victuals. I 's starvin'. Crawlin' an' hid'n', an' nuifin'
tu keep de life in me but sasafrax root 'n' whuskey.
Gabr'ella gone back on me. Mam Gunn won' he'p
none. I kyan' move in de daytime 'daout de officers
haul me back tu de chain-gang."
" Naw, Gabr'ella ain' gone back on yo' neider."
Josephus opened his parcel. " Heah I been totin'
dis-yer meat 'n* co'n bread she done sont yo' â€”
'pears like I kyan' b'leeb yo' no kin tu her no-
way. Ef 'twain' fo' her I 'd sen' de she'iff a'ter
yo'. Sho nuff, yo' gwine kill de lady, heav'n*
rocks daoun on her haid?" The poor creature
clutched at the meat, and began tearing it with
his teeth. Josephus seated himself on a boulder,
watching him in silence. " I 's baoun' tu git de
troof aout'n yo'," he said at last, "or gib yo' up,
one. What-all yo' been duin' sence yo' git shet
o' de chain-gang? Wha' fo' yo' kill de ol' 'oman
yandah up de maount'n?"
Pete paused with his chunk of meat half-devoured.
" Wha' fo' yo' talkin' 'baouts kill'n' foh ? Ain' I done
tell yo' I nebber did n' kill nobody?"
Josephus' Secret 115
** Whose clo'es yo* got on? "
" His'n. Hi. Toplins 's wha' I wo'k fo' ; dat time
de officers come daoun on us. I roll off'n de han'-
cah, 'n' cut fo* de bresh when all han's was driben de
cah ontu de bredge. De ovahseeah holla an' shoot,
but dey could n' stop de cah ontwell hit cl'ar on de
middle o' de bredge, en dey baoun' tu git on, 'case
de train comin' on 'hine dem. Dat-a-way hu-come
I git shet o' de chain-gang. I been nigh daid wid
de starvin', kyan' take nuffin' 'daout dey track me.
I jes' made aout tu lib an' crawl back tu Toplins'
place 'g'in. De ol' 'oman she daoun by de branch
washin*, an' I he'p myself tu all de victuals in de
cabin, an' I see her haid a-bobbin' ovah de tub, an'
de ol' man's clo'es hangin' 'hine de do' an' I tuk
his'n an' lef mine dar. Dat-a-way hu-cum I got
shet o' de jail clo'es." He began tearing at the
*' Mine, ef yo' 's lyin* I 's gwine gib yo' up."
" Fo' de Lawd, I ain* tellin' no lie. I done went
home, an' Nance, she kep' me awhile, twell Kit, she
see de officers comin', den I run 'n clum in de wash-
kittle daoun 'hine de big gum, 'n' Nance, she wait
twell she see 'em lookin' at her, den she pitch in
hul' ahmful o' clo'es, an' trow in bucket o' watah,
like she gwine begin wash'n', 'nd holla, ' Kit, yo'
light de fiah,' an' Kit she git de chips tugedder like
she gwine light de fiah undah de kittle right smaht,
an' Nance she g' long tu de haouse, an' talk wid de
men. Dey sarch de haouse, an' pitch de baids aout
de do* 'n' cahy on like dey debbles, an' Nance 'low tu
me, dey done tol' her I done kill ol' man Toplins'
wife yandah up de maount'n. Mo' likely he done
1 1 6 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads
hit he's own se'f. I knows him. I hyearn him holla
at her heap o' times like he gwine kill 'er."
" Yo' knows he ain' dar. Dey tu'k him 'long
o' yo'-uns moonshinin', and put 'im in de white
" Huh ! He ain' dar? " shouted the wretch, angrily.
*' Did n' I see 'im snoopin' raoun' de mill yis'day?
Gohses doan walk in de day, baig'in' fo' whuskey.
He kill 'er he's se'f. He come home, an' dar he
fin' de clo'es gone, an* 'low she done sell 'em, an'
kill 'er. Dat ar hu-cum she daid." He gave a low
guttural laugh, and began tearing the bread from
the loaf with his teeth. Josephus kicked at him, and
stepped out of the cave into the moonlight.
** Yo' brute hog, I 'low dat tu good name fo' yo'.
I 'low yo* ain' no kin tu Gabr'ella noway."
The man called after him piteously: "Josephus,
O Josephus, doan gib me up. I tell yo' he done
hit he's own se'f."
*' Haish ! Yo' gwine gib yo' own se'f up holla'n*
like dat-a-way? "
There was sudden silence in the woods, then a
great owl in a thicket close to Josephus hooted with
a wild fearful cry, that rang through the wood like
the shriek of a despairing soul, making the flesh
creep and tingle. " Trouble gwine come," he mut-
tered. The cry was answered from farther up the
gorge, like a reawakening of the first echo, whereat
the bird left the thicket, and flew softly and swiftly
past him, like the despairing soul itself impelled to
its doom. Its shadow fell on him as it passed.
"â– 'Pears like Pete done holla an' died, an' dar goes
he's ghos*. Trouble gwine come now sho." But
Josephus' Secret 1 1 7
Pete had only crawled into the farthest corner of
the cave, and was drinking from a jug of whiskey he
had stolen from the mill the day before. There in
drunken stupor he lay, only rousing at the close of
the second day to drink himself again unconscious
with what remained in the jug.
Josephus hurried toward the little log church,
scrambling dexterously over rough, dangerous
places, and cutting across an intervening hill, and
down the precipitous sides of the gorge, hoping to
reach the cabin before his absence would be dis-
covered. All was still, and the lights out.
** 'Pears like dey done cl'ar out o' heah mighty
suddent," he said. He saw the mule lying where he
had tied it, and gently touched it with his foot.
" Git up. Bony, yo* lazy. H'ist, mule." Something
uncanny in its stillness startled him. He stooped
and touched its ears. *' Daid, sho nuff daid. I
knowed trouble gwine come when dat owel done
hollah at me." He scratched his head, ruminating
mournfully, as he walked around the dead beast.
*' Dey done come daoun heah, an' broke up de
meet'n', 'an kill de po' critter."
He sat down on a log, his head between his hands,
his pride broken. If they had sought out a way to
hurt him with a refinement of cruelty, they could not
have done so more effectually than by killing his
mule, except by shooting its mate as well. He heard
the trampling of horses' hoofs over the stony trail.
Screened as he was by his blackness blending with
the dark bank and the shadows, he remained unseen
as the four riders passed. Their voices sounded
clear and strong in the narrow ravine.
1 1 8 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads
" I 'low we 've done this puty slick," said one.
" We '11 know soon, ef we see th' buzzards hangin'
round th' spot," said another. Supposing they
spoke of his mule, Josephus determined to bury
the animal next day.
Old Clarissa had waited his return through the long
slow hours, meditating, smoking her cob pipe, and
now and then adding a stick of " light-'ud " to keep
the fire going as she crouched over the hearth.
She hated darkness, and the dancing flame and
old lame pussy at her feet were her companions.
" Whar yo' been loafin' ? " she queried as he
entered, long past midnight.
'' Nowhar," he said, scowling and touching the
cat with his foot.
" Yo' leab de cat 'lone. Is yo' niggers been
hol'n' meetin's? did n' I tol' yo' leab dem ah tu de
white folkses? Dey'll hab yo' hangin' f'om a tree
one o' dese days, I reckon."
He stood by the fire a few moments in sullen
silence, then climbed a ladder leading through a
trap-door into a loft above. She heard his steps
overhead, and then all was still. He had thrown
himself, dressed as he was, on his straw bed, de-
cently covered with patchwork quilt of his mother's
Old Clarissa puffed at her half-consumed pipe
until it went out. She moved her lips from time to
time as if communing with herself. At last the words
broke out in a sort of half-moaning prayer : â€”
" Oh, Lawd ! doan yo' know de h'a't ob de sor-
rowin' Lawd? I ain' done nuffin', Lawd. Yo' knows
hu-come I done hit, Ef yo' visits de sins ob de
Josephus^ Secret 119
fathahs on de chillen, ain' dat nuff, Lawd, 'daout
visitin' de sins ob de mudders on 'em tu? Lawd,
leab de boy 'lone, an' tek he's ol' niudder 'way fom
de trials an' de tribulations comin'. Leab de boy
'lone. Lawd, I done ax yo' heap o' times tek ol'
Cl'issy home. Kyan' I go home, Lawd? Hu-come
yo' leab me heah in de way? I ain' done nuffin'.
Tek me an' leab de boy 'lone."
She drew the ashes over the coals, and crept
shivering into bed. Not into the best bed with its
gay pieced cover and pure white pillows, â€” no, no.
That was a sacred ornament to her little cabin.
Only one being had ever slept in it. She, like an
angel from heaven, had come among them, lived
among them, and brought on herself the contumely
of her white neighbors by teaching the blacks;
but while they ostracized and ignored her, she was
saved from brutality by her sw^eetness and beauty
and physical frailty. During a few short years,
what had she not accomplished, unrewarded, as
men reckon rewards ! She had brought a measure
of refinement into a few^ degraded homes, had
taught day school and night school, had organized
a Sabbath school, and had taught Gabriella Gunn to
play her little cabinet organ, which she bequeathed
to their little church at her death. Lovingly she
had been laid to rest on the wild hillside, and a
rude board placed at the head of her grave, which
had been fenced about to prevent stray cattle from
tramping over it.
Mammy Clarissa never w^earied of telling how
Miss Mann had slept in her " bes' baid dat time
she got cotched in de sto'm o' lightnin',"
I 20 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads
In the earliest dawn Josephus climbed down his
ladder, softly stepping past his mother's couch,
and gently drawing to the door after him. He
rode away from the little clearing on old Jude's
back with a shovel and pick strapped together over
his shoulder. The earth smiled drowsily under the
charm of a sweet May dawn, but he felt none of
the sweetness. He set his teeth hard as he dug-
his heels into the mule's sides and galloped up
and down the mountain road, through patches of
slanting shadows, and under boughs still dripping
from a slight shower.
" Dey ain' gwine kick me dat-a-way," he muttered.
*' I 's hab anuddah mule right smaht, I reckon."
After covering the carcass of poor Bonaparte,
and concealing the place with brush, he rode on.
A cat-bird whistled merrily in a thicket of dogwood
and oaks ; the breath of the morning blew in his
face, sweet with the odor of blossoms and the earth,
but he rode sulkily with head drooped. Presently
he drew an old stocking from his bosom and began
counting his little hoard of savings, mostly dimes,
three-cent pieces, and pennies, with one or two bills
which he had earned doing odd jobs for Mr. Ridge-
way and the two young planters. Suddenly he
drew rein so quickly as to set Jude back on her
haunches. His face expanded. He lifted his head
and drew in a deep breath.
" I 's gwine see Mist' Button 'n' Mist' Craig," he
said. " I 'low dey '11 le' me job fo' de money. Git
up, Jude, yo' 's gwine hab nurrer mate right smaht.
I 'low Gabr'ella sha'n't know dis-yer ontwell I
come clatt'n' 'long wid de span. Git."
Josephus' Secret 121
He turned and took another trail, which led over
an intervening hill into a sheltered valley, where the
soil was deep and enriched by washings from the
surrounding slopes. Here the young orchard was
set, and its thrifty owners were already on the edge
of the plantation preparing for a day's cultivating.
" I tell you there is something at the bottom of
all this," said Richard, as he buckled the horses'
head-strap. " I rode by Throop's mill yesterday,
and if I did n't see old Toplins disappear through
the shed door I have no eyesight. I knew his
limp. If he's been discharged, what's he hiding
for? Why doesn't he walk up and make a stir
about the murder? The old sinner is back in the
old business, or else he knows more of the other
affair than is safe for him."
*' Both, more than likely," said Craig.
" Well, what 's to be done about it ? "
"Nothing. Let them manage their own concerns.
I see no reason why we should meddle. Pete 's a
low-down nigger anyway, so what's the odds? If
he gets lynched now it may save him from commit-
ting a murder in the future, if he did n't do this."
Richard laughed. ** Your idea of justice is on
a par with Lord Chesterfield's idea of religion.
* He's baoun' tu be 'ligious, 'case de niggers heah-
'bouts doan know no bettah nohow. Dey'll t'ink
he a bohned fool ef he doan holla glory hallelooya
tu de meet'n's.' â€” Hello, Josephus, where did you
drop from? "
" How'dy, Mist' Button, how'dy. Mist' Craig."
Josephus made his most deferential bow. " I jes'
thought as haow I'd drap raoun' heah dis maw'n â€” "
I 2 2 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads
He hesitated, then throwing himself off Jude's back
he took a step nearer. " Is yo'-uns been intu Pat-
terson sence las' ebenin' ? " he dropped his voice to
a low tone.
" No. Why do you ask? "
" Dey done been up tu some debblement, I 'low.
Some fool debble done kill my mule." His voice
shook. *' Dey kyan' kick me dat-a-way. I 's gwine
git de law on 'em. I 's gwine â€” "
"Where was the mule ? " interrupted Dick.
*' Yandah by de log chu'ch in de hollah. I 's
gwine â€” "
** How did he come to be there?" said Craig,
impatiently. " When was it ? "
** I done rode 'im dar."
" What were you doing there?"
Josephus looked off over the treetops in an absent
*' What are you niggers up to ? " Craig spoke
" Dar's de chu'ch. We cullud people all goes tu
chu'ch right smaht."
" Yes, you colored people are a right smart set.
You 've been holding political meetings right smart,
and I opine you '11 some of you be swinging from
the trees in Patterson with ropes round your necks
right smart too, before you know it."
Josephus' face grew, if possible, a shade darker
than its wont. Richard spoke up with a short
laugh. " Why don't you put a bullet into some o*
their mules? "
*' Richard, you know better than to give such ad-
vice as that. I tell you, Josephus, you fellows have
Josephus' Secret 123
got to keep quiet. There 's no use in your holding
meetings and trying to get into pohtics ; you must
wait till the South cools off. They 're red hot yet
from the licking they've had. You keep still and
wait and educate yourselves. Get ready to vote
by learning to read and write and think, and
then â€” "
'*Lawd! Mist' Craig, what's yo' talkin' 'bout?
We ain' no skyule o' ouh own. Ouh chillun ain'
'lowed in de white folkses' skyule. Dar ain' five
niggahs in dis-yer county kin read 'nd figgah. Git
de ed'caishun ! Ef we kyan' git de law fo' we-uns, hu-
come we gwine git de ed'caishun? "
Richard, seated on a stump, was pounding a sap-
ling twig with the handle of his knife. His was one
of those rare natures that never outlive their boy-
hood. He was making a whistle. " Jim," he said,
looking up in his friend's face, *' I tell you what I
think. I think this whole business is darned mean.
It 's low-down mean." The bark came off with a
quick jerk. He looked at it, and turned it over in
his hand meditatively. " You wanted something
of us, didn't you, Joe? Out with it, don't mind
him. Craig barks; he never bites. I'm the fel-
low that bites."
Josephus' heart was too heavy. He could not
smile. " I 's baoun' tu git nurrer mule," he hesi-
tated. The young men were silent. Richard kept
on whittling. ''I â€” I â€” come raoun' tu ax yo'-
uns fo' de loan o' de money. I 'low I kin git
right smaht o' jobbin' f'om Mist' Ridgeway, and
dar's young Mist' Mahshall come back 'g'in, I
'low he '11 he'p some, an' I done save a right smaht
1 24 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads
o' money heah." He drew the stocking from his
** Well, how much have you there?" said Craig.
Josephus poured the money into his red cotton
handkerchief and began laboriously counting it.
''Heah's eight dollahs."
** I guess there 's more than that," said Craig,
stooping down and separating the coins with one
finger. " Eight dollars and seventy-five cents."
Josephus took a silver quarter from his trousers'
pocket, adding it to the heap. It had a hole in it,
and he was saving it for luck. "Dar's nine dol-
lahs," he said.
" How much will a mule cost?" said Craig.
" I done give fifty-one dollahs fo' dat ar mule
dey done kill."
" He can't get a mate for this one for less than
that," said Dick.
" Well," said Craig, taking the reins of their
idle team, and drawing up their heads impatiently,
"well, what do you say?"
Richard laughed in his deliberate way. He
placed the whistle between his lips and blew a
shrill note. " We must have that stone hauled
for the lower road," he said, then shutting his
knife with a click he thrust it deep in his trousers*
pocket, and drew out his wallet and proceeded to
investigate the contents. " I declare, I 'm not very
flush," said he. " What do you say? "
Josephus drew out a huge silver watch and eyed
it lovingly. It had been given to his father by his
old master, and was a precious possession. He
turned it over in his hand and watched the faces
Josephus' Secret 125
of the two young men. They quietly calculated
their expenses for the next two months, and made
up the money between them. Then James Craig
turned sharply around.
"Look here, Josephus," he said, ''you're no fool,
if you are black. You 're not to let on to a living
soul where you got this money, hear? Here. Give
me that watch. There ! Now, if anything is said,
say you sold your watch, and when this money is
made up, we '11 give it back, and you can say you
bought it back again. See? That lets us out,
and you, too. Mind, we don't want your watch;
you must job for us for part of the money, and
pay down what you can, and we '11 give you all
summer to do it in."
" I decla'r', fo' de Lawd, Mist' Craig, I '11 job fo'
de money right fa'r, an' I '11 ax de Lawd fo' tu bress
yo'-uns," exclaimed Josephus, fervently.
Craig smiled grimly as Josephus disappeared
over the trail. " I suppose we are a pair of fools,"
he said, gathering up the reins again.
Dick threw away his whistle, and seizing the
handles of the cultivator jerked it into place, and
they started down the long row of young trees.
" It was a dirt mean trick," he said at last, " and
the fellow deserved help."
A DUSKY COQUETTE
WHILE Josephus was solemnly burying his
mule, Gabriella Gunn was preparing a
breakfast of bacon, corn bread, and molasses in her
stepmother's cabin, for a swarm of hungry black
urchins. Nance, the mother of the brood, sat in
one corner spinning, and smoking her cob pipe,
unheeding the hubbub around her. Gabriella went
back and forth from the fireplace to the table,
around which the children stood, cooking and serv-
ing them at the same time. A coffee-pot and a
few dishes were in a rude cupboard near the fire-
place, but on the table were only an iron pan of
corn cakes, baked nearly an inch thick, and the
black jug of sorghum molasses. The corn cakes
she broke apart and saturated with molasses, or
sandwiched with bacon, and gave into the out-
stretched, greasy little black paws.
** Yo' Alexandah, haish." A howl of anger burst
forth from a chubby youngster who had been
quietly licking the corn-cob stopper of the molasses
jug. " Sal, quit yo' snatchin' ; I '11 box yo' d'rec'ly."
The rude meal finished, she gave to the largest girl
a long homespun towel and sent them all down " tu
â– de branch," to wash off the grease and molasses.
Then she set the table with a few dishes for Nance
and herself and made coffee.
A Dusky Coquette 127
"Come, Nance," she said at length, " leab go
an' eat." Nance rose slowly, shook the ashes from
her pipe into the fireplace, and laid it on the table.
She was a large, comely negress, with a red cotton
turban on her head, and huge gold loops in her ears.
Her husband had been dead a year, but she and
Gabriella had done much better without him, since
his presence in the household had brought no other
income to the family than the addition yearly of
another black urchin to the swarm around their door
to be clothed and fed ; yet Nance had mourned him
loudly ever since he had been found dead in the
branch, where he had fallen in a drunken fit.
"I 'low Pete's daid," said Nance.
'* Naw, Pete ain' daid. He 's hid'n' yandah by
Throop's mill. We ain' shet o' Pete yet."
"Why n't yo' leab Pete be took? He ain' no
good tu we-uns nohow."
" I ain' gwine 'low no kin tii me be hung. Pete
gits drunk, but he doan kill ol' women."
The doorway was suddenly darkened, and both
" Laws, Mist' Mahshall ! " said Nance. " Hu-
come yo' heah fo' sun-up? I declar' yo' gib my
h'a't sich a jump hit like tu made me holla." ^
It was Lord Chesterfield. Nance and he greeted
each other with elaborate courtesy, while Ga-
briella, with her back to him, went on with her
cooking. Nance looked on him as a fine match for
her stepdaughter, and beamed on him with shining
face as she urged him to sit and eat. Piqued at
Gabriella's silence, he would not be pacified by
Nance's kind ofi"er. He remained standing, leaning
I 28 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads
against the doorpost, and made facetious, sarcastic
remarks, and told of Josephus' loss with evident
Gabriella took a wooden bucket and left the cabin
as he talked. She entered a cow-shed at the rear,
and began milking. Soon he came sauntering by
the door and stooped to look in. She glanced up
at him sideways.
*' Ain' yo' mighty fine an' peart tu be stan'in'
raoun' a caow-shed ? " she asked.
"Yo' haish," he said with a laugh. ''Yo' gittin'
so big-feelin' I kyan' keep step wid yo' no mo', sence
Mist' Ridgeway come daoun heah sta'tin' a bo'din'-
haous, yo' tu'nin' ovah sich a heap o' money wid
dis-yer caow 'n' chick'ns."
Gabriella made no answer; the milk streamed
into the pail with a steady swish, swish, while the
cow stood with half-closed eyes, chewing her cud.
A black hen scratched and clucked contentedly to
her brood outside the door. Chas walked away,
but as Gabriella ceased milking and took up her
pail, he turned back.
"Look a-heah," he said, going close to her side,
"ain' yo' an' me nebber gwine git jined? Heah
I been co'tin' yo' ebber sence I come back, an' yo'
doan say nuff 'n' 'g'in hit, an' now yo' go cuttin' sich
capahs, like I wan* no mo* dan de graoun' yo'
She put down her pail, and stood facing him with
arms akimbo, then swaying her lithe form back and
forth, she broke into laughter. Chas bore her
merriment a moment, then seizing her by the arm
he shook her.
A Dusky Coquette 129
" Quit dis-yer foolin'. I come heah fo* ax yo' is
we gwine git jined. I ain' gwine be fooled wid
dis-a-way no mo'."
She pulled away, and taking up the pail turned
toward the cabin, still shaking with laughter. With
one stride he placed himself between her and the
" Yo' ain' gwine git shet o' me dat-a-way."
" Naw, I ain' gwine git shet o' yo' dat-a-way,"
she said, and turning again she entered the shed,
and passing through a place where a board had
fallen from the farther side, was back in the cabin
singing and talking with Nance before he realized
how she had escaped him.
** Dar 's Sis' Catherine jes' dyin' fo' a sight o' yo',
Chas," she called after him as he strode sullenly
away. " Why n't yo* call thar, sence yo' out an'
right peart dis mawnin' ? Heah, Kit," she continued,
as the children came scuffling back from the stream
below, '* yo' tu'n de cow loose, an' mine yo'
watch aout; do'n let her run off like yo' did
Well might Chas be sullen. Often had his dusky
Phillis tormented him thus, only to stimulate his
wilful nature to more persistent attentions. This
morning he had meant to gloat over Josephus' loss,
and say smart things at his expense, not to press his
suit. Since she would not listen to the former,
he had been teased into the latter, and now, vexed
beyond measure, he kicked the sticks out of his path,
and shied stones at the few stray cows browsing in
the underbrush, along the way to his lonely striped
130 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads
" Yo' ain' nebber gwine git nudder man like dat
come co'tin' yo','' said Nance, watching him disap-
pear down the windings of the road. " Yo' cahy
yo' haid like yo' tu good fo' de bes', yo' does.
Cutt'n' capahs Hke yo' a bohn'd lady wha' sits in de
po'ch an' waves de fan, an' calls de fine gen'lem tu
de railin' tu bow deir haids, an' talk an' laugh, yo'
" Oh, g' long. He t'ink'n haow he gwine set in
de po'ch he's own se'f an' 'low me du de totin' fo
him. I knows Chas. He 'lows tu git de cow an'
de buttah, an' de chickin an' de aigs. Ain' yo' 'n'
me wo'k an' strive fo' dese heah? I ain* longin' fo'
no man tu hang raoun' de doah, I ain'." She seated
herself at a rude loom in one end of the cabin.
These women spun the yarn and wove the cloth for
many of their neighbors as well as themselves. Her
body swayed back and forth as she threw the
shuttle, and the heavy beam rose and fell. **Dar's