Armistead C. (Armistead Churchill) Gordon.

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BEFO' DE WAR



ECHOES IN NEGRO DIALECT



IN OLE VIRGINIA

MARSE CHAN, AND OTHER STORIES

BY

THOMAS NELSON PAGE



Including " Unc Edinburg's Drowndin \"

"Meh Lady," "Ole ^Stracted," "JVo

Haid Pawn , " and ' ' 'Polly "

Cloth, i2mo, $1.25



BEFO' DE WAR



ECHOES IN NEGRO DIALECT



BY

A. C. GORDON

AND

THOMAS NELSON PAGE



NEW YORK
CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS

1888
*



COPYRIGHT, 1888, BY
CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS



TROWS

PRINTING AND BOOKBINDING COMPANY,
NEW YORK.



THE MEMORY OF

IRWIN RUSSELL

WHO AWOKE THE
FIRST ECHO



CONTENTS.



Thomas Nelson Page.

PAGE

UNCLE GABE'S WHITE FOLKS, i

ZEKYL'S INFIDELITY, . . . . 17

ASHCAKE, ....... 89

LITTLE JACK, . . . . . . in

MARSE PHIL, . . . . . . 117

ONE MOURNER, . . . . . .127

A. C. Gordon.

NIGGER Twis', ...... 6

KYARLINA JIM, . . . . . .10

DE OLE 'OMAN AN' ME, . . . . .13

OLE LAUGHIN', . . . . .21

EBO, . ..'-., . . -25

DEPARTED LUCK, . . . . . .30

KREE, . . * . -34



VI CONTENTS.

PAGE

MINE OYSTER, . . . . . .38

POKE o' MOONSHINE, . . . . -43

THE LAMENT OF ORPHEUS, . . . .48

LOFTY AND LOWLY, . . . . -53

GOD KNOWS, . . . . . 56

VIRGINIA CREEPERS, . . . . .60

BEFORE THE PARTY, . . . -63

AT WHITEHALL, . . . . . -67

MARS' RODNEY'S HAT, . . . . .70

ANANIAS, ....... 75

DEAD, . . . . -79

FESTINA LENTE, . . . . . .83

JUCKS, ....... 86

ICHABOD, ....... 94

SIMEON, F'OM GEORGY, . . . . .98

DISAPPOINTMENT, . . . . . .102

To You, . . . . . .105

SWEET HOME, . . , . . .108

HOME AGAIN, . . . . .123



UNCLE GABE'S WHITE FOLKS.

SARVENT, Marster ! Yes, sah, dat's me

Ole Unc' Gabe's my name ;
I thankee, Marster, I'm 'bout, yo' see.

"An* de ole 'ooman?" She's much de same ,
Po'ly an* 'plainin', thank de Lord !
But de Marster's gwine ter come back from 'broad.

" Fine ole place ? " Yes, sah, 'tis so ;

An' mighty fine people my white folks war
But you ought ter V seen it years ago,

When de Marster an' de Mistis lived up dyah ;
When de niggers 'd stan' all roun' de do',

Like grains o' corn on de cornhouse flo'.

i



2 UNCLE G ABE'S WHITE FOLKS.

" Live mons'ous high ? " Yes, Marster, yes ;

Cut'n' onroyal 'n* gordly dash ;
Eat an' drink till you couldn' res'.

My folks war'n* none o' yo' po'-white-trash ;
Nor, sah, dey was ob high degree
Dis heah nigger am quality !

" Tell you 'bout 'em ?" You mus' 'a' hearn

'Bout my ole white folks, sho' !
I tell you, suh, dey was gre't an' stern ;
D* didn' have nuttin" at all to learn ;

D* knowed all dar was to know ;
GoF ober de' head an' onder dey feet ;
An* silber I dey sowed 't like folks sows wheat.

" Use ter be rich ? " Dat warn* de wud !

Jes' wallowed an' roll' in wealf.
Why, none o' my white folks ever stir'd

Ter lif a han' for d'self ;



UNCLE G ABE'S WHITE FOLKS.

De niggers use ter be stan'in' roun'

Jes' d' same ez leaves when dey fus' fall down ;

De stable-stalls up heah at home

Looked like teef in a fine-toof comb ;

De cattle was p'digious mus' tell de fac' !

An' de hogs mecked de hill-sides look like black ;

An' de flocks ob sheep was so gre't an' white

Dey 'peared like clouds on a moonshine night.

An' when my ole Mistis use' ter walk

Jes ter her kerridge (dat was fur

Ez ever she walked) I tell you, sir,
You could almos' heah her silk dress talk ;
Hit use' ter soun' like de mornin' breeze,
When it wakes an' rustles de Gre't House trees.
An' de Marster's face ! de Marster's face,

Whenever de Marster got right pleased
Well, I 'clar' ter Gord, 'twould shine wid grace

De same ez his countenance had been greased.
De cellar, too, had de bes' ob wine,



4 UNCLE G ABE'S WHITE FOLKS.

An' brandy, an' sperrits dat yo' could fine ;
An' ev'ything in dyah was stored,
'Skusin' de Glory of de Lord !

41 Warn' dyah a son ? " Yes, sah, you knows

He's de young Marster now ;
But we heah dat dey tooken he very clo'es

Ter pay what ole Marster owe ;
He's done been gone ten year, I s'pose.
But he's comin' back some day, of co'se ;
An' my ole 'ooman is aluz pyard,

An' meckin' de Blue-Room baid ;
An' ev'ry day dern sheets is ayard,

An' will be till she's daid ;
An' de styars she'll scour,

An' dat room she'll ten',

Ev'y blessed day dat de Lord do sen' !

What say, Marster ? Yo' say, you knows ?
He's young an' slender-like an' fyah ;



UNCLE G ABE'S WHITE FOLKS. 5

Better-lookin' 'n you, of co'se !

Hi ! you's he ? To' Gord, 'tis him !

Tis de very voice an' eyes an' hyah,
An' mouf an' smile, on'y yo' ain' so slim
I wonder whah whah's de ole 'ooman ?
Now let my soul

Depart in peace,
For I behol'
Dy glory, Lord ! I knowed you, chile

I knowed you soon's I see'd your face !
Whar has you been dis blessed while ?

Done come back an' buy de place ?

Oh, bless de Lord for all his grace !
De ravins shell hunger, an' shell not lack
De Marster, de young Marster's done come back !



NIGGER-TWIS'.

RIGHT hard work while it lasts dat's so

Worruming 'backer all day long ;
Miz'ry gits in yer back, you know,

Speshly dern what ain't so strong.
Dat's my fix. But it seems ter me

Ise paid fur it all when it cornes ter dis :
My long-stem pipe, little Jake on my knee,

An' my pocket chock full o' nigger-twis'.

"Corn-cob ?" Yes, sir. It ain't so fine
As dat 'hogany-colored one o' yourn ;

But I gits as much out o' dis o' mine
As de fines' one you ever did own.



NIGGER-TWIS*.

De juice all dries in de cob, you see
Dat's de philos'phy o' pipes like dis ;

An' a reed-root stem is de stem fur me,
An' de sweetes' 'backer is nigger-twis*.



Dem dar's cur'us things, sho' 'nuf

Dem little splinters what lights jes' so ;
Hit dey heads whar de box are rough

A sort o' hard an" away dey go !
I never liked 'em. It seems ter me

De devil's in 'em some way. An' dis
Is jes' as good an' as true, you see

A red-hot coal on de nigger twis'.

"Wouldn' I like a cigar?" you say.

No, sir, I thank you. Ise tried dem dar-
DifF rent, sir, as de night from day ;

Fur apart as a cuss an' pra'r ;



NIGGER-TWIS.

Hasn't no strength, it seems ter me :
Can't begin to compar' wid dis ;

Nothin' onder de sun can be

Sweet as a cob an' some nigger-twis'.



No dat nuther ! Well, I'll declar' !

Dat is de beatenes' Ise seed yet !
What is de name dat you call dat 'ar ?

Say it again, please ? " Cigarette ?"
Little Jake, what sets on my knee,

'Ud turn up his nose at a thing like dis ;
Ise gvvine ter teach him ter do like me,

An' suck de comfort from nigger-twis'.

Yes, dat's a fac' ! 'Tis a lux'ry, sho',

'Backer is, whatever you say.
Seems like I never wants nothin' mo',

'Ceptin' ter set down here dis way,



NIGGER-TWIS*.

Take little Jake up on my knee,
Have me a corn-cob pipe like dis,

Wid a stem as long as from you ter me,
An' a pocket chock full o' nigger-twis'.



KYARLINA JIM.

{Fisherman's Hut, Chesapeake Bay, 1876.)

WHEN you was here, some sixteen year

Or so aback, you says,
A darkey named Kyarlina Jim

He fished f om dis here place ?

Dat yonder's him Kyarlina Jim
On de bench dar by de do' ;

He have been ole an* weak an' biine
Sence dat long time ago.

Yes, dat's de way he spen's each day
O' de blessed year, 'dout fail ;

Wid face turned out'ards to'ds de Bay,
Like watchin' fur a sail.



KYARLINA JIM. II

Eben when clouds 'ull come in crowds,

An' beatin' win's 'ull blow,
He still keeps settin' pashunt dar

In his ole place by de do'.

An' de sweet sunlight, 'tis jes' like night

Ter po' Kyarlina Jim ;
He's weak an' bline, an' rain an ? shine

Is all de same ter him.

i
Dat chile you see dar on his knee,

She never fails ter come,
About dis time o' ev'ry day,

Ter fetch Kyarlina home.

I seldom cries ; but when my eyes

Lights on de chile an' Jim,
Dar's sumpin' sort o' makes me feel

Kind ter his gal an' him.



12 KYARLINA JIM.

Another chile he los', long while
Ago, Ise heerd him say,

Is out dar waitin' in a boat,
On de blue waves o' de Bay.

I 'spec's, beca'se o' what he says,
Dat chile he los' 'ull come

'Fo' long, jes' like dis here one does,
An' fetch Kyarlina home.



DE OLE 'OMAN AN' ME."

WE doesn't live as onst we did :
De grub's done struck a change ;

An* when I mentions ash-cake now,
My wife she thinks it strange.

She's got sot-up dese las' few years,
An' wheat-bread's all de go ;

But, somehow, seems I'd like ter tas'e
Some ask-cake-pone onst mo'.

De buttermilk has done give way

Ter tea an' coffee now ;
"An' possum-fat," she always says,

" Is low-flung grub, nohow ! "



14 "DE OLE 'OMAN AN' ME."

She doesn' ever foot it now,

Like how she used ter do ;
But drives my yaller mule ter town,

An' wushes he was two !

She hasn' had a homespun coat

For many a long day,
But w'ars de fines' sort o' clo'es,

Made jes' de white folks' way.

She doesn' call me "Ichabod,"
Or " Ich," or " Ole Fool," now ;

An' ef I mentioned " Anniky,"
'T 'ud sartin raise a row.

Tis "Mister Brown " an' "Mistis Brown,"

Ontwel it seems ter me
We's done gone changed our nat'rei selves

F'om what we used ter be.



"DE OLE 'OMAN AN"* ME." 1 5

I know, beca'se as how Ise tried

An' never seed it gee,
It's awful hard ter teach new tricks

Ter ole dogs sich as me.

Dat broad-clof coat she made me buy,

It don't feel half so good
As dat ole jeans I used ter w'ar

A-cuttin' Marster's wood.

An' beefsteak ain't for sich as me,

Instid o' possum-fat ;
An' " Mister Brown " ain't " Ichabod "

I can't git over dat !

So Mistis Brown may go ter town,

A drivin' o' dat mule,
Jes' when she likes ; but, sartin sho',

/ ain't gwi' play de fool !



1 6 " DE OLE 'OMAN A IV' ME."

An' as fur her insistin' how
Dat I should try ter learn

Dem A B C's de chillun reads
Tis no consarn o' her'n.

I doesn' keer what grub she eats,
Or what she calls herself,

Or ef she has a bofy now
'Stid o' a cubbud-shelf ;

I doesn' keer how fine her clo'es,
May be, or what's de style

I'm able fur ter pay fur dat,
An' has been so some while.

Dar's only one o' all her ways
Gits over me fur sho'

I p'int'ly hones fur possum-fat
An' ash-cake-pone onst mo'



ZEKYL'S INFIDELITY.

MISTIS, I r'al'y wish you'd hole

A little conversation
Wid my old Zekyl 'bout his soul.

Dat nigger's sitiwation
Is mons'us serious, 'deed 'n' 'tis,
'Skusin' he change dat co'se o' his.

Dat evil sinner's sot he face

Gin ev'y wud I know ;
Br'er Gabrul say, he's fell from grace,

An' Hell is got him sho'.

He don' believe in sperits,
'Skusin' 'tis out a jug !



1 8 ZEKYVS INFIDELITY.

Say 'tain' got no mo* merits
Den a ole half-cured lug ;
'N' dat white cat I see right late,
One evelin' nigh de grave-yard gate,
Warn' nuttin' sep some ole cat whar
Wuz sot on suppin' off old hyah.

He 'oont allow a rooster,

By crowin' in folks' do',
Kin bring death dyah ; and useter

Say, he wish mine would crow.
An' he even say, a hin mout try,
Sep women-folks would git so spry,
An' want to stick deeselves up den,
An' try to crow over de men.

Say 'tain' no good in preachin' ;

Dat niggers is sich fools
Don' know no mo' 'bout teachin*

'N white folks does 'bout mules ;



ZEKYi:S INFIDELITY. 19

An' when br'er Gabrul's hollered tell
You mos' kin see right into Hell,
An' rambled Scriptures fit to bus',
Dat hard-mouf nigger's wus an' wus.

Say quality (dis is mainer

'N all Ise told you yit)
Says 'tain' no better 'n 'arf-strainer ;

An' dat his master'll git

Good place in Heaven po' white folks, mark !
As y'all whar come right out de ark ;
An' dat now jes' heah dis ! dat he,
A po'-white-folks' nigger's good as me !

He's gwine straight to de deble !

An' sarve him jes' right, too !
He's a outdacious rebel,

Arter all Ise done do !
Ise sweat an' arguified an' blowed

Over dat black nigger mo'



20 ZEKYVS INFIDELITY.

'N would 'a' teck a c'nal-boat load
Over to Canyan sho' !

Ise tried refection 'twarn' no whar !
Ise wrastled wid de Lord in- pra'r ;
Ise quoiled tell I wuz mos' daid ;
Ise th'owed de spider at his haid
But he ole haid 'twuz so thick th'oo
Hit bus' my skillit spang in two.

You kin dye black hyah an' meek it light ;
You kin tu'n de Ethiope's spots to white ;
You mout grow two or three cubits bigger
But you carn't onchange a po'-white-folks' nigger.
When you's dwellin' on golden harps an' chunes,
A po'-white-folks' nigger's thinkin' 'bout coons ;
An' when you's snifflin' de heaven'y blossoms,
A po'-white-folks' nigger's studyin' 'bout possums.



OLE LAUGHIN'.

WHEN I was a boy in Ferginyer,

At de plantation down on de Jeems,
Years aback To' de war kim, an' freedom -

What a long time ago it all seems!
My Marster he owned an ole nigger

Dat de white folks, beca'se o' his mouf,
Never called nothin' 'ceptin' "Ole Laughin',"

Down dar in de Souf.

He had de mos' cur'uses' notions

'Bout jokin' an 1 havin' o' fun ;
An' dar wasn't no stoppin' dat darkey,

Ef ever he onst had begun.



22 OLE LAUGHIN\

Ise seed him like bustin' his weskit
A-laughin' at things dat most folk

Spite o' whatever funny he foun' dar
Never 'sidered a joke.

He would laugh when his chillun was cryin',

He would laugh when de cryin' was done ;
Seems like evvything struck him ridic'l'us

Dat de Lord has made onder de sun ;
An' whatever frolic dar happened

'Mongst de darkeys, ef Laughin' warn't dar
Things mos'ly went on purty solemn

For dey missed him, I 'clar'.

Ise seed folk whose laughin' was hurtin',
Seemin' like it was scornful some way ;

But his'n warn't dat sort o' music
As diffrent as night-time f'om day.



OLE LAUGHIN\

When he opened dem jaw-bones o' his'n

An' let it all out in one ro',
Evvybody what heerd him laughed wid him

An' wanted some mo'.



Laughin' seemed ter take life sort o' cur'us,

For I never did know him ter cry ;
But sometimes Ise noticed a misty

Sort o' sorrowful look in his eye.
Ole Marster he said : " A philos'pher

Ole Laughin' is, sartin an' sho' ;
He looks on de bright side o' all things,

An' who can do mo' ? "



When Marster got sick, an' deceasded,
An' de coffin sot dar on de groun

By de grave, all de plantation darkeys
Kim weepin' an' moanin' aroun' ;



24 OLE LAUGHING

An' Laughin' was dar, but de devil,
In spite o' de grief in his face,

Seemed ter have a grip on him as usual,
Eben dar at dat place

For when, arter de words, " Dus' ter ashes !

De Preacher stood silent in pra'r,
Ole Laughin' he 'rupted de silence

Wid his reg'lar music, I 'clar * !
But he didn' live long arter Marster,

An' he died wid a smile on his rnouf :
Dey bofe on 'em sleeps in Ferginyer,

Down dar in de Souf.



EBO.

ALL o' dese here doin's

Don't suit me ;
Ise an ole-time nigger

Don't you see ?

Dis here eddication's

Humbug, sho' ;
It's done played de devil

Wid Ebo.

Somewhar 'bout lars' summer,

Dicey she
Tuk 'n' struck a notion

Don't you see ?



26 EBO.

Says she : " Ise been thinkin'."

An' I says :
" Whatjw* done thunk, honey ?"

Says she : " Yes,

"Ise been thinkin' mons'ous

'Bout Ebo ;
He's fo'teen year ole now

Don't you know ? "

S'l : " Ole 'oman, you is

Right, I 'spec' ;
Dar's fo'teen he kim fus'

Dat's kerrec' ! "

Says she : " He's a-growin'

Up a fool ;
An' Ise gwine ter sen' him

Ter de school."



EB O. 27

Bein's how it looked like

She was bent
On de projick, Ebo

Tuk V went.

An' sence dat lars' summer

Don't you see ?
Dat 'ar boy have p'int'ly

Outdone me !

Whe-ew ! de norrations,

Dem o' his'n !
Umph ! I 'busses latighin'

Jes* ter lissen !

What you think dat Ebo

Come tell me ?
Dat all dis here y'arth here

Flat, you see



28 EBO.

Dat it's roun', an' rolls jes'

Like a ball !
" Ebo, dat's a lie," I

Says, " dat's all !

" Don't you see yer Mammy,

Evvy night,
Set de water-piggin

Out o' sight

" Ob you chillun, up dar

On de shelf ?
Now, Mars' Spellin'-booker,

'Splain yerself

" Sunrise, dat 'ar water's

In dar still ;
Ef de y'arth turned over,

It f ud spill ! "



EBO.

But he keeps resistin'

It are so
Eddication's done gone

Sp'ilt Ebo.

He's forever tellin'

Some sich lie ;
He's gwi' fine out better

By-um-by.

Ef Ebo keeps 1'arnin'

At dat school,
Nex' thing, he'll be provin'

Ise a fool !

I are p'int'ly gwine ter

Take Ebo
Way f'om dat ar school-'ouse,

Sartin sho' !



DEPARTED LUCK.

JOHN, put one mo' stick on de harf. Jes' one ?

Well, lay it on ;
An' den we'll freeze afo' we starve, beca'se de

bread's all gone.
My trem'lin' lim's won't hole out long ; an' what's

de use ter pray ?
Lord, pity dese po' niggers who has gin dere luck

away !

You's been too sick ter do a bit o' work sence dat

'ar time
I started down ter Denny's store, an' foun' dat silber

dime



DEPARTED LUCK. 3 1

Jes' in de turnin' o' de road ; an', like a fool dat day,
Instid o' keepin' it, I tuk an' gin my luck away.

John, don't you 'member, long ago, when little Bill

was born,
We worked down at de Edgeworth place, amongst

ole Marster's corn ?
De eatin's dat we used ter have, an' not a cent ter

pay
Dat time when we was never 'feard ter give our

luck away ?

A little while aback, when you was layin' moanin*

dar,
I kep' a-thinkin' o' dem days, an' tried ter turn ter

pra'r ;
But, somehow, evvy bit o' pra'r dis w'ared-out mouf

could say
Was, " Lord, for dat 'ar time, afo' I gin my luck

away ! "



32 DEPARTED LUCK.

An' den it seemed like, sho' enuf, it had come back

onst mo'
Seemed like I seed Miss Ellen dar, a-standin* in

de do',
Jes' like as how she used ter come each Chris'mus,

wid a tray
O' Chris'mus things, long, long afo' I gin my luck

away.



Seemed like I heerd de music dat de white folks

always had
Up at de Gre't House, Chris'mus-time, when evvy

soul was glad ;
Seemed like a gre't big fyer burned here on de harf,

some way ;
I thought we never had been po', an' gin our luck

away.



DEPARTED LUCK. 33

An* you was settin' over dar, an' Bill was on de flo',
A playin' like he used ter play in dat long time

ago;
But den de cole gript on me, an' de dream it wud-

den stay :
We're weak an' starvin', John, beca'se I gin my luck

away.

But take it easy, John ! I know we never is gwi'

see
Sich days as dem ag'in ; 'fo' long dey'll bury you

an' me.
Bread gone, de little stick burnt out ; de embers

gittin' gray
Lord, fetch us whar we never mo' can give our

luck away !
3



KREE.

MY boy Kree ?
He played wid you when you was a chile ?

You an' he

Growed up tergether ? Wait ! Lemme see !
Closer ! so I can look in yer face !

Mars' George's smile !

Lord love you, Marster !
Dar 'neaf dat cypress is whar Kree lays.

Sunburnt an' grown !

Mars' George, I shudden ha' knowed you, son,
'Count o' de beard dat yer face has on,
But for dat ole-time smile o' your'n



KREE. 35

" An' Kree ? " you say.
Hadn't you heerd, Marster,
He 'ceasded de year dat you went away ?

Kree an' you !

How de ole times comes back onst mo*
Moonlight fishin's, an' hyars in de sno';

Squirrels an' jaybirds up overhead,
In de oak-trees dat de sun shined through !

Look at me, Marster !
Here is me livin' ; an' Kree, he's dead.

'Pears ter me strange

Now, when I thinks on 'em, dose ole years:
Mars' George, sometimes de b'ilin' tears

Fills up my eyes,
'Count o' de mizery now, an' de change

De sun dims, Marster,
Ter an ole man, when his one boy dies.



36 KREE.

Did you say " How ? "
Out in de dug-out, one moonshine night,

Fishin' wid your baby brother he
Wid de curls o' yaller, like streaks o' light,
An' de dancin' big blue eyes. Dead, now-
Kree died for him ;
An' yearnin' for Kree,
De Lord tuk him, Marster :
De green grass kivers 'em bofe f'om sight.



Heerd o' de tale ?

Didn' know Kree was de one dat drowned
Savin' Mars' Charley ? Well, 'twere he.
De boy waxed weaker, his face mo' pale,
Arter de corpse o' poor Kree were found.

Two months later he went, you see :
God bless you, Marster !
Nine years has rolled over bofe onder ground.



KREE. 37

Worn out an' gray,
Here I sets waitin', Mars' George, alone.

All on 'em's gone
Marster an' Mistis, an' Charley an' he.
You an' me only is lef. Some day,
When you's gone back ter yer ship on de sea,

I'll hear him say,
Jes' as he used ter, a-fishin', ter me :

" Daddy, come over ! " An' passin' away,
Dat side de river, again I'll be

Wid my boy Kree.



"MINE OYSTER."

No, it never did agree wid de likes o' dis here nig-
ger,
For de a'r is sort o' stiflin' twix' dese mountains,

Eas' an' Wes' ;
Evvy blessed year I lives here, seems dese hills is

growin' bigger

Ter de miz'ry in my knee-j'ints an' de trouble in
my ches'.

Ise a Tuckahoe Ferginyan f'om Tide-water of Fer-

ginyer,

Whar de oshters am delishus an' de fish is hard ter
beat ;



" MINE OYSTER." 39

Lord, I hasn' seed an oshter, in de time dat I has

been here,

Dat dis nigger have cornsidered fittin' any ways
ter eat.



Dey fetches 'em in cans up, dese here railroad sojer-

fellows,
An' it takes a good day's workin' ter perkure an

oshter-stew.
Dese ain't nothin' but runt-oshters ; yet de reste-

ranters tell us

Dat dey come f'om Mobjack Bay, sir. Pshaw !
I know dat can't be true !

I lived down dar myself onst, an' I think I 1'arnt de

fashion

O' dem oshters in dat water shape, an' size, an'
ta'se, an' all ;



4 "MINE OYSTEK."

Dis here darkey may be ign'ant, an' widout no ed-

dication,

But a Mobjack oshter p'int'ly is beknownst ter
Uncle Saul.



You may brag o' roasted possum an' de glories o'

hog-killin',
You can 'numerate de hom'ny, you can shout de

ole ash-cake ;
But one dish o' Mobjack oshters, an* ole Saul is

p'int'ly willin'

Ter denounce de other eatin's for de Mobjack
oshters' sake !

Umph ! dis mouf o' mine jes' waters at de thought

o' dem dar critters

Fried, an' baked, an' stewed, an' raw ones how
we 'stroyed 'em down dar ;



"MINE OYSTER." 4 1

Soft as mush, an* f arly better dan merlasses on yer

fritters

But de glory am departed, an' dem oshters ain't
nowhar !



I have trabbled through Ferginyer sence Mars'

Linkum sont de freedom ;
I have cotch 'em, an' I've eat 'em, Norf an' Souf

an' Eas' an' Wes'.
Oh, dey's prime at Glorster P'int ; dar it's mighty

hard ter beat 'em ;

But de oshters fo'm ole Mobjack am de sugares'
an' bes'.

It is seben year, an' ober, sence I 'zided in dat sec-
tion,

An' I'm 'feared dis hilly Valley 'ull lay on me when
I die;



42 "MINE OYSTER."

But I holds de ole Tide-water in my warmes' ree-

collection,

An' I'd like ter slip down dar onst mo' an' make
dem oshters fly.

I would like ter eat dem oshters 'twel I perish jes'

f'om eatin' ;
Dat's de kind o' death dat seems like it 'ud suit

yer Uncle Saul.
Yes, I'd ruther go dat way, sir, dan ter drap down

dead in meetin' ;

Fur ter die f'om eatin' oshters is de sweetes'
death o' all.



POKE O' MOONSHINE.

MOONSHINE ? Yes, sir,
Right smart ahead ;

Ten mile, at bes', sir.

Git down an' res', sir,

Outen de rain.
Onder dat shed

Is a good place ter tie him,

Or Joe can stan' by him
'Twel you's ready ter set out again.

" Know Poke o' Moonshine ? "
Yes, sir, I does.

Marster, you won't fine
Many o' his kine



44 POKE O* MOONSHINE.

'Roun' dis here way!
Much as he was

Sence I remember;

Ole John's December
Is haler dan inos' folkses' May.

Moonshine ? Played out !
When dey was rich,

'Twas widout doubt
De fines' about
Pictur's an' things,

Flowers an' sich

All sorts o' doin's :
Now it's in ruins

But dat's what war gen'ully brings.

Moonshine 'bout den
'Longed ter Mars' Sidney.
All o' de men
O' dat family's been



POKE O' MOONSHINE. 45

Purty good grit
Folks o' fine kidney ;

So, when de war kim,

Nothin' could bender him
But what he mus' go inter it.

John Poke, o' co'se,
Went in dar, too ;

Mis' Agnes stays

Home, jes' beca'se

Wimen can't b'ar
What men goes through

Lovely an' young she were,

When Mars' Sid went f'om her
Ter be shot in dat turrible war.

Home kim John Poke
Wid de lad dead :

" In all de smoke

An' de fightin' he spoke



46 POKE O' MOONSHINE.,

Ter me only," says he,

" An' here's what he said :

'John, take good keer o' her
Guard de welfare o' her

Ef death comes betwix' her an' me.' "

All dese here years
John Poke have been

True ter dem tears.

Moonshine affairs

Mars' Sid' lef bad ;
John's been a frien'

So he has keered fur her,

What he's had, spared fur her,


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Online LibraryArmistead C. (Armistead Churchill) GordonBefo' de war: echoes in Negro dialect → online text (page 1 of 3)