whiskey, to which he had been treated by
the youngsters who liked to hear him talk, came to the
witness stand, a '20-pound knapsack of provisions
around his shoulders and his long gun in his hand.
His direct testimony was:
"Sunday mornin' bin over t' Cap'n Elliott's, coz
mostly Sunday mornin' ef uh goes by th' house Cap'n
gennully gives me uh pow'ful drink, en' uh alius likes
me dram. Wen uh got through me dram, uh was
walkin' 'long by ol' Ben's house, en' uh heerd uh gun
shoot. Uh meet some boys and went to th' house en'
fin' th' shoat en' fin' number two duck shot een 'im.
Uh fin' ol' Ben's gun in the corner, one barrel been
fired, en' uh drawed th' load of t'other barrel en' fin'
number two duck shot, same size ez een th' shoat. Then
uh told Cap'n, he give me 'nother dram, we 'rested ol'
Ben in th' pulpit where he was preachin' to a raft uh
niggers, en' we send him to Walterboro."
Then came the cross-examination. The young law-
yer for the defense baited old Harrison to the great
amusement of the court room.
"What do you know about duck shot?" he was asked.
"I don't believe you know the size of a duck shot."
"Uh don't know de size uv uh duck shot ! Course
uh knows de size uv uh duck shot. Bin hunt'n' all me
life, bin shoot'n' duck shot all me life."
"If you know the size of a duck shot, take this pencil
and let the jury see you draw one on the court house
Harrison rose with bleary eyes and a fatuous smile
on his bronzed face. Unable to read or write, he held
the pencil as a small boy holds a sizzling firecracker,
but he was game and stepped up to the wall primed
with the confidence born of ignorance. Judge, jury
and spectators craned their necks to see the perform-
ance. The draftsman stuck close to the wall and
moved the pencil slowly and laboriously over the
whitewashed surface. When at last he stepped back
and turned around proudly to reveal his work, the
court house exploded with laughter, from Judge Wal-
lace on the bench, to the tipstaff at the door, for the
tipsy old hunter's outline of a duck shot was about
eight inches long and five inches wide and bore a
st liking resemblance to the continent of Africa. He
returned to the witness chair. Taking the shouts of
merriment as tributes to the accuracy of his sketch, he
looked scornfully at the young lawyer.
"Ain't I tell ye uh know'd d'size uv uh duck shot?
Bin shootV duck shot all me life. Course uh knows
d'size uv uh duck shot !" And there was more laughter.
The negro was convicted, and sent to the peniten-
tiary for two years, but was soon leased to a railroad
contractor, and, becoming a "trusty" and a cook, had
an easy time. When he returned to Pon Pon he
resumed his place in the pulpit without the slightest
loss of caste, and often referred to his sojourn in the
Capital City, telling many stories to the members of
his Hock about "de time w'en uh bin penitenshus," or
"wen uh bin Cuhlumbia."
One Christmas morning old Harrison came to the
house with the portentous information that he intended
to marry the widow Pendarvis. was then on his way
to her habitation seven or eight miles away, and would
bring back his bride the same evening.
"Dat whut uh vaim t'do Cap'n. Uh knows hit-
pow'ful resky t'marry uh widder. coz dey alius knows
THE BLACK BORDER
toomuch, but uh needs uh 'ooman to clean up en' do
about d 'house, en' look after d'children, en' de widder
Pendarvis is uh right peart creeter, en' she ain't got
uh lazy bone een her, so uh reck'n uh'll resk it. Den,
she's got a son, John Henry, 'bout d'age uh my
William. John Henry he ain't much account, but uh
needs anuther han' en' uh reck'n uh kin make out wid
John Henry, so uh yaims to tek d'widder."
The old adventurer was fitted out with a white shirt
and a handkerchief, a pocketful of Christmas candies
and a couple of stiff snifters, and so, fortified, he
started toward the widow, stepping high, gun on
shoulder. "Uh alius totes m'gun. Y'never knows whut
So the widow Pendarvis was duly acquired and
proved a faithful and useful spouse, but old Harrison
soon reached the conclusion that he had been gold-
bricked in John Henry. "He ain't no manner uv
account. Ain't wuth d'powder'n shot it ud'take t'kill-
'im ! Wen uh married d'widder, uh didn' aim t'git
much uv uh bargin in John Henry, he was jus' kinder
throw'd een fuh good measure like, but now uh wisht
he mout uh bin throw'd out."
A year or two later William Harrison was walking
the woods one day, and from a shallow grave at the
edge of a negro's field, his dogs dug up the hide and
head of a stolen cow which the thief had buried to
hide the ear-marks and the brand. The negro was
sent to jail to await trial and William was subpoenaed
as the chief witness. Old Harrison protested. " 'Taint
uh bit uh use t'sen' William t'Walterboro fuh fifty
cents uh day, w'en 'e's makin' seventy-five cents uh
day now. W'y don't yuh take my stepson John Henry
Pendarvis fer uh witness? He ain't a workin' en' he'll
be glad t'git d'fifty cents uh day." It was explained
to the old hunter that as John Henry had not found
the telltale hide and head, and knew nothing about l In-
case, he could not be accepted as proxy. ''Don't make
uh bit uh diff'unce. William kin tell John Henry
whut he found en' John Henry kin go t'Walterboro en'
swear to it. John Henry he's a noble liar, en' he kin lie
en' stick to't. Them Walterboro lawyers can't shake
After awhile, bad health came upon the former
widow, and in taking palliatives to relieve her pain,
she became addicted to opium and spent all she could
scrape for the drug at the village store. At last the
neighborhood doctor warned her husband, '""Harrison,
if you don't look out, some day your wife will take an
overdose of laudanum and go up the spout.' 1
"Well, Doctor, 'tain't f uh me to go ag'in her ! She's
bin'uh noble 'ooman in 'er time. She's never had uh
lazy bone een 'er body. She's bin uh pow'ful hand to
do about, en' she's bin as peart uh 'ooman as ever was
wropped up in that much hide, but she's gitt'n kinder
poorly now, she ain't whut she used to be, she ain't
much account now, she can't scrub no mo', she's got
de rheumatism in de jints, so. Doctor, if she aims to
go, uh reck'n d'best thing to do is to let her take a
pow'ful dost en' let 'er goT So — poor, tired soul— she
A MARRIAGE OF CONVENIENCE
Twenty- five years ago, old Jane was the very efficient
cook at the Pawley's Island hotel. A widow woman
of fifty-odd, her black countenance, with its aquiline
nose and sharp chin, was shrewd and witchlike.
"Old maids" are seldom met with among the low-
country negroes, most of the women achieving matri-
mony, or having matrimony thrust upon them, at an
early age in communities where marrying and unmar-
rying are but the merest incidents in their social and
economic lives — and they are largely socio-economic
relations, — "Uh haffuh hab wife fuh cook fuh me en'
wash me clo'es, enty?" "Uh haffuh hab man fuh wu'k
fuh me en' min' me, enty?" — "and so they were mar-
Often, however, in early life, less frequently in mid-
dle age, women are, for the moment, unmarried, or, as
one might more correctly say, unaffiliated, and if one
of these "unaffiliations" should last long enough to
constitute more than a very brief intermission in the
matrimonial program, one, if of the fiercer sex, incurs
the odium supposedly attaching to "oldmaidenhood."
Jane had in her time looked upon husbands in yellow
and brown and black, and had almost run the chro-
matic scale in temperament as in pigmentation. The
sharps had irritated, the flats had wearied her — the
"naturals," being neither too sharp nor too flat, were,
like the small wee bear's belongings, "just right," and
Jane, like Chaucer's Wife of Bath, thanked the Lord
for them while they lasted. "But pleasures are like pop-
pies spread," and, as in Georgetown colored circles hus-
A MARRIAGE OF CONVENIENCE
hands don't always "stay put," one by one Jane's pop-
pies — perhaps she thought them snap-dragons — folded
their petals and their tents, and, forsaking the dusky
companionship of the old love, flitted away to present
freedom and prospective enslavement to the new — for
there's always a new — u ef rokkoon only hab one tree
fuh climb, dog ketch'nm," being an axiom among them.
As .lane couldn't trot in double harness, she single-
footed successfully for several years — so successfully,
indeed, that she developed a fine scorn for the opposite
sex. "Dem ent wut," she thought, and u dem ent wut"
she said, whenever men were mentioned. In her soli-
tude she found solace in industry, and, working at odd
jobs during the winter, supplemented her summer
earnings at the hotel and soon acquired enough to buy
"uh piece uh groun' " (the coast negroes never speak of
land) and built thereon a comfortable cabin, near
which, within a wattled clapboard fence, she enclosed
a plot where she grew the easy-going squashes and
beans in summer, and Georgia col lards — the holly-
hocks of the vegetable garden — in winter.
Jane's domain was on the mainland in the flat pine
woods thick sown with clumps of the dark green tropi-
cal-looking saw-palmettoes, and bordered the marsh-
fringed inlet or tidal lagoon, beyond which, half a
mile distant, lay the broad ocean beach, the rolling
sand dunes and the dwarf live-oak and cedar scrub of
"the Island." Here, nestling among the thickets, and
sheltered under the protecting shoulders of the hills.
were the summer cottages of the Islanders, and here,
too, just opposite Jane's cottage, stood the hotel, where
all through the summer days she fried whiting, boiled
sheepshead, deviled crabs, and did sundry other things
THE BLACK BORDER
to the sea-food that the fishermen constantly brought
to her kitchen. Jane's riparian rights permitted her a
landing where, moored to a primitive little pier, she
kept the flat-bottomed skiff in which morning and
evening she crossed the imvexed waters that lay
between her home and her work.
Esau, a trifling, ramshackle, youngish negro, made
an easy living by fishing, crabbing and doing odd jobs
about the Island community. He was venturesome, as
most saltwater negroes are, and often in the early
mornings ran his leaky skiff through the breakers at
the mouth of the inlet, and rowing — or wafted, when
the wind favored, by a rag of a sail — adventured out
to sea five miles from the beach, dropped an anchor
made of two condemned iron pots tied together, and
fished upon the blackfish rocks in the broiling sun till
noon, returning to shore to sell the good fish to the
Islanders and, later, eat the culls and odds and ends
himself. On other days, when the East wind warned
him that the fish wouldn't bite, he bogged about the
little creeks and runs of the marsh, or along the edge
of the lagoon, and caught crabs by the basketful,
which usually found a ready market.
Bringing his fish often to the hotel, Esau was on
pleasant conversational terms with old Jane, and she
often handed him out toothsome bits of "buckruh bit-
tie" that fell from the overflowing table. In return for
these gastronomic courtesies, Esau would chop wood,
split kindling, or do other manly things that chival-
rous colored bucks not infrequently perform for the
females outside of their own family circles.
One hot August morning, Esau gathered lines and
bait as soon as it was broad daylight, and, slipping over
A MARRIAGE OF CONVENIENCE
the shallow bar at the mouth of the lagoon, sculled
lazily out to the "drop"'' on the rocks. It was a wind-
less dawn, the sea was without a ripple, and the slow,
heaving swells reflected the opalescent tints of the east-
ern sky. The tide was still on the ebb, and its impulse,
augmenting his speed, soon brought him to the drop
where he cast anchor, and the boat swung round, bow
to land, while Esau, in the stern, sat with his back to
the rising sun and threw out his lines. The fish bit
well, and at the end of two or three hours the bottom
of Esau's boat was well covered with the shining catch,
chiefly speckled sea trout, whiting and blackfish. The
sun increased in warmth, and Esau nodded and dozed
and then slept, although, with the turn of the tide, the
prow of his boat now pointed seaward and the sun-
shine burned in his face. At last, at noon, when its
beams fell vertically upon his kinky head, he awoke
with a start as a big horse-mackerel leaped from the
water so near him that he was drenched with its spray.
He looked out upon a sea of molten silver. A great
shark, as long as his boat, rose slowly from the depths
to within a foot of the surface, and, lying motionless,
regarded him with cold, expressionless eyes. Esau
shuddered. "Great Gawd" he muttered, "time fuh
gone home!" and, as the sinister creature sank out of
sight, he quickly hauled up anchor, shipped oars, and
pulled lustily to shore. It was high tide when he
reached the inlet, and he rode the long rollers over the
bar, and soon ran the nose of his skiff ashore on the
oyster shells of the landing. He strung his fish and
set out to find a market, but the time lost while he
slept had made him too late to supply the dinners of
his usual customers, and, as his fish were now stale, he
TEE BLACK BORDER
had no recourse but to eat them himself, so he set about
cleaning them, and an hour later, when Jane, having
served the hotel dinner, was dining alone in the
kitchen, Esau appeared and ingratiatingly asked the
loan of a frying pan, "please, ma'am, en' some greese
fuh greese "urn." As neither fat nor fuel cost Jane
anything, she graciously complied, in the handsome
spirit that prompts so many of us to be generous at
the expense of others. Esau rubbed the greasy bacon-
rind over the broad, generous bottom of the hotel fry-
ing pan and, having lubricated it sufficiently, cast in
his fish, and the horrible sound and the horrible smell
of frying soon filled the ears and the nostrils of every
one about the establishment. Esau fried and he fried
until, having filled a large tray with fish, he hung up
the frying pan. took down his appetite, and began to
eat. Esau was an eater, and had no half-dealings with
his art. Seizing a fish by the head and tail, he moved
it laterally across his mouth as some traveling men
maneuver green corn on the cob, or as the village dar-
key plays the mouth-organ, until, in the twinkling of
an eye, only the bones remained in his greasy fingers;
then he played another mouth-organ, until in a few
minutes he was filled to the neck, and only ten or
twelve fried trout remained, and these he cached with
old Jane for future attention, and betook himself to
the shade of a scrubby live-oak nearby to rest. He
threw himself on the sand and slept for several hours
like a gorged Anaconda. At last, toward sundown.
the land breeze brought the mosquitoes from the main-
land across the lagoon, and they swarmed over him.
Thrashing about in his troubled sleep, some of the
cockspurs that grow everywhere in the Island sands
A MARRIAGE OF CONVENIENCE
worked their way through his thin homespun trousers
and stung him into wakefulness. He arose grouchy
and grumbling, and returned to the kitchen where
Jane was already preparing supper. "Eh, eh, weh
you bin, Esau?"" she greeted him.
"Uh binnuh sleep, ma'am, en' muskittuh" en' cock-
spuhr' en' t'ing wake me en' mek me fuh git up."
"Wuh you gwine do wid dese fish wuh you lef",
Esau? De buckruh sen' wu'd suh dem fish duh bod-
duhr'um, en 1 'e tell me fuh t'row'um een de ribbuh."
"Uh had bidness fuh eat all dem fish one time, den
uh wouldn' haffuh t'row'um 'way." And Esau sidled
over to the tray of fish, and, looking at them regret-
fully, pinched off nibbling bits with his fingers and
carried them to his mouth.
"You bettuh t'row'way da' t'ing, Esau," admonished
Jane as she bustled about her work.
"Yaas, ma'am, uh gwine t'row'um 'way bumbye. Uh
vent duh eat'um, uh jis' duh pinch'um." And he went
slowly out toward the lagoon with the tray under his
arm, but, as he walked, he pinched the fish so assid-
uously that, by the time he came to the water, little
save the bones remained.
Two hours later, Jane approached the mistress of the
house with an anxious face. "Please, ma'am, fuh
gimme some ginjuh en' t'ing fuh gi' Esau 'fo' 'e dead.
Da' nigguh sho' hab uh hebby appetite fuh eat bittle.
'E ketch all dem fish, en' 'e couldn' sell'um to de buck-
ruh 'cause dem binnuh leddown all day een de sunhot,
en' him fry'um en' nyam t'ree string by 'eself, en' 'e
lef one string 'tell aw'ile ago, en' uh tell'um fuh t'row-
'way dat one, en' 'e staa't' fuh t'row'um 'way. but < It-
fish cry out fuh P^sau en' Esau yeddy de cry, vn 'e
THE BLACK BORDER
pinch de fish, en' 'e keep on pinch'um, pinch "urn, 'tell
*e done nyam mos' all de fish, en now de fish pinch
him! Uh bin hab uh bottle uh hawss linniment fuh
rub hawss, en' uh t'row dat een'uni, but de bottle didn'
bin mo'nuh half full, en' uh 'f'aid de linniment ent
'nuf fuh do'um good, alldo' 'e strangle Esau w'en him
swalluhr'um, en' mek'um fuh spit sukkuh crab spit.
Now, 'e duh roll obuh en' obuh 'pun de groun' same
lukkuh mule roll w'en 'e tu'n out duh Sunday, en'
oonuh kin yeddy'um groan sukkuh dem 'ooman groan
to the sett'n'up, w'en dem husbun' en' t'ing dead. Ef
you please, ma'am, kin gimme some linniment, uh
sump'n'nurruh fuh g'em, uh dunkyuh ef 'tis kyarry-
sene, 'cause da' nigguh gwine dead!"
"What do you want, Jane — ginger, peppermint or
"Wuh da' las' one you call 'e name, Missis?"
"Missis, da' t'ing too sca'ceful fuh t'row'um 'way ef
da' nigguh gwine dead. Ef you ent got de linniment,
please, ma'am, gimme de ginjuh en' de peppuhmint all-
two, so uh kin t'row'um een Esau."
"Don't give him too many things, Jane, one is
"Missis, enty da' nigguh eat jo 1 kinduh fish? Uh
wan' g'em meddisin fuh reach all de kinduh fish wuh
*e done eat. Uh yent want'um fuh dead on my han',
"cause him ent hab no fambly, en' 'e yent blonx to no
suhciety fuh bury'um, en' uh know berry well me yent
fuh t'row'way money fuh buy shroud en' cawpse en'
t'ing fuh no Esau, so please, ma'am, mek'ace en' gimme
de t'ing fuh t'row een'um en' see ef uh kin sabe 'e life !"
A liberal dose of mixed ginger and peppermint was
poured into a tin cup, the rim of which Jane forced
.4 MARRIAGE OF CONVENIENCE
between Esau's teeth, and drenched him so successfully
that in a few minutes he was flopping over the ground
like a fish just pulled out of the water. His spasms
were soon over, however, and he lay in a state of semi-
coma. Jane was delighted. "Missis, me en' you done
sabe Esau' life. Da' nigguh blonx to me en' you, Missis,
en' uh gwine mek'um wu'k."
Summer passed into early autumn. The days short-
ened. September suns burned fiercely upon the ripen-
ing corn, and through the lengthening nights heavy
dews fell on the purple petticoat-grass and the golden-
rod. Between sunset and dusk, summer ducks flew
over from their feeding grounds to their roosts in the
pineland ponds, and all through the night sounded the
faint "tweet, tweet" of the ricebirds passing on to
their winter quarters.
So Jane, in the late summer of her days, looked
kindly upon the man she had saved, even though she
did not value the salvage very highly, and Esau grad-
ually got in the habit of hanging about her kitchen
and submitting to the air of proprietorship which she
assumed toward him, chopping wood and doing other
little chores for her, as a matter of course.
At last, one Thursday evening toward the end of
the month, Jane bashfully appeared before her mis-
tress, holding a corner of her apron against a corner
of her mouth, which widened almost from ear to car.
"Missis, uh come fuh tell you, ma'am, uh gwine
marri'd Esau. Da' nigguh dull heng roun' de kitchen
'tell 'e git een me way. Uh cyan'' tu'n roun' bidout
step 'puntop'um, so uh gwine tek'um fuh husbun'."
The announcement caused quite a flutter among the
ladies at the hotel, and. as Jane had fixed the following
THE BLACK BORDER
Saturday evening for the wedding, they hastened to
overhaul their wardrobes for suitable material with
which to deck out the bride. An old dotted-swiss mus-
lin, found hidden away, was contributed by its owner
as something sweet and virginal with which to rig out
the craft that had sailed the seven seas of matrimony.
Another guest of the hotel contributed a pair of white
stockings, and, as Jane desired a veil, a breadth of old
mosquito-netting, stiffly starched and skilfully laun-
dered, was added to the outfit. On Saturday night,
an hour after supper time, Jane, under the convoy
of Esau and accompanied by the "locus pastuh" (the
local preacher of her church) appeared before the
hotel company assembled on the piazza, and announced
her readiness to wed. The mosquito-net veil had been
artistically looped about her by some of the ladies, and
the dotted-swiss enveloped her with its starched stiff-
ness. The knot was soon tied, and Jane, carrying the
bride cake in her arms and followed by her new hus-
band, floated away like a smutty coal-carrying brig,
under a new suit of sails.
On the following morning, Jane appeared in the
kitchen earlier than usual. The lady of the house
asked what she had done with her new husband. "Uh
run'um off, missis. Uh yent want'um. Wuh me fuh
do wid man ! Enty uh hab proputty ! Uh marri'd
Esau fuh git husbun', uh yent marry'um fuh git man !
Nigguh' wuh grow up sence freedum, dem ent wut !
Uh marry'um, den uh t'row'um 'way!"
"Why did vou marry him, then, if you didn't want
"Ki ! Missis ! Uh marry'um fuh shet dem todduh
"'ooman' mouf ! You fink me wan'' dem gal 1 fuh call
me die maid?' 1 ''
/ All low-country negroes believe more or less in
"sperrits," "haants" and other mysterious appearances,
but the "plat-eye," peculiar to the Georgetown coast,
is the weirdest and most fearsome that vexes the
roaming negroes at night. Plat-eyes appear to old and
young of both sexes, sometimes in the form of a small
dog or other animal, while at other times they may
float like wraiths along the marshes or unfrequented
paths, or stoop like low-hung clouds and envelop the
victim. Most frequently, however, the plat-eye ap-
pears in the form of some familiar animal which, glar-
ing at the beholder with eyes of fire, springs upon
him, frightening him into rigidity, and, just as he
expects his vitals to be torn out, the apparition van-
ishes, and the trembling negro hurries on his way. The
belief has been expressed that, in some instances, the
negroes to whom plat-eyes appear have fallen asleep as
they walked, and, dreaming of these terrors, awakened
to find them gone. In whatsoever form they come,
however, the negroes dread the visitations as Were-
wolves were feared in Europe not so long ago.
Now, old Jane, the cook at the Pawley's Island sum-
mer hotel, the many-times widowed woman who, hav-
ing saved the life of Esau, the fisherman, by drench-
ing him with horse liniment after he had partaken
too freely of the spoils of his lines, had wedded that
same Esau to save herself the reproach of old-maiden-
hood, and had chased him away the morning after
her Marriage tie Convenanrc, was a fervent and fear-
ful believer in plat-eyes. Whenever and wherever she
TEE BLACK BORDER
went her ways at night, she was on the lookout for
them, and the expectation of their momentary appear-
ance kept her nerves in a pleasant state of jumpiness.
A stray calf at the edge of the clearing, a raccoon
ambling along a woodland path, a sudden rabbit
bouncing up before her, the horned owl that lifted her
wayward fowls from their runaway roost on the ridge-
pole of her cabin, even the ghostly sandcrabs that
drifted along the beaches at night as lightly as wind-
blown foam, were all potential plat-eyes !
Two weeks had passed since Jane, the self-made
celibate, had ejected the transitory husband of her
bosom from the "bed and board" to which, under col-
ored custom, if not under State law, he was supposed
to be entitled. Esau wandered about, following his
usual vagrant occupations, but vaguely conscious of
his rather indefinite status as a husband — responsi-
bilities there were none. Jane, to whom the marriage
had brought wifehood — in the abstract, and very real
things in the dotted-swiss and the white stockings of
her bridal outfit — being withal as free and untram-
meled in her property and her person as she had been
before the episode, felt herself the gainer, and, to do
her justice, regarded Esau rather as a slaughtered
innocent. In respect of one small matter, however,
Esau, too, had gained something. During his tenta-
tive courtship, or rather while, without his knowledge,
Jane had had him under consideration, he chopped
wood and did other chores for her without specific con-
tract for compensation, for Jane was then an unrelated
and unconnected female of the species, and he will-
ingly performed these gallantries for her; but once
married, even though she had so speedily and uncere-
THE PLAT -EYE
moniously divorced, or put him away, she was yet his
woman — in thought at least, his chattel — and, harking
back to his African ancestry, he bethought him that
women were but hewers of wood and drawers of water,
the domestic slaves of the lordly males, and, before
laving hand to axe or stooping to pick up chips or
driftwood, he never failed to bargain and chaffer with
the cook for what she should pay him — at the expense
of the lady of the house.
"Esau, uh wish you please kin pick up some chip"
fuh me full staa't me fiah."
"Wuh you gwi" gimme?"
"Wuffuh me haffuh pay you fuh chop wood, Esau '."
"Enty uh done marri'd you fuh wife? Wuffuh man
haffuh chop wood full 'e own wife?"
"Uh marri'd you, fuh true, Esau, but enty uh done
run you off, en' now you stan' same lukkuh all dem
todduh man wuh uh nebbuh bin hab fuh husbun'?"
Esau scratched his head, the point being rather fine
for his comprehension, but he grunted stubbornly,
"Man hab wife fuh cook 'e bittle fuhr'um, enty?
Ilukkuh ooman kin cook bittle bidout 'e chop wood.
eeduhso pick up chip' fuh mek fiah? No, ma'am!
Wuh you gwine gimme fuh eat ef uh chop wood fuh
you?" Therefore, whenever Esau chopped wood, the
hotel kitchen paid the fee.
September burned and passed away. October came.
Among the brown and purple trunks of the pines, the
red-bronze foliage of blackgum and sourwood glowed
like dull fires. Tripods rose above the breakers, and.
from the vantage of their elevated tops, the Islanders
fished with rod and reel for the beautiful channel bass
THE BLACK BORDER
which came up with the rising tide. The long rollers
crashed upon the strand and broke into lace-like spray
that the sea-wind tossed into a thousand miniature
rainbows. The plaintive cry of the sea-birds, the
whisper of the wild-oats as their ripening seed pan-
icles rustled in the wind, and the sharp tang in the
air, brought to the spirit the poignant sadness of
autumn — "Falling Leaf and Fading Tree," and Tosti's
On a certain night, Jane permitted Esau's escort to
a cottage two miles up the beach, whither she had
undertaken an errand for her employer. The night
was dark and overcast, and the air was heavy with a
promise of coming rain. A fitful breeze picked up the
loose sand above highwater mark into little whorls,
sent them dancing about the upper beach, and set the
clumps of wild-oats on the dunes above to shivering
weirdly. The tide was at the flood, and the long dun
rollers boomed sullenly on the beach and sucked at the
sands as though loath to leave them.
As she got farther away from the comforting lights
of the hotel and adventured into the creepy darkness
that lay before her, Jane shuddered, and lifted the
shawl from her shoulders over her bandanna-topped
head as though to shut out from her apprehensive
ears all fearsome sounds. Esau shuffled along beside
her, but he, too, was uncomfortable, for he was a timid
negro, and even the boldest are none too brave at
A sudden gust of wind lifted the foam cap from a
breaking wave, blew it in their faces and whistled
eerily through the wild-oats. A ghost crab sprang up
at their very feet and scurried away, affrighted. Jane
THE PL AT -EYE
clutched Esau's arm. "Great Gawd/" she groaned,
"duh plat-eye ! Uh shum ! uh shum!"
"Weh-weh 'e dey?" stammered her frightened but
less imaginative escort.
Before she could point to the flying crab, another
pallid, spider-like creature drifted across her path and
followed the first. Jane was poised for (light, but
Esau stood firm and steadied her nerves, and in a few
moments they moved on again, but with wide eyes
and hesitant steps. At last they had covered half the
distance, and a mile away, beyond the dark, a spot of
yellow light marked their goal, which they might have
leached but for the raccoons' love for shell fish. At a
low spot in the broad beach the tide had eaten out a
narrow channel through which the waters rushed
almost up to the sand-hills, bringing small fish and
shrimp and clams far beyond the break of the rollers,
and, at the entrance to this cut, facing the ocean, a big
raccoon was fishing at the moment the negroes reached
the tidal rivulet and paused to look for a crossing.
Esau, with trousers rolled up to his knees, adventured
first, and as Jane, "standing with reluctant feet," on
the marge, called to him to ask the depth, she unhap-
pily cast her eyes seaward just as the four-footed
fisherman, startled by the voices behind him, wheeled,
and turned his round, green eyes full upon them, ks
their sinister light shone fearsomely against the dark
background of the waves, Jane shrieked in agony.
"Oh Jedus! de plat-eye! de plat-eye!" And, turning
tail, she fled along the back track, screaming at every
jump. Esau's gallantry, and one look at the shining
eyes, prompted him to follow Jane, which he did at
top speed, while the wretched raccoon, frightened out
TEE BLACK BORDER
of his supper by the havoc he had unwittingly
wrought, lost no time in attaining sanctuary among
the scrub beyond the sand-hills.
On sped Jane. Her screaming-wind gave out after
the first hundred yards, and, save for her labored
breathing, she ran silently, Esau, a black shadow, close
behind. In an incredibly short time, Jane and her
runner-up reached the hotel, speechless with exhaus-
tion and fright. When she had recovered her breath,
Jane hurried to her mistress. "Missis, ma'am, uh neb-
buh tek de ansuh wuh you sen' to da' juntlemun tod-
duh side de Ilun', 'cause uh nebbuh git dey, Missis;
en', ef Jedus yeddy me, uh nebbuh fuh gone to da'
place no mo' duh night-time ! Missis, dem plat-eye
t'ick 'puntop da' beach sukkuh fiddluh crab' t'ick een
de maa'sh w'en tide low ! Uh binnuh walk 'long Esau,
en' one sumpn'nurruh come off de wabe' top, en' 'e
float by me sukkuh cloud wuh hab uh sperrit een'um.
Uh shet me yeye, en' 'e gone. Den de win' mek uh
jump, en' 'e biggin fuh shake dem grass en' t'ing 'pun-
top de san'hill 'tell 'e mek me hair fuh rise! Same
time uh see two w'ite sperrit run 'cross de paat'. Esau
binnuh trimble 'tell uh graff'um by 'e sleebe fuh keep-
"um f'mn run'way, but none de t'ing nebbuh hab uh
chance fuh t'row dem eye 'puntop me 'tell uh git to
de place weh de tide bruk t'ru de beach. Wen uh git
dey, Missis, Esau roll up 'e britchiz fuh cross. Me
dull wait 'tell him git 'cross befo' uh staa't' fuh hice
me 'coat fuh walk t'ru'um, en', ef me Jedus didn' tell
me fuh t'row me yeye fuh look roun', uh nebbuh
would'uh bin yuh, but w'en uh look, uh see da' t'ing'
two eye' duh shine sukkuh lightship' eye' shine 'pun-
top'uh Rattlesnake shoal' ! Missis, w'en uh f us' look
TI1E PLAT -EYE
'puntop'um uh t'ink 'e duh lightship fuh true, but
bumbye 'e shake 'e head en' uh know suh 'e duh plat-
eye, en' 'e duh try fuh t'row uh spell 'puntop me fuh
mek me fuh dead ! Uh yent hab time fuh kneel down,
but uh staa't fuh pray een me h'aa't, en' uh baig Gawd,
ef da' plat-eye haffuh ketch nigguh, fuh mek'um fuh
ketch Esau en' lef me, 'cause, Missis, eb'rybody know'
suh Esau ent wilt! But seem lukkuh Gawd nebbuh
3 r eddy de pray', 'cause me mout' bin shet w'en uh
mek'um, 'cause uh yent wan' Esau fuh yeddy wuh uh
say, en' de plat-eye nebbuh tek 'e yeye off'uh my'own.
'E look en' 'e look, en' 'e yej^e git mo' bigguh en' mo'
shiny, en' w 7 'en uh see suh him duh look 'puntop'uh
me en' ent duh study 'bout Esau, Missis, uh com in' fuh
home! Missis, you see dog run, you see hawss run,
you see bu'd fly, en' you see pawpus jump een de rib-
buh, but you nebbuh see none dem t'ing trabble lukkuh
me trabble w'en uh staa't fuh run ! Wen me ten toe'
dig een de du't, 'e t'row de san' mo'nuh half uh acre
behin' me! De win' wuh uh mek t'row dem wil'oats
en' grass en' t'ing fiat 'pun de groun', en' all de time uh
duh run uh yeddy Esau' foot duh beat drum behin'
me, en' w'en uh yeddy 'urn, uh tengkful. 'cause uh
know da' t'ing fuh ketch him fus' 'fo' 'e kin git me;
en', Missis, ef you ain' hab no 'jeckshun. ma'am, uh
gwine tek Esau fuh husbun' 'gen, "cause, attuh tenight,
uh know suh me kin run fas' mo'nuh him, en' him will
be uh nyuseful t'ing fuh tek 'long w'en uh duh walk
duh paa't duh night-time, 'cause, ef plat-eye mek all-
two uh we fuh run. him 'hleege fuh ketch Esau fus',
en', alldo' da* nigguh ent wut, 'e hab shishuh slow foot,
Missis, uh kin mek'um fuh sabe me life!"
Before the war, the low-country planters, migrat-
ing each summer to their mountain homes at Flat
Rock, N. C, frequently bought horses and mules from
the drovers as they passed along the Buncombe Road
on their way South from the stock ranges of Kentucky
and Tennessee. Sometimes beautiful ponies were
brought from the Pink Beds, away back in the North
Carolina mountains, others came from the nearer val-
leys of the French Broad, but most of the Seacoast
planters supplied their needs from the Tennessee
drovers as they moved down the main-traveled road.
From an old drover named Pickett, a mule was
acquired to which the negroes gave the drover's name.
Although a young mule, and of the opposite sex, she
was christened "Old Pickett," and bore the name with
distinction for nearly a quarter of a century. Long
and low, and powerfully built, Old Pickett was a light
bay in color, with the brown stripe down the back
and the zebra legs which mule wranglers regard as
evidence of toughness — and Old Pickett was tough.
Old Pickett came into the hands of the family late
in October. A thin skin of ice had formed along the
shores of the lakes. Flocks of blue-winged teal whis-
tled through the air and splashed as they alighted on
the clear waters. Chestnuts had fallen, and their green
and brown burrs covered the ground under the far-
spreading limbs of the big trees. Their little cousins,
the chinquapins, had long been gathered and strung
in necklaces, or roasted at the hearths of the glowing
wood fires. The pheasant-shooting was nearly over,
and Westly-Richards and Greener were cleaned and
oiled and slipped into their buckskin covers, in readi-
ness for the campaign against deer and duck and tur-
key in the low-country. With the first days of Novem-
ber, as the branches of the great oaks cracked under
the weight of the roosting wild pigeons, and the slop-
ing sides of old Pinnacle and all the lesser peaks
burned with the flame-like foliage of the hickory and
the ruby fires of the oaks, the family started down the
mountain for Greenville, the first stop in the ten-day
journey to the sea. Carriages for the ladies and the
elders, saddle horses for the younger men, and com-
fortable covered wagons for the house servants, the
cavalcade moved out, Old Pickett and her companions
tethered behind the wagons to take their turn at the
pole later on.
Arrived at the big plantation, Old Pickett became
familiar with the plow, the cart and the Gullah negro,
and for twelve years led an uneventful life, buckling
to the tough "joint grass" of the uplands in summer,
and bogging pastern deep in winter as the slim plow-
share slid through the sticky soil of the ricefields and
turned the stubble into long greasy-looking furrows.
While a willing worker, Old Pickett took her time and
always "gang'd her ain gait." She was nimble, too,
with her heels, and the stable boys about the mule lot
could always amuse themselves by throwing sticks or
light clods of earth on Old Pickett's hindquarters to
make her "kick up," when she came in to be unhar-
nessed after her day's work, and she was always ready
to oblige. Wearing a blind bridle, she could not see
behind her. but she was strong for the uplift, and
TEE BLACK BORDER
whatever touched her in the rear had to go up, whether
stick, or clod or stable boy!
Then the war ! In the dawn of an April morning,
came the sound of the big guns in Charleston harbor
thirty miles away, and, a few months later, from
another direction, rolled the thunder of yet heavier
and more distant guns, bombarding Port Royal, and
still Old Pickett plowed and carted, and otherwise
plodded in the ways of peace, but not for long. The
questing eye of the Confederate Government looked
approvingly on Old Pickett's short legs, arched loins
and well-sprung ribs, and, discerning an artillery mule,
intimated a desire for ownership, but Old Pickett,
compelling as she did the little negroes who walked
behind and around her to become alert and watchful,
was a plantation institution and could not be parted
with permanently, but she was loaned to the Confed-
eracy, and for a year or two hauled caissons and can-
non and army wagons about the coast section wher-
ever an attack was threatened by the invaders.
At last, the booming of cannon came nearer, an expe-
dition having reached Willtown only seven miles away,
and, as negroes from nearby plantations were "run-
ning away to the Yankees," a farm was leased in the
far away land of Abbeville, and thither, for safekeep-
ing, went a number of slaves under Zedekiah Johnson,
a kindly and reliable overseer. With this venture went
Old Pickett, and here, until the end of the war, she
faithfully followed the curved and crooked furrows
that ran around the terraced hills, and stubbed her
unshod hoofs against the flinty stones thick sown about
the ruddy soil. In the up-country, women sometimes
plowed, and Old Pickett, blinkered and forward-look-
ing as she was forced to be, submitted to the indignity
of being "gee'd" and "haw'd" and chevied along by a
bare- footed, sun-bonneted female of the species.
Freedom came. The low-country negroes whom it
overtook in Abbeville, went their wavs. The wagons
and mules, all save old Pickett, were sold for the piti-
ful greenbacks that the profiteering few who had them,
were willing to pay, and old Pickett came home. A
low-country freedman, wishing to return to his hab-
itat, kindly consented to ride her the two hundred
miles, cannily exchanging his fore-knowledge of the
road for the use of her four legs. And what a home-
coming! The "big house" at the head of the wide
live-oak avenue lay in ruins, sentineled by the tall,
charred trunks of "Sherman's laurels," the two great
magnolias that sometime stood in their gloss} 7 green
liveries overhanging the hospitable hearths that once
glowed within. Wildcats lurked in the briar thickets
now upsprung from the fertile soil where once stood
the great stables. The plantation quarters, whose
streets formerly resounded with jest and laughter, at
the touch of the vandal's torch had flared into flame
and vanished, and among their ashes Jimpson weed
and other rank growths struggled.
In a rough stable, hastily improvised of blackgum
logs, Old Pickett was introduced to strange, young
Western mules, new to negro ways, but, from the time
of her home-coming, she seemed to grow resentful
toward all the world. While still performing her
tasks faithfully, she would not be hurried, and no
freedman was ever able to urge her into a trot. so. by
example, if not by precept, the younger mules asso-
ciated with her gradually acquired somewhal of trick-
THE BLACK BORDER
iness and of truculence. Old Pickett still respected the
former slave-holding planters, and under one of these
(she was a good saddle animal) she would still conde-
scend to canter, but the small white boy of ten or
eleven years, and the negroes of all ages, she held in
utter contempt. Saddles and bridles were scarce after
the war, and spurs were rare. "The Captain" had a
single ante-bellum spur with which he urged recalci-
trant horse or mule to such bursts of speed as a grass
diet would warrant. When rallied by his hunting com-
panions on his lack of the twin spur, he shrewdly
observed that if he could make one side of his steed
travel fast enough to suit him, the other could always
be induced to go along, too. As this precious tool was
never loaned, the small boy who aspired to equestrian
exercise was forced to kick his steed in the ribs with
his bare heel, to which was sometimes tied, with a
piece of hickory bark, a forked stick shaped like a
wishbone, usually an effective goad with which to
tickle the equine flank, but Old Pickett was unrespon-
sive. She was, in a manner of speaking, on all-fours
with St. Paul. "None of these things move me," she
thought — and they didn't. The ambitious boy who ex-
pressed a willingness to adventure a trip to the railway
station, two miles away, for the mail, only for the
chance to ride, was sometimes offered Old Pickett, just
to chill his ardor. If he accepted the mount, he was
given a plow bridle, a folded crocus bag upon which
to sit, and was allotted a few hours in which to make
the trip. A stout switch was permitted him, which he
carried in his right-hand for style, rather than for any
impression he hoped to make on Old Pickett's tough
hide. Fortunately, the kindly amenities of war had
left the great avenue without a gate, or he could not
have passed, as no amount of urging could have
brought Old Pickett within arm's length of the latch,
so the way was clear to the old King's Highway. The
boy had plenty of time to admire the scenery as Old
Pickett walked sedately along between the willow-
fringed canals that flanked the approach to the "Two
Bridges." In the summer, water snakes dropped
quietly into their element from the overhanging
branches upon which they had been sunning them-
selves, terrapins slid from their floating logs, and now
and then a small alligator sank slowly downward,
leaving only his eyes above the water. Just beyond,
where the boughs of a grove of Spanish oaks stretched
above the road, squirrels sometimes played, alighting
among the smaller branches with a soft "swish" as
they sprang from tree to tree. Then, on to Jupiter
Hill, or "Town Hill," as the negroes called it, because
it lay in the direction of Charleston. Here, with a
clay hole on one side and a Colonial milestone on the
other — "31 M. to C Town" cut in its brown sandstone
face — the roads forked, the right-hand leading to the
Village, the left to the station. Although Old Pickett's
way always led to the station, she never failed to sub-
mit the selection of the road to argument, and invaria-
bly leaned to the right. Whether the memory of the
brave, hopeful, early days of the Confederacy, when
she had drawn artillery or army wagons along t In-
road, urged her to tread again the once familiar paths,
or whether she sought only to match her will and her
wits against the boy's, one may not know, but. as far
as the boy was concerned, the discipline was whole-
some, for loss of temper availed nothing against Old
THE BLACK BORDER
Pickett. Her response to an application of the switch
was to sidle up to the nearest tree or sapling, against
which she would rub her rider's bare legs, so she was
seldom switched. Sometimes the boy would sit on her
back ten or fifteen minutes without moving, while she
drowsed and dreamed of the past, and then, when,
perhaps, she had forgotten the dispute between them,
he would get her started in the way she should go. At
other times, however, when she could not be wheedled
out of the Village road, her rider let her have her waj',
and, after going two or three hundred yards, would
slowly turn her head into the pineland and, gradually
sweeping around in a wide semi-circle to the left,
would reenter the road to the station a quarter of a
mile beyond. Arrived at his destination, the boy
would be fortunate to find some idle negro around
who would bring out the mail to him, for, once dis-
mounted, he could not remount without assistance,
Old Pickett invariably backing her ears, baring her
teeth, and altogether turning toward him "an unfor-
giving eye and a damned disinheriting countenance."
To grown-ups Old Pickett was dangerous only at the
rear, but to a dismounted boy she was loaded at both
ends and — a revolver at that — she was so pivoted that
head and tail could swap places with surprising facili-
ty. Old Pickett's tracks on her way home, however,
were the prints of peace. Like so many of the human
race, she knew the way to the trough, and thither she
was willing to be guided.
On Sundays, Old Pickett was turned into the big
pasture with the other mules, for rest and recreation,
but, while her companions galloped or trotted and
played, she kept away from them, grazing alone until
satisfied, when, withdrawing to a far corner of the
field, and resting her head upon the rider of the rail
fence, she would gaze into space with restrospective
eyes. Sometimes the Sunday outings would be in corn-
fields after harvest, where the slovenly freedmen
usually left bunches of rank-growing sheep burrs,
having a strong affinity for the manes and tails of
horses and mules. Of these, Old Pickett acquired her
share. The negro who plowed her extracted without
difficulty those which lodged in her mane, but the tak-
ing of them out of her tail was an event in stableyard
circles. Strongly tethered in her stall with a short
halter, a stout bar w r as run into grooves behind her, so
hampering her hindquarters that she could not extend
herself. Thus helpless, she was ignominiously de-
spoiled of the burrs that clung to her tail, even the
small black boys participating in the spoliation, of
which they did not fail to brag later to their com-
panions at the quarters.
"You see dis sheep buhr, enty? Uh tek'um out'uh
Ole Pickett' tail," said one, proudly pulling a burr
out of the wool about his ears.
"'Xo, you nebbuh ! You duh Gawd fuh projick "long
Old Pickett' tail? 'E yent come out'um!"
" ? E yiz, now!"
" 'E yent!" and then they fought.
Besides the burrs acquired by her mane and tail.
Old Pickett sometimes got them in her ears, and then
a circus act w r as necessary to get the bridle over her
head in the morning.
One summer afternoon, crook-legged, yellow Sabey
THE BLACK BORDER
came up to the house to borrow a mule with which to
drag from a distant backwater a large alligator he had
just killed, offering to recompense the favor by bring-
ing a portion of the creature's oily flesh to be cooked
for the always hungry hounds. As all the other farm
animals were busy, Sabey was told that he might have
Old Pickett, who grazed alone in a distant pasture.
Not knowing Old Pickett intimately, the poor darkey
scraped his foot gratefully, and taking a bridle from
the rack, an ear of corn from the crib and a bundle of
fodder from the stack, he set out as gaily and as full
of faith as the small boy who, receiving from an elder
his first handful of "fresh salt," goes forth in quest of
the elusive robin's tail. Arrived at the pasture, Sabey
shambled toward Old Pickett, holding the ear of corn
and the blades coaxingly before him. The bridle was
hidden from sight at his back, tied to a hickory bark
suspender. As Sabey approached, though he looked
like no Greek that ever walked, or fought, or ran, Old
Pickett, appraising the provender as camouflage and
fearing even the Gullah bearing gifts, raised her head
and looked at him suspiciously, but, as Sabey slowed
down his pace and called "coab, coab, coab"' softly and
appeal ingly, she let him come up to her and conde-
scended to nibble at the outstretched handful of blades.
The negro's favorite method of catching a loose mule
is to seize her firmly by the ear, and to this Old
Pickett, without an earful of sheep burrs, might have
submitted, but, as Sabey grabbed, the sharp burrs were
pressed so painfully into the inner lining of her ear,
that she wheeled as quick as a flash and, lashing out
with heels that had lost none of their youthful vigor,
would have lifted Sabey into the air had he not with
quick presence of mind thrown himself flat on the
ground, so that she kicked over him. When the imme-
diate danger had passed, Sabey rose to his feet and
followed her about the pasture for two hours, in the
vain effort to coax her again within reach, or to drive
her into a fence corner, where he might, by getting a
rail behind her, so pen her up that the bridle could be
slipped over her head without danger. But Old
Pickett could neither be led nor driven, and, just as the
sun was setting, Sabey returned alone to the house.
"Mas' Rafe, uh bin ketch cootuh een me time, uh bin
ketch alligettuh, but uh vent fuh ketch no t'unduh en'
no lightnin', en' da' t'ing oonuh call Ole Pickett, him
duh t'unduh en' lightnin' alltwo one time! Uh gone
een de pastuh en' alltwo me han' full'up wid bittle fuh
da' mule fuh eat. Uh hab uh kin' feelin' een me h'aa't
fuh da' mule 'tell uh fin'um out, but now, uh nebbuh
fuh trus'um 'gen no mo' ! Mas' Rafe, da' mule 'ceitful
ez uh 'ooman ! 'E nyam de bittle out me han', en' w'en
uh graft' 'e yez fuh ketch'um, please Gawd, 'e head en'
'e yez gone, en' me han' duh graff 'e two hin' foot !
Uh nebbuh see shishuh swif hin' foot lukkuh da' mule
got. Ef me Jedus didn' bin tell me fuh fall flat 'pun-
top me belly, sukkuh alligettuh, uh would'uh dead :
but w'en uh do dat, een Gawd' mussy, de mule kick
obuh me, en' de du't en' t'ing wuh 'e kick up out de
pastuh, gone 'way up een de ellyment, en' w'en 'e fall
'puntop me 'e kibbuh me up same lukkuh dem t'row
du't 'puntop'uh man een 'e grabe! Mas' Rafe. uh
tengkful fuh you fuh len' me da' mule fuh ride, but
'to' uh try fuh ketch'um 'gen, uh redduh walk on me
han' en' me foot frum yuh spang Caw Caw Swamp!"
Old Pickett had now passed her twenty-fifth year,
THE BLACK BORDER
and day by day became sadder and wiser. She accepted
her daily tasks with resignation, but not with enthus-
iasm. The sockets above her weary eyes grew deeper,
and white hairs thickened among the tawny pelage
about her brow. Her ears, once so erect and responsive
to all the sounds of the world about her, now flopped
dejectedly like an unstarched "cracker" sunbonnet.
Her lips, as pendulous as those of the bull moose that
once tried to bite the Faunal Naturalist, hung lower
and lower, and the hour drew near when she must
shuffle off the mortal harness she had worn so long.
Her eyes had looked upon smiling Peace, upon grim
War, and — under Reconstruction, the once proud plan-
ters on foot and their quondam slaves on horseback —
it was time to go. Turned out in the pasture to spend
her last days in idleness, she walked listlessly about,
cropping here and there a bunch of tender grass,
while she waited for the summons. When it came, and
she lay down to rise no more, a black spot, slowly cir-
cling in the sky, stooped, and, on a lower level, sailed
again in narrowing circles. The keen eyes of other
questing vultures, miles away, watched the drop, and
followed. From the four corners of the heavens they
came, and, alighting on rail fence and blasted pine, or
hovering low on shadowy wings, they watched and
waited, until at last Old Pickett's glazing eyes told
them that her heart and her heels were stilled forever.
A month or two later in the Autumn, when the fam-
ily returned to the plantation from the pineland vil-
lage, the boy indignantly reproached the negroes for
not having given Old Pickett decent sepulture, and
two of them were induced to gather up her whitened
bones and bury them in a shallow grave at the edge of
"OLD PICKETT 1 '
the ante-bellum "horse burying ground," where the
old family horses rested under the live-oaks. The
negroes could not understand the boy's emotion as the
clods fell on the bones of the faithful old mule. "Eh,
eh, buckruh boy too commikil. Him duh cry 'cause
mule dead! 1 " They did not know that the passing of
Old Pickett severed a link with the golden past, and
that into her grave went something of The Lost Cause !
THE LOST BUCK
An hour after sunrise, hunters and pack assembled
at the appointed rendezvous, a centrally situated plan-
tation. There was the usual exchange of pleasant bad-
inage as to the relative speed, stamina and other quali-
ties of the different hounds, who, now united in an
imposing pack of twenty, combined almost every type
known to the deer hunter, and each had its admirers.
The older men preferred the native low-country stock,
a blend, perhaps, of the blood of fox hound and beagle,
bred for a hundred years or more from dogs brought
from England long, long ago. These were fine, high-
bred looking animals, mostly "blue speckled," flecked
with patches of black and fawn, whose twisted ears,
soft as velvet, were long enough to tie under their
wearers' throats — very aristocrats of the dog world,
from their long muzzles to the tips of their slender
"rat" tails, not very fast, perhaps, but with noses so
"cold" that they could follow a deer trail more than
twenty-four hours old. Then, too, their cry! "Roll-
ing tongues," all of them, sweet and sonorous, whose
blending of deep and high-pitched tones sent the blood
tingling through the veins. The hard-riding young-
sters, however, preferred the recently imported "Eng-
lish" dogs — thick-set, powerful creatures, white, with
great patches of black and tan, broad-eared and
"feather-tailed." Their noses were not cold, nor was
the music of their yelping "chopped" tongues inspir-
ing, but they had great speed, and their feet were so
hard that they could be run day after day without
becoming footsore. Here and there, a somber spot in
THE LOST BUCK
the pack, was a black and tan and— a touch of flame—
a big "red-bone" of a western North Carolina strain, a
rangy fellow, bred to speed and endurance in a rough,
red-fox country. So each type and each individual
had special qualities and special advocates, and all
were gathered— Countess, Echo, Music, Harper, Lead,
Luck, Modoc, Rowser, Blueman, the panther-like
Huntress, and many younger dogs— into a pack whose
all-round efficiency could not have been matched
between Ashley River and the tawny waters of the
At last the horns were sounded, and horsemen and
hounds passed up the Cypress road. Soon after cross-
ing the two bridges a mile or so away, a short consul-
tation was had, and the "Elliott Big Drive" was
decided upon. The elder huntsmen directed the
standers to their positions and, after allowing sufficient
time for those who had been assigned the more distant
passes to reach their stands, the two expert and daring
riders who had been designated as the "drivers" put
in the eager pack and they spread fanlike among the
The old buck, whose trophies were the special object
of this day's hunt, had long baffled the Nimrods of the
neighborhood. Unusually large and with a magnifi-
cent head of "basket" horns, his resourcefulness had
always enabled him to escape his pursuers. He varied
his tactics as occasion required. In the early fall and
winter, while lying with does and yearlings in the
myrtles, or on the sunny side of some broomgrass field,
he would cunningly keep his place upon the approach
of hounds and hunters, allowing his companions to
spring up and lead the cry off on a long run for the
river. Then, when the danger was over, he would
THE BLACK BORDER
sneak away and take sanctuary in some distant thicket.
Later on, in February and March, when the bucks,
having dropped their horns, herded together like
timid sheep, he pursued the same course, allowing the
younger and less experienced to "jump" at the
approach of the pack and lead it away while he
remained in safety. In his bachelor days, however, he
changed his methods, and, at the first cry of a distant
dog opening upon the trail, the wary buck would
"sneak," and, by the time the pack reached his erst-
while bed, they found only the outline of his burly
body in the petticoat grass where he had made his
luxurious couch, while the old fellow would be per-
haps six or seven miles away in the Ti Ti across the
Edisto, or in some remote and inaccessible fastness
beyond the Toogoodoo. In summer, when his great
antlers in the "velvet" were tender and sensitive to the
slightest touch of twig or foliage, he avoided thickets
and tangled places, skirting the ridges that rose like
shoulders on either side of the narrow bays that inter-
sected the great forests of long-leaf pine.
But on this crisp November day, the woods were
clean and clear, with no tangle of summer foliage, and
the big buck, now carrying iron-hard horns, was as
free to run through swamp or thicket as on the higher
knolls and ridges, and, cunning and deceitful, he
changed his tactics from chase to chase, and kept his
pursuers guessing as to whether he would "jump" or
"sneak," whether his course would be east, ' south or
west. Northward he never ran, for thither lay the
railway and the flat woods, with no rivers beyond
whose waters lay sanctuary.
One of the standers, well-mounted, took up a dis-
tant pass at Elliott's Wells, the site of a settlement
THE LOST BUCK
abandoned many generations ago. Concealing his
horse in a thicket at the rear of the stand, he returned
to the knoll, stood in front of a great pine, a giant
among its lofty fellows, and listened for the cry of the
pack. But listening was difficult and no cry came to
his ears. The wind was high, and, singing among the
pine tops like seolian harps, rose and swelled and
softened and died away, now whispering of the wold
with its peaceful sheep, and quiet meadows where
cattle grazed, now thundering of stormswept moun-
tain tops and the break of ocean surges on rockbound
coasts, and again softened to the lap of sluggish wave-
lets on the shining shores of placid bays, and sighing
told of those that grieved, and shrieked with the
anguish of those that suffered, and softened again with
the laughter of little children, and told the myriad
stories and waked the thousand memories that the
weird and mysterious songs of the wind among the
pines bring to those whose hearts are attuned to nature.
More than once the stander stood at attention, think-
ing he heard the cry of a distant hound, but, with a
lull in the wind, the aural will-o'-the-wisp was gone,
so misleading are the wind-sounds to even the trained
ear. An hour passed. Two hours — but only the wind
was heard, no bay of dog, no blast of horn betraying
the presence of hunter or hound anywhere in the great
expanse of forest.
Not far aw r ay was an old graveyard, one of tin'
Colonial villages of the dead occasionally found in the
low-country forests. The lettering on the marble slabs
that covered the eternal sleepers revealed them as
members of important families, many of them chil-
dren who died of fever during the summer months
before the days of quinine, deep wells and wire screens.
THE BLACK BORDER
The stander, while listening for the cry of the pack,
read the lichen-covered inscriptions on the tombs and
mused like Gray and Omar. With a whimsical smile,
he looked at the towering crown of a great water-oak
deep-rooted in the mould of a stout-hearted 17th cen-
tury squire — a "five-bottle man" perhaps, and mar-
veled at the alchemy of nature that could, from
Madeira, Port and old Jamaica Rum, resolve a dew to
nourish a Water Oak! Then, with ineffable sadness,
he read the brief life-stories of God's little children,
"Mary," "Anne," "William," "beloved daughter,"
"beloved son" "of and his wife," "died
August 171 — ," "died September 17*2 — ." A cherub
deep-carved in the marble, the line "Suffer little
children to come unto Me" — no more ! Seven, eight
generations of men and women had lived their lives
and passed since these little children were taken home
200 years ago ! Yet, how near the tragedy seemed !
The father returning from field or forest to find the
mother in agony over the stricken child, no doctor, no
ice, no effective medicines. The brilliant eyes, the
burning cheeks, delirium, the end. The little mound
in the woodland, wet with a mother's tears, the
graver's chisel in the marble — and that was all. So
men and women lived, and little children died — two
hundred years ago !
At the end of the fourth hour of waiting, the
stander, hearing only the wind-harps among the pine-
tops, and realizing that, either the pack had jumped
and been led by the chase out of the drive — a cunning
old buck sometimes running contrary to all prece-
dent — or that, striking no trail, the drivers had
"blown out" of the Big Drive and called the hunt
together for exploitation elsewhere, mounted his
THE LOST BUCK
horse and rode due west through the woods for the
Willtown road, which, running north and south, and
nearly parallel with the Edisto and its tributary
Penny Creek, would be crossed by any deer making
for the river. Just as he reached the road, he accosted
a negro walking toward Parker's Ferry X-Roads, and
asked if he had heard horns or hounds.
"Maussuh, uh binnuh stan' een Willtown road close
to Mas' 1 Edwu'd Baa'nwell' Clifton place, w'en uh
yeddy de dog duh comin' fuh me, en' uh stop fuh
liss'n. Bimeby, uh see de mukkle duh shake, en', fus'
t'ing uh know, de deer jump out de t'icket en' light
een de big road en' look 'puntop me ! 'E foot fall saaf -
ly 'pun de groun' same lukkuh cat duh sneak 'pun-
top'uh bu'd. 'E tu'n 'e head en' 'e look 'puntop me
lukkuh somebody, 'cep'n' suh 'e yeye big lukkuh hawn
owl' eye. 'E look at me so positubble, uh t'ink mus'be
'e duh haant, en' uh dat 'f'aid 'e gwine t'row one spell
"puntop me, uh tu'n 'way me head. Wen uh look roun'
'gen, *e gone ! Yuh come de dog' ! Uh nebbuh see sum-
much dog' ! Dem full' de road, en' dem woice' roll 'tell
3 T ou nebbuh yeddy shishuh music. Dem cross' de road,
en' dem gone ! Attuh leetle w'ile, uh yeddy'um duh gib
dem toung een de gyaa'd'n uh ole Maussuh' Clifton
house wuh dem Nyankee bu'n down eenjurin' uh de
wah. De gyaa'd'n big ez uh cawnfiel', en' 'e full'uh
high rose bush duh climb up 'pun de tree, en' all
kind'uh briah en' t'icket dey dey. Uh yeddy de dog'
mek uh sukkle roun' de gyaa'd'n, den dem stop.
Bimeby, yuh come de ole buck duh run puhzackly 'pun
'e back track, en', w'en 'e git to de big road weh him
lef me duh stan'up, uh t'awt at de fus' 'e bin gwine
jump 'puntop me, but 'e tu'n shaa'p roun' en' light
down de road gwine Paa'kuh' Ferry Cross-road*. 'E
THE BLACK BORDER
run 'traight een de big road, en' uh' spec' 'e gone 'way
todduh side Allstun' Abenue befo' de dog' git back to
de big road on 'e trail. De dog' comin' so fas' uh git
out 'e way fuh Fern pass, en' dem so hasty, dem neb-
buh 'top fuh smell weh de deer tirn off down de road,
en' dem gone uh bilin' t'ru de mukkle t'icket on de back
track weh dem come f'um, en' dem run 'bout uh mile
befo' dem fin' out sun dem bin 'puntop de back track,
den dem tu'n roun' en' come back fuh weh uh binnuh
stan' up. One leetle blue speckle' toad bus' out de
pack en' tek de fresh trail weh de buck jump off de
back track, en' gone ! Soon ez dem todduh dog' yeddy
him woice, dem lef de ole trail en' bu'n de win' down
de big road on de fresh track. Da' dull de las' uh
shum, en' uh nebbuh yeddy 'um no mo' attuh 'e done
Sure enough, the veteran Echo, the most intelligent
dog in the pack, was running wide when she reached
the road for the second time and detected the old
buck's maneuver. With a roar, the pack followed her
at top speed down the open road, but, by the time the
cry reached the Allston place on Penny Creek, the
buck, with two or three miles the start of them, had
run directly through the negro quarters, causing gen-
eral consternation in the settlement, and had taken the
water at the landing. Instead of crossing, however, he
swam rapidly up stream and, aided by the flood tide,
was a mile away before the pursuing pack reached the
water's edge. True to their usual practice, they crossed
the creek and spread over the swamp on the other side
in search of the trail, but trail there was none. The
puzzled hounds ran up and down the bank for several
hundred yards, whimpering with disappointment, but,
for them that day, the buck was lost as completely as
THE LOST BUCK
though the brown waters had swallowed him up, and
one by one the disappointed dogs reluctantly recrossed
the stream, and, as there was no sound of horn to sum-
mon them, singly and in groups they made their wax-
to their respective homes.
Realizing that the buck had run far out of the chive,
and, by giving all the passes a wide berth had lost the
hunt, the sometime stander of Elliott's Wells followed
the spreading slot of the deer in the "big road" as far
as Allston's, and, riding up to the quarters, sought
information of hounds and quarry from an old negress
who was seated on the steps of her cabin, trying t<»
loosen, with a tough horn comb, the kinky wool of a
little black girl who sat on a lower step between her
"Mauma, have you seen anything of a deer or dogs?"
The old woman, true to her training, tried to rise to
drop a curtsy before replying, but the wide-eyed imp
of darkness between her knees sat stolidly on the hem
of her homespun skirt and prevented her rising.
"Git up, gal, ent you hab sense 'nuf fuh mek y<>'
mannus w'en you see w'ite people? Uh bin agguhnize
'long all dem fowl' fedduh en' t'ing you hab een you
head, en' dem tanglety up 'tell uh cyan' git 'urn out.
en' you hab no bidness fuh gone en' creep t'ru da' fowl-
h'us' winduh fuh git dem aig'. Git up en' gone!''
But long before she reached the end of her sentence,
the girl was up and gone, and, with a deep curtsy, the
old woman answered the hunter.
"Maussuh, 'bout two hour attuh middleday, dish'yuh
nigguhhouse yaa'd bin full'uh oigguh', 'cause dull Sat
tvdav, en' all dese'vuh 'ooman duh wash dem clo'es.
All ub uh sudd'nt, uh yeddy'um holluh same lukkuh
THE BLACK BORDER
roostuh holluh w'en 'e see hawk' shadduh 'puntop de
groun', en' eb'ry Gawd' nigguh, 'ooman en' chillun all-
two, drap eb'ryt'ing wuh dem got een dem han' en' run
fuh dem house. Uh look 'roun' fuh see wuh 'smattuh
mek'um fuh holluh, en', ef you b'leebe me, suh, one
deer duh comin' down de paat', big same lukkuh ole
Baa'ney, Mas' Rafe dem bull! 'E hawn big 'nuf fuh
hoi' bushel tub, en', w'en 'e jump, 'e rise een de elly-
ment high mo'nuh dem house ebe'. W'en 'e look 'pun-
top me wid alltwo 'e yeye, uh 'f'aid suh de debble dey
een'um, en' uh drap 'pun me knee een de du't en' uh
pray ! Bimeby uh look 'roun', en' uh yent see nutt'n'
but 'e tail. De pyo' tail dat big 'e kibbuhr'um, en' 'e
'pread out w'ite lukkuh buckruh' shu't buzzum duh
Sunday w'en 'e yent got on no weskit! 'E gone duh
crick, 'e jump een, en' nobody shum no mo'! All de
nigguh' come out dem house fuh look, en' attuh w'ile
dem yeddy de dog' duh comin', en' dem run back 'gen.
De beagle' tayre up de street 'long dem foot, en' dem
mek shishuh woice de fowl' fly up 'puntop de roof, en'
dem jis' leery w'ile come clown. Tengky, Maussuh,
Gawd bless you, suh! — Come'yuh, gal! Yo' head
full'uh fedduh' 'tell 'e stan' same lukkuh frizzle' hen !
Meanwhile, the big buck's sensitive ears told him
what had happened. He knew that the pack, at fault
and silent, a mile behind him, was out of the running
for that day, at least as far as he was concerned, and,
touching bottom on a little wampee-covered spit of
land that thrust itself into the creek, his dun and drip-
ping body rose from the waters as he leisurely walked
to shore, landing conveniently near a dense canebrake,
within whose safe seclusion he found a dry bed until
THE LOST BUCK
nightfall. With the rising of the moon soon there-
after, he slowly fed his way homeward through the
forest, pausing, first near the edge of the Baring hack-
water, and then on every knoll where he could find ;i
grove of the beautiful swamp white-oaks, for his favo-
rite autumn food, the great over-cup acorns. At last,
as the morning star blazed in the east and the far
off roosters — long before Maude Adams won her spurs
and her tail-feathers in Edmond Rostand's Chan-
ticler — heralded the coming of the dawn, the old fel-
low returned to his bed among the myrtles in the Big
Drive, and, full of acorns and the satisfaction of hav-
ing again outwitted his pursuers, lay down to his
well-earned rest, undisturbed by dreams of horn or
JIM MOULTRIE'S DIVORCE
The tail of a cold, blustering February day. In the
creeks and leads of the Jehossee marshes the ducks
sought protection from the wind until flushed by the
hunter. Since early morning he had successfully
explored every promising hiding place in the great
marsh, under the guidance of Jim Moultrie, a skilled
negro hunter and paddler, who pushed the nose of his
clumsy dugout canoe up every little run that looked
like a likely shelter for the wary game. As the sun
sank below the horizon, staining the sky a dull red,
the hunter quitted the marshes, and the bow of the
canoe was turned toward Willtown, five miles away.
Crouching low in the stern, Jim paddled silently and
strenuously against the current for an hour. Like
birdshot "patterns" thrown against the red sky, flocks
of belated blackbirds hurried to their roosts.
Gradually the shadowy mantle of the dusk shrouded
marsh and headland and the shimmering waters that
slid by the struggling canoe; then night fell and healed
the blood-red wound in the West. The dugout crept
along the shore where the current was less swift. Xow
and then a raccoon hunting in the marsh sprang away
affrighted. The whistling wings of a swift-flying teal
cut through the icy air. Far up the river, like low-
hung stars, twinkled the watchfires of a great timber
raft outward bound for the estuary of the Xorth
Edisto. From a distant plantation came the sweet
lu-la-lu of a happy negro freed from work. The raft,
borne upon the bosom of the strong ebb-tide, neared
rapidly, and, around its fires built on earth-covered
JIM MOULTRIE'S DIVORCE
platforms, the negro raftsmen talked and laughed as
they cooked their supper, and the flames lighted the
face and magnified the figure of the black steersman
who stood by the great sweep oar with which, at the
stern of the raft, he guided its course down stream.
For an hour Jim had silently bucked the tide,
impelling the boat under the powerful strokes of his
paddle, alternately left and right.
"What are you thinking of, Jim?"
"Study 'bout 'ooman, suh." (A short silence.)
" 'Ooman shishuh cuntrady t'ing, dem nebbuh know
wen dem well off. You kin feed dem, you kin pit
elo'es 'puntop dem back, you kin pit shoe 'puntop dem
foot, you kin pit hat 'puntop dem head, you kin pit
money een dem han', en' still yet oonuh nebbuh know
de "ooman, nebbuh know w'en dem min' gwine sattify.
Dem fuhrebbuh dull lookout fuh trubble. Ef dem ent
meet trubble duh paat', dem gwine hunt fuhr'um duh
*ood. I dunkyuh howsoeb'uh fudduh de trubble dey,
dem gwine fin'um. Ef dem cyan' see 'e track fuh
trail'um, dem gwine pit dem nose een de du't en' try
fuh smell'um, but dem gwine fin'wnf I duh study
'pun dat wife I nyuse fuh hab. name Mary. Look how
him done, wen him hab no cajun! You yeddy 'bout
me trubble, enty, suh? Lemme tell you. One Sat'd'y
night I gone home frum de ribbuh. I tek two duck".
bakin, flour en' sugar eiv tea, den 1 pit fibe dolluh'
een Mary' lap. Entv vou know. suh. dat is big money
fuh t'row een nigguh' lap? W'en I binnuh boy en' you
t'row uh 'ooman uh fifty cent, e t'ink 'e rich, but 1 bin
all dat week wid one cump'ny uh dese yuh rich Nyan-
kee buckruh' dat Mr. FitzSimmun hab yuh fuh shoot,
en' dem buckruh' t'row me fibe dolluh bill same Lukkub
THE BLACK BORDER
clem bin dime* ! Wen I t'row de money in de 'ooman'
lap, en' pit de todduh t'ing wuh I fetch 'pun de flo',
Mary nebbuh crack 'e teet'. I ax'um 'smattuh mek'um
stan' so? 'E mek ansuh, 'nutt'n'. Nex' day de "ooman
keep on same fashi'n. 'E nebbuh crack 'e bre't'. I
quizzit'um "gen. I ax'um 'smattuh 'long'um. Him say,
'nutt'n'. Den I say 'berry well den.' Monday mawnin"
I tek me gun, I call me dog en' den I talk to de
'ooman. I say, 'Mary, I gwine duh ribbuh, en' I gwine
come back Sat'd'y two week'. I dunno 'smattuh mek
you stan' so, but I know suh de debble dey een you.
No 'ooman "puntop dis ribbuh hab mo' den you, no
'ooman got so much, but I yent able fuh lib dis way
'long no 'ooman wuh tie'up 'e mout', en', w'en I come
back las' Sat'd'y two week', I gwine 'tarrygate you one
mo' time, en' I gwine ax you 'smattuh mek you stan' so,
en' ef oonuh still een de same min' ez now, den me
nuh you paa't.'
"Well, suh, Sat'd'y two week', I gone back en' I say,
'well, Mary, I come, how 'bout'um, wuh you got fuh
say?' Him mek ansuh: 'Ent nutt'n' 'bout'um. Yent
got nutt'n' fuh say.' Den I tell'um 'berry well, den, I
gone my way, en' you tek you'n. Now, Mary, I yent no
Wanderbilt fuh gi' you fibe t'ousan' dolluh' allimun-
ny fuh lib off, so you is free fuh lib 'cawd'n' to yo' own
min', en' I is free fuh do ez I please.' Den I tek me
gun, I call me dog, en' I gone!
"De nex' week, I bin comin' out de maa'sh on Mr.
Rab'nel' place, w T 'en I meet Mary. Him binnuh wait
fuh me. I say 'hello! dat duh you?' Him say: 'Jim,
I come fuh tell you dat all dem t'ing I bin yeddy 'bout
you, I fin' out dem is lie, en' I want you fuh come back
to me.' I say, 'enty I tell you dat de finull wu'd would
be talk w'en I come back fuh me ansuh Sat'd'y two
JIM MOULTRIE'S DIVORCE
week', en' ent dat time done pass? You bidness fuh
fin' out 'bout dat lie een dem twelbe day* time wuh I
done gib you. 'E too late now.' En' I walk off en"
"Have you another wife, Jim?"
"I hab dat gal you see wid me dis mawnin' een Mr.
FitzSimmun" yaa'd. Him ent wut'!"
"BUH ALLIGETTUH EN' BUH DEER"
One time, w'en nutt'n' cep' de bu'd en' de annimel
en' de Injun bin yuh, buh deer en' buh alligettuh ain'
bin fr'en', en' buh alligettuh blan does kill buh deer en'
nyam'um w'enebbuh 'e git uh chance, en' buh deer does
'f'aid fuh swim 'cross ribbuh, en' w'enebbuh 'e go down
to de ribbuh" aige fuh drink, 'e does cock 'e yez en'
squint "e yeye fuh buh alligettuh befo' 'e pit 'e mout"
down fuh drink ; but, bimeby, yuh come de buckruh, en'
bimeby 'gen, de buckruh fetch de nigguh, en' bimeby
'e fetch houn' dog, en' den de Injun gone, en' de buck-
ruh' biggin fuh hunt buh deer wid dem English houn',
en' de dog' so swif ' en' dem blan push buh deer so close,
de only chance 'e hab fuh git'way is fuh tek de watuh
'spite uh buh alligettuh, so, w'edduh de ribbuh dey
close uh fudduh, buh deer mek fuhr'um w'enebbuh de
Now, de fus' time de buckruh' run buh deer wid
houn', buh deer ain' 'quaintun' wid'um, en' 'e leddown
een 'e bed een one mukkle t'icket on de aige uh de
broom grass fiel' duh tek 'e res', 'tell de dog mos' git up
tuhr'um, den "e fin' him ain' able fuh hide, en' 'e buss'
out de mukkle en' lean fuh de ribbuh fuh who las' de
longes' ! Yuh come de ole buck, yuh come de English
houn'! Buh deer 'f'aid. 'E jump. 'E run. 'E git dey
fus'. Jis' ez 'e ketch de bluff fuh jump off een de rib-
buh, buh alligettuh' two eye' rise out de watuh duh
wait fuhr'um ! De alligettuh hongry. Bittle berryf
sca'ceful. "E belly pinch'um. Buh deer fat. 'E fat fuh
sowl. Buh deer dey een one hebby trouble. Alligettuh
dey befor"um, beagle' dey behin'um, en' dem toung duh
"BUH ALLIGETTUU EN' BUH DEER"
roll t'ru de swamp en' dem comin' fas'. Wuh buh deer
gwi' do? 'E yeye dey 'pun de alligettuh, "e yez dey
'pun de beagle*. 'E mek uh sudd'n twis' jis' befo' de
dog' sight'um, en' bu'n de win' down de ribbuh bank
'bout seb'n acre f'um de bluff and tek de watuh 'cross
well buh alligettuh nebbuh shum.
Yuh come de beagle' uh bilin' full de bluff. Dem
come so fas' 'pun bull deer track dem nebbuh stop, en'
fewot'ree gone obuh de bank en' drap een de watuh
close bull alligettuh' snout. Buh alligettuh reason wid
'eself. "Wuh dis t'ing? I nebbuh see shishuh annimel
befo', but, dull bittle!" en' 'e graff one de beagle' en'
puH'iim onduhneet' de water. Todduh dog' swim out
en' tek dem foot een dem han' en' gone home.
Buh deer git 'way dis time. 'E gone ! Wen 'e ready
fuh tu'n back 'cross de ribbuh, 'e walk easy to de bank
dull skin 'e yeye fuh bull alligettuh, en' bimeby V
shum 'tretch out 'pun one mud bank een de sunhot.
'E belly full'uh beagle. 'E sattify. 'E dull sleep.
Buh deer sneak close to de ribbuh fuh tek a chance
fuh git 'cross, but befo' him kin wet 'e foot, bull alli-
gettuh shum, en' 'e slip off de bank fuh meet'um. Yuh
de debble now ! How buh deer kin git 'cross to 'e fam-
bly? Him biggin fuh study, but befo' him kin crack
'e teet' fuh talk, buh alligettuh op'n de cuniposhashuu.
"Budduh," *e tell buh deer, "dat t'ing wuh I done
eat, wunnuh call'um beagle, berry good bittle. Me lub
urn berry well. 'E easy fuh ketch, en' 'e ent gots no
hawn fuh 'cratch me t'roat. Me done fuh lub'um!"
"Ef you lub'um, mekso wunnuh don' ketch'um, en'
lef me en' my fambly 'lone?" buh deer ax'um. Buh
alligettuh mek ansuh: "Me cyan' ketch de dog 'cep'n'
wunnuh fetch'um t'ru de ribbuh, so leh we mek 'give-
THE BLACK BORDER
ment fuh las' long ez de ribbuh run. Wunnuh tek de
ribbuh, me tek de beagle'. Me fuh you, en' you fuh me,
en' alltwo fuh one'nurruh."
Dat w'ymekso ebbuh sence de' 'greement mek, w'en-
ebbuh dog run'um, buh deer tek de ribbuh en' buh alli-
gettuh lem'lone, en' w'en de beagle' come 'e ketch'um,
but ef buh deer ebbuh come duh ribbuh bidout dog dey
att'um, him haffuh tek 'e chance.
BUH HAWSS EN' BUH MULE
Buh Hawss' tail long sukkuh willuh switch,
Buh Mule' own stan' hikkuh t'istle.
One time Buh Hawss en' Buh Mule tu'n out duh
pastuh duh Sunday. Dem alltwo blonx to high buck-
ruh. Buh Hawss binnuh dribe een buggy, en' Buh
Mule binnuh wifk duh plow. Dem alltwo glad fuh git
out en' dem alltwo kick up dem foot en' play 'bout de
fiel'. Buh Hawss cantuh. 'E bow 'e neck sukkuh gob-
bluh duh strut, en' 'e tail heng sukkuh willuh switch.
Buh Mule trot. 'E 'tretch 'e neck out 'traight sukkuh
Muscoby duck duh fly. 'E step high en' 'e tail stan'
up sukkuh t'istle. Buh Mule tail oagly, fuh true, but
da' duh all de tail wuh 'e got en' 'e berry well sattify
'long urn. Buh Hawss biggin fuh brag. ''Look 'pun-
top oonuh tail," 'e say. "Mekso oonuh ent hab tail
lukkuh my'own?" 'e ax'um. "Oonuh yent kin switch
fly 'long'um "cause 'e shabe. Shishuh no'count tail ent
wut'." 'e tell'um. "Me duh buckruh, you duh nigguh !"
Buh Mule biggin fuh shame. 'E yent sattify 'long V
tail no mo'. Buh Mule cyan' switch fly, fuh true, but
'e skin tough, en' fly don' bodduhr'um, but Buh Hawss
git'um so agguhnize' een e min' e fuhgit fuh tell'um
suh 'e yent hab cajun fuh switch fly 'long 'e tail, en' V
heng 'e head en' 'e tail alltwo, en' 'e lef Buh I law-
en' 'e gone off todduh side de fiel' en' 'e study. Bimeby,
'e look obuh de pastuh, en' todduh side de fench V see
one las'yeah cawnfiel' weh de nigguh lef 'nuf sheep
TEE BLACK BORDER
buhr duh stan' 'long de cawnstalk. Buh Mule biggin
fuh laugh. 'E opn 'e mout'. 'E blow 'e hawn. "Aw-e-
Aw-e-Aw-er Bull Hawss cantuh. 'E come close. 'E
ax'um 'smattuh mek 'e duh laugh. Buh Mule say 'e
laugh 'cause Buh Hawss ent smaa't 'nuf fuh jump de
fench en' run'um uh race t'ru de cawnfiel'. Buh hawss
tek'um up. 'E jump de fench. 'E behin' foot ketch
de top rail en' knockum off. Buh Mule tumble t'ru.
Yuh dem come! Buh Hawss cantuh, Buh Mule trot,
up en' down de fiel' t'ru de sheep buhr. Buh Mule
tail shabe 'tell 'e slick. 'E switch'um roun' en' roun'
inong de buhr but none nebbuh stick. Bimeby, Buh
Hawss' tail biggin fuh hebby. 'E ketch full'uh buhr.
Dem tanglety een "e tail 'tell 'e stan' sukkuh timbuli
cyaa't rope. 'E duh drag. EbYy time e switch'um
roun' 'e hanch, de buhr sting'um. 'E say to 'eself, "wuh
dis t'ing? Me fuh lick me own self ! Me full hab spuhr
een me own tail ! De debble ! Me dey een trubble, fuh
true!" 'E talk trute. 'E tail lick'um en' spuhr'um
alltwo one time.
Buh Mule pass'um. 'E look 'puntop Buh Hawss'
tail, en' 'e yent shame no mo'. "Tengk Gawd," 'e say,
u fuh shabe tail. Low tree stan' high win'!"
LISS "BIN EENSULT"
From Olar, that favored spot in a fruitful section
of the State, where, under the guidance of a Carolina
Burbank, the amorous Iron pea, loving the "Shinny"
despite her freckles, wooed and won her to wilt -resist-
ance, where quiet farmers are classical scholars and
hermits are hospitable, comes a story of Liss, a charac-
ter as noted in local colored circles for oddity as for
ugliness. A white neighbor, who recently met her,
noticing that she was swelling with wrath, and. seeking
to get a rise out of her, asked:
"What's the fun today, Liss?"
"No fun een dis t'ing; I done bin eensult."
"Who has insulted you?"
"Mirny* yalluh gal Clara eensult me, suh. Dat gal
en' 'e maamy mek crap fuh Cap'n AVillie. I bin to
Mirny" house, en' one bale uh cotton bin fuh haul town
fuh sell. Clara tell 'e maamy, 'Ma, lemme go town
wid dat bale, en' lemme git a spo'tin' suit out dat bale
"Now, Mirny swell up hex, same lukkuh bullfrog.
'Spo't suit de debble!' 'e say. 'You binnuh do nutt'n'
but spo't de Gawd' blessed yeah. You don't git a
shimmy out dat bale uh cotton.'
"Den de gal mek ansuh en' say:
" 'Ma, ef you don't lemme git dat spo'tin' suit. I gwi'
do eb'ry bad t'ing I know 'bout. I gwi' do bad light
"Clara hab on one deseyuh newfanglety kinduh t'ing
dem call ' middle -hi ousc' You know uni. suh. T. Man"
same lukkuh man shu't. wid 'e shift tail heng out,
THE BLACK BORDER
excusin' 'e got one kind'uh shoe string tie onduhneet'
de gal' buzzum. My Gated, ufat a gal! Alldo' t'ree
man dey een 'e ma' house, Clara staa't fuh tek off 'e
middle-blouse. I tell'um:
" 'Gal, ef you tek off dat middle-blouse een dis house
befo' dese mans, you will sho' hab sin.'
" 'Sin, nutt'n\ f I gwi' strip nakit ez a jaybu'd befo'
'e fedduh' grow ! I gwi' do bad !' Wen de gal say dis
wu'd, 'e ketch 'e middle-blouse by 'e shu't tail wid
alltwo 'e han' en' hice'um obuh 'e head ! Befo' 'e kin
git'um off, all t'ree de man jump out de do', en' w'en I
look out een de yaa'd, I shum duh roll obuh en' obuh
een de du't same lukkuh hawss roll, en' duh buss' dem-
self wid laugh. Now, w'en I see de gal' yalluh skin
biggin fuh shine lukkuh dese vuh valluh-bellv cootuh,
myself git eensult, en' I lef "e ma' house, 'cause I is a
lady, suh, en' dat is a ondeestunt galH
THE RETORT COURTEOUS
Her name was Patty. She was as black as a tar
baby, as oleaginous as a cotton oil mill and — like Cap-
tain Merrimac in Olivette — as broad in the beam and
as square in the rig as a Dutch brig, when she appeared
before a tidewater trial justice as the prosecuting wit-
ness in re the State of South Carolina vs. Cudjo Man-
igo, charged with malicious mischief.
Taking the stand, she put her head on one side and
complacently smiled until the corners of her mouth —
evidently designed for the wholesale trade — approached
dangerously near her ears. Twisting his amber
imperial, his Honor began :
Q. "What's your full name?"
A. "Mis' Wineglass, suh."
Q. ''Where's your residence?"
A. " 'E yent come teday, suh."
Q. "I mean where do you live?"
A. "Yaas, suh. I lib on Mass Kit FitzSimmun'
plantesshun, w'ich'n 'e jis" done buy'um de Chuesday
een week befo'las' mek six munt' done gone, en' I glad
'e buy'um, too, bekasew'y jis' ez soon ez *e buy'um V
run dat las' husbun' w'ich I marry een Angus' off de
place, w'ich'n me en' dat nigguh nebbuh could 'give,
'cause, een de fus' place, 'e too lub fuh lick 'e lady: en',
een de two place, 'e too oncommun lazy en' no'count.
en', een de t'ree place, 'e fus* wife en' me nebbuh could
git 'long. en', een de fo' place, him is a class-leaduh ecu
de Baptis' chu'eh. en' eb'rybody know berry well da!
wehreas class-leaduh mek a berry po' kind'uh husbun'
fuh 'e own wife, en' — "
THE BLACK BORDER
His Honor — "That will do. What is your charge
against the defendant?"
A. "Bredduh Cudjo, suh?"
Q. "Yes. What's your charge?"
A. "I nebbuh chaa'g'um nutt'n', suh."
Q. "Well, what did Cudjo do?"
A. "B'Cudjo is a berry nomannus nigguh, suh. Him
is de class-leaduh een my chu'ch, en w'en eeduhso de
preachuh on de sukkus, elsehow de locus preechuh, on-
able to filfill de pulpit, den B'Cudjo does hoi' saa'bis
een de chu'ch, en' w'en B'Cudjo done resplain de Lawd'
wu'd, 'e berry lub fuh talk sweetmout' talk to all 'e
freemale sistuh een de chu'ch, en' eb'ry time 'e meet
me een de road 'e baig me fuh kiss'um, en' I yent
wantuh kiss no shishuh oagly, twis 'mout' nigguh luk-
kuh B'Cudjo, en' I tell'um so, en' den 'e does cuss at
me berry nomannusubble, en' de las' time I meet'um
een de paat', 'e quizzit me berry rappit, en' I tell'um
'go'way, B'Cudjo, bekasew'y I ent wantuh yeddy no
shishuh cumposhashun', en' yet B'Cudjo keep on
peruse 'long de paat', en' 'e keep on ax'me shish
squeschun, en' fus' t'ing I know 'e cuss me a berry
Q. "What did he curse you?"
A. " 'E tell me dat my mout' does wide same lukkuh
Ashley ribbuh !"
Q, "What else?"
A. "Dat all *e had chance fuh tell me, 'cause I
tell'um, 'Haa'k'ee at me good fashi'n, B'Cudjo, 'fo' de
Lawd, ef my mout' is stan' lukkuh Ashley ribbuh,
you cyarC paddle yo> boat cross^um', en' den 'e git bex
en' knock me wid 'e hoe handle, en' dat w'yso I
At this stage of the proceedings, the Toogoodoo trial
justice adjourned court to measure the Ashley River.
THE CAT WAS CRAZY
On a recent Sunday afternoon, an itinerant evange-
list with a throat of brass was stationed at the corner
of Richardson and Plain Streets in Columbia, singing
hymns in the laudable endeavor to save a soul or two.
From an upper window of the Grand Central Hotel
a fair face looked out to the westward, while a child
tapped upon the pane.
At a club window opposite, a young bachelor banker
sipped his Sunday cocktail while he eyed critically
the passers-by on their way from church. How many
of their financial secrets did he hold in his keeping!
How many of their obligations were locked in his
vaults! The note of that jauntily dressed young man.
who held his head so high as he spurned the dust from
his patent leathers, had gone to protest but yesterday.
The extravagance of yonder portly lady, who, with
silken sails spread to the breeze, towed after her, as a
tug tows a coal barge, one of the fashionable fourteen-
inch trains, scattering in her wake banana peel, cigar
I nuts and other miscellaneous wreckage of the street,
had cost her husband another mortgage.
The banker was of a thrifty mind, and he wondered
why, in the name of Saint Peter — why. in the name of
the patron saints of cleanliness and all the gods of
common-sense, fashion should exact of its devotees the
performance of the nnaesthetic work of the street
sweeper and the scavenger! Thinking, with a sigh,
that shorter skirts might have permitted longer bank
accounts, he turned his eyes to the wooded hills of
Lexington above which hung the setting sun. a great
TEE BLACK BORDER
disk of gold. With his mental coupon shears, the
speculative financier, quickly clipped the "orb of day"
into gold treasury certificates, put them out at in-
terest — compounded, of course — and, with one more
Vermouth cocktail to aid his imaginative computation,
he was, in a twinkling, possessed of the wealth of
Monte Cristo. And now the world and all beyond was
his! On fancy's wings he sailed away, away to
Arcadie. Instead of herding bulls and bears, a shep-
herd now was he. Like Strephon, he played upon a
pipe, while at his feet the lambkins played, or hud-
dled together in the sunshine "so warm and sleepy and
Garlanded with roses, the shepherdess led him
through leafy bowers into an open glade, where, among
the buttercups and daisies, he fell asleep, and dreamed.
Ay, Dios! How few of us realize, until all too late,
that the simplest pleasures are the best, that in home
and friends we may make for ourselves happiness far
above that which must be sought beyond our circle.
How few of us realize that there is more exhilaration
in a five-mile spin than in a quart of champagne, that
'tis more blessed to swish the briefest cotton skirt in
Arcadie — if in Arcadie we belong — than to drag a
satin train in a Paris salon !
But the banker dreamed, and the strains of the
Santiago waltz were in his ears, and the houris of
Mahomet glided along before him wreathed in — smiles.
One, fairer than the rest, beckoned, and he followed
on and on. Out into the darkness he followed the
golden gleam of her beautiful bi-carbonated hair, fol-
lowed through tangled forest and treacherous fen —
alas ! the will-o'-the-wisp !
With a start, he awoke from his reverie to find — like
THE CAT WAS CRAZY
the market girl who stumbled and smashed the basket
of eggs from which she had hatched out all her hopes —
that his gold was gone, for suddenly the sharp edge
of the horizon was drawn like a scimiter across the
throat of the sinking sun, and in an instant the western
sky, away up to the zenith, was stained as with his
life blood !
With a shudder, as though chilled from sitting in
the overdraft of his imagination, the banker took his
hat and went out into the street, where the evangelist,
having closed his song service, was exhorting the little
group clustered around him.
Suddenly, on the edge of the gathering, an old
negro, bent with age and with a face furrowed by
grief, appeared. He led by the hand a little black girl
about ten years old. Her eyes were round with fright,
and about her thin legs a ragged red calico skirt
flapped like a weather-stained flag at half-mast.
The old man skirted the group, eagerly scanning
each face as though looking for a sympathetic ear into
which to pour his sorrows. Not finding what he
wanted, he hurried on toward the State House, drag-
ging the child after him, until, in front of a news-
paper office, he saw a round-waisted gentleman with a
priestly look talking to a tall, long-bearded one of the
old school. Detecting benevolence in the faces of both,
he approached the shorter of the two. and, in an
anxious voice, inquired — "Maussuh, please, suh, tell me
ef cat kin git crazy?''
"Do you mean is it possible for a cat to have rabies?"
"No, suh, 'taint rabbit, 'tis cat."
"I apprehend," said the English purist, "that you
desire to ascertain whether it is possible for a cat 1«>
TEE BLACK BORDER
have the rabies. I may say, for your information, that
there are, literally and mathematically speaking, 18
phases of insanity to which humanity is subject, rang-
ing from the emotional insanity of commerce, to the
popular mania a potu, vulgarly called delirium ine-
briosa. I do not care to give an off-hand opinion as
to whether or not a cat may have one or more of these
kinds of insanity, unless you will accurately describe
the symptoms and put your questions categorically. It
is manifestly a work of supererogation — "
"Great Gawd, maussuh!" said the old man, turning
appealingly to the tall gentleman. "Please, suh, tell
dis juntlemun dat my cat nebbuh had no rabbit, e
only had kitten'. Yaas, suh. My cat name Jane, en'
'e b'long to dis leetle gal chile w'ich is my gran', en'
him (dat is de gal) name Jane, en' Jane (dat is de
cat) b'long to Jane (w'ich is de gal) en' Jane does use
to folluh Jane eb'ryweh 'e go, en' Jane does berry
lub Jane, en' w'enebbuh Jane does ketch rat, 'e fetch-
"um een de house, en' w'enebbuh Jane does git 'e bittle
fuh eat, 'e always keep some uh de bittle fuh Jane, en'
w'en Jane (dat is de cat) had nine kitten" een Mistuh
Claa'k' smokehouse on de free Chuesday een dis same
berry munt', den Jane (dat is de gal) set up all night
fuh nuss Jane (dat is de cat) en', please Gawd, maus-
suh, jis' as soon as de nyung kitten' eye' biggin fuh
opn, one shaa'pmout" black dog, wid 'e tail stan' like
dese bu'd fedduh buckruh 'ooman does lub fuh pit
on 'e hat w'en Sunday come, dis dog jump obuh de
fench en' bite'um, en' Jane (dat is de cat en' de gal
alltwo) git berry agguhnize en' twis' up een alltwo
dem min', en' Jane (dat is de cat) him jump obuh de
fench en' run'way, en' de dog en' Jane (dat is de gal)
THE CAT WAS CRAZY
run attuh Jane (clat is de cat) 'tell wen Jane (dal
is de cat) staa't fuh run down de lane, Jane (dat is
de gal) see ole Unit' Bill Rose — w'ich 'n him is de
Gub'nuh' Claa'k, walkin' good fashi'n down de lane.
Now, de gal holluh att'um fuh ketch de cat, but eb'ry-
body know dat Unk' Bill Rose is leetle kinduh bow-
leggit, en', alldo' him hoi' alltwo 'e foot togedduh, 'e
foot couldn' specify, en' Jane (dat is de cat) jump
clean t'ru Unk Bill Rose' britchiz, en' 'e git'way en'
gone, please Gawd, en' lef Jane (dat is de gal) en'
lef 'e nine kitten', w'ich all dem eye' ent done open,
een Mistuh Claa'k' smokehouse, en' gone en' jump
obuh de fench w'ich run roun' de 'Sylum yaa'd — en'
dat de reazn w'ymekso I know berry well Jane (dat
is de cat) mus' be gone crazy, "cause he gone spang
een de 'Sylum!"
A CONGAREE WATER-COLOR
During 1 the last freshet in the Congaree river, three
negroes living on the Childs plantation five miles be-
low Columbia took advantage of the high water to go
rabbit hunting in a boat. Paddling about between
the tree trunks, they scanned the knolls and tussocks
that, rising above the flood, afforded sanctuary to the
So intent were they upon the chase, that the care-
lessly managed skiff struck a cypress "knee" and was
instantly swamped. Fortunately, the trees were thick,
and the wrecked crew climbed into a tall gum, where,
far above the swelling flood, they spent the entire
day, sending out from time to time across the waste
of waters a piteous cry for help, until, late in the
evening, their voices were heard from the highlands,
and a boat was sent to their rescue by Mr. Childs.
Mingo Singletary, one of the treed nimrods, was in
the city yesterday, and gave the following account of
"Yaas, suh, me en' Silus Smit' en Hacklus Rab'nel,
w'ich Hacklus is my niece, 'cause him gran' en' my
gran' alltwo is de same man, en' him farruh en' my
farruh is two twin; so, berrywellden, me en' dese two
mans gone out een de bateau fuh hunt rabbit, 'cause
w'en de ribbuh high, rabbit is a berry easy t'ing fuh
ketch, 'cause dey berry 'f aid fuh git dem foot wet, en'
dey does climb high 'puntop de tussock. So we
paddle 'long en' quizzit all de tussock, en' de same
time w'en me en' Silus binnuh peep onduhneet' one
briah bush weh rabbit does hide, fus' ting we know,
A COX GAR EE WATER-COLOR
we ain' know mitt' V, 'cause my niece Hacklus, w'ich
dat nigguh nebbuh did hab a Gawd' piece uh sense,
him paddle de boat 'puntop de snag, en' de boat* bot-
tom couldiv specify, en' de boat' bottom buss', en" lef
we een de water. Xow, Silus had a fight wid he lady
las' week, en' he lady strong mo'den Silus, en' Silus'
lady lick'um en' mos' bruk 'e back, so w'en Silus try
fuh swim 'e back couldn' specify, en' jis* ez 'e biggin
to drowndid, my niece Hacklus keteh'um by 'e britchiz,
but de britchiz buss', en' Silus gone down onduhneet'
de water full de two time, en' w'en 'e rise 'gen I graff-
'um by 'e lef han' foot en' hice'um up close to one big
gum tree, en' all t'ree uh we climb de tree 'tell we git
'puntop de limb, en' den, please Gawd, we seddown, en'
seddown, en' seddown; en' we all t'ree berry well
sattify full seddown, 'tell hongry biggin fuh ketch we,
en w'en him come, den we staa't fuh holluh' en' hol-
luh' en' holluh. But de mo' we holluh, de mo' we
hongry, en' bimeby we see Silus' lady walkin' by de
ribbuh' aige wid dat yalluh boy Sam, w'ich lib to
Mistuh Hamptun' place, en' Silus holluh at 'e lady
en' scole'um, but you know berry well, suh, 'ooman
is de debble, en' dat "ooman nebbuh had Silus een
de back uh 'e head. So, we stillyet seddown, en'
seddown, 'tell we mos' ready fuh drap off de tree limb;
en' Silus is a class-leader, en' him biggin fuh praise
de Lawd, en' bimeby him tell we 'bout how de rab'n
feed 'Lijah, en' we look high een de ellyment en' we
see 'nuf buzzut flyin' high obuh de tree top, en' Hack
lus call to de buzzut fuh fetch de bittle, but de buzzut
keep on flew high een de ellyment, en' nebbuh bodduh
'e head 'bout Hacklus. Den, bimeby 'gen, Silus re
splain de Scriptuh 'bout how Noah' dub fetch tree
branch en' all kinduh t'ing een 'e mout' w'en de water
THE BLACK BORDER
high; en', fus' t'ing we know, we see one dub fly t'ru
de swamp, en' de sun shine on 'e breas' en' mek'um
look like gol', en', likewise also, we call to him, but
'e didn' hab nutt'n' een 'e mout', en' him fly 'way en'
gone, please Gawd! Den, w'en de sun biggin fuh
lean 'cross de tree top 'en staa't fuh walk down de
sky fuh go to "e res', we git mos' skaytode't', en' we
staa't fuh sing sperrituaP en' praise de Lawd, en' Silus
ketch 'e tex f'um de fo'teen chaptuh een Nickuhde-
mus, en' him tell we 'bout how de Lawd tu'n Nickuh-
demus eento cow w"en him hongry, so 'e could git
grass fuh eat, but I tell'um dat tex' couldn' specify,
'cause how de debble — een de fus' place, man cyan'
eat grass w'en him dey high een de tree top.
"En' den de sun gone down, en' one leetle cat squerril
come out 'e hole een de gum tree en' tu'n 'e tail obuh
'e back en' say l paaJc, paak, paak\ en' one big owl fly
close to we en' seddown een we tree en' say 'whaak,
whaak, whaak, whaak, ivhoo, whoo, whoo, tohooP en'
den I know de Lawd tek pity on we en' sen' we
cump'ny, en' we git mo' fait' een de Lawd, en' we
biggin fuh holluh 'gen, en' dis time, suh, Mistuh Chile
yeddy we woice en' sen' 'e boat en' tek we off, en' w'en
we git back to de nigguhhouse yaa'd, eb'rybody on de
plantesshun sing praise en' glad we come back — eb'ry-
body 'scusin' Silus' wife, en', you b'leebe me, suh!
Silus' lady him bex 'cause 'e husbun' britchiz buss', en'
"e lick Silus 'cause 'e didn' drowndid."
WAITING TILL THE BRIDEGROOMS COME
On a hot June day a year or two ago, a tall, pump-
kin-colored negro was leisurely plowing an unambi-
tious mule in a cornfield in Lower Carolina. Min-
zacter Singleton was his euphonious name, and he
was about 55 years of age.
As he passed up and down the furrows he whistled
cheerily, for the brown earth that curled away in
long waves from his plowshare was mellow and rich,
and the bourgeoning corn that bristled around him. a
grand industrial army, uniformed in blue green,
epauletted with crimson silk and plumed with cream
white tassels, was full of promise for the autumn.
Here and there a convolvolus vine that had escaped
the last hoeing twined lovingly around a sturdy stalk
and. clambering boldly up, swung its purple, white-
throated cups among the feathery blooms of the corn,
where the swift-winged honey bee and the yellow-
barred bumblebee plied their busy trade.
These sights, however, affected not Minzacter. He
was a materialist, not a poet; and, mindful of his one-
third interest in the crop that he was "laying by,"
he concerned himself far more with the occasional
bumping of his singletree against the corn stalks,
than with the soft music of the wind harps that crept
from among the broad blades as the breeze passed
High up in the blue, a crow flew slowly over the
field, twisting his head from side to side, while he
critically inspected the work in progress; and. find-
THE BLACK BORDER
ing that it was good, croaked out an occasional
As the friar of the middle ages— the prototype of
this black-robed fellow — unctuously took from the
fields of his flock a tithe of the garnered store, so,
when the blades should be stripped away and Septem-
ber suns harden the grain, would this "sukkus
preechuh" claim the reward of his interest in, and
inspection of, the growing crop. As the ominous
shadow passed between him and the sim, Minzacter,
looking up, said : "N'mine, bredduh ! Tek care buzzut
don' dance at yo' fun'rul dis same berry fall! You
smaa't 'nuf fuh know w'en man got gun een 'e han', but
yo' eddycashun cyan' specify w'en 'e come fuh tell w'en
shell' cawn got pizen een um. You fly high een de
ellyment teday, tek care you don' flew low befo' Chris-
Upon reaching the end of his row, Minzacter found
awaiting him the burly black constable of a neighbor-
ing Trial Justice, accompanied by a middle-aged
brown woman, who, as the plowman came to a halt,
accosted him with: "Mistuh Singleton, I t'awt you
was a juntlemun, but I come to fin' out you cyan'
specify as a juntlemun, 'cause you run'way en' lef
me obuh to Goose Oik, en' gone en' marry Paul
Jenkin' grumnia jes' 'cause 'e got fo' cow en' I ent got
no cow. You run'way en' lef yo' lawfully lady, en'
I come to tek you to de Trial Jestuss fuh t'row you
een Walterburruh jail."
With apparent nonchalance, Minzacter said: "Go
'way, gal ! Who you call husbun' ? I nebbuh see you
sence I bawn. I gots no time fuh hoi* cumposhashun
wid eb'ry w'ich en' w'y 'ooman dat come 'long de
road. Dis cawn gots to lay by."
WAITING TILL TILE BRIDEGROOMS COME
Julia Singleton, the ecru claimant, left him with
the threat that she would go home and fetch the
marriage "stiihstiffilrit" to prove that Minzacter wa-
ller lawful husband.
Sure enough, on the day set for the preliminary
examination, she appeared with not only the marriage
certificate, but accompanied by her brother and the
Rev. Sancho Middleton, the Goose Creek "locus pas-
tuh," who was alleged to haA'e performed the cere-
Upon being arraigned for bigamy, Minzacter denied
indignantly any knowledge of the woman. The "'stuh-
stimkit'' was put in evidence, but as it read simply,
"I marry Mistuh Singleton to Missis Singleton," the
Trial Justice ruled that it couldn't "specify." The
claimant's brother and the preacher had been tam-
pered with by an agent of Minzaeter's and, at the
last moment, they went back on the prosecuting wit-
ness. The brother was put up first, and Julia did the
"Bredduh," said she, "ent you 'membuh dat een
June munt' een de same year w'en us cut down dat
new groun' 'cross Caw Caw Swamp, en' de same time
w'en Sistuh Frayjuh him had two twin, ent you
'membuh dat de pastuh renite me to dis juntlemun?"
'"I vent know nutt'n' 'bout'um,'' said the traitor.
"nebbuh shum sence I bawn, ent know 'e name, need-
uhso 'e farruh, needuhso 'e murruh. Mo' den one
punkin-skin nigguh lib een dis wull'. Yalluh nig-
guh' t'ick on de groun' same as yalluh-hammuh' t'ick
on de tree, en', as fuh dis nigguh — nebbuh shum sence
"Mistuh Jestuss," said Julia, ruefully, "I come to
THE BLACK BORDER
ketch my juntlemim, en' my juntlemun lie. I gone en'
fetch my bredduh Sam, en' my bredduh Sam lie. I
gone en' fetch de stuhstiffikit, en' de stuhstiffikit lie.
Now, I will 'tarrygate my locus pastuh, en' I know
berry well him ent gwine lie. Pa Sancho," said
she, turning to the sleek divine, "ent you 'membuh,
suh, wen Sistuh Frayjuh him had two twin?"
"Oh yaas, my sistuh, I 'membuh dat, 'cause dat
same time Nickuhdemus Wineglass' niece Joe, w'ich
'e had by 'e fus' lady, git 'e foot ketch een de ottuh
trap on Mistuh Fishpun' place, en' de doctuh haffuh
cut off 'e right han' feet close to 'e knee."
"Well, suh, ent you "membuh wen you renite me to
dis same juntlemun?"
"My sistuh," said he, slowly and deliberately, "you
see, dis is a berry onrabblin' t'ing fuh yo' pastuh fuh
'xamin' 'e min' 'bout. You know, all dese common
eb'ryday kind'uh nigguh' kin talk all dese gwinin'
en' gwinin', but de preechuh is de Lawd' renointed,
en', w'en him open he mout', e' gots to quizzit "e min"'
berry close, 'speshly w'en 'e talk wid ooman, 'cause
'ooman so 'ceitful, ef you ent min', him will fool de
two eye' out yo' head; en', fuh dictate now 'bout dis
juntlemun, I mos' kinduh t'ink I 'membuh leetle kin-
duh sump'n', 'bout de time w'en I marry you to a
kinduh punkin-skin juntlemun, en' w'en I fus' see dis
juntlemun. I mos 1 t'ink 'e look leetle like yo' juntle-
mun, but w'en I come to saa'ch'um close en' peruse 'um
puhtickluh, I mos' kinduh t'ink maybe dis ent yo'
"Please Gawd," said Julia despairingly, "I gone en
try fuh ketch my juntlemun en' I fetch'um yuh, en'
him lie. Den I gone en' ketch my bredduh en' fetch-
WAITING TILL THE BRIDEGROOMS COME
"um yuh, en' him lie. Den I gone en' ketch tie stuli-
stuffikit en' feteh'um yuh, en' him lie; en', fin'lly at las'.
I ketch de locus pastuh en 'fetch'um yuh, en', 'fo' de
Lawd, him lie. Now, I gwine home en' fetch de six
bridegroom' w'at bin to dis wedd'n' w'en I marry dis
juntlemun — w'ich my sistuh Amy bin one uh de
bridegroom' — en' I know berry well clem will crucify
dat dis is my juntlemun."
At last accounts, the Justice was still awaiting their
A GULLAH'S TALE OF WOE
From the clay chimney of a negro cabin in the
lower part of Hampton County the blue smoke curled
and floated away in graceful rings. Within, the
flames crackled cheerily in the generous fireplace, and
a woman, surrounded by half a dozen children, was
preparing the evening meal. The building was of
logs, with moss and clay plastered into the crevices,
and the roof which covered it was of clapboards. An
humble dwelling it was, but big enough and warm
enough to shelter old Scipio Wineglass and his family,
and it represented — together with the few acres of
land surrounding it — the net earnings of twenty-seven
years of toil "sence freedum fus' come een."
The crop had been gathered and locked in the little
corn crib that nestled up under the eaves of the cabin,
and among the shucks that lay around the door a few
pigs were rooting. As the twilight fell on this crisp
December evening, the querulous bark of a squirrel
came from the swamp, and away down the road the
sound of a horse's hoofs in a sharp canter became
louder and louder, until, at last, a horseman rode up
and asked for a drink of water, just as old Scipio came
in from the woods with a log on his head and threw
it down with a grunt.
Bringing a gourd of water out to the gate, he eyed
the stranger closely as he drank, and as he took back
the dipper he asked, "Maussuh, enty puhlicituh kin
oughtuh able fuh read?"
"Certainly, solicitors are able to read. Why do you
A GULLAirS TALE OF WOE
"Well, suh, please Gawd, I gots nutt'n' but trouble
all dis yeah done gone. Een de fus' place, jis' ez soon
ez I git de crap plant een de t'ree week een las' Ep-
prull, de waa'ment en' t'ing biggin fuh onrabble en'
distruss me een me min' 'tell, please de Lawd, I vent
know Rebus frum Rebelashun ! Soon ez I t'row de
cawn seed een de groun', de waa'ment biggin fuh
agguhnize me. I didn't had no coal taar fuh pit 'pun
de cawn, en' soon ez I pit'um een de groun', de debble-
'ub'uh'crow come 'long en' pull up half de cawn, en w'ai
de crow ent pull up, de cut wurrum ketch, en w'ai de
cut wurrum lef, de dry drought 'stroy'd him, en',
soon ez de dry drought gone'way, den my ole mare
Silby, him haffuh gone en' dead ! Yaas'suh, dat old
mare done gone en' leddown en' dead, en' lef me wid
de fiel' full'uh j'int grass, en' nott grass, en' crab grass
en' t'ing, en' I yent got a hawss fuh ride now 'cep'n'
'tis dese two foot, but stillyet I praise de Lawd en'
glorify'um, 'cause, ef dat mare didn't dead, de debble
would'uh had Scipio Wineglass done roas' en bu'n'up
een de fiah 'fo' dis time! Yaas'suh, one night een la-'
Augus' een de daa'k uh de moon, jis' ez I biggin to
drap 'sleep, I yerry one rap 'pun de do', en' w'en I
tell de somebody fuh come een, one sperrit buss' op'n
de do', en' stan' on "e two foot een de middle uh de fio !
W'en I shum wid dese two eye', I bin dat skay'to'de't'
dat I didn't 'membuh fuh ax'um 'e name, but I mos'
t'ink 'e bin eeduh de 'Postle Paul, elseso Pollido'. En'
dis sperrit 'tarrygate me good fashi'n, en' 'e say, sezzee,
'Scipio'; sezzi, 'Suh.' Sezzee, 'Scipio, you got a great
load uh sin 'puntop yo' soul!' Sezzi, •Yaas'suh, I
know dat, suh.' Den 'e say, 'Scipio, ef dat load uh
sin ent tek off yo' soul, you cyan' specify w'en de
great day come, en' you will sho' to ebbuhlastin' dead
THE BLACK BORDER
en' bu'n'up.' En' den I say 'Yaas, suh, maussuh
ainjul.' En' den I drap on dese two knee' en' pray de
Lawd fuh tell de sperrit fuh tek de sin off my soul,
en' den de ainjul say 'e couldn' tek de sin off my soul
'cep'n' 'e pit'um 'puntop somebody else' own, en'
den I baig'um fuh pit de sin on ole Unk' Hacklus
Pinesett' soul, 'cause Unk' Hacklus lub fuh t'ief fowl
en' t'ing, en' him is a nomannus nigguh, en' de sperrit
say 'berrywell,' en' 'e wawm 'e han' by de fiah en' gone
out de do', en', soon ez 'e gone, I yerry ole Silby duh
kick en' grunt een de stable, but I bin too twis'up in
me min' fuh pay 'tenshun to him, en', een de mawnin'
soon, w'en I gone out to de stable fuh feed ole Silby,
please de Mastuh, 'e stretch-out, dead! En' stillyet,
alldo' 'e dead en' gone, yet I glorify de Lawd en'
praise 'e name, 'cause I know 'e tek de sin off me en'
pit'um 'puntop ole Silby, en' all de time I yerry'um
binnuh grunt een de stable, dat sin binnuh ride'um
roun' en' roun', 'tell 'e kill'um. I wonduh w'ymekso
dat sperrit ent tek dat ansuh to de Lawd de way I
sen'um, 'cause I buy dat mare to Mistuh Larrissy'
place fuh seb'nty-fibe dollar, en' Unk' Hacklus Pine-
sett ent wut' a free cent, stillyet de Lawd tek ole Silby,
en' lef him!
"Now, w'en Silby dead, I tek de hoe een me han'
en' lay by de crap, en', tengk Gawd, I mek fo'teen
bushel' uh cawn een dis same fiel'. Well, suh, w'en de
cawn done lay by, I git 'long berrywell 'tell Mingo
Puhlite' son Sambo t'ief de fattes' hog I got. Een
Septembuh munt' , soon ez I ketclvum, I tek'um to de
Trial Jestuss, en' him sen'um to Hamptun jail.
"Now, w'en de trial come in de fall, Sambo git Mistuh
Tillin'ass' to re fen' she, en I gone to Mistuh Muffey, de
puhlicituh, en' tell'um all 'bout de f iefin'. Den Mistuh
A GULLAFFS TALK OF WOE
Tillin'ass' squizzit me en' ax me all kinduh squesehun,
en' Mistuh Muffey squizzit Sambo en" ax him all kind-
uh squesehun, en den ole Judge Hutsin him put on
one black frock same lukkuh 'ooman, en' him ax me
all kinduh squesehun, en' den Mass Billy Causey, de
Claa'k ub de Co't, tek de eenditement (dat w'at 'e call
de papuh) een "e han', en' e tu'n'um upside down en' V
read'um wrong, en' den Mistuh Tillin'ass' tek de papuh
en' tu'n'um upside down en' him read'um wrong, en'
den Judge Hutsin tek de papuh en' tu'n'um upside
down en' him read'um wrong, en' den, please Gawd,
Mistuh Mutt'ey, de puhlicituh, Him tek de papuh en"
tu'n'um upside down en' Him read'um wrong! Yaas'-
suh, de jury bin all buckruh', en' all dem care 'bout is
fuh sen' one nigguh to de penetenshus fuh eb'ry hog
w'at git t'ief , en' de Claa'k ub de Co't git my name en'
Sambo' name tanglety'up on de papuh, en', fus' t'ing I
know — 'cep'n' dat Sambo own to t'ief de hog fuh git
meat fuh eat to de passobuh preachin' w'ich was hoi'
to Sistuh Frajuh' house — please Gawd, de buckruh'
would'uh sen* 1 me to de penetenshus fuh t'ief me own
hog! En' dat de reason, suh, w'ymekso I ax wedduh
puhlicituh kin read, 'cause I didn't bex so much 'bout
Mistuh Tillin'ass', en Mass Billy Causey, en' ole
Judge Hutsin wid 'e black frock sukkuh 'ooman. but T
did t'ink dat Mistuh Muffey, de puhlicituh. could'uh
THE DOCTOR DIDNT "EXCEED"
Down upon the banks of the turbid Toogoodoo — one
of the many creeks that indent the seacoast of Colle-
ton County — lives June Middleton, a negro of the old
school. As a body servant, he followed his master
through Virginia "eenjurin' uh de wah," and. at its
close, he received for his faithful service a few acres of
the plantation upon which he had been reared. His
little holding was as dear to him as was ever an
entailed estate to an English noble, for, like all
Southern negroes who had formerly belonged to fami-
lies of culture and refinement, he shared the pride of
his quondam owners in their ancestral acres and in
their distinguished names.
The comfortable frame house, in which June had
spent the days of his slavehood, had long since gone
up in smoke, for no habitation of man or beast was
too lowly to escape the torch of Sherman's bummers,
who, in 1865 illumined the "benighted South." Upon
its site now stands a clay- chimneyed log cabin, and by
its door ebb and flow the waters of the creek from
which June had for years drawn his sustenance.
While he did not exactly "go down to the sea in ships,"
he paddled his little "dugout" canoe out to the mouth
of the stream at nearly every low tide during the
winter season, and shared with the raccoons the little
sharp-shelled bunch o}^sters that covered the exposed
In the spring, when the yellow jessamine swung its
golden cups above the forest undergrowth, and the
silver stars of the dogwood gleamed from the chapar-
THE DOCTOR DIDN'T "EXCEED"
ral, he mended his nets and lines in preparal ion for the
summer campaign, and, later, when the woods were
odorous with the blossoms of the elder and the wild
grape, he commenced his nocturnal forays against
the finny tribes. On dark nights, when the piping of
the marsh hens apprised him that the tide was out.
he took with him a boy to paddle his cranky little
craft, and. standing in the bow, threw his cast-net with
a ''swish" far out into the schools of shrimp ami
"finger mullet." His catch, together with an occa-
sional string of whiting and yellowtail taken with
the hook and line, he converted at a distant village
into the necessaries of life.
For many years there had scarcely been a ripple
on this placid life of June's, save when a "puppy-
shark" would occasionally make away with his bait,
sending the whiting line whizzing through his fingers
and almost upsetting the little craft with his impet-
uous rush, or when, two or three times a year, the
itinerant preacher would visit his cabin to swap
ecclesiastical platitudes for fresh fish.
On a bright day in early summer, old June sat at
his door-step basking in the sun and watching the
glistening waters as they hurried by. Occasionally, a
kingfisher would leave his station on a dead limb and.
zig-zagging in his flight, would swoop down on some
small fish that showed on the surface, and. having
swallowed his prey, would leisurely return to his
perch with a harsh note of triumph. The "preechuh
on de sukkus" had just arrived to pay his periodical
visit, and, scattering a group of half-naked children
who were playing around the door, June brought out
THE BLACK BORDER
another three-legged stool and extended the hospitali-
ties of the establishment.
"Reb'ren'," said he, "I berry glad you come teday."
"Why, bredduh, 'smattuh mekso?"
"Well, suh," said June, whose philosophical patience
and faith might put to the blush many who quarrel
with their lot, "I yent min' 'bout me myself, suh,
"cause I tengk Gawd fuh life en' de bre't' w'at Him
lef een dis body. My lady, w'ich dead een las' Augus\
had de consumpshus en' de remonia alltwo, en' him
en' me alltwo nyuse to smoke de same pipe befo' him
dead, en' I berry 'f'aid dat I gwine likeso fuh ketch de
consumpshus en' de remonia frum dat same berry
pipe, en', den, I got mis'ry een de back, en' I sen' dat
leetle gal 'Eiah — dat is my gran' — to de cross road sto'
fuh git fibe cent' wut' ub tup'mtime, but de buckruh
tek de fibe cent frum de gal en' t'row water een de
tup'mtime, en' w'en I rub de back wid de tup'mtime
de tup'mtime couldn' specify, en' de mis'ry keep
on jes' de same, en' I git so po'ly now dat I kin
sca'cely git een de crik fuh ketch swimp en' t'ing, en'
bittle git berry sca'ceful dese clays, suh; but tengk
Gawd fuh life, suh, tengk Gawd fuh life, en' I berry
glad you come, 'cause I want'uh ax yo' 'pinion 'bout
my gran', Sooky. You know'um, suh, him is uh "leben
yeahs ole gal chile, en' 'e git sick een de two week een
las' Jinnywerry done gone mek one yeah, en' Doctuh
Baa'nwell t'row one dollar en' sebenty-fi' cent' wut' uh
med'sin een de gal, but somehow I don't t'ink de Doc-
tuh exceed so well wid de gal, 'cause, een de fus' week
een dis same Jinnywerry — befo' de yeah well out — de
gal tek wid mo' mis'ry een 'e lef han' foot, en' w'en I
sen'um back to de Doctuh *e want'uh chaa'ge anodduh
THE DOCTOR DIDN'T "EXCEED"
dolluh en' sebenty-fi' cent' fuh t'row mo' physic' een
de gal, en* dat mek me bex, 'cause eb'rybody know "t is
too soon fuh t'row'way anodduh dolluh en' sebenty-fi'
cent 1 , en' likeso eb'rybody know dat Doctuh Baa'nwell
couldn' be exceed so well wid de gal, en' 'e med'sin
couldn' specify, elseso 'e wouldn' haffuh cyo' one en'
de same gal two time een one en' de same yeah !"
THE LADY COULDN'T "SPECIFY"
The Rev. Nepchun Kinlaw, the "locus pastuh" of
a Colleton County flock, sat in the sunshine at the door
of his cabin, drawing from the sights and sounds
around him inspiration for his next Sunday's sermon.
Although he could not read, an open Bible was on
his knee, and his head was bowed reverently over the
well-thumbed pages. His only knowledge of their
contents was acquired from the circuit preacher whose
quarterly sermons furnished the "class-leaders" and
local preachers with scriptural data wherewith to con-
duct the campaign against Satan until his next round.
These Bible truths "Pa Kinlaw" — as the female mem-
bers of his charge delighted to call him — instilled into
his flock by homely illustrations. Out in the yard
before him, a little ridge of earth, which gradually
increased in length, indicated the presence of a
groundmole that was burrowing through the hard
ground. "Dat grirmole hab fait'," said he. " 'E yent
gots no eye een 'e head, en' 'e cyan' see de wurrum een
de cart" 1 , but 'e hab fait', en' de Lawd lead'um 'long to
weh de wurrum does lib, en' de gru'mole ketch de wur-
rum en' eat'um. Same fashi'n, man en" 'ooman gots
to hab fait' een de Lawd, elsehow dem ent able fuh
specify w'en Gabrull blow 'e hawn en' de great day
come. Ef you ent got fait\ please Gawd, oonuh neb-
buh ketch de wurrum ub Salwashun!"
His reflections were rudely interrupted by the advent
of Jim Green, the colored constable of a neighboring
trial justice, who, mounted on a razor-backed rat of a
Texas pony, rode up to the door and, in the name of
THE LADY COULDN'T "SPECIFY"
the State of South Carolina, demanded from the
"Keb'ren"' a dollar and a quarter, the balance due od
a two-dollar marriage ceremony performed in October
last by the aforesaid trial justice, "who did then and
there, at the time and place aforesaid, unite one
Xepchun Kinlaw to one Minda Manigo."
Not a red flag flaunted before a bull — nor a rival's
becoming Easter bonnet before a society woman-
could have been provocative of more wrath than was
the constable's demand upon "Pa Kinlaw." Rising
from his seat, with the natural color of his face deep-
ened by anger until it was as dark as the hinges of
Hades, he said: "Green, you kin go back to de Trial
Jestuss en' telPum dat de lady, w'at him renite me to
een de two Chuesday een las' Octobuh, cyan' specify.
Tell'iim dat de only reason w'ymekso I hab dis lady
is bekasew'y my fus' wife dead een las' June. Dat
'ooman w'at dead wuz de fait'fules' 'ooman T ebbuh
come "cross een dis wull'. I gem praise fuh dat! De
only fau't I had wid'um, is 'cause 'e gone en' dead een
June! Ef de 'ooman had'uh dead een de fall w'en
de crop done lay by, I wouldn' uh min' summuch, but
'e gone en' leddown en" dead een June, please Gawd,
een June munt", w'en de grass duh grow, en' w'en de
time haa'd, en bittle berry sca'ceful, en' 'e lei" seb'n
chillun een de house, en' lef de cawn een de fiel' befo'
'e gitt'ra hoe'um two time, en' de jaybu'd Mew een de
Hel" en" nyam de cawn, en' de redbu'd flew een de fiel'
en' nyam de cawn, en de crow en' de rokkoon en de
"possum en' all de odduh'res' waa'ment nyam de cawn.
'cause I yent gots nobody fuh min'uin out'n de fiel',
en' stillyet dat 'ooman gone en' dead een Jum .' Now.
w'en I see all dese chillun, wid 'e mout' open same
THE BLACK BORDER
lukkuh chuckwilluh' mout', en' I yent gots no bittle
full pit een 'um, I mek up my min' dat I gots to git
anodduh lady, en' sistuh Minda en' him fus' husbun'
paa't, en' I quizzit de fus' husbun' 'bout'um en' 'e
gib de lady uh berry good cyarrictuh, so I tek'um to
de trial jestuss en' marri'd'um, but w'en I marri'd'um
I t'aw't 'e could specify, so I pay de jestuss sebenty-
fi' cent', en' owe'um dolluh en' uh quawtuh on de
'ooman, en' I tek de 'ooman home en' t'row'um een de
fiel' full done lay by de crap en' plant peas een de cawn.
but, please Gawd, soon ez I lef de 'ooman 'e leddown
fiat 'puntop 'e back en' gone 'sleep een de sunhot, en'
'e 'low de crow en' t'ing full spile eb'ry Gawd' crop een
de fiel' eenjurin' de week day, en', w'en Sunday come,
de lady put one high brustle 'puntop 'e back en' gone
chu'ch same lukkuh him dull buckruh ! En' w'en I
fin' all dese gwinin' en' gwinin' bout de 'ooman, I
kinduh git disgus' wid, de 'ooman, en' I yent feel like
pay out no mo' money full de 'ooman w'en 'e cyan'
speci///. Wen I 'gree full pay de jestuss tAvo dolluh'
full marri'd dis lady, I t'aw't 'e could speci///, en' I
didn' min' 'bout payin' two dolluh' full uh smaa't
'ooman, but sence I tek de 'ooman home en' try'um, I
fin' dat de 'ooman cyan' speci///, en' 'e yent wut' mo*
den de sebenty-fi' cent' w'at I done pay on'um; en 1 , ef
de jestuss ent sattify wid dat — befo' I pay de odduh-
'res' ub de money — befo' I pay'um de dolluh en' a
quawtuh w'at I still jue on de 'ooman — him kin tek
de lady backP" 1
A QUESTION OF PRIVILEGE
The Republican State Convention was in session in
the hall of the House of Representatives at Columbia.
There was a contest between two rival delegations
from Berkeley County, the one representing the "old
line' 1 Republicans, the other the younger element which
had recently affiliated with the conservative Demo-
crats. The fight came up on the seating of the dele-
gations, and it was agreed that five minutes should be
allotted to the chairman of each delegation for the
presentation of his claims to the convention.
A young African, fancifully arrayed in a spotless
white flannel suit, rose in behalf of the younger dele-
gation and arraigned his opponents in an "impas-
Before his five minutes had expired, Mr. Thompson,
the ape-like chairman of the elder statesmen, inter-
rupted him with an appeal to the chair.
"Mistuh Chair," said he, "I rise to uh squeschun lib
The Chair — "Does de juntlemun rise to de priblidge.
eeduhso de squeschun?"
"Great Gawd," said the thoroughly aroused dele-
gate, "I rise to de priblidge en' de squeschun, alltwo
one time, en' I also rise to uh squeschun lib influm-
mashun, 'cause I bin pussonully attacktid. Mistuh
Chair, dis ondelicate nyung juntlemun w'ich pusceed
me has prizzunt to dis augus' body de credenshu] ub
de contestuss delegashun frum Bucksley County t<>
Mount Pleasant presinek full sen* one delegashun t<>
Cuhlumbia, fuh sen' anodduh delegashun to Chica-
THE BLACK BORDER
gyo full nominashun de Prezzydent uh dese Newnited
State ! Mistuh Chair, de 'Publikin paa'ty een Bucksley
County is gots fuh speci/y, en' I will likes to quizzit
dis immaculate nyung juntlemun frum Bucksley
County en' ax'um a few cumposhashun ! I will likes
full 'tarry gate'um en' ax she weh him bin een de yeah
sebenty-stree, w'en I bayre my breas' to de bullet uh
de Dimmy crack frum de mountain to de sea.boa'd/
I will like, suh, fuh peruse de min' uh dis ondeestunt
nymig juntlemun en' ax'um how de debble him kin
specify en' ruppezunt de 'Publikin paa'ty een Buck-
sley County to Mount Pleasant presinck, w'en him
binnuh lib een Mistuh Puhshay Smit' yaa'd, en' bin-
nuh nyam buckruh' bittle ebbuh sence 'e farruh gone
penetenshus fuh t'iefin' hog een de yeah sebenteen-
eighty-stree ! I will likes to ax dis ondelicate chilliin-
nigguh how him kin come yuh wid "e jaw teet' full uh
Puhshay Smit'' hog meat en' onduhtek fuh seddown
him contestuss delegashun 'pun dis historicus fid*!
"Wen, Mistuh Chair, dis meetin' wuz hoi' to Buck-
sley County to Mount Pleasant presinck, fuh sen" dis
delegashun to Cuhlumbia fuh sen' anodduh delegashun
to Chicagyo fuh nominashun de Prezzydent uh dese
Newnited State, dis immaculate juntlemun, Mistuh
Dannil T. Middletun, repose heself 'gense de conwen-
shun plan fuh nominashun, en' adswocate de primus
ward* plan. Now, wen de juntlemun fin' dat de con-
wenshun plan is wictoria obuh de primus ward plan,
de juntlemun git disgus', en' de juntlemun lef de flV
uh de conwenshun en' gone down de step, follow' by he
cohort, Mistuh Gibbes ! Now, Mistuh Chair, I pun-
nounce shish ondeestunt behavior, on de paa't uh
Mistuh Middletun, uh disgustuss splotch 'pun de 'Pub-
A QUESTION OF PRIVILEGE
likin paa'ty' cawpsus politicksus, en' ef de juntlemun
will contuhdix de wu'd w'ich I nyuse, I will punnounce
she to be a lie! Mistuh Chair, de juntlemun' mout' is
too black for she to be a Dimmycrack, en' 'e yeye is
too red fuh he to be a 'Publikin, en' I punnounce'um,
on de flo' uh dis conwenshun, uh monstrosity politicuss
CONDUCTOR SMITHS DILEMMA
Is there one, among the thousands that have
traveled on his train, who does not know and, know-
ing, does not esteem, Conductor Smith — "Billy" Smith
of the Blue Ridge Railroad? Surely not, for like his
prototype, Baines Carew, the sympathetic attorney of
the Bab Ballads, who was so overcome by the recital
of his clients' woes that he "had scarcely strength to
take his fee," Billy, the embodiment of courtesy and
kindliness, never collected a fare or punched a ticket
without a deprecatory smile and look of sympathy, as
tho' it grieved him very much. This accommodating
disposition has made him an easy prey to an exacting
public. Other trains have passed over his road, but the
cream of the travel has always been reserved for Billy.
His the happiness of looking after tow-headed boys
sent to visit distant relatives; his the honor of escort-
ing to and from boarding-school, grown girls who
have been provided with half -fare tickets by their
thrifty mothers; his the privilege of hauling to and
fro, ladies who have been blessed with twins by a
prodigal Providence, ladies with bird-cages, ladies
with baby-carriages, ladies with cats in baskets, ladies
with geraniums in pots, ladies with home-made jams
and pickles in jars, ladies with bundles and bandboxes,
ladies with an overweening desire to pour into his
sympathetic ear divers family secrets — the exact num-
ber of teeth the last baby but one has cut, the num-
ber and variety of fashionable ailments considerately
diagnosed by their family physicians, etc., etc. With
these and like confidences the patient conductor's time
is not infrequently whiled away between stations.
CONDUCTOR SMITH'S DILEMMA
Thus for years has Billy Smith trod — or rather jog-
gled along — the path of duty between Walhalla and
Belton. In the spring-time, when rill and river are
swollen by heavy rains, and the tawny waters rush
down the hillsides, gullying the plowed lands and scat-
tering the rich soil "'out among the neighbors," when
the pale blue wild violet and the waxen Easter lily
peep from dell and dingle, and the peach and plum
trees, clustering around the farmsteads, open their
pink and white petals to the sunshine and the dew: in
the summer, when the golden bees swarm over the
clover blooms and the ripe grain falls before the sweep
of the scythe; in the autumn, when the chestnut burrs
lie on the sod and the dead leaves swirl in the blast;
in the winter, when the Blue Ridge is wrapped in a
slumber-robe of snow and the frost crystals, forced out
of the icy earth, sparkle on the sides of the deep cuts—
in all seasons and in all weathers — Billy Smith plods
on. Time and toil have streaked his beard with gray,
and deepened the lines in his face, but his smile is as
sweet and his hands and feet as willing as ever they
were in his younger days, and, until he shall run his
last train through the golden gates of the new Jerusa-
lem and pass in his manifests to be checked up by the
Almighty Auditor, he will doubtless be seen at the
termini of the Blue Ridge Railroad, loaded to the
gunwales, like a lighter at a coaling station, with
babies, pug dogs, flowering plants and all the miscel-
laneous paraphernalia apparently inseparable from
itinerant femininity, and will still take a commanding
position in the centre of his coach and diurnally sing.
alas! "that old sweet song:" "Belton. Helton! June
tion Columbia and Greenville Railroad! About fifty
THE BLACK BORDER
minutes, fifty minutes, before the train comes for
Columbia! Passengers going in the direction of
Columbia will have to git off now, you'll have to git
off, as this train leaves in about ten minutes, ten
minutes, for Greenville, for Greenville — which is in
the opposite direction from Columbia!"
There are moments in every life when flowers are no
longer sweet, and women no longer fair ; when there is
no music in the song of birds, no merriment in the
laughter of children, and all the world seems dark.
One of these moments came to Billy Smith the other
day, when Conductor Fielding of the main line
unloaded at Belton, Diana Hawlback, an elderly black
woman from Beaufort County, who, with her grand-
daughter "Lizzybet'," a spotted pig in a bag, two barn-
yard roosters and a hen, tied by the legs, four quarts
of roasted peanuts, a bushel of "Crazy Jane" sweet
potatoes, a large bundle of bedding, and divers and
sundry other belongings, was on her way to Pendle-
ton to visit relatives. "The fight came up," as the
Congressional reporters say, "on the recurrence of the
previous question," which was, in this case, an empha-
tic demand for the payment of full fare for Diana's
"gran'," "Lizzybet'," a leggy girl of apparently four-
teen years of age. "Cap'n," said Diana, "dat gal is a
'leben yeahs old gal, en' wehrebbuh I does tek'um on
de train, de buckruh nebbuh does chaa'ge me mo' den
chillun money fuh de gal. Enty you 'membuh, suh, de
yeah wen de dry drought come? Well, dat gal bawn
een dat same berry yeah een de middle paa't ub de
summnh, 'cause I 'membuh berrywell de dry drought
dry up all de swamp en* backwatuh en' t'ing een
Angus', en' all de man on de plantesshun gone out
CONDUCTOR SMITH'S DILEMMA
een de swamp en" ketch de alligettuh out'n V hole, en'
dis gal Lizzybet' ma — him name Benus — eat too much
alligettuh wen Lizzybet'' wuz a free weeks' ole gal, en*
de 'ooman dead en' lef dis gal on my han\ De gal' pa
wuz my nyoungis' son, Pollydo'. en' alldo' de scriptuh
say, k Paul kin plant en' Pollydo' kin water, but Gawd
duh de man w'at gib de greese,' stillyet Pollydo' en'
him bredduh Paul plant de crap en' watuhr'um alltwo
'tell de dry drought come, but Gawd nebbuli sen' de
greese 'tell Pollydo' ketch de alligettuh en' bile'um, en'
stillyet, alldo' 'e folluh' de scriptuh' wu'd en' gib V
lady de alligettuh greese w'at de Lawd sen", yet de
lady dead, so I don't t'ink dat tex'. w'at my Locus
pastuh resplain, could be specify, elseso I don't t'ink
Pa Kinlaw T could be onduhstan' de scriptuh berry well.
or de greese nebbuh would'uh 'stroy'd de 'ooman.
Stan' up gal, en' 'low de buckruh fuh look 'puntop yo'
foot. Cap'n, you ebbuh see, sence you bawn, shishuh
feet lukkuh dat on a fo'teen yeahs ole gal? Ent you
know," said she, as Conductor Smith's eyes opened
at the size of the pedal extremities exhibited, "en1 you
know dat a 'leben yeahs ole gal gots bigguh foot den
a fo'teen yeahs ole gal? Dis gal nebbuli had a shoe
'pun 'e foot, en' 'e foot gots nutt'n' fuh stop'um frum
grow. Befo' you tek'way all my money fuh tek dis
gal to Pendletun, I wish you, please, suh, kin eeduh
go yo'self, elseso sen' uh ansuh to my sistuhlaw, Miss
Frajuh, w'at lib to Mistuh Brissle place to Cumbee,
en' ax'um wedduh dis gal Lizzybet', w'ich him is my
gran', is mo' den 'leben yeah ole."
ONE WAS TAKEN— THE OTHER LEFT
On the hot white sand of a cart road that wound
along the edge of a riceneld in lower Carolina, lay
the stiffened body of a yellow, crop-eared cur. By his
side, a companion in death, was a cottonmouth mocca-
sin, beaten almost to a pulp.
The road was flanked on either side by a canal half
filled with stagnant water, dotted here and there with
water lilies and shaded by the feathery foliage of the
pond willows, while, among the clumps of rushes that
fringed the edges, blue flags nodded. Over all, the July
sun glared fiercely, and up on the willow branches,
where, here and there, his rays penetrated the dense
foliage, lay a water snake basking in the golden light.
Now and then a blue heron — the "Po' Joe" of the
plantation negro — rose lazily from his fishing station
out in the riceneld, and, trailing his long legs after
him, moved on to another "drop." The whole world
seemed to be asleep in the warm sunshine — all the
world save old Ca'lina Manigo, who sat on a cypress
log by the side of the road and gazed sorrowfully at
the dead dog, and the snake that had caused its death,
while he muttered to himself:
"Po' ole Horfas' dead, yaas, suh, dead en' gone !
Ketch 'e deV en' git 'structed by uh debble'ub'uh snake !
De preechuh say dat w'en de Lawd tek'way good man
en' good 'ooman frum dis wull' 'tis bekasew'y Him lub
'um en' gots nyuse fuhr'um, but I wunduh w'y mekso
Him tek'way Hol'fas'? Cyan' be dem does ketch rok-
koon en' 'possum en' t'ing een Heben ! I nebbuh yerrv
'bout no shishuh t'ing, but, my Mastuh ! ef dem is
ONE WAS TAKEN— THE OTHER LEFT
got "urn dey, Hol'fas' will tree'um befo' daycleao
tomorruh mawnin', 'speshly ef 'e got sense 'nut' fuh
fin' Bredduh Cudjo, my class-leader, w'at de Lawd
tek las' Fibbvwerrv, "cause B'Cudjo nyuse to lub full
folluh de waa'ment' track een de swamp same lukkuh
'e nyuse to lub fuh folluh de 'Postle Paul' en' Nickuh-
demus" track een de Scriptuh, en', I tell you, suh,
w'en B'Cudjo git on a hot trail, wedduh'so 'e duh trail
'possum or 'postle, 'e berry haa'd fuh t'row'um off!
"Dat mek me 'membuh 'bout de las' time me en' him
en' Hol'fas' ketch de hebby rokkoon een de Cypress
swamp close to Beabuh dam. Yaas'suh, dat dog
couldn' tu'ndown fuh, rokkoon ! 'E wuz jes' 'bout fus'
fowlcrow; de mawnin' staar climb up de sky 'tell 'e
stan' 'puntop de treehead, en', 'way obuh de swamp
een de big dribe, we yerry de owl 'whoo, whoo, whoo,
whoo.' en' bimeby pres'n'ly, we list'n good en' we yerry
Hol'fas' comin' 'pun one hot trail, en', bimeby 'gen,
we know by 'e baa'k dat 'e done tree; so, w'en we come
to de dog, 'e bin at de biggis' sweetgum tree een de
swamp en' duh gib 'e tongue berry rappit. Now. w'en
we pit de light'ood junk behin' we fuh shine 'e yeve. we
see de rokkoon 'puntop de berry top uh de gum tree,
en' we } 7 ent gots no gun fuh shoot de rokkoon. so
B'Cudjo staa't' fuh climb de tree fuh t'row down de
rokkoon. en' 'e git'long berry well 'tell 'e git mos' to de
rokkoon, en' B'Cudjo so hongry fuh ketch de rokkoon,
dat 'e nebbuh quizzit de limb w'at him binnuh ^vd-
down 'puntop. en' w'en 'e graff at de rokkoon, please
Gawd, de limb couldn' specify, en' de limb bruk, en'
w'en B'Cudjo graff de rokkoon by 'e tail, him en' de
rokkoon alltwo drap out de tree, en' hit de groun'
l bimP De rokkoon dead, but B'Cudjo, een Gawd 1
THE BLACK BORDER
mussy, fall 'puntop 'e head, en' dat hukkuh 'e didn'
bruk 'e back!
"Well, praise de Mastuh, Him tek'way Hol'fas'. I
yent grudge'um de dog, ef Him want'um, but I wish
'E had uh bin tek my lady Bina en' lef de dog, 'cause
de dog nebbuh lie, en' de 'ooman fuhrebbuh duh lie,
en' de dog wuz a fait'ful dog, en' de 'ooman is a 'ceit-
ful 'ooman, en' w'en you feed de dog, de dog wag 'e
tail, but de ''ooman! him nebbuh tengkful fuh nuttfrC.
You nebbuh kin sattify him!"
"Come'yuh, gal, en' lemme look 'puntop yo' foot.
Wen I call you, yo" 1 foot hebby ez i'on, en' w'en I
tu'n you loose, 'e light ez uh fedduh. Wuh 'smattuh?
Yo' two foot' mus' be tie togedduh, enty? Befo' de
Lawd, you stan' same lukkuh yo' maamy en' yo' gran'-
maamy alltwo. You is tarrypin w'en time come fuh
wu'k, en' bu'd w'en time come fuh play!"
Old Carolina Manigo sat on a three-legged stool
at the door of his cabin, as he thus addressed his
grand-daughter, Lucinda, a scrawny negress of twelve
or thirteen years. With reluctant feet, the girl, a piti-
ful object, approached him. Her dress and appear-
ance were in keeping with the wretched poverty of her
grandfather and all his surroundings, and evidenced
the utter incapacity of the average negro, thrown by
"freedom"' upon his own resources, to care decently
for his family. The frowzy wool on her unkempt head
had been plaited weeks before into little pigtails that
bristled all over her crown like black caterpillars. Her
face was gray with dirt, around her thick lips lingered
the encrusted remnants of her sweet-potato dinner of
the day before, while down her cheeks lay. like the
rills of resinous gum that streak the bark of the pine
tree '"boxed" for turpentine, the tracks of recent tears.
Through the rifts in the ragged cotton dress that con-
stituted her sole attire, her scraggy limbs showed as
she walked, or Limped, rather, toward her grandfather.
Around her left foot was wrapped a piece of burlap
bagging, and, whenever she stepped upon it, her
pinched face contracted with pain.
THE BLACK BORDER
" 'Smattuh, gal, snake bite you, enty? Dis house
mus'be hab sin, 'cause dis mek de two time Gawd, een
'e mussy, sen' mis'ry en' water-moccasin een dis fam-
bly. Las' week dem 'stroy'd Hol'fas' (w'ich him wuz
de bes' rokkoon dog ebbuh git 'pun a trail) en' now,
please de Mastuh, de snake gone en' structid dis ehil-
lun gal, en' "e gwine to dead on my han', en' 'e know
berry well 'e ma gone town, en', ef 'e yiz dead befo' 'e
ma git back from town, him will lef me bidout a
Gawd' somebody fuh min' bu'd out de cawnfiel', en' I
nebbuh see, sence I bawn, shishuh hebby gang uh
woodpeckuh', crow' en' all kind'uh annimel lukkuh
dis same Augus' munt'. Gal ! You ent gots no eye een
yo' head 'scusin' fuh look fuh blackberry, enty? You
walk duh pa at' en' tu'n yo' gaze 'puntop de sky,
'stead'uh quizzit de groun' weh you duh walk! Wen
you dead, who gwine keep jaybird' out'n dis fiel'? I
good min' to lick you!"
"Gran'puh,'' whimpered 'Cindy, "I nebbuh step
'puntop no snake, suh, 'tis briah w'at 'cratch me foot.''
"Briah!" laughed old Ca'lina, derisively. '"Briah!
Who'ebbuh yerry 'bout shishuh t'ing ! Briah ! I sway
to Gawd, gal, you mos' mek me laugh ! Well de debble
you ebbuh know briah kin 'cratch nigguh' foot? You
mus' be t'ink you is buckruh. enty? You binnuh walk
een briah en' t'ing ebbuh sence you bawn, 'tell de bot-
tom uh yo' foot haa'd same lukkuh alligettuh' back,
en' you gots de impedin' to come'yuh en' tell yo* gran'-
puh dat briah 'cratch yo' foot ! Step fas', gal. Slow
walkin' mek quick lickin', en' fus t'ing you know
briah will 'cratch you 'puntop yo' back 'stead'uh pun
yo' lef han' feet. Mek'ace, gal, en' come'yuh. Ent you
'membuh dat, een de 'Postle Paul' 'Pistle to de
'Feeshun', him resplain de wu'd dat 'long talk ketch
run'way nigguh?' Ent you know dat dey en1 uh
Chryce' hom'ny een de house fuh eat? De las' fr'en'
I got een dis wull' wuz ole Hol'fas', en' snake gone en'
structid dat dog en' Jrill'um, en' ebbuh sence V den. I.
de waa'ment en' t'ing come en' 'stroy'd eb'ry Gawd'
fowl on de place, en' las' night wil'cat come en' ketch
de frizzle hen wat binnuh set onduhneet" de cedar
bush een de fench cawnuh, en' de hen 'low de cat fuh
ketch'um, en' free uh de aig' is duck aig' en' two uh
de odduh'res' is tuckrey aig', en' you bettuh tek de aig'
to Mistuh Earn' sto' to de Cross Road*, en* chaa'ge'um
seb'npunce fuh de aig', 'cause I don't t'ink de aig' kin
specify berry well, 'cause de hen w'at bin seddown
'puntop de aig' git ketch by de wil'cat en' de aig' bin-
nuh seddown een de jew en' t'ing, but ei de buckruh
tarrygate you en' quizzit you too ondeestunt 'bout de
aig', you kin tell'um dat de aig' kin specify, 'cause de
frizzle hen w'at de wil'cat ketch ent binnuh seddown
'puntop dem aig' mo'n t'ree week, eiv you kin tell'um
dat wehreas de hen aig' oughtuh hatch'out een t'ree
week' de duck aig' en' de tuckrey aig' ent jue fuh
hatch'out 'tell de fo' week done out, en' tell'um dat
wehreas de hen aig' en' de duck aig' en' de tuckrey
aig' all binnuh keep one'nudduh cump'ny, de hen aig'
is too mannusubble fuh hatch'out befo' de odduh'res'
aig', so de hen aig' keep 'e cyarrictuh f'um spile, 'tell
all 'e cump'ny done hatch'out."
AN INTERRUPTED OFFERTORY
Out at the edge of the woods that fringed a sea-
island cotton field in the lower part of Colleton
County, stood a little bush church — a primitive affair,
constructed by setting four ten-foot stakes at the
corners of a square, laying ridgepoles in their forked
tops, and covering the whole with green boughs of the
sweetgum. Humble as it was, this summer sanctuary
of the Rev. Nepchun Kinlaw's congregation was as
dear to them as was ever minareted mosque to Moslem,
or cloister to Monk. Here, during the warm weather,
when the more pretentious clapboard church became
unbearably hot, they assembled two or three times a
week to receive the pearls of theological thought that,
clothed in the Gullah dialect of the Carolina coast,
fell from the thick lips of their beloved "locus pastuh."
Here, sheltered from sunshine and shower, they sat,
like roosting chickens, on pine poles that, upholstered
only with the bark that covered them, rested upon
upright stakes sawed square at the top and driven into
the ground. When these "pews" were filled to the
ends, the overflow found lodgment on the stumps and
logs that lay within sound of the preacher's voice in
the environing forest.
On a night in the early summer, an unusually large
congregation had gathered at this trysting place of the
faithful, for the news had spread that "Pa Kinlaw"
was going to say something sensational on the subject
of pastoral ways and means. The night was dark, the
sky overcast, and now and then the low rumble of dis-
tant thunder and a fitful gust of wind from the south-
AN INTERRUPTED OFFERTORY
east, that soughed through the tops of the pines for B
moment and then died away, betokened the coming
storm. Around the place of worship, two or three
pine-knot fires blazed brightly, furnishing, at once,
light for the comfort of the congregation, and smoke
for the discomfiture of the gnats and sandflies that
swarmed about the church. Around and between the
fires, the negroes, men and women, moved, avoiding
the smoke and sparks that the wind, from time to
time, sent among them, the firelight falling on their
dark faces recalling the "hot-pot" scene in Rider Hag-
gard's "She." While they awaited the advent of their
preacher, they discussed their daily pleasures, trials,
hopes and fears — the reduced cost of bacon or calico
at the country store, the demand for labor, and the
increased price therefor, at the rice plantations along
the river, the destruction of the earlv corn bv the cut-
worms and the crows, etc.
"I yerry," said one old woman to another. "I yerry
dat Mistuh FitzSimmun done tek de sprout How off V
rice, en' 'e gwine hoe'um nex' week, T'ursday."
"Dat so?" said her companion. "Den, I gwine dev
sho' ez Gawd lemme go. Ef my juntlemun kin git uli
hawss, eeduhso uh oxin, fuh knock de middle out'n 'e
crap, I will mek she go 'long too, alldo* "e gots de
mis'ry een "e back 'tell 'e cyan' specify wid 'e hoe
lukkuh 'e nyuse to do."
"I 'spec'," said old Ca'lina Manigo, "I 'spec*, I mos'
sho'. rokkoon duh walk duh paat' dis berry night !
Please Gawd, ef Him didn' mek dat snake 'stroy'd
Hol'fas' las' yeah, I could'uh ketch one tenight, te-
night, duh de night!"
"Ef you so hongry fuh rokkoon meat, w'en de praise
THE BLACK BORDER
done gitt'ru. we kin tek my dog Ring en' tek a leetle
dribe," said Monday Parker, a stalwart black fellow.
"Ring!" said Ca'lina, scornfully. "Ring! Boy, ef
you talk Ring' name een de same breV wid Hol'fas'
name, you will mek me hab sin right yuh tenight ! I
kin tek ole Hollas' jawbone out'n de du't weh de buz-
zut done lefum, en' I kin pit dat jawbone 'puntop uh
rokkoon track, en' him will mek de rokkoon git een de
tree top, befo' Ring kin ketch a fleas out n "e own tail !
Go'way, Paa'kuh, man, you know berry well yo' clog
cyan' specify !"
'"Nuf t'ing, 'scusin' dog, dey een dis wull' w'at
cyan' specify," said a deep voice from the darkness
without, and, in a moment more, the long-looked-for
pastor, mounted on a raw-boned brindled ox, rode
into the broad disk of fire-light that filled the glade.
A grain sack stuffed with corn shucks was his saddle,
and a long grapevine wound around and around the
unhappy ox, together with martingales and crupper
of the same, held it in place. A bridle and stirrups of
frayed cotton rope completed the extraordinary eques-
"Cow iz shishuh 'ceitful t'ing fuh ride, dat I mos'
didn' mek me 'p'int," said the preacher, as he dis-
mounted and hitched his animal to a bush.
"Paul Jinkin' got some shinny peas plant close by
de road aige, en' dis cow bin so hongry dat, w'en I
git to weh de fench bruk down, 'e tek "eself en' me en'
all, en' gone een de fiel' en' staa't fuh nyam de peas,
en' I try fuh git'um out de fiel', 'cause Paul ent b'long
to we chu'ch, but de cow haaxl-head ez a 'ooman, en'
I couldn' git'um fuh lef de fiel', ontel we yerry Paul
call to 'e lady fuh git up en' he'p'um ketch de some-
AN INTERRUPTED OFFERTORY
body w'at dey een de fiel', en' wen I yerry </<>f. I
yent want'uh git de cow' cyarrictuh spile, so 1 mek'um
come outV de fiel' — en' dat how I git yuh late."
Taking his stand in the tall box of rough pine
boards that served for a pulpit, he looked askance - A \
the contributions to his support that various members
of his congregation brought to the altar and laid on
the ground beside him. A quart of grist, a dozen eggs,
a chicken, a pint of "clean" rice, a nickle — ostentati-
ously brought forth from a knot in the corner of an
apron and placed by the proud donor ; 'een de Reb-
'ren' han'" — such were the offerings of this simple
people, but, although representing more than a tithe
of their possessions, they found little favor in the
"Sistuh Wineglass," said he, as a bustling middle-
aged woman smilingly presented a chicken. "Sistuh
Wineglass, chickin' seems to sca'ceful een dis congre-
srashun ez debble sca'ceful een heab'n ! Dis meb only
de t'ree chickin' w'at bin contributes to dis chu'eh
sence de las' quawt'ly preachin', en' I done tell oonuh
one time 'ready dat dis pulpit cyan' filfill' bidout
little. Ent de Scriptuh say een de fo'teen chaptuh
een Nickuhdemus, dat de lab'ruh wut' 'e hire? I gots
to lef my crap kibbuh wid grass, en' come yuh fun
'rassle en' agguhnize wid oonuh sinful soul en' t'ing,
en' you gots de nomannus to come een de Lawd 5 house
wid t'ree aig' en' one leetle fo'punce chickin een yo'
han', en' 'spec' fuh ketch salwashnn, enty? Ef you
saa'ch Nickuhdemus' wu'd you ^v i 1 1 fin' dat 'e say
'sponsubble dat a fo'punce chickin cyan' specify fuh
seb'npunce' wut' uh salwashnn ! You tell me week
befo' las' dat you couldn' git no chickin* 'scusin' von
THE BLACK BORDER
git aig', en' you cyan' gots no aig' 'cep'n' de hen
lay'um, but de Lawd' wu'd say, ef yo' right han', eed-
uhso yo' right han' feet, refen' you, you mus' cut'um
off, en' ef de hen cyan' specify, you mus' cut off him
head same fashi'n en' " —
The pastor's prelude was brought to a sudden close
by a deafening peal of thunder that echoed and
re-echoed through the forest. A gust of wind lifted
the sweetgum thatch from the rafters of the little
church and scattered the boughs to leeward, and, as
the big raindrops began to fall upon the assembled
worshipers, Pa Kinlaw gathered together his prog,
mounted his ox, and trotted oif in the darkness, call-
ing to his flock as he went, "de Lawd en' me alltwo
cyan' talk one time ! De nex' preachin' will be to Sis-
tuh Rab'nel' house 'bout fus' daa'k Chuesdav night!"
A FLAW IN THE "EENDITEMENT"
She came into the office of a Walterboro lawyer and
engaged his services to reverse, upset and "spile" the
decision of a trial justice who had just fined her "nine
dolluh' en' de cawss', suh," for obstructing a public
Grace Rivers was her "eentitlement." The color of
her skin was so deep that a piece of charcoal drawn
across her face would have left a pallid mark. Al-
though literallv on the "shadv side" of seventy, she
was not regardless of the advantages of dress, and her
costume was, like Katisha's left elbow, worth ''coming
miles to see." The gray wool that covered her head
was snarled and tangled like a burry merino pelt, but
a man's black straw hat, battered and weather-stained,
was set upon it as jauntily as was ever w T orn the rakish
cap of Fra Diavolo ! "When a fashion-plate had last
been seen in her habitat near Ion's Cross Roads,
bustles were "the thing." Although these protuber-
ances on the human form divine had long since been
called in and relegated to the rear (?) they were still
"the thing" for Grace. The balloon bustle of the
society actress, the oscillating bustle, the coiled-spring
variety that rebelled at being sat upon, and, when
"crushed to earth," like truth, would "rise again," hav-
ing passed away, were not now obtainable at the
country stores; so the ingenuity of this dusky devotee
of fashion was called into play, and she had con
structed as unique a "dress improver" as was ever worn
under the sun — or under a home-spun skirt, either, for
that matter. A rift in the rear of her gown disclosed
THE BLACK BOBBER
the mechanism of this work of art, which was merely
a piece of an iron barrel hoop, bent into a half-elipse,
and wound with two or three thicknesses of cotton
bagging. Primitive as it was, it sufficed to elevate the
hind part of her skirt several inches above the level of
the lower periphery of the front breadth, which was
hidden by an apron made of a rough-dried guano sack,
on which appeared in bold stenciled letters, "Ashepoo
Acid Phosphate, 200 pounds — privilege tax paid."
Taking a seat in the counsellor 's office, she said:
"Majuh, I come fuh git jestuss yuh teday, teday !
Wen my juntlemun, Mistuh Kibbuhs, dead yeah befo'
las', een Augus' munt' (en' 'e dead 'cause snake
structid'um on 'e lef han' feet wen 'e binnuh gwine
to praise meetin' to Sistuh Gibbes' house on Hawss
Shoe causeway) w'en him dead, 'e lef me t'irty acre'
Ian' w'ich 'e buy frum Cap'n Gracy befo' 'e dead. Now,
w'en my juntlemun binnuh lib, Cudjo Singletun en 1
'e fambly buy a piece uh groun' close to weh we lib,
en' likeso Sambo Hawlback buy groun' eenjinin' de
same Ian'. 'Long ez my juntlemun binnuh lib. dem
berry well sattify fuh trabble 'longside de aige uh my
groun' w'en dem duh gwine chu'ch, eeduhso to de sto',
but soon ez my juntlemun dead, de eegnunt nigguh'
git so swell'up en' 'laagin', dem come en' cut paat' t'ru
my pinelan', en' call'um pulblic road. W'en I see de
'ceitfulness' en' de ondeestunt gwinin' en' gwinin' uh
dese nomannus nigguh', I git disgus' wid de nigguh',
en' I mek a fench 'cross de road, 'tell de road couldn'
specify. Now, w'en Sunday night come, Sambo tek 'e
lady een 'e oxin cyaa't, en' staa't lukkuh him duh
gwine chu'ch, but 'e nebbuh git to chu'ch, suh, 'cause
'e oxin ent gots good eye duh night time, en' de oxin
A FLAW IN THE "EENDITEMENT"
git tanglety'up een de fench, befo' Sambo ruckuhnize
well 'e duh gwine, en' de oxin t'row Sambo' lady out'n
de cyaa't, en' de lady fuhgit de 'lij'un w'at 'e staal
full tek to clinch, en' 'e git bex, en' Sambo git l>cx. en,
fin'lly at las', dem didn' gone chu'ch, but dem tu'n
back home, en" nex' mawnin' Sambo gone to de Trial
Jestuss en' swayre out warrant full 'res' me en' my
groun' full twis'up en' obstruek de pulblic highway,
en' de Jestuss sen' a muffiejaw' nigguh counstubble to
my house, en' him tek me off befo' I gitt'uh chance
eb'nso fuh pit on me shoesh, en' I tell'um dat 'e vent
deestunt, no, suh, full 'res' a lady en' tek'um to cot,
bidout 'e shoesh 'puntop 'e foot, but dat counstubble
raise' by po' buckruh en' 'e vent gots uh Chryce' man-
nus to 'e name !"
"Well," said the attorney, when he had stemmed
this torrent of speech, ''did you tell him that you were
not ready for trial; that you wished time to secure
counsel and to summon witnesses to testify in your
"I baig'um, I tell'um, 'Mistuh Awkuhmun, I want to
quizzit you on dis p'int, how de debble you kin 'res' a
lady fuh obstruek uh highway, w'en you know berry-
well de road w'ich de nigguh' mek t'ru my Ian', run
t'ru low groun ! How, een de name uh Gawd, kin I
eentuhfayre wid de pulblic highway w'en de road so
low dat 'e full uh watuh 'tell limus cootuh en' t'ing
duh swim een'um ! No, suh ! 'scusin' you kin ansuh me
dat parable, yo' eenditement cyan' specify'."
"What was his reply," asked the lawyer.
" 'E didn' reply nuttfn\ suh. 'E jis' tell me I gots
fuh specify wid nine dolluh' en' de cawss', 'scusin' I
want'uh leddown een Walterburruh jail ontell de t'ree
THE BLACK BORDER
Sat'd'y een June. I didn' gots no money fuh g'em,
so I g'em mawgidge on my cow en' t'ing 'tell I kin
come yuh to you, suh, en' git you fuh see me t'ru, 'cause
dis ondelicate buckruh 'res' me', en' try me en' all, een
one en' de same day. 'E wouldn' eb'n gimme time fuh go
home en* 1 reconstruck meself, en*, please suh, Majuh,
w'en my juntlemun dead, 'e tell me fuh fin' out w'at
you will chaa'ge me fuh tek care uh me en' my cow
en' my groun' en' t'ing by de yeah — eb'n so ef I duh
sleep — I Avant you fuh see how much you will chaa'ge
fuh keep nigguh, en' counstubble, en' po'buckruh en'
all kind'uh waa'ment en' t'ing off my groun', 'tell I
The lawyer told her he would consider the matter,
and, Ashepoo's "Nada, the Lily," with a curtsy to the
stranger within the attorney's gate, drifted out into
the brilliant sunlight that lay like a golden mantle on
field and woodland.
OLD WINE-NEW BOTTLES
He lived in Spartanburg, and was the proud valet
(pronounced "valley" in the up-country) of a young
physician. Whether the charcoal hue of his face, or
his employer's profession, prompted a clever woman
to bestow upon him the appellation of "the valley of
the shadow of death,"' I do not know, but it certainly
seemed, to every one acquainted with him, a peculiarly
appropriate u eentit\ement."
Whence he came was a mystery. He tramped into
the town one day, with his kinky wool full of the red
dust of the up-country roads and his mouth full of the
Gullah dialect of the coast, and asked for work. Al-
though not more than thirteen years of age, his hard-
ened muscles and pinched face indicated that he had
known both toil and starvation. "Gran'puh lick me
en I run'way en' lef'um," was all he said, and, as he
proved industrious and reasonably honest, there was
no further inquiry into his antecedents.
One day, soon after he had established himself in
his Spartanburg sanctuary, I chanced, while on a visit
to the low-country, to learn something of his history.
Passing through a plantation, formerly the home of a
distinguished South Carolina family, but now aban-
doned to the occupancy of a few negro squatters,
whose slovenly agricultural methods extracted but a
scanty subsistence from the naturally fertile soil, I
came to a miserable cabin, half a mile away from the
main settlement. On its site had once stood a com
fortable frame house of the type in general use on
Southern plantations for ante-bellum negro quarters,
THE BLACK BORDER
but the woodwork had long since been destroyed by
fire, and the brick chimney alone remained. Among
the negroes of the coast, where brick are scarce and the
cabin chimneys are generally made of clay or mud, the
possession of a brick "chimbly" is a sort of badge of
aristocracy and a passport to high position in colored
society, and old Scipio Smashum, having been a house
servant before the war, and, retaining through all the
hardships that had come to him with freedom, a pro-
found contempt for the coarser-fibred "field hands,''
preferred to live apart from them, and had reared
around the isolated brick chimney a habitation which,
even when new, was never weatherproof, and was now
in a pitiable state of dilapidation.
From the pine saplings, of which the walls were
constructed, the rotting bark had fallen away, dis-
closing the perforations of the wood borers or "saw-
yers," whose industry had almost honey-combed the
sappy logs. The clapboards which covered the house
were falling to pieces with decay, and here and there
on the weather-worn roof lay, like oases in a desert of
gray, patches of green mould.
' The surroundings of the cabin were as unkempt and
unattractive as the building itself. Dogfennel and
"Jimpson" weed grew almost up to the threshold. A
few rows of corn and beans in a garden nearby were
choked with grass and had been abandoned soon after
the plants were up. The "wattled" fence of clapboards
surrounding it was tumbling down, and through the
fallen panels the neighbors' cows and pigs roamed at
will. On the top of a little log chicken coop, a young
Dominique rooster cackled loudly while he awaited the
coining of his partner, who was. at the moment, busied
with domestic duties within.
OLD WINE— NEW BOTTLES
On a bench near the door sat old Scipio. The wool
which covered his head was as white as the back of a
Cotswold sheep, and the face, in which his bleared and
jaundiced eves were deeply set, was seamed with care.
As I approached, he was upbraiding the boastful
rooster. "You so 'laagin*. Soon ez yo' lady git on V
lies* you biggin fuh cackle same lukkuh you duh
specify, 'stead'uh him. You stan' dey wid yo" back
speckle" lukkuh one dese red-head' woodpeckuh', en'
t'ink you gots mo' eentruss' een dat aig den de hen
'eself. — Mawnin', maussuh, t'engk Gawd I see you
teday. De time so berry haa'd, maussuh; ef you didn'
bin come soon. I 'spec' you wouldn' uh fine' yo' ole
nigguh yuh teday. I mos' t'ink de big Maussuh gwine
to call me putty soon, 'cause de mis'ry een de back git
mo' wuss den 'e nyuse to be, en' bittle git so sca'ceful
dese day", en' I cyan' hoi' de hoe like I could'uh do one
time, en' I cyan' git no cow. needuhso no mule, full
plow de groun', 'tell I cyan' raise no crop, en' eb'nso
w'en de crop done plant, I yent gots no chillun en' t'ing'
fuh keep de wan'ment out'n'um, en' I mos' t'ink ef you
didn' come teday. Stepney would'uh git (lis po' ole
body. Trouble come sence you bin yuh las', sho' ez
Gawd! Dat boy Joe run'way en' gone to de up-
country jis' 'cause I lick'um, en' soon as him gone, old
Sancho Haywu'd' lady dead, en' Sancho come en'
tek'way my gran'daa'tuh Tviah, en' tek'um home fuh
wife. I t'aw't dat ole nigguh had mo' sense, but w'en
I peruse 'e cyarrictuh close, I see 'e cyan' specify ez
uh sensubble man."
"When did his wife die?" I asked.
" 'E dead een Fibbywerry, sub. 'E binnuh cook -up-
per, en' 'e gone to de shelf fuh git salt fuh pit ecu de
THE BLACK BORDER
hom'ny, en' ebbuh sence 'e gots catt'rack' een "e yeye
*e cyan' see berry well, en' 'stead'uh tek de can wid de
salt, 'e tek de can wid de consecrate' lye, en' 'e pit de
consecrate' lye een de hom'ny, en' fus' t'ing "e know, 'e
vent know nuttfn> 'cause 'e dead ! Oh yaas'suh, 'e git
relij'un jis' befo' 'e dead, en' 'e dead beautiful, yaas'
suh, en' 'e had de biggis' fun'rul you ebbuh see, en' ole
Pa Sancho pit 'e lady een de groun' lukkuh teday, en',
please Gawd, ez 'e gwine home frum de fun'rul dat
same berry day, 'e come by my house en' tek my gran'
'Riah en' tek she home full wife ! Ef I had'uh bin
home, I wouldn'uh let'um tek de gal befo' de munt'
done out, 'e would'uh look mo' dee stunt, yaas'suh.
But I don' min' 'bout Sancho, 'cause dat gal gwine to
mek'um t'ink t'unduhsnake got'um befo' dis yeah gone,
yaas'suh. I tell'um, 'Sancho, you better min' ! Tek
care bettuh mo'nuh baig paa'd'n*, en' Paul' wu'd to
Buhrabbus een de Scriptuh specify puhtickluh dat you
cyan' pit uh nyung grapewine een uh ole killybash, en'
you cyan' pit a nyung 'ooman een uh ole 'ooman' frock,
'cause dem alltwo will buss'. Sancho, you know berry
well you cyan' specify, en' you ent gots de strengk fuh
lick dat nyung 'ooman, en' likeso Buhrabbus say dat ef
you don' lick yo' lady you will spile 'e chile,' but I
sway-to-Gawd, suh, dat gal tu'n Pa Sancho staa't
fool, en' 'e nebbuh had my exwice een de back'uh 'e
head ! En' now, maussuh, sence de gal gone, I ent gots
nobody fuh do nutt'n' full me. Dese nigguh' w"at grow
up sence freedom come een ent gots no mannus, en'
dey would'uh lemme dead een dis house, ef de w'ite
people didn' see me t'ru. Wen ole Missis binnuh lib,
bress Gawd, 'e always 'menibuh de ole nigguh, but
'""Take care" is better than "beg pardon."
OLI> WINE— NEW BOTTLES
now, sence him dead en' de grass duh grow obuh 'e
errabe out vonduh onduhneet' de libe-oak tree, en' all
de w'ite people w'at I raise lef de ole plantesshuu en 1
scattuh all obuh de wull', en' all kind'uh low-down
buckruh, w'at couldn 1 'sociate wid we w'ite people'
fambly een ole time', come fuh lib on de place, please
Gawd, I yent gots nutt'n' much fuh lib fuh now. dese
days. T'engk you, nyung maussuh, t'engk you. suh.
Gawd bress vou !"
A GULLAH GLOSSARY
The Glossary included in this volume, while making im pre-
tense to absolute accuracy, is offered as a workable list <>f
the words in common use by the Negroes of the South Caro-
lina coast. It is doubtful, however, if the vocabulary of
any single individual comprises more than half the list, for
many words in everyday use about Georgetown or Charles-
ton occur rarely at Beaufort, or on the Combahee. Then.
too, many terms and expressions have only a local signifi-
cance. On the seacoast and along the lower reaches of tin-
tidal rivers, "trus'-me-Gawd" (I trust my Cod) is the com-
mon name for the cranky, unseaworthy dugout canoe, the
hazard of whose use on the rough waters of the coast
implies faith in the w r atchful care of a divine Providence.
Higher up the same river, however, where smoother waters
exact smaller faith, the coffin-like craft is merely a "coo-noo,"
a "cun-noo," or a "con-noo."
He who adventures into Gullah and would "make head
or tail" of its queer phonetics, must keep in mind the sounds
"uh," "e," "ran," and "a." In no other tongue, perhaps, can
so much be expressed with so little strain upon brain or lips
or glottis as by the Gullah's laconic use of these grunting
To the Gullah, the naked "a" at the top of the firsl
column of the dictionary is "uh," the dominant note upon
which his speech is pitched. With "uh" he boastfully pro-
claims the personal pronoun "I." As "bubbuh," or "budduh,"
or "buh," he greets his brethren; as "sistuh," or "tittuh."
his sisters. Sweet potatoes he roasts and eats as "tettuh."
His father, mother, daughter, are "farruh. nmrruh. daa'tuh;"
his ever is "ebbuh," his never is "nebbuh ;" forever, "fuhreb-
buh." His answer is "ansuh." his master is "inastuh." his
pastor is "pastuh" (and so is his pasture) ; his either i-
"eeduh," his neither is "needuh," his fever is "febuh," lli -
river is "ribbuh," his cooter is "cootuh," his silver is "silbuh."
If in daylight he falls asleep in an open place, the vulture's
wing that hovers over him will cast a "shaddidi." Hi- neigh-
bor is "navuh." his favor is "fabuh." his labor is "lavuh,' 1
THE BLACK BORDER
his Savior is "Sabeyuh." His bother is "bodduh," his other
is "odduh," his t'other is "todduh ;" another, "anodduh."
Otter is "ottuh ," and 'gator is " 'gatuh ;" better, "mo'bettuh,"
and alligator, "alligettuh." Barrow is "barruh," burrow is
"hurrah," furrow is "furruh," harrow is "harruh," borrow
is "borruh ;" tomorrow, "tomorruh." His mourner is "mo'nuh,"
and so is his more than (more nor) and corner is "cawnuh,"
"mauma" is "maumuh," "maussa" is "maussuh," cover is
"kibbuh ;" uncover, "onkibbuh," the white man is "buckruh,"
the Negro is "Nigguh." And finger is "finguh," as ginger is
"ginjuh." Pshaw is "shuh," and sir is "suh." His feather
is "fedduh," his weather is "wedduh," his measure is "med-
juh," his pleasure is "pledjuh." And if, in pleasantry or
wrath, he cries out upon a compatriot, he scornfully apos-
trophizes him as "uh Gulluh nigguh !"
Following "uh' in frequency of occurrence comes " 'e," a
contraction of he, she (but used also for it) — usually pro-
nounced as "ee" in see, but sometimes approaching "e" in
set and "i" in sit ; but, without the use of diacritical marks,
the exact shading cannot be expressed. This " 'e" is ever
in the Gullah mouth. If a man has shuffled off this mortal
coil, " 'e dead ;" if a fruitful woman has blessed the earth,
" 'e hab chile ;" if the dusky infant cries out upon the world,
" 'e cry ;" if a mule be too free with her hindlegs, " 'e kick."
If winter comes, " 'e freeze," and in summer weather " 'e
hot." If a storm approaches, " 'e gwine to wedduh ;" when
it breaks, " 'e t'unduh, 'e lightnin', 'e blow win', 'e rain."
In "Myths of the Georgia Coast," Colonel Jones's Gullahs
pronounce this contraction "eh," but with this a clearer
phonetic apprehension of the Gullah does not permit agree-
ment. "Eh" is a good English word which the Gullah pro-
nounces correctly and frequently utters in the ejaculation
"eh, eh !" to express surprise or bewilderment.
Almost the twin of " 'e" is "um," expressing him, her, it
and them. Did that man steal your pig? " 'E t'ief'um."
Did the woman whip the boy? " 'E lick'um." Did the fire
burn your house? " 'E bu'n'um." Have you finished your
task? "Uh done'um." Did you shoot those crows? "Uh
shoot'um." And "um" added to see or saw becomes "shum."
A GULLAII GLOSSARY
See that woman? "Uh shum." Did you see her yesterday?
"Uh shum." Will you see her tomorrow? "Uh gwine shum."
"Shum" expresses see, seeing-, or saw him, her. it. or them.
If the Gullah Negro, in "full him" and "fuh she." char
the pronoun to "um," he adds an "r" for euphony and utters
a rolling "fuhr'um;" and, similarly, "tuh him." "tuli she" are
changed to "tuhr'um."
The Gullah's favorite pronunciation of our fust vowel is
that of "a" in at, hat, bat — words that, like all others having
the same "a" sound, he invariably pronounces correctly.
Drawled to the double "a" as in "baa," it does yeoman service
in "paat\" path; "paa't," part; "smaa't." smart; "cyaa't,"
cart; "h'aa't," heart; "shaa'p," sharp; "baa'n." barn; "yaa'd."
yard; "maamy," mother; "maa'k," mark; "staa't," start:
and so in many other words.
In the Gullah there are many contradictions, the Negro
sometimes taking surprisingly short-cuts, expressing himself
succinctly and saying a great deal with but a mouthful of
words; while at others he rambles interminably and wanders
so far afield in his verbal intoxication that he can hardly
come soberly again to his starting point.
In this tongue one word or combination of words fre-
quently does duty for singular and plural numbers, past
and present tenses, and for masculine, feminine, and neuter
genders. Thus "Uh shum" may mean I saw him, I see him,
I saw her, I see her, I saw it. I see it, I saw them. I Bee
them. So "Uh tell'um" means I told or 1 tell him, her, or
them. Oxen and bulls, as well as cows, are generally classi-
fied and denominated as "cow," oxen as "ox," "two OX,"
"ten ox," etc., while a single ox. if not called a "cow." is
invariably "one oxin." " 'Ooman" is both woman and women :
"man" stands also for men. although "mens" is someti 6
used for the plural, as "free man." or "fo' mens."
Many words the Gullahs pronounce correctly. These are
here spelled in the normal way. as to respell them would
result only in a useless mutilation of the text.
Very often the Gullah usage consists in new and peculiar
applications of words, twisted to i t its own needs, and
making a single vocable serve the purpose of many.
THE BLACK BORDER
With a single "knock," the Gullah knocks, has knocked, is
With but a "rock," he rocks, has rocked, is rocking.
With "fight," he fights, has fought, is fighting.
With "run," he runs, has run, is running; and so on with
many other words, used to express singular and plural num-
bers, or all the simple tenses of the verb.
While the Gullah usually holds fast to his favorite pro-
nunciation, he sometimes permits himself a grotesque varia-
tion. For example, his usual pronunciation of car is "cyaa\"
which he utters as flatly as a Charlestonian of the Battery ;
but should he permit himself a "cyaar," he will roll you an
"r" as raucously as any Ohioan.
Of course, all Gullah Negroes pronounce certain English
words correctly, while others approximate, in varying de-
grees, the speech of their former masters. This fact ac-
counts for the slight variations that will be noticed in the
speech of different individuals in these stories, and in the
several pronunciations sometimes occurring in the Glossary.
For example, the Gullah word for you, ye, your, yours, is
variously pronounced "ona, oona, oonuh, unnuh," and, among
dyed-in-the-wool dialecticians, "yunnuh" and "wunnuh." So,
the Orang-utan is called by some " 'Rangatang" and by the
extremists " 'Ranguhtang."
Warm is "wawm ;" form or inform, "fawm," "eenf awm ;"
morning is "mawnin' ;" corn, "cawn ;" horse or horses,
"hawss ;" horn, "hawn ;" born, "bawn ;" cow is correctly
pronounced, and calf is near enoiigh to the Charleston usage
to pass. Tore, torn, tears, and tearing are never used, tear
taking the place of all. As : the girl tore her petticoat — "De
gal tayre 'e 'coat." That man's shirt is torn — "Da' man'
shu't tayre." This cloth tears badly — "Dis clawt' tayre bad."
They are tearing off the boards — "Dem duh (does) tayre off
Them ("dem") is universally used for they and their.
They took off their shoes — "Dem tek off dem shoesh." Dog
and hog, while sometimes drawled, are very rarely length-
ened to "dawg" and "hawg," tno' God is almost invariably
"Gawd." The contraction of your is "yo' ;" and yet. for
A GULLAH GLOSSARY
yours, instead of "yo'n" — the mountaineers' "yourn"- thej
prefer "you'own," as theirs or their own is always "dem'own."
Unlike Mr. Weller, the Gullah does not affect the Letter
V. which he always changes to W or B — Violet modestlj
shrinking to Wi'let or Bi'let, while, as Benus, the amorous
Aphrodite doubtless loves quite as ardently in her humble
way. And the soft and teasing vex suggests, as "hex." anger
swift and passionate!
"Lukkuh," or "same lukkuh," a corruption of like unto or
same like unto — "same lukkuh" occasionally shortened into
"sukkuh" by an excited or rapid talker — express likeness.
"Hukkuh" is, of course, how come, or how came.
" 'E fat" means that the man, the woman, the pig. or the
lightwood, is or was fat. " 'E fat fob. true" (in truth) adds
emphasis, while " 'E fat fuh sowl" brooks no contradiction.
" 'Puntop," sometimes " 'puntap," or " 'pantap," on or near
Edisto Island, means not only on top and on, but at. As: "l)e
squinch owl light 'puntop de chimbly ;" "Him plant' 'puntop
Cum bee ribbuh ;" "Wen uh look 'puntop de 'ooman en' see
'e yeye red, uh know him bex." "Biggin" is equivalent to
begin, began, begun, or beginning.
"Haffuh" is both have to and had to. "Wen de strain
leff'um to John' Ilun', him haffuh tek him foot en' gone spang
town," meaning when she missed the train at John's Island
station she had to walk all the way to Charleston.
"Same fashi'n," expressing likeness, has no sartorial sig- f \
"Alltwo" may mean both or each; as: "alligettuh en' coo-
tuh alltwo stan' same fashi'n, alltwo hab fo' foot en' one tail.
en' alltwo trabble 'puntop dem belly." So "stan" Lukkuh"
and "stan' sukkuh" mean look alike or bear a dose resem-
blance, whether standing, sitting, crawling, lying, (lying, or
"Wuffuh," or "woft'uh," means why, or what for.
At times, "duh" and "suh" (not the "sub" for sir) have
peculiar usage. "Wuffuh you duh do datV" What for, or whj
are you doing that? "Him gone duh ribbuh," ae has gone to
the river. "Him walk duh paat'," he walks in the path (or
THE BLACK BORDER
the road). So, too, " 'e duh sleep" for he does sleep, or he
sleeps ; and "duh wintuh time" for in the winter or during
the winter. "Nuh" is another oddity, "me nuh him" being
he and I.
Many years ago, the Eeverend Kinlaw, upon hearing an
educated darkey reading aloud one of the Kinlaw sermons
from a newspaper, exclaimed : "Uh 'cla' to Gawd da' buckruh
do me too bad ! Dem t'ing suh him suh suh me susso, me
nubbuh susso. Me t'ink'um, aw, but uh nubbuh susso, en'
how de debble him know suh me t'ink'um, w'en uh nubbuh
susso?" Which, interpreted, means: "I declare that buckra
did me too bad. Those things that he said I said, I never said
so. I thought them, it is true, but I never said them, and
how did he know that I thought them, when I never said
them?" Kinlaw was an extremely uncouth creature and his
Gullah was of the rankest, spoken with the hot-potato-in-the-
mouth effect of the low-comedy stage Irishman, hence his
use of "suh" for that as well as for said, and of "nubbuh"
for never, instead of the usual "nebbuh."
"Aw," for true, or to be sure, is seldom used.
"Ki," rarely "kwi," or "kwoy," is an exclamation.
"Nyam," or "nyam-nyam," means to eat.
"Bittle," is, of course, victuals — food.
"Blan," pronounced with the nasal resonance of the French
"blanc," but without the broad "a" sound, or as the French
would pronounce "blin," is probably a corruption of belong,
and means used to or accustomed to.
"Study" means to think, ponder, plan.
The Gullah, like the Queen of Spain, has no legs, "foot"
serving for the lower limbs as well as for their extremities.
"Deer hab long foot, him run fas' ;" "Cootuh hab shawt foot,
him trabble slow."
"Yez" is ear or ears, and "yeddy," sometimes "yerry," is
hear, or hearing, heard; Avhile "haa'kee" (hark ye) is also
hear, and so on, whether addressed to one or to more persons,
and is used not only in admonition, as "haa'kee at me good
fashi'n," but is sometimes spoken lightly, as certain modern
flappers and their bifurcated companions say "listen !"
"Haa'kee" also does duty interchangeably for "yeddy," as
A GULL All GLOSSAL' V
"haa'kee att'um." "yeddy'um"— hearken to him! tear him!
\,ul one who holds a warning as of small account, will
often say in response to an admonitory "haa'kee!' "Yaas,
bnbbuh, nh haa'kee, but uh vent yeddy" -literalTj , 1 hearken
but I don't hear, while actually meaning I hear bul 1 don I
heed "oing in one ear and coming out of the other.
«'Nuf" means not only enough, sufficiency, bul more often
abundance. Thus "you nab enny mint?" "Yaas, sun, we bab
•„„f" carries assurance of not merely enough for a te*
juleps, but a patch of fragrant greenery that could cover the
waves of a score of old-school Virginians!
'"Specify" one of the most characteristic Gullah words,
from the English "specify," serves for most of the varied
meanings of "speeifications"-"making good." It a woman
proves an unsuitable mate, she "cyan' specify." If trouscr>
are frail, and "de britchiz buss'," " 'e yent specify. 1 a
"cunnoo" proves unsea worthy-" him cyan' specify. And
even of a Bible text, the fulfilment of whose promise seems
inadequate, the Gullah says: "Buhrabbus' wu'd, him en1
snecifv berry well."
"Entv." "ent," "vent," sometimes "ain'," serve for isnt,
aren't, didn't, don't, doesn't. "Ent you shum?" "enty you
shum?" may mean didn't you see? or don't you see. him, her.
'Vreceded by a soft vowel sound, "iz" and "ent" are changed
to "viz" and "yent;" as: "him iz," "him ent," become, by tin
substitution of "V for him, " 'e yiz," " 'e yent.
"'Cep'n'" is except or excepting, and so is scusm
" e Tnere n ''is no nephew in the Gullah vocabulary, "niece"
beimr used instead. .
'Wunnuh," "vunnuh," "oonuh," "unnuh." «""»**
"hoonuh," probably from one and another, is used fo ■
and ye, usually in addressing more than one. though son,
times also in the singular.
Except along the Georgia and Carolina sea-coast and «
outlying islands, the older Negroes are almos uif. ma hlyad
dressed as "uncle" and "auntie" by the w hites c ,f all a
and by the younger Negroes, but, wherever the Gullah dial*
THE BLACK BORDER
predominates, "daddy" and "mauma" take their places. For
that reason, perhaps, white children in the low-country never
call their fathers "daddy," pa or papa frequently taking the
place of the more formal "father."
Where the name of the person addressed or spoken of is
used, "mauma" is changed to "maum," as "Maum Kate."
The simple name of the month is seldom sufficient, but
must be fortified by the addition of "munf," as : "Uh hab
da' gal een June munf."
Second, third, etc., are seldom used, the preferred forms
being "two-time," "t'ree-time," etc. "Uh done tell oonuh
fuh de two-time fuh lef da' gal 'lone" — I've told you for the
second time to leave that girl alone ; and "two-time" is in-
variably used for twice. "Uh done call you two-time" — I've
called you twice. The third Tiiesday in August would be "De
free Chuesday een Augus'."
"Onrabble 'e mouf " — unravel her mouth, for it's always
a feminine skein that's to be unwound — is as comprehensive
as it is picturesque. At times the verbal tide flows on un-
checked from a full ball of yarn ; again, the ravelings are
pulled angrily, jerkily, from the warp of a threadbare sub-
ject. "Onrabble 'e mouf!"
"Lef " — left — is given not only its own proper meaning,
but serves for leave, leaving, as "loss" does extra duty for
lose, losing, lost.
"She-she talk" — a contemptuous characterization by Gullah
bucks of feminine gossip — is suggestive of the whispering
frou-frou of silken petticoats.
"En' f ing' " — and things — is a verbal grab-bag comprehen-
sive enough to hold every etcetera, animate or inanimate, that
one may lay tongue to. A woman's "chillun en' f ing' " may
cover her chickens as well as her children ; her "husbun' en'
f ing' " may include also her gentlemen friends, while refer-
ence to King Solomon's "wife en' f ing' " would assuredly
have lumped in with his wives every petticoat on the "Pro-
verbial" premises !
The Gullah contraction of defend, is " 'fen'," yet. if that
defense be inadequate, he will invariably "refen' " himself. If
he anoint, 'tis " 'n'int," yet his pastor is the Lord's "re-
A GULL All GLOSSARY
As the Gullah's tongue has no trouble with "cart'*' In-
correctly pronounced contraction of "earth"- he should have
no difficulty with dirt or shirt, but these arc invariably pro-
nounced "du't" and "shu't ;" and, although the "uh" sound
is so easily uttered, he always "shets" a door, and tries to
"shet," but never shuts, his lady's mouth.
Among the Negroes on Pon Pon, Stepney— a man's name
— is commonly used as a synonym for hunger, want, lie who
hoped to keep the wolf away would "haffuh wu'k haa'd fuh
keep Stepney frum de do'," while the fabled ant would ad-
monish La Cigale, the grasshopper, "tek care, gal. you duh
sing duh summuhtime, tek care Stepney don' conic ecu yo'
house 'fo' wintuhtime !"
There are, of course, many variations, some Negroes using
only a few Gullah words, while practically all the house
servants spoke without a taint. During the Confederate War.
Phyllis, a highly trained young maid who had been taught
deportment under Maum Bella, a fine old family servant in
Charleston, once "impeached" the language of the five-year
old boy under her charge. "Mass , you shouldn't say
path, you should say parth." How a broad "a" got loose in
Charleston one can't imagine, unless it came in with the
buxom Virginia girls who periodically descended upon "*t In-
City" to marry her most eligible young men.
The Gullah grabs his prophets, his kin^s. and his apostles
out of the Old and New Testaments, haphazard, and hms
them as they come, "to point a moral or adorn a tale" and
he believes in elaborate adornment.
Himself unlettered, he catches the names as they « ie to
his ears from the lips of the whites, or of educated Negr
and frecpiently gets his personnel inextricably mixed, the
mouth-filling "Nickuhdemus" being quite as frequently turned
out to graze, "bite grass," as the esteemed "Nebuhkuhnezzuh."
The Apostle Paul is most often quoted by the class-leaders
and local preachers, but they love to mouth over "Buhrab-
bus," while entirely ignorant of the character.
What Old Testament book can it be that the Gullah calls
"Rebus?" Perhaps some Bible student will hazard a guess.
It may be a far-fetched corruption of Genesis, for. in vr i n i i i g
TEE BLACK BORDER
assurance of his having pursued a subject or an investiga-
tion from beginning to end, he will often saj r : "Uh bin t'ru
da' t'ing frum Kebus spang to Rebelashun !"
Edisto Island was, before the war, through the fine Sea
Island cotton produced there, one of the garden spots of the
earth, and has been for many generations noted for the hos-
pitality, culture, and refinement of its families ; but in old
times it was also noted for an unusual provincialism and for
the habitual use of Gullah dialect by many of the planters'
young sons. These were in constant association with their
slaves on hunting and fishing parties, and unconsciously
adopted the highly picturesque and expressive speech of their
black servitors. They were accordingly subjected to many
hard stories by their neighbors on the main land, who de-
clared that, when the tardy news of Napoleon's exile to St.
Helena, one hundred years ago, reached Edisto, the young
islanders, believing their neighboring island of St. Helena to
be the place of safe-keeping, were apprehensive of another
"return from Elba," and, fearing the great Corsican as a
potential liberator of their precious slaves, held an indig-
nation meeting and resolved that : "Ef dem buckruh' 'pantap
Sa'leenuh choose fuh hab 'Poleon come 'pantap dem ilun\
berry well, but, uh swaytoGawd, him cyan' come 'pantap dis
ilun', 'cause dat duh dainjus buckruh, en', fus' t'ing wunnuh
know, him set we Nigguh' free."
The Edisto marshes abounded in wild donkeys, and a
favorite Sunday amusement used to be the chevying of these
unhappy animals out of the marshes by the white and black
boys who, using sections of jackvine for whips, chased them
over the plantations. A story is told of a young Edisto
Islander who, a few days after matriculation at the Univer-
sity of Virginia, was requested by his fellow students to tell
them something about the favorite sports and amusements of
the South Carolina coast. He enlightened them as follows :
"Great King wunnuh boy ! Me nuh Cud jo blan hab fun
duh Sunday. Cudjo him ketch long tail' hawss, me ketch
shawt tail' hawss ; we tek dem jack-wine, run dem jackass
ont'uh maa'sh, run'um all obuh plantesshun ; den we blan go
duh crik, ketch clem big pap-eye mullet!"
The following list contains some seventeen hundred words.
About this vocabulary two things are to be noted :
First, the Gullah is entirely a spoken, never a written,
Second, these 1,700 and odd words are so extended and
applied according to Gullah usage as to serve the purpose
and scope of at least 5,000 English words.
Aa'gyfy— argue, argues, argued, arguing.
Aa'gyment — argument, arguments.
A^'m — arm. arms.
Aa'my — army, armies.
Abbuhtize— advertise, advertises, advertised, advertising.
Ab'ntje — avenue, avenues.
Acksident — accident, accidents.
Acquaintun — acquainted. (See "'quaintun ).
Adswocate— advocate, advocates, advocated, advocating.
AffTkin — African, Africans.
Aff'iky — Africa.
Afo'sed — aforesaid.
Agguhnize— agonize, agonizes, agonized, agonizing.
Aig— (n. and v.) egg, eggs, egged, egging; as "him aig'um on.'
Aige— (n. and v.) edge, edges, edged, edging.
Ain'— (ain't) is not. isn't. (See "ent" and "yent").
Ainjul — angel, angels.
A I.LDO'— although. (See " 'do' " ) .
Ai.ligettuh— alligator, alligators. (See '"gatuh").
Alli m U N NY — alimony.
Alltime— all the time, always.
Alltwo — both, also each.
All ub uh sudd'n ~j
All ub uh sudd'nt I — a n of a sudden, suddenly.
All ub uh sutt'n J
Ambbelluh — umbrella, umbrellas.
ANNlMEL — animal, animals.
THE BLACK BORDER
Anudduh r —another.
Ansuh — answer, answers, answered, answering. Also used
for message, especially for one requiring an answer ;
as : "Uh sen' uh ansuh to de gal f uh teH'um uh
wan' hab'um fuh wife" — I sent a message to the
girl to tell her that I wanted to marry her.
Ap'un — apron, aprons.
Aruh f — each ' either.
Ashish — ashes.
Attacktid — attacked. (See "'tack'" and '"tacktid").
Attuh — after.
Attuhr'um — after him, her. it, them.
Attuhw'ile — after a while.
Augus' — August.
Aw — a queer word, sometimes used instead of "f uh true ;"
meaning, it is true, in truth.
Awkuhmun — Ackerman — name of a white family.
Ax — ask, asks, asked, asking.
Axil — axle, axles.
Ax' me — ask, asks, asked, asking me.
Ax'um — ask or asked him, her, it, them.
Baa'buh — barber, barbers.
Baa'k — (n. and v.) bark, barks, barked, barking.
Baa' N well — Barnwell. A low-country family name.
Ba'nyaa'd \ —barnyard, barnyards.
Bactize — baptize, baptizes, baptized, baptizing.
Bad mout' — bad mouth — a spell, a form of curse.
Baid — beard, beards.
Baic; — beg, begs, begged, begging.
Baig'um — beg, begs, begged, begging him, her, it. them.
Bait'um — bait, baits, baited, baiting him, her, it, them.
Bakin — bacon.
Balmuhral sku't — Balmoral skirt — a dark worsted under-
skirt with red stripes above the hem, of the time of
Queen Victoria and named for her castle at Balmoral.
A GULLAU GLOSSARY
'Bandun — abandon, abandons, abandoned, abandoning.
Baptis' — Baptist, Baptists.
Barril— barrel, barrels.
Babruh — barrow, a bacon hog.
Bavvn — born.
Bayre — bare, bares, bared, baring.
Beabuh — beaver, beavers.
Beagle— fox honnd, fox hounds.
_ t y — without, unless, except.
Beebu'd — bee-martin, king bird or Tyrannus Tyrannus.
Beefu't — Beaufort.
Beehibe — beehive, beehives.
Befo'— before ; as: "Befo' de wah." (See "'fo'").
Befo' day — before day. (See "crack-uh-day," and " 'fo' day").
Behabe — behave, behaves, behaved, behaving.
Behin' L —behind.
_ , L - — because, because why.
Bekasew'y f J
Behol' — behold, beholds, beheld, beholding.
Belluh — bellow, bellows, bellowed, bellowing.
Bellus — bellows (blacksmith's).
Bemean — to be mean to any one, to slander, abuse.
Ben' — bend, bends, bent, bending.
Benus — (sometimes "Wenus") — Venus.
Berry — ( sometimes "werry") — very.
Berrywei.l — very well.
Berrywellden — very well then.
Bes' — best.
Bettuh — better.
Bex — vex, vexes, vexing; angry, anger, angers, angered,
Bidness — business.
Biggin — begin, begins, begun, began.
Bigguh — bigger.
Bighouse — the Master's house.
THE BLACK BORDER
Bile — boil, boils, boiled, boiling.
Bilin' — boiling.
BlLLAGE j - Vllla ^ Vllla ? eS -
BlMEBYE "1 , , ,
y — bye and bve.
Bin — been, was.
Binnuh — been, was, was a ; as : "Wen uh binnuh boy" — when
I was a boy.
Bittle — victuals, food.
Blackbu'd — blackbird, blackbirds.
Blan — belong, belongs, belonged, belonging ; used redund-
antly ; as : "Da' gal him blan blonx to my Maus-
suh" — That girl she belonged to belong, or used to
belong, to my Master.
B'leebe — believe, believes, believed, believing.
'Bleege — oblige, obliges, obliged, obliging.
Bline — (n. and v.) blind, blinds, blinded, blinding.
Bline Gawd — blind God — personal idol or fetish of African
suggestiveness whose aid is invoked to further the
desires of its owner.
Blonx f — belon §'' belongs, belonged, belonging.
Bloodynoun — the great bull-frog of the swamps.
Boa'd — (n. and v.) board, boards, boarded, boarding.
Bodduh — bother, bothers, bothered, bothering ; worry, worries,
Bodduhr'um — bother, bothers, bothered, or bothering him,
her, it, them.
Bofe— both. (See "alltwo").
Borruh — borrow, borrows, borrowed, borrowing.
Boun' — bound, resolved upon.
'Bout — about.
Bowre — bore, bores, bored, boring.
Brawtus — broadus, lagniappe.
Breas' — breast, breasts.
Bredduh — (also brudduh) brother, brethren (formal).
A GULL AH GLOSSARY
Brukwls' r — breakfast, breakfasts.
Bresh — brush, brushwood; brush, brushes, brushed, brushing.
Bress — bless, blesses, blessed, blessing.
Bre't' — breath.
Briah — briar, briars.
Brinly — brindled.
Britciiin' — breeching (harness).
Britchiz I - bre e ch es, trousers.
Bruk — break, breaks, broke, breaking, broken ; "bruk-foot
man" — a broken-legged man.
Bbuk-aa'm — broken-arm.
Bruk-foot — broken-foot, or leg.
Bruk'up — break up, broke up, broken up : "De meetin' done
Bruro — bureau, as "Freedmun' bruro."
Brustle — bustle, bustles.
„ y — (familiar) brother.
Budduh f v '
Buckruh — a white person or persons ; the white people.
Buckruh-bittle — white man's food.
Buckruh-Xigguh — white man's Negro, used contemptuously.
Bucksley — Berkeley (county) .
Bud — bud, buds, budded, budding.
Bu'd — bird, birds.
Bu'dcage — birdcage, birdcages.
Buh— brother, as "Buh Rabbit."
Buh hike | - behi » d -
Buhr — burr, burrs.
Bull-yellin' — bull-yearling, or yearlings.
Bu'n — burn, burns, burned, burning.
Burruh — burrow, burrows, burrowed, burrowing.
Bus' I — burst, bursts, bursting.
Butt'n — button, buttons, buttoned, buttoning.
THE BLACK BORDER
Buzzum — bosom, bosoms.
Buzzut — buzzard, buzzards; vulture, vultures.
'Cajun — occasion, occasions.
Callicbo — calico.
Cannibel — cannibal, cannibals.
Cantuh — canter, canters, cantered, cantering.
Catt'back — cataract, cataracts (eye).
'Cause — because. (See "bekase").
Caw Caw Swamp — a great low-country savanna.
'Cawch — scorch, scorches, scorched, scorching.
Cawn — corn.
Caw nfiel'— corn field, corn fields.
Cawn stalk— corn stalk, corn stalks.
Cawnuh — (n. and v.) corner, corners, cornered, cornering.
Cawpbul — corporal, corporals.
Cawpse — corpse, corpses; coffin, coffins.
Cawpsus— "corpus ;" as: "cawpsus politicksus"— body politic.
Cawsett — corset, corsets.
Cawss' — (n. and v.) cost, costs, costing.
'Ceibe f — deceive, deceives, deceived.
'Ceibin' r —deceiving.
— except, excepts, excepted, excepting ; accept,
accepts, accepted, accepting ; unless.
Chaa'ge — charge, charges, charged, charging.
Chaa'stun— Charleston, S. C. (See "Town").
Chany — china, chinaware.
Chanybebby — Chinaberry, or Pride of India tree.
Chaw — chew, chews, chewed, chewing; also noun, as of
Cheep — cheep, cheeps, cheeped, cheeping.
Cheeb — chair, chairs.
Chicagyo — Chicago.
Chickin — chicken, chickens.
A GULLAH GLOSSARY
Chile — child, children.
Chillun — child, children.
Chimbly — chimney, chimneys.
Chinkypen — chinquapin, chinquapins.
Chizzum — Chisolm — a low country family name.
Chop'tongue — hounds with short yelp; the cry of the modern
English fox-hound, as distinguished from the long
bell-like notes of the Carolina deer-hounds.
Chris'mus — Christmas.
Chryce — Christ.
Chu'ch — church, churches.
Chu'chyaa'd — churchyard, churchyards.
Chuckwilluh — Chuck-Will's Widow, used to indicate the
wide-open mouth of a hungry child.
Chuesday — Tuesday.
Chune — (n. and v.) tune, tunes; tune, tunes, tuned, tuning
Chunk — (n. and v.) chunk, chunks, chunked, chunking.
CHUP1T I - stu P ld -
Clawt' — cloth.
'Cla' to Gawd — declare to God — a mild oath.
Climb — climb, climbs, climbed, climbing.
Coa'se — coarse.
'Coat — petticoat, petticoats (man's "coat" is always "jacket").
Coax — coax, coaxes, coaxed, coaxing.
Cockspuhb — cockspur, cockspurs.
Cohoot — cahoot, agreement, association with, as: "Me en'
Joe gone een uh cohoot fuh kill de buckruh' cow."
• Cohort — colleague, colleagues.
Col' — cold.
Colluh — collar, collars, collared, collaring.
Colluh— color, colors ("we colluh," our color, or Negr |.
Come — come, comes, came, coming.
Come'yuh — come here.
Commikil— comical, peculiar.
CONKYWINE — concubine, concubines; used for masculine as
well as for feminine affiliations.
THE BLACK BORDER
Consaa'n 1 — ^ n and v -j concern, concerns, concerned, con-
CUNSAA'N J cerning .
Consecrate lye — concentrated lye.
„ > — consumption.
Contestuss — contested, contesting - .
Contuhdix — contradict, contradicts, contradicted, contradict-
Cook — cook, cooks, cooked, cooking.
Cootuh — cooter, cooters ; terrapin, terrapins.
Co'se — course, courses, as of a stream.
'Co'se — course, of course.
Co"r — ( n . and v.) court, courts; court, courts, courted, court-
Couldn' — could not.
Could'uh — could have.
Coun stubble — constable, constables.
Cow — cow, cows ; bull, bulls ; ox, oxen ; cattle.
Cow-paat' — cow-path.
Crack 'e bbe't' — crack his or her breath; same as "crack 'e
Crack 'e teet' — crack, cracks, cracked, cracking his, her or
their teeth, meaning opened her or his mouth to
speak ; as : " 'E yent crack 'e teet' " — She never
opened her mouth.
Crack-uh-day — crack or break of day.
Crap — (n. and v.) crop, crops; crops, cropped, cropping.
'Crape — (n. and v.) scrape, scrapes, scraped, scraping.
'Cratch — (n. and v.) scratch, scratches, scratched, scratching.
Credenshul — credential, credentials.
Credik — (n. and v.) credit, credits, credited, crediting.
Creetuh — creature, creatures. Commonly applied to a beast
Crik — creek, creeks.
A GULLAU GLOSSAL' Y
Cbookety — crooked; also tricky, unreliable.
Cross-road — the cross roads.
Crucify — crucify, crucifies, crucified, crucifying; also Im-
properly used for testify, testifies, testified, testify-
Cucklebuhr — cockleburr. cockleburrs.
Cuhlumbia — Columbia.
CUHLUMBUS — Columbus.
Culloo — curlew, curlews.
Cullud — colored, colored people, the dark race
Cumbee — the Combahee river, also the lands lying along the
stream. This is, by the way, the correct pronuncia-
Cumplain — (n. and v.) complain, complains, complained,
complaining; complaint, complaints.
Cump'ny — company, companies.
Cumpuhshashun I — conversation, talk, parley, interroga-
Compuhshashun tories, argument.
Condemn r — condemn, condemns, condemned, condemning;
J but more frequently used to denote guilt or tin-
appearance of guilt; as: "Wen uh ketch Joe
wid de hog, 'e look so cundemn."
CUNFUSHUN — confusion.
Cumplain — (n. and v.) complain, complains, complained,
Cuntrady — contrary, provoking.
Cunweenyunt — convenient, conveniently, convenience.
Cunweenyuntly — conveniently.
Cun wen shun — convention, conventions.
Cuss — (n. and v.) curse, curses, cursed, cursing.
Cut'down, or tek'down — dejected, chagrined.
,. L. — cousin, cousins. (Shakespeare's "coz").
Cya' — carry, carries, carried, carrying.
„ > — car, cars.
Cyaaf— (n. and v.) calf, calves; to calve, etc.
THE BLACK BORDER
Cyaam — calm, calms; "uh cyaam sea."
„ , , y — carpenter, carpenters.
Cyaa'p'ntuh l *■
Cyaaridge — carriage, carriages.
Cyaa't — cart, carts.
_ ' I — cackle, cackles, cackled, cackling.
Cyan' — can't.
Cyas' — cast, casts, casting.
Cyas'net — cast-net used for taking shrimp and mullet from
Cya'um — carry, carried, etc., him, her, it, them.
Cyo' — cure, cures, cured, curing.
_. > — that.
Daa'k — dark.
Daa'ky — darken, darkens, darkened, darkening.
Daa'tuh — daughter, daughters.
Da' dey — that there.
Dai n jus — dangerous.
Damidge — (n. and v.) damage, damages, damaged, damaging.
Day-bbuk — day -break, day has broken.
Dayclean — broad daylight.
Dead — dead ; die, dies, died, dying.
Debble'ub'uh — devil of a.
Decembuh — December.
Deef — deaf.
Deepo' — depot, railway station.
Deestruss — distress. (See "distruss").
Deestunt — decent, respectable.
Dem — them, they, those, their, theirs. Also used for "and
them," as "Sancho dem," meaning Sancho and his
Dem'own — theirs, their own.
Dem self — them, they, themselves.
A GULLAII GLOSSARY
Den — then, than.
Den — (v.) to den, stay in a den.
'Denticul — identical.
De Kock — the "Rock," or phosphate mines near Charleston.
Des' — just, as "des' so," just so. (See also "jis'").
Dese — these.
Deseyuh — these here.
Disso | -just so. (See "jesso").
Dey — they.
Dey — there.
Dey dey — there, there; right there; a repetition for greater
Deyfo' — therefore.
Dibe — dive, dives, dived, dove, diving.
Dictate — dictate, dictates, dictated, dictating; giving orders.
overseeing ; sometimes for explaining.
_. y — differ, difference.
Dimmycrack — Democrat, Democrats, Democratic.
Dinnuh — dinner, dinners.
Dis'— this; just. (See "jis"').
Disapp'int — (n. and v.) disappoint, disappoints, disappointed,
disappointing, disappointment, disappointments.
Discus' — disgust, disgusts, disgusted, disgusting.
Disgustuss — disgusting.
Dishyuh — this, this here.
Distbus' — distrust, distrusts, distrusted, distrusting.
Distbuss — distress. (See "deestruss").
Distunt — distant, distance.
Do — do, does, did, doing.
Do' — door, doors.
'Do'— though, although. (See "alldo"').
Doctuh — doctor, doctors.
Dog — (n. and v.) dog, dogs, dogged, dogging.
Don' — don't, doesn't.
Done — done, did, already, has. finish, finished, as: "Wen
you gwine done da' t'ing?"— when are you going
TEE BLACK BORDER
to finish that thing? "Uh done'um," or "Uh done-
done'um" — I have done or finished it.
Done fuh — done for — meaning excessively, as : "Da' 'oonian
done fuh fat" — that woman is excessively or very
Done done'um "1 ,
_ , y — did it, finished the job.
Done do um j
Done'um— did it.
Do'step — doorstep, doorsteps.
Do'um — do it, does it, did it, doing it.
Drap — (n. and v.) drop, drops, dropped, dropping.
Dreen — (n. and v.) drain, drains, drained, draining.
Dribe — drive, drives, drove, driven, driving.
Dribe — (n.) a run, cover, or section of woods where certain
game is found or hunted.
Drobe — (n.) drove, droves, as of animals.
Drought — drought, droughts ; "dry drought," protracted
Drowndid — drown, drowns, drowned, drowning.
Dry-bone — dry-boned — thin, lean, often applied to dusky
ladies who do not incline to embonpoint.
Dry so — just so.
Dub — dove, doves.
Duh — do, does ; in, to, toward. Thus "dim paat'," means
going in the path, walking in the path ; "duh ribbuh,"
going to the river, going on the river ; "duh f iah,"
going to the fire ; "duh 'ood," going to the woods,
going in or through the woods ; "duh Sunday," on
Sunday ; "duh weekyday," on a week day, week days ;
"duh summuh," summer, or in the summer; "duh
wintuh," winter, or in the winter.
Dunkyuh — don't care, doesn't care, didn't care.
Dun no — don't know, doesn't know, didn't know.
Du't — dirt, earth.
Du'tty — dirty, soiled.
'E — he, she, it.
Eabt' — earth, world, or soil, ground. (See "ye't" and "yu't").
A GULL AH GLOSSAL')'
Ebbrum — Abraham, Abraiu.
Ebbuh — ever.
Ebbuhlastin' — everlasting.
Ebe — Eve, woman's name ; also eaves.
Ebenin'— evening, evenings; "good evening." a salutation.
Eb'n — even.
Eb'n so — even so.
Eb'ry — every.
Eb'ryt'ing — everything.
Eb'ryweh — everywhere.
Ecknowledge — knowledge, ability, understanding.
Eddycashun — education.
Eedu h — either.
Eeduhso — either so, either, else, or.
Eegnunt — ignorant.
Een — in.
Eenbite — (also eenwite) invite, invites, invited, inviting.
Eenfawm — inform, informs, informed, informing.
Een habit — inhabit, inhabits, inhabited, inhabiting.
Eenjine — engine, engines. (See "injine").
Eenjinin' — adjoining.
Eenjurin' , .. , .
^ , I — enduring, during.
Eenjy— enjoy, enjoys, enjoyed, enjoying; experience; as:
"Uh eenjy uh berry oncomfuhtubble night' res' '
I had or experienced a very uncomfortable night's
Eenside — inside.
Eensult— (n. and v.) insult, insults, insulted, insulting.
Eentitle — entitle, entitles, entitled, entitling.
Eentitlement— entitlement, "title;" as "Mr. Chizzum," "Mis'
Eentruss — interest.
Eentuhfayre— interfere, interferes, interfered, interfering.
Eh, Eh ! — an exclamation.
Elseso — else, unless ; either.
THE BLACK BORDER
Ellyfunt — elephant, elephants.
Ellyment — element, air, sky.
En' — end, ends, and.
En ny — any.
Ent — (also yent) ain't, are not, is not, isn't.
En' t'ing' — and things, and everything.
Enty — ain't it, isn't it, are they not, etc.
Ent wut' — isn't worth, meaning totally worthless, of no
Eppbull — April.
'Ese'f — himself, herself, itself.
'E stan' so — it, he or she, stands so, it is so, it looks so, etc.
Exceed — succeed, succeeds, succeeded, succeeding.
Excusin' — excusing, except, excepting. (See "'scusin'").
Exwance — advance, advances, advanced, advancing.
Exwantidge — advantage, advantages.
Exwice — advice.
Exwise — advise, advises, advised, advising.
Ez — as.
Fabuh — (n. and v.) favor, favors, favored, favoring.
'F'aid — afraid, afraid of.
Fait'ful — faithful, earnest.
Faitfules' — faithfulest.
Fambly — family, families ; family's, families'.
Fannuh — a wide, shallow basket used for winnowing beaten
rice or separating the corn husks from grist after
Farbuh — father, fathers,
Fareuhlaw — father-in-law, fathers-in-law.
Fas' — fast.
Fashi'n — fashion, like, resemblance.
Fast'n — fasten, fastens, fastened, fastening.
Fau't — fault, faults.
Fawk — (n. and v.) fork, forks, forked, forking.
Fawm — (n. and v.) form, forms, formed, forming.
Fawty — forty.
A GVLLAII GLOSSARY
Fa \v w d ' d — forward .
Febuh — fever, fevers.
_ y — rebruarv.
Fedduh — feather, feathers.
Feed'um — feed, feeds, fed, feeding him, her. it. them.
'Feeshun' — Ephesians — Paul's Epistle to.
Feet — frequently used for foot; as: "Snake bite da' gal 'pun
'e lef han' feet" — The snake bit that girl on her left
Felluh — fellow, fellows.
'Fen'— fend, defend. (See "refen"').
Fench — (n. and v.) fence, fences, fenced, fencing.
Fiah — (n. and v.) fire, fires, fired, firing.
Fibe 1 _ five; "fibe dolluh en' seb'nty-fi' cent'."
Fiddluh — fiddler, fiddlers; violinists and fiddler crabs.
Fiel'— field, fields.
Fiel'han' — field hand, field hands.
Fiel'nigguh— a laborer in the fields— the "peasant" of the
Fight— fight, fights, fought, fighting.
Filfil— fulfill, fulfills, fulfilled, fulfilling; also fill, as to till a
Fin'— find, finds, found, finding; also to find, found, in the
sense of furnishing or supplying rations.
Fin'lly at las' — meaning at last, finally.
Fin'um— find, finds, found, finding him, her. it. them.
Fishpon' — fishpond, fishponds.
Fishpun — Fishtmrne — name of a low country family.
FitzSimmun — FitzSimons — a low-country family nam.-.
Flabuh— (n. and v.) flavor, flavors, flavored, flavoring; as:
"Da' buckruh' hogmeat flabuh me mout' 'tell oh <l<>u.-
fuhgit uh hab sin fuh kilTum" Thai whit.- man's
pork flavored my mouth so that 1 forgot tin- si., I
committed in killing the hog.
Flatfa w m — platform, platforms.
Flew — fly, flies, flew, flying.
Flo'— floor, floors, floored, flooring.
THE BLACK BORDER
Fly — flies, flew, flying.
'Fo'— before. (See "befo"').
Fo'ce — force, forces, forced, forcing.
Fodduh — fodder, used only for cured corn-blades.
Folluh — follow, follows, followed, following.
Foot — foot, almost universally used for feet ; also for leg.
Fo'punce — four pence. Used universally to indicate size of
chickens sold for four pence before the Revolution,
when British money was the currency of the Colo-
nies. See, also, "seb'npunce," which was used in a
Forrud — forehead, foreheads.
Fo'teen — fourteen.
Fowl — fowl, fowls ; chicken, chickens.
Frail — to whip or lash.
Frajuh — Fraser, Frazier — a low-country family name.
Frazzle — (n. and v.) frazzle, fray, etc.
Freedmun — freedman, freedmen.
Freedmun' bruro — Freedman's Bureau.
Freedum — freedom.
Freehan" — freehanded, generous, liberal.
Freemale — female, females.
Fr'en' — friend, friends.
Frizzle — frizzle, frizzles, frizzled, frizzling.
Fros' — frost.
F'um I - from -
Fry-bakin — fried bacon.
Fry-bakin frog — the small pond frogs, whose constant cry
is interpreted by the Negroes as "fry-bacon, tea-
table ; fry-bacon, tea-table."
Fudduh — far, farther, farthest ; further.
Fuh — for, for to.
Fuhgit — forget, forgets, forgot, forgetting, forgotten.
Fuh hab — for have : "One dance bin fuh hab deepo' las'
night" — a dance was to have been had at the depot
Fuhr'ebbuh — forever, always, all the time.
A GULLAH GLOSSARY
Fuhb'um — for him, her. it, them.
FUH SOWL — for truth, truly, used as emphasis; as: '•']■] fat
fvih sowl" — He, she, it or they is. was. were or axe
very fat. "Sowl" is perhaps from the Irish pronun-
ciation of soul; as in "upon me sowl!"
Fuh SUTT'N — for certain, sure.
Fuh true — in truth, for truth, it is so.
Fu'lhawk — fowlhawk, fowlhawks.
Fu'lhus' — fowl-house, fowl-houses.
Full— fill, fills, filled, filling.
Full'up — filled up, as a hive with honey, or a lady with
Fun'rul — funeral, funerals.
Fus' daa'k . . ,
„, , , y — first dark, dusk, twilight m the evening.
Fus' fowl crow — first fowl crow — midnight, or soon there-
Fus' gwinin' off — first going off, at the beginning.
Gabrull — Angel Gabriel — he of the horn.
'Gage — engage, engages, engaged, engaging; hire, hired, etc.
Gal — girl, girls; girl's, girls'. Also used familiarly in
'Gatuh— alligator, alligators. (See "alligettuh").
Gawd — God, Gods, God's.
Gedduh — gather, gathers, gathered, gathering.
Girt' f ~~ girth ' S irths -
G'em — give, gives, gave, giving him, her, it. them.
'Gen — again.
'Gen se — against.
Gib' f giVG ' g ' lves ' gave ' £ ivmg -
Gimme — give me, gives me, gave me, giving me.
( li n juh— ginger.
Gin'nlly — generally, in general.
Gin'ul — general.
THE BLACK BORDER
Git — get, gets, getting, got.
Gitta— get a (See "gittuh").
Gitt'bu — get through, got through ; finish, finished.
Gittuh — get a (See "gitta").
Git'way — get, gets, getting, got away.
Gi'we — give us, gives us, gave us, giving us.
'Glec' — neglect, neglects, neglected, neglecting.
Glub — glove, gloves.
Go— go, goes, going, gone, went.
Gol' — gold, golden.
Gone — go, goes, going, gone ; "time f uh gone" — time for me
Gone'way — go away, goes away, gone away, went away.
Gonnil — gunwale, gunwales.
Good-fashi'n— good fashion — well, thoroughly ; as : "Uh lick
da' gal good-fashi'n" — I gave that girl a thorough
r > — get, gets, have, had ; also, has got to.
Go'way — go away ! get out !
Grabble — (n. and v.) gravel, gravels, graveled, graveling.
Gbabe — grave, graves.
Graff — grab, grabs, grabbed, grabbing ; grasp, seize, seized.
Gramma — grandmother. (See "grumma").
Gran' — grand — grandchild, grandson, or anyone in such
relationships of "grand".
Gran'maamy — grandmother.
Granny — grandmother, but used for any old Negro woman,
whether related or not.
Grano — guano, phosphate, commercial fertilizers.
Gran'puh — grandfather. (See "grumpa," "grumpuh").
'Gree — agree, agrees, agreed, agreeing.
'Greement — agreement, agreements.
Greese — (n. and v.) grease: "greese 'e mout'," to feed with
fatness, as with bacon.
Greesy — greasy.
Grin'salt — "grinding salt, " said of a hawk or vulture circling
A GULL AH GLOSSAL'}
Gritch — grist, grits.
Groun' — ground, land, piece of land.
Gkumma — grandma.
„ , y — "round-mole, lyround-moles.
^ — grandpa, grandfather.
Grunnut I — groundnut, groundnuts, peanuts. (See
GUBNUH — governor, governors.
Gunjuh — the scalloped molasses cakes sold in Southern
country stores and commissaries.
Gwine r Soivg, going to.
Gwinin' en' gwinin' — goings and goings on. Usually char-
acterizing the light conduct of idle or irresponsible
Gyaa'd — (n. and v.) guard, guards, guarded, guarding.
GyaaVn — garden, gardens.
Gyap — gap, gaps, as in a fence or hedge.
Gyap — gape, gapes, gaped, gaping; also for speech, as: " 'E
nebbuh gyap" — she never opened her mouth.
Haa'bis' — harvest.
Haa'bis'-flow — harvest-flow, or last irrigation of the rice-
fields preceding the harvest.
Haa'd — hard.
Haa'd-head — hard-head, hard-headed.
Haa'kee — hark you or ye, igar.
Haa'ness — (n. and v.) haWcss, harnesses, harnessed, har-
Haant — haunt, haunts; apparition; ghost, ghosts.
H'aa't — heart, hearts.
H'aa't' — hearth, hearths.
Hap. — have, has. had. having.
Hack'lus — Hercules.
THE BLACK BORDER
Haffuh — have to, had to.
Hair riz' — hair rose (with fright). An expression adopted
from the whites, as upon the kinky heads of the
coast Negroes there is nothing' that even fright
could cause to rise.
Half-acre — half acre — 210 feet square — a measure of dis-
tance or area.
Han' — (n. and v.) hand, hands, handed, handing.
Hanch — haunch, haunches, hind quarters.
Hankuh — hanker, long, longs, longed, longing for; desire,
Happ'n — happen, happens, happened, happening.
Harricane — hurricane, hurricanes ; "harricane tree," one
thrown down by storm.
Harrtjh — (n. and v.) harrow, harrows, harrowed, harrowing.
Hatchitch — hatchet, hatchets.
Hawn — horn, horns.
Hawn'owl — the great horned owl.
Hawss — horse, horses.
Head — (n. and v.) head, heads; head, heads, headed, head-
Head'um — get, gets, got, getting ahead of him, her, it, them.
Hebby — heavy, great ; as : "uh hebby cumplain' " — a great
He'lt'y — healthy.
Henduh — hinder, hinders, hindered, hindering.
Heng — hang, hangs, hanged, hung, hanging.
Hengkitchuh — handkerchief, handkerchiefs.
Hice — hoist, hoists, hoisted, hoisting.
Hice de chune — hoist or raise the tune.
Higguhri-hee — the great horned owl. (See "hawn-owl").
Him — he, she, it, his, her's, its. ™
Him'own — his, her's, his own, her own. its own.
I — hind, behind ; as, "hine foot" — hind feet.
Historicuss — historic, historical.
Hitch — hitch, hitches, hitched, hitching; also for marry,
A GULL A II GLOSSARY
Hol' — (n. and v.) hold, holds, held, holding.
Hol'fas' — Hold Fast — a favorite dog name.
Holluh — (n. and v.) hollow, hollows, hollowed, hollowing.
Holluh — halloo, halloos, hallooed, hallooing.
Hom'ny — hominy.
Hongky — hungry, hunger.
Hoonuh — you, ye. (See "oonuh" and "wunnuh").
Hot — heat, heats, heated, heating.
Huccome | ... .
C — how come, how came; how does or did it
; come ; how came it :
Huddy — howdy, how do you do? — "tell'um heap'uh huddy."
Hummuch — how much, or how many.
Hund'ud — hundred, hundreds.
„ , I — (n. and v.) hurt, hurts, hurting.
Impedin' — impudence, impudent.
Inflummashun — information.
Ingine — engine, engines. (See "eenjine").
Injun — Indian, Indians.
Intuhcede — intercede, intercedes, interceded, interceding.
Ton "1 , .
y — (n. and v.) iron, irons, ironed, ironing.
Yiz } - is -
Izick — Isaac.
Jack— (n. and v.) jack, jacks, jacked, jacking.
Jacksinburruh — Jacksonboro.
Jackstan'— jack-stand— stands on which fires are kep( al
night in summer settlements for protection against
mosquitoes and other insects.
Jacky-lantu'n— Jack-o'-lantern— will-o'-the-wisp.
Jallus — jealous, jealousy.
Jaybu'd — jaybird, jaybirds.
'Jeck'— reject, rejects; object, objects, ohjert.'d. nbji-rtii
TEE BLACK BORDER
Meckshun — objection, objections.
'Jeck'um — reject or rejected him. as an undesirable juror.
Jedge — (n. and v.) judge, judges, judged, judging.
Jedus — Jesus.
Jestus s — justice.
Jew — Jew, Jews.
Jew — dew.
T > — Jimpson or Jamestown-weed.
Jim sin- weed x
Jine — join, joins, joined, joining.
Jinin' — joining; adjoining. (See "eenjinin' ").
Jin n ywebry — January.
Jis'— just. (See "dis"').
Jesso J - just so - (See " disso ")'
Johossee — Jehossee — a rice-growing island of the South
Jokok — Jaycocks — the name of former Governor Heyward's
overseer on the Combahee.
Jook — jab, jabs, jabbed, jabbing.
Jookass — jackass, jackasses.
Judus Caesar — Julius Caesar.
Jue — due, dues.
Juhkuzelum — Jerusalem.
Ju'k — jerk, jerks, jerked, jerking.
Julip — the vanished mint julep.
Jully — July.
Junk — chunk, chunks, as of light-wood.
Juntlemun — gentleman, gentlemen; also a woman's "man"
or husband ; as, "him juntlemun," meaning her hus-
Juntlemun' nigguh — gentleman's Negro, meaning one who
as a slave had belonged to people of position — the
'Kace — scarce. (See "sca'ce").
'Kacely— scarcely, hardly. (See "sca'cely").
A GULL AH GLOSSARY
Ketch — catch, catches, caught, catching; took, take; as: " K
ketch 'e tex f'um de fus' chaptufc ecu Nickuhdemus* 1
He took his text from the first chapter of Nirodeuius.
Also for reach, reached; as: "Time uh ketch de ribbuh
bank, de dog done gone."
Ketch'um — catch, catches, caught, catching him, her, it,
Ki — an exclamation. (Sometimes "kwi"' or "kwoy").
Kibbuh — (n. and v.) cover, covers, covered, covering.
Kibbuhb'um — cover, covers, covered, covering him. her, it.
Killybash — calabash, calabashes; gourd, gourd-.
Kin — can.
Kin — kin, kindred.
Kin' — kind, kinds; sort, sorts.
Kind'uh — kind of, sort of.
Knock — knock, knocks, knocked, knocking.
'Knowledge — acknowledge, acknowledges, acknowledged, ac-
knowledging; admit, etc.
Know'um — know, knows, knew him, her. it, them.
Kyag — keg, kegs.
Kyarrysene — kerosene.
Laa'ceny — larceny.
Laa'd — lard.
Laa'gin'— enlarging, swaggering, boastful.
Laa'n — learn, learns, learned, learning.
Lab'ruh — laborer, laborers.
Lam'quawtuh— lamb's-quarter— an edible wild herb of which,
like the tender leaves of the pokeberry, the Negroea
are very fond, using it for boiling.
Langwidge — language, talk.
Las'— last, lasts, lasted, lasting; last (adverb); shoemaker's
Las'yeah — last year, last year's.
Laugh— (n. and v.) laugh, laughs, laughed, laughing.
Lavuh— (n. and v.) labor, labors, labored, laboring.
Lawfully lady — a Negro's legally married wife.
THE BLACK BORDER
Leabe — leaf, leaves.
Leabe — (n. and v.) leave, leaves, left, leaving (see "lef ") ;
Lean fuh — lean for — set out for with haste and speed.
'Leb'n J -eleven.
Leddown — lay, lays, laid or lie, lies, lay, lying down.
Leek — lick, licks, licked, licking — with the tongue.
T V — little, in size or quantity.
Leetle — little, in size or quantity.
Lef' — leave, leaves, left, leaving. (See "leabe").
Lef' han'— left hand or left handed, "lef han' foot," or "lef
han' feet"— left foot or left leg.
Lef'um — leave, leaves, left or leaving him, her, it, them.
Leggo — let go, lets go, letting go.
Leh — let, lets, letting.
Leh we — let us.
Le'm — let them.
Lem'lone — let, lets him, her, it, them alone.
Lemme — let me.
Len' — (v.) lend, lends, loaned, lending.
Lengk — length, lengths.
'Less — (or onless) unless.
Lie j - liar ' liars -
Lib — live, lives, lived, living.
Libbin' — living.
'Libe — alive.
Libbuh — liver, livers.
'Libbuh — deliver, delivers, delivered, delivering.
Lick — (n. and v.) a blow; to whip, whips, whipped.
Lick back — turn, turns, turned, turning back, while moving
Lickin' — (n. and v.) a licking, lickings, whipping, etc.
Light on — light on — mount, mounts, mounted, mounting.
Light'ood — lightwood — resinous pine-wood.
Light out — to start, start off, or away.
A GULLAI1 GLOSSARY
-Elijah, the prophet.
— likewise, also.
"Lijun — religion.
LlMUS-COOTUH — a small, malodorous black terrapin, held in
contempt by both races.
Linniment — liniment.
Liss'n — listen, listens, listened, listening.
Loblolly-pine — the great short-leaf pine growing in low
Locus pastuh — local pastor, or preacher.
'Long — along, along with.
Longis' — longest.
Longmout' — long mouth — descriptive of the surly or con-
temptuous pushing out of the lips of an angry or
'Longside — alongside.
LONG TALK KETCH EUN'way NlGGUH — meaning long talk or
conversation by the roadside often causes or caused
runaway slaves to be caught by the "pat nil."
Longuh — longer.
'Long'um — along with, or with him, her, it. them.
Loss — lose, loses, lost, losing.
'Low'UM — allow, allows, allowed, allowing him. her. it. them.
Lub— (n. and v.) love, loves, loved, loving; like, likes, liked,
Luk — like, alike.
Lukkuh — like, like unto, resembling.
Luk'um — like or resembling him, her. it. them.
Maa'CH— March; march, inarches, marched, marching.
Maa'k— (n. and v.) mark, marks, marked, marking.
Maa'l— the marl or phosphate mines. (See "<le Bock* >.
Ma'am — madam.
Maamy — mother, mothers.
Maa'sh — marsh, marshes.
Macfuss'nbil— McPhersonville— a summer village.
Man — man, man's; men, men's.
THE BLACK BORDER
Man ge — mane.
Mannus — manners, politeness, courtesy.
Mannu s subble — well-mannered, polite.
Marri'd — married, marry, marries, marrying.
1 f L — master when used with a name ; as, "Mass Clinch,"
Mas' J „ Mas , Rafe „
Mastuh — Master — used only for God.
Match — (n. and v.) match, matches, matched, matching. Yet
"matches" is sometimes used for the singular ; as,
"Gimme uh matches" — give me a match.
Maum — same as "maumuh," when used with the name of the
person spoken to or of, as "Maum Kate."
Maumuh — mauma, the equivalent of the up-country
Maussuh — master, masters. NOTE : See above "Mastuh."
While the Gullah can pronoxmce "mastuh," he re-
serves this for God, even saying "Maussuh Jedus"
— Master Jesus.
Mawgidge — (n. and v.) mortgage, mortgages, mortgaged,
Mawnin' — morning, mornings; also "good morning!"
Me — I, my.
Mean — mean, meanness.
Med'sin I ~~ medicine, medicines, physic.
Medjuh — (n. and v.) measure, measures, measured, measur-
Medjuhr'um — measxire, measures, measured, measuring him,
her, it, them.
Mek— make, makes, made, making.
Mek'ace — make haste.
Mek ansuh — make, makes, making, made reply.
Mek fuh — make for; to go to, goes to. went to, going to.
Mek out — make, makes, made, making out, a makeshift.
Mek out — make, makes, made, making out ; a makeshift.
Mek yo mannus — make your manners, your obeisance.
MEMBUH — member, members as of a church or society.
A GULLAH GLOSSARY
'Membuh — remember, remembers, remembered, remembering;
'Memb'unce — remembrance, remembrances.
Men' *e pace — mend his, her, its, their pace; hurry, hurry up,
Mens — men.
Muhself | ^
Met'dis' — Methodist. Methodists.
Metsidge — message, messages.
Middleblouse — middy-blouse, middy-blouses.
Middleday — midday, noon.
Middlenigiit — midnight.
Min' — mind, minds, minded, minding; heed, etc.; take care of,
protect, cherish, guard.
'Miration — admiration, wonder, astonishment.
L — Miss, Mrs., Mistress, when accompanied by a
Miss J name, as Miss Anne, "Mis' Chizzum."
Missis — mistress, mistresses.
Mistuh — Mr.
Mo' — more.
Moan — moan, moans, moaned, moaning.
Mo' bettuh — more better, better.
Moccasin — water -moccasin, a venomous snake.
Mo' longuh — more longer, longer.
Mo'n — mourn, mourns, mourned, mourning.
Mo'nful — mournful.
'Moung | -among, amid.
, y — monkey, monkeys.
Mon strosity — monstrous.
Mo'nuh — mourner, mourners.
Mo'nuh — more than.
Mo'nuh da' — more than that.
Moobe — move, moves, moved, moving.
Mo'obuh — moreover.
THE BLACK BORDER
lf , , r — most.
Mo res I
Mout' — mouth, mouths.
Muffey — Murphy.
Muffledice — hermaphrodite.
Mufflejaw — muffle-jawed — a strain of barnyard fowl, heavily
feathered about the cheeks.
Muhlassis — molasses.
Mukkle — myrtle, myrtles; myrtle thickets.
Munt' — month, months.
Murbuh — mother, mothers.
Murruhlaw — mother-in-law.
Mus'be — must be, must have, must have been.
Muscoby — Muscovy — a breed of domestic ducks much af-
fected by low-country Negroes.
Muskick — musket, muskets.
Muskittuh — mosquito, mosquitoes.
Mussiful — merciful.
Mussy — mercy, mercies.
Mustu'd — mustard.
Mustuh — muster, musters, mustered, mustering.
My'own — mine, my.
tvt ™ >■ — naked.
Nakity — naked, nakedness.
'Narruh — another. (See " 'nodduh" and '"norruh").
Navuh — neighbor, neighbors.
Nebbuh — never. (See "nubbuh").
Needuh — neither.
Needuhso — neither so, neither, nor.
Nemmin' r — never mind.
Nepchune — Neptune.
^ ES ' — ( n . and v.) nest, nests, nested, nesting.
Newfanolety — newfangled.
Newnited States — United States.
A GULL AH GLOSSAL' Y
Nickynack — "nic-nac" crackers, biscuit.
Nigguhhouse — Negro house or houses, cabin or cabins.
NlGGUHHOUSE yaa'd — Negro house yard, the main Btreel run-
ning through the plantation Negro quarters.
Nigh — near, also draw near to; as: "Wen de bull biggin tub
nigh'uin de gal tek 'e foot een 'e ban' en' run 'way."'
Night — night, night-time, at night.
Nigh'um — near, or nearing him, her, it, them.
'.Vint — anoint, anoints, anointed, anointing, i Sir "lvnoint" ) .
No — any.
No'count — no account, worthless.
'Nodduh — another. (See " 'narruh" and "'norruh").
Nomannussubble j - im P olite > without manners, rude.
Nominashun — nominate, nominates, nominated, nominating;
also nomination, nominations.
'Norruh — another. (See "'narruh" and "'nodduh").
Nott — nut, nuts ; as "nott-grass," nut grass.
Notus — (n. and v.) notice, notices, noticed, noticing.
Nowembuh — November.
Nubbuh — never. (See "nebbuh").
'Nuf — enough, abundance.
Nuh — nor ; also for and.
'Nubbuh — another.
Nuss — (n. and v.) nurse, nurses, nursed, nursing.
Nusso J - not so -
Nutt' n ' — nothing.
Nyam — eat, eats, eating, ate; sometimes '•nyam-nvain." a
repetition for emphasis.
Nyankee — Yankee, Yankees.
nyung [ -y°« n ?-
Nyoungis' — youngest.
I — (n. and v.) use, uses. used, using. (Sec u/'n" i
THE BLACK BORDER
Nyuz'n r~ ( v -) used ' using.
Oagly — ugly.
Objeck'— object. (See "'jeck'").
Obsebb' — observe, observes, observed, observing.
Ob'shay — overseer, overseers.
Obuh — over, above.
Obuhtek — overtake, overtakes, overtook, overtaking.
Obuht'bow — overthrow, overthrows, overthrew, overthrowing ;
Octobuh — October.
Odduh — other, others.
Odduhbes' — the other rest, the rest, remainder.
Off'uh— off, off of.
Offuh — offer, offers, offered, offering.
Off'um — off, or off of him, her, it, them.
Ole — old.
Onbutt'n — unbutton, unbuttons, unbuttoned, unbuttoning.
Oncommun — uncommon.
Ondeestunt — indecent, indecency.
Ondelicate — indelicate, presumptuous.
Onduh — under.
O N duh neet' — underneath.
Onduhstan' — understand, understands, understood, under-
standing. Also, as an understanding.
Onduhtek — undertake, undertakes, undertook, undertaking.
One — only ; "me one," I only.
Onetime — once, once upon a time.
Onhitch — unhitch, unhitches, unhitched, unhitching; also
Onkibbuh — uncover, uncovers, uncovered, uncovering.
Onlock — unlock, unlocks, unlocked, unlocking.
Onmannussubble — unmannerly, impolite, rude. (See "noman-
* — one another.
A GULLAH GLOSSARY
Onnuh — (n. and v.) honor, honors, honored, honoring.
Onnuhrubble — honorable.
Onrabble — unravel, unravels, unraveled, unravel i i \is ; untangle
On RE a sun nubble — unreasonable.
Onsaa't'n — uncertain.
Onsattify — unsatisfied, unsatisfying.
Ontel — until.
Ontie — untie, unties, untied, untying.
'Ood — wood, woods.
'Ooman — woman, woman's; women, women's. "'Ooman i/ oh
sometime t'ing" — Woman is a fickle, uncertain
creature, sometimes one thing, sometimes another.
Oonuh — ye, sometimes you. (See "wunnuh," etc.).
Oshtuh — oj'ster, oysters.
Oshtuh rake — long-handled rake or tongs for ga t he ri ng
Oughtuh — ought, ought to, ought to be; as: "Man oughtuh
t'engkful" — man ought to be thankful.
n , f— to go out, put out, extinguish ; as : "Uh out de fiah"
J _t pu t out the fire. "Uh out'n'um"— I put it out
Out'uh — out of, out.
Ox — oxen.
Oxidize — to turn into an ox.
Oxin — ox.
Paa'd'n— (n. and v.) pardon, pardons, pardoned, pardoning.
Paa'dnuh — partner, partners.
Paa'kuh — Parker — a low-country family name.
Paa'luh — parlor, parlors.
Paa'simony — parsimony, also avarice or rapacity.
Paa's'n — parson, parsons.
Paat' — path, paths.
Paa't— (n. and v.) part, parts, parted, parting.
Paa'ty — party.
Palabuhrin'— palavering— soft talk of a philanderer wi\
the gentler sex.
THE BLACK BORDER
Papuh — (n. and v.) paper, papers, papered, papering; also a
written instrument, a note or letter.
Parrysawl — parasol, parasols.
Pashunt f — P atience ; patient, forbearing.
Passobuh — Passover.
Pass'um — pass, passes, passed, passing him, her, it, them.
Pastuh — pastor, pastors ; pasture, pastures.
Petty-auguh I -P ir agua, pirogue.
Pawpus — porpoise, porpoises.
'Portun' h -^Portant.
,_ y — importance.
Peaceubble — peaceable, peaceful.
Peawine — peavine, peavines.
Penitenshus — penitentiary.
'Pen'pun — depend, depends, depended, depending upon.
Peruse — to saunter, walk in a leisurely manner, as : "Da' gal
him bin peruse 'long de road en' 'e nebbuh study
'bout nutt'n' ;" also investigate, examine, consider.
Pessle — pestle, pestles ; a double-headed wooden implement
for beating rice.
p r — phosphate, commercial fertilizer; also "de
J Phoskit," the phosphate mines.
Piggin — a small cedar pail in universal use among Negroes
of the coast.
Pinch'um — pinch, pinches, pinched, pinching him, her, it.
them ; sometimes gripping, as of pain.
'Pin — spin, spins, spun, spinning.
Pinduh — pindar, peanut, peanuts. (See "grunnot").
Pinelan' — pineland, pinelands.
'Pinion — opinion, opinions.
P'int — (n. and v.) point, points, pointed, pointing; direct,
'P'int — appoint, appoints, appointed, appointing.
A GULLAI1 GLOSSAL')'
'P'intment — appointment, appointments.
'Piskubble — Episcopal, Episcopalian.
'Pistle — Epistle, Epistles (Bible).
Pitchuh — pitcher, pitchers.
Pit — put, puts, put, putting.
Pit'um — put him, her, it, them.
PiZEN — poison, poisons, poisoned, poisoning.
Pizen-oak — poison-oak, or poison ivy.
'Plash — (n. and v.) splash; to splash, splashes, splashed.
Plat-eye — a ghostly apparition, common to the Georgetown
section of the coast.
Play 'Possum — to make believe, to fool, deceive.
Please kin — please can — a redundancy; as: '"please kin
gimme" — please give me.
Pledjuh — pleasure, pleasures.
Pledjuhr'um — please, give pleasure to him, her, it. them,
Po' — poor, also thin, lean, low in flesh.
Po'Buckruh — a poor white man, the poor whites.
Po'Buckruh-Nigguh — a Negro who had formerly belonged
to the poorer whites, or those not of the "quality."
Po'ch — porch, porches.
POLITICKSUS "1 „ .... . „.
y — political. (See cawpsus politicKBua ).
Pollydo'— Polydore— a favorite man's name among the
Negroes ; used also for Apollos.
Po'ly — poorly, describing health.
Pon Pon— the lower Edisto and the region south oi the \.
C. L. By., opposite Jacksonboro.
Putty j ~ pre y *
Po'r— pour, pours, poured, pouring.
Po'r'um— pour, pours, poured, pouring it. that.
Pos '_( n . and v.) post, posts, posted, posting.
Positubble — positive, positively.
Pos simm un— persimmon, persimmons; the tree and
Po'trial — Port Royal.
Praise-meetin' — pray er-meeti ut, r .
THE BLACK BORDER
Pray — (n. and v.) prayer, prayers; prays, prayed, pray-
'Pread — spread, spreads, spreading.
Pbeechuh — preacher, preachers ; minister, ministers.
Preechuh on de sukkus — the circuit or traveling preacher.
Prem u s siz — premises.
Presinck — precinct.
Pres' n 'l y — presently.
Prezzydent — president.
Priblidge — (n. and v.) privilege, privileges, privileged.
Primus ward — ward primary.
Prizzunt — present, presents, presented, presenting.
Prizzunt aa'm — present arms.
Projic' — to "monkey with." to hazard.
Prommus — (n. and v.) promise, promises, promised, promis-
Proobe — prove, proves, proved, proving.
Proputty — property, wealth.
'Publikin — Kepublican.
L — proceed, proceeds, proceeded, proceeding.
Puhhaps — perhaps.
P'uhjec' — project, projected, as; "Wen da' 'ooman bex, him
p'uh'jec' him mout' at me" — When that woman was
angry she stuck out her mouth at me.
Puhjuh — perjure, perjures, perjured, perjuring.
Puhlicituh — solicitor, solicitors; the dreaded prosecuting at-
torney of the Criminal Court, held in awe by all
Puhlite — polite, politely. Also a popular Negro name, as
Puhshay — Porcher — name of a low-country family.
Puhtek — protect, protects, protected, protecting.
Puhtekshun — protection.
Puhtettuh — potato, potatoes — usually sweet. (See "tettuh").
Puhtickluh — particular, particularly.
Puiiwide — provide, provides, provided, providing.
A GULLAH GLOSSAL')
Puhwid'n — providing, also provided.
Puhwiduh — provider, providers.
Puhwishun — provision, provisions; ration, ration-.
Puhwoke — provoke, provokes, provoked, provoking.
Puhwokin' — provoking.
1'uhzac'ly — exactly, precisely.
Puhzishi/n — position, positions.
Pulblic — public, the public
Pull wool — to pull the kinky forelock in salutation bo "de
Pun kin — pumpkin, pumpkins.
Punkin-skin — pumpkin colored or mulatto Negro.
Punnounce — pronounce, pronounces, pronounced, pronoun-
'Puntap I — upon, on, on top of.
'Puntop'uh — upon top of, on top of, at.
Puppus — purpose, on purpose.
Pusson I — person, persons.
Pussonully L —personally.
Pyazzuh — piazza, piazzas; porch, porches; veranda.
Pyo' — pure, also fully, absolutely; as: "dv pyo' autt'n'!
'Quaintun' — acquainted, acquainted with.
'Quaintunce — acquaintance, acquaintances. (See "acquaii
n y — quarrel, quarrels.
Quarrilment \ uarrel quarr el Sl quarreled, quarrel]
THE BLACK BORDER
Quawt — quart, quarts.
Quawt'ly — quarterly.
Quawtuh — (n. and v.) quarter, quarters, quartered, quarter-
'Queeze — squeeze, squeezes, squeezed, squeezing.
.— (n. and v.) question, questions, questioned,
questioning. Rarely used, "quizzit" taking its
Quile — (n. and v.) coil, coils, coiled, coiling.
'Quire — require, requires, required, requiring.
'Quire — inquire, inquires, inquired, inquiring.
Quizzit — (quiz) ask, asks, asked, asking; to question, ques-
tions, questioned, questioning. (See "squizzit," a
rarely used variant).
Rabbish — ravish, ravishes, ravished, ravishing.
Rab'n — raven, ravens ; vulture, vultures ; buzzard, buzzards.
Rab'nel — Ravenel, Ravenels — a family name, also a station
on Atlantic Coast Line Railway.
Racktify — to break, breaks, broke, broken, breaking. Confuse
in mind : "Da' buggy racktify" — that buggy is dilapi-
dated. "Da' 'ooman racktify een 'e min' " — that
woman's mind is distracted.
Rain — (n. and v.) rain, rains, rained, raining.
Rale — real, very, truly.
Ramify — to act like a ram.
Range — range, ranges, ranged, ranging.
'Ranguhtang — Orang-Utan, Orang-Utans.
Rappit — rapid, rapidly.
Rashi'n — (n. and v.) ration, rations, rationed, rationing.
Rayre — rear, rears, reared, rearing.
'Ready — already.
Rebel time — rebel times — the freedmen's offensive charac-
terization of the period before freedom when their
former masters controlled the government of their
Reb'ren' — reverend — used also as a noun, as "de reb'ren'."
Recishun — decision, decisions.
A GULLAU GLOSSARY
Eedduh — rather. (See "rudduh").
Eefen' — defend, defends, defended, defending. (See " Ifn' ' .
Eeinge — reins.
Bemonia — pneumonia.
Bexite — unite, unites, united, uniting.
Benoint — anoint, anoints, anointed, anointing. (See " 'ii'int" i .
RENOINTED — anointed.
Repeah — appear, appears, appeared, appearing.
Eeploy — (rare) reply, replies, replied, replying.
Eepose — oppose, opposes, opposed, opposing.
Besplaix — explain, explains, explained, explaining; elucidate,
Eetch — reach, reaches, reached, reaching.
'Eiah — Maria.
Eibbuh — river, rivers.
Eicebu'd — ricebird, ricebirds.
Eidick'lus — ridiculous, also outrageous, scandalous. (Often
so used by illiterate whites) .
Boas' — roast, roasts, roasted, roasting.
Bock — rock, rocks, rocked, rocking. Also for phosphate rock.
(See "de Eock").
Eokkoox — raccoon, raccoons.
Boll — roll, rolls, rolled, rolling.
Boos' — (n. and v.) roost, roosts, roosted, roosting.
Boostuh — rooster, roosters.
Eozzum — (n. and v.) rosin, rosins, rosined, rosinin
Bubbidge — rubbish.
Buckuhnize — recognize, recognizes, recognized, recojjni/inir.
Eudduh — rather. (See "redduh").
Eudduh — rudder, rudders.
Eumpletail — (rumpless) a tailless fowl.
Bun — run, runs, ran, running.
Blppezuxt — represent, represents, represented, representing.
Saa'b — serve, serves, served, serving.
Saa'bint— (also "saa'bunt") servant, servants.
Saa'bint bay — servants' day — perhaps originally a corrupt
of Sabbath day.
THE BLACK BORDER
Saa'bis — (also sarbis) service, services, use.
Saa'ch — search, searches, searched, searching ; also examine,
Saa'f'ly — softly.
Saa'punt ^—serpent (Biblical).
- — Savannah ; savanna, savannas.
Sabbidge — savage, savages.
Sabe — save, saves, saved, saving.
Sabeyuh — the Savior.
Sa'leenuh — St. Helena Island, on the South Carolina coast.
Same lukkuh — (also sukkuh) same like, like, resembling.
San' — sand.
„ y — Saturday.
Sattifackshun — satisfaction.
Sattify — satisfy, satisfies, satisfied, satisfying.
Sawlketchuh — Salkehatchie — upper reaches of the Comba-
hee above the A. C. L. Ry.
Sawt — (n. and v.) sort, sorts, sorted, sorting.
Sawtuh — sort of — after a fashion.
Say — say, says, said, saying.
„ , y — scarce.
Sca'cely — scarcely, hardly. (See "kacely").
Scattuh — scatter, scatters, scattered, scattering.
Schemy — scheming, tricky.
Scole — scold, scolds, scolded, scolding.
Scriptuh — Scripture — the Bible.
'Scuse — (noun) excuse, excuses.
'Scusin' — excusing, except.
'Scusshun — excursion, excursions.
'Scuze — (verb) excuse, excuses, excused, excusing.
A GULL AH GLOSS ARY
Seaz'nin' — seasoning.
Seb'n — seven.
Seb'npunce — seven pence. (See "fo'punce" ) .
Seb'.nteen — seventeen.
Seb' nty — seventy.
Seckriterry — secretary, secretaries.
Sectembuh — September.
Secun' — second.
Sedate — sedately, quietly, in a leisurely manner: - 'l>e mule
walk so sedate uh conldn' plow fas"."
Seddown — sit or set down, sits or sets down, sat <>r set down,
sitting- or setting- down.
See — see. sees, saw, seen, seeing.
Seegyaa' — cigar, cigars.
Seem — seem, seems, seemed, seeming.
'Self — himself, herself, itself, themselves; as: "Him tnaus-
snh 'self haffuh wu'k" — his master himself has to
Selfish — selfish — glum, dour.
Sence — since.
Sen'um — send, sends, sent, sending him. her. it. them.
Sesso — say so, says so, said so, saying so. (Sec "susso").
Set — sit, sits, sat, sitting. (See "seddown").
Settle' — settled, as: "settle' 'ooman," a settled woman, a
Negro woman of a certain age, not a flapper.
Sett'n' — sitting.
Sett' n 'up — sitting up — a Xegro wake; a small religious meet-
Sezzee — says he, said he.
Sezzi — says I, said I.
Shaa'k — shark, sharks.
Siiaa'p — sharp.
Siiaa'p'n — sharpen, sharpens, sharpened, sharpening.
Siiabe — shave, shaves, shaved, shaving.
Shadduh— (n. and v.) shadow, shadows, shadowed, shadowii
Shame— (n. and v.) shame, shames, shamed, shamin;
Shawt — short — "shawt-pashunt," short patience or Irritable,
Shayre — share, shares, shared, sharing.
THE BLACK BORDER
Shayre'um — share, shares, shared, sharing him, her, it, them.
Also for shear, shears, sheared, shearing him, her,
Sheepbuhr — sheepburr, sheepburrs.
She'own — her own.
Shepu'd — shepherd, shepherds.
She-she talk — woman's talk, gabble.
Shet — shut, shuts, shut, shutting.
Shimmy — chemise, chemises.
Shish — such.
Shishuh — such a.
Sho' — sure, surely.
Shoe — (n. and v.) shoe, shoes, shod, shoeing.
Shoesh — shoes.
S ho'l y — surely.
Shoot'um — shoot, shoots, shot, shooting him, her, it. them.
Shoulduh — shoulder, shoulders, shouldered, shouldering.
Should'uh — should have.
Shout — (n. and v.) shout, shouts; shout, shouts, shouted,
shouting ; frenzied outcries of a religious devotee. A
plantation dancing festival, frequently accompanied
bj r beating sticks on the floor.
Show — show, shows, showed, showing.
Show'um — show, shows, showed, showing him, her, it, them.
Shroud — shroud, shrouds ; also surplice, surplices, as : "De
'Piskubble preeehuh pit on 'e shroud."
Shub — shove, shoves, shoved, shoving.
Shuh — pshaw!
Shum — see, sees, saw, seeing him. her. it, them.
Shu't — shirt, shirts.
Side'uh — on the side of, alongside.
Silbuh — silver — "silbuhfish," silver fish.
Silby — Silvia.
Silunt — silent, silence, as "silunt een co't !" — silence in court !
Silus — Silas.
Sistuh — (formal) sister, sisters.
Skay'd — scared.
Skayre — scare, scares, scared, scaring.
Skay-to-de't' — scare or scared to death.
Skollup — escallop, escallops, escalloped, escalloping.
A GULL All GLOSXAL'Y
Sku't — skirt, skirts.
Slabe — slave, slaves.
Slabery — slavery.
Slabery time — slavery times — before freedom.
Slam — a synonym for "spang," expressing distance, all the
Slanx' Ilun' — Slann's Island, a tract lying along the North
Edisto inlet and Toogoodoo creek.
Sleebe — sleeve, sleeves.
'Sleep — asleep; sleep, sleeps, slept, sleeping.
Slip'ry — slippery.
Smaa't — smart.
'Smattuh — what is the matter?
Snawt — snort, snorts, snorted, snorting.
Snow 're — snore, snores, snored, snoring.
Soad — sword, swords.
Sobuh — sober.
Sobuhr'um — sober, sobers, sobered, sobering him, her. them.
Sodjuh — (n. and v.) soldier, soldiers; soldiering. etc. To loaf
on the job.
Sof' — soft.
Somebody — somebody's, some one, some one's.
Som ebody'ow n — somebody's own.
Son n ylaw — son-in-law, sons-in-law.
Soon-man — a smart, alert, wide-awake man.
Sooply — supple.
Spaa'k — spark, sparks.
Spang — all the way, expressive of distance.
Sparruh — sparrow, sparrows.
Sparruh-grass — asparagus.
Sparruh hawk — sparrow-hawk or hawks.
'Spec' — expect, expects, expected, expecting; suspect, Busp
Specie' — species.
Specify — from specify, but greatly extended t<> include al-
most all meanings of "specifications" proving inad-
equate, not coming up to expectations, etc
Introduction to this Glossary).
Speckly — speckled.
SPEN' — spend, spends, spent, spending.
THE BLACK BORDER
Sperritual — spiritual, spirituals, the Negro religious songs.
'Speriunce — experience, experiences, experienced, experienc-
Speshly — specially, especially.
Spiduh — spider, spiders; also a cooking utensil in universal
use among the Coast Negroes.
Spile — spoil, spoils, spoiled, spoiling.
'Spishun — suspicion, suspicions.
'Spishus — suspicious, suspiciously.
'Spize — despise, despises, despised, despising.
'Splain — explain, explains, explained, explaining.
Splotch — blot, blots; stain, stains.
'Spon' — respond, responds, responded, responding.
'Sponsubble — responsible, also used emphatically or speci-
fically; as: "Tell'um 'sponsubble fuh do da' t'ing."
'Spose — expose, exposes, exposed, exposing.
S'pose — suppose, supposes, supposed, supposing.
Spo't — sport, sports ; also sporting man.
Spot'n' i — ( n * an( ^ v ") s P or t' sports, sported, sporting.
Spo'ty — sporty.
S'preme — (n.) supreme— only in "s'preme co't."
Spuhr — (n. and v.) spur, spurs, spurred, spurring.
'Spute — (n. and v.) dispute, disputes, disputed, disputing;
'Spute'n — disputing.
Squayre — (also squay) square— also a parallelogram in a
ricefield divided from other squares by irrigation
Squeschun — question — sometimes used for the more com-
mon "quizzit," which see. (Also see "quesehun").
Squizzit — a rarely used variant of "quizzit," which see.
Staa'ch — (n. and v.) starch, starches, starched, starching.
Staar — star, stars.
Staa't — start, starts, started, starting.
Staa't nakid — stark naked.
'Stablish — establish, establishes, established, establishing.
Stan' — stand, stands, stood, standing; look, looks, looked,
A GULL AH GLOSSAL' V
Stan' — a stand, stands; deer stands, etc.
Stan'lukkuh — stand, stands, stood, standing like; to !>>'>k
Stan'sukkuh — stand same like unto, same meaning a> ">t;m'-
'Stead'uh — (also 'stidduh) instead of.
Steal — steal, steals, stole, stealing.
Sto' — store, stores ; shop, shops.
'Stonish — astonish, astonishes, astonished, astonishii
'Stractid — protracted, as a " 'stractid meet'n'," ;i protracted
Straight'n fuh — make for, made for, making for; run
quickly or swiftly.
Strance — trance, trances.
Stree — three; as in "seb'nty-stree." Rarely used. (See "free").
Strengk — strength.
Stretch-out — stretch out — extend. (See " 'tretch-out") .
Strike — strike, strikes, struck, striking. (See '"trike").
'Stroy'd — destroy, destroys, destroyed, destroying.
'Struckshun — destruction.
'Struckshun — construction.
'Struckshun strain — construction train.
Structid — struck, striking.
Stubb'n — (also stubbunt) stubborn.
Study — think, plan, ponder.
Stuhr — stir, stirs, stirred, stirring.
Stuhstiffikit — certificate.
Stylish — stylish, meaning also appropriate, dignified, suit-
able, as: "uh stylish grabe," being a gra* -natelj
decorated with broken china '>r glass.
'Suade — persuade, persuades, persuaded, persuading.
Suck — suck, sucks, sucked, sucking.
Suck-aig — suck-egg — as: "uh suck-aig dog."
Suck me teet'— and "suck 'e teet'"— a contemptuous
ture, frequently indulged in by the fair BOX.
Sudd'nt — sudden, suddenly.
Suffuhrate— separate, separates, separated, Beparatini
divorce, divorcing, etc.
Sun — sir.
THE BLACK BORDER
Suh— that, say. (See "susso" and "sesso").
Suhciety — society, societies.
Sukkxe — (n. and v.) circle, circles, circled, circling.
Sukkuh — (a contraction of "same lukkuh" used by rapid
speakers) same, same like, resembling.
Sukkuhr'um — same like, or like him, her, it, them.
Sukkus — circus, circuses.
Sukkus — circuit, circuits.
Sukkus-preechuh — circuit preacher.
Sum much — so much, so many.
y — summer, summers, summer-time.
Sump'n' — something.
Sump'n'nurruh — something or other.
Sundown — sunset.
Sunhigh — late morning, about the middle of the forenoon.
Sun hot — sunshine, heat of sun.
Sun-lean — period of the day when the sun begins to decline,
and its declining: "sun-lean fuh down."
Sun'up — sunrise.
Supploy — supply, supplies, supplied, supplying.
Suppu H — supper.
Supshun — substance, sustenance, strength of food, as of
a juicy roast: "Da' meat hab supshun een'um" — that
meat has much nourishment.
Susso 1 , ,« „>.
Y — say so, says so, said so, saying so. (See sesso ).
Sutt'n — certain, certainly.
Sutt' nly — certainly.
Swalluh — (n. and v.) swallow, swallows, swallowed, swal-
Swalluhr'um— swallow, swallows, swallowed, swallowing
him, her, it, them.
Swawm — (n. and v.) swarm, swarms, swarmed, swarming.
L — swear, swears, swore, swearing.
Swaytogawd — swear to God.
Sweeth'aa't — sweetheart, sweethearts.
A GULL AH GLOSSARY
Svveetmout' — sweetmouth — blarney, flattery.
Sweetmout' talk — soft talk <>f a philanderer with the
Swell — swell, swells, swelled, swelling; swollen.
Swell-up — swelled, swollen up, puffed up with anger, im-
portance or authority.
Sweet'n — sweeten, sweetens, sweetened, sweetening.
Sweet'nin' — "sweetening."
Swif' — swift, fast.
Swimp — shrimp, shrimps.
Swinge — singe, singes, singed, singeing.
Swink — shrink, shrinks, shrunk, shrinking.
Swonguh— "swank," swagger, swaggering, boastful.
Taar — (n. and v.) tar, tars, tarred, tarring.
'Tack — (n. and v.) attack, attacks, attacked, attacking.
'Tacktid — attacked. (See "attacktid").
Tackle— (n. and v.) tackle, tackles, tackled, tackling; ar-
raign, hold accountable.
'Taguhnize — antagonize, antagonizes, antagonized, antagoniz-
ing ; arraign, arraigned, etc.
'Tail— (n. and v.) entail, entails, entailed, entailing.
'Take— (n. and v.) stake, stakes, staked, staking.
Talk'um— talk, talks, talked, talking; talking it. speak out,
Talluh — tallow.
Tallygbaf— (n. and v.) telegraph, telegraphs, telegraphed, tel-
egraphing; telegram, telegrams.
'Tan'— stand, stands, stood, standing.
'Tan'up — stand, stands, stood, standing up.
'Tabeygate— interrogate, interrogates, interrogated, inter
ating; question, questioned, etc.
Tarrypin— terrapin, terrapins.
Tarrify— terrify, terrifies, terrified, terrifying.
Tarruh— t'other, the other. (See "torruh," "todduh")
THE BLACK BORDER
Tas' — task — a measure of distance as well as of area : 105
feet or 105 feet square. A "tas'," or one-fourth of an
acre, being - the daily task during slavery on a sea-
island cotton plantation, in "listing," "hauling," or
hoeing sea-island cotton, a task being frequently
completed before noon, when the slave was free for
the rest of the day. Used as meaning distance of a
shot ; as : "My gun kin shoot two tas' " — My gun can
kill at 210 feet (70 yards).
Tas'e — taste, tastes, tasted, tasting.
Tas'e 'e mout' — put a taste in his, her or their mouth or
mouths ; meaning something appetizing to eat.
T'aw't— (n. and v.) thought, thoughts. (See also "t'ink").
'Tay — stay, stays, stayed, staying.
Tayke — tear, tears, tore, tearing.
Tayee'um — tear, tears, tore, tearing him, her, it, them.
Teday — today.
Teet' — tooth, teeth.
Teet'ache — toothache.
Tek — take, takes, took, taken, taking.
Tek'care — take-care — as : "Tek'care bettuh mo'nuh baig
paa'd'n" — Take care is better more than beg pardon ;
meaning an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of
Tek'eself — take, takes, took, taking himself, herself, itself,
Tek me foot een me han' — "tek him foot een 'e han' " — Took
my foot in my hand, took his or her foot or their
feet in his, her, or their hand or hands — meaning
hastened, hurried, speeded up.
Tek'um — take, took, taken him, it, them ; as, "tek'um en'
Tek'way — take, takes, took, taking away.
Tek wid'um — taken with, pleased with him, her, it, them.
'Tell— till, until.
Tell'um — tell, tells, telling, told him, her. it, them. "Tell'um
huddy fuh me" — tell him howdy for me.
'Ten' — attend, attends, attended, attending; intend, intends,
A GULLAII GLOSSARY
TENDTJH — tender.
T'engkful — thankful.
T'engk.'Gawd — thank God! — thank, thanks, thanked, thank-
T'engky — thanks, thank you.
Te night — tonight.
'Ten shun — attention.
'Tenshun — intention; as: "Uh 'tenshun Euh go" il is mj in-
tention to go.
'Tep — (n. and v.) step, steps, stepped, stepping.
Tetch — (n. and v.) touch, touches, touched, touching. Also
a remnant, as: "Tengk Gawd, V let'' uh leetle tetch
een de bottle."
Tetch'um — touch, touches, touched, touching him. her, it,
'Tettuh — potato, potatoes — usually sweet. (See "puhtettuh").
'Tick — (n. and v.) stick, sticks, stuck, slicking.
T'ickit — thicket, thickets.
Tickluh— (n. and v.) particular, particulars. (See "puh-
T'ick nes s — thickness, th i cknesses.
'Ticky — sticky.
T'ief— (n. and v.) thief, thieves: steal, steals, stole, stolen,
stealing. "T'ief iz bad, but t'ief en' ketch i/ de
debble"— It is bad to steal, but to steal and be
caught is worse.
T'iefin' — thieving.
Tie'um— tie, ties, tied, tying him, her. it. them.
Tie up 'e mout'— tie, ties, tied, tying up his, her. or
mouth or mouths; meaning held his. her, or then
Tiu.in'ass'— Tillinghast— a low-countrj family name.
T'ING — thing, things.
'TING — sting, stings, stung, stinging.
T'ink— think, thinks, thought, thinking.
T'irtee N — thir tee 1 1 .
T'ikty — thirty.
T'istle — thistle, thistles.
THE BLACK BORDER
Tittuh f- —sister, sisters (informal).
Toad — a young female clog (old English).
Toad-frog — toad, toads.
L — the other, t'other, the others. (See "tarruh,"
TUDDUH , „, , „,
J and torruh ").
Tol'— rare, for told. (See "tell'um").
TouNG | -tongue, tongues.
Toogoodoo — a short tidal creek or river in former Colleton,
now Charleston, County.
'Toop — stoop, stoops, stooped, stooping - .
Toot' — tooth, teeth.
'Top — stop, stops, stopped, stopping.
Top — (n. and v.) top, tops; top, tops, topped, topping.
'Toppuh — on, on top of.
Torruh — (also tarruh and todduh) t'other; the other, the
others ; as : "Dem todduh one" — those other ones.
'T'oruhty — authority.
Tote — "tote" — carry, carries, carried, carrying.
„, , y — thousand.
Town— Charleston, "the City." (See "Chaa'stun").
Trabble — travel, travels, traveled, traveling.
'Traight — straight.
'Traight'n — straighten, straightens, straightened, straighten-
ing. " 'Traight'n fuh" — straighten for, to hurry or
extend oneself for a certain point.
'Trangle — strangle, strangles, strangled, strangling.
T'rash — thrash, thrashes, thrashed, thrashing; thresh,
T'rashuh — thrasher, thrashers; thresher, threshers.
Tredjuh — treasure, treasures.
Tredjuruh — treasurer, treasurers.
Tree — (v.) tree, trees, treed, treeing.
T'EEE — rarely "stree" — three.
T'ree-time — three times.
'Tretch — stretch, stretches, stretched, stretching.
A GULLAII GLOSSARY
'Tretch-out — stretch out. (See "stretch-out").
Tkigguh — trigger, triggers.
'Trike — strike, strikes, struck, striking.
Trimble — tremble, trembles, trembled, trembling,
'Thing — string, strings, strung, stringing; " 'tringbean"
string or snap-beans.
T'roat — throat, throats.
T'row — throw, throws, threw, thrown, throwing.
T'rowbone — throw "bones" (dice) play craps.
T'row'd— threw, thrown.
rr , . , i — throw, throws, threw, throwing, thrown away.
X RI. II \\ A l
Tru — through.
Trubble — (n. and v.) trouble, troubles, troubled, troubling.
Trus' — (n. and v.) trust, trusts, trusted, trusting.
Trus'-me-Gawd — a narrow dugout canoe, so cranky that one
who ventures forth upon the waters must have faith
in God to bring him through.
Trute — truth.
Trute-MOUT' — truth-mouth — one who will not lie.
Trybunul — tribunal, tribunals.
Tuckbey — turkey, turkeys.
Tuhbackuh — tobacco.
Tuh dat— to that— as: '"E chupid tuh dat" In- is Btupid
to that extent; he is that stupid. "El him maussuh
lub'um tuh dat"— if his master loves him bo greatly.
Tu H geddu H — together.
TniRECKLY — directly.
Tuhr'im — to him. her, it. them.
Tuk— took. (See "tek").
TUMMUCH— too much, intensely, ardently, fervently.
•Tump— (n. and v.) stum]), stumps; stump, stumps, stumped.
Tump— stub, stubs, stubbed, stubbing.
Tumpsuckuh— stump-sucker, a crib-sucking horse ■"- mule
Tu'N— (n. and v.) turn, turns, turned, turning.
T'UNDUH— (n. and v.) thunder, thunders, thundered, Uni
THE BLACK BORDER
T'unduhsnake — thundersnake, thundersnakes.
Tu'n flour — turned flour, scalded corn meal, mush or por-
ridge ; same as Italian polenta.
Tu'nup — turnip, turnips.
Tu'n up — turn, turns, turned, turning' tip.
Tup' m time 1
Tup'ntine | "turpentine.
T'ursd'y — Thursday.
Twelb' — twelve.
Twis' — (n. and v.) twist, twists, twisted, twisting.
Twis'-mout' — twist mouth — twist-mouthed.
Twis'up — twist or twisted up.
Two Chuesday, Two T'ursday, etc. — the second Tuesday or
the second Thursday in the month.
Two place — second place, in the second place. NOTE : Other
numbers used similarly.
Two time — two times, twice.
Two-t'ree — two or three.
Ub— of. (See "uh").
Ubtain — obtain, obtains, obtained, obtaining.
Ub uh — of a — "Uh debble ub uh mule" — a devil of a mule.
Uh — I; a, an. Also of. (See "ub").
Uhhead — ahead.
Uhhead'uh — ahead of.
Yuhlly J -early.
Um — him, her, it, them.
Up tuh de notch — up to the notch — to the Queen's taste,
Us — we, our.
Use — use, uses, used, using ; also for game or cattle fre-
quenting certain feeding grounds. (See "nyuse").
TT , L — used to be, in the habit of.
Use-tuh — used to, accustomed to.
A GULLAH GLOSSARY
Waagin — wagon, wagons.
Waa'ment — "varmint, varmints," destructive animals or birds.
Wadmuiilaw — Wadmalaw — an island of the Carolina coast.
Wah — war.
Wais' — waist, waists.
Wanjie-range — sometimes "Banjue-Range"- -Vendue Ra
the old Charleston slave market.
Wanttjh — want to, wants to, wanted to, wanting t".
Warruh 1 . xl
y — what, what is that.
Wary — weary.
AYas'e — waste, wastes, wasted, wasting.
Wash-up ] . . . .. . .
„ K. — worship (religions).
Watuh milyun — watermelon, watermelons.
Wawu (n. and v.) warm, warms, warmed, warming.
Wawn— (n. and v.) warn, warns, warned, warning.
\Yawss' — wasp, wasps.
Wawss'nes' — wasp's nest.
We — our. us.
W'eat — wheat.
Weat-flour — flour, wheat-flour.
Wedduh— weather, weather; to rain or storm, in such ph]
as: "'E gwine tuh wedduh"— it is going to or looks
like rain or storm.
YYedd'n' — wedding, weddings.
Weeky-day — a week day.
W'eel— (n. and v.) wheel, wheels, wheeled, wheeling.
W'eelbarruh— wheelbarrow, wheelbarrows.
Wegitubble — vegetable, vegetables.
Web — where.
Wehr'as — whereas.
WehreBBUH — wherever.
W'enebbuh — whenever.
W'B NSD' y— Wednesday.
We'own — our own. ours.
Werry— very. (See "berry").
THE BLACK BORDER
We'self — ourselves.
Weskit — waistcoat, waistcoats.
Westiblue— vestibuled — the fast "limited" or tourist train.
Whoebbuh — whoever.
Wictoria — Victoria — also victorious.
'Wice — (also "exwice") advice, advices.
„,, , \- — which.
W'ich en' w'y — which and why — as : "W'ich en' w'y talk" —
y —wicked, wickedness.
Wid — with.
Widduh — widow, widows.
Widt' — width, widths.
Wile — while, awhile.
Wil'cat — wild cat, the bay-lynx of the Southern swamps.
Willuh — willow, willows.
Win' — (n. and v.) wind, winds; wind, winded.
Win' — (n and v.) wind, winds, wound, winded, winding.
Winduh — window, windows.
Wine — vine.
Wineguh — vinegar.
Winnuh — winnow, winnows, winnowed, winnowing.
Winnuhhouse — winnowhouse, winnowhouses, where in the
old days rice was winnowed.
Wintuhtime — winter, in the winter season.
'Wise — (also "exwise") advise, advises, advised, advising,
Wish de time uh day — "pass de time uh day" — a salutation,
Wisit — (n. and v.) visit, visits, visited, visiting.
W'iskey — whiskey ; formerly used, now an obsolete vocable
among the Gullah.
Witch — witch, witches.
'Witch — bewitch, bewitches, bewitched, bewitching.
W'ite — white.
Woice — voice, voices.
Woodpeckuh — woodpecker, woodpeckers.
Woodpeckuh laa'k — woodpecker lark — the flicker.
Wrop — wrap, wraps, wrapped, wrapping.
A GULLAII GLOss Mi)'
Wu'd — word, words.
\Vidduh da' — what is that.
Wuffuh — what for, why.
Wuh — what, that.
Wuhebbuh — whatever.
Wu'k — (n. and v.) work, works, worked, working.
Wu*LL' — world, worlds.
Wunduh — (n. and v.) wonder, wonders, wondered, wondering.
"Wunt — won't, will not.
WuRRUM — worm, worms.
Wus'den'ebbuh — worse than ever.
Wus' f — worse > worst.
Wussun — worse.
Wut' — worth, is worth, was worth, etc. "Ent wut' ' — a d
Wxjz — was.
WTMEKS0 — what makes it so, whv.
Yaa'd — yard, yards.
Yaa'n — yarn, yarns.
Yaas — yes.
Yaas'suh — yes-sir.
Yalluh — yellow.
Yalluhhammuh — yellowhammer — the Bicker or golden
Yalluh yam — yellow yam — a variety of sweel potato.
Ya nduh — yonder.
Yeah — ear, ears (corn or other grain); also year, yeai
Yeabin' — hearing.
Yedoy 1 . , ,
y — hear, hears, heard, hearing.
1 ERRY J
Yeddy'um— hear, hears, heard, or hearing him, her, it. then
Yellin' — yearling, yearlings.
W.st— (ent) ain't, is not, are not; so pronounced when pr
' ceded by a soft vowel sound.
YE ', T 1— earth. (See "eart"*).
THE BLACK BORDER
Yeye — eye, eyes ; so pronounced when preceded by a soft
vowel sound. " 'E yeye red" — his or her eyes are
bloodshot with anger.
Yez — ear, ears (human or animal).
Yistiddy — yesterday.
Yiz — is ; so pronounced when preceded by a soft vowel sound.
you r ~~ your ' y° urs -
You'own — your own, yours.
Yowe — ewe. ("Yowe" is in use in Early English).
Yuh — here.
Yuh him — here he, she, it is, or they are.
'Zackly — exactly. (See "puhzackly").
'Zammin' — examine, examines, examined, examining; ques-
tion, questioned, etc.
"Zyd'n'— presiding; as: " 'Zyd'n' elduh"— presiding elder.
THE TAR BABY STORY
AS TOLD BY COL. C. C. JONES AND
JOEL CHANDLER HARRIS
Buh Wolf. Buh Rabbit, and de Tar Baby
Buh Wolf and Buh Rabbit, dem bin lii> oabur. Dc
circuit come. Ebry ting stew up. Water scace. Bub Woll
one spring fuh him fuh git water. Huh Rabbit, bim t..., ..
an too seheeiny fuh wuk fuh isself. Eh pen pon lib
tarruh people. Ebry day, wen Buh Wolf yent dub watch
uni. eh slip to I'.uh Wolf spring, an eh full him calabash i
water an eah inn to eh house fuh cook long and fuh drink.
Buh Wolf see Buh Rabbit track, but eh couldnt ketch urn
duh tief de water.
One day eh meet Buh Rabbit in de bi^- road, an eh a\ urn
how eh make out fur water. Buh Rabbil saj bim QO caaion
fuh hunt water: him lib off de jew on de grass. Huh Wolf
quire: "Enty you blan tek water outer me spring?" Bub R
bit say: "Me yent." Buh Wolf say: "You vis. entj me
you track?" Buh Babbit mek answer: "Yent me •^•<"-
you spring. Must be some edder rabbit. Me aebber bin nigh
you spring. Me dunno way you spring day." Buh Woll
question urn no mo: but eh know say eh bin Buh Rabbil I
true, an eh fix plan fuh ketch urn.
De same ebenin eh mek Tar Baby, an eh gone an
right in de middle er de trail wuh lead to de Bpring, ami
dist in front er de spring.
Soon a mornin I'.uh Rabbit rise an tun in fuh < k eh bitl
Eh pot biggin fuh bun. Huh Rabbit say: "Hej I me pot
bun. Lemme slip to Buh Wolf spring an gi1 some water i
cool urn." So eh tek eh calabash an hop off fuh de Bprl
Wen eh ketch de spring, eh see de Tar Baby dub i
een front er de spring. Eh stonish. Eh stop. Eh
Eh look at um. Eh wait Eur urn fuh mobe. !»-• Tar Ba
vent notice um. Eh yent wink eh yeye. Eh yenl
Eh yent mobe. Buh Rabbit, him saj : "Hej titte
-nine tan one side an lemme git S e water?' De
no answer. Den Buh babbit saj : "Leelj Gal, tn«
you. so me kin dip some water outer de spring long
THE BLACK BORDER
bash." De Tar Baby wunt rnobe. Buh Babbit say : "Enty you
know me pot duh bun? Enty you know me hurry? Enty you
yeddy me tell you fuh mobe? You see dis han? Ef you dont
go long and lemme git some water, me guine slap yon ober."
De Tar Baby stan day. Buh Babbit haul off an slap um side
de head. Eh han fastne. Buh Babbit try fuh pull eh hand
back, en eh say: "Wuh you hole me han fuh? Lemme go.
Ef you dont loose me, me guine box de life outer you wid
dis tarruh han." De Tar Baby yent crack eh teet. Buh Babbit
hit um, bim, wid eh tarruh han. Dat han fastne too same
Ink tudder. Buh Babbit say: "Wuh you up teh? Tun me
loose. Ef you dont leggo me right off, me guine knee you."
De Tar Baby hole um fas. Buh Babbit skade an bex too. Eh
faid Buh Wolf come ketch um. Wen eh fine eh cant loosne
eh han, eh kick de Tar Baby wid eh knee. Eh knee fastne.
Yuh de big trouble now. Buh Babbit skade den wus den
nebber. Eh try fuh skade de Tar Baby. Eh say : "Leely
Gal, you better mine who you duh fool long. Me tell you,
fuh de las time, tun me loose. Ef you dont loosne me han
an me knee right off, me guine bus you wide open wid dis
head." De Tar Baby hole um fas. Eh yent say one wud.
Den Buh Babbit but de Tar Baby een eh face. Eh head fastne
same fashion Ink eh han an eh knee. Yuh de ting now. Po
Buh Babbit done fuh. Eh fastne all side. Eh cant pull loose.
Eh gib up. Eh bague. Eh cry. Eh holler. Buh Wolf yeddy
um. Eh run day. Eh hail Buh Babbit : "Hey Budder ; wuh de
trouble? Enty you tell me you no blan wisit me spring fuh
git water? Who calabash dis? Wuh you duh do yuh any-
how?" Buh Babbit so condemn eh yent hab one wud fuh
talk. Buh Wolf, him say : "Nummine, I done ketch you dis
day. I guine lick you now." Buh Babbit bague. Eh bague.
Eh prommus nebber fuh trouble Buh Wolf spring no mo.
Buh Wolf laugh at um. Den eh tek an loose Buh Babbit from
de Tar Baby, an eh tie um teh one spakleberry bush, an eh
git switch an eh lick um tel eh tired. All de time Buh Babbit
bin a bague an a holler. Buh Wolf yent duh listne ter um, but
eh keep on duh pit de lick ter um. At las Buh Babbit tell
Buh Wolf : "Dont lick me no mo. Kill me one time. Mek
fire an bun me up. Knock me brains out gin de tree." Buh
TEE TAR BABY STORY
Wolf mek answer: "Ef 1 bun you up. el I ki k you bra
out, you guine dead too quick. Me guine trow you in de brier
patch, so de brier kin scratch you life out." Bub Rabbil
"Do Buh Wolf, bun me : broke neck, bul < 1< >n t trow u •
de brier patch. Lemme dead one time. Doul tarrifj me
mo." Buh Wolf vent bin know wuh Buh Rabbit up teh.
Eh tink eh bin guine tare Buh Rabbil bide oft So, wuh eb
do? Eh loose Bvib Rabbit from de spakleberry bush, an eh
tek um by de hine leg, an eh swin^- um roun, an eh trow
am way in de tick brier patch fuh tare eh bide an cratch eh
yeye out. De minnit Buh Babbit drap in de brier patch, eh
cock up eh tail, eh jump, an holler back t" Buh Wolf:
"Good bye, Budder! Dis de place me mammy fotch me up.
dis de place me mammy fotch me up." An eh gone befo Buh
Wolf kin ketch um. Buh Rabbit too selieemv.
The Wonderful Tar-Baby Story
"Didn't the fox never catch the rabbit, Uncle Remus?"
asked the little boy the next evening.
"He come mighty nigh it, honey, sho's you born — Brer Fox
did. One day atter Brer Rabbit fool 'im wid dat calamus
root, Brer Fox went ter wuk en got 'im some tar, en mix
it wid some turkentime, en fix up a contrapshun wat he call
a Tar-Baby, en he tuck dish yer Tar-Baby en he sot 'er in de
big road, en den he lay off in de bushes for to see wat de
news wuz gwineter be. En he didn't hatter wait long, nudder,
kaze bimeby here come Brer Rabbit pacin' down de road —
lippity-clippity, elippity-lippity — dez ez sassy ez a Jay-bird.
Brer Fox he lay low. Brer Rabbit come prancin' 'long twel
he spy de Tar-Baby, en den he fotch up on his behime legs
like he wuz 'stonished. De Tar-Baby, she sot dar, she did,
en Brer Fox, he lay low.
" 'Mawnin' !' sez Brer Rabbit, sezee — 'nice wedder dis
"Tar-Baby ain't sayin' nothin'. en Brer Fox, he lay low.
" 'How duz yo' sym'tums seem ter segashuate?' sez Brer
"Brer Fox, he wink his eye slow, en lay low, en de Tar-Baby
she ain't sayin' nothin'.
"'How you come on, den? Is you deaf?' sez Brer Rabbit,
sezee. 'Kaze if you is, I kin holler louder,' sezee.
"Tar-Baby stay still, en Brer Fox he lay low.
" 'Youer stuck up, dat's w'at you is,' says Brer Rabbit,
sezee, 'en I'm gwineter kyore you, dat's w'at I'm a gwineter
"Brer Fox, he sorter chuckle in his stummuck, he did, but
Tar-Baby ain't sayin' nothin'.
" 'I'm gwineter larn you howter talk ter 'spectubble fokes
ef hit's de las' ack,' sez Brer Rabbit, sezee. 'Ef you don't
take off dat hat en tell me howdy, I'm gwineter bus' you
wide open,' sezee.
"Tar-Baby stay still, en Brer Fox. he lay low.
THE TAR BAllY sTORT
"Brer Rabbit keep on ax'uf 'im. en de rar-Babj
on savin' nothin'. twel present'y Brer Rabbil draw
his fis', he did, en blip he tuck 'er side er de bead
dar's whar he broke his merlasses jug. Sis u ■ be
can't pull loose. De tar hilt 'im. Bu1 Tar-B
still, en Brer Fox, he lay low.
" 'Ef you don't lemme loose. I'll knock you agin,'
Rabbit, sezee, en wid <lat he Eotch 'er a wipe wid d<
ban', en dat stuck. Tar-Baby, she ain't Bayin' nothin'
Brer Fox, he lay low.
" 'Tu'n me loose, fo' I kick de natal Martin' outen 3
Brer Babbit, se/ee. but de Tar-Baby, Bhe ain't Bayin' uothin.'
She des hilt on, en den Brer Rabbil Lose de use er lo-
in de same way. Brer Fox, he lay low. Den Brer Ra
squall out dat ef de Tar-Baby don't tu'n 'iui loose In- butl
cranksided. En den he butted, en his head got Mink.
Brer Fox, he sa'ntered fort', lookin' des ez innercenl
er yo' mamy's mockin'-birds.
"'Howdy, Brer Babbit,' sez Brer Fox, Bezee. 'You look
sorter stuck up dis mawninY sezee, en den he rolled on de
groun', en laughed en laughed twel he couldn't laugh no mo'.
'I speck you'll take dinner wid me dis time. Brer Rabbit I
done laid in some calamus root, en I ain't gwineter take DO
skuse,' sez Brer Fox, sezee."
Here Uncle Bemus paused, and drew a two-pound yam I
of the ashes.
"Did the fox eat the rabbit"? asked tin- little boj t" whom
the story had been told.
"Wen Brer Fox fine Brer Rabbit mi\t up wid de Tar-Be
he feel mighty good, en he roll on de groun' en laff. Bin
he up'n say, sezee :
"'Well, I speck I got you dis time. Brer Rabbit
'maybe I ain't, hut T speck 1 is. Von been runnin' roui
sassin' atter me a mighty long time, but I sped.
come ter de een' er de row. You bin cuttin' up yo' caper
bouncin' roun' in His neighberhood ontwel you come "•''
yo'se'f de boss er de whole gang. En Hen youer alien
whar you got no bizness,' sez Brer Fo Who ax
fer ter come en strike up a 'quaintance wid di«
THE BLACK BORDER
Baby? En who stuck you up dar whar you iz? Nobody in
de roun worril. You des tuck en jam yo'se'f on dat Tar-Baby
widout waitin' fer enny invite,' sez Brer Fox, sezee, 'en dar
you is, en dar you'll stay twel I fixes up a bresh-pile and fires
her up, kaze I'm gwineter bobbycue you dis day, sho,' sez Brer
"Den Brer Rabbit talk mighty 'uinble.
" 'I don't keer w'at you do wid me, Brer Fox,' sezee, 'so
you don't fling me in dat brier-patch. Boas' me, Brer Fox,'
sezee. 'but don't fling me in dat brier-patch,' sezee.
" 'Hit's so much trouble fer ter kindle a fier,' sez Brer Fox,
sezee, 'dat I speck I'll hatter hang you,' sezee.
" 'Hang me des ez high as you please, Brer Fox,' sez Brer
Rabbit, sezee, 'but do fer de Lord's sake don't fling me in dat
" 'I ain't got no string,' sez Brer Fox, sezee, 'en now I
speck I'll hatter drown you,' sezee.
" 'Drown me des ez deep ez you please, Brer Fox,' sez Brer
Rabbit, sezee, 'but do don't fling me in dat brier-patch.' sezee.
" 'Dey ain't no water nigh,' sez Brer Fox, sezee, 'en now
I speck I'll hatter skin you,' sezee.
" 'Skin me, Brer Fox,' sez Brer Rabbit, sezee, 'snatch out
my eyeballs, far out my years by de roots, en cut off my legs,'
sezee, 'but do please, Brer Fox, don't fling me in dat brier-
"Co'se Brer Fox wanter hurt Brer Rabbit bad ez he kin,
so he cotch 'im by de behime legs en slung 'im right in de
middle er de brier-patch. Dar wuz a considerbul flutter whar
Brer Rabbit struck de bushes, en Brer Fox sorter hang 'roun'
fer ter see w'at wus gwineter happen. Bimeby he hear some-
body call 'im, en way \\\y de hill he see Brer Rabbit settin'
cross-legged on a chinkapin log koamin' de pitch outer his har
wid a chip. Den Brer Fox know dat he bin swop off mighty
bad. Brer Rabbit wuz bleedzed fer ter fling back some er his
sass, en he holler out :
" 'Bred en bawn in a brier-patch, Brer Fox — bred en bawn
in a brier-patch !' en wid dat he skip out des ez lively ez a
cricket in de embers."