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Full text of "The black border; Gullah stories of the Carolina coast : (with a glossary)"












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1 



THE 
BLACK BORDER 



GULLAH STORIES OF 
THE CAROLINA COAST 

(With a Glossary) 



BY 
AMBROSE E. GONZALES 



COLUMBIA, S. C. 

THE STATE COMPANY 

1922 









SEP I- 



3216 



.S1G6 



COPYRIGHT 1922 
THE STATE COMPANY 



• • 



TO 
ROBERT ELLIOTT GONZALES 



CONTENTS 



Page 



,^ v 



Foreword 7 

Gullah Stories 

Noblesse Oblige 19 

My Maussuh 24 

An Antemortem Demise 29 

The Lion of Lewisburg • 35 

The Lion Killer 45 

Old Barney 53 

Billybedam 58 

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 



CONTENTS 



Page 

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 

Egg-zactly 259 

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 



FOREWORD 

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 

7 



FOREWORD 

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 

cycle. 

* 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! 

8 



FOREWORD 

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 
ducks. 

"The clinging together of these Gullah tribesmen, as 
indicated above, and their apparent resolute and per- 

9 



FOREWORD 

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- 
try 

"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. 

hi 



FOREWORD 

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- 

11 



FOREWORD 

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 
weep ! 

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 

12 



FOREWORD 

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 

13 



FOREWORD 

the old Negro family servant was irresistible, not only 
to the children, but to those happy grown-ups who 
loved them. 

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 
established. 

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 

14 



FOREWORD 

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 

15 



FOREWORD 

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. 

1G 



FOREWORD 

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- 

17 



FOREWORD 

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. 



18 



THE BLACK BORDER 

NOBLESSE OBLIGE 

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- 
sional employments. 

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 

19 



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'!" 

20 



NOBLESSE OBLIGE 

"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'." 

21 



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- 
shun?'" 

'"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 

22 



NOBLESSE OBLIGE 

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 



23 



"MY MAUSSUH" 

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- 

24 



"MY MAUSSUH" 

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 
do'um. 

"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 

25 



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?'" 

2G 



"J/)' MAUSSUIF 

" '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. 

27 



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.'" 



28 



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- 

29 



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 
hopes. 

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- 

30 



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. 

.31 



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 

32 



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 

33 



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 
done!" 

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. 

34 



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 

35 



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 

36 



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, 

37 



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 
Walterboro. 

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 

38 



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 
intact. 

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 

39 



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 

40 



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 

41 



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- 

42 



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 
'tell sunhigh!" 

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, 

43 



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 
another story." 



44 



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 

45 



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- 

46 



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 !" 

47 



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 

48 



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. 

49 



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. 

50 



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 

51 



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 
fool!" 

"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/" 



52 



"OLD BARNEY" 

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- 

53 



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- 
tation. 

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 

54 



-OLD BARNEY" 

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. 

55 



THE BLACK BORDER 

The singers walked up and down the aisles of the 
open-air church, working up enthusiasm in camp meet- 
ing fashion. 

"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'," 

"HoVum, Jedus!" 

"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 

56 



"OLD BARNEY" 

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." 



57 



"BILLYBEDAM" 

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- 
struction ! 

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 

58 



"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 
irresponsible. 

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- 

59 



TEE BLACK BORDER 

ing now and then with spear-like bill poised, watch- 
ing, waiting. 

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 

GO 



"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- 
tomer. 

"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 
pint." 
•'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 

61 



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 
parted. 

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 

62 



"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!" 



63 



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. 

64 



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 

65 



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 

66 



A SHORT CUT TO JUSTICE 

distinguished counsel from across the river" and took 
pleasure in extending to him the courtesies of his 
Court. 

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 
with. 

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 
of deliberation. 

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 

67 



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 
hands. 

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 

68 



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 
him over. 

69 



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 
foreman. 

''To nobody. He was free. He belonged to him- 
self." 

"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 
Paul loose!" 

"Yaas, man, tu'nhim loose, tu'n'um loose!" came 
the chorus. 

"Well, boys, before we go, you'd better finish the 
flask." 

"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 

70 



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 
river." 



71 



SAM DICKERSON 

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 

court. 

"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 

72 



SAM DICKERSON 

juntlemun' proputty. But de chaa'ge, yo' onnuh, am 
laa'ceny !" 

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." 

73 



THE BLACK BORDER 

But the appeal to the magistrate's delicacy of mind 
was of no avail and he peremptorily ordered the case 
to proceed. 

"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 

74 



SAM DICKERSON 

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' 

75 



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 

76 



SAM DICKERSON 

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. 

77 



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 

78 



SAM dickersox 

twis'up oagly same lukkuh him binnuh chaw green 
possimmun !" 

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 
advocate. 

"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 
tail!" 

"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," 

79 



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 
attacktid." 

"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 

80 



SAM DICKERSON 

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." 



81 



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- 
out tiring. 

For several years following the war, many low-coun- 
try negroes carried condemned army muskets which 

82 



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 

83 



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 

84 



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, 
apprehension. 

"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- 



'um." 



"Whof Dat squerril? Watch'um!" The piece was 
raised, two sinewy fingers clutched the trigger with a 

85 



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- 
wood splinter. 

"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/" 

86 



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- 

87 



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 

ss 



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 
Mis' Middletun." 

"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- 
dletun." 

"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 

90 



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- 
tious people. 

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 

91 



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. 

92 



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- 

dlenight?". 

"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 

93 



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. 

94 



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. 



05 



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 

96 



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. 

97 



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 
Joe. 

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 

98 



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 

99 



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 

100 



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 

101 



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 

102 



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 
rokkoon !" 

"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!" 
cried Tom. 

"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, 

103 



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 
home. 

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- 

104 



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 
wake." 

"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 

105 



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/" 



10G 



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 

107 



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 

108 



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 

109 



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 

110 



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 
again. 

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 

ill 



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- 

112 






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 

113 



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- 
in\" 

"What did you do?" 

"Uh beat rice, suh." 

"How much rice did you take home in that bag you 
carried?" 

"Eh, eh, Mas' Rafe! You see me wid bag? You 
t'ink suh me t'ief yo' rice? Wuh nyuse me hab fuh 

114 



TEE TURKEY HUNTER 

rice? Me en' Bess alltwo lub fuh eat cawn hom'ny 

tummuch." 

"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 

bawn !" 

"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. 



115 



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 

116 



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- 
gerous, adventure. 

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 

117 



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 
rain." 

"Yaas, Maussuh, uh yeddy'um, but dis duh Dry 
Drought, enty?" 

"Yes, a very severe drought." 

118 



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 

119 



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- 
arms. 

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 

120 



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- 
tation negroes. 

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. 

121 



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- 

122 



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- 



123 



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 

124 






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 
unhappy wretch. 

"Eh, eh! Da' felluh pull hebby!" 

"Yaas, man, Buh Sabey pull hebby sukkuh alliget- 
tuh." 

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 

125 



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 
and ape. 

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- 

126 



TEE "GATOR HUNTER 

guh! Oonuh kin nyam da' alligettuh, en' wen oonuh 
yiz nyanvum, oonuh duh cannibelf" 



127 



"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 
station idlers. 

"Uncle John, mekso oonuh ent shabe dem mule 
tail?" inquired one of a group that squatted upon the 
platform. 

"Sistuh, you ebbuh yeddy 'bout Johossee muskit- 
tuh'?" 

"No, suh." 

"Ahnhn, uh t'awt so. Gal, you ebbuh see blackbu'd' 
'puntop'uh rice rick? You is shum, enty? Berry well; 

128 



"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 

120 



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 

130 



"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 

131 



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- 

132 



"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 
no Sancho!" 

"Yaas, tittle, 'ooman fool'um fuh true! Him done 
fuh fool'iim !" 



133 



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 

134 






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 

135 



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 

1.36 



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 

137 



er- 
rs 



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 
nigguh /" 

"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 

138 



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' 
man?" 

"Yaas, tittie ! You talk trute ! 'Ooman redduh hab 
'e mout' full'uh muhlassis den 'e yez full'uh sweetmout' 

talk!" 

"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 

139 



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." 

140 



A R1CEFIELD IDYLL 

"Where did she cut you?" 

"Suh?" 

"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 
rice hook?" 

"Suh?" 

"Your person is your body. Did she cut vou on your 
body?" 

"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." 

"What place?" 

" '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 
uh dead!" 

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." 



341 



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 

142 



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!" 

143 



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 

144 



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 
conversation. 

"Come on, Bredduh Drayton. Mekso you walk so 
slow?" 

145 



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 
fuh walk." 

"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 
'sleep." 

"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, 

146 



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?"' 

"Sukey, suh." 

"You duh An' Minda' gal. enty?" 



14 



TEE BLACK BORDER 
"Yaas, suh, him dull my Grumma en' me dull him 



gran'." 



'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, 

148 



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 
House." 

"Yaas, but uh cyan' seddown befo' alltwo de chim- 
bly one time." 



149 



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 

150 



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 
under consideration. 

"Hummuch you ax full sugar?" 

"Ten cents a pound." 

'•Ten cent' uh poun'?" 

"Yes." 

"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'?" 

"Yes." 

"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." 

151 



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 
want?" 

"Lemme shum." 

Bolts of each would be placed before her. 

"Hummuch da' speckly kin'?" (pointing to the ging- 
ham). 

"Ten cents a yard." 

"Gimme ten cent' wut." 

A thirty-three-inch yard would be torn off. 

"You got any salt?" 

"Yes." 

"Hummuch fuh him?" 

"Five cents a quart." 

"Gimme t'ree cent' wut." 

"You got any flour?" 

"Yes." 

"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 

152 



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 
for. 

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 

153 



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 

154 



AT THE CROSS ROADS STORE 

said. 

"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 
to overreach. 

"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 



l.v, 



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 
saliva. 

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, 

156 



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 
prayer-meeting. 

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." 



157 



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 
commissaries.) 

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, 

15S 



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 
and creeks. 

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- 

159 



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 
t'ing 'puntop'um." 

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 

160 



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. 

1G1 



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 

162 



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 
roll !" 

"RokkoonP conceded the chapfallen captain, and he 
passed, somewhat chagrined at the outcome of his 
picketing experiment. 

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 
cowpen ! 

"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 

163 



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 
opposite direction. 

"Fuh true, bubbuh, enty you see Mas' Eafe en' Mas' 
Tom en' dem dull paat'? Nigguh fuh maa'ch obuh 
buckruh, enty?" 

"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 
passed. 

"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 

164 



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 
hex!'' 



105 



"OLD HARRISON" 

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. 

166 



"OLD HARRISON" 

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- 

1G7 



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 

168 



"OLD HARRISON" 

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 

109 



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 
Avail." 

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 

170 



"OLD HARRISON" 

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 

171 



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 
y'gwine t'see." 

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 

172 



"OLD HARRISOX" 

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 
him." 

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 
went. 



173 



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- 
ried." 

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- 

174 



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 

175 



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 

176 



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 

177 



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 

178 



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 

179 



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 
whiskey?" 

"Wuh da' las' one you call 'e name, Missis?" 

"Whiskey." 

"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 
enough." 

"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 

180 



.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 

181 



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 
him?" 

"Ki ! Missis ! Uh marry'um fuh shet dem todduh 
"'ooman' mouf ! You fink me wan'' dem gal 1 fuh call 
me die maid?' 1 '' 

182 



THE PLAT-EYE 

/ 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 

183 



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- 

184 



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, 
nevertheless. 

"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 

IN.-, 



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 
haunting melody. 

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 
night. 

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 

186 



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 

187 



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 

188 



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!" 



189 



"OLD PICKETT' 

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, 

100 



"OLD PICKETT" 

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 

101 



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- 

192 



"OLD PICKETT' 

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 

194 



"OLD PICKETT' 

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 

195 



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 

106 



"OLD PICKETT' 

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!" 

'"Event!" 

'"Eyiz!" 

" '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 

107 



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 

108 



"OLD PICKETT" 

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, 

199 



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 

200 






"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 ! 



201 



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 

202 



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 
Savannah ! 

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 

myrtles. 

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 

•jii:: 



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 

204 






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. 

20.j 



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 

200 



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 

207 



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 
gone." 

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 

208 



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 
knees. 
"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 

209 



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 ! 
Come'yuh!" 

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 

210 



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 
hound. 



211 



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 

212 



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 

213 



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 

214 



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" 
lefum!" 

"Have you another wife, Jim?" 

"I hab dat gal you see wid me dis mawnin' een Mr. 
FitzSimmun" yaa'd. Him ent wut'!" 



215 



"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 
dog jump'um. 

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 

216 



"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. 



218 



BUH HAWSS EN' BUH MULE 

A FABLE 

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 

219 



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'!" 



220 



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 
uh cotton?' 

"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 



now.' 



"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, 

221 



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 



222 



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 
bad cuss." 

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 
fetch'um yuh." 

At this stage of the proceedings, the Toogoodoo trial 
justice adjourned court to measure the Ashley River. 

224 



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 

225 



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 
white." 

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 

226 



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«> 

227 



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) 

228 



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!" 



229 



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 
cotton-tail refugees. 

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 
the adventure: 

"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, 

230 



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 

2.31 



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." 



232 



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 
through them. 

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- 

233 



THE BLACK BORDER 

ing that it was good, croaked out an occasional 
"ckwarrow, ckwarrow." 

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- 
nms come!" 

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." 

234 



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- 
mony. 

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 
questioning. 

"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 
I bawn." 

"Mistuh Jestuss," said Julia, ruefully, "I come to 

235 



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' 
juntlemun." 

"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- 

236 



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 
coming. 



2.S7 



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 
ask?" 

238 



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 

239 






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 

240 



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 
read." 



241 



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 
mud banks. 

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- 

242 



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 

244 






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 !" 



24.1 



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 

246 



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 

247 



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 



248 



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- 
sioned" speech. 

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 
priblidge." 

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- 

♦Ward primary. 

2.")0 



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 
muffledicer* 
'Hermaphrodite. 



LT)1 



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. 

252 



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 

254 



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 

25G 



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 

257 



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!" 



258 



EGG-ZACTLY 

"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. 

259 



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 

2G0 



EGG-ZACTLY 

'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." 



261 



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- 

262 



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 

203 



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- 
trian equipment. 

"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- 

264 



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 
pastor's eyes. 

"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 

2G5 



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!" 



266 



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 
highway. 

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 

2G7 



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 

268 



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 
behalf?" 

"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 

2G9 



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 
dead, suh." 

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. 



270 



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, 

271 



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 

273 



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." 

274 



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 !" 



275 



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 
jungle-sounds. 

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." 

278 



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. 

279 



THE BLACK BORDER 

With a single "knock," the Gullah knocks, has knocked, is 
knocking. 

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 
de boa'd'." 

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 

280 



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. 
resemblance. 

"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 \ 
nifieance. 

"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 
swimming. 

"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 

281 



4 £ 



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 

282 



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* 

283 



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- 
nointed." 

284 



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 

285 



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!" 

2S6 



Vocabulary 



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, 

language ; 

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. 

A 
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. 

287 



THE BLACK BORDER 

Anodduh 

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. 

Arey "1 

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. 

B 

Baa'buh — barber, barbers. 

Baa'k — (n. and v.) bark, barks, barked, barking. 

Baa' N well — Barnwell. A low-country family name. 

Baa'nyaa'd 

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. 

288 






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. 

Bedout "1 

_ 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. 

Behime 

Behin' L —behind. 

Behine 

Bekase "I 

_ , 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, 

angering. 
Bidness — business. 

Biggin — begin, begins, begun, began. 
Bigguh — bigger. 
Bighouse — the Master's house. 

289 



THE BLACK BORDER 

Bile — boil, boils, boiled, boiling. 
Bilin' — boiling. 

BlLLIGE "I 

BlLLAGE j - Vllla ^ Vllla ? eS - 

BlMEBYE "1 , , , 

y — bye and bve. 

BUMBYE 

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. 

B'long "1 

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, 

worried, worrying. 
Bodduhr'um — bother, bothers, bothered, or bothering him, 

her, it, them. 
Bofe— both. (See "alltwo"). 
Bol'— bold. 

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). 

290 



A GULL AH GLOSSARY 

Brekwis' "I 

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). 

Britchis 

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 

bruk'up." 
Bruro — bureau, as "Freedmun' bruro." 
Brustle — bustle, bustles. 

BubbuhI 

„ 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." 

BuhhimeI 

Buh hike | - behi » d - 

Buhr — burr, burrs. 

Bull-yellin' — bull-yearling, or yearlings. 

Bu'n — burn, burns, burned, burning. 

Burruh — burrow, burrows, burrowed, burrowing. 

Buss'1 

Bus' I — burst, bursts, bursting. 

Butt'n — button, buttons, buttoned, buttoning. 

291 



THE BLACK BORDER 

Buzzum — bosom, bosoms. 

Buzzut — buzzard, buzzards; vulture, vultures. 

c 

'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. 

'Ceebe "\ 

'Ceibe f — deceive, deceives, deceived. 

'Ceebin' "] 

'Ceibin' r —deceiving. 

'Ceitful— deceitful. 
'Cep' 



'Cep'm 
'Cep'n' 



— 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 
tobacco. 

Cheep — cheep, cheeps, cheeped, cheeping. 

Cheeb — chair, chairs. 

Chicagyo — Chicago. 

Chickin — chicken, chickens. 

292 



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 
(up). 

Chunk — (n. and v.) chunk, chunks, chunked, chunking. 

Chupid "1 

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. 

293 



THE BLACK BORDER 



CONNOO 
COONOO 
CUNNOO 



-canoe, canoes. 



Consaa'n 1 — ^ n and v -j concern, concerns, concerned, con- 

CUNSAA'N J cerning . 

Consecrate lye — concentrated lye. 

CONSUMPSHUS 

„ > — consumption. 

CUNSUMPSHUS L 

Contestuss — contested, contesting - . 

Contuhdix — contradict, contradicts, contradicted, contradict- 
ing. 

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- 
ing. 

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 
teetV 

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 
of burden. 

Crik — creek, creeks. 

294 



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- 
ing. 

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- 
tion. 

Cumplain — (n. and v.) complain, complains, complained, 
complaining; complaint, complaints. 

Cump'ny — company, companies. 

CUMPOSHASHUN 

Cumpuhshashun I — conversation, talk, parley, interroga- 
Compuhshashun tories, argument. 

CUNDEMN "I 

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. 

Cuz "1 

,. L. — cousin, cousins. (Shakespeare's "coz"). 

Cya' — carry, carries, carried, carrying. 

Cyaa' ] 

„ > — car, cars. 

Cyaar 

Cyaaf— (n. and v.) calf, calves; to calve, etc. 

295 



THE BLACK BORDER 

Cyaam — calm, calms; "uh cyaam sea." 

Cyaa'pentuh 1 

„ , , y — carpenter, carpenters. 

Cyaa'p'ntuh l *■ 

Cyaaridge — carriage, carriages. 
Cyaa't — cart, carts. 

_ ' I — cackle, cackles, cackled, cackling. 

Cackle 

Cyan' — can't. 

Cyas' — cast, casts, casting. 

Cyas'net — cast-net used for taking shrimp and mullet from 

tidal creeks. 
Cya'um — carry, carried, etc., him, her, it, them. 
Cyo' — cure, cures, cured, curing. 

D 

Da' I 

_. > — that. 

Dat 

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 

companions. 
Dem'own — theirs, their own. 
Dem self — them, they, themselves. 

296 






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. 

Desso 

Disso | -just so. (See "jesso"). 

De't'— death. 

Dey — they. 

Dey — there. 

Dey dey — there, there; right there; a repetition for greater 

emphasis. 
Deyfo' — therefore. 

Dibe — dive, dives, dived, dove, diving. 
Dictate — dictate, dictates, dictated, dictating; giving orders. 

overseeing ; sometimes for explaining. 

Diffuh ,.„, 

_. y — differ, difference. 

DlFFUNCE 

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 

297 



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 
fat. 

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 
drought. 

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 

'E — he, she, it. 

Eabt' — earth, world, or soil, ground. (See "ye't" and "yu't"). 

298 






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. 

Enjurin' & 

Eenjy— enjoy, enjoys, enjoyed, enjoying; experience; as: 
"Uh eenjy uh berry oncomfuhtubble night' res' ' 

I had or experienced a very uncomfortable night's 

rest. 

Eenside — inside. 

Eensult— (n. and v.) insult, insults, insulted, insulting. 

Eentitle — entitle, entitles, entitled, entitling. 

Eentitlement— entitlement, "title;" as "Mr. Chizzum," "Mis' 
"Wineglass." 

Eentruss — interest. 

Eentuhfayre— interfere, interferes, interfered, interfering. 

Ef— if. 

Eh, Eh ! — an exclamation. 

Elseso — else, unless ; either. 

299 



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 

account. 
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'— faith. 

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 

grinding. 
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. 

300 






A GVLLAII GLOSSARY 

Fa \v w d ' d — forward . 
Febuh — fever, fevers. 

Febbywerry "1 

_ y — rebruarv. 

FlBBYWERRY | 

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 

foot, 
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'." 

Fi' 

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 

plantation. 
Fight— fight, fights, fought, fighting. 
Filfil— fulfill, fulfills, fulfilled, fulfilling; also fill, as to till a 

pulpit. 
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. 

301 



THE BLACK BORDER 

Fly — flies, flew, flying. 

Fo'— four. 

'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 
similar way. 

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. 

Frum 

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 
last night. 

Fuhr'ebbuh — forever, always, all the time. 

302 



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 
wrath. 

Fun'rul — funeral, funerals. 
Fus'— first. 

Fus' daa'k . . , 

„, , , y — first dark, dusk, twilight m the evening. 

Fus DUS 

Fus' fowl crow — first fowl crow — midnight, or soon there- 
after. 
Fus' gwinin' off — first going off, at the beginning. 

G 

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 

addressing women. 
'Gatuh— alligator, alligators. (See "alligettuh"). 
Gawd — God, Gods, God's. 
Gedduh — gather, gathers, gathered, gathering. 

Gelt "1 

Girt' f ~~ girth ' S irths - 

G'em — give, gives, gave, giving him, her, it. them. 

'Gen — again. 

'Gen se — against. 

Gi' 1 

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. 



30? 



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 

to go. 
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 

whipping. 

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 

aloft. 

304 



A GULL AH GLOSSAL'} 

Gritch — grist, grits. 

Groun' — ground, land, piece of land. 

Gkumma — grandma. 

Grummole 

„ , y — "round-mole, lyround-moles. 

Grum'pa 1 

^ — grandpa, grandfather. 
Grum'puh 

Grunnot 

Grunnut I — groundnut, groundnuts, peanuts. (See 

J "pinduh"). 
GUBNUH — governor, governors. 

Gunjuh — the scalloped molasses cakes sold in Southern 
country stores and commissaries. 

Gwi' "1 

Gwine r Soivg, going to. 

Gwinin' en' gwinin' — goings and goings on. Usually char- 
acterizing the light conduct of idle or irresponsible 
persons. 

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. 

H 

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- 
nessing. 

Haant — haunt, haunts; apparition; ghost, ghosts. 

H'aa't — heart, hearts. 

* 

H'aa't' — hearth, hearths. 
Hap. — have, has. had. having. 
Hack'lus — Hercules. 

305 



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, 
desired, desiring. 

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- 
ing off. 

Head'um — get, gets, got, getting ahead of him, her, it, them. 

Hebby — heavy, great ; as : "uh hebby cumplain' " — a great 
outcry. 

He'lt'— health. 

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. 
Hine 

Historicuss — historic, historical. 

Hitch — hitch, hitches, hitched, hitching; also for marry, 
marrying. 

306 






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 

HUKKUH 

; 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. 

TTtt't 

„ , I — (n. and v.) hurt, hurts, hurting. 

Hot 

I 

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. 

J 
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 
objection. 

307 



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. 

JlMPSIN-WEED 1 

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"'). 

Jisso 

Jesso J - just so - (See " disso ")' 

Johossee — Jehossee — a rice-growing island of the South 
Carolina Coast. 

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- 
band. 

Juntlemun' nigguh — gentleman's Negro, meaning one who 
as a slave had belonged to people of position — the 
"quality." 

K 

'Kace — scarce. (See "sca'ce"). 

'Kacely— scarcely, hardly. (See "sca'cely"). 

308 



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, 
them. 

Ki — an exclamation. (Sometimes "kwi"' or "kwoy"). 

Kibbuh — (n. and v.) cover, covers, covered, covering. 

Kibbuhb'um — cover, covers, covered, covering him. her, it. 
them. 

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 

last. 
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 ") ; 

permit, permission. 
Lean fuh — lean for — set out for with haste and speed. 

'Leben 

'Leb'n J -eleven. 

Leddown — lay, lays, laid or lie, lies, lay, lying down. 
Leek — lick, licks, licked, licking — with the tongue. 

Leely 

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. 

LlAH 

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 

rapidly. 
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. 

310 



A GULLAI1 GLOSSARY 

'LlJAH 



-Elijah, the prophet. 
— likewise, also. 



'Lijuh 

"Lijun — religion. 

Likeso 

Likewise also 

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 
ground. 

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 
discontented Negro. 

'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, 
liking. 

Luk — like, alike. 

Lukkuh — like, like unto, resembling. 

Luk'um — like or resembling him, her. it. them. 

M 
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. 

311 




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 
"mammy." 

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, 
mortgaging. 

Mawnin' — morning, mornings; also "good morning!" 

Me — I, my. 

Mean — mean, meanness. 

Meddisin 

Med'sin I ~~ medicine, medicines, physic. 
j 

Medjuh — (n. and v.) measure, measures, measured, measur- 
ing. 

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. 

312 



A GULLAH GLOSSARY 

'Membuh — remember, remembers, remembered, remembering; 

remind, etc. 
'Memb'unce — remembrance, remembrances. 
Men' *e pace — mend his, her, its, their pace; hurry, hurry up, 

etc. 
Mens — men. 

Meself 

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. 

WIong 

'Moung | -among, amid. 

Mongk'y 1 

, y — monkey, monkeys. 
Monk y 

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. 

313 



THE BLACK BORDER 

Mo'ris' 1 

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. 

N 

Nakid "1 

tvt ™ >■ — naked. 
Nakit j 

Nakity — naked, nakedness. 

'Narruh — another. (See " 'nodduh" and '"norruh"). 

Navuh — neighbor, neighbors. 

Nebbuh — never. (See "nubbuh"). 

Needuh — neither. 

Needuhso — neither so, neither, nor. 

N'MIN' 

N'mine 

Nemmin' r — never mind. 

Nemmine 

NUMMINE 

Nepchune — Neptune. 

^ ES ' — ( n . and v.) nest, nests, nested, nesting. 

Newfanolety — newfangled. 

Newnited States — United States. 

314 



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"). 

NOMANNUS "1 

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. 

Nussuh "1 

Nusso J - not so - 

Nutt' n ' — nothing. 

Nyam — eat, eats, eating, ate; sometimes '•nyam-nvain." a 

repetition for emphasis. 
Nyankee — Yankee, Yankees. 
Nyoung 

nyung [ -y°« n ?- 

Nyoungis' — youngest. 

I — (n. and v.) use, uses. used, using. (Sec u/'n" i 

315 



THE BLACK BORDER 

Nyuze 

Nyuz'n r~ ( v -) used ' using. 

O 

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 ; 
overthrown. 

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. 

One'narruh 

One'nodduh 

One'nudduh 

One'nurbuh 

Onetime — once, once upon a time. 

Onhitch — unhitch, unhitches, unhitched, unhitching; also 
marital separation. 

Onkibbuh — uncover, uncovers, uncovered, uncovering. 

Onlock — unlock, unlocks, unlocked, unlocking. 

Onmannussubble — unmannerly, impolite, rude. (See "noman- 
nussubble"). 

316 



* — 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 
oysters. 

Oughtuh — ought, ought to, ought to be; as: "Man oughtuh 
t'engkful" — man ought to be thankful. 

Out 

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. 

P 

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. 

317 



THE BLACK BORDER 

Papuh — (n. and v.) paper, papers, papered, papering; also a 

written instrument, a note or letter. 
Parrysawl — parasol, parasols. 

Pashun 

Pashunt f — P atience ; patient, forbearing. 

Passobuh — Passover. 

Pass'um — pass, passes, passed, passing him, her, it, them. 

Pastuh — pastor, pastors ; pasture, pastures. 

Patty-auguh 

Petty-auguh I -P ir agua, pirogue. 

Pawpus — porpoise, porpoises. 

'Pawtun' 

'Portun' h -^Portant. 

J 
'Pawtunce ~) 
,_ y — importance. 

'PORTUNCE ^ 

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. 

Phoskit 1 

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, 

etc. 
'P'int — appoint, appoints, appointed, appointing. 

318 



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. 

splashing. 
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 ). 

POLITICUSS * 

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. 

Pooty "] 

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 . 

::i!» 



THE BLACK BORDER 

Pray — (n. and v.) prayer, prayers; prays, prayed, pray- 
ing. 

'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- 
ing. 

Proobe — prove, proves, proved, proving. 

Proputty — property, wealth. 

'Publikin — Kepublican. 

L — proceed, proceeds, proceeded, proceeding. 

PUSCEED 

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 
low-country Negroes. 

Puhlite — polite, politely. Also a popular Negro name, as 
"Mingo Puhlite." 

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 
Buckruh." 

Pun kin — pumpkin, pumpkins. 

Punkin-skin — pumpkin colored or mulatto Negro. 

Punnounce — pronounce, pronounces, pronounced, pronoun- 
cing. 

'PUNTOP " 

'Puntap I — upon, on, on top of. 

'Pantap 

'Puntop'uh — upon top of, on top of, at. 

Puppus — purpose, on purpose. 

Puss'n 

Pusson I — person, persons. 

Pussun 

Puss'nully 

Pussonully L —personally. 

PUSSUNULLY 

Pyazzuh — piazza, piazzas; porch, porches; veranda. 
Pyo' — pure, also fully, absolutely; as: "dv pyo' autt'n'! 

solutely nothing. 

Q 

'Quaintun' — acquainted, acquainted with. 
'Quaintunce — acquaintance, acquaintances. (See "acquaii 
tun'"). 

QUAKUIL "1 

n y — quarrel, quarrels. 

QUAWL ' 

Quarrilment \ uarrel quarr el Sl quarreled, quarrel] 

QUAYVLMENT 

323 



THE BLACK BORDER 

Quawt — quart, quarts. 
Quawt'ly — quarterly. 

Quawtuh — (n. and v.) quarter, quarters, quartered, quarter- 
ing. 
'Queeze — squeeze, squeezes, squeezed, squeezing. 



Queschun 

Squeschun 



.— (n. and v.) question, questions, questioned, 
questioning. Rarely used, "quizzit" taking its 
place. 
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). 

R 

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 
own states. 

Reb'ren' — reverend — used also as a noun, as "de reb'ren'." 

Recishun — decision, decisions. 

322 



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, 

etc. 
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. 

323 



THE BLACK BORDER 

Saa'bis — (also sarbis) service, services, use. 

Saa'ch — search, searches, searched, searching ; also examine, 

examined, etc. 
SaaV— soft. 
Saa'f'ly — softly. 

Saa'pint 

Saa'punt ^—serpent (Biblical). 



Saa't'n 
Sutt'n 



-certain. 

- — Savannah ; savanna, savannas. 



Sabannuh 

Sawannuh 

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. 

Sat'd'y 1 

„ y — Saturday. 

Sattyday j 

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. 

Sca'ce "1 

„ , y — scarce. 

Sca'ceful 

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. 

324 



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 
work. 
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- 
ing. 

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; 
ashamed. 

Shawt — short — "shawt-pashunt," short patience or Irritable, 
irritability. 

Shayre — share, shares, shared, sharing. 

325 



THE BLACK BORDER 

Shayre'um — share, shares, shared, sharing him, her, it, them. 

Also for shear, shears, sheared, shearing him, her, 

it, them. 
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. 

326 



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 
way. 

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 
suspected, suspecting. 

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. 

327 



THE BLACK BORDER 

Sperritual — spiritual, spirituals, the Negro religious songs. 

'Speriunce — experience, experiences, experienced, experienc- 
ing. 

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. 

Spo'tin' 

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; 
contest with. 

'Spute'n — disputing. 

Squayre — (also squay) square— also a parallelogram in a 
ricefield divided from other squares by irrigation 
ditches. 

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, 
looking. 

328 



A GULL AH GLOSSAL' V 

Stan' — a stand, stands; deer stands, etc. 

Stan'lukkuh — stand, stands, stood, standing like; to !>>'>k 
like, etc. 

Stan'sukkuh — stand same like unto, same meaning a> ">t;m'- 
lukkuh." 

'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 
meeting. 

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. 

Summuh 1 

y — summer, summers, summer-time. 

SUMMUHTIME 

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- 
lowing. 

Swalluhr'um— swallow, swallows, swallowed, swallowing 
him, her, it, them. 

Swawm — (n. and v.) swarm, swarms, swarmed, swarming. 

Sway' 1 

L — swear, swears, swore, swearing. 
Swayre 

Swaytogawd — swear to God. 
Sweeth'aa't — sweetheart, sweethearts. 

330 



A GULL AH GLOSSARY 

Svveetmout' — sweetmouth — blarney, flattery. 

Sweetmout' talk — soft talk <>f a philanderer with the 
gentler sex. 

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, 
etc. 

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") 

331 



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 
cure. 

Tek'eself — take, takes, took, taking himself, herself, itself, 
themselves. 

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' 
t'engky." 

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, 
etc. 

332 



A GULLAII GLOSSARY 

TENDTJH — tender. 
T'engkful — thankful. 

T'engk.'Gawd — thank God! — thank, thanks, thanked, thank- 
ing God. 
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, 

them. 
'Tettuh — potato, potatoes — usually sweet. (See "puhtettuh"). 
Tick— thick. 

'Tick — (n. and v.) stick, sticks, stuck, slicking. 
T'ickit — thicket, thickets. 
Tickluh— (n. and v.) particular, particulars. (See "puh- 

tickluh"). 
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 
speech. 
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. 

333 



THE BLACK BORDER 

TlTTIE 

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"). 

Tongue "] 

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. 

T'ous'n ] 

„, , y — thousand. 

Touz'n J 

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, 
threshed, etc. 

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. 

334 






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. 

T'row'way 

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. 
Tuh— to. 

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. 

stumping. 
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 
dering. 

335 



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. 

u 

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. 

Uhlly "1 

Yuhlly J -early. 

Um — him, her, it, them. 

Up tuh de notch — up to the notch — to the Queen's taste, 
perfect. 

Us — we, our. 

Use — use, uses, used, using ; also for game or cattle fre- 
quenting certain feeding grounds. (See "nyuse"). 

Use'n "1 

TT , L — used to be, in the habit of. 

Use-tuh — used to, accustomed to. 



A GULLAH GLOSSARY 
W 

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. 
Waddtjh 

Wary — weary. 

AYas'e — waste, wastes, wasted, wasting. 

Wash-up ] . . . .. . . 

„ K. — worship (religions). 

WUSH-UP ^ 

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"). 

337 






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. 

W'ICH ~1 

„,, , \- — which. 
Wich'n 

W'ich en' w'y — which and why — as : "W'ich en' w'y talk" — 
contradictory talk. 

Wickity 1 

y —wicked, wickedness. 

WlCKIT 

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, 

greeting. 
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. 

338 



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. 

Wuss 

Wus' f — worse > worst. 

Wussun — worse. 

Wut' — worth, is worth, was worth, etc. "Ent wut' ' — a d 

paraging characterization. 
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 

winged woodpecker. 
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"*). 

339 



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. 

Yo' "1 

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. 



340 



THE TAR BABY STORY 

AS TOLD BY COL. C. C. JONES AND 
JOEL CHANDLER HARRIS 



Buh Wolf. Buh Rabbit, and de Tar Baby 

Jones's Version 

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 

343 



i~ 



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 

344 



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. 



345 



The Wonderful Tar-Baby Story 

Harris's Version 

"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 
mawnin',' sezee. 

"Tar-Baby ain't sayin' nothin'. en Brer Fox, he lay low. 

" 'How duz yo' sym'tums seem ter segashuate?' sez Brer 
Rabbit, sezee. 

"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 
do,' sezee. 

"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. 

346 



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« 

:;4T 



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 
Fox, sezee. 

"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 
brier-patch,' sezee. 

" '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- 
patch,' sezee. 

"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." 



348 



31+77 -X