Skip to main content

Full text of "North Carolina sketches; phases of life where the galax grows"

See other formats










wvERSinnf m Noim campona 





C 81-3 

* •, 





This book must not 
be taken from the 
Library building. 


North Carolina 





A. C. McCLURG & CO. 



By a. C. McCLURG & CO. 

A. D. 1900 








Mrs. Smith . . . . ' . i 


Stepping Backwards ... 43 

A Foggy Day . . . '59 

Mr. Timmins . , . . 75 

Playing with Fire . . . .81 

Neighborly Gossip « • • 93 

Barter ..... 105 

The Course of True Love . . 121 

Hiding Out . . . . -137 

In Maria's Garden . . . 149 

The Summer is Ended . . .163 

A White Day . . . , 177 

Now is the Winter of Our Discontent 199 
Sally . . . . . 211 

Old Times ..... 225 
Getting an Education . . 243 

Like Other Children . . . 301 



Mrs. Smith, her "old man," and their six 
grandchildren lived in a two-roomed cabin on 
a hillside. 

There was a good view of the mountains 
from the hilltop, and when I walked out that 
way I often stopped in to rest and chat with 
Mrs. Smith. 

She and Bijah had just been married when 
the war broke out, she told me, and she had 
many entertaining stories to tell of war 

*'Me and Bijah was livin* down to Coon 
Branch them times," she said. "Bijah were 
always mighty peaceable, and he allowed he 
hadn't no call to go to war. We-uns never 
did know what it were about, nohow. 
When the recruitin' officers come round, 
I done told 'em how Bijah were too puny 
to chop wood or work much in the craps, 



14 iRortS Otarolma Sfe^tcjes 

and they reckoned he weren't no 'count for a 
soldier. It's curious how many men's weakly 
about work," added Mrs. Smith, with a sly 
twinkle in her eyes; "especially if their women 
folks is right peart to do it theirselves. 

Them were skeery times, and we drawed the 
bolt on the door nights. One night there 
come a little knock on the door, and Bijah 
crept out of bed, and whispered through the 
crack, 'Who's there?' He daresn't open the 
door. 'It's me. Bill Sines,' come a voice 
back. Bill were a free nigger that lived in 
the holler. 'What you want, Bill?' says Bijah. 
'Lemme in, Mr. Smith, fer God's sake! and 
I'll tell you,' Bill says. So Bijah opened the 
door a crack, and Bill slipped in, and shut it 
quick, scared-like. He says in a whisper: 
*It's four Union soldiers, escapin' from prison. 
There's six of 'em, but two's give out, and 
they done hid 'em in the woods. T'others 
is nigh perished. I done told 'em you-uns 
knowed the road to Bentonville better'n most, 
and I allowed mebbe you'd come a piece of the 
way with us, Mr. Smith.' Bill knowed Bijah 
were right soft-hearted, and hated it bad to 
see a body sufferin'. 

'I ain't never been fur on that road my- 
self,' says Bill; 'and them poor fellows is like 

JHrs. Stni'tft 15 

to be ketched if they lose their way. They'se 
waitin' outside whilst I come in to ax you,' 
Bill says. 

I done told him to fetch 'em in. My Lor*, 
they was a sight! I never see the beat. 
I expect they hadn't lived like they was the 
top of the heap in prison, and they'd been 
dodgin' in the woods for more'n a week, and 
was nigh starved. We-uns give 'em every 
bite there were in the house. Victuals weren't 
none too plenty them times," she added, 
with a grim smile. "It were little enough, 
but they daresn't wait for me to cook 
nothin', or I'd have made 'em some bread. 
I were that sorry for 'em I could have cried. 
They was mighty polite and obleeged fer what 
we-uns done for 'em. They asked would we 
watch out for t'other two, and we said we 

Bijah took his ax, like he were goin' to 
chop, and a bag o' corn, like he were goin' to 
mill, for the mill were on the way, and sot 
out with Bill to show 'em the road. Bill he 
had his gun, like he were 'possum huntin'. 
He done told the soldiers that the neighbors 
knowed as niggers was powerful fond o' 'pos- 
sums. They smiled kind-like at him, but a 
body could see how they was a-studyin' and 


i6 iaortf) Olarolina Sfeetcfiesf 

wasn't payin' no heed to Bill's foolishness. 
Bijah said none of 'em spoke nary a word 
after they got out of doors, and it were sort 
of creepy-like in the dark. The night were 
plum black and foggy, and Bijah said he kept 
a-seein' bears and men jumpin' for 'em at 
every turn; but he kept right on, and never 
told t'others. He were plum glad he brung 
his ax — but, Lor* me! Bijah's that soft-hearted 
he can't hardly kill a chicken. I don't reckon 
he'd have got much good out of his ax if any- 
body'd got after 'em. 

As luck would have it, nobody met up with 
'em, and him and Bill had sot the prisoners 
well on their way before sun-up. Then they 
come along back by way of the mill, to get 
the corn ground. Mr. Hanscum, the miller, 
was takin' on powerful that mornin'. 

'You-uns ain't seen no rascally Yanks as 
you come along, has ye?' he says, first thing. 
*How many was there?' says Bijah, sim- 

*Six on *em, escapin' from prison,' says the 
miller. 'The home guards is after 'em, and 
I hope they'll hang every one of 'em.* 

*Mebbe them's 'em we see. Bill,' says Bijah, 
nudgin' Bill to make him quit lookin' scared. 
'Where at?' says Bill, catchin' on. 'Them 

iHtj3. Smitf) 17 

men down in the holler? There were a heap 
more'n six o' them. I'se skeered when I see 
'em, and so's you, old man.' *We didn't wait 
to ax 'em their names,' Bill says, laughin* out 

'Where be they at?' says the miller, stoppin' 
the mill, with Bijah's corn in the hopper, and 
catchin' up his gun. 

'Over yonder,' says Bijah, pointin' jest 
contrary to where the men was gone. 'But 
ain't you goin' to grind my corn, Mr. Hans- 

'No, sir! I'd a sight rather hunt Yanks.' 

Bijah let on like he were mighty mad, and 
allowed as he'd have to go to some mill that 
were 'tended to right; but the miller quit, 
without waitin' to hear what he were sayin'. 
I ain't never heard whether them four pris- 
oners got clear; but we reckoned they did, 
'cause we'd have likely heard if they'd been 
took. But the home guards come up with the 
two poor sick ones, and shot 'em. Bill said 
he done heard 'em tell t'others, when they 
parted from 'em, that they wouldn't never be 
took alive, so we allowed they'd fit back at 
the home guards. We-uns hated it bad, but 
we had to keep our mouths shut war times, 
for fear o' gettin' shot ourselves. There 

i8 iBLodf) (Karolma ^feetcfies 

wouldn't never be no war if I had ray way. 
What gets me is to see them that was fit to 
tear one another to pieces them days, right 
good friends now. Accordin' to my notion, 
folks has a sight to learn before the millen- 
nium catches *em," Mrs. Smith finished, with 
a laugh. 


» (I 

There were a right smart o' raidin* 'long 
towards the last o' the war," said Mrs. Smith 
one day, **and one side were as bad as t'other. 
It didn't make no difference which side you 
was on; if you had anythin', they took it. 
Old Mis' Gaston were about the only one I 
heard tell of that got ahead of *em. Her 
and her folks kept a public, and they done 
their own stillin', so they had a sight o' 
whisky laid by. They had right smart o' 
stock, too. They was mighty forehanded. 
Somehow they got word, after one o' the big 
battles, that the mountings was plum full o' 
raiders and stragglers. So they all sot to 
work to hide what they had. Old Mis' Gaston 
were like a man for bossin' things. She first 
» sot the least boys to takin* out a lot of stones 

£Bx^. 5mitf) 

from under the side of the house, where it 
were walled up. There weren't no cellar. 
Then she sot the big boys and gals to makin' 
fires and hangin' big pots of water over 'em, 
while she and her old man sharpened up the 
knives and the ax. Their hogs and chickens 
was all penned up, against a time like this; so 
there weren't no time lost catchin' 'em. The 
old man and the biggest boy done killed 'em, 
to the last one, and while Mis' Gaston and 
the gals was cleanin' and scaldin' 'em, and 
burnin' up the leavin's, so's they wouldn't tell 
tales, the rest was puttin' the kegs of whisky 
under the house. 

But Mis' Gaston were bossin' the whole job. 
She says to the boys: 'Leave one full barrel 
and one that's nigh used up on the porch, 
and put some empty kegs there, too. They'll 
think we done hid 'em if they don't find nary 
one. Now throw that old cloth over 'em, 
like we was tryin' to hide 'em.' 

They done just like she said, and then they 
all went to work to hide the hog meat and 
chickens and other victuals. Mis' Gaston 
made 'em leave some scrap pieces of smoked 
meat in the smokehouse, and a big cut o' 
cheese layin' in the pantry. She wouldn't 
let *em hide all the corn, neither, for fear o' 

20 iRortt (O^arolina Sfeetdjeg 

makin' the soldiers too suspicious. Wlien 
everything were safe under the house, she 
stood by till the stones was all laid up like 
they was before. Nobody'd a knowed they'd 
been took out. 

After everything about the house were 
done, she says to the boys to drive the two 
cows up into the steepest and rockiest place 
they could find in the woods. She give 'em 
a pan o' salt to take along to put on the 
rocks for 'em to lick, and a bag o' corn for 
'em to eat their fill, hopin' they'd lay down 
and chew their cuds, and not come home. 
The gals done milked 'em dry before they 
went. They throwed out all the folks couldn't 
drink of the milk, so's nobody'd know they 
had any cows. 

Mis' Gaston were plum tired after every- 
thing were done, and she sot down on the 
porch to rest a bit. She said she never see 
a prettier day. 'Feared like there couldn't 
be no war. The sky were so blue that the 
trees was standin' up agin it like they was 
painted in a pictur. She were thinkin' to her- 
self that no pictur couldn't be half so pretty, 
when she heard such a noise down the road 
that she knowed the soldiers was comin'. 
She and the gals let on to be sewin', and 

JHrs. SmitD 21 

the old man and the boys was workin' in the 
garden. Up come a lot of Yankee soldiers, 
cussin' and swearin' like they'd been drinkin'. 
Mis' Gaston asked what did they want. They 
talked back mighty rough, and threatened to 
shoot 'em all if they didn't fetch out what 
whisky they had. 

Mis' Gaston showed *em the kegs that 
was under the cloth, and said that were all 
she had. She let on like she were cryin*, and 
said couldn't they leave 'em a little for sick- 
ness? They didn't pay no heed to what she 
were sayin', but went for the whisky. It 
made 'em so rough actin' that she were gettin' 
right scared, and had just told the gals they 
must slip out and hide, when up gallops a offi- 
cer on horseback. When the men see him 
they sobered up mighty quick, and slunk out 
into the road. He jawed 'em awful for get- 
tin' drunk, and they done followed him like 
they was whipped dogs. 

They hadn't touched nothin' but the whisky, 
and Mis' Gaston and her folks was laughin' to 
think how easy they'd got off. They reckoned 
they'd fry some o' the chickens for supper, and 
maybe fresh hog meat, too. While they's talk- 
in' about it, up comes about twenty Confeder- 
ates. They says first thing, 'Got any whisky?' 

22 iaorti^ (B'arolina 5)!tetcf)es 

'I could have give you some,' says Mis' 
Gaston, 'if them blamed Yankees hadn't stole 
it all not two hours ago.' 

'Phew!' says the orderly, 'be they so nigh 
as that? We'd better light out o' this mighty 
quick, boys. Give us what you got to eat, 
ma'am, and we'll go 'long.' 

'It's mighty little,' says Mis' Gaston, kind 
of doleful. 'Them Yankees was for grabbin' 
everythin' we had. If it hadn't been for 
their Capting comin' along and jawin' 'em 
for gettin' drunk, we-uns might go hungry. 
Poor folks has a mighty poor chance these 
days,' says she, burstin' into tears. 

'Well,' says the man, 'we-uns has got to 
eat, too; but we'll leave you a snack.' 

So they looked round and carried off nigh 
all there were. They was in a hurry, 'count 
o' the Yankees bein' so nigh. They hadn't 
had no liquor on the way, 'cause the Yankees 
was ahead of 'em; so they was more politer. 

After it got plum dark. Mis' Gaston allowed 
it were safe for 'em to get some supper. 
Exceptin' for the milk some on *em drunk, 
they hadn't took time to eat a bite all day. 
They was that hungry they didn't waste no 
time pickin' the chicken bones, and they 
was that tired that old Mis' Gaston allowed 

Mt^* SmitS 23 

they wouldn't have knowed what killed 'em 
if the soldiers had come back and murdered 
*em all in their beds. They was mighty proud 
they done saved their things, though," Mrs. 
Smith concluded. 


Mrs. Smith had an eye for the beauties of 
nature, and I found her one warm June day 
sitting on a rock on the hilltop enjoying the 
view. "My Lor', but it's warm, " she said, fan- 
ning herself with her sunbonnet. "I get het up 
workin' in the corn patch. Ain't it pretty up 
here? I often come up here to rest and get 
away from the children. They'se mighty 
pesterin' some days. 

Look at that big fire off towards Hawk's 
Bill. It 'minds me of war times. When we 
see a big fire 'way off, we was 'feared it were 
the enemy sot it, or mebbe a big battle goin' 
on. Them were oneasy times. 

If you like to hear war stories so well, 
I must tell you about Mr. Boner's folks. 
They lived about two miles from Mis' Gaston. 
They didn't get off so well as she done, 
though. Mr. Boner were right well-to-do. 

24 iRortJ ararolina Sfertc^es 

and he had a sight o' hog meat hangin' in his 
smokehouse. He'd done killed all his hogs 
for winter. He had a big crap of corn and 
rye that year, too. The Confederates was the 
first to come by his house the day he were 
raided. He see 'em goin' for the smokehouse, 
and he hollers out for 'em to take the key 
and open the door right. 'There ain't no 
need o' my havin' to buy a new padlock, boys, 
'count o' your bein' in a hurry,' he says to 
'em. He were so pleasant-spoke that they 
didn't take all the meat, like they'd meant 
to, nor all his corn and rye. They see he 
were a sympathizer. 

He locked up the smokehouse after they 
was gone, and when his folks was worryin' 
about losin' so much, he reckoned 'tweren't 
no use cryin' over spilt milk. 

Next day here come some Yankees. He 
give 'em the key the same way. He done 
told 'em they wasn't right sharp or they'd 
*a' got there ahead o' t'others. They was right 
civil, but they done cleaned him out. 

Old Mis' Boner were most cryin' t'other 
day when she were tellin* me about the hard 
times they had scratchin' along that winter. 
She allowed the soldiers wouldn't have come 
pesterin' of 'em if Mr. Boner had 'a' hid away 

iHts. Smi'tf) 

their things like Mis' Gaston done. The old 
man sot by the fire laughin' while she's talkin'. 
When she were through, he says, 'Well, I done 
saved my padlock, Ma. ' Then he laughed till 
she had to pat him on the back. When he 
ketched his breath again, he says to her, * And 
you mustn't forget how we done saved Si.* 
Si's their gal Miry's man," Mrs. Smith ex- 

*'01d Mis' Boner laughed, too. Then she 
done told me the whole story about Miry and 
Si courtin'. I knowed it all before, but I like 
to hear her talk. So does her old man. A 
body'd think he'd get tired listenin' to her. 
He don't seem to, though. He sets by and 
laughs every time, like he'd never heard her 
tellin' the same thing before. Mis' Boner 
says they plum hated the Yankees, and it 
were all she could do that day to keep from 
spittin' on 'em. She chaws, and she's always 

The old man's right peaceable, and he 
done told her to hold her jaw and not go nigh 
them Yankees, if she knowed when she were 
well off. She 'lowed he were right, but she 
says it went agin her to do like he said. 

Miry weren't sixteen then. She were right 
peart lookin'; her hair were black and curly, 

26 laortf) dO'arciHna S^ftetcljes 

and her eyes 'minded you of stars dark nights. 
Her cheeks was that red you'd most want to 
eat 'em. I'm sayin' it like the fellers talked 
about her. Her teeth was better'n common, 
too, 'count of her not dippin' snuff. 

When the Yankees come in, there were one 
of 'em mighty peaked-lookin'; a right young 
chap he were. He done sot down on the 
doorstep and groaned. Miry heard him, and 
run out to see if he was hurt. She were right 
good-hearted. When he see her he groaned 
worser. She said could she do anythin' to 
help him. Lor', yes; he 'lowed she could, 
leastwise if she was strong enough to help 
him off with his heavy knapsack. She reck- 
oned she were. He didn't help her none, so 
it took time. 

He 'peared like he were gettin' worser every 
minute, and she wished her Ma or somebody'd 
come. Mis' Boner kept out of the way. She 
'lowed she wouldn't touch one of them Yankees 
with a ten-foot pole; not even if he was dyin*. 
T'other Yankees was cleanin' out the smoke- 
house and corncrib. 

Miry axed this one what ailded him. He 
allowed it were cramp colic. *0h, Lord!' he 
says, doublin' all up. She knowed hot whisky 
and water were good for that, so she run in 

JHC13, Smi'tib 27 

to get some. Mis' Boner began to jaw her 
for foolin' with a Yankee. 

'Oh, shut up, Ma; you ain't got no feelin'. 
He's half dead,' says Miry, runnin' out again 
with the liquor. 

It were the first time in her life that Miry'd 
ever sassed her Ma. Mis* Boner nigh about 
fainted when she heard her. It didn't keep 
her from peekin' through the crack of the 
door, though, to see what they was up to. 

When the soldier smelled the whisky, he 
says: 'Thank you kindly. Miss, but I'm 
temperance. I wouldn't drink that stuff if I 
was dyin'.' 

'Yes, you would, too,' says Miry, right reso- 
lute, seizin' him round the neck and pourin* 
it down his throat like he were a naughty 
child. It nigh about choked him. Mis' Boner 
thought he'd never come to. He kept on 
leanin' up agin Miry, and lettin' on like he'd 
never get his breath. Miry were so scared 
she forgot to take away her arm, and she 
kept fannin' him with her apron. When he 
heard t'other Yankees comin', he sot up. 

'My pain's gone. Miss,' he says, smilin' at 
Miry. 'You're the best doctor I ever see; 
but if I go to the devil with drink, it'll be all 
along of you. ' 

28 iaortj) OTaroKna Sfeetcfies 

He see she were like to cry then, so he 
laughed, and told her she needn't be scared, 
for he'd always hated the stuff. He made 
all kinds of excuses to keep her nigh him, 
till she said she must go now and see if 
her Ma needed her. Then he let on like 
the pain were comin' back. It were, too, 
but not so bad as first-off. He said he 
wouldn't take no more whisky, for fear it 
would make him tight, not bein' used to the 
stuff. But he allowed if she'd rub his cold 
hands with her warm ones that would do him 
more good. 

Mis' Boner kept on peekin', and she says 
she never see a gal made sich a fool of; but 
Miry didn't seem to sense it. Well, the long 
and short of it were that when t'others got 
ready to go, this one were too sick to march, 
and they had to leave him behind. 3Iis' 
Boner were that mad, she says, she could 
have choked him in earnest. She daresn't 
say nothin', though, and it ended by her and 
Miry havin' to nurse him through the fever. 
First-off Mis' Boner allowed he were playin' 
'possum, but Miry knowed better. 

He weren't nothin' but a boy, but he were 
a right likely one. When he were out of his 
head he never talked nothin' but clean talk 

iBrs. 5mitf) 29 

that couldn't shame nobody; and he were 
always calling for his Ma and Pa and the rest 
of his folks. He'd think Mis' Boner and 
Miry was some on 'em, and beg 'em to kiss 
him before he died, especially Miry; and she 
done it to keep him quiet. They reckoned 
he were goin* to die, and it wouldn't matter 
nohow. He's livin' yet," said Mrs. Smith, 

"Soon as he got so's he could talk straight," 
she resumed, "he done told 'em all about his 
folks. They was rich, and he were their only 
son. He were away at college, and he were 
plum crazy to go to war, 'long with the 
neighbor boys, but his Pa wouldn't hear to it. 
So he run off and 'listed. He done told 'em 
he were of age, so's they'd take him. He 
allowed the Lord wouldn't count that kind of 
a lie agin him; but I dunno. 

His folks took on powerful when they 
heard it. They wanted to buy him off. It 
were easy to do that up North, and git some 
other feller to go in your place. He wouldn't 
give in to it, though. He see mighty hard 
times, but he wouldn't never complain, and 
this were the first spell o' sickness he'd had. 
It were nigh to bein' the last, too. Mis' Boner 
allows as he'd 'a' died sure if it weren't for 

30 iEorti) (Eatolma Sfeetcjes 

Miry. She says she never see the like o' the 
way that gal kept up to wait on him. 'Peared 
like he couldn't stir, night nor day, but she 
were right there, fussin' over him like he were 
a baby. One spell, when he were right weak, 
he'd cry if he see her go out o' the room. 

Before he got so's to sit up, he told Miry 
he loved her so that unless she agreed to 
marry him, he couldn't never get well. He 
were dyin' right then, he told her, and 
nothin' but thinkin' she'd marry him could 
keep him alive. He worked on her feelin's, 
sayin' how hard his folks would take it if he's 
to die. Miry allowed they'd feel worser if 
he was to marry a poor girl like her; but he 
wouldn't hear to that, so she give in. 

Mis' Boner says they hated it mighty bad 
havin' her marry a Yankee. They hadn't 
nothin' agin Si himself; they liked him splen- 
did; they plum forgot he were a Yankee, he 
were so nice. They see Miry were sot on 
him, and it went agin 'em to cross her, any- 
way. Miry were a right good girl. 

When he got well enough, he went away 
off to join his regiment. He writ back to 
Miry that he done told his folks all about 
her, and they sent her their love. They 
allowed it were her what saved his life, and 

i^cs. Smitf) $1 

they wouldn't put nothin' in the way of his 
marryin' her. But they reckoned she'd 
ought to go to a good school, and get a eddi- 
cation like him. When the war were over, 
they sent money for her to go up North to 
school, nigh to where they lived. 

Her and Si was married two years after- 
wards. Nobody but old Mis' and Mr. Boner 
calls him Si to his face, though. It's Mr. 
and Mrs. Appleton when the neighbors talks 
of Miry and her man. They're a right hand- 
some couple, and they behave handsome to 
the old folks, too. They had 'em up to live 
with 'em, and treated 'em splendid; but Mis' 
Boner says they live too fine for the likes of 
her and Mr. Boner, and she can't never feel 
to home up there. 

She's got a whole trunkful of fine clothes 
Miry and Si give 'em, but they never put 
'em on. She keeps 'em under the bed. If 
you ask her, she'll get 'em out to show you; 
but most times, I reckon, she disremembers 
she's got 'em. She allows homespun's good 
enough for her and her old man. But they're 
right proud of Miry and Si and their bein' so 
rich and happy. 'Pears like Mis' Boner never 
gets tired tellin' their story," said Mrs. Smith, 

32 iBtortf) Otarolma ^ketcijes 


One day in autumn I was sitting on the 
hill above Mrs. Smith's house, idly watching 
the rise and spread of smoke from the many 
fires among the mountains. 

The landscape was gorgeous with autumn 
coloring, and the dying leaves were falling 
thickly about me. 

Having seen nothing of Mrs. Smith as I 
passed the house, I was startled when she 
suddenly appeared beside me. She laughed. 
*'I reckon you're afraid o' ghosts, ain't 
you?" she asked. "Say you ain't? I be. 
I never see but one, and maybe Ma were 
right, and it weren't one, nohow. All the 
same, it give me the sort o' scare you can't 
never git over. This kind o' day always puts 
me in mind of it. The air smelt o' smoke, 
and the leaves was a-rattlin' down on your 
head everywheres, just like they be now. 

It were when Bijah and me was courtin'. 
I'd been to the settlemint to swap soft soap 
and tree sugar for store goods, and it were 
gettin' on towards dark as I come along back. 
I weren't skeery then, and I weren't in no 
hurry." She smiled. 

Jiftrs. Smiti) 33 

"When a girl's got a sweetheart," said 
she, "she's always kind o' lookin' out for 
him to catch up with her somewheres on the 
road. Cut if she's got any spunk, she don't 
let him know she's watchin' out for him. 
That's how it were with me. I heard a kind 
o* rustlin' in the leaves comin' on behind me, 
and I allowed it were Bijah. I never turned 
my head, but kept right on like I didn't hear 

Pretty soon I begun to feel queer all over, 
for it 'peared like I were bein' follered on 
the sly. I knowed Bijah couldn't stand it not 
to speak all that time. Then I thought I'd 
better walk faster. Just that minute there 
were a sort of crash behind me. I give one 
look back, and see somethin' white movin' 
in the woods 'longside the road. Then I give 
a screech, and I never quit runnin' till I 
stumbled on the step and fell in the door at 
home. I cut my lip and hurt my head bad, 
and I were that scared I ain't never been 
easy in my mind since if I 'm out after 
dark. Ma reckoned it were Mis' Bland's old 
white cow I see, but I knowed better. I 
made her promise she wouldn't tell, for I 
hated it to have fun poked at me. But she 
asked Mis' Bland where were her cow that 

34 iEortS (Karolma S^etcjes 

night, and Mis' Bland said she done wandered 
off, and didn't come home till next evenin'. 
Ma couldn't never git it out o' my head that 
it were a ghost, though." 

"Is that a ghost or a cow?" I asked, point- 
ing to a moving object on the hillside, 

'"Tain't neither one," replied Mrs. Smith. 
"It's one o' them artist fellers paintin' pic- 
turs. The mountings is plum full of 'em," 
she added. "A body'd think they could git 
some kind o' work to do if they tried. Some 
on 'em's right biggotty. 

Mis' Sand went to one of 'em to git him 
to paint her pictur, and he said he weren't 
no photographer. She allowed she knowed 
that; that were the reason she wanted him 
to do it for her, so's to put in red cheeks and 
her blue dress. She done told him so. He 
allowed his prices was too high for her. She 
got kind o' mad, and done told him she 
reckoned she knowed her own business. He 
said how much were she allowin' to pay. She 
done told him a dollar. He laughed right 
out. 'Mis' Sand,' he says, 'I ain't paintin' 
nary picturs for nobody for less than fifty 
dollars, and that's cheap. ' 

I reckon he were pokin' fun at her, but 
Mis' Sand allows he were in earnest 

MxB. Smiti) 35 

When I were young, one o' them artist 
fellers used to come up here summers. Us 
gals done a sight o' what he called posin' 
for him. But, Lor' me, as I done told Ma, 
I'd a heap ruther work in the corn. A body 
gits plum tired standin' or sittin' still. Them 
drawin's he made hadn't no more look o' me 
than that dog's got. I always let on like I 
thought they had, though, for it ain't polite 
to hurt a body's feelin's. He were a mighty 
kind man hisself. 

Makes me think o' war times. Not long 
after the war bust out, one o' them artist 
fellers come up into the mountings nigh to 
where I lived. He were a city chap. He'd 
had the fever, and were right puny. He 
couldn't go to the war, nohow, bein' so 
weakly, and his doctor done told him to stay 
in the mountings till he got strong. 

He brung his paint things along for com- 
pany. His doctor allowed he'd git well a 
heap quicker if he staid out o' doors all he 
could. So he'd take his things and paint pic- 
turs of the mountings nigh about all day. He 
done showed 'em to we-uns, as he come along 
by, but I never see nothin' to 'em. 

He were always talkin' agin the Yankees, 
and sayin' how he'd fight 'em when he got 

36 iEoctf) (itatolina BttUf)ts 

strong and well. But some o' the home 
fc guards got it into their heads as he were a 

Yankee spy. They reckoned them picturs 
he were paintin' was to make a map o' the 
mountings with. I knowed better, for I were 
acquainted with some o' his kinfolks. Be- 
sides, couldn't nobody pretend to hate the 
Yankees like he done. They'd git tripped up 
sometimes. He didn't. It were alwavs the 
same kind o' talk and the same sort o' black 
looks every time. I told some o' the home 
guards so, but they allowed I'd better be care- 
ful myself; so I done shut up. 

But I give Mr. Todd — that were his name — 
a hint. You never see a body so mad. It 
weren't the Yankees he were goin' to fight 
now, but the home guards," she went on, 
laughing as she spoke. 

" 'And to think my people belong to the 
best blood in the Old North State!' he says, 
most shoutin' ; *and now she's seceded, ain't 
I bound to stand by her?' 

I allowed I didn't know how that were, 
but I says, *You*re bound to git into trouble 
if you set the home guards agin you. ' Sure 
enough, the very next day but one, some on 
'em went to his boardin' place while he were 
out paintin' picturs. They done upsot all his 

JBcis. S^miti) 37 

things, but they didn't find nothin'. As for 
his picturs of the mountings, they reckoned 
as the Yankee weren't livin' that were smart 
enough to make head or tail out of 'em, 

They didn't pester him no more, but you 
never see a madder feller than he were 
when he found out what they'd done. His 
face got as red as them maple leaves. His 
people's mighty hot-headed. 

He allowed as the Yankees couldn't 'a* 
served him no meaner trick, and he quit 
talkin' agin 'em. Poor feller! He didn't 
live to fight nobody. He done took pneu- 
mony fever, and died that very fall." 

Mrs. Smith shaded her eyes with her hand 
while she surveyed our artist neighbor at his 

*'That feller's been settin' over there all 
the mornin'," she began. *'I see him when 
I come up to hunt the cow. That white thing 
you see is his umbrell. I reckon he's afraid 
the sun'll fade him," she added, chuckling. 
*'I asked one o' the boarder ladies t'other day 
what she done put powder on her face for. 
She laughed, and said it were to keep her 
from fadin'," said Mrs. Smith. 

Then, pushing back her sunbonnet and 

3S iaortS Otarolfna 5feetcf)e0 

wiping her face on her apron, she added : "The 
sun is mighty hot to-day. Hope it won't 
fade my gownd," added she, laughing heartily 
at her own joke. ''I got a better one, but 
I keep /'/ to wear to preachin' and Sun- 
day-school. I reckon the Lord don't do 
nothin' to keep his trees and things from 
fadin'. The way the leaves is droppin' 
down round you on that there rock is 
like a red and yaller snowstorm. First big 
wind comes long'U take nigh all of 'em off 
the trees. I hate to see 'em fall, but I reckon 
it's the Lord's way o' keepin' the world 
a-goin'. I just love to see 'em all puttin' 
out fresh in the spring. I wonder if it'll be 
that way with we-uns, " said she, wistfully. 
'"Pears like we're goin' the way o' the leaves 
and the flowers." 

*' 'We all do fade as a leaf,' " I quoted, 
lightly. " 'As a flower of the field, so he 
flourisheth.' " 

"Yes; ain't it right queer," she rejoined, 
quickly, "how the Bible's got somethin' in it 
to fit everything a body does or says? It's a 
heap o' comfort. Even war times," she con- 
tinued, "when you didn't hear nothin' but 
about battles and killin', and 'peared like 
your eyes was full o' blood whichever way 

i^rgf. Smfti^ 39 

you looked, you kept a-thinkin' o' things the 
Bible said. 

My Pa and my youngest brother was both 
killed in the same battle. Them was black 
days. I kept a-sayin* over to myself every 
comfortin' thing I could remember out o' the 
Bible. It didn't help Ma much, though. She 
were plum broke down after the news came. 
I never see her laugh again. She were like 
the leaves; she just faded away." 

After a short silence, Mrs. Smith said, 
cheerfully: "Well, them times is past and 
gone. 'Tain't no kind o' use mournin' about 
'em now. 

This is a mighty pretty day; everything's 
so quiet and peaceful. Just listen to them 
hens cacklin' away down in yonder cove! 

Wisht I could set up here awhile longer 
with you, but there's my old man callin'. 
*Yes, I'm a-comin'," she called back to him, 
with a laugh in her tones. "I can't help 
laughing," said she. '"Pears like he can't 
get along nohow unless I'm somewheres in 
sight," Mrs. Smith added, as she started down 
the hill. 



The rhododendrons and azaleas were in 
bloom, their brilliant hues running riot 
through the woods and filling the mountains 
with glory. Like an ignis fatuus, their 
marvelous coloring, set off by the back- 
ground of green leaves or blue sky, had 
led me on until I found myself far from 

The shadows were lengthening, and I was 
tired enough to welcome the sight of the open 
doorway of a cabin, where 1 was met by a 
friendly invitation to "Come in, and set 
awhile," which I accepted. 

I had known something of the Simmons 
family, but this was my first visit to their 
home. I needed rest, and Mrs. Simmons in 
her turn appeared to find my advent an agree- 
able break in the day's monotony. 

The woods had seemed ablaze with glowing 
fires, as the flame-colored azaleas leaped into 
view, and in this homely room the dancing 


44 i^orti) Otarolina Sfeetdjes 

reflections from a bright fire on the hearth 
lent a strange charm where the sun would 
have revealed only rugged ugliness. Except 
for the fire, there was no light but that com- 
ing in through the open doorway. 

After chatting awhile with Mrs. Simmons, 
I asked how long her family had been living 
in that house. From the general air of dis- 
order about the place, I thought they were 
new tenants. 

"Oh, always," she replied. "My Pa and 
Ma done lived here before me. I done lived 
along o' them after Timothy and me got mar- 
ried. After Pa died. Ma lived along o' we-uns. " 

"But you seem to have begun a new 
house," said I. 

"Yes; them old j'ists and rafters/^ just a 
sight," interrupted Mrs. Simmons. "I tell 
my old man I wisht he'd burn the hull lot and 
get shut of 'em. He won't do it, 'cause he 
'lows as he'll have a turn of luck some time, 
and they'll come in handy to build another 
house with. He didn't never begin it. It 
were my Pa, before he got so poorly them last 
three year. He's been dead nigh on twenty 

The frame were all covered in, and some 
of the ceilin' were up, too — stripes o* yaller 

stepping i3acfetoartj 45 

pine and cherry it were. Pa allowed to make 
it mighty pretty inside. Some of the floorin' 
were down, and there were a sight o' work 
done to that house before Pa died." 

"Why, there's nothing but a bare frame 
now!" I exclaimed, in astonishment. 

"No," said Mrs. Simmons, com.placently. 
"Timothy's always had a powerful hurtin* in 
his side whenever he done any right hard 
work, and he reckoned it weren't no kind 
o' use him tryin' to finish a big job like that. 
It takes a sight of wood to keep fires 
going," added Mrs. Simmons, as she stirred 
up a blaze with the long pole she used for 
a poker. Thrusting the burning end of it 
into the ashes to cool, she continued: "Tim- 
othy allowed we-uns might as well burn up 
the stuff in the new house as to leave it for 
other folks. It were a sight easier'n choppin' 
out in the woods. I'd ought to know, for 
I done most of the choppin', 'long o' him 
bein' so puny. 

Ma done cried first-off when she heard 
him pullin' the sidin' off the new house; but, 
Lor' me, women folks ain't got no say about 
such things; men's mighty masterful. I hated 
it, too, the worst way, but it were powerful 
easy to slip out and get wood off the new 

4^ iaorti) Olarolina Sketches 

house when Ma and the young ones was cold 
and Timothy was down to the settlemint. 
He allows he'll build a better house than that 
when his luck turns." 

I asked what work he did. I had seen him 
loafing about the village every time I had 
occasion to go there. 

**0h, he don't do no right hard work, 
nohow," said Mrs. Simmons, " 'count of the 
crick in his side; but he allows he'll get a 
nice soft job sometime and make big money. 
Me and the children does most of the work, 
and Sabiny and me, that's my biggest gal, 
does a heap of boarders' wash." 

Changing the subject, Mrs. Simmons said: 
"My Pa's name were Moyer. He come from 
way up in Pennsylvany. He weren't none of 
your low-down, no-'count trash, like some 
on 'em," said she, tossing her head. 

*'He'd travelled a sight, my Pa had. He 
drove on a canal boat when he were young, 
and he done told us a heap about the things 
he'd saw. But he enjoyed poor health up 
there, 'long o' the hard winters. He had 
the phthisic powerful bad. The doctors done 
told him he'd live a sight longer down here 
among the mountings. That's how he come 
to be here. 

5^tepping IBacfetoacti 47 

He could do a heap more work than some 
as is a sight weller, though. He done took 
up this here land from the State, and he 
cleared most of it hisself. Then he put up 
this house and married my Ma. He stayed 
'long o' her folks when he first come. She 
were a right pretty gal, with red cheeks, then, 
and it weren't long before they was courtin'. 
My Ma were a mighty good woman, but she 
hadn't no eddication. My Pa he had. He 
could read out o' the Bible like he were 
preachin', and he took a sight o' trouble 
tryin' to learn we-uns to read and write. 
There weren't no school nigh us in them days. 
Ma always said what were the use pesterin' 
of us; she done well enough without a eddi- 
cation. So we growed up same as Ma done. 
We'd a heap rather be out 'long o' Pa and 
Ma burnin' brush and such than tryin' to get 
book learnin'." 

"Was the family large?" 

"There were only Joshuay and me. He's 
been dead nigh on thirty year. Just before 
Pa died, he done told Ma to send to the city 
and get a pretty white stone for his grave, like 
his folks up in Pennsylvany always had. He 
said for her to get her own name writ on it, 
too, for he reckoned Timothy wouldn't never 

48 iEortf) (O^arolina Sfeetcfies 


et no more stones for nobody. Pa didn't 
always set sich store by Timothy as he'd 
ought to. Ma done got the stone, but, Lor', 
when it come home ail boxed up, it were that 
white and pretty she weren't willin' to have 
it out in the weather; so she done kep' it 
under her bed till she died. 

It were mighty onconvenient, for the 
sweet 'tater cellar is right under that bed. 
You see Ma slept nighest the fire, 'count of 
her feelin' the cold, and you're just bound to 
keep sweet 'taters nigh the fire. 

It ain't to say a real cellar; it's just 
a hole, and loose boards over it. 'Taters 
needs a sight of airin', and Timothy'd get 
that vexed havin' that stone to move every 
time. He sets a sight o'store by sweet 'taters 
for eatin', though," said Mrs. Simmons, 
laughing. "Ma allowed if he could eat such 
a sight of 'em, it wouldn't do him no hurt to 
move that 'ere stone once in awhile. Him 
and the boys done sot it up out there by Pa's 
and Ma's graves after she died. They's 
buried out there where you see them cows." 

I saw some pigs, too, and asked Mrs. Sim- 
mons if they were rooting in the family 
burial lot. 

"Yes," she replied; "nokeepin' of 'em out. 

Stepping IJacktoartr 49 

Pa fixed that lot up mighty fine after Joshuay 
died. The grave were all flowers, and he 
had nice green grass growin', and he put up 
a good tight fence; couldn't even a chicken 
get in, let alone horgs. Did you say where's 
it gone? Oh, fences don't last no time. 
Timothy allowed we-uns might as well burn 
up the pieces as to let 'em lie there and rot. 
Horgs don't root deep enough to disturb 
corpses, nohow, and Timothy reckons the 
way his people's buried is good enough for 

Pa used to talk a sight about his old 
home, and along to the last he allowed he'd 
made a dreadful mistake not takin' Ma and 
goin' back there, so's we-uns could get a 
eddication. But Ma were always plum sot 
agin it. Pa liked her splendid, but he 
couldn't abide tobacco and snuff, and he said 
no decent woman wouldn't use 'em where he 
come from, and Ma'd just have to quit 'em if 
she went up there. She were always a pow- 
erful hand for a chew-stick. She used to 
give 'em to we-uns when we's little, to keep 
us still. That's how I took to dippin', and 
Sabiny same way," said Mrs. Simmons, spit- 
ting into the fire. 

"Ma said couldn't nobody make her see no 

50 iEortS Cftaroli'na Sfeetci^es 

harm, in tobacco. Timothy and the boys 
chaws. We-uns raises our own tobacco," 
continued Mrs. Simmons, with evident pride. 
"We raises a sight, so Timothy has it to swap 
at the stores sometimes." 

I remarked that Timothy seemed to spend 
a great deal of time at the stores. 

"Yes; men folks has to be where there's 
somethin* goin' on,' especially rainy days," 
she replied. "'Tis mighty dull settin' round 
home all day; nobody can't blame 'em. 

Timothy's different from most, too. He's 
always allowing as he'll hear of a nice soft 
job o' work up to the settlemint. Some 
nights when he comes home all done out with 
such a long walk, and bein' disappointed agin, 
he says, *No luck yet, old gal.' Then I chirk 
up and bid him mind how the preacher says 
as some is always down on their luck in this 
world, but it'll be made up to 'em in the next. 

Now, my Pa weren't no believer in luck, 
except about sickness; and he 'lowed we'd 
get shut of a sight of that if we took better 
care of ourselves." 

"Why, you have got a window in your 
house, Mrs. Simmons," I exclaimed, irrele- 
vantly, as I caught sight of a shuttered open- 
ing in the wall. "I have been wondering how 

stepping iSacktoarb 51 

a man like your father came to build a house 
without one. " 

"Yes; Pa set a heap o' store by plenty of 
light and air. There's another winder back 
of you; we-uns ain't so bad off as you 

"So I see," I replied; "but why don't you 
open the windows and let in the light?" 

"Well, when Pa built this house he couldn't 
get no glass lights; so he put shutters with 
leather hinges onto the windows. We done 
kept 'em open always in pretty weather. 
After Pa died the wind blowed 'em loose on 
their hinges, and they kept Timothy awake 
windy nights; so he nailed 'em fast, and 
there they be ever since. He allows he'll 
put a sight o' glass lights in the new house 
he's goin' to build when his luck turns." 

Mrs. Simmons stooped over the fire, draw- 
ing to one side a bed of hot coals, on which 
to set her bake-oven. While she talked, she 
had been mixing and rolling out the soda bis- 
cuits for the evening meal. Seeing the amount 
of soda which went into them, I was glad I 
had a good excuse for declining the kindly 
invitation she gave me to stay to supper. I 
was much interested in her primitive facilities 
for cooking, however. I asked if there were 

52 laortf) Olaiolina S^feetcfirg 

no crane in the fireplace for suspending the 
pots and pans over the fire. 

"Not now there ain't," replied Mrs. Sim- 
mons. "Pa put in a good one; he got the 
blacksmith to make it like what Pa's folks had 
at home, but it got broke. Timothy ain't no 
hand to run round gettin' things fixed; so 
there it lays in the corner." 

Even the dancing firelight, as she bent over 
the hearth, could not soften or glorify the 
awkward gauntness of a figure like that of 
Mrs. Simmons. She wore her black hair 
strained back from a bony, high forehead ; her 
skin was wrinkled and sallow, and her eyes 
light and watery. The stain of tobacco was 
about her mouth; her hands were coarse and 
grimy, and so were the garments she wore. 

Rising stiffly after adjusting her bake-oven 
over the coals, she asked, abruptly: "Ever 
hear tell of my Sammy? Say you ain't? Pa 
named him after hisself, and he done sot 
a heap o' store by him. He learned him his 
letters when he weren't more'n three year 
old, and when he were six he could read nigh 
every kind of print. 

Pa were sick more'n three year before he 
died. He had a kinsumption, and he were 
powerful bad off 'long to the last. He were 

Stepping iSadtbarb 53 

always telling Sammy he wanted him to make 
somethin* of hisself ; them's his very words; 
and when he got big enough, he must go up 
to Pennsylvany and find Pa's folks and tell 
'em who he were. He kep' a-sayin', 'Be sure 
you git a eddication, Sammy.' It were a 
sight the way the little feller took on when 
his grandpop died." 

*'And did he take his grandfather's advice?" 

'"Feared like he done cared more than ever 
for book learnin' after he were gone, and he 
went twice to free school. It kep* in three 
months, and Timothy allowed as that were 
schoolin' enough for anybody. Sammy were 
the smartest of all the children to work, and 
Timothy took to leavin' him a sight to do; 
but when he were fifteen he done told his Pa 
he wanted to buy his time off him, and go to 
the mission school at Hinkson's, 

Say you ain't never heard tell of buyin' a 
boy's time off his Pa? Why, children owes 
their Pa their time till they're eighteen, for 
their board and clothes. 

Sammy'd been such a peart one to work 
that he allowed he'd done a sight more'n his 
share; and so he had. He reckoned he could 
get work enough out of school time at Hink- 
son's to pay his Pa for the rest of his time. 

54 iB^ortf) (B'arolitta S^etci^es 

I done told Timothy he might as well let 
him go, for it weren't never no kind of use 
tryin' to cross Sammy when his mind were 
made up. He were always a right resolute 

Timothy grumbled a sight when the boy 
were gone, 'count of there bein* so much more 
work to do. Onct he borrowed a mule to go 
hisself and fetch him back. As luck would 
have it, a letter come from Sammy that very 
day. He'd sent his Pa some money in it, and 
writ that he'd send some more right soon. 
He said he done liked the school splendid, 
and were learnin' right smart. Timothy 
allowed he wouldn't go for him yet. Then 
the teacher's written as Sammy were such a 
good scollard, and hopin' we-uns meant to 
let him stay and get a eddication ; so he kep' 
on. He done helped us a sight sendin' money 
he earned, but when he were eighteen he told 
his Pa he allowed he were free now, and he 
were goin' to do as his grandpop said. 

Timothy hadn't nothin' to say agin his 
goin' to Pennsylvany. He allowed as the 
boy'd maybe find some of Pa's folks up there 
right well-to-do, and they'd send us money, 
and we-uns wouldn't be down on our luck no 

.stepping 13acfelDarti 55 

Sammy were growed such a peart young 
man, and he'd learned such pretty manners at 
school, and he wore such big red neckties, it 
done me good to look at him. I hated it bad 
to see him goin' way off, and like as not never 
come back. 

He says to me: 'Don't you fret, Ma; you'll 
see me comin' back a rich man yet, and then 
you won't have to work so hard no more.' 
Sammy were a right good boy," said Mrs. 
Simmons, wiping her eyes on her apron. 

"And did he never come back?" I asked, 

*'No; I never sot eyes on him agin. He 
done found Pa's folks, real well-to-do farmers 
they was, and they set a sight of store by him. 
He done married one of their gals. Here's 
her picture," added Mrs. Simmons, blowing 
the dust from an old photograph which she 
took down from a shelf. "Here's their baby, 
too; ain't it a peart one? This here's Sam- 
my," said she, taking an ambrotype from 
a box under the table. "This were took at 
Hinkson's, and he never got nary another 
one took." 

He certainly did wear an immense red 
necktie, which the artist had touched up in 
color. An honest, boyish face looked out 

56 iEorti^ OTarolina ^ktttf^t^ 

from the queer old picture, and I didn't 
wonder at his mother's emotion, if, as I sup- 
posed, he was dead. 

"He died up there of pneumony fever," 
Mrs. Simmons presently resumed, in a broken 
voice. "His wife done wrote us how it were. 
About a year afterwards a letter came sayin' 
she were comin' to see us, but we ain't heard 
nary a word from her since. Do you allow 
as she's done married again?" 

"Perhaps so," I replied, absently. I was 
wondering what the bright, well-dressed girl 
in the photograph would think of Sammy's 
home and people if she ever came to visit 

"There ain't no one to send us no money 
since Sammy died. The rest on 'em ain't had 
no better luck nor their Pa. There's four of 
'em; I buried two of the least ones. Sammy 
were a heap different from t'others. His 
dyin' were all of a piece with the rest of the 
bad luck we-uns has had. Never see nothin' 
like it. Nobody can't blame Timothy for 
gettin' so downhearted. 

**Must you be goin'? I'm powerful glad 
you come by. You done me a sight o' good, 
bein' so sorry about Sammy." 




Toward the close of a showery spring day, 
I heard, through the fog which the mists rising 
from the valleys had heaped upon us, a high- 
pitched voice singing "My Way's Cloudy." 
The minor time accorded well with the 
steady drip, drip from the trees, the dismal 
croaking of the frogs in the meadow, and the 
weird color effects produced by the mist. 

Presently the song ceased, the gate 
clanged, I heard steps on the path, and a dun- 
colored figure walked out of the fog. In be- 
draggled skirts and shoes heavy with mud, 
she looked of the earth earthy. A pleasant 
face topped the figure, however, and by way 
of greeting she said, cheerfully, "I brung you 
something." Depositing upon the grass as 
she spoke a bundle tied up in an old apron, 
she began at once to open it. 

I knowed how fond you be of wild flowers, 



6o iaortj (Carolina Sfeetcjes 

so I dug you some roots. Me and Dan's 
been down to the river plantation workin' all 

'Not in the rain!" I exclaimed. 

"Yes; we've got to get our craps in, and it 
didn't rain so hard down there as they say it 
has up here. This here's sa7ig. You-uns said 
you wanted to see what it were like. It's kind 
of hard to find now, for it's nigh about dug out 
round here since the stores took to trading it 
to send to Chiny. Folks says them heathen 
Chinee chaws it! They must be mighty queer 
folks," continued Mrs. Ames, laughing, as 
she turned the quid of tobacco in her mouth. 

"It's a sight how these here yaller lilies and 
this red horsemint grows if they get a chance. 
It's just beautiful to see 'em down to the plan- 
tation when it comes blossoming time; you 
can't make no headway through 'em some- 
times, they're so thick. 

There ain't nothing I'm so fond of as flow- 
ers. I keep er bringing roots from the plan- 
tation, and plantin' 'em nigh the house, but, 
Lor'! there ain't no show for 'em, what with 
hogs and chickens and the men folks not 
keeping up the fences. There's a sight of 
pretties here. Get me a shovel, and I'll 
plant 'em for you. " 

^ jTogss liap 6i 

Instead of accepting the kind offer, I took 
her into the house and made her a cup of 
coffee, for she still had a long walk before 

Dropping into a chair, she pulled off her old 
sunbonnet, exclaiming: 'Tm plum tired; I 
didn't know I were so wore out. The heart's 
kind of out of me, anyway; things has got all 
mixed up, and I can't see my way, nohow," 
she added, wearily. 

"It's mighty peaceful and pretty down to 
the plantation," she said, after a pause. 
•' 'Pears like my troubles ain't too heavy to 
tote down there. The river runs round the 
meadow-lots so pretty and free; you can hear 
it singin' over the stones and gurglin' like 
a baby some places. It's a heap of company 
when you're workin'. Sometimes, when I see 
the sticks and dead leaves a-swirlin' round on 
the water and bein' carried downstream, 
whether or no, I think they ain't much differ- 
ent from folks. Folks can't help theirselves 
any more than the leaves; they're just driftin' 
along, and 'tain't much use ketchin' on to 
things to hold back agin the stream. I see 
some poor little fishes, as got left in pools by 
the last fresh. They 'minded me so of folks 
workin' round and round in places they can't 

62 iEoctf) Olarolina S-feftcJeis 

never get out of, and ain't certain how they 
got into, neither, that I just had to put 'em 
back into the water," said Mrs. Ames, with 
an apologetic laugh. 

"I'm right queer that way, mixin' up things 
and folks in my head. I reckon some would 
allow I weren't all there, if I let on how I see 
things. It don't do to tell all a body thinks," 
she added, smiling brightly. 

"The birds are plum lively down in the 
valley. I love to watch 'em building their 
nests ; makes me think of young folks courtin'. 
I see a cute thing as I come along by the mill. 
There weren't nobody about, and there sot 
two ground squirrels on the hopper, jabbering 
away like they was folks. The sieve were 
atop of the hopper, so's they couldn't get 
nary a grain of corn, and they was that mad 
I had to laugh. But comin' along to the top 
of the mounting the fog got powerful thick, 
and it seemed like all my worriments come 
back on me." 

"Was it you I heard singing?" I inquired. 

"Yes; I learned that song when the niggers 
had camp meetin', and it holps me a sight 
when I'm down; I'm that way now. Did you 
say why? Oh! because everything's goin* 
wrong, and I can't see my way clear. Now, 

^ dFofigg ©ap 63 

there's my Annie, her as I sent to Hinkson's 
to school, hopin' to make a teacher of her. 
I allowed she had a heap of sense, and I'd had 
such a sight of trouble with the rest that I 
were plum glad I didn't have to study about 
her. But, Lor' ! young folks is all alike, I do 
believe. Gals is like birds a-settin' on a bush 
waitin' for the fust boy that comes along to 
knock 'em off with a stone. 

Nobody'd er thought my Annie would have 
looked at Tom Grogan. She always let 
on like she hated a feller what drinks and 
carries on like he does, and now she's plum 
crazy after him. Nary one of us daresn't say 
a word agin him when she's about. She allows 
if she can't have him, she won't marry nobody ; 
so we-uns give in to his coming to the house 
courtin' her. I'm nigh sick about it. My! 
but that's a pretty pink cup you're pourin' the 
coffee into," she exclaimed, brightening. 
"Annie's powerful fond of pretty things, and 
I've laid awake nights studyin' how to git 
'em for her. I reckon she'll have to whistle 
for pretty things if she marries Tom Grogan. 
She's a right good scollard, but Tom can't 
even read. Gals is curious, and no mistake! 
Now, there's my Sarah Jane; I'm all beat out 
about her. She were bound to marry old 

64 iEorti) Olarolina ^kticf^t^ 

Crosby, and him havin' four children, and she 
nothin' but a slip of a gal! He's cross-eyed, 
and that ugly to look at 'peared like Dan and 
me jest couldn't give in for her to have him, 
but she up and says, 'Why, Ma, you ain't got 
to love him,' and no more we ain't. They've 
been married nigh on five year, and I ain't 
see nothin' to love about him yet; but they're 
having a hard time just now. He's one of 
them unlucky kind as everything goes agin. 
Sarah Jane ain't never been stout since her 
first baby came; she's got two, and is like 
for another. Poor folks has a sight of chil- 
dren. Old Crosby's by his first wife was all 
puny. They had six. If the Lord wanted 'em, 
I were glad they'd buried two of 'em before 
Sarah Jane got married. Them two gals of 
his is always ketchin' somethin'. Now it's 
the measles, and the whole tribe'U have 'em 
before they get through. As if that wasn't 
enough, what does old Crosby hisself go and 
do last week but let a log roll atop of him. 
He's been in bed ever since, groanin' and 
hollerin', but he won't have no doctor. 
I wanted Annie to go and stay with 'em while 
things was so bad, but she allows it makes her 
sick the nasty way they live. Besides, she 
says Sarah Jane's served just right for mar- 

^ jFoggS iBag 65 

rying a no-'count man! I wish she'd take 
warnin', but 'tain't no use wishin'. She's on 
the edge of the nest, and she allows she knows 
how to fly; so she's bound to go over," Mrs. 
Ames added, in a voice robbed of its usual 

"Bill's wife's puny this spring, too. I can't 
help studyin' about 'em all. If I could be in 
two or three places at once, I shouldn't feel 
so bad. Agin I do my own work and the 
milkin', and work in the craps, I'm plum wore 
out, and a body's got to git so7ne sleep. Dan, 
he's sort of puny, too, and a heap of times 
he can't even chop wood, so I have it to 

I asked what part of the work Annie did. 

"Oh, she hates to work; that's why I 
'lowed to make a scollard of her, so she 
wouldn't have nothin' to do. She gets peaked 
the least bit of hard work she does. She can't 
even carry water for me when I'm doin' 
boarders' wash without it givin' her a hurtin' 
in her breast. Yes, she sews some. She 
likes her things fixy, but she ain't got no time 
for mending," added Mrs. Ames, glancing at 
her own shabby attire. "If she marries Tom 
Grogan, she'll be lucky if she even has things 
to mend. It's all mighty bad, but the Lord 

made me so's I always see the funny side of 
things. It's been a heap of help to me some- 
times. It is funny to see gals as can't do no 
work at home marrying no-'count men that 
they have to pick right up and carry. I wish 
it was some other gal besides my Annie as were 
sot on doing it, though. 

There's other things pestering me, too. 
We-uns owes fifty dollars on our house, and 
Mr. Screw holds the papers. They're run 
out, and he allows he can't wait no longer for 
his money; so he's fixin' to sell us out. I had 
thirty dollars saved up towards it, but I 
couldn't see Sarah Jane and the rest so down 
on their luck, and not give 'em a lift. It's 
been a right hard winter for us, anyway. Our 
other gal Jessie's been at home with her baby 
and her old man since the first of the year. 
He's a right well-meanin' man, but he don't 
have no luck. 'Peared like things was goin' 
agiri him right along; so the man he rented 
his place from allowed he'd take it off his 
hands, and he just give up and brung his 
family to our house. Wie-uns is pinched for 
room, and Annie don't like it. She says 
mean things to Brad; that's Jessie's man. 
I feel plum sorry for him sometimes. Things 
seem all in a muddle, somehow; leastways, 

^ dToggg Baj) 67 

that's how I feel now. I don't see no light 
nowheres. " 

Rising stiffly to her feet, she put on her 
old sunbonnet, saying: "I must go 'long 
home and milk. Here I been settin' enjoying 
myself, and forgettin' that them poor things 
won't git a bite of supper ready till I'm there 
to help. It'll be plum dark agin I get the 
milkin' done. 

I'm obleeged to you for the coffee and 
snack. They've heartened me up a sight. 
I reckon it's goin' to clear; it don't seem 
nigh so thick as it did when I come in," said 
Mrs. Ames, as she disappeared in the envel- 
oping cloud. 

At sunset the fog, suddenly lifting, floated 
away in vapor. A dripping world tossed back 
his own radiance into the face of the sun when 
he burst forth, while the mountains glowed 
like burnished copper till twilight drew its 
purple veil. 

68 iaortf) (Eacolma Sfeetctes 



The plants brought me by Mrs. Ames that 
foggy day were growing thriftily, some of 
them were already in bloom ; for the spring 
was behind us, and we were in the heart of an 
unusually warm and dry summer. In conse- 
quence of the water-courses getting low, there 
was much sickness, and I heard one day that 
Mrs. Ames, among others, was "down with 
the fever. " The next afternoon I was shocked 
to receive a message that she was ''about to 
die," and wanted to see me. 

I found her looking terribly ill, but the old 
cheerful smile illumined her face as she recog- 
nized me and feebly put out her hand to take 
mine. When I told her the bunch of red mint 
I had just laid on her pillow came from the 
roots she had brought me, she said, softly: 
"Ain't it queer how things outlasts folks? 
Them flowers will go on bloomin' when I'm 
plum forgot. " 

"Did you see the doctor as you come in?" 
she asked; and then continued, slowly: "He 
set quiet holding my wrist, and after a bit I 

^ dFoggg Ba^ 69 

see him wipin' his eyes, and he says, smoothiti' 
my hair like I were a little gal, 'I'm plum 
sorry I can't do no more for you, Mrs. Ames; 
it makes me feel bad. ' 

' You ain't no call to blame yourself, Doc- 
tor,' I says. 'There's been a heap o' times 
you done helped me when you didn't even 
know it. Many's the time it done me good 
just to meet up with you, 'count of your kind 
ways. Sick and well, we-uns has had a sight 
of help from you; so you must just set this 
off agin that. ' " 

'*I laughed," said she, "but I see tears in 
his eyes. 'We'll miss your pleasant ways, 
Mrs. Ames,' he says, and that brung the tears 
into my eyes, too." 

Waiting a few moments to recover breath, 
she went on more slowly: "He'd er helped 
me if anybody could, but I reckon I'm like 
that old clock up there," she added, with a 
pathetic little laugh. *' 'Machinery's wore 
out,' the tinker said. Just before it quit 
goin' for good it took to buzzing so the baby 
were scared, and all the strikes went off at 
once, and it ain't budged since." 

"Tell 'em not to cry," she whispered, 
pointing to a group of her family and friends, 
weeping audibly at the foot of the bed. "It 

70 i^orti) (O^arolina Sfeetcftes 

frets me to hear 'em; I'm wore out, and I 
need quiet. There ain't nothin' to cry about. 
It's all clear as day before me. It's like I'd 
been workin' hard one of them long, foggy 
days, when everything were all mixed up and 
hard to understand, and there weren't no 
light nowheres. " She paused a moment for 
breath. "Now it's evenin'; the fog's lifted 
and the sun's settin; he's ]\xstburstiti out^ and 
it's all light and bright. Everything's shin- 
ing with glory!" 

She closed her eyes, resting a few moments. 
Then the failing voice went on: "Do you 
remember how you read me about Christian 
dropping his pack at the cross, and how 
happy he were when he got shut of it? I'm 
like that now. I done toted all their loads," 
she whispered, glancing affectionately at her 
weeping family, "till I were plum broke down. 
Long while back the doctor told me my lungs 
was weak, and when I took pneumony fever 
I knowed it weren't no more use, and I just 
let the whole pack roll off me, like Christian 
did. I'm so thankful to be layin' here restin', 
just waitin' on the Lord's will. It's hard on 
them, poor things," she murmured, her eyes 
filling with tears; "but I reckon the Lord 
knows what's best," 

^ jFogfll? IBag 7t 

At this the weeping broke forth afresh, and 
she closed her eyes wearily. Dan, the picture 
of woe, stood at the head of the bed, keeping 
off the flies with a laurel branch. The tears 
rolled down his thin cheeks, nesting unheeded 
in his scraggy beard, but he uttered no sound 
to disturb his dying mate. 

Presently she spoke again. "I ain't much 
account, nohow, but I done the best I could; 
and the Lord knows better than folks does 
how hard-pushed I've been most times. I've 
been like the sticks and leaves whirlin' and 
driftin' down the stream. I fought agin it a 
sight, but 'long to the last I see it weren't 
no use; so I just give in to drift. They say 
the river's carryin' of 'em down to the sea. 

I don't know nothing about the sea I'm 
driftin' to, but I'm in the still waters now, and 
I ain't afraid to trust the Lord. He's been 
mighty good to me, and give me a heap of 
blessings I weren't half thankful enough for. 
I see a sight er worriment all my life, but I 
weren't never one of them as looks long on 
the dark side, and that's been a heap of help 
to me and the rest. I 'lowed you'd read me 
again that chapter in the Bible about peace," 
she said, faintly, after a long pause. 

Annie got the Bible, and I read the four- 

72 iaortj (Karolina S^etcfjes 

teenth chapter of St. John, while the sick 
woman lay with closed eyes and folded hands, 
a look of great peace upon her shrunken face. 
As I closed the book, I could see through 
the open door the shadows grown long and 
the underside of the leaves of the great 
white rhododendron that grew by the little 
porch silvering in the rays of the setting sun. 

"Now sing me them verses I liked so well 
of that hymn you played for me Sunday were 
two weeks," said the fast-failing voice. 

It had been hard for me to read calmly, 
and I waited for command of my voice to sing. 
Opening her eyes, the dying woman whis- 
pered feebly: "Don't feel bad; you wouldn't 
if you knowed how happy I be, and how 
bright and clear it all is." 

So I swallowed hard, and began softly 
singing her favorite verses of "Sun of My 
Soul," watching her the while, as she lay on 
her miserable bed, the embodiment of peace. 
As I began the last verse, her eyes opened 
suddenly with a smile into mine. A swift 
change passed over her face, and ere I finished 
the last line I knew she was already afloat 
upon that sea towards which she had rejoiced 
to feel herself drifting. 



A search for health landed us among the 
North Carolina mountains. Spring was at 
hand, and nothing could exceed the beauty 
of the external world, to which the languor- 
ous sighing of the pines and the joyous notes 
of mating birds seemed to give voice. It was 
like watching from a distance the approach of 
a friend to see the tender green of the budding 
trees start in the coves and valleys, and climb 
slowly up the mountain sides, to burst at last 
into sudden glory of leaf and bloom at the top. 

Our new neighbors and their primitive 
methods of life and work interested us greatly. 

On one of our long drives we came across 
an old man chopping wood near where we 
camped at noon, and we invited him to share 
our lunch. He proved a very entertaining 
guest. After showing us the old cabin where 
he and his wife lived alone, he gave us a sketch 
of his life, much of which, naively told, was 
very interesting. 


7^ iaortj ataxolina S>Mcf}t^ 

1 1 

I reckon you-uns wasn't livin' round these 
parts war times," said he. "I were. We- 
uns seen a sight o' worriment them days. My 
people was all for the Union, so I slipped off 
and jined the Union army. 

The war's over long ago, and them as fit 
in it ain't got nary a grudge agin nobody. 
They likes to tell, when they git together, 
how they used to call one another Yanks and 
Rebs, and swap tobacco and hard-tack when- 
ever there were a flag o' truce, and to brag 
how they fit and licked each other. Them 
kind don't stir up no contention. They done 
had enough of it war times. It's them as 
were all talk and bluster then as goes on the 
same way now. I weren't never one of them 
contentious sort. All I want is a chance to 
work and live peaceable. Life ain't long 
enough to be always pesterin' about what a 
body ain't no call to meddle with. 

My brother Bill weren't so strong as me, 
and he staid to home to help Ma. The home 
guards, as they done called theirselves, shot 
him, 'cause they couldn't make him tell where 
I were at. He weren't never no 'count for 
work agin. They done served a sight that way. 

My father died when I were little, and Ma 
seen hard times raisin' us young ones. Bill 

J^r. Cimmins 77 

and me done a heap o' work to help her along, 
but when the war come on she allowed as one 
of us ought to fight for the country, so I went, 
bein' the strongest. I kept a-studyin' about 
t'others while I were away, though, and sure 
enough, when I come back, poor Ma were dead 
and gone, and Bill plum broke down. Ma 
weren't never to say strong, and she overdone 
herself after Bill were shot. 

Them home guards run off folks' cattle, 
too. We'd kept our cow by hidin' of her 
down in a cove, but when she were a-calvin' 
she were like to die, and Ma allowed it weren't 
worth while to let her die now, after all the 
bother we'd had keepin' of her hid so long. 
Ma knowed a right smart about sick-nursin'. 
The neighbors used to send after her from all 
around for sickness. When night come on 
and Ma seen the cow weren't no better, she 
come back to the house and done told Bill and 
the gals she reckoned she'd set up with her. 

They was plum set agin her doin' it, and 
the gals allowed they'd set up and Ma go to 
bed. She wouldn't hear to it, though. She 
knowed how skeery they be, and she done told 
'em to quit talkin', for she were bent on 
doin' her duty by that poor cow. It were a 
cold night, and she daresn't make no fire, 

78 ^oxtfj OTarolma ^ktttf^tB 

'count of somebody maybe seein' it, but she 
took along Pa's old lantern under her shawl. 
The gals allowed they hadn't never seen the 
stars so bright, but there weren't no moon. 

Ma done saved the cow, but when she 
didn't come home in the mornin' the gals 
went to find her, and there she sot, plum 

"Not your poor mother?" I asked, hoping 
that Mr. Timmins had got things mixed, and 
meant the cow. 

"Yes, poor Ma," he replied. "The gals 
come on her settin' there that natural and 
pretty, with her sunbonnet on, they allowed 
she were asleep. Them were bad times for 
we-uns, and they lost the cow for all. Ma's 
dying in the cove put the home guards on the 
scent, and the next day the cow and calf was 



On one of my long walks in early spring 
I came upon a little cabin in the valley, and 
recognized an acquaintance standing in the 
doorway. It was Mrs. Rastus Barns. She 
urged my coming in to rest before climbing 
the hill again. 

"You-uns ain't been used to the mountings, 
and you'll be plum broke down and wore out 
'fore you git back," she said, "if you don't 
set awhile." 

The bare trees and ever-green rhododen- 
drons, standing up against the bluest of skies, 
made a lovely picture, as I glanced back over 
the way I had come, but the path seemed 
steep and long. As I hesitated, I realized 
that I was tired ; so I went in with Mrs. Barns, 
and sat by the door on a straight-backed 
splint chair. 

Presently I asked her if she and her neigh- 
bors did not find thei-r one-roomed houses too 
small for comfort. 


82 ^oxtf) ataxolina, Sfeetcjes 


We git used to 'em," she replied, smiling. 
I reckon you-uns was raised different, so 
they look queer to you. I were awful pestered 
when Sal were a corpse, though." 

"Who was Sal?" I asked, startled by this 
sudden introduction of a cadaver. 

"She were my youngest sister," answered 
Mrs. Barns. "Sal weren't rightly her name. 
Ma named her Meranthy Angeliny, outen 
a book she heard read. Ma and Pa hadn't no 
chance to git a eddication, and they couldn't 
neither of 'em read. 

When Sal got so's she could talk, t'others 
was plaguin' her one day about havin' sich 
a long name. She allowed as that weren't her 
name, nohow. She said her right name were 
Sal, and after that she wouldn't answer to 
none other. So we-uns give in to call her 
Sal. She were a mighty pesterin' young one. 
She weren't all there, and she nigh about 
ware Ma out. I took her to live along o' we- 
uns after Ma died, but she were a sight o' 
worriment. I never see no one, from that 
day to this, that could be in so many places 
at once as it 'peared like Sal could. 

One day Pa and Rastus was burnin' down 
a tree that had fell over and got stuck in a big 
oak; so they done sot it afire to make it fall. 

^Ilapmg Mti^ dFi'ce 83 

They was goin' to the mill, so they come to 
the house for the corn Sal and me had shelled 
for 'em. Sal weren't no 'count for work, but 
she were right spry at shellin' corn. She'd 
carry some of it round with her, and have 
every hog and chicken on the place follerin' of 
her. Then she'd fire the cobs at 'em, and 
laugh fit to kill herself if she hit one. 

When the men folks was goin' to the mill, 
Pa says to me: 'Sis, you keep a eye on Sal, 
so she don't go nigh the big tree.' Rastus 
says to her: 'Now, Honey, you stay right here 
'long o' Sis till I git back, and I'll fetch you 
some o' them molasses.' She said she would, 
and they done went along. 

I were powerful busy washin' and bilin* 
soap that mornin'. 'Pears like men folks 
always has to go to the mill or somewhere 
just when they might be some help at home. 
The baby were that cross cuttin' teeth you 
might 'a' heard him holler clean to the settle- 
mint. I had him layin' on a pallet under a 
tree. I kept runnin' 'twixt him and the wash 
and the soap, but I hadn't no call to go to the 
house. The last time I were in, I see Sal 
were all right, with her chew-stick and snuff, 
and playin' with the cat. Then I plum for- 
got her. 

84 iEortJ (Carolina Sb^ttcfitB 

The baby went off to sleep, and I settled 
down peaceable to my work, and never give 
a thought to Sal and the old tree. The birds 
was a-singin', and I heard the young lambs 
a-bleatin', and the wind stirrin' in the trees, 
and the sky were so blue, and the clouds so 
white and woolly, that it rested me just to 
be out of doors. 

Washin' and soap-bilin' is powerful hard 
work when you have to carry all the wood for 
the fires, and like as not chop it, too. 
Women folks sees hard times in the mount- 

Well, Pa and Rastus come 'long home jest as 
I were puttin' away the tubs, and feelin' good 
'count o' bein' so nigh through. 'Where's 
Sal?' Pa says first thing. 'In the house,' 
says I; 'but mind you don't wake the baby; 
he's done hollered and cried most ever since 
you-uns went to the mill. Looks cute layin' 
there asleep, don't he?' I says. Pa were 
a-standin' right 'long side o' the pallet, and it 
made me laugh to see how the baby favored 
his grandpop. 

Pa and Rastus done carried in the meal, 
and then they come runnin' out o' the door, 
like they was scared, and cut for the old tree. 
I run to the house, and I see Sal were gone. 

Wmm ^tt{) jFirc 85 

and before I got to the door agin I heard sich 
a shout I I can't never forget it. 

I ain't one of them fainty kind, but I had 
to lean hard agin the doorpost, and when I 
got so's I could see, there were Pa and Rastus 
bringin' somethin' heavy to the house. I 
knowed right away what it were, and I had 
to set down on the floor just where I 
were at. 

Sal, not havin' right sense, must 'a* stood 
lookin' up into the tree till it fell atop of her, 
an' she never drawed another breath. I were 
glad to think she couldn't 'a' suffered, for I 
blamed myself a sight for not keepin' a watch 
on her. You see, I'd put out the fire in the 
stove before I come out, so I knowed there 
weren't no fire for her to fool with. We 
always had to keep the matches hid from her, 

Did you say were she fond of playing with 
fire? She were that. Onct before she come 
nigh burnin' up. Pa and Ma were out in the 
field hoein' corn, and they'd left Sal asleep in 
the house, and they thought the fire were out. 
Pa reckoned he'd go to the spring for a drink. 
It's plum curious how thirsty some men is 
when they get a job of work to do. It beats 
all to see how many times they have to go to 

S6 ^ottf) Ol^arolina Sfeetcjes 

the spring. It would wear *em all out to go 
that often for water to cook with. 

Well, Pa allowed he'd better look into the 
house and see if Sal were all right. There 
she were, a-sweepin' the floor with one o' them 
brush brooms, and it, and her, too, was all 
afire. Pa had brung a bucket o' water from 
the spring that trip, and he quick throwed it 
all over her and put out the fire, and scared 
poor Sal nigh to death. She were plum 
afraid o' water, and wouldn't go nigh it if she 
could help herself. She wouldn't even wash 
her own face and hands, and she hollered 
when you done it for her. 

We-uns always had to watch out for her 
about fire, though, so it ain't no wonder she 
come to a fiery end, is it?" 

"No," I replied; "but you haven't told 
me yet why your one-roomed house was so 
uncomfortable when your sister died." 

"Well, it were along o' the way the neigh- 
bors come and come and come when they 
heard about Sal, till I were nigh about crazy, 
the house were so full," Mrs. Barns replied. 
"Some on 'em brung their young ones to 
larn 'em a lesson, they said, seein' as most 
was heady like Sal about gettin' their own 
way. Them children cried and went on fit to 

Kagi'ng toi'tfj jfiu 87 

waken the corpse, and my baby were scared 
of 'em all. He were that cross I couldn't set 
him down a minute. It come on to rain, too, 
and that made it worse. 

'Peared like Sal were the only one had 
any room. They all fit shy o* her, layin' 
there under a sheet on the bed in the corner. 
The men folks allowed as there weren't 
nothin' for it but to git the funeral over with; 
so they sot up all night makin' Sal's coffin. 
It sounded mighty lonesome to hear 'em 
hammerin' and sawin' on sich work after it 
got dark, and I were right glad Mr. and Mis* 
Jones brung their pallet and slept on the floor. 

There were a owl hootin' in the woods, 
and a dog howlin', and Mis' Jones 'lowed as 
that meant another death. Pa Jones says to 
her, 'Ma, them critters is right over nigh our 
house,' and she done shut up. 

Preacher Smith were holdin' 'tracted 
meetin' at the Baptist Church. He come 
over next mornin' and said prayers, and we 
buried Sal nigh Ma's grave in the old field. 
We was that wore out when it were all over 
I reckon we'd 'a' slept a week if it weren't 
for the baby hollerin' for his breakfast. 

Them mayflowers you got in your hand 
puts me in mind o' that time," said Mrs. 

SS i^ortfj (Karclina Sfeetcjes 

Barns. 'Peared like Sal done picked a sight 
of *em before she went nigh the old tree. 
They was all strowed round where she were 
layin'. The neighbors gathered 'em up, and 
we put 'em in the coffin along o' Sal. She 
were right fond o' flowers. She looked more 
peacefuller layin' in her coffin than I'd ever 
see her. Even when she were asleep, she 
were like to holler out or jump up. You had 
to sleep with one eye open to watch her. You 
couldn't never tell what she'd do. 

I were thinkin' o' her when I see you 
comin'. I were lookin' at them there trees 
way down in the holler. I disremember their 
names, but I ain't never see 'em white like 
that since the year Sal died." 

I looked where she pointed. In the depths 
of the valley, where the stream had, as she 
expressed it, "quit its hurry," a group of 
moulted sycamores stood forth ivory-white in 
the sunshine. 

"Look sort o' like ghosts, don't they?" 
Mrs. Barns said, smiling. Then she added, 
"I think them beeches up above 'em's a sight 

The hillside showed the gray of bare 
beeches, some drooping long arms and dip- 
ping slender branches almost to earth. 

"Tears like some trees is a heap nicer than 
others to look at in winter," said she. 
"Beeches is that way. A sight o' leaves 
hangs on 'em nigh all winter, and them that 
draps is right yaller. Cloudy days it looks 
like the sun were shinin' round *em. Oaks 
is nice to look at in winter, too, but they's 
more browner." 

"What a beautiful tree!" I exclaimed, call- 
ing her attention to a noble white pine on the 

"Know the reason, don't ye?" she re- 
sponded, quickly. "That's 'count of its 
growln' in the clearin'. Look at them trees 
in that piece o' wood yonder. Ain't nary one 
of 'em but what's growed crooked or queer 
someways. Some on 'em's scarce growed at 
all, 'count o' bein' so crowded up together. 
It's that way with folks. A sight of 'em ain't 
never had no room to stretch in. That kind's 
mighty apt to get crabbed when they's old. 
That's what's the matter with a heap o' chil- 
dren; their folks don't never let 'em alone a 
minute. I stepped into Mis' Travers' yester- 
day, and the way she kept after them young 
ones o' hers was a sight. She were a-flyin* 
out at *em every minute. Even Saludy, the 
biggest gal, come in for a slap before I come 

90 iEortfj (C'arolina ^ifeetcfjes 

away, and she's goin' on seventeen. Ain't 
one o' them young ones but holds its head 
kind o' queer, like it were dodgin' a blow. I 
declare I were afraid I'd catch the same trick 
if I staid there long. Mis' Travers hadn't let 
them young ones alone a single minute whilst 
I were there, and when I see her goin' for 
Saludy I reckoned I'd staid long enough. I 
weren't sure she wouldn't git round to me 
next," Mrs. Barns, said, laughing. "We-uns 
wasn't raised that way. My people was poor, 
but they was right peaceable." 

When I was leaving, I gave her part of my 
bunch of trailing arbutus. " 'Bleeged to you 
for these," said she; "I'll put 'em on Sal's 
grave. I ain't got time to go huntin' 'em my- 



One day when I called at Mrs. Lank's, I 
found her at her loom, which darkened the 
only window the house could boast of. 

After showing me the blue-and-white spread 
she was weaving, she seemed glad to leave 
her work for a friendly chat. 

"Weavin's tiresomer work than you'd 
think," said she, seating herself near the fire, 
and taking down her hair as she talked. 
This was a pet habit of hers, but it always 
came upon me as a diverting surprise. Such 
a head of hair as she had! It was long, light, 
and so slippery — slick, she called it — that no 
hairpins that were ever invented could keep 
it in order long. 

** A body's got to look mighty sharp to keep 
track o' the pattern in one o' them spreads," 
she resumed, thickly, with her mouth full of 
hairpins. "And you git tired all over settin' 
workin' the loom. I'm right glad you come 
by, so's 1 can rest a bit. My! but you-uns 


94 Moxtf) (Eatclina Sfeetcjeg 

sets a heap o' store by them ivy blossoms," 
said Mrs. Lank, referring to the bunch of 
mountain laurel in my hand. "Why, they're 
plenty as dirt." 

** Yes, but they're so beautiful, " I protested. 
"They'd brighten your room wonderfully if 
you'd fill that old crock in the corner with 

"Lor' me! I ain't got no time for no sich 
foolishness," she replied, taking the hairpins 
out of her mouth and putting them into her 

Then she asked: "Did you hear about the 
row Mr. and Mis' Putty's been havin'? Say 
you ain't? Well, it's just a sight the way 
them two goes on. Last I heard he done beat 
her. / wouldn't stand a beatin' from no 
man — no, not if he was a gold man!" said 
Mrs. Lank, giving her head a toss that sent 
the hairpins flying. "He drinks, but some 
allows as he's drove to it by the way she be- 
haves. The church members has been 
wantin* to have her up before the church, and 
now they're all argufying about it. Some on 
'em allows if she's let off they'll take their 
letters and go over to the Baptists. There's 
a heap o' them Methodys, anyway, that ain't 
plum sure in their minds as sprinklin's safe. 

iBteigpoclB (S^ogsip 95 

Some on 'em done told me they git right low 
in their minds about it sometimes. They 
reckon they'd feel a heap safer if they'd been 
soused, but they jined at the big 'tracted 
meetin'. There was more'n forty a-mournin' 
at onct, and thirty jiners. I never see sich a 
sight. Folks got all worked up, cryin' and 
goin' on. Miss Brand went up and down, 
cryin' and wringin' her hands. 'Peared like 
she allowed as everybody but her were goin' 
straight to the bad place. She kept a hol- 
lerin* for the Lord to save her nevvy, Aleck 
Burr. She went and grabbed holt of him, 
and tried to drag him to the mourner's bench, 
but he dodged, and him and t'other boys he 
were with run out, '^' Mrs. Lanks said, laughing. 

"Preacher Crosby got mighty worked up, 
too, shoutin' louder and louder, till he were 
frothin' at the mouth like a dumb critter. 
He's a right good man, but some on 'em ain't 
got no use for him 'count o' his bein' so down 
on liquor and 'stillin'. 

They ain't never had another o' them big 
'tracted meetin's, and Preacher Crosby allows 
as a sight of 'em's fell away from grace since. 
Fact is," said she, lowering her voice confi- 
dentially, "folks gits tired o' one preacher, 
and havin' him jaw at 'em about their sins. 

9^ i^ortft OJacoIina Sfeetcfteg 

Besides, they grudge payin' Mr. Crosby 
seventy-five dollars a year, when they might 
get another man for fifty. They reckon he's 
too much after the make. That's 'count of 
his sayin' no man couldn't rightly study Scrip- 
tur' and preach acceptable unto the Lord 
when he had to work so hard as he done on 
the farm to support his family. His wife's 
weakly most times, and two o' their young 
ones is puny. 

Did you say couldn't we give him more 
salary? Well, some o' the church members is 
right well-to-do, butthey'se mighty nigh when 
it comes to money." 

Just then a man with lantern jaws appeared 
in the doorway. He stood with gaping mouth, 
waiting for Mrs. Lank to ask his errand. He 
wanted her husband. She said he was at the 
mill, and the man went away. 

Mrs. Lank laughed. "I can't never see 
Tom Booth," she said, "without thinkin' of 
the time t'other fellers put him up to keepin' 
company with me. I couldn't abide him, and 
they knowed it; but they let on to him like I 
were sweet on him. He came up with me, 
bold as brass, goin' home from preachin' one 

Here Mrs. Lank threw back her head and 

laughed so heartily that away flew her hair- 
pins, and the second arrangement of her hair 
went for naught. 

*'When I see it were him, I were mad!" she 
resumed. "I says to him: 'If you're bound 
to go 'long home with me, Tom Booth, I'll 
get Pop to make you a clamp to keep your 
mouth shut,' I says. Pop were a blacksmith. 

Tom looked like I'd struck him. He never 
said a word, but he turned short round and 
went after the Dent gals. He done married 
one of *em. Him and me was bad friends, 
and never spoke for a long time after that. 
Afterwards he allowed I'd spoke unthoughted, 
and he said he hadn't no grudge agin me. 
Nobody ever see him with his mouth shut, 
and he snores terrible," said she, smiling. 
"Time his sister that lived with him died, him 
and Katy was plum wore out takin' care of 
her. Me and two other gals offered to set up 
all night with the corpse and let them folks 
sleep. And you'd oughter heard 'em sleep 
One played bass to t'other's trible They 
kept us laughin' so we hadn't no trouble 
keepin' awake, nor no chance to git skeery. 
Lor' me!" said Mrs. Lank, lapsing into a vein 
of reminiscence, "that sets me back to when 
I were young. Gals is queer. I reckon I 

98 iEortf) (Carolina ^kttcf^m 

weren't no different from t'others. 'Pears 
like I were always laughing at somethin' or 
other them days. A body ain't no call to 
laugh so much when they get older. 

Maybe you wouldn't believe it, but I were 
a right good-lookin' gal. I had a sight o' 
sweethearts. The fellers all wanted me for 
partner at corn-shuckin's. Me and Mr. Haw- 
ley was keepin' company when I were seven- 
teen," Mrs. Lank added, in a tone which 
showed that she expected me to be much 
impressed by this bit of information. Mr. 
Hawley stood high in the community because 
of his worldly success. Morally he was a 
miserable failure, however. 

Mrs. Lank continued: "My folks wouldn't 
give in to our marrying, though. He were 
a poor boy then. He got mad and went away 
to Georgy. He were the only man I were 
ever really in love with. I never see him agin 
till he come back here after his second wife 
died. I were married myself then, and, any- 
ways, he'd got too biggotty for sich as me. 

Did you say weren't I in love with my 
man when I married him? 'Bout like com- 
mon. We get along all right. He were in 
love with another gal, too. Her folks 
wouldn't hear to their raarryin'; so him an* 

i^eigfttoclB (Sfossip 99 

me got married to spite our folks," she said, 
with a short laugh. 

"Yes, there were a chance that we might a 
spited ourselves worser, but we're both mighty 
easy goin', so we get on together well as 
most folks. Land! where's my hairpins 
gone to?" Mrs. Lank exclaimed, abruptly, 
as she began groping about the dim room in 
search of them. 

When she had recovered the strays, she sat 
down and began upon her hair again. 

Presently she said: "I don't guess you 
stopped to see old Mr. Mason as you come 
along? He's right bad off." 

No; I didn't know he was ill," I replied. 
Oh, he ain't ill," she returned, hastily. 
He's always been right good to his folks, 
and a lamb couldn't be patienter nor him 
now he's sick. No, he weren't never ill. 
He's sufferin' a sight, a kind o' suffocatin*; 
can't get his breath. The room's plum full 
o* the neighbors settin' round. The doctor 
allowed as them that wasn't no help to the 
family had oughter go away, so I come home. 
He done told 'em they was spoilin' what air 
there were to breathe, and the poor old man 
couldn't git enough, nohow. Some on 'em 
got mad, and for spite they done told Mis* 

< ( 

loo iStortt (JUarolma Sfeetcjes 

Mason the doctor said her man were dyin' 
right then. The poor thing come outside, 
where Mr. Mason couldn't hear her, and she 
took on powerful. But I heard what the 
doctor said, and it weren't no sich as that. I 
done told her so. He said you might as well 
give a sick body pisen to drink as to pisen 
the only air he's got to breathe. I ain't smart 
enough to understand no sich, but I know 
he's a right good doctor. Since he come here 
folks don't die with the fever like they done 
before. " 

"Well, did the neighbors go home!" I 

*'Me and some others come away, but a 
sight of 'em staid, and I reckon Mis' Mason 
and the gals had to cook dinner for 'em," 
Mrs. Lank replied. 

"Poor old Mr. Mason has seen a sight o' 
worriment, 'long o' bad children and bad 
health. Him and her's always been right 
steady-goin' and peaceable, but it 'pears like 
their boys and gals is always up to some devil- 
ment. There's bad stock on the mother's 
side. She were one o' them Cole bastards, 
and it's comin' out in the children. It's 
apt to. Some folks sees a heap o' worriment, 
don't they?" said she, putting finishing 

iEeigporlj) (Gossip loi 

touches to her hair as she sat by the dingy 
hearth, which looked as if it had never scraped 
acquaintance with a broom. The very fire 
seemed to burn dimly in this unkempt room. 
Good housekeeping was not one of Mrs. 
Lank's virtues, evidently. 

"Preacher reckons as them that has it hard 
here'll git it made up to 'em in heaven. I 
don't know how 'tis," she added, thought- 
fully. ''I've studied a heap about it. Now, 
there's old Mr. Mason; his two oldest boys 
went straight to the bad. They was both 
killed in a drunken fight. Many's the time I 
see him just a-humpin' to work, and them 
boys off on some devilment or other. 

They done spoiled 'em when they's little, 
for one thing. Preacher Crosby allows as a 
little birch-tea's a heap better'n pettin' some- 
times. I don't guess he's fur wrong, 
neither," she added, readjusting her hairpins. 
Mr. Mason set a heap o' store by them boys, 
and he ain't never quit grievin' about their 
dyin' in their sins. Mis' Mason says he even 
talks about it in his sleep. Many's the time 
I've heard him say there couldn't be no 
heaven for him without them two boys, and 
if the Lord 'd let him, he'd go to the bad place 
right cheerful, and serve out their time for 

I02 laortt (Carolina i^ketci^es 

'em, so's they'd be sot free. Them's the 
things I just ca7i't see can be made up. Can 
you?" she asked, wistfully. 

I knew she had similar troubles of her own, 
although she had never spoken of them to me. 

*'I don't think they can," I replied. "But 
why should we believe of our Heavenly Father 
what we would not for a moment believe of 
our earthly parents? Do you think God 
could be less loving and forgiving toward 
those two boys than their own father is?" 

**I ain't heard tell o' no sich pint o' view," 
said Mrs. Lank, suspiciously, putting up her 
hand absently to feel if it was the slipping 
of her troublesome back hair that had given 
her an unsettled feeling. 

At that moment a neighbor hurried in to 
say that Mr. Mason was dead, and Mrs. 
Mason wanted Mrs. Lank to help to lay him 

I gave her my bunch of laurel for the 
house of mourning. 

As I passed out of that cheerless room into 
the sunshine, I could almost imagine the joy 
of release to the soul whose troubles we had 
just been discussing. 




When I gave Mrs. Hapgood a lift in the 
buggy because she was carrying a heavy load, 
she began at once to tell me her "business to 
the settlemint. " 

"I toted a big load to the store this 
mornin'," said she. "We-uns gathers a sight 
of roots and yarbs and other things for barter. 
Miss Blane done carried my big sack part way 
on her mule, or I wouldn't be gittin' back so 

It was now four o'clock. She had given up 
the better part of a day to her business trans- 
actions in the way of barter. The subject of 
barter interested me greatly. Hearsay had it 
that the shopkeepers always came out ahead, 
so I liked to hear the other side state the 
case. Mrs. Hapgood was garrulous, and I 
encouraged her to run on. 

"I had other things besides roots and 

io6 iaortf) (Eaxolina ^kttcf^tB 

yarbs, " she said; "I had a sight of beeswax, 
and they pay right smart for that. We-uns 
keeps bees. We smoke 'em with sulphur and 
kill 'em when we want to take the honey. 
We get a heap of wax that way. Yes, I 
reckon it's bad killin' of 'em off so; we done 
had six stands, and now we ain't got but 
two left. Folks* bees always swarm in the 
spring, though, and if you watch out sharp 
you kin often catch a stray swarm. I worked 
a whole day last spring ringin' bells and 
things to catch one, and didn't get it after 
all. Peter even clomb the tree they was on, 
but they up and flew away. We'd have had 
a sight of bees by this time if ours hadn't got 
burned up when our house were burned. 
Peter's father give us two nice stand of bees 
in new bee-gums when we was married, and 
we had six setting close to the house that day. 
Him and me had been over to his Pa's 
spending the day. Before we went we 
watered out the fire in the fireplace and cov- 
ered it up, and we found it just like we left it; 
so it weren't f/iaf as sot the fire. We reckoned 
it were along of our having the bees so close. 
There were a simple feller going about then 
as had a powerful big sweet tooth, and folks 
allowed as he knowed we was gone, and come 

iSarter 107 

pesterin' the bees to get some honey. 'Tain't 
likely he had any sulphur, and maybe he 
tried smokin* 'em with tobacco. That makes 
'em plum wild. If they stung him, he'd drop 
the fire and run. Like as not that's what he 
done, and it ketched in the dry leaves laying 
about. It were a dry time. Fire's easy sot, 
but it's plum hard to ketch up with when it 
gets goin'. Me and Peter see the smoke 
when we was comin' home. We allowed it 
were some on 'em burnin' brush, and we 
wished folks weren't so free to set out fires 
such dry times. When we come out into the 
clearing and see it were our own house, we 
both hollered and took to runnin'. He were 
carrying a basket of good things — sassages, 
pies, and sich — his Ma done give us. We 
never knowed what become of 'em, but we 
reckoned the hogs did," she said, laughing. 
"I were totin' the baby. I were always right 
careful of her. I have to laugh, though, 
when I think how I done served her that time. 
I see Peter's wagon standin' there, and as 
luck would have it, there were straw in the 
bottom of it, but it would have been all the 
same if it was bare. I up and give the baby 
a toss into the wagon as I run by, and never 
looked to see what she lit on. All I knowed 

io8 iEortf) OTaroU'tta S)fectcf)eis 

was that she couldn't get out. The way she 
hollered were a caution, though we didn't 
take notice to it till afterwards. All him 
and me was thinkin' was could we save our 
things; but it were too late to get out much. 
It were a big loss to young married folks and 
mighty disheartenin'. 

But we couldn't keep from laughin', after 
it were all over, to see that young one. She 
were kickin' and squallin , with her fists full 
of straw. She kept pokin' it into her eyes 
and mouth, and that made her madder than 
ever," added Mrs. Hapgood, laughing heartily 
at the recollection. 

"There's a sight of fires among the mount- 
ings. Folks allows as most of 'em's set for 
spite by your enemies. What with religion 
and politics, a body's like to have a lot of 
enemies. If a man's a Dimocrat, and his 
house burns down, he allows as the 'Publicans 
done it. Same way, if he's a 'Publican, he 
allows as the Dimocrats done it. It's just so 
about religion, too. If he's a Methody, he 
reckons the Baptists done it; if he's a Baptist, 
he's plum sure it were the Methodys, or like 
as not the Presbytarians, and he won't hear 
to nothin' else. Folks is always argyfyin' 
and quarrelin' about such as that. Sometimes 

ISarter 109 

it comes to out-and-out fightin', but most 
times it's just meanness. There's seven kind 
of Baptists in the mountings, and some on 
'em's nigh to a fight every time they come 

But when there's a fire, the neighbors all 
turn out, enemies or no enemies, and save all 
they can. When Mr. Blank's house were 
burned, they sot the things out and kept goin' 
in for more till he just begged 'em to quit, 
fear of the roof fallin' on 'em. A sight of 
'em was down on him, too, 'count of his 
being a 'Publican. Folks likes to talk, 
though; 'pears like a heap of 'em would bust 
if they couldn't take the lid off that way some- 
times. " 

I reminded Mrs. Hapgood that she had not 
finished telling me about her trade at the 

"Sure enough," she exclaimed, with one of 
her ready laughs. "I reckon you think I'm 
one of them that don't know enough to put 
the lid on when it's off. Peter says my 
tongue's a sight when it gets waggin'. What 
was it you asked me? Oh, yes; about my 
trade at the store. I had a heap of things. 
I only got five cents a dozen for my eggs, and 
six cents a pound for my butter. It were 

no iaortf) Otarolma Sfeetcftes 


right good, too, but Mr. Sill said it were too 
white lookin'. I done sot the cream too nigh 
the fire, and that hurt it. Mr. Sill writ down 
on a paper all the things I brung. I ain't no 
scollard myself. He done counted 'em all up 
to make sure it were all right, and told me 
what they come to. He asked were I satis- 
fied, and I allowed I were bound to be. It 
did seem mighty little, though, after the way 
I'd worked to get 'em together and the long 
ways I'd toted 'em. The fact is, poor folks 
ain't got much chance. A body's plum tired 
after totin' a load to the store, and they're 
willin' to strike most any kind of a bargain to 
get shut of it. 

Some of 'em takes their children along, 
too. It's a sight of worriment; they come 
along so slow and pesterin'. The least ones 
gets so tired you're bound to have to tote 
'em, atop of everything else. I make mine 
stay at home. I've brung 'em some candy. 
They knowed I would. Here it is; take 
some," said Mrs. Hapgood, producing a news- 
paper parcel and offering me some of the most 
villainously colored cheap candy I had ever 
beheld. I declined with thanks, suggesting 
at the same time that it should be given to the 
children homeopathically. 

"Don't nothin' hurt my children," Mrs. 
Hapgood replied, with a laugh. "They do 
have colic a sight, though. What do I give 
'em for the colic, did you say? I give 'em 
catnip tea, with a heap of honey, or tree 
sugar, one, in it; that's the only way I can git 
'em to touch it. It mostly always cures 'em. 

Yes, I took in a sight of yarbs to the store. 
I disremember 'em all now. We-uns gathers 
a heap of 'em on the full of the moon. Folks 
allows as that makes 'em better. There was 
all kinds of roots, too, the kinds the doctors 
use for medicine. There must be a sight of 
sickness up North. That's where Mr. Sill 
says he sends 'em all. He says the freight 
costs a heap, and that's why he don't give no 
more for 'em. We-uns used to dig sang, and 
get big money for it, but it's nigh about all 
dug up round here now. 

I were plum loaded down goin' in, but all 
I brung back were this bag of flour and what's 
in this basket. First-off, there was shoes to 
get for me and Janey. She's my biggest one. 
I been tellin' her I allowed she'd get a new 
dress for sure this lick, but I couldn't make 
it out. We-uns has to have coffee and 
tobacco. My old man uses a sight o' chewin* 

112 iEortf) (Itacolina S>feetcf)e0 

"But surely — you don't use tobacco?" I 
ventured to remark. 

"I dip snuff," said she, producing her snuff- 
box. '*Then there's bakin'-powder and 
sody, " she continued, examining the contents 
of her basket. "Them's molasses in that 
there can. This here's a bag of white flour. 
That costs a sight, but Peter's a great hand 
for sody biscuits. He gets dreadful tired of 
cornmeal and buckwheat. I got this piece 
of fat meat for him, too, 'cause our hog 
meat's give out. That's all I got. 

There's one thing I won't 7ieve7' do, and 
that is keep a store bill, like a heap of 
'em does. You get a book, and the plunder 
you fetch and all you buy is sot down 
in it. Some of 'em says it works mighty 
queer sometimes. Old Mr. Hinkson can't 
read nor write, and he done tried it. He can 
reckon figgers right smart, though, and he 
kept tally on a board right along, and you 
never see a man so beat out as he were when 
he come to settle. Mr. Sill put on them big 
spectacles folks allows he wears to make him 
look wise, and studied over his books. Mr. 
Hinkson went walkin' round the store, 
thinkin' what he'd buy with what were comin' 
to him. He'd made a heap of swaps one time 

i3arter 113 

and another. At last Mr. Sill looked over 
his specs, smilin' — he's got right pleasant 
ways — and says, 'Well, Mr. Hinkson, you and 
nib's nigher square than I allowed we was. 
You don't owe me but a nickel.' 

My old man were in the store, 'long o' 
some others, settin' round the stove. He 
said Mr. Hinkson sot right down atop of a 
keg o' nails that were standing open, and just 
looked at Mr. Sill. He opened his mouth 
once or twice like he were goin' to sass him, 
but he never said nary a word. After a bit he 
got up, and pulled a nickel out of his pocket 
and put it on the counter. 'I'll take my 
book, Mr. Sill,' he says. Mr. Sill got red in 
the face, but he didn't say nothin'. He just 
signed the book and give it back, and Mr. 
Hinkson walked out of the store, and he ain't j 
never done no tradin' there since. '* 

'Tain't only the stores that does tradin' 
round here. 'Pears like a heap o' the neigh- 
bors raises more corn than they need to, else 
they wouldn't be tradin' it for whisky like 
they do. That's what's keepin' a sight of 
*em so poor and no-'count. When once you 
begin swappin' corn for whisky, you're gone. 
It's like goin' over a precipice. Them that's 
goin' down is always catchin' on to things and 

114 iStort!) (Earolfna Sfe^tctej^ 

carryin' 'em along to the bottom. Ain't 
nobody as drinks but wants a heap o' t'others 
to keep 'em company. 'Pears like it's lone- 
some kind of work. That's what's ruinin' 
the boys. If they was left to theirselves, they 
wouldn't touch a drop of the blamed stuff. 
Poor Mis' Jenkins — her as lives across the 
Deep Gorge — is seein' a sight of worriment 
along of her men folks takin' to drink. The 
still's right under 'em. She can't stop 'em 
goin' there, nor totin' off the corn crap, but 
she 'lows the Lord can; so she's took to 
callin' on Him. Folks says she follers 'em 
prayin', and she's prayin' for 'em nigh all the 
time. She's plum scared lest they die in their 
sins. She's always beggin' the Lord to save 
their souls. Her least boy's only fourteen; 
him she always called her baby. 'Pears like 
she cant give in to have him go to the bad 

"Does that little boy drink whisky?" 
**The neighbors says he's the worst of the 
lot, but maybe his mother's prayers'll save 
him yet. Just do look at them young ones of 
mine!" Mrs. Hapgood exclaimed as we drew 
near her house. "Don't they look like a lot 
of turkeys roostin' on the fence?" 
They did indeed. 

13arter 115 

"Now watch 'em drap when they see it's 
me and a stranger." 

Sure enough, they all dropped to cover as 
we drove up, but the oldest girl popped up her 
head to reply when her mother asked how long 
they had been "watchin' out" for her. 

*'Nigh about ever since you been gone," 
the girl answered, with a grin; "we-uns ain't 
had no dinner. " 

"Now just harken to that!" said the mother. 
"Tired as I be, I got to go to cookin' victuals 
soon as I get home." 

She tried to be cross, but she couldn't help 
laughing with motherly pride at the row of 
dirty faces now peeping through the fence. 
The last I saw of her as I drove off she was 
bartering painted candy for grimy kisses. 


The day after my talk with Mrs. Hapgood, 
I walked over to the Black Rock to see the 
sunset across Deep Gorge. 

The path led out upon the brink of a preci- 
pice, so steep and sheer that as I looked 
into the chasm below I drew back in alarm. 
Throwing myself upon the ground, the feel- 

ii6 iBtorti^ (H^arolma ^ktttl^t^ 

ing of fear vanished, and I was soon lost in 
contemplation of the glorious scene. 

The sun had already dipped to the tops of 
the higher mountains, and the valleys and 
coves in the gorge before me lay in purpling 
shadows. Miles to the south a black cloud 
overhung the mountains, the sun raying under 
it at many points. Gradually its lower edges 
grew ragged, and fringed in sudden showers 
to the earth, that tossed it back in rosy mists. 

These cloud-fringes separate into forms like 
human figures in flowing drapery. Rocking 
and swaying, they rise into the higher air 
currents. Then, righting themselves, they 
form in procession, and leading towards the 
setting sun, one figure, more beautiful than 
the rest, moves with stately grace at their 
head. It was such a vision, and the illusion 
so perfect, that as the movements of a be- 
lated butterfly near by attracted my attention, 
I shuddered to find myself not being wafted 
on rosy clouds into opening gates of pearl, 
but dangerously near the edge of a preci- 

As I drew back, the butterfly spread his 
wings and floated over the chasm. Recalled 
to earth, my eye caught sight of a thin column 
of smoke curling up from the depths below. 

13artcr 117 

and out of the growing evening silence leaped 
harsh voices, as of men and boys carousing. 

I knew then that down among the gathering 
shadows was one of the distilleries which work 
such ruin. 

Presently figures began moving up the steep 
path of the opposite declivity. They were in 
shadow, but there was still light to betray 
the unsteady gait of the climbers, while the 
soft air carried but too distinctly the sound 
of their discordant voices. 

At the top of the ridge a woman's form, 
whose attitude puzzled me, was outlined 
against the yellow sky. Suddenly I remem- 
bered what Mrs. Hapgood had told me of 
Mrs. Jenkins and her persistent prayers, and I 
knew I was close to the tragedy of a human soul. 

She rose from her knees, and turned toward 
the west, standing for an instant with clasped 
hands uplifted, evidently watching the float- 
ing and now fading cloud-shapes. Then her 
arms dropped like leaden weights. The next 
moment she stepped lightly forward to where 
the path emerged, calling out cheerfully, 
"That you, boys? Come to supper. The 
chores is all done, and I got somethin' good 
for you." 

For reply I heard foolish laughter, but the 

iiS iBtottJ (Carolina S^etcfies 

youngest boy went up to his mother and 
kissed her. 

"She's putting her prayers into execution," 
I said to myself; "she'll save them yet." 

The glowing cloud-forms had vanished, but 
between her and me hovered the butterfly 
over the chasm. 




What with weddin's and baptizin's, I never 
see sich doin's, " said Bina Yerkes, bouncing 
in upon me one day as I sat peacefully knitting. 

"What's gone wrong with you, Bina?" I 
asked, laughing, as I caught sight of her 
flushed face. 

She laughed, too. "Heaps," she replied. 
"It's them Jasper gals. They mostly always 
rile me up dredful. They come along apiece 
o* the way with me just now, and they're just 
bound they'll git baptized next month. Why 
couldn't they 'a' done it last time? That's 
what I want to know. It's just their blamed 
contrariness. They don't care how much 
work they make for me." 

For you!" I exclaimed, in astonishment. 
What have you got to do with the Jasper 
girls joining the church, Bina?" 

"My land! 'tain't their joinin' the church 
I care about," she returned; "it's the 


122 iHiortJ atarolina Sfe^tcfieg 

She laughed at my puzzled look. "Yes, 
the washin','' she said. "Preacher Jenks 
lives nigh on to fifteen mile from here, and 
it's too fur for him to bring his baptizin' 
clothes along. He always stays 'long o' we- 
uns, and pop favorin' him in size, he always 
borrows his clothes to baptize in. Of course 
I have 'em all to wash every time, and branch 
mud's mighty hard to wash out. The reason 
them Jasper gals didn't jine last time were 
that they's bound they'd wait till they could 
git white cotton gownds to be baptized in," 
said Bina, in disgust. "Why, they'll show 
the very print o' their figgers! 'Tain't 'spec- 
table. Decent women folks always wears 
black wool gownds pinned down tight to their 
stockings. Even then, it makes you feel 
right queer to come up out o' the water with 
the fellers standin' on the bank sniggerin'. 

Shucks! I ain't got no use for no sich as 
them Jasper gals, nohow. Anyways, I sha'n't 
have to wash their old white gownds, so I 
don't care if they git 'em plum full o' branch 

I didn't come in to tell you about them, 
though. Their meetin' up with me sort o' 
upsot me. Mom says I ain't got no call 
to bother my head about 'em, nohow. I 

Ef\t atourse of Crue Hobe 123 

reckon she's about right. I come from the 

As she paused and seemed to expect me to 
express surprise, I put as much curiosity as I 
well could into the question, '*What wedding?" 
I didn't want to spoil Bina's story, but I 
had already heard that a young couple among 
the summer boarders had decided to have a 
quiet wedding in the village church before 
leaving the mountain. 

"Why, Miss Petersen's, of course," an- 
swered Bina. "Her and Mr. Sanders was 
married in the church this mornin'. I was 
lookin' to see you-uns there. Wasn't you 

When I admitted that we were not, I saw 
that we immediately fell a notch in Bina's 

"I were," she said, proudly. "Why, 
everybody were there ! The Mahones and the 
Harts, and Mis' Pratt and her young ones, was 
all there. I got my invite 'count o' washin' 
for old Mis' Sanders all summer." 

The bride's family had had a cottage part 
of the summer, and the Mahones had sup- 
plied them with chickens, and the Harts with 
fruit and vegetables. I believe the Pratts 
had sent flowers to dress the church. 

124 iBtortS <2^arolma Sfeetcjes 

ii I 

There were a big talk first-off, " resumed 
Bina, *'agin their usin' the church for a wed- 
din'. Some on 'em reckoned it weren't right 
to open it weekdays, nohow, lest it were for 
preachin', or maybe a funeral. Some on 
'em's got mighty old-fashioned idees. They 
allowed as such goin's on as weddin's wasn't 
religion. Mr. Sanders got right mad. He 
asked 'em what they done took him and Miss 
Petersen for, anyhow. He said if there were 
anythin' solemner or more religious nor get- 
tin' married, he'd thank 'em to tell him what 
it were. That settled it. He's a mighty 
nice young man. Him and her's took 
right smart interest in the Sunday-school 
this summer, and they didn't want to rile 

He hired Uncle Lem to haul a sight o' 
spruce pine and laurel to trim up the church 
with. Uncle Lem allowed as it were a right 
smart waste o' money to spend it fixin' up the 
church the way they done just for one day, 
but Mom told him if they paid him well it 
weren't no concern o' his'n. He's own 
brother to Mom. 

He laughed, and said she were most gen- 
erally right, 'specially when she were ridin* 
her high horse. That always makes Mom 

Cf)e OToursfe of Ccue Hobe 125 

mad," said Bina, with a laugh. "He means 
when she's tellin' you 'tain't none o' your 
business, nohow. She's right apt to say that 
when you're tellin' her things about other 
folks, and Uncle Lem likes to joke her 
about it. 

He got paid all right, and you never see 
nothin' so pretty as the way the church were 
fixed. It were all green branches nigh the 
pulpit, with posies stuck in among 'em every- 
wheres. And don't you think," said she, wax- 
ing enthusiastic, "right over where they stood 
when the preacher were a-marryin' 'em were 
a big thing — looked like a bell — made out of 
daisies and sich. It were all white." 

"And what of the bride?" I asked. 

"Well, she weren't much pretty to look at, 
but I wisht you could 'a' seen her gownd!" 
replied Bina. "It were all white silk, and 
dragged on the floor away behind her. They 
had to lay down things for her to walk over 
after all the folks was in. Her neck were all 
bare, though. It made me feel right queer, 
but some on 'em said they'd seen boarder 
ladies dressed that way before. They was 
pokin' fun at Uncle Lem. He was allowin', 
after we came out, that Miss Petersen's Ma 
put sich a sight o' stuff in the skirt o' her 

126 iHiortib (Slarolma ^kttcfit^ 

gownd that there weren't none left for the 
waist. Uncle Lem likes his joke. 

I see him lookin' mighty sharp at the 
bride, like as if he thought that kind of a 
gownd right nice. It wouldn't do to tell Aunt 
Sally that," she added, laughing outright. 
"Old as they be, she's plum jealous o' Uncle 

But I didn't finish tellin' you about the 
bride. She had a long white veil hangin* 
down her back that covered her up a little, 
and you never see sich gloves as she had on! 
They come way up her arms. T'other boarder 
young ladies, them as showed folks where to 
set, had on same kind. They had white 
shoes, too, and white dresses, and bunches o' 
flowers in their hands. They looked right 

Two young men was a-standin' by the door 
all the time. One of 'em took folks' tickets, 
and t'other kept sweepin' out the mud. It 
rained right smart last night. All the 
boarder folks come in carriages, but there 
were a sight o' mud." 

I inquired if there was any music. 

*'Yes," was the reply; "a boarder lady done 
played a kind of dance tune on the organ for 
'em to step to when they was comin* in and 

^f)t Qtoux^t of due itobe 127 

goin'' out. I ain't right sure I liked that part 
in church. " 

"Why not, Bina? Don't you think the Lord 
likes cheerful music?" I asked. 

"Well, Preacher Smith allows as no music but 
psalm singin' ain't right, nohow, " she answered. 
He can't abide the very name of dancin'." 
But they didn't dance at the wedding, did 
they?" I inquired. 

"Not exactly," replied Bina, slowly; "but 
they done kept step to the music, and 
Preacher Smith allows as that's nigh about as 
bad as dancin'." 

I asked if he was at the wedding. 

"No, he weren't," Bina answered; "but he 
come along by our house one day when Bob 
were playin' on a mouth-organ, and Melindy 
were a-skippin' about keepin' time to the 
music. Lor'! she's sich a little thing she 
ain't never heard tell o' dancin', and Mom 
was mighty vexed to think he seen her skip- 
pin' like that. 

He done told Mom it were her duty as a 
professor to take that there mouth-organ away 
from Bob if he done played them dance tunes 
again. And he allowed as no church member 
were bringin' up a child the way it ought to 
go to let 'em hop and skip to music like Me- 

128 iaortj) (B^arolma S^etcjeg 

lindy were doin'. Mom, she cried, and Melindy 
run and hid. " 

"And what of Bob?" I asked, smiling, as I 
thought of his gaunt figure and expressionless 
face in connection with "dance music." 

"Bob didn't say nothin' to the preacher," 
was Bina's reply. "After he were gone, 
though, he allowed as it were mighty queer if 
the Lord cared what tunes a feller like him 
played on a little old mouth-organ, and him 
earnin' the money to buy it, too." 

I laughed, and Bina, emboldened, went on. 
"And Bob said he reckoned the Lord knowed 
what he were about. Wasn't it Him as set all 
the young critters in the world a-skippin' and 
a-playin'? Bob said. And who sot all the 
birds a-singin', I'd like to know, and even the 
trees a-makin' music every time the wind 
blows?" Bina asked, triumphantly. 

"Bob says Melindy's only one o' the young 
critters, anyhow." 

"I quite agree with him," said I, heartily. 
"I didn't know Bob was so sensible." 

"Lor*! Bob's got a heap o' sense — real 
horse sense," answered Bina. "You wouldn't 
think it to look at him, though." To which 
I gave inward assent, but as I said nothing, 
Bina continued: 

Ci&e (EoMtst of ^cue ILobe 129 

"He's done played a sight o' dance tunes 
since then. He reckons if the Lord cares for 
music, He likes 'em a heap better'n sich 
dawdly old tunes as they puts up at preachin'. 
Bob ain't never got religion; he ain't even 
sot on the mourners' bench. He's a right 
good boy at home, though, and Melindy sets 
a heap o' store by him." 

Bina watched me silently while I picked up 
a dropped stitch in my knitting. Then she 
asked, smiling, "Did you hear tell o' Jake 
Ham's weddin'?" 

"No; was it a fine one?" 

"Not much fine," laughed Bina. "Jake's 
queer, anyways, and him and Viny Bangs had 
been courtin' more'n a year, and t'other day 
he allowed as they might as well get married. 
So they took hold of hands and started to find 
Mr. Spence — he's the justice, you know — to 
marry 'em. He weren't at home, and Mis' 
Spence told 'em he'd gone to the settlemint; 
so Jake and Viny followed him. 

Me and the Bent girls was comin' along 
the road just as they come up with him. We- 
uns just said howdy, and went right on. As 
we was passin', we heard Jake tell Mr. Spence, 
no, they hadn't time to go along back to his 
house, 'cause it were nigh time to hunt the cows. 

I30 iBtortf) CO^arolma S^etcjeis 

Then Mr. Spence hollered for we-uns to 
come back. 'I want you gals for witnesses,' 
says he; 'we're goin' to have a weddin'.' 

Jake and Viny looked plum foolish standin' 
there in the road. We-uns wanted to laugh, 
but Mr. Spence pulled off his hat and went 
right on marryin' 'em. Jake's awful tall and 
thin, and he kept on his hat, and got all sort 
o' skeery. He kept crackin' the joints o' his 
fingers all the time. Viny's mighty little. 
She acted like she wanted to run away before 
Mr. Spence got through. They went off 
holdin' hands and smilin' for all they's worth, 
though. Mr. Spence and me and the Bent 
girls was all they was at that weddin', so you 
see it weren't much fine. Jake's cousin Lank 
Crane's been gettin' married, too." 

Why, he's nothing but a boy, ' ' I exclaimed. 
Lor'! that's nothin'," said Bina, with a 
broad grin. *'He's done married the wid- 
der o' Bill Drayton, him as died a while 

"She's almost old enough to be his mother," 
said I, indignantly; "and besides, she has a 
lot of children." 

"Not now she ain't," Bina returned, signi- 
ficantly. "She done got her people to take 
'em soon as ever Bill died. Bill's folks took 

Cje dtoutsf ot Crue Uobe 131 

two on 'em. They was right peart young 
uns, but she allowed as she couldn't do for 
*em, nohow. Bill weren't never no hand to 
git along, and they seen hard times, him and 
her. When he were gone, she said she'd lived 
on the floor o' the cupboard long enough, and 
now she were goin* up onto the shelves. So 
she done put away the children, and swung a 
free foot. Then her and Lank went to 
courtin', and now they're married." 

Bina got up and changed her seat. She 
was quiet a few moments, then she said, 
abruptly: "I don't guess you see that young 
man Mr. Black's got to run the sawmill? 
His name's Thompson, George Washington 
Thompson. " 

"What a fine-sounding name I" I said, by 
way of showing an interest in Bina's new 

"He's a mighty fine young man," she said, 
bridling. Glancing up from my knitting, I 
surprised her blushing. 

"Now, Bina," said I, "you're surely not 
going to fall in love with that young man after 
telling me you wouldn't leave home for the 
best man living?' 

"I done done it," she answered, testily. 
"Him and me's sweethearts." 

132 iRottJ ararolina ^ktUf}t& 

"Have you known him long, Bina?" I asked. 
She hesitated. "I ain't to say knowed ^im 
long," she replied, *'but he's kin to the 
Mahones, and they allow as he's a right peart 
young man. " 

"So there's to be another wedding, is there, 
Bina? Well, I hope you'll be happy." 

"No fear but what I'll be happy 'long o' 
him," she answered, with spirit. Then 
glancing at the clock, she jumped up, saying, 
"'Tain't that late, is it? I must be goin'. 
He allowed he'd quit work early to-day. I 
reckon he's waitin' by the branch for me 
now," she added, with a bright smile and 
heightened color. "Good evenin'. Come 
and see us," she said, and was off. 

Meeting her a week later, I ventured to 
express the hope that the course of true love 
was running smoothly in her case. 

"Oh, that's all fell through," said Bina, 
scornfully. ^'He drinks, and I wouldn't marry 
a gold man what drinks. I didn't care 
nothin' for him, nohow," she added, sharply, 
as she tossed into a laurel bush the bunch of 
wild flowers she had been twirling in her hands. 
"You can't trust no man," said Bina, dog- 
gedly, jerking leaves off the laurel bush and 
casting them from her as she spoke. 

Ci)e ^ourge of Kxnt llobe 133 

I was greatly surprised, but I only said, "So 
there'll not be another wedding, after all, 

"No, sir!" she returned, emphatically; 
"not for him and me. He may go 'long where 
he come from, for all me. I ain't goin' to 
marry no such low-down, no-'count trash as 



"Marigolds is mighty pretty flowers, and 
powerful easy to raise," said Cinthy Ann, 
gathering a bunch of them for me while she 
talked. "They don't need no boxin', and 
horgs won't touch 'em 'count of their bad 
smell. Onct I had a dress the very color of 
that there one in your hand; it were in war 
times. Nigh about all the men folks was hid 
out, and — " 

"Hid out? What does that mean?" I 

"Why, you see we-uns hadn't nary niggers, 

and the men folks allowed as they hadn't no 

call to fight for 'em to please nobody; so they 

lit out and hid where nary side couldn't ketch 


"But I don't see what that had to do with 
your yellow gown," said I, bewildered. 

"Lor' me! that weren't nothing to what 
some of 'em had — red and pink and sky-blue, 
so's you could see 'em a mile off." 


13S iBtortS CO^arolina Sfeftcijes 

But what for?" I persisted 
So's they wouldn't shoot us for men folks. 
When they seen 'em, they done shot at the 
men what hid out like they was birds. My 
old man he done hid out. He were power- 
ful fond of me and Jemimy — that's her over 
in the lot hoeing corn; she were just a baby 
them times." 

Looking in the direction indicated by Cinthy 
Ann, I saw a lank girl in a pink sunbonnet, 
resting on her hoe as she talked to a gawky 
youth leaning on the fence. 

"Him and her's courtin'," said Cinthy Ann, 
with evident pride; "his Pa's mighty well- 

"And is the young man himself steady and 
well-to-do?" I asked. 

Bout like common," replied Cinthy Ann. 
His Pa won't see 'em want if they git mar- 

I was getting used to this idea that young 
couples were to rely upon their parents, and 
I made no further comment, and Cinthy Ann 
returned to her story. 

"Where was I at? Oh, yes; Jemimy were a 
baby, and Doniram — that's my old man; his 
Ma give him that name for a missionary the 
preacher heard tell about. Well, Doniram 

JgitJing <©ut 139 

said nobody weren't going to git him to no 
war to leave we-uns alone ; so he done hid 
out. He crept round nights and fotched all 
the wood and water for me, and I done cooked 
all his victuals and put 'em in the spring- 
house, where he could get 'em handy. I 
weren't never no great cook, but he said 
I done made things real tasty them times. 
He kept us in fresh meat, snaring boomers 
and birds, and sich, and they was mighty 
good eatin'." 

'^Weren't you afraid he'd be caught by the 
soldiers?" I asked. 

"Lor'! it weren't the soldiers we-uns was 
afraid of; it were them home guards, they 
called theirselves. They staid to home, they 
said, to see that other men done their duty 
goin' to war; and they was mighty sharp after 
them as hid out. It were along of one of 
them that Doniram were nigh ketched onct." 

"Tell me about it," said I, looking off over 
the peaceful landscape, and trying to imagine 
how it had seemed when the tragedy of war 
overshadowed it. 

"One day," said Cinthy Ann, "one of them 
home guards come to the house; his name 
were Brown, and he lived over to the settle- 
mint. None of the men what were hid out 

HO iaortlj OTarolina Sfeetcjes 

had got took, and Doniram were getting care- 
less-like about being seen, and I allowed some 
one had told Mr. Brown he were nigh about 
home. He done axed me real polite where 
was Doniram. Done gone to the mill, I says, 
real peart, letting on like I reckoned Mr. 
Brown didn't know as he was hid out. He 
were a mighty sharp man, and there weren't 
much he didn't know, except that / knowed 
he'd joined the home guards. I done heard 
it that very morning. Miss Plank done told 
me, when she come over to borrow some 
frivoles to make light bread. Her man were 
hid out, and she had on a gown as pink as a 
peachblow, and a sunbonnet as green as 
a pea pod. She looked for all the world like 
a big hollyhock flower walking along upside 
down. I done told her so, and she just 
perked up her lips that vain. She needn't, 
though, for she weren't much to look at, but 
her gown were mighty pretty." 

"But about Mr. Brown," said I, switching 
Cinthy Ann back upon the main track. 

" 'Been gone long?' says he, careless-like," 
she resumed. "'Lor' me!' I says, letting on 
like I were mad, 'it takes men folks a sight of 
time to go to mill. If Doniram would mind the 
baby, I'd go there and back while he's think- 

Jgitimg (Bnt 141 

ing about it. But the minute you ask a man to 
tend his own baby you'd think it weren't no 
kin to him. Doniram says he'd a heap rather 
go to the mill himself than mind this gal,' says 
I, laughing, and tossing her up. 

'Daddy! daddy!' says she, clapping her 
hands and pointing her finger out of the door. 

'Where at, honey?' says I, laughing again. 
I reckon daddy wants his supper if he's 
done come back that quick.' But I tell you 
my heart nigh about stood still, for, as I 
told you, Doniram was getting careless, and 
I allowed that like as not Jemimy had seen 
him when she hollered out. I weren't going 
to let on to Mr. Brown, though. He didn't 
rightly hear what she said first-off, but the 
second time she hollered, and while I were 
laughing at her, he jumped up so sudden that 
he upset his chair. 

'Where at. Sissy?' says he; 'where's your 

'What's your hurry, Mr. Brown?* says I, 
letting on like I hadn't heard him; 'better set 
a while and have some supper along with we- 
uns when Doniram gets back. I'm going to 
have fresh horg meat and sweet 'taters. ' 

I knowed he were powerful fond of good 
victuals, and I'd have cooked everything I 

could get my hands on to throw him off the 
scent of Doniram. 

*'Bleeged to you, Mis' Jones,' says he, 
*but Mis' Brown's expecting me home to sup- 
per, and I reckon I'd better be going along.' 

I 'lowed he had, too, but I didn't say so. 

*Come and see us. Mis' Jones,* says he, 
and went away. 

I peeked out of that there little window, 
and when I see he weren't going towards the 
settlemint I knowed he were hunting my old 
man. I daresn't go out while he were about, 
and every noise I heard made me jump. I 
kep' a tin pail mighty bright and shiny to hang 
out by the door when I knowed it were dan- 
gerous for Doniram to come nigh the house, 
and I hung that out now. It were getting 
along to early candlelight, and I kept think- 
ing, 'Suppose he don't see it?' till it 'peared 
like I'd have to run out of doors and holler, 
or go plum crazy. My folks and Doniram's 
had lived nigh neighbors ever since we was 
little, and me and him had always set a heap 
of store by one another. He'd run and give 
me the first bite of the nicest apple he picked 
up when he were a boy, and it 'peared like his 
pockets was always full of chestnuts and tea- 
berries when he come nigh me. If they sent 

Jftftitng a^nt 143 

one of us on an errand, there weren't no keep- 
ing of t'other one back. The folks had to give 
in to our going together or go theirselves. I 
were sort of skeery going through the woods, 
but Doniram always let on like he weren't 
afraid of nothing. But I have to laugh when 
I think of the day he got took down. We 
was walking along chawing apples; Doniram 
give his a fling, and grabbed my hand all trem- 
bly-like. 'Run, Cinthy Ann, run!' says he; 
'it's a bear!' 

I hadn't seen nothing, but I were that 
scared I never stopped running till we met up 
with old Mr. Sikes, stacking straw. 

'What's your hurry?' says he; and when 
we done told him, he laughed fit to kill hisself. 
*Look behind you,' says he. We hadn't 
dar'st to before. We felt different now we 
was close to Mr. Sikes, so we both turned 
round. Then we hollered out and grabbed 
Mr. Sikes by the legs. 

'Look out, sonny! don't upset me,' he 
says to Doniram. 'Ain't cut your wisdom 
teeth yet; better look again, so's you'll know 
your friends when you see 'em.' 

Sure enough! there were Pa's old black 
sow trotting after us, watching for more apple- 
cores. We felt mighty mean, and we wisht we 

144 iEortf) (KaroUna Sfeetcl)e0 

dar'st ask Mr. Sikes not to tell, but we 
knowed he would, anyway, so we went off 
holding hands, and when we was alone, Doni- 
ram up and kissed me. 

I were thinking of them old times, and I 
knowed the lights would go out for me if he 
got shot, but I didn't dar'st to cry, lest Mr. 
Brown might come back. I done all the 
chores I could think of, except chopping some 
light wood, but I knowed if Doniram heard 
me at that he'd come home sure, for he ain't 
like some men; I ain't never had to chop 
wood. The baby went to sleep, and I kept 
walking about doing little things, but I reckon 
I were only making believe do 'em, for my 
fists were that tight shut they was all bloody 
afterwards where my nails had gouged in, but 
I didn't take notice. 'Long towards mid- 
night I heard Doniram whistle, and when he 
come creeping in through the shed-room, I 
cried and cried, and he cried, too, like as if 
we'd never stop. 'I were most took that time, 
little gal,' he says, 'and I must light out of 
this mighty quick.' 

I done give him a warm snack, and he 
slipt out, and I never set eyes on him for a 
whole month. You see, he 'lowed nobody 
were about, and he wanted to see me and the 

W^m <©ut 145 

baby so bad that he were coming right up to 
the door when Jemimy called out that time. 
He done caught sight of Mr. Brown's back, 
and quicker'n a wink he were off again." 

Cinthy Ann laughed as she finished her 
story. "You see that hill?" she asked. 
"Well, Doniram just rolled down it like a log. 
*'It's a powerful slick hill, and when he got to 
the bottom he hid where no Mr. Brown couldn't 
find him. That's the time I got my yaller 
gown. One night Doniram says: 'Next week's 
your birthday, Cinthy Ann, and I were going 
to surprise you with something I bought off a 
peddler, but I reckon I'd better give it to you 
now, lest I'm drove sudden to hide out for 
good. I'll go get it.' When he come back 
he brung me a bundle, and I quick tore the 
paper off, and there was yards and yards of 
yaller print, the very color of marigolds. I 
jumped up and give him a kiss; then I 
throwed the stuff around me to see how it 
would look. 

'That's right, Cinthy Ann,' says he, 'make 
it into a gown; and if I have to stay hid 
out, wear it every time you go anywheres, 
so's I '11 know it's you if I'm where I can 
sight you. ' And that's what I done, ' ' said she. 
"Doniram said he could stand hiding out with 

146 laorti^ (K^arolina S^etcfies 

t'other fellers so long as he got a sight of that 
yaller gown to hearten him up; but when he 
didn't see it, he allowed the sun were set for 
him that day. He were always powerful soft- 
hearted about me, and he ain't got over 
it yet." 



Maria was generally accepted as an old 
maid, but she had had in her youth what she 
herself called "a little accident," which some- 
what set her apart from that class. It didn't 
seem to have affected her later morals, how- 
r ever, nor her standing with her neighbors. 
The child had lived long enough to leave 
her with well-developed maternal instincts, 
which made her kindly to all children. 

She lived alone on a little hillside farm that 
dipped sharply down into a fertile cove, 
planted with fruit, now in profitable bearing. 
The joy and solace of her life, however, was 
her flower garden. 

"I'll tell you just how I came to take to a 
garden," she explained. "My little Jinny 
were powerful fond of posies. It were 
a sight to see her runnin' to pick every one 
she could get hold of. She were a mighty 
peart young one. Just to please her, I brung 
in roots of wild flowers and planted 'em where 


15"^ i^orti) (Q^arclina Sfeetcljes 

I knowed she'd see 'em the first minute they 
come out. That there big bunch of red lily 
roots were one of 'em, and so were that 
golden-rod and them wild asters. But, Lor* 
me! they done spread all over the place since, 
and I ain't never had the heart to thin 'em 
out. I pick a sight of 'em for the children 
going by to school. I'm right fond of chil- 
dren, and I like to please 'em. Flowers 
is mighty like folks," she added, laughing; 
"if you give some on 'em a inch, they'll 
take a ell. And then the actions of some 
on 'em! I often laugh all to myself to 
see the ways of 'em. There's them white 
dahlias, now. Yes, they're plum pretty, 
but they're too biggotty for me. They put 
me in mind of what a boarder lady told 
me. She'd been about a sight, and she 
said some place where she were at — I ain't 
no scollard, and can't never recollect names 
— folks always get married in the morn- 
ing, and then they drive all round the set- 
tlemint in a fine open wagon for the bride 
to show off. She said she were all in white, 
sitting up that stiff, with a white veil, and 
a wreath of white flowers on her head, and 
a big bunch of 'em in her hand. Poor 
folks like us-uns they was, she said, and 

$n i^aria*0 (JJ^artien 151 

there's a sight of mountings there, just like 

Now, them white dahlias looks like them 
brides to me, and I don't love 'em like I do 
some other flowers. Sunflowers, too, has a 
way with 'em that folks is like. T'other day 
a boarder young lady and her sweetheart come 
in to buy some posies. You see, I make right 
smart money out of my garden in summer. 
Well, that gal were the fondest I ever see of 
flowers. She kept running about every which 
way, smelling of this and calling him to look 
at that. I give her the scissors to cut her 
own posies. I didn't allow to run about that 
way myself. But it didn't make no differ- 
ence to that young man where she were at; 
his head were always turned that way, like 
she were his sun. He had a yaller straw hat 
sot back on his head, and when I see it a-turn- 
ing this way and that I says to myself, for all 
the world he's just like a big sunflower. 

He says, was that all I charged for them 
lovely flowers? — them was his words — when he 
come to pay, and he give me a dime extra. 
Yes, lots of these here things is just herbs. 
Folks uses 'em for teas and sich. Some on 
'em's right good to smell of, too. There 
ain't nary a time, except midwinter, when 

152 iRortift CHacolina Sfe^tcjes 

I can't find some sort of a posy in my 

Did you say weren't I lonesome in winter? 
Yes, I be sometimes, but I have a sight of 
work to do. I ain't one of the skeery kind, 
and the dogs is right good company. I do 
piecework for the neighbors. I put together 
three big quilts last winter, and quilted 'em, 
too. Then there's my loom. One time and 
another I do a sight of weaving, and it keeps 
a body busy choppin' enough wood to burn. 
I ain't got much time to be lonesome. 

But I sot in to tell you how I come to have 
such a sight o' flowers. It were along o' the 
school teachers. First-off I only had wild 
things and marigolds and such. Down to 
Jones' Branch there's a mission school for 
girls. Right good ladies the teachers is, too, 
and they've been mighty kind to poor folks. 
I been going, off and on, to their women's 
prayer-meetings, so I got to know 'em right 
well. It don't hurt nobody to do a little 
extra prayin' now and then, and it does we- 
uns good to get out and meet the neighbors. 
Some of the men folks is down on them 
meetings, though. They allow as the wom- 
en's getting too many new-fangled notions. 
What about, did you say? Why, whisky for 

In iHaria'0 ©artien 153 

one thing. Women see a sight of sorrow 
over the drink, but ain't knowed how to set 
about to help theirselves. Another thing is 
about eddicating the children. Men folks 
allows that what were good enough for them's 
good enough for their children. A sight of 
*em can't read and write, and they ain't got 
no use for schools for the children. They 
reckon they get all the eddication they need 
workin' the land and such. Taking the inter- 
est they do in the neighbors, the teachers 
allowed they'd offer some prizes for the best 
flower gardens. I ain't in the settlemint, so 
I weren't in it; but they knowed me, and 
when they had seeds or roots to give away, 
they give me some. That sot me to trying to 
beat 'em all, prize or no prize, and I done 
it. I reckon that were the best kind of a 
prize, for folks comes ever so far just to see 
my garden. 

Yes, them's prize pansies, sure; but it 
takes a sight of work to keep 'em that way. 
If they're left to theirselves, they run out. 
A heap of folks is that way, too. I reckon 
that's what ails a sight of poor folks in these 
parts. There ain't nobody to take no inter- 
est in 'em, and they never go nowheres, and 
the children just grows up anyhow. I don't 

154 ^ottfi O^arolina Sfeetcjes 

reckon as the Lord sets it agin them as hasn't 
nary a chance, no more'n He does agin pan- 
sies. Yes, I know folks says we-uns might do 
better, and so we might. But there's a heap 
ain't got no better sense, and so long as they 
don't know no better, it's clear they can't 
learn. If all your folks drink whisky, you're 
pretty nigh plum sure to come to it yourself. 
But, mind you, I ain't making excuses for bad 
actions. I'm only telling you what I see, and 
what I've learnt tending flowers. 

A boarder gentleman showed me as there 
wouldn't be nary flowers if it weren't for the 
bees coming and going all day long. When 
I see 'em I allow the strangers coming and 
going all summer is like the bees. Poor 
folks has a sight to learn, and a heap of it 
is bound to go agin 'em. Look at that 
bumblebee caught in this here flower," added 
Maria, quietly releasing a bee from a snap- 
dragon. "That flower ain't got sense enough 
to know its best friends; and a sight of folks 
is that way, too. A heap of 'em has moved 
off the mounting to get away from boarder 
folks. Some on 'em acts plum foolish about 
it. If their children's up to any devilment, 
they lay it on the boarders, when it's all their 
own contrariness. No, I can't rightly say as 

Jn illaria^s (*5^artien 155 

I'm fond of all kinds of flowers. Some on 
'em's queer. I plant all the seeds and things 
folks gives me, but I don't set no store by 
some on 'em. Now, there's them new-fangled 
phloxes, all pints and jags. I ain't got no 
use for no sich. I'm right fond of marigolds, 
though, and I feel like I were hurt myself when 
the frost ketches 'em. Yes, you're right, the 
mountings is fine, but it don't seem like 
they's the same comfort to me that flowers 
is. I reckon I'd miss 'em if I was to go 'way 
off; leastways, folks says you do. My brother 
Abner went to Nebrasky; there weren't nary 
one of the children left but him and me. 
Ma'd had seven. He got a scollard to write 
back to Ma that he'd give a heap to see the 
mountings once more before he died. He had 
the chills bad out there, and they run him 
into a kinsumption. Ma took on powerful 
when she heard he were bad off. She wanted 
Pa to sell the farm to git money for her to go 
to him, but he wouldn't hear to it. 

Mr. Walton, what paints picturs, come by 
the day Ma got the first letter tellin' how he 
were pinin' for the mountings, and she asked 
him would he read it to her. When he got 
through, she sot pounding back and forth on 
that old chair on the doorstep, with her 

15^ iEortS (fTarolma ^^utcjes 

apron over her head, but he see'd she were 
cryin', and he were plum sorry for her. Next 
day he come in with a pictur he'd painted 
of the mountings, like they look from the 
high pasture lot. He asked Ma did she know 
what it were, and she allowed as it must be a 
dunce as wouldn't know his own mount- 
ings anywheres. Well, he said he done painted 
'em on purpose for her to send to Abner. She 
bust right out cryin', she were so glad. He 
done told her he'd wrop it up and back it, for 
he reckoned she wouldn't know how. And 
he said wouldn't she like to send some flowers, 
too, that growed nigh the old house, so she 
give him a bunch of chiny pinks. It weren't 
much more'n a week when a letter come back 
sayin' as Abner were dead, but that it would 
have done Ma's heart good to see how happy 
that pictur and them flowers made him. 
They wasn't hardly ever out of his hands, 
the letter said, and they was in 'em when 
he died; so they put 'em in his coffin. 

Ma weren't never the same after that, and 
she and Pa went nigh about the same time. 
They's buried over there where you see them 
purple asters so thick. My little Jinny's 
layin' alongside of 'em. 

Ma sot a heap o' store by them chiny 

$n iHaria's ©artjen 157 

pinks. Her Ma brung the root when her folks 
come to the mountings to live. Granny were 
plum biggotty. She were always telling 
how she weren't brung up to live like we- 
uns. Her man died before I were born. I 
reckon he weren't no-'count, nohow. He 
were always tradin' horses and stock, till 
he nigh about traded away everything Ma's 
folks had. Granny married him after she 
come up here. Ma told us he never said nary 
a word when she got goin' on about how she 
were brung up. He allowed, maybe, it were 
all so, just as she said. He weren't acquainted 
with her before she come up here. It made 
her right hard to live with, and I used to git 
plum tired hearing her brag of the things she 
had where she used to live, and I wished 
she'd stayed there. But Ma never give her 
no disrespect, and she felt right bad when she 
died. She planted some of them chiny pinks 
on her grave. 

Yes, I'm a right good hand at raising 
sweet peas. I sell a sight of 'em to the board- 
ers. There ain't nary flower 'pears so all 
alive to me as sweet peas. They ain't so like 
folks as they're like to the birds, though. 
A body takes queer notions about flowers, 
working so much among 'em as I do and 

158 iaortj ararolina Sfeetcfteg 

bein' mostly alone. You can't never rightly 
tell what it is about a garden that works up 
your feelings. Just to look at it in the 
mornin' when the dew's sparklin' all over 
everything's enough to make a body cry. See 
them big yaller and black spiders in that there 
web? Well, you just oughter see what that 
web's like when the dew's on it. It puts me 
in mind of Bible talk about jewels and pearls. 
Even them big stiff hollyhocks has trimmin's 
on their leaves mornings. 

I done sold a sight of roses this summer. 
I've got some mighty fine ones. They've 
quit bloomin' now, though. But there ain't 
nary one I set sich store by as the wild ones. 
All them bushes alongside o' that big rock, 
with the clematis a-featherin' all over it, is 
wild roses. It's just a sight when they're in 
bloom. 'Pears like the school children would 
go crazy over 'em. It goes agin me to let 
*em break the bushes, so I gather a heap of 
*em every day and put 'em where they can 
help theirselves. 

The neighbors think I'm plum foolish to 
let such truck as them big elders behind that 
rock stay on my place. It ain't only that my 
little Jinny were wild after elder-blows that 
makes me love 'em. I ain't sure I know just 

In iiflan'a'g iS^actien 159 

w/iaf 'tis. But, my Lor' ! if you want to see 
something pretty, just come here when the 
wild roses is out and them elders standing 
up behind 'em hanging full of white blossoms. 
The least mite of wind sends 'em flying like 
feathers over that old brown rock. I take 
queer notions sometimes, like they was all 
playing together, with the birds joining in. 

No, a body can't never tell what 'tis about 
a garden that works up their feelin's. I come 
out here one mornin' this very summer, when 
the dew were a-shinin' on them wild roses, 
and morning-glories was bustin' open every- 
wheres, and elder-blows a-siftin' like snow all 
over that there rock, and before I knowed it 
I were settin' down in a heap cryin'! 

Some of the boarder folks that come here 
has a mighty biggotty way of talkin', so I 
can't hardly tell what they're aimin* at; but 
I heard one that were lookin' over the fence 
at my garden t'other day say somethin' that 
kind o' stuck by me. I asked her to say it 
over again. It were 'a thing of beauty is a 
joy forever.' I've studied over it a sight, 
and I reckon it hits that old rock complete. 
When the roses and other things is climbing 
all over it, you ain't no call to take note of 
much else. But when the frost ketches 'em, 

i6o iEortf) (Carolina ^feetcftes 

they're done for, and pretty soon there's 
nothing left but stems. Then it 'pears like 
the old rock laughs up into my face, for it's 
covered all over, where it ain't mossy, with 
the beautifullest red and green galax you 
ever see. Colt's-foot, some calls it. It stays 
like that all winter. When the sun hits it on 
top, it's all shiny, and if you look through it, 
it's like lookin' through red winder curtains. 
I don't know why, but the snow never lies on 
that there rock, and it's a sight of company 
to me dark winter days, seein' it all bright, 
most like fire. Yes," she added, reflectively, 
**a body learns right smart from a garden, 
and it works off a sight of nerves." 



A rainy autumn day was drawing to a close 
as, tired of indoor occupations, I started for 
a walk. All view was shut out by a heavy 
fog which swayed and lifted fitfully in the 
lessening gusts of wind, but gave no hint of 
blue sky or distant mountains beyond. It 
was a day to note the things underfoot and 
near by, rather than to lift one's eyes to the 
hills. The fast-bronzing galax, its lustrous 
leaves loaded with moisture, spreads like a 
jewelled tapestry upon the ground and rugged 
bowlders by the roadside. The great brown 
lichens, turning up their olive-green edges in 
the dampness, as well as the lesser lichens and 
mosses — their neutral tints vivified by the 
rain — lend harmony to nature's beautiful 
handiwork, with which she so lavishly adorns 
her rough-hewn castles. The overhanging 
rhododendrons hold their slim green hands 
atilt, letting the moisture drip from their tips 
upon the galax below. Beneath lies a carpet 


164 i^orti^ (Ularolina S^etcjes 

of leaf-mold, giving off pungent odors as it 
soaks up the rain and sends the overflow 
trickling down every slant. 

Above all droop the brown oaks, clutching 
fast their dying leaves, which they mean to 
flaunt through the winter in the face of rag- 
ing snowstorms, and to rattle like castanets 
in the teeth of the wind. The rain fills their 
brown hands, spilling over upon their neigh- 
bors. It is easy to imagine that you hear 
them all laughing together when swept by a 
gust of wind. 

Except for the busy little snowbirds, there 
are no birds to be seen, and no sudden bursts 
of song enliven the way. Sometimes a fright- 
ened rabbit or chattering squirrel darts across 
the road, or a long-legged pig dashes into the 
bushes at sight of me; but of human interest 
there is none. 

Suddenly, at a turn in the road, I heard 
quick, splashing footsteps behind me and a 
child's laugh. I turned to give greeting to my 
fellow-traveller through the fog, and looked 
into one of the saddest faces I had ever seen. 
It was that of a young woman, a mere girl I 
thought her, carrying a child. She was miser- 
ably clad for such a day, and the baby's feet 
were thrust out bare from under the old shawl 

Ei)t Summer is d^n^t^i 165 

which she held over the child and herself. 
She stopped beside me to shift the child 
and a basket she carried to opposite arms. 

I asked if she was tired. 

"Yes, marm," she replied; 'Tm mighty 
tired. I've been up to the settlemint scour- 
ing for Mis' Hall; I reckon you know her. 
She gives me work once a week, and some 
cold pieces to take home; that's what's in my 
basket. " 

'*Are you a widow?" I asked. 

Her face darkened and flushed. '*No, I 
ain't no widow. I wisht I was," she added, 
bitterly. "I ain't never been married. I met 
with a accident." 

"You have a dear little baby," I said. 

"Yes; she's all the comfort I got. Folks 
done turned against me when they found she 
were comin'. I tried to drown myself, I were 
that miserable, and I tried to get rid of her, 
too, poor lamb!" she said, hugging the child 
closer. "You wouldn't think it to look at me 
now, but I were a right pretty gal, and chock- 
full of fun and devilment. I never meant no 
harm, though. I run about a sight, and had 
lots of sweethearts, but I held my head high, 
'cause my folks was mighty well-to-do, and I 
wouldn't look at no feller to marry him. 

i66 iaortlj Olarolina Sfeetcjes 

Granny used to say I'd go through the woods 
and pick up a crooked stick at last. I done it. 
When Jason Briggs, that all the gals was set 
on catchin', come after me, he turned my 
head. He could talk that slick you'd believe 
every word he said, and think you was goin' 
straight to heaven along with him. Many's 
the time I've watched a big pink cloud when 
the sun were settin', and felt like him and me 
was floatin' away on it. 

He asked me to marry him first-off. He 
said I were the only gal he ever see that he 
wanted to marry. He talked like all the rest 
of the gals wasn't nowhere alongside of me, 
and I believed him. But he said his folks was 
plum set against him marryin' at all, so we 
must keep quiet till his Pa died. The doctors 
allowed he were like to die any minute of heart 
complaint, so Jason said. The old man's 
living yet," said the girl, with a forced laugh. 

"Jason talked like his own folks used him 
hard. He allowed if it weren't for me bein' 
so good to him and lovin' him so well, he 
couldn't stand it nohow, and he'd quit and go 
away off West. Some days he talked like he 
were goin', anyway, till I'd get plum wild 
listenin' to him. I axed him if he were so sot 
on goin' why couldn't him and me marry, and 

CJe Rummer 10 ([^ntietr 167 

me go along; but he always had some good 
excuse that I swallowed like it were gospel 

I ain't the only gal that's went wrong, and 
I needn't tell you the rest; but when a gal 
forgets to hold herself dear, she may be plum 
sure the man holds her cheap. That's how it 
were with me and Jason. When he found 
he'd got me into trouble, he quit comin' nigh 
me, and the next I knowed,he'd gone way off, 
sure enough. Then I took to crying and cry- 
ing night and day, and my folks suspicioned 
what was the matter, and turned me off. 
I'd have been in a bad fix, if it weren't for 
Ma's aunt, old Miss Johnson. She were a 
right good old woman, but she were gettin* 
puny, and she allowed I'd be a sight of com- 
pany if I'd stay with her. Lord knows, I 
were glad of a place to go to, and I done 
holped her all I could with the work. She 
were mighty good and kind to me, and I can't 
never forget it. She's dead now. 'Pears 
like she knowed the world had all gone black 
for me, and when she see me cryin' or goin' 
off towards the dam, she'd say somethin' 
kind, or she'd reckon she'd take a walk, too, 
and she were glad she needn't go alone. 
Then she'd think of good things out o' the 

i68 iaortj (Eatolina ^ktttf^t^ 

Bible to tell me, or maybe out of a book she 
had called Pilgrim's Progress. She were a 
good reader — better'n me, for I were all for 
havin' a good time when I went to school. 
She weren't no hand to preach nor to scold a 
body that's down, but she knowed how to get 
your mind off your troubles. I didn't know 
then that she'd had a dreadful trouble herself 
when she were young. It weren't like mine, 
though ; she were too good a woman for that. 
When the baby come, she made a sight of 
fuss over it. I hated the poor little thing 
first-off, but I couldn't keep on doin' it with 
a good woman like her lovin* it so. She'd 
talk to it like it were to be a great help and 
comfort to its Mammy, and grow up a good 
girl that no man couldn't ruin. I knowed she 
were only talkin' for me to hear, and when I 
see she were failin' fast I began to pay heed 
to all she said. It's all along of her that I've 
tried to live right, and take care of my baby. 
She died when Maggie were four months 
old," said the girl, bursting into tears; "and 
it's the Lord's truth that I ain't got nary a 
real friend in the world since. My people live 
over to Beech Farms, and they ain't never 
give no sign for me to come back home, I'm 
sort of scared for Maggie to go among 'em. 

Cije Rummer is iil^ntie^ 169 

anyway, for fear they'd throw up agin her 
what she couldn't help. Aunty Johnson left 
me her little place, but it took all the money 
she had for her sickness and buryin'. Her 
and me workin' together couldn't make 
enough out of the old place to keep us 
in victuals, and I ain't much strong any 
more to work in craps, nohow. Some of 
Aunty's folks out West sent her money twice 
a year. That's how she got along. I'd be 
glad to get more work to do, but some 
folks lets on like it would hurt 'em to have 
such as me around, and most don't want 
to be pestered with a baby. You can't blame 
'em, for babies is a sight o' trouble." 

"Would none of your neighbors look after 

"I could leave her with old Mis' Peters now 
she can walk and talk, for she allowed she'd 
take care of her if I'd give her half I earned. 
But they do say she were right cruel to her 
own young ones, and nobody sha'n't abuse 
you, shall they, honey?" she said to the child, 
giving it a motherly hug. 

"Most of them as has sons," she resumed, 
**is afraid to have me comin' to their houses 
to work, but they needn't be. I've had 
enouQfh of men. I wouldn't look at the best 

one ever lived. No, nor I wouldn't believe 
he meant honest by me, not even if we was 
standin' up before a preacher to be married," 
she added, in a hard tone. 

We had been splashing along through the 
mud while she was talking, the baby playing 
bo-peep with me, or patting and kissing its 
mother's face. 

"She's a peart one, ain't she?" said the 
girl, as the baby clapped its hands and said 
"moo!" to a cow by the roadside. "It's 
mighty queer sometimes to think she won't 
never have no father to see her pretty ways, 
or for me to tell about her new tricks when he 
come home. It would be that way if I was 
a widder woman, I reckon. Only then I'd be 
thinkin' how he'd love her, and that maybe 
he seen her and me now, though we couldn't 
see him. But now my heart's all black and 
bitter whenever I think about Jason. He 
were the only one I ever loved, you see, and 
that makes it worsen Aunty done told me 
I must try to forgive him. Maybe I could if 
I never see him or heard tell of him. Mis* 
Hall done told me this mornin* he were back 
again, and courtin' one of the Brown gals. 
Nice gals they be, too. When I come up 
with you I were thinkin' I could h'/l him 

CJe Summec is Cfritticti 171 

if I wasn't a coward and afraid I'd get 
hung. It's a chance if I don't do it yet. 
My heart seems to me them times like 
one o' them black hog-wallers. 'Pears like 
I were sinkin' in the black mud and couldn't 
get out. Then, maybe, Maggie does some- 
thin' pretty and cute, and makes me laugh, 
and I feel like I were walkin' on God's 
earth again. But I can't never tell when I'll 
be flounderin' in the waller again. It scares 
me to think how easy a body might do a mur- 
der them times. Sometimes I think I ousfht 
to see Jason and warn him to keep clear of 
me, and then I'm afraid I might do it right 
then and there. I've studied about it a sight, 
and I don't know what I'd ought to do. It's 
hard lines for the girl to have all of the cruel 
sufferin', and be looked down on by every- 
body, and the man go free. 'Pears like he 
ain't no worse thought of, and he can marry 
most any nice girl he v/ants. I don't know 
why I've told you all this," said the girl, 
the tears streaming down her cheeks, which 
the baby was softly stroking as she snug- 
gled closer to her mother, cooing, "Pitty 
mammy, don't ee cry." 

'*I ain't talked like that to a livin' soul 
since Aunty died, and she's been gone 

172 iEoitS ataroHna ^feetcftes 

more'n a year. I feel like everybody's 
hand were agin me, and maybe that makes 
me more biggotty. It's easy keepin' 'count 
of them as has took notice to her or me 
since the baby come. The new doctor were 
plum kind to me when she were sick last 
summer. I done took her to his office once, 
and she taken to him right off, and put out 
her tongue so pretty when he said to that he 
gave her a pictur to carry home. A body 
can't forget them that's kind to 'em when 
they're down." 

I had been holding my umbrella over her as 
we walked, but we were both getting very 
wet, and it was time for me to be turning 

"Have you much farther to go?" I asked, 
not liking to leave her unsheltered in the rain. 

*'No; that old cabin down in the holler is 
where I live. Right here's the bars I go 
through, I'd be plum glad if you'd come to 
see me sometime when you're passing," she 
added, wistfully. "I know nice folks don't 
like the name of visiting such as me, though." 

Promising to stop for a rest the next time 
I came by, I turned to go. Then I remem- 
bered that I did not know her name. 

"It's Debby Cooper," she said, in reply 

Cf)e 5uttitnec is ii?ntjeti 173 

to my inquiry. "The baby's called after 
Aunty; her name were Margaret, and I call 
the baby Maggie. Good evenin'. I wish you 
well. It's been a sight o' help to have some- 
body to talk to. " 

As I walked briskly toward home, trying to 
shake off the chill of the dampness, which 
seemed to strike through me, I no longer saw 
the wondrous tapestry effects, nor any of 
Nature's marvels, which had so beguiled me 
outward bound. The world that lay about 
me seemed wrapped in deadly shades. 




Silently throughout the damp winter night 
the hoarfrost has been at work. Dawn finds 
a thick rime upon every lichen that decks the 
bare trees, every laurel leaf, every mossy 
stone, the bronzed leaves of the galax that 
carpets the ground, and upon the very ground 

A white world flashed into radiance when 
the sun rose. Sudden mists veiled his face 
ere he could undo the frostwork of the night, 
and then followed one of those wondrous 
"white days," seldom seen but among the 

Gleaming and sparkling in the hazy light, 
the frosty air spreads its white net, and with 
silent witchery all things are transformed. 

While out for a walk, we laugh to see one 
another grown suddenly gray, and hand-in- 
hand, like two children, find interest in trifles. 


17S iBtortJ O^arolma Sketcfies 

The clouds of steam rising from the plodding 
oxen and falling again in snowy shower upon 
their rough coats, as well as the clumsy puppy 
fighting frost from his face, offer diversion to 
our light mood. We amuse ourselves guessing 
the identity of nebulous human forms in frosty 
draperies. At sight of a girl with powdered 
hair and gleaming garments, haloed with 
mist, walking beside a youth thrust into sud- 
den dignity by whitened hair and frost toga, 
our imaginations take fire. 

We behold in them the embodiment of per- 
petual youth, with its old, old story, and our 
handclasp tightens as they draw near. We 
surprise the young lovers, for such they are, 
by the warmth of our greeting. 

We, too, have dreamed dreams, and memory 
is busy with the time when we began to walk 
the long path together, our world palpitating 
in glowing white. 

The girl was Bella Comly, who, having been 
to the school at Hinkson's Corner, spoke bet- 
ter English and appeared better in conse- 
quence. Some sewing she was doing for me 
gave us an excuse to stop and talk with her a 
few moments. 

Having heard of her engagement to Harry 
Heath, who was her escort, we had some curi- 

a tlMf^iU Bag 179 

osity to meet him. He seemed a good fellow, 
and they both looked very happy. 

Bella said she was coming to see me in an 
hour for further directions about the sewing, 
so after exchanging a few commonplaces, we 

When she called, the matter of the sewing 
was soon dispatched, but I saw from her 
manner that she had another errand, which 
she found hard to broach. It came out at last 
when I spoke of the beauty of the white day. 
She exclaimed, with a blush: "It's a white 
day for Harry and me, and I want you to 
know about it. When you met us on the road, 
we had just been to 'Squire Brown's to get 
married. " 

Laughing at my astonishment, Bella contin- 
ued: "I'll tell you how it was. You know 
Harry and I both went to Hinkson's to school ; 
his folks live over there. They're not so 
well-to-do as my people, and my father's been 
plum set against my marrying one of that 
stock, as he calls it. No matter what good 
he heard of Harry, he'd up and say, 'The 
stock's there. ' Father's right stubborn, and 
I favor him in that. The more he talked 
against Harry, the more set I was on having 
him. Father allowed there wasn't one of 

Harry's folks that had ever amounted to 
shucks, and he wouldn't hear to it that Harry 
was different. He is, though. He paid his 
own way at school, and he's got the farm he's 
buying near us part paid for. He owns a yoke 
of steers and a wagon and a cow, and he has 
'em all paid for. 

There wasn't a better boy in school than 
Harry; the teachers will all tell you that. He 
and I were sweethearts from the start. 
Neither of us ever wanted to look at anybody 
else, so it wasn't much use trying to part us. 
Mother wasn't so set against him as father 
was. She couldn't bear to see me feeling 
bad, so she's been sort of encouraging us 
when father wasn't by. That heartened 
Harry to go on getting things and fixing up 
his place like we expected to marry; but 
father wouldn't give in to it. Harry wanted 
me to go off and get married anyway. He 
said father'd come round all right when he 
found he couldn't help himself. Maybe he 
would have, but it seemed like I couldn't 
treat father that way. Harry's folks are dif- 
ferent. He hasn't any call to go out of his 
way to please 'em; but father's always been 
good to me, except about this, and I couldn't 
go back on him like that. 

a 5mt)ite Bay) i8i 

Well, Karry got mad at last, and said I 
didn't love him. He declared he'd sell out 
and go West; he meant it, too. That's three 
weeks ago. He said he'd giv^e me just a 
month to decide. I told mother, and she 
talked to father; but he got angry, and said: 
'I wish he would go West; I'll buy his place 
myself to get shut of him.' 

Mother allowed he'd never give in now. 
It made me plum sick; I couldn't sleep, and 
I cried every time I thought how awful it 
would be when Harry was gone and I'd have 
to go by his place and see strangers there. 
I couldn't eat, and I couldn't read or sew, or 
feel any interest in anything, and poor mother 
did nothing but study about me. The house 
was like a funeral, but father appeared like he 
didn't care. 

Then Jenny Anson, who was at Hinkson's 
when I was, got worse. You know she died 
of the fever yesterday. Mother was over 
there a good deal, helping Mrs. Anson, and 
when she'd come home she'd tell how Jenny 
was like to die, and how bad her folks felt. 
Yesterday she came back when father and 
I were eating breakfast, and threw herself 
into a chair by the fire, and cried and cried, 
so she could hardly tell us Jenny was dead. 

iS2 iEortt) (fTarolina S^ctci^cs 

Father was scared at first, for mother ain't 
one of the crying kind of women. He just 
smoothed her hair without saying a word, but 
the tears were running down his cheeks. 
Then he went out to tend the cattle, and 
mother and I sat there crying. I wasn't cry- 
ing about Jenny, though; I was crying about 
Harry and me, and wishing I was dead like 

The neighbors came hurrying along to 
see Mrs. Anson as soon as they heard Jenny 
was dead, and everybody had something to 
say to father out there in the yard about how 
awful it was for the Ansons to lose their only 
girl. Toward night Harry came by with his 
team. When I heard his whistle, I went out 
to speak to him. I was in hopes he had 
come round, and was going to tell me he 
wouldn't sell out and go West if father held 
out. Mother saw us, and told father he'd 
better give in for us to marry, for, like as 
not, I'd go the way Jenny did. She allowed 
there wasn't anybody so peaked as I was then 
that could stand up against anything. Folks 
do say Jenny was crossed in love, and that 
was why she'd got so puny that she hadn't any 
chance against the fever. 

Father studied a while. Then he said: 

^ ^mf)iU Bap 183 

'Mother, I know you're right, but I've stood 
out so long that it comes mighty hard for me 
to give in for all the neighbors to make talk 
about. You can go out this minute, though, 
and tell those children I give my consent, 
provided they'll go off and get married with- 
out saying anything to anybody, and not tell 
you or me, either. ' 

I was feeling pretty bad just then, for 
what Harry came to tell me was that Mr. 
Bagley had made him an offer for his team 
and his cow, and said he must decide about it 
in three days. Harry felt bad, too. He 
hadn't even got out of the wagon to talk to 

When mother came out and told us, 'You 
don't mean it, Mother Comly!' he says, and 
jumped right out and whirled me round like 
we were dancing. Then we ran into the house 
and hugged and kissed father till he put his 
head down on the table and cried like a baby. 

Mother didn't cry, though. She just 
laughed, and told Harry to hitch his team to 
the fence and stay to supper, and she said for 
me to fly round and get it ready, if I knew 
whether I was on my head or my heels. 

I got my appetite back that minute, and I 
put so much on the table the folks poked fun 

184 jEortf) Oltacolma SfeetcSes 

at me, for I was too flustered to eat, after all. 
When I went out M'ith Harry to bid him good 
night, he said: 'Get your things together, 
little girl, for I'm going to move you into 
your own house to-morrow.' That took my 
breath away, and I hid my face against his 
coat and said it was too soon. Harry only 
laughed when he kissed me, and said for me 
to meet him at the turn of the branch this 
morning at nine o'clock. He said he'd fix it 
all right so's we'd be sure to find 'Squire 
Brown at home. 

Father was out of the way when I started, 
but I think mother mistrusted, for I saw tears 
in her eyes, though she let on to laugh, and 
said what a pretty white day it was. When 
I met up with Harry, both of us were white 
with frost. He said we looked like we were 
in bridal array, sure enough. He made me 
stop and listen to the waterfall by the turn of 
the branch, because he thought it sounded 
like bells. That was when the sun most 
shone out and everything looked pinky white. 
Harry said he didn't know the world could 
be so beautiful. We were so happy coming 
along that we laughed at everything and 
nothing, and we just loved the white day for 
coming for our wedding. 

a W!R\jitt Hap 1S5 

It didn't take 'Squire Brown long to tie 
the knot, as he called it. Mrs. Brown and 
Sarah were witnesses. 

When we first caught sight of you we 
were walking arm in arm, but we felt shy of 
your seeing us, so we let go. Then we saw 
you holding hands and not minding us, and 
wished we hadn't been so silly. But how I 
have run on," said she, rising; " I promised 
Harry I'd meet him at the store. We need 
some oil and flour and things, and he's gone 
to get his team. x\fter we do our store 
errands, he's going to take me home to see 
the folks and get my things, and then we're 
going to our own house," Bella said, blush- 
ing. "When I get the place tidied up, I 
want you should come and see me. Good 

The white day held its own to the end. 
Toward night the mists, sinking into the 
valleys below us, spread out into a billowy 
white sea that glowed rose-tinted at sunset. 
Like islands the mountain-peaks stand out of 
it, glinting in the last rays of the setting 

We, two, who still dream dreams, watch the 
scene as the rosy glow changes to the dull 
grays and deep purple shades of twilight. 

iS6 iEoctft Otarolma Sfe^tcjes 

talking the while of other white days of long 
ago, till daylight fades. 

Then darkness gathers, and there is no light 
but the light of stars. 


" Now came still evening on, and the twilight gray 
Had in her sober livery all things clad." 

One fine spring day, when nature was smil- 
ing into leaf and bud, we went for a long 
drive, Karl and I, taking our lunch with us, 
and coming home by way of Edgely. 

Whole families are abroad, clearing the 
land, and the smoke of burning brush veils 
the landscape. Everywhere rings upon the 
air the stroke of the ax, and we hear on all 
sides the thud of falling trees. Girdled long 
ago, they stand like grim specters awaiting 
their doom. 

Ground squirrels dart across the road and 
eye us from fresh coverts in the briar-grown 
fences. Mountain boomers, playing a furtive 
bo-peep as they dodge around tree-trunks, 
chatter wildly at the sound of falling trees, 
while nesting birds vent their alarm in noisy 

a ^mf)ite Bag 1S7 

Above the fragrant sassafras, the swamp 
maples swing their red tassels in the light 
breeze. Stiffly beside them stand the bare 
oaks, awaiting their spring robes of pale pink 
velvet. At their feet now lie the rustling 
brown garments that defied the winter and 
struggling through that dusky matting, the 
tender green of new galax is crowding aside 
the searing red and bronze of its old foliage. 

Over all things spreads the spring magic, 
into whose net we too are swiftly drawn. 
All things are become new. There is no 
time, no death, nothing but youth with its 
old, old story. It is not we two who shall be 
no more when other springs shall ripple upon 
the shores of time. We are part and parcel 
of this ever-recurring miracle. 

Toward noon the stony road, winding down- 
ward through dense rhododendrons, brings us 
to a stream that is hardly whispering as it runs 
away to the sea; yet far above its bed the 
telltale banks shout tidings of a recent 
destructive freshet; while on the brink the 
alders, in fringed weeds bestowed by the 
flood, mourn the ruin of their spring costumes. 

We camped near the water, building our fire 
among stones that but the other day formed 
the bed of a rushing torrent. The horse 

iS8 iaortf) OTaroKna Sfe^tci^es 

munching his corn near by, and the startled 
sheep thrusting their heads out of the under- 
growth, watching us askance, ready for flight, 
added to the charm of the peaceful scene. 
It was not peaceful long, however. When the 
razor-backed hogs in the surrounding wood 
smelled our hot lunch, the clan charged upon 
us, putting to flight our peace of mind, and 
the timid sheep as well. 

We defended our rock table in the sneaking 
hope that the next freshet might bear on its 
bosom these same razor-backs in its mad rush 
through mountain gorges. 

On our way home we found ourselves in the 
neighborhood of the Heaths, who lived on the 
Edgely road. We had not seen them since 
the "white day" of their marriage in early 
December, so we decided to call upon them. 
We found them at work in their garden; and 
it was a happy pair of faces that looked up to 
welcome us. Harry tied our horse, and took 
Karl off to inspect the stock and talk politics, 
while Bella and I went toward the house. 
We stopped on the way to watch the young 
shepherd dog giving wild chase to the chick- 

"It's lucky for Pete the bees haven't got 
the spring fever like folks," Bella said, as the 

^ S2af)ite Bap 1S9 

dog dashed in and out among the beehives. 
"Good old fellow, I love him because he's so 
fond of Harry." Rushing up to her at this 
moment, Pete, on hearing his master's name, 
gave her hand a hasty lick and bounded off in 
search of him. 

Bella laughed happily when she saw him 
go, and we went on to the house. It was 
simply furnished, but was very neat, and had 
an unusual air of comfort. 

After displaying with evident pride her 
pretty patchwork quilts and home-made de- 
vices for the adornment of her house, Bella, 
with flushing cheeks, confided to me the new 
hope just springing into life in their hearts. 

"I'm so glad you came," said she, "for 
I want somebody to advise me. This makes 
me feel mighty young and ignorant, but I'm 
so happy, and I want to do what is right 
about taking care of myself. Harry's so glad. 
I thought he was as happy as a man could be 
before, but he's like a boy over this. He 
wants me to pick out names for a girl and a 
boy out of the Bible the teachers gave us when 
we were married. When I asked why our 
names wouldn't do, he said there couldn't be 
but one Bella in the world for him, and," 
added Bella, smiling, "I reckon I feel the same 

190 iaortS Ol:afolina Sfeetcfjejs 

way about his name. There ain't many girls 
that have such a good husband as I've got. 
I haven't never had to carry water or fetch in 
wood, and Harry's more contented at home 
than anywhere. Father and mother have come 
to like him mighty well, too. Mother says 
they're right sorry they were so set against our 

Later, seeing me look at the books on the 
shelf, Bella said, "Harry's a right good 
scholar. He reads aloud to me evenings 
while I knit or sew. Sometimes we get down 
our school-books and hear one another the 
old lessons; it's a heap of fun." 

Our "men folks" came in just then, Harry 
bringing eggs in his hat, and laughing about 
our encounter with the razor-backs, of which 
Karl was telling him. "But" said he, 
"I reckon I've got something to say about 
your wanting *em carried off by the next 
fresh, for they're my hogs!" At which Bella 
laughed merrily. Happy, care-free souls; 
they bubbled into laughter at trifles, and 
walked with glad, springing steps, good to see. 

When we were leaving, we found the fresh 
eggs bestowed in our lunch-basket. Harry, 
in reply to our protest, said, laughing, "That's 
to pay for the way our hogs pestered you." 

a OTlSite Dag 191 

There were many happenings to prevent 
our seeing the Heaths for a long time, but 
what we heard of them convinced us their 
"white day" held its own. 

When the doctor told us of the arrival of 
Bella's baby girl, he confided to us the touch- 
ing story of Bella lying exhausted after the 
baby came, while Harry, beside himself with 
alarm, kept kissing her pale face and limp 
hands, imploring her not to die and leave 
him. Anxious to give Bella the rest she 
needed, the doctor finally sent him from the 
room. Harry staggered into the next room, 
where the sturdy baby was yelling itself into 
the color of a boiled lobster. He dropped 
into a chair, taking no notice of the child, 
much to the disgust of the old women assisting 
at its toilet. There he stayed until the doctor 
told him he might see Bella again for a few 
moments. The loving smile with which she 
greeted him relieved his great anxiety. 
He told the doctor afterward that he could 
hardly keep from laughing when she asked 
him if the baby wasn't a beauty. He had 
quite forgotten to look at it, but was wise 
enough not to tell Bella so. She made a 
rapid recovery. 

The baby was named Bera, because they 

19^ iRortf) (Carolina S^etciie^ 

found in the Concordance of their Bible that 
the name meant gift. Bella said they felt 
that the child had come to them as a blessed 
gift from heaven. 

Three years passed, and just after the birth 
of their second child, Harry took the grippe, 
and was for a time very ill. His convalesence 
was very slow. Every attempt he made dur- 
ing the winter to resume his outdoor duties 
resulted in a relapse. This brought much 
anxiety and extra work upon Bella, who was 
by no means strong herself at this time. 

Troubles seemed to thicken about them. 
Their cow wandered away in a snowstorm, 
and was found dead in a ravine, and some of 
their razor-backed hogs actually met the fate 
we had invoked for their progenitors. 

I went one day in the spring to see Bella, 
and found poor Harry, wan and weak, alone 
with the babies. He said Bella had just gone 
on an errand to her mother's. As I was on 
horseback, and glad of an excuse for a longer 
ride, I decided to follow her. "When I over- 
took her, Pete, the dog, was walking deject- 
edly beside her, while Bella's eyes were red 
with weeping, which broke forth afresh at 
sight of me. 

I dismounted and tied my horse, and Bella 

and I seated ourselves upon a log in the 
woods. Pete, edging close to her, nosed 
Bella's face and hands, giving vent to his 
sympathy in whines and sniffs when her sor- 
row overpowered her. Having just seen 
Harry, it was easy for me to understand the 
wild burst of grief that shook the young wife, 
and I could not restrain my own tears as I sat 
beside her. 

At last she spoke. "I hadn't any real er- 
rand to mother's. I just made up one, so I 
could get away alone to cry," she said. "My 
heart has felt all day like it were bursting, 
and I couldn't let Harry know. He spit 
blood this morning, a good deal of it, and 
I know, by the questions the doctor asked me 
when he came, that it means he can't get 
well. Harry's got so downhearted about 
himself that I have to keep up. He just 
clings to me like a child, but the Lord knows 
my heart's broken and my courage gone." 

She wept bitterly for a while. Then she 
said, "We've been so happy; nobody knows 
like I do what a good, kind man Harry is. I 
can't live without him, I can't, I can*f/' she 
cried, throwing her arms above her head and 
sobbing violently. 

I sat dim-eyed looking at the mountains, 


194 ^oxtf) dltarolina Sfeetc!)e0 

while Bella's head sank lower till it rested 
upon that of the faithful dog. When her sobs 
ceased, I thought her asleep from exhaustion. 
Save for the sighing of the breeze in the old 
spruce pine overhead, or the rustle of a wood 
robin among decaying leaves, a deep silence 
lay about us. The echoes of more distant 
sounds failed to touch consciousness, though 
memory might blare them forth later. 

Presently Bella raised her head wearily. 

You see it's this way with me," she said; 

I'm mighty easy disheartened when things 
go wrong. I take all the blame to myself, 
and get to crying sometimes like I'd never 
stop. Then Harry comforts me. He talks 
like I made his whole world, and couldn't do 
anything very bad anyhow. Before I know 
it he has me laughing at some of his jokes, and 
I think what a fool I've been, and I love him 
better than ever. But oh, my God! how 
shall I live without him?" 

The shadow of a passing cloud suddenly 
darkened the woods. Bella threw back her 
head, crying, "Oh, it will be like that when 
Harry's gone, all dark. How can I bear it?" 
The cloud passed, and again the dancing sun- 
beams played about us, but she was uncon- 
scious of the change. 

a m^i)itt ©ap 195 

1 1 

The worst of it is, ' ' said she, after a while, 

I don't feel to care anything for the chil- 
dren, especially the baby ; they just seem to be 
taking my time away from Harry. I'm afraid 
I shall hate the poor little things when he's 

Alas! the "white day" was drawing to a 
close for poor Bella. 

After she became quiet, I went on with her 
to her mother's, and then back to her own 
door. She had bathed her eyes at a spring, 
and resumed her usual manner, but she sur- 
prised me by the cheerful greeting she gave 
Harry. "Look," she cried out, laughingly, 
to me, as we drew near the house, "I do be- 
lieve Harry and Bera have been sitting in 
that doorway ever since I started, just waiting 
for me to come home." Harry laughed, too, 
and little Bera danced for joy in the light of 
her mother's cheerful presence. 

"Mother sent you this fresh buttermilk, 
Harry; it will do you a sight of good," I heard 
Bella say. 

As I rode off, Harry was smiling up at her 
as she poured the milk into a glass, while 
Pete, overjoyed to see them so cheerful, was 
jeopardizing the buttermilk by his antics. 

It was the last time I saw poor Harry. 

196 i^ortt) OTaiolina S^feetcjes 

The twilight of their "white day" was a 
short one. Ere Bella's eyes had become ac- 
customed to its somber hues, swift darkness 
gathered; the "white day" had joined the 
memory throng, and she was alone, with no 
light save the light of stars. 




Winter was coming on apace. Already the 
nights were cold, and hard frosts had shriv- 
elled and blackened, as with fire, every tender 
growing thing. The rough chestnut-burrs 
had opened and fallen at the touch of the 
north wind. The squirrels and bluejays had 
had out their quarrel over the nuts, and the 
jays had flown away southward, leaving the 
squirrels in peace with their winter hoard. 
The oaks held fast their dry brown leaves, 
i that rustled with every breath of air, but 

their crop of acorns was scattered on the 
I hillsides, and the fattening hogs left long zig- 

zag furrows among the dead leaves in their 
search for mast. 

Every gust of wind sent the fallen leaves 
whirling far and wide in mad disorder. They 
banked at every obstacle, like drifting snow, 


200 laortf) (Carolina ^ktttf^t^ 

and one must wade knee-deep through them 
at every turn. There was ice along the edges 
of the leaping mountain stream, while the 
rising sun surprised a rime of hoar frost upon 
the mossy trunks and limbs of the trees these 
mornings. As it beaded in the sun's warmth, 
the woods glinted, as with the sudden flash 
of jewels. 

It was a time to look well to the winter's 
supply of food and fuel. We, with the pru- 
dence born of experience, had done so, but 
many of our neighbors were still trusting to 
luck to save them from the inevitable. They 
depended largely upon their crops of cab- 
bages, potatoes, and apples for their living, 
and as there were no cellars to the houses, 
these must be buried before a hard freeze 
destroyed them. In the mean time they were 
heaped in the fields, and we could always 
feel sure that when winter, after repeated 
warnings of his approach, gave us a final grip, 
he would still come unawares upon the im- 

Mrs. Hansley came in on an errand one 
cold day, and had much to tell of the damage 
done by the heavy frost of the previous night. 

" 'Pears like some on 'em would learn not 
to git ketched this late with their cabbages 

i^cito IS tje WRinttx of our HBmonitnt 201 

and 'taters not buried, and their apples out, 
too," said she; '*but it's that way every 
winter. Folks is so unthoughted. They'll 
work the whole summer making a crap o* cab- 
bages, and then lose 'em all by freezin*. 
They can't never believe winter's comin' till 
everything they've got is froze stiff. Old 
Mr. Moss were runnin' round everywheres 
this mornin' tryin' to git somebody to help 
him bury his cabbages and 'taters, but the 
neighbors is all plum busy with their own 
craps. Yesterday he were runnin' about all 
the evenin' tryin' to borrow a bushel basket 
to tote his 'taters in. 'Pears like him and 
his old woman might 'a' toted 'em in buckets 
and got 'em all kivered in before night if he'd 
staid to home and sot to work at *em. It 
were nigh dark when he come back without 
ary basket. 

A sight of 'em loaded up their wagons 
yesterday to haul their cabbages and apples 
to Hinkson's to sell. If they hadn't 'em well 
kivered in, they're plum froze this mornin'. 
I see 'em all goin' down the road a while 
back, so I reckon they allow they'll git to 
sell *em anyway. Mis' Cooper told me, as 
I come along, that she done her best to git 
her old man to put more hay and straw in the 

202 iEortJ (Carolina Sfeftcjes 

wagon to keep things from freezin', but he 
allowed it weren't worth while to haul a bite 
more'n the critters would eat whilst he's 
gone. He ain't forehanded like her. Like 
as not his things is all froze in his wagon." 

I asked what he would do in that case, if 
he failed to sell them. 

"Throw 'em all out," Mrs. Hansley 
replied. "It wouldn't pay to haul 'em back up 
the mounting. A heap of 'em has it to do. 
If it comes off steady cold, the neigh- 
bors'U have to help old Mr. Moss cut some 
wood. He ain't got nary a stick put up. 
I see him and Mis* Moss gatherin' brush in 
the woods nigh his house every mornin'. It 
takes a sight o' time to git enough for a fire, 
and it don't last no time, nohow. Most 
folks reckon he might 'a' chopped what wood 
he needed this summer, when he weren't doin* 
nothin' but settin' round the stores and 
chawin' tobacco." 

"Then who does the field work?" I said. 

"She mostly works the crap," said Mrs. 
Hansley. "They ain't made nigh enough 
corn to see 'em through the winter, and 
I see 'em t'other day feedin' of it out to their 
hens as has quit layin'. Their old cow's gone 
plum dry, and they'll have her to feed, too. 

iaoto IS i\)t ^WiinUt of our discontent 203 

I axed 'em was they goin' to carry the old 
cow over the winter, and they allowed they 
was. They ain't got nary stable, and that 
poor critter lays out, and goes about bellerin', 
huntin' food. A heap of 'em does that way 
with their cattle. I'm that sorry for the poor 
dumb things goin' round showin' their bones 
and huntin' food all winter, I can't hardly 
bear it. Cows can't give no milk unless 
they're took care of. It don't pay to keep 'em 
over winter, but folks goes on doin' it, and 
drawin' long faces in the spring about how 
poor they be. Same way with them as has 
steers and horses. They might get a good 
price for 'em in the fall, when the drovers 
comes through buyin' up cattle, but no, they 
won't sell 'em, though they, maybe, won't 
use 'em more'n two or three times all winter. 
Two year ago the Jakes done kept a horse 
and cow that way over winter. It were 
a mighty bad winter, too. The poor things 
was that weakly by spring that both on *em 
died, and they ain't had money since to buy 
no more. 

Sich folks draws drefful poor mouths, and 
goes about beggin' of them that's forehanded, 
and talkin' agin 'em the worst way if they 
won't give nor lend 'em nothin'. 

204 iEortt Cf^arolma Skkttcf^t^ 

Old Mr. Cooke just goes for 'em when 
they git after him for corn. He allows 
as he were humpin' to work in the heat 
and cold to make a crap while some on 
'em was settin' round the stores or bakin' 
their sides by the fire at home. He just 
won't lend 'em nary a thing. Some folks 
calls him hard names, but he's got his own 
family to raise and he works mighty hard." 

Mrs. Hansley remarked, as she noticed that 
the sky had clouded over: "The sun's 
mournin' for somethin'. I reckon we're 
goin' to have snow. I d better be goin' along 
home. Good evenin'." 

After she left, I replenished the wood fires, 
and resumed the writing she had interrupted. 
I forgot the weather till the fires burned low 
again and I felt cold. Then I saw, to my sur- 
prise, that the ground was white with snow. 
Before dark the wind rose to a gale, and the 
snowstorm became a blizzard. 

We hugged the fire, thankful for warmth 
and shelter, and waked in our comfortable 
beds shivering when the wind shook the house 
and the trees whipped the roof. 

iEoh) 10 tf)e Mimtec of our discontent 205 


"It's just a sight about them poor Dents," 
said Mrs. Hansley, a few days after the bliz- 
zard. "Lucky the neighbors had sent *em 
warm clothes and victuals before the big snow- 
storm. They liked to perished as it were. 
Mis' Dent says she reckons that old blanket 
you give her kept the baby from freezin'. 
She rolled him up in it, head and all, and 
kept him snugged up to her in bed all night. 

You never see sich a place for folks to 
live in as where they're at. It's easy to say. 
Why don't they git out of it? Them poor 
things is mighty hard pressed. Mr. Dent is 
one o' them kind as luck's always been agin. 
Some says he drinks, but I ain't never see 
him the worse for liquor. A heap o' them 
that talks agin him drinks a sight more nor he 
does. He's always kept his family on rented 
land, and most times he works it on shares. 
Can't neither him nor her, nor none o' them 
children, read and write, and folks gits ahead 
of him. Lots o' sich as he, when they work 
a place on shares, find their own share was 
mostly the hard work that went into the 
craps." Mrs. Hansley gave a harsh laugh, 

2o6 iEortf) (Carolina ^kztcf^t^ 

adding: "I been there myself. I'd oughter 
know. Folks like the Dents get all out o' 
heart, and try another farm when they can't 
make nothin' for theirselves. That keeps 
'em movin', and nobody can't blame 'em. 

Work reg'lar, did you say? Him and the 
boys is mighty hard workin'. 'Pears like 
they'd oughter git along, but she's weakly, 
and they got sich a sight o' young ones. 
I reckon they can't never git enough victuals 
to fill *em plum full, let alone clothes to keep 
'em all covered at once. 

I had more cornmeal than I were needin', 
so I stepped in, as I come by, to leave 'em 
some. They was right glad to get it, and 
I were right glad I toted it to 'em. 

I never see sich a place. The wet o' the 
snow were all over the floor yet. You see, 
the door's off the hinges, and the windows is 
only boarded up loose. The roof ain't tight, 
and the chimney smokes. 

When they see the storm comin' on bad, 
they got in all the wood they could tote, and 
made a good fire. They ain't got no stove, 
and it takes a right big fire to even touch sich 
a place as that. They sot the old table agin 
the door, but he allows if the wind blowed it 
over onct it done it twenty times in the night, 

i^oto IS tf)e W^inttt of our 33iscontent 207 

and every time the snow come bouncin' in 
like it were bein' throwed, he says. 'Taint no 
wonder the place 'pears like it'll never dry out. 

Mr. Dent done told the rest of 'em to 
warm theirselves by the fire, and git into bed 
with their clothes on. They done it, and Mis' 
Dent even kept on her sunbon'net. He tucked 
'em all in the best he could, and told *em to 
lay close and go to sleep, and he'd set up and 
keep the fire goin'. 

By that time the wind had rose and the 
snow come swirlin' in everywheres. I don't 
reckon there's a crack that's plum tight in 
that old shanty, anyhow. Before mornin' 
the beds and the floor was covered with snow. 
Mr. Dent had a brush broom, and he kept 
a-sweepin' a place in front of the fire with it 
all night. That were the best he could do, 
for he were nigh to perishin' every time he 
quit the fire. I felt mighty bad when Mis' 
Dent were tellin' me about it. But, Lor' me! 
children's queer," Mrs. Hansley added, smil- 
ing. *'While I were standin' at the door, a bird 
began chirpin' in a pretty green laurel-bush. 
One o' the boys was standin' there, and I says 
to him, by way of pleasant talk, that I won- 
dered what the birds done the night of the 
big storm. He's a right peart young un. He 

2o8 ia^ortf) OTaroKna S^etcftes 

give a quick look up into my face, and says, 
smilin', 'That's what I were thinkin' myself 
t'other night, when the snow were drivin' 
down on we-uns in bed.' It give me a kind 
of a turn to hear him," she said, with her 
eyes full of tears. "I kind o' ketched my 
breath, and says to myself, like I were 
prayin', 'Oh, Lord, I reckon this is one o' 
your little ones the Bible talks about.' 

But what I came to tell you, 'cause I 
knowed you'd be glad to hear it, was that 
Mis' Dent done told me they're goin' to move 
off the mounting. Mr. Nye's got a right 
good house on one o* his farms, and he's 
goin' to put 'em into it, and they're goin' to 
work for him. He's mighty well-to-do, and 
if he takes a real interest in them poor 
Dents, it looks like they might get along now. 
My! but them old pines is pretty with the 
snow shelvin' off 'em that way," said Mrs. 
Hansley, changing the subject. "Looks like, 
the way the wind blowed, the snow couldn't 
'a' stuck to 'em, nohow. 

That were a night to remember, and no 
mistake. I can't never forget the look o' the 
Dents' place. I'm mighty glad they're goin' 
to better theirselves," she said, as she went 
her way. 



Once upon a time, Henry Holt had been 
numbered with the Confederate dead. Dur- 
ing the hours of merciful oblivion which 
followed the shattering of his right leg, his 
comrades, while hastily removing the 
wounded from the battlefield, had overlooked 

When he awoke to conscious misery, there 

lay across his body, like a ghastly nightmare, 

the corpse of one of his mates. Filled with 

horror at the contact, he tried to throw it off. 

His arms still served him, but the effort 

to move his legs was torture. He could dimly 

I hear distant firing, but the silence round about 

I him was like a thick mist. Out of it came 

I presently the commotion of struggle, followed 

by an unearthly groan. Turning his head, 

he saw close upon his left a wounded horse. 

One look convinced him that the poor creature 

was past help. With numbed hand he drew 

I the pistol from the belt of the dead man; the 


212 iBlortft (Earolina Sfeetcftes 

next moment he was left the only living thing 
upon that bloody field. 

"Poor old nag!" he sighed; "he'd have been 
some company in this hell of a place, but a body 
couldn't see a dumb critter suffer that way." 

Then silence, except for the groans called 
forth by his own frantic efforts to get free 
from his burden. He fainted and came to 
many times before he succeeded. Then he 
fainted again when he tried to rise. When 
he came to himself he had sense enough to 
make a desperate effort to stanch the flow of 
blood from his wounded leg. This probably 
saved his life. 

But we will let him tell his own story: 

"I were that weak, for want o' food and 
drink and losin' so much blood, that I must 
have slep' away a heap of time before I took 
notice of a bugle-call and the tramp of men. 
Next I heard shovel and pick, and I know'd 
they was makin' ready to bury the dead. 
Weak and wanderin' in my mind like I were, 
that scared me. I put up my arms and tried 
to wave 'em, so's they'd see I were alive. 
I were too puny to holler. I couldn't see 
'em, but it 'peared like I didn't care whether 
they was Yanks or our own boys. 

The second time I got my arms up I heard 


allp 213 

voices, and then I see two Yankees lookin' 
down at me. 'Lord, Jim!' says the tallest 
one, 'this here Reb's alive. We must get 
him out of this sharp. Looks like he's done 
for.' Then I up and fainted again. Next 
I knowed I were in the Yanks' field hospital, 
and I hadn't but one leg. The doctors 
allowed I'd either got to die or lose my leg, 
so they cut it off. I didn't know nothing 
about it, and when I come to I just felt rested 
and comfortable. 

Folks was right good to me, but I seed 
they was Yankees, and I allowed I were a pris- 
oner. And so I were. When I got so's to 
be moved they sent me to Camp Chase, Ohio, 
and I was a prisoner there nigh about a year. 
It weren't no fun, but a body couldn't com- 
plain of nothin' but the eatin*. There were 
enough of it, sich as it were, but it weren't 
what we-uns had been used to. Some of us 
got to hankering to bile a pot. One of the 
Yankee subs — a mighty pleasant chap he were, 
too — heard us talkin' about it, and asked 
what it were. We done told him, and the 
next day the cook said as he had orders to 
let Bill Smedley and me come to the kitchen 
and bile a pot. Bill were wounded in the 
shoulder and were right puny. 

214 i9.orti& CItarolina ^ttUf)t^ 

We-uns was plum proud, I tell you. They 
give us a chunk of fat hog-meat, and while 
that were bilin', Bill and me got ready all the 
vegetables the cook give us, and then we put 
'em all in with the meat. It weren't exactly 
like we-uns had at home, for there weren't no 
dried green beans, but it were nigh enough. 
It smelled so good that Bill and me and t'other 
fellers couldn't hardly wait to taste it. 

It done us a heap of good to get some- 
thin' like home again. After that, Bill and 
me used to help a sight in the kitchen, so's 
to get the cook to let us bile a pot now and 
then. It kind o' kep' us in heart. They 
done give us books and papers to read, and 
I let on to study over 'em. Them Yanks 
was mighty sharp-tongued about them as 
couldn't read and write, so I let on like 
I could. 

One day I were settin' holdin' a book like 
I were readin', and a Yankee come along and 
give a great screechin' laugh that made me 
jump. 'Look here, you fellers!' he calls out, 
'Johnny Reb's readin' with his book upside 

They all laughed fit to bust, and I were 
mighty mad inside, but I daresn't show it. 
I let on like I'd went to sleep while I were 

^allp 215 

readin', and that's how the book come turned. 
After that I were careful to keep the big let- 
terin' to the top. There's nothin' a body- 
hates like havin' fun poked at 'em. 

I hadn't my wooden leg then, and I hadn't 
got used to crutches, and I couldn't play 
no lively games like the rest. Time hung 
heavy first-off, and I set round studyin' 
over my troubles a sight. Then I took to 
makin' baskets, like we-uns had at home. 
I swapped the first ones for tobacco, but 
I sold t'others. One way and another I 
picked up right smart money. I'd lost so 
much blood I were right white-lookin', and 
havin' but one leg, everybody were sorry for 
me ; so I got more accommodation than some. 

I allowed there wouldn't nary a gal look 
at me, 'count of my wooden leg, when I came 
home. But, Lor' me! I needed two legs first- 
off to git away from 'em. Gals is plum curi- 
ous creeturs. I were always kind of shy, 
and after a bit most of 'em quit follerin' me 
round, and I were right glad of it. 

My Sally always gits mad when I say she 
done the courtin', but it's nigh the truth. 
I were nothin' but a boy when I jined the 
army. I never did rightly know what the 
war were about. Most of 'em allowed it were 

2i6 iEortfj Olarclina ^kctc^es 

for the niggers. I never sot no store by 'em, 
nohow, so that weren't what got me. It 
were the band, and the shck things the re- 
cruitin' officers told us. I reckoned it were 
mighty fine to go marchin' round to music, 
so I jined. 

I were away two years, but I felt like 
I were ten years older when I come back. 
I were mighty downhearted first-off. You 
see, if a feller's been used to tearing round 
on two good legs all his life, it ain't easy to 
give in to crutches. No matter how kind 
t'other fellers mean to be, they can't help 
leavin' you out of everythin'. Why, when 
the fires used to get out I were always 
amongst the first to run, and I could work all 
day with the best. 

Right after I got back, them lazy Kators, 
down in the holler, let their fires git out. The 
flames come licking up the side of the mount- 
ing like it were a flume. I seen 'em among 
the first, and started to run. Down I fell 
flat, and two fellers stopped and set me up 
again. I says to 'em: 'Go on, boys, for 
God's sake! Don't mind about me.' When 
they was clean out of sight, I laid flat on my 
face on the ground and cried like a baby. 

That's where my Sally comes in. She 

^allg 217 

come running along to the fire — she's that 
big and hefty now it makes a body laugh to 
think of her runnin', but she weren't that way 
then. There weren't another girl anywheres 
went trippin' about so light. I didn't hear 
her comin', 'count of the roarin' of the fire 
and the racket the boys was makin'. I weren't 
noways particular about cryin' soft, for I reck- 
oned there weren't no one nigh enough to 
hear. I were too disheartened to care much, 

First I knowed, an angel flopped down 
beside me — leastwise, that's what I thought 
then — and had my head on her lap. Then 
she were a-cryin', too, and for about a minute 
we was both too fur gone to speak. It were 
Sally. 'Why, Henry,' she says, sobbing, 'I 
never knowed you felt that bad about losing 
your leg. You always let on to be so kind of 
biggotty that we-uns allowed you was just 
proud of it. ' 

'Oh, Lord, Sally! I ain't proud of nothin'. 
I'm miserable,' I groaned. Then I rolled 
my head up in her apron and cried out loud. 
Sally couldn't hardly get a corner to wipe her 
own eyes on. 

After we was married, she owned up that 
she done hid that apron and let on to her 

2i8 iaort^ (Carolina S)'kttti)t& 

folks like it were lost. She hadn't the heart 
to wash the tears out of it. For all I know 
she'sgot it yet. Sally's right romantic. After 
a bit we both felt better, and I sat up beside 
her, feeling kind of foolish. She looked at me 
and then she put her arms round my neck and 
kissed me. 

'What do you mean by that, Sally?' I 
says, fer it kind o' scared me. Her face got 
red as fire, but she spoke up brave, 'It means 
that I love you, Henry,' she said. 

You might have knocked me over with a 
rye straw. 'You don't mean you'd marry a 
poor cripple like me, Sally?' I says, catching 
my breath. 

'Yes, I do, Henry,' she says, bursting into 

Then it were my turn to comfort her, and 
it's been turn and turn about between us ever 
since. Luck's been agin us sometimes, but 
in the long run Sally and me's had things as 
comfortable as most. 

When we was about to get married she 
allowed, seeing as I weren't no great on 
walkin* any more, we'd better live where we 
could see the mountings easy. 'Coves is good 
fer them as can climb,' says Sally, 'I've 
clomb out of 'em all my life, and thought 

<Sang 2^ 

nothin' of it, bein' so spry; but it's different 
with you, Henry. You'll want to see the 
mountings many's the time, to hearten you 
up.* I allowed as I wouldn't never need 
nothin' but her for that, but she only laughed. 
Sally's got a heap o' horse sense. 'Life's 
all ups and downs,' she says, 'and when 
you're down it's best to be livin' atop of the 
mountings, and not be in a cove, with 'em 
sort of on top of you.' 

I hadn't never told nobody but her about 
the money I done saved up. It were enough 
to give us a start. We bought a rough piece 
of land, where there were a good spring, and 
her and me sot in to clear it. The neighbors 
poked fun at Sally for doin' it before we was 
married, but she allowed she knowed her own 

When we got ready to build a little log 
house, the neighbors come forward mighty 
kind, and holped us. It weren't much of a 
house, but it were tight and snug, and there 
were a grand fireplace and chimney. We 
liked it splendid. 

Sally knowed how to turn a place into a 
home along with the best, and she done it 
from the start. Folks used to come in won- 
derin' how it were that our place were a heap 

220 iEort^ CItarolina S^etrjes 

snugger than theirn. It were all Sally's 
contrivin'. She sot the house the way she 
wanted it, too. We hadn't no money to buy 
glass lights for winders, but she had a big one 
cut out front and back, and put shutters on 
'em for bad weather. 

From the front winder and the door you 
could look way off over the mountings. You 
could see Hawk's Bill and Table Rock, like 
they was close by, and Grandfather Mounting, 
too; and clear days there were Roan and a 
sight of others standin' up against the sky. 
They was a heap of company, just like Sally 

The Bible talks about mountings leapin' 
and singin', and I reckon there's somethin' in 
it. They always seem to be doin' somethin' 
different. When it's rainin' over there it's 
clearin' over here, and if you turn your back, 
it's like a spry gal that's changed her gown 
all in a minute. You can't never say just 
what the mountings is like, for before you git 
the words out, it's all different." 

*'But the winters must be dreary, ar'n't 

"Yes, we have pretty bad winters up here 
mostly, and I'm apt to get low in my mind 
along towards the last. I reckon that's why 

Sails 221 

Sally's always watchin' out for the first turn 
of spring. First I know, when I'm settin' 
over the fire studyin', I hear her at the door 
callin' me to come out, she's got somethin' to 
show me. She's seen the spring beginnin' to 
work down in the valleys. She shows me 
them bright green spots here and there, and 
afterwards I keep watch of 'em. First-off, 
they're clean down in the coves. Then the 
green comes creepin', creepin' up the mount- 
ing, while the snow's still layin' all round we- 
uns up here. On it comes, and before you 
know where you're at the snow's gone and the 
spring is busting all over the mounting, like 
folks laughin' out loud. 'Didn't I tell you 
so?' Sally says every time, and it does a body 
good to hear her laugh. 'There can't no win- 
ter last forever,' she always says, but 'pears 
to me like it could. If it weren't for Sally 
heartenin* me up so, I reckon I'd shrivel up 
plum silly with the cold. 

I ain't never been right stout since I lost 
my leg. You wouldn't believe it, but that 
very leg aches me so with the rheumatiz when 
the weather's cold that it's all I can do to 
bear it. If it weren't for Sally, I'd have give 
out long ago. 

We had six children. Two of 'em's buried, 

22 2 i^orti^ (Carolina Sf'^tUf^t^ 

but t'others was likely young ones. They're 
all married and gone now. Sally and me has 
the old house to ourselves mostly, except 
when our children's young ones come to stay 
with us. They're right fond of granny and 
me. Sally's always a-laughin', and that makes 
the young ones laugh, too. 

It's been hard work scratchin' along some- 
times, but she weren't never the one to give 
in, and we pulled through somehow. Folks 
calls us the 'old folks,* but Sally and me 
don't never feel old, and we don't allow to 
neither, not if we live to be a hundred." 

Since Henry told his story he and his Sally 
have gone to that bourne whose prospective 
charms were nulled for him by Bible testimony 
that there was no marrying nor giving in mar- 
riage there. 

He said he had ''studied a heap" over that, 
and there couldn't be any heaven for him 
where he and Sally weren't going to be hus- 
band and wife. 

Seeing how many wives some men had, he 
*'allowed as things was mighty mixed, any- 
way," and it troubled him to the end. 

Not so Sally. She was content to take it 
all on trust. 



Having heard that old Mrs. Yerkes was at 
variance with the Scripture doctrine about 
entertaining strangers, I made my first call 
upon her with diffidence. As she laid aside 
her pipe at my approach, and asked me to 
"take a cheer," I hoped she had modified her 
point of view, and regarded me in the light 
of a possible angel unawares. 

The neighbors said everything depended 
upon her likes and dislikes. They were 
pretty sure to add that she was "right 
changeable and mighty apt to turn agin a body 
next time," no matter how pleasant she had 
been at first. She evidently liked me this time, 
and much to my satisfaction, she was in a very 
talkative mood, so I made the most of the 

Before she got started talking, however, 
she spent some time arranging her fire. It 
was made upon a plan quite new to me. The 
ends of two fence rails were thrust into the 


226 i^orti) ararolma Sketches 

bed of glowing coals on the hearth, while 
their lengths lay stretched across the floor of 
the cabin. As they burned, she kicked or 
pushed them farther in. 

"Old bones is cold bones," said she. "A 
body's bound to keep warm somehow. 
Sophrony's boys allows they tote a sight o* 
wood for me, but it ain't enough to keep a 
chicken warm," the old woman added, scorn- 
fully. "Young folks is mighty unthoughted 
about doin' for old folks. Sophrony's man 
hates it that bad my takin' the fence-rails 
that he's always jawin' about it. He don't 
say nothin' to me, though. He knows better. 
This here's my farm, and when I give in to 
their comin' onto it and puttin' up a house 
for theirselves I were sharp enough to have 
writin's drawed up." She laughed. "It's 
in them writin's as I'm to have all the wood 
I want to burn. I weren't goin' to have no- 
body tellin' me how much wood I needed. 
That's the way her folks done served old 
Mis' Grove. She allowed they reckoned as 
one stick a day were all she needed most 

It don't hurt Sophrony's man none to take 
a spell at choppin' now and then. He's 
gettin' too fat," she added, laughing. "Hog- 

<©ltJ Cimej3 227 

meat and buckwheat cakes, with a sight o' 
them molasses on 'em's right fattenin', let 
alone the way he sets round the stores and 
to home doin' nothin*. It would do a sight 
o' men good if they had to work the way folks 
done when my Pa and Ma come to the mount- 
ings. I don't reckon none on 'em was much 
fat them times. Everyways they turned they 
had to work mighty hard. I never see one 
o' them nice clearin's, where there ain't no 
stumps, and the crap or the grass grows so 
pretty, but I think o' the hard work them first 
settlers put into it first-off. I reckon there 
ain't no harder way o' puttin' in a day's work 
than grubbin'. 'Pears like some roots knows 
what you're doin' to 'em, and holds onto the 
ground to spite you. 

My folks come up here from Virginny. It 
were gettin' too thick settled there for my 
Pa. So far as that goes, my Ma were about 
as bad as him. Neither one of 'em wanted 
to stay where folks was gettin* biggotty. . Ma 
were alive when the boarder folks first came 
up here. Soon as she sot eyes on 'em, she 
allowed as they'd spile the whole country, 
and she were for movin' right off the mount- 
ing somewheres. Wouldn't none o' we-uns 
hear to it, though. 

228 ^otti) (Eacolina S^kttci^tB 

When her and Pa came up here it were all 
so wild that she had to learn to use a gun, 
just like the men folks. The woods was pow- 
erful thick, except in spots where fire'd got 
out. There weren't no real clearin's. 

The folks that come to the mountings first 
hadn't never come so high up. They'd took 
up the bottom lands in the valleys, and 
worked 'em till they was drove off by the 
Indians. That were long before my folks 
come here." 

"Then your folks have not been here many 
years, I suppose?" 

"Yes, they was among the first that came 
clean up on the mountings. Bears was that 
plenty then they was meetin' up with 'em 
everywheres. Some on 'em wouldn't harm 
nobody, unless you pestered 'em, but folks had 
to watch out for their hogs. Hogs is mostly 
right onhandy to catch, but bears is a heap 
smarter than they be. Ma allowed they liked 
fresh meat splendid, the way the hogs went 

She'd say we-uns didn't know nothin' about 
the bother o' gettin' along, 'count o' there 
bein' nothin' to pester the hogs and cattle 
when we turned 'em loose. 

Ma'd tell how pretty it were to see the 

a^Vti Cimes 22( 

young bears playin' together when they 
allowed nobody were nigh, but it were a 
sight the way the old she ones fit when they 
had cubs. They done killed some o' the first 
settlers." She paused to rearrange the fire. 
As I saw the rails growing visibly shorter, 
I speculated on the number of panels which 
would soon be missing from the nearest snake- 
fence if "Sophrony's man" didn't bestir him- 
self to do that "chopping. " 

"The worst of rails," said the old woman, 
"is they're chestnut. There ain't no wood 
worse for snappin', and it beats everything 
for worms. The frost gets into the worm- 
holes in winter, and when you go to burn it, 
it goes off like a gun sometimes. No, 'tain't 
right safe. I wisht I had some good mahog- 
any or oak wood, but a body's got to do the 
best they can. Them big laurels is mighty 
fine to burn, but Sophrony takes all they bring 
in for her cook-stove." 

While she was fixing the fire, I had been 
noting many things of interest in the window- 
less room. There was neither carpet nor mat 
on the floor, but the bed in the corner was 
covered with a homespun spread of red, 
white, and blue. It was quite a beauty, and 
the old woman told me with pride that she 

230 iBtortf) (Itarolma Skctdjes 

had woven it herself soon after her marriage. 
Some of the straight-backed, splint bottomed 
chairs had chintz covered cushions, which 
struck me as an unusual concession to com- 

Strings of dried apples and small red pep- 
pers, interspersed with bunches of herbs and 
sage, came out fitfully in patches of harmoni- 
ous color against the smoke darkened walls 
and beams, as the fire rose to a flame. When 
it died down again they fell back into obscu- 
rity, like the paling of stained glass in waning 

"What were I tellin' you about — bears?" 
asked the old woman, after she had returned 
to her chair in the chimney-corner. "Well," 
she resumed, "first-off there weren't no doors 
to the houses. It were all the men folks could 
do to git up a log cabin with a stone chimbley. 
There weren't no sawmills, and they had to 
hew everythin' out with axes, except what 
little they could do with a hand saw. Them 
hand-made shingles wore splendid, but they 
curled up powerful in a dry spell, and was 
mighty apt to leak bad. 

The chimbleys smoked right bad, too, 
mostly. They hadn't nothin' but mud mortar 
to lay 'em up with, and it fell out a sight after 

<©lti Ci'tnes 231 

they got het up. It worked out in wet weather, 
too. Cold nights they'd hang a quilt, and 
most generally they sot saplin's acrost the 

My hair always riz on my head, when I were 
little, when Ma'd git to tellin* how foxes and 
sich come in in the night. But I declare to 
goodness it were nigh to drappin' out when 
she'd tell how the bear come in. 

Ma were layin' awake, and she heard him 
sniffin' round the door. Then he done pushed 
agin the saplin's, and down they went. That 
woke up Pa; didn't nobody sleep right sound 
them times, I reckon. He whispered for Ma 
to lay still. Then he reached for his gun, 
and when the bear got 'twixt him and the fire 
he done shot it. Pa were a mighty good shot. 
That bear never pestered 'em no more after 
the first fire. They had bear's meat a-plenty 
and to spare, and a big fur to keep 'em warm. 
Pa allowed it were time to get up some kind 
of a door after that, though. Ma hadn't no 
kind o' use for no new-fangled idees, and 
when she'd tell that story after she got old, 
she'd say she reckoned if it were now, she'd 
have been biggotty enough to put that big 
bearskin down on the floor for folks to walk 
on. She despised the very name of a carpet. 

232 i^ortf) (Itarolina S^etcfies 

She allowed as a good plank floor she could 
scour were good enough for her. And how 
Ma could scour a floor, when onct she got at 
it! She'd begin by twisting up her hair into a 
tight knot on top of her head, and pinnin' 
her gownd up to her knees. Ma had right 
pretty red hair when we-uns was little, and a 
sight of it, too, and a nice pink color in her 

After she'd got her gownd up out o' the 
way, she'd set all the chairs out o' doors, and 
by that time we-uns knowed what were comin'. 
Ma \vere right easy riled, and when she were 
busy we knowed better than to pester her. 

If she felt right good, she'd let we-uns 
throw the sand all over the floor before she 
began to scour. We liked that part splendid. 
Most times she drove us off, though. Chil- 
dren's all alike, and bound to git to cuttin' up 

The best fun were seein' Ma put soft soap 
all round atop o' the sand till the floor were 
right slick with it. We-uns used to peek in 
the door, wishin' she'd let us slide round in it 
with our bare feet. I can feel the very way 
my toes kept wigglin' when I were wantin' to 
slide. When Ma weren't looking, we'd poke 
our feet into soft soap nigh the door, but 

a^lti Ci'mes 233 

most like she'd git after us with a switch and 
run us off. After she'd begin to scour with 
that big hickory broom, and to sling water all 
about, we-uns knowed what to expect if we 
didn't clear out. 

When I see her sweepin' the water out o' 
the door, I were always wishin' I were growed 
up, so's I could scour floors. I ain't found it 
sich a sight o' fun, though," laughed Mrs. 

After readjusting the burning rails in the 
fire, she said: "There was a heap o' wild crit- 
ters besides bears goin' about when my folks 
come up here. There was wild cats and 
painters, and a body had a right to be afraid 
of 'em both. The men folks done shot a 
sight of 'em. 

Deer was mighty plenty, too. They give 
Ma a big scare one night. All the neighbors 
had been grubbin' out roots all day. They 
was mostly them big ivy roots, mighty hard 
to git out, and hard to get shut of after you 
git 'em out. They make a right good fire, 
but they was too far from home for the men 
folks to tote 'em in; so they allowed they'd 
better pile *em up in the clearin' and burn 
*em 'long o' the brush. There ain't no puttin' 
of 'em out when onct they git afire, but the 

234 i^ortf) CItaroli'na S^etci^es 

men folks throwed dirt over 'em when they 
quit work, 'count o' the wind risin' long 
towards night. 

It were below our house, and before bed- 
time Ma'd got scarey about the fire gettin* 
out. Pa reckoned there weren't no sort o' 
danger, but nothin' wouldn't do Ma but that 
they'd take their guns and go down there and 
see for theirselves. 

The fires was all right, just showin' like red 
and yaller lamps; but Ma see somethin' queer. 
She grabbed holt of Pa, and says, all shaky: 
'Look at them big eyes nigh that farthest 
brush-heap, Jedediah. It's the bad man his- 
self! O Lord, save us!' says she, drappin* 
on her knees and pullin' him down 'longside 
of her. 'There's more'n one of 'em; there's 
a sight of 'em!' she says, beginnin' to cry. 
Sure enough, there was big eyes a-shinin' out 
o' the night all round them fires. By that 
time. Pa knowed what they be, and he up with 
his gun and fired. He done shot a big buck, 
but all the rest run off at the noise of the gun. 
Ma allowed she couldn't never forget the trip- 
trip o* the feet o' them deer goin' downhill 
in the night. 'Pears like sich wild critters 
is right curious about what folks is doin'," 
said Mrs. Yerkes. "They'll wait till the men 

a^lti Cime0 235 

quit work, and then steal into the clearin's 
to see; specially when there's fires like that 
night," she added. 

"There was Indians round, too, when my 
folks come up here. They wasn't to say wild 
Indians. They was right peaceable. They 
mostly come up here to hunt and fish. There 
were right smart o' trout in the rivers them 
days. The sawmills has killed 'em out a 
sight, though. Them Indians lived way off. 
They'd bring up baskets and sich they made 
theirselves and trade 'em for victuals and 
things the folks up here had. Ma said the 
worst she had agin 'em was their not wearin' 
more clothes when they went huntin' in warm 
weather. They never took notice who seen 
'em, and Ma allowed they didn't know no 
better. She reckoned they felt as biggotty 
with just a string tied round their waists as 
she done when she got on a new wove 

Folks done all their own spinnin' and 
weavin' in old times. Yes, and dyein*, too. 
Ma had the best indigo-blue dye-pot in the 
settlemint. The neighbors was always 
pesterin' her to lend it to *em. 

There weren't no print gownds, unless a 
peddler brung up the stuff, or some o* the 

236 JLortf) (!!:arolina Sketci^es 

men folks went clear way off to a big settle- 
mint, and come back with a pack o' store 
goods on their backs. Ma said there weren't 
no roads them times, only wood roads and 
trails, and the women folks was that oneasy 
about the men losin' their way while they was 
gone that they was willin' to do without store 
goods. Seein' how easy got most things is 
now, it's hard to believe how folks had to 
git along in old times. 

To her dyin' day Ma always allowed they 
was a heap better off then than they be now. 
She reckoned as every new-fangled thing they 
got were somethin' more to take care of; 
just pilin' up worriments, she called it. 

Pa nor her, neither one, didn't take no 
stock in eddicatin' children. They allowed 
as young ones was a sight better behaved 
when they hadn't no book learnin'. Did 
you say eddication ought to make 'em man- 
nerly? I don't reckon it's the book learnin' 
that spiles their manners; it's runnin' with 
bad children. There's a right smart o' that 
kind in school and everywheres. Them as 
can read and write gits a heap o' comfort out 
of it. I give every one o' my children a right 
good chance o' schoolin'," Mrs. Yerkes said, 
getting up to attend to the fire. 

(©Iti Cimes 237 

"Was you askin' me what come o* Ma's old 
loom?" she said, as she sat down again. ''It 
got bust up long ago, but that's her spinnin'- 
wheel settin' there in the corner. Some board- 
er women come here tryin' to buy it. I axed 
'em what they allowed to do with it. They 
done said they wanted it to put in their par- 
lor to look at. I reckoned I'd keep it to look 
at myself. I weren't so struck on it when 
I were young, though, and Ma'd set me to 
work at it. Children was raised to work them 
days. I can hear Ma now sayin', 'If you-uns 
don't quit your foolin', and git to work, I'll 
know the reason mighty quick!' When there 
weren't nothin' else to do, she kept us knittin' 
stockin's and mittens. 

The boarders is mighty pesterin'. I dunno 
how many of 'em's been after me to sell *em 
that there bedspread, and maybe you 
wouldn't believe it, but some on 'em come in 
yesterday wantin' to buy that cupboard in the 
corner!" she exclaimed, in disgust. "I don't 
reckon they'll come again. I got right mad 
at 'em. My old man made that cupboard 
out of a big wild cherry-tree he done cut 
down and sawed up his own self when we was 
first married. He done all the work on it 
evenin's, too, so I seen him puttin' every 

23^ i^orti dllarcilma S^etcfies 

stick of it together. Time enough when I'm 
dead and gone for folks to be comin' after 
my things," said Mrs. Yerkes, giving the 
rails an extra hard push that sent the flames 
dancing up the chimney. A sudden transfor- 
mation was wrought in the simple room, as 
new form and color took shape in the flashing 

**My old man made that set o* drawers 
you're lookin' at, too, and like as not some 
o' the boarders'll be wantin' to buy them 
next," she snapped. 

*' 'Pears like some on 'em allows as money'll 
buy anythin'. They'll find out different if 
they come pesterin' me much more. 

Did you say would I show you some o' Ma's 
weavin's? S'pose I'll have to, but it's 
mighty onhandy gettin' at 'em," she said, 
ungraciously, as she gave the rails another 
shove into the heart of the fire. Then get- 
ting slowly down upon her knees, she began 
pulling an old trunk from under the bed. As 
she scorned my offer of assistance, I feared 
she was mentally classing me with the ''pes- 
terin' boarders." 

The trunk, upon being opened, presented 
a very helter-skelter interior. Mrs. Yerkes, 
however, seemed to have a good mental 

<©ltj d'mejsf 239 

inventory of its contents, most of wliich she 
tossed out upon the floor, making audible com- 
ments as she did so. Finally she pulled out 
the *'ging-gums" she was in search of. 

One piece was a bedspread in huge blue- 
and-white check. It looked as if it might last 
forever, so I inquired why it was not in use. 

"Don't want it to wear out," she replied. 
"Ma sot a heap o' store by the things she'd 
wove. She done used that spread on her bed 
nigh about twenty year, and I'm bound to 
make it last my time. These here's her dress 
and aprons." 

All of the "weavin's" she had shown me 
were blue-and-white ginghams. 

"Her and me done wore out the woolen 
things," said Mrs. Yerkes, "except the stuff 
in this old brown skirt I got on. Ma done 
wove that." 

She allowed me scant time to examine the 
ginghams before she began hustling the things 
back into the trunk, which she shut with a 
bang, and hastily pushed into its place under 
the bed. 

"You see, I'm afraid some o' Sophrony's 
young ones might come in," said she. 
"They're always pesterin' me to give 'em 
them things. They sha'n't have nary one of 

240 ^ottfi a^arolma Sfeftcjes 

'em while I'm above ground. Ma'd turn in 
her grave, I do believe, if them gals of So- 
phrony's was to go trapseing around in her 
things. Not but what they're nice enough 
gals," she added, hastily, as she remembered ' 
that they were her grandchildren. "Folks is 
mighty good and kind, but times is changed. ' ' 

She sighed. "I used to laugh at Pa and 
Ma for talkin' so about the good old times, 
but I reckon they wasn't fur wrong," said 

The rails were now consumed to a length 
which permitted her to use them as ordinary 
sticks on the fire. She threw some brush 
on top of them, and as it leaped into a blaze 
she took up her pipe and began to refill it. 

I understood this as a signal that she was 
tired of entertaining strangers. I rose at 
once to go, and was rewarded for my prompt- 
ness by a cordial invitation to come again. 




The room was so low that a tall man could 
not stand upright in it without bumping his 
head against the hewn rafters, but the fire of 
green logs, well alight, sent abroad a ruddy- 
glow and dancing shadows that transformed 
the commonplace and softened all harsh out- 

As there were no windows in the cabin, the 
light was not strong enough to throw into 
relief the bald bareness of the room, nor the 
scanty wardrobes of the family sitting near 
the fire. 

"Be you goin' to mill to-morrow, Pa?" 
asked the eldest girl. '"Cause if you be, I 
want to go 'long. I got some store errands 
to do for Ma." 

"Yes, Nancy, I be," replied her father; 
"but I don't like your goin' so often to the 
settlemint. Folks is powerful hands to talk. 


1 1 

244 i^otti^ (l^arolina S^etcjes 

First you know, they'll be sayin' you're 
courtin' some feller over there. I don't want 
no gal o' mine talked about, mind you." 

Shucks!" exclaimed Nancy, scornfully. 
Let 'em talk; who cares?" 

Let her be, Por, " said the mother, reach- 
ing for her snuff-box. "Gals is gals, and 
they're bound to enjoy theirselves a bit. 
Nance is all right." 

That settled it, and the next morning 
Nancy, seated on the bags of corn, rode off 
in the ox-cart with her father. While he 
was gone to the mill, she did her store 
errands, but when he returned she did not 
speak of the one she considered of the most 

At supper time her father asked, suddenly: 
"Who were that stuck-up chap I see you 
talkin' to, Nancy, when I come back from 
the mill? I plum forgot him till this minute." 

Nancy wished he'd forgotten him alto- 
gether. She was tired, and felt unequal to 
what she knew was coming. Her face flushed 
as she replied, testily: "He ain't stuck up, 
neither. You always allow as every one's 
stuck up as wears store clothes. That's Sam 
Burke, come back from college. He knows 
a sight. He's goin' to teach the Wren Hill 

Q^tttinq an (5t)ucation 245 

school this winter, and I'm goin' to it, too. 
He says I ain't too old to learn if I be fifteen. " 

Her father, busy shovelling fried potatoes 
into his mouth, laid in an extra supply before 
grounding arms, with his knife and fork 
grasped in clenched fists, while he looked at 

Without waiting for him to speak, she burst 
forth: *'You can't scare me like you onct 
could. Pa, lookin' at me that way. 'Cause 
I'm nigh about as big as you be now," added 
she, laughing nervously. "When I were little 
I wanted to go to school, 'long with t'other 
gals, but you always had excuses for keepin' 
me at home. There were always a sight of 
work for me to do, and I done it, but I never 
got no schoolin'! JVow I'm goin' to git a 
eddication. " 

Oh! you be, be you?" snarled her father. 
Well, just tell me who's goin' to keep you 
while you're gittin' it." 

*'I ain't never said I weren't goin' to work 
no more," began Nancy. 

"Work!" retorted her father; "gals as 
goes to school ain't worth the shoe-leather 
they wears out trompin' the roads." 

"Shoe-leather, indeed!" rejoined the girl, 
sharply. "There ain't nary another gal as 

246 jaorti) (B^arolma S^kHcf)t^ 

big as me goin' mostly barefoot, and I ain't 
never had no rightly good gownd in my life. 
And no more ain't Mor, " added Nancy, 
quickly, as she caught her mother's sympa- 
thetic glance. 

"You ain't no call to talk that way to me, 
nohow, Por, " she went on, hurriedly. "You 
and Mor knows I've carried wood and water 
ever since I could tote 'em, and you ain't 
never done a batch o' clearin' but what I 
holped with. I've heard you brag many's 
the time how peart 1 be to handle a ax when 
I weren't no bigger nor Janie here. " Janie 
was four years old. 

As Nancy was still given the floor, she went 
on: "I allow I've earned my bread by the 
sweat of my brow, and Lord knows I ain't 
had much else! I reckon women's made for 
somethin' besides always slaving for men folks. 
The boarders is always pokin' fun at we-uns, 
and sayin' why don't we strike, whatever that 
be. I allow it's somethin' to do with a eddi- 
cation. Anyway, I'm bound to git one." 

Her father still regarded her in silence, and 
she continued: "No, you ain't no call to talk 
about shoe-leather to me, Por, but when it 
comes to that I tell you right now I've done 
got it all fixed. I went to see Mr. Comber 

letting an ©Ifucation 247 

to-day, and he 'lows he can make me all the 
shoes I want. His wife's weakl}'', and I'm 
going to pay for 'em by washing for her." 

This was the important errand which was 
to settle the school question for Nancy. Her 
meeting with the new teacher had been purely 
accidental, and their brief conversation a 
business affair. Not that the interview had 
not added a touch of romance to her new 
undertaking, for in his improved appearance 
and speech and "store clothes" he seemed to 
Nancy's simple mind a very superior being. 
As her father still said nothing, she went on: 
"I'm plum tired of bein' laughed at by the 
boarders. A boarder lady asked me t'other 
day what work I did, and I said I done holped 
you and Mor, and she laughed, and said there 
warn't no sich word as holped.'' 

"Yes, there be, too," spoke up Mrs. 
Rivers, "for I done heerd preacher readin' it 
outen the Bible, Sunday were a week. I 'lov/ 
she's one of them infidels as ain't got no reli- 
gion and don't never read the Bible." 

"No, she ain't, neither," retorted Nancy; 
"she's a right good lady. " Nancy felt bound 
to defend this particular boarder lady, whose 
friendly interest had done much to stimulate 
the girl to strike for an education. 

248 iEorti) OTarolina ^ktttf^t^ 

All this time Mr. Rivers, still holding his 
knife and fork in rigid fists, sat staring at 
Nancy, the greasy potatoes grown stone cold 
upon his plate. His wife's danger signals, 
given by means of a kick or two under the 
table, served to hold in check his impulse to 
knock the girl down on the spot. He was a 
hard man in his own family, but heretofore 
there had been no open rebellion. 

His wife, an easy-going creature, with a 
figure like a meal-sack, was not calculated by 
temperament to inspire her husband or chil- 
dren to do their best, but she was peaceable, 
and hated a fuss of any kind, and was in 
misery now lest Nancy and her father come 
to an open rupture. As soon as she could 
attract Nancy's attention, she said, pointedly: 
"Nance, I wish you and the children would 
go and git in the light wood for mornin'; 
I plum forgot it." 

Nancy, glad of a respite, rose hastily to do 
her bidding, and the other children trooped 
out at her heels. Sending them off into the 
new clearing to gather pine-chips, Nancy, 
resting her arms on the top rail of the fence, 
turned her face toward the mountains, which 
were always her solace in time of trouble. 
The sun had set, and every purple peak and 

letting an ©tiucation 249 

rugged outline stood clear-cut against the 
canary-colored sky. Far up in the zenith 
floated clouds still glowing crimson and gold, 
while the world beneath lay in shadow. From 
her infancy Nancy had been a regular attend- 
ant at church and Sunday-school, and was 
familiar with the noble poetry and beautiful 
similes of the Bible, and her own mind was 
full of dumb imagery. Glancing upward, she 
saw the shining clouds, and her face bright- 
ened. *'It's like them that see a great light," 
she said, softly, to herself, "and we-uns is like 
them that sits in darkness. I'm bound to git 
into the light, if I can, but I reckon sassin* 
Por ain't the way to begin." 

After the children had left the room, Mrs. 
Rivers said to her husband : "Nance is mighty 
like you, Reuben; she's got a heap of horse 
sense, but when she gits the bit in her teeth 
and takes to pullin', mout as well give her her 
head." Mr. Rivers swallowed the bait, and 
laughing grimly, resumed his attack upon the 
fried potatoes. 

"'Tain't no feller as has done it," resumed 
his wife; "it's the boarders. She sees their 
gals so nice and fixy, and pretty-spoke, and 
she thinks it's all along of their having eddi- 
cation. She'll find out her mistake; poor 

250 i^ortf) dtarolfna Sfeetdjcs 

folks has always got to work, but it ain't no 
use tryin' to check her up now. The mis- 
chief's done." 

Although Mr. Rivers had a fine masculine 
scorn of the other sex, he knew by experience 
that his wife was generally in the right; so he 
gulped down the hot coffee she poured for 
him, and finished his supper in silence. 
When Nancy and the children returned, he 
was peaceably smoking his pipe in the chim- 

Nancy and her mother washed the few 
supper dishes in silence, and then the whole 
family retired for the night. Nancy, hoping 
that her point was gained, was too excited to 
sleep. She lay awake, listening to the heavy 
breathing of the rest as one after another fell 

The fire, which had been covered with 
ashes, suddenly fanned by a puff of wind, sent 
a shov/er of cinders upon the bare floor. 
This was of too common occurrence to disturb 
Nancy, but presently she smelled something 
burning, which made her rise on her elbow 
and look around the room. Then she sprang 
up in alarm. A spark lodging close to her 
parents' bed, which stood near the fireplace, 
had caught the corner of a cotton comfort- 

letting an (^tiucation 251 

able hanging down to the floor, and a tongue 
of flame was rapidly creeping upward. Nancy 
made no outcry, but seizing the water-bucket, 
quickly put out the fire without disturbing the 

Before discovering it she had been too busy 
building air-castles to notice the rising of the 
wind, which now shook the cabin and drove 
the smoke in fitful gusts down the chimney. 

"Sich an awful night for a fire!" she said to 
herself; "and supposin' For had got burnt 
up, I'd have felt powerful bad about sassin' 
him that way. All the same, I got as good 
a right to git a eddication as other gals; but 
I'm mighty glad I were laying awake when 
the fire cotched. " 

In the morning, when it became evident 
that she had saved the house, and perhaps the 
family also, from an untimely end, Nancy 
found herself treated with unusual considera- 
tion. Whatever her father thought of her 
undutiful behavior at supper-time, he made 
no reference to it. 

252 JtortJ Olarolina ^ktttf^t^ 


Nancy had thought her troubles at an end 
when her father tacitly withdrew his oppo- 
sition, but her first day at school convinced 
her to the contrary. 

Sam Burke, the new teacher, was making 
his own struggle for an education. It was 
not made easier for him by having to do his 
first teaching so near home. The school he 
had attended, though dignified by the name 
of college, was a very poor affair. After two 
winters spent in mastering its curriculum, he 
had come forth so shaky as to what he must 
now try to impart to others that he entered 
upon his new duties in fear and trembling. 
This necessitated his putting on a show of 
dignity and severity, which for a time made 
him very unpopular in the school. 

He made a great point of examining the 
pupils in order to grade the classes. As he 
began with the older ones, poor Nancy's turn 
came all too soon. She quaked in her stiff 
new shoes as she listened to the questions 
put to those who preceded her, and heard the 
bursts of ridicule which greeted many of the 
answers. At this time Sam himself was not 

Q^tttinq an (l^tiucation 253 

above sitting in the seat of the scorner. 
When her name was called, Nancy stumbled 
up to his desk in a state of alarm, and was 
quickly relegated to the infant class. 

She tramped back to her place amid laughs 
of derision, muttering to herself, as she 
glanced around the room, "T'ain't my fault 
I don't know anything. I ain't never had 
nary a chance. Just wait and see if I don't 
beat 'em all yet!" 

Then she burstinto tears. This new diver- 
sion for the idlers brought them crowding 
around her, and the teacher, who said angrily 
that he couldn't hear himself think, ordered 
all who had already been examined to leave 
the room. This, of course, included Nancy. 
The moment she was outside of the school- 
house her courage returned, and she pro- 
ceeded to pitch into those who had ridiculed 
her, establishing once for all her right to get 
an education with the best of them. 

But her real difficulties began the next day, 
when sitting in class with the younger pupils 
she for the first time in her life attempted a 
simple lesson in Webster's "Speller." The 
smallest child in the class had far less diffi- 
culty than had Nancy in remembering the let- 
ters. They blurred so before her eyes that 

254 S^ottt^ (Carolina ^kttd)t^ 

the simplest of three-lettered words became 
hopeless puzzles to her unaccustomed senses. 
So bewildered did she become at last that she 
didn't even know the meaning of words like 
*'cat" and "dog" when given out by the 

The other pupils, mindful of the lesson she 
had given them the previous day, did not 
dare to laugh, but they were so diverted watch- 
ing her that the teacher, who was finding his 
own position no sinecure, got very impatient 
at their inattention, and calling the class "a 
stupid lot," ordered them to their seats. 

Nancy's bitterness of heart would have been 
much mitigated could she have known that he 
was only giving them a rehash of his own 
school experiences. As it was, she was so 
angry and so humiliated that had she not 
feared the ridicule of her father and the neigh- 
bors she would then and there have given up 
her attempt to get an education, and gone 
back to her work, content to be a hewer of 
wood and a drawer of water for the rest of 
her days. 

While fiercely regarding the recalcitrant let- 
ters in her spelling-book, however, she had 
a brilliant idea, which she put into execution 
on her way home. She took her book to the 

letting an (^buration 255 

"boarder lady" whose washing she was now 
doing, and boldly stated her difficulties. 

"I 'lowed you knowed most everything, 
Miss Thompson," said Nancy, "and you're 
so kind I knowed you wouldn't mind telling 
me what was the matter with these pesky let- 
ters. I'm beat if I can tell which side's up 
or down." 

Miss Thompson, who liked the girl, was glad 
to give her a lift, and thanks to her help, 
Nancy was soon at the head of the infant 
class. Early and late she was poring over 
her book, and for a time at least she was, as 
her father put it, not worth her salt at home. 

The teacher's attention had from the first 
been centered upon a pretty girl two years 
older than Nancy. Her people were suf(i- 
ciently well-to-do to give her whatever educa- 
tional advantages came in their way, and to 
dress her better than her companions. 

She scorned Nancy and her humble abode, 
so they had little in common. Nancy said of 
her: "If Amorita Topknot will just go her 
own way, I sha'n't pester her; she's too big- 

Amorita's way appeared for a while to be 
a very flowery one, for the new teacher made 
everything easy for her. In fact, he fell heels 

256 iEorti) OTaroIina Sfeetcftes 

over head in love with her, and for a time so 
neglected his duties to the other pupils that 
the Board privately voted to turn him out if 
he did not mend his ways. 

About this time a young man as old as Sam 
Burke himself came to school, and presently 
he began to cast admiring glances at Nancy. 

This did not suit Amorita, who was of 
a jealous disposition, and resented attentions 
paid to other girls. So, regardless of the fact 
that she was now privately engaged to Sam, 
she made a dead set at Evans Dower, the 
new pupil. Heretofore, in order to be alone 
with the teacher, she had waited, when school 
was dismissed, till the rest were gone, but 
now she was the first to leave, and it was not 
her fault if she did not walk part of the way 
home with Evans. 

Nancy's mind had been so taken up with 
the difficulties which beset her every step on 
the highway of education that she had given 
little heed to what was going on around her, 
and she was entirely oblivious of Evans Dow- 
er's admiration for herself. She had, to be 
sure, often wished that the teacher would give 
her as ready assistance as he bestowed upon 
Amorita; but she thought it only natural that 
so backward and stupid a pupil as herself 

([Jetting an OJtJuration 257 

should receive very little attention from any 

But presently Nancy awoke to the fact that 
some sort of a change had come over the 
teacher. For a while he had been very irrita- 
ble over the blunders of the pupils; then he 
became listless and indifferent, and poor 
Nancy was often at a loss to know whether she 
had recited correctly or made another failure. 
Her attention once aroused, she began to 
observe Sam, and she decided he must be 

"Don't you allow it's the fever workin' on 
him, Mor?" she asked her mother. "He's 
plum sallow, and peaked-lookin', and he don't 
take no interest in anything. He used to be 
always helping Amorita wnth her lessons. 
Now he don't scarcely notice her, and she's 
that sassy to him sometimes I'd like to slap 
her, but he don't say nary a word back. 
And the young ones is getting to cut up 
such capers that a body can't hardly study 
in school, but he don't seem to mind." 

Mrs. Rivers laughed. "More like he's in 
love, Nancy," she said. "Who's he been 
courtin'? That Amorita?" 

"La, Mor, I ain't never thought of that. 
I've been so took up with my books I warn't 

25S iBtortf) (O'arolina Sbktttf)t^ 

taking notice of what was going on round 
me. But that's better than fever, ain't it, 

"Dunno," replied her mother, shaking 
with laughter; ''folks gits over the fever, if 
they don't eat too much truck and die with it, 
but love-sickness goes hard sometimes." 

This aroused Nancy's interest and sympa- 
thy, and the next day she picked out the 
finest apple she could find, polished it care- 
fully, and slyly laid it on Sam's desk. It had 
the desired effect. The poor fellow, think- 
ing it a peace offering from Amorita, made 
a great parade of eating it with relish at 
recess, although all the morning she had turned 
him the cold shoulder. Nancy, finding the 
atmosphere a little cleared, decided to place 
a friendly offering of some sort upon Sam's 
desk every few days. He, accepting them all 
as he had done the first, began to appear like 
himself once more, although Amorita no 
longer smiled upon him. 

During this interregnum the snapping of 
apple-seeds and the firing of slimy spitballs 
had been the order of the day, the pre-occu- 
pied teacher being the target for many of the 
missiles. It was a trying time for Nancy. 
She was too studious to escape the notice of 

^ttimq an (B^^uration 259 

the idlers, who hit her many a stinging fillip. 
She had her trials at home, too, for even her 
easy-going mother was getting tired of her 
long absences and of trying to make the other 
children do her work. One day, after she had 
been going to school about a month, her 
father brought home the county paper, and 
ordered her to read it to him. 

*'Why, Pa!" exclaimed Nancy, aghast, **I 
ain't got so fur as to read real readin' like 
that, and you'd ought to know it." 

*'What be you goin' to school for, then, if 
you ain't learnin' to read, write, and cipher?" 
snapped her father. 

"So I be," replied Nancy, eagerly, "but 
I ain't learnt yet. You've got to give a feller 

Scenes like this were of frequent occur- 
rence. Nancy was often put to it to keep 
the peace at home, while things dragged so 
wearily in school that she got quite disheart- 

Amorita's devices to win the regard of 
Evans Dower were not a success. He told 
some of the boys that Nancy was worth six of 
her This, being duly reported to Amorita, 
made her pursuit of him the more eager, for 
it was always the unattainable which had the 

26o iEorti) Otarolina Sfeetcf)es 

higher value in her eyes. So she continued 
to torment the teacher by her attentions to 
Dower, while Sam, like herself, became the 
more keen after what seemed slipping from 
his grasp. One day he ventured to hint to the 
girl that if she were so indifferent to him as 
she now claimed to be, she wouldn't be plac- 
ing love-tokens upon his desk, at which she 
flew into a towering rage, flatly denying the 
charge. She was so evidently in earnest that 
he was forced to believe her. This, for a time, 
seemed to knock the foundations from under 

As Nancy's offerings were now left un- 
heeded upon his desk, she brought no more 
for some time. Seeing that he was greatly 
troubled about something, however, she 
longed to help him. She was herself so sensi- 
tive to the charm of flowers that she wished 
it were summer, that she might bring him 
some. As the next best thing, she tried 
a bunch of wintergreen, with its bright red 
berries glowing amid the glossy dark leaves. 
She saw the teacher take it up listlessly, and 
pick off a few of the berries, eating them in 
absent fashion. This gave her much satisfac- 

Next she essayed a wreath of the beautiful 

©etting an Cf^tiucation 261 

red and bronze galax-leaves, similar to one 
she had seen Miss Thompson making. She 
slipped it into school under her apron, and 
laid it upon Sam's desk. So far she had 
escaped detection, but her offerings had 
attracted the notice of the other pupils, and at 
sight of the wreath there was a general buzz 
of interest. 

The teacher, who seemed to have himself 
well in hand this morning, after holding it up 
for general admiration, hung the wreath upon 
a nail over his desk. He said he was very- 
much obliged to the unknown donor, and that 
it served as a reminder of something he had 
intended to speak of before. This was that 
during the Christmas holidays he proposed to 
invite the parents of the pupils to the school- 
house to listen to recitations and examina- 
tions, and he should like to have the room 
decorated with wreaths and evergreens for 
the occasion. And he added that from this 
time on they should devote an hour each 
afternoon to preparing for this event. 

He was very cheerful, and told his plans 
in a bright, earnest way that aroused the inter- 
est and stimulated the ambition of the pupils. 
Nancy was puzzled to account for this sud- 
den change in him, but Amorita, who looked 

262 i^oxtf^ Otarolina Sfeetcfies 

very downcast, could have explained it. The 
truth was, Sam, having reached the limit of 
endurance, had demanded of Amorita the 
previous evening a full explanation of her 
changed attitude toward himself. She had 
resented his air of authority, and given tanta- 
lizing replies to his questions, which in turn 
aroused his ire. In a few moments they had 
passed the rapids and were in the whirlpool of 
a violent lovers' quarrel. 

Amorita declared their engagement at an 
end, and Sam discovered, to his surprise, that 
this was what he most desired. 

Now that the suspense and irritation of the 
past few weeks were over, he applied himself 
with commendable zeal to his work in the 
schoolroom, while Amorita was left to chew 
the cud of bitterness, having lost the old lover 
and failed to captivate the new. All that 
Nancy perceived was that Sam paid much 
more attention to the classes. This enabled 
her to get on so much faster with her lessons 
that she was even losing her dread of the 
approaching examinations. 

Miss Thompson, who had volunteered to 
teach her a piece for recitation, had taken 
great pains with her. Nancy tried her best 
to follow all of her directions, as well as the 

O&ettmg an (!Btiucatfon 263 

hints she gave her about her dress and the 
arrangement of her abundant hair. 

When the great day arrived her parents were 
surprised to find themselves so proud of her. 

Amorita upon this occasion, while eclipsing 
all the rest in dress, failed to distinguish her- 
self otherwise, and went home in the sulks. 
Most of the pupils acquitted themselves with 
credit, however. 

Nancy, seeing that the teacher was for 
some reason no longer an object of sympathy, 
made the wreath her final offering. In puz- 
zling for a time over the identity of the 
donor, he did not think of Nancy. Although 
civilly kind to the girl, he, in common with 
many others, regarded her family as of "no 
account," and thought himself above her. 
She had, to be sure, won his respect by her 
plodding perseverance; nor had he failed to 
note the steady improvement in her personal 
appearance, as her brain, so long dormant, 
began to assert itself. 

Glimpses caught of her face, full of vivid 
interest in her work, often reminded him of 
the old book of fairy stories he was fortunate 
enough to own in his childhood. He won- 
dered if it were not the kiss of Knowledge 
which, after all, awakened the Sleeping 

264 ia^octj CO^arolma Sfeetci)es 

Beauty. Miss Thompson's influence had told 
upon Nancy in many ways. She had in con- 
sequence become much more tidy in dress 
and person. Her fine head of hair now gave 
ample evidence of familiarity with brush and 
comb, and her well-kept teeth added charm 
to a ready smile. Taken altogether, with its 
good skin, fresh color, and sincere eyes, 
Nancy's face was a very attractive one. 

Sam, much to his annoyance, discovered 
that his eyes kept straying in the direction of 
a sunny head bent studiously over a book. 
He was vexed if Nancy chanced to glance up 
at such times, although she did it in absent 
fashion, as she memorized her lessons. That 
vexed him, too. He had been so used to 
Amorita's devices to attract his attention in 
the early days that he resented Nancy's indif- 
ference. **I might be a stock or a stone, the 
way she looks at me with those eyes of hers," 
he often said to himself. 

This made him the more eager to capture 
her personal liking, and he went out of his 
way to help her with her lessons. Nancy 
accepted these attentions gratefully, but was 
wholly obtuse as to the feelings which 
prompted them. 

Knowing but too well in what contempt her 

a^tttinq an dl^ljucation 265 

family were held by many of their neighbors, 
she supposed that Sam Burke shared the 
same prejudice, and she had never thought of 
him in the light of a possible lover. In truth, 
he himself would have scoffed at such an idea 
at this time. But in spite of himself, he was 
becoming desperately interested in the girl, 
and in deadly fear lest she or others find it 

With the money he should receive for his 
winter's work he meant to continue his own 
education at the Highbridge Academy. Like 
a reckless moth, he thought he might flit 
around the candle till that time, and then 
soar away with wings unsinged. And so he 
might for all Nancy cared, for she was mak- 
ing such rapid progress with her lessons that 
her whole attention was concentrated upon 

Amorita, finding useless her efforts to recap- 
tivate Sam, soon discovered that his heart 
had been caught in the rebound. 

"And by stupid Nancy Rivers, of all girls I" 
she said to herself. "Never mind! I'll soon 
settle him." 

She began by making slighting remarks 
about Nancy in Sam's hearing, but as this had 
no effect, she changed her tactics. She now 

266 iaorti^ (^axolina SUtcf)t^ 

made advances to Nancy, who, however, 
fought shy of her for a long time, but was at 
last won over by her persistent professions of 
friendship. After this, they walked to and 
from school together, which gave Amorita 
the chance to enlarge upon her love affair 
with Sam. She represented him as having 
deceived her cruelly, and Nancy was moved 
to many expressions of eager sympathy or 
sharp indignation. Amorita saw to it that 
some of these came to Sam's ears. 

He had watched this increasing intimacy 
between the two girls with growing uneasiness, 
but was powerless to check it. Its effects 
were soon visible in Nancy's attitude toward 
himself. Amorita had assured her that his 
only object in giving her so much extra 
assistance with her lessons was that he might 
win her affections and then cast them aside, 
as he had done her own. In place of its for- 
mer friendly unconsciousness, Nancy's man- 
ner toward him now assumed the mildly 

Amorita, overjoyed at Sam's evident 
chagrin, redoubled her devotion to Nancy, 
whom, now that she seemed beyond his reach, 
he thought grov/n prettier and more attractive 
each day. Her speech, too, was daily improv- 

(letting an ©tjucation 367 

ing, and he hardly noticed the slips of her 
tongue, so glad was he to listen to her soft 

He was constantly contrasting her with 
Amorita, who now seemed to him so flashy 
and coarse that he marvelled he could ever 
have been in love with her. Nancy had be- 
come to him the pearl of great price, for the 
possession of which he often felt ready to bar- 
ter his very soul. How he was to live without 
the daily sight of her after school closed, had 
become his most absorbing problem. 

Ill 1/ 

At the noon recess one bitter cold day, 
when the whole school, the teacher included, 
were gathered about the overheated stove, 
the boys began skylarking, and in the rough 
play Nancy was thrown against the stove. 

For an instant she was conscious of the 
blistering heat and a sharp pain in her arm, 
but the next minute she was being swiftly 
borne to a seat. Then some one was leaning 
over her, and in great agitation asking if she 
were much hurt. Nancy looked up in amaze- 
ment into the face of the teacher, and some- 

268 iS^ortfj (^axolina ^ktttf^t^ 

thing she read there caused her eyes to over- 
flow as the pain of the burn increased. 

"Is it so bad?" he whispered; and the next 
moment there was a thud, and Sam lay at her 
feet in a dead faint. 

The school was in an uproar in an instant. 
The children's nerves, unstrung by Nancy's 
accident, were now jangling in all keys. 
Amorita, too, added to the confusion by 
throwing herself on her knees beside Sam, 
wringing her hands and weeping audibly. 
Evans Dower had been almost as much de- 
moralized as the teacher himself. Nancy was 
the first person in the room to recover self- 

She sent the younger children to their seats, 
and asking Dower to bring water, she bathed 
Sam's face, telling Evans to loosen his collar, 
and the rest of the pupils to stand back and 
give him air. Then she suggested that as he 
might take cold if left upon the floor till he 
came to, some of the bigger boys should lay 
him upon the long bench at the back of the 

One of her brothers had fainting fits, so she 
was not a novice in the treatment of them. 
As no one took any notice of Amorita, she 
returned to her seat near the fire. Upon 

iSfetting an (l^tiucation 269 

second thought she had concluded not to give 
Sam himself the benefit of a scene. When 
he at last opened his eyes they rested upon 
the anxious face of Nancy. 

"You're better now, ain't you?" she asked, 

**Yes, I'm all right," he replied, trying to 
rise; "but you, were you terribly burned? 
Oh, my God! it was awful!" he cried, un- 
mindful of any presence but hers. 

"Pshaw!" said Nancy, lightly, "it wasn't 
so bad as all that. It's my gown I'm thinking 
about; see here, my sleeve's burnt clean 
through," she added, smiling, "and so's the 
front breadth of my skirt." 

As he glanced at her sleeve, Sam turned so 
pale that Nancy, thinking him about to faint 
again, wished she had known better how to 
divert his attention from her burned arm, 
which was paining her so badly that she could 
scarce restrain her tears. Sam, fallen back 
upon his pillow of coats, was regarding her 
with such earnestness that she grew uncom- 
fortable, and made a motion to withdraw. 

"Don't go, Nancy!" he whispered, clutch- 
ing at her gown. 

Then suddenly remembering where they 
were, he said, in atone of authority: "All 

270 iEortf) Otarolina ^ktUf)t^ 


of you go to your seats and your lessons. 
I'm thankful for your kindness; I'll be all 
right in a minute, when my head stops spin- 

Nancy started to obey with the rest, but 
found herself held fast. 

Don't go, Nancy," pleaded Sam, softly. 
I thought it was all over with you, and I'd 
never have a chance to tell you I loved you. 
That's why I fainted afterward." 

Nancy, wholly unprepared for such an 
avowal, and fast weakening with pain, dropped 
into a seat beside him. 

*'What a brute I am!" he whispered, trying 
in vain to rise. "Say you forgive me, Nancy, 
for forgetting your bad burn and keeping you 
here when you ought to be on your way to 
the doctor's to get it dressed." 

"Yes, yes," replied Nancy, softly; "I ain't 
blaming you, teacher" (Sam winced at the 
word); "but it's all come on me so sudden 
that I've got to get away by myself to think. 
I'll go to the doctor's now. My arm does 
hurt awful," she added, rising, while the tears 
began to stream down her cheeks. 

"You sha'n't go alone, Nancy," replied 
Sam. "Wait just a minute till I can stand, 
and I'll go along. I need medicine myself," 

ij&ettmg an ^"bucation 271 

added the artful youth. She waited, but 
with averted face. 

They took the short cut through the woods, 
and Sam drew her hand through his arm, 
gently wiping her fast-welling tears with his 
handkerchief; but not till they neared their 
destination did he speak. 

'*I don't ask you to say anything to-day, 
Nancy," he said at last. *'It came on me 
most as suddenly as it has on you. I knew 
I cared for you, but I thought you didn't like 
me, and I didn't mean to speak. Just say 
you forgive me for startling you so when you 
were so badly burned." 

"Yes, yes, I do, Sam" (Sam smiled, as his 
name slipped out); but please don't say any- 
thing more," replied Nancy, in an agitated 

They were silent the rest of the way. 
When the doctor set Sam to cutting the sleeve 
from Nancy's injured arm, it was she who 
broke the silence between them. 

"It's all right, Sam," she said, as she saw 
him turn deadly pale when the great burn 
was revealed. "It ain't so powerful bad. 
Doctor's got such kind hands he won't hurt a 
mite more than he can help, and I can bear it. " 

The doctor glanced at Sam over his spec- 

272 iEortib d^aroltna Sfe^tcfies 

tacles. "It seems to me you're easy upset, 
young man; you wouldn't do for a doctor. 
Here, I'll give you something that will set you 
up," he said. 

"That's good of you," returned Sam. "I 
haven't felt right well lately. I came along 
with Nancy to consult you." 

Glancing kindly from one to the other, the 
doctor replied, with a smile, "I don't think 
you need any more of my medicine, Sam." 
Nancy's face flushed, and Sam laughed nerv- 
ously, but the doctor was at that moment 
giving his whole attention to the dressing of 
Nancv's burn. 

She was quite feverish and ill for three or 
four days, unable to sit up, and her parents 
were much flattered that the teacher should 
stop night and morning to inquire about 
her, but Nancy made no comment. On the 
afternoon of the fifth day there was a gentle 
"Come in," in response to his knock, and 
on pushing open the door, he saw that Nancy 
was alone, sitting near the fire. He hurried 
to her side, and with gallantry born of love, 
raised her hand to his lips and kissed it rever- 

"Oh, no, don't! don't, Sam!" cried Nancy, 
in distress. 

letting an (l^tiucation 273 

'*And why not?" he demanded, still hold- 
ing the hand. 

"Because I've done thought it all over since 
I've been sick, and you must quit thinking 
about me. Your people would never give in 
to your marrying me," Nancy replied. 

''And suppose they wouldn't?" queried 
Sam, releasing her hand long enough to get 
a chair on which to seat himself beside her, 
when he promptly resumed its custody, and 
kissed it again. 

"But you mustn't do that, Sam, and you 
mustn't sit so close, either; somebody might 

come in." 


Let 'em come," returned Sam, cheerfully. 
I've only been waiting to get a chance to 
see you alone before making a clean breast 
of it to your father and mother, and then I 
don't care who knows." 

"But I'm too young," began Nancy. *'And 
you needn't think I don't know how folks 
look down on we-uns for living like we do," 
she added, rapidly, her improved English tak- 
ing to itself wings. 

"I don't see what that's got to do with you 
and me," answered Sam, sturdily. 

He had had his struggle in the days of his 
dawning love for Nancy, and as is often the 

274 iEorti^ (Earolma Sfe^tctieg 

case, love had speedily silenced reason and 

"It's got a heap to do with us," returned 
Nancy. *'I don't allow as anything will ever 
change Pa and Ma; but I'm bound to get an 
education first-off, and after that I've got to 
help the children to get one, too. So you 
see I couldn't marry you if I wanted to." 

**I know you're young, Nancy, but I'm 
afraid you will have time enough to grow 
older, and to educate yourself and the chil- 
dren, too, before I can afford to marry; but 
just say you want to marry me, and we'll settle 
all the rest afterward," replied Sam, regard- 
ing her earnestly. Nancy's frank eyes re- 
turned his gaze for an instant, and then fell 
before his more ardent ones. She flushed 
deeply, and paled again, but did not speak. 

*'Say it, Nancy, dear," pleaded Sam, press- 
ing her hand between his own. 

"I can't," faltered she; '*I heard right 
queer things about you before you — before 
the day I got burned, so what you said came 
too sudden, and I'm all scared-like ever since. " 

"Yes," replied Sam, "I can guess what you 
heard. I don't want to talk against Amorita, 
but it was her doings, I know." Nancy made 
no reply. 

letting an (Stjucation 275 

t ( 

I'll tell you the whole story," Sam went 
on. *'I haven't got any sisters, and I never 
knew or cared much about girls till I began 
to teach. Then, I'll own up, I was mightily 
taken with Amorita, and we got engaged, but 
she wouldn't let me tell. That ought to 
have opened my eyes, for there was nothing 
to be ashamed of, but it didn't. Then Evans 
Dower came to school, and because he was 
so taken with you — " 

"Oh! Sam, that isn't true, for I hardly 
know him to speak to," put in Nancy. 

*' Never mind, Miss Innocence; let me tell 
my story. Because he was so taken with you, 
and didn't notice her, Amorita got jealous, 
and determined to make him like her. Then 
she began to play fast and loose with me, and 
to run after him, and I got mad, and we fell 
out. She broke the engagement, and when 
I found how glad I was, I knew I had never 
really loved her. It frightens me when I 
think how near I came to spoiling my own 
life, and hers, too." 

*'I knew about part of it," said Nancy, 
quietly, *'but I thought most of it was very 
different; and I'm afraid of fellows that don't 
treat girls as they'd ought to." 

You're right there, Nancy, but I'm not 

( (- 

276 iRortS (Carolina Sfeetcfies 

that kind. I've told you the whole truth. 
I'll own up, I hardly noticed you when you 
first came to school, I was so taken up with 
Amorita. And I confess, to my shame, that 
I did look down on you; but you worked so 
hard, and got on so fast, that I couldn't help 
respecting you. Then I saw all along how 
good and kind you were to the little children. 
I saw you helping them with their lessons, 
many's the time, when I knew you wanted to 
study your own. And I suppose," added 
Sam, laughing, "you thought nobody knew 
how you fed the stray dogs that came into 
the schoolroom." 

Nancy glanced up in surprise. 

"You forgot that their wagging tails 
showed over your desk," said he; at which 
Nancy joined in the laugh. 

"Poor things!" she said; "some of *em are 
half-starved. They've got feelings, just like 
us. A heap of dogs are better than them that 

owns 'em." 

"I wish to heaven I'd loved you first, 
Nancy," Sam said, fervently; "but perhaps 
I shouldn't have had the sense to appreciate 
a girl like you if I hadn't had a chance to find 
out what the other kind was like." 

I'm not so good as you think," spoke up 

4' T». 

d&etting an ^tiufation 277 

Nancy, quickly. "I'm not always nice to 
my own folks. I made a big fuss and was 
right sassy to Por 'cause he wouldn't give in 
to my going to school first-off. " 

"I don't reckon you made any bigger row 
than I did at home about the same thing," 
interrupted Sam, with a grim smile. "I was 
set on getting an education, too, and my 
father thought I'd had schooling enough 
because I had been to school three terms. 
He wanted me to go to work on the farm 
for my board and clothes till I was twenty- 
one, and I just wouldn't. That's how I came 
to leave home. I hated to leave mother, 
but she thought I was in the right. I'd 
got to earn money if I was to go to school, 
so I hired out to Mr. Blackwood, and saved 
up my wages till I had enough to go two 
winters to Dexter College. I worked for him 
those two summers, too. Then I took this 
school, so as to get money enough to go to 
the Highbridge Academy next year. I'm 
finding out how little I know, and I've got a 
lot of hard work before me if I am ever to 
know enough to amount to anything." 

"Oh, Sam, you know such a heap now, and 
I'm so ignorant, and you'll keep on getting 
further and further ahead of me. Can't you 

278 i^octf) OTaroIina S^etdjes 

see I'm not the kind of a girl you ought to 
marry? And I oughtn't to marry, nohow," 
put in Nancy, as an afterthought. 

This recalled Sam to his starting-point. 
"But you haven't told me yet whether you 
want to marry me, Nancy. Everything de- 
pends on that." 

Nancy hung her head in silence. 

"Don't you think it is rather hard on me," 
continued Sam, "for you not even to admit 
that you like me, after I've told you I loved 
you and asked you to marry me?" 

"Yes, I do like you, Sam," replied Nancy, 

Sam smiled. He had scored a point. 

"But liking isn't loving, little girl. Just 
say once that you love me." 

"I can't say that," Nancy replied, trying 
to withdraw her hand, as she suddenly became 
conscious of Sam's tightening grip upon it. 
He held it fast. 

"Can't say what, Nancy?" he asked, de- 

"I can't say I love you, Sam." 

"But you have this moment said it, dear," 
he interrupted, hastily, "and you surely won't 
take it back. Don't look so troubled, 
Nancy; I was only teasing you; but couldn't 

©fttmg an ©tiucation 279 

you try to say it in earnest just once? If you 
know how my heart aches for your love you'd 
give me the comfort of hearing you say it was 
mine, if you cared for me." 

Silence again. Then Nancy stirred un- 
easily, and slipping her hand out of Sam's, 
put it over her eyes. 

"What is it, dear?" he whispered, bending 
his head to hers. 

"I love you, Sam," came softly from her 
lips, and "God bless you, dear!" from his, as 
he reverently kissed her golden hair. 

After a long silence, Sam said: "You 
haven't said it quite all yet, Nancy. Do you 
want to marry me?" 

"Yes, Sam; I know now I love you, and 
want to marry you," she replied, meeting his 
eager eyes fearlessly; and the next moment 
she was in his arms and his kiss upon her lips. 

Her burned arm was still in a sling, but 
neither of them had spoken of it till now, and 
with quick understanding they both laughed 
when Sam began to reproach himself for hav- 
ing forgotten it. 

"It's dreadful at school without you, Nancy; 
do hurry up and come back." 

"Yes, dear, I will; but don't you allow it's 
going to be hard for us when they all know?" 

2So lacrtft <2Iarolma S^kttc\)tB 

'*I can stand it if you can, Nancy. I only 
know I'm lost when you're not there," Sam 

"Then I sha'n't care how much fun is poked 
at us," said Nancy, happily. 

When her parents came in from the field, 
Sam manfully told them his story. They 
were too much taken by surprise to offer any 
opposition. In truth, they thought it a very 
good match for Nancy, whose one concern 
now was about Sam's people; but he made 
light of her uneasiness. All the obstacles she 
had raised on her own side had melted away. 
She only knew that she felt light-hearted and 
happy, and sure that everything would turn 
out all right, since Sam had said so. 

When she looked off at the mountains at 
sunset she thought she had never seen them 
so lovely. They seemed to quiver in coppery 
haze before settling into purple shade. Her 
eyes filled with tears at their inexpressible 
charm, and beautiful verses from the Psalms 
floated through her mind. 

As the light faded, the world about her fell 
into shadow; but her own heart was aglow 
with that divine light which shall never fade 
from earth till time shall be no more, 

letting an (S^ucation 281 


Nancy's arm was long in healing. By the 
time she returned to school, her engagement 
had ceased to be a nine-days' wonder, so 
things were easier for her and Sam than they 
had anticipated. 

Amorita had left school in disgust when she 
heard of the engagement, and Evans Dower, 
finding himself hard hit, left also. He bade 
Sam good by with many good wishes, but 
frankly owning that he couldn't stand by and 
see Nancy carried off by another; and Sam 
thought the more of him for it. 

Now that spring was approaching, most of 
the older pupils had left to work in the fields. 
A very little extra work on the farm always 
gave the parents the excuse they wanted to 
keep the children at home. Anxious to make 
up for lost time, Nancy plunged eagerly into 
her school work. The number of pupils being 
now so small, Sam had plenty of time to help 
her with her lessons. Her rapid progress 
was a constant surprise to him. He laugh- 
ingly told her he believed she'd get ahead of 
him yet. When alone they discussed their 

282 iaortf) (Carolina ^ktttf)t^ 

'We can't marry for three years, I'm afraid, 
dear," said Sam; ''and I feel bad to have to 
keep you waiting so long." 

"It won't seem so long," returned Nancy, 
with a happy smile. '*Now I can write, 
there'll always be your letters to think about, 
and we've both got a heap of hard work be- 
fore us, and that will keep us from pining." 

"That's true, Nancy. If I am to be a 
teacher, or get any kind of a situation worth 
having, I've got a lot to learn, and I mean to 
do my very best at the Academy this winter. 
It is hard and slow work getting an education, 
Nancy. I wonder if it pays. " 

"Oh, don't say that, Sam, dear! You 
never talked like that before." 

"No," laughed Sam; "because I was never 
really in love before. Now," he added, seri- 
ously, "it seems as if nothing that separated 
you and me is worth having." 

"I know," replied Nancy, softly, her eyes 
filling with tears, "but it's like what the Bible 
says about putting your hand to the plow and 
not looking back. I ain't always sure what 
the kingdom of God means, but I reckon love 
and doing what's right is part of it. " 

As the time of the separation so dreaded by 
them both drew near, they walked together 

Q^tttinq an (f^tmcation 283 

in the woods, feigning an interest in Nature's 
ever-new miracles, but their thoughts were 
upon other things. While the new galax 
leaves were shooting everywhere underfoot, 
they noted the old ones growing sere and the 
flower-stalks rising in soldierly array among 
them. "They'll soon be in blossom, Sam," 
Nancy would begin, brightly, but she would 
end with a quick sob as she suddenly remem- 
bered that when that time came he would be 
far away. 

"Look down into the coves, Nancy," said 
Sam; "you can see the spring beginning to 
creep up the mountains." 

"No, no, I don't want to see it; when it 
gets to the top you'll be gone," and Nancy 
hid her face against his shoulder. Sam kissed 
the bowed head, and they went on in silence. 

When Sam turned the key for the last time 
in the schoolhouse door, Nancy found cour- 
age to tell the story of the offerings she had 
placed upon his desk. 

"And you didn't really care for me all that 
time, Nancy? After I found out it wasn't 
Amorita, I was fool enough to think it was 
some other girl who was in love with me, but 
I never thought of you. Afterward I got so 
interested in you that I forgot all about it." 

284 iaorti& Otarolina Sfeetcjeis 

( i 

No, Sam, I didn't care for you; I was 
only sorry for you because you seemed so 

'*Well, Nancy, I'm glad it was you who 
befriended me those hard days — for they were 
hard, I can tell you." 

Sam was to leave on the morrow, and Nancy 
had cried herself to sleep. Long before day 
she awoke with sudden pang of loss, and 
youth's intolerance of misery. Except for 
the gleam of smoldering coals in the fire- 
place, the homely room was in darkness, and 
the rest of the family were asleep. Nancy 
rose, and dressing herself quietly, threw 
a shawl over her head and slipped out of 
doors. Nip, the hound, came running to 
meet her, and followed her to the spring, glad 
to have the long night-watch shared by 

As she bent over the stream and dashed the 
cold water into her face, her hands clung to 
her eyes, and she began to sob afresh. 

Nip pawed imperatively at her arm, but she 
took no notice till he began to whine. "Don't 
do that, good old Nip; we mustn't wake up 
the rest," she said, patting him; and he lay 
down, reassured. Nancy leaned against the 
old maple-tree that overhung the spring, 

letting an (if^^ucation 285 

staying her sobs for the sake of keeping the 
dog quiet, but talking softly to herself the 
while. "Oh, why did I let him go? He would 
have staid if I had said the word. He's right; 
nothing is worth while that parts us. It was 
easy enough to be brave for both of us so long 
as I had him. I didn't know it could be like 
this," she murmured, brokenly. ''If I had — 
well, if I had, I'd have done just the same, 
for I knew it was the right thing. I mustn't 
let Sam know what a coward I've been," she 
said, beginning to walk restlessly to and fro. 
It was good to be out in the frosty air under 
the stars, but she could not remain long in 
one place. She listened mechanically to the 
creaking of dead limbs on the trees, and she 
heard the sharp bark of a fox in the distance 
and the nearer jangle of cow-bells, but none 
of these noises seemed to belong to her world 
any more. 

j/ Suddenly a sound as of one in distress set 
her senses at attention. As she stopped short 
to listen, Nip bounded past her to the seat 
under the big spruce pine, and Nancy caught 
the words, "Good old Nip! Is that you?" 
softly spoken. She sprang toward the voice, 
and the next instant her arms were about 
Sam's neck, and they were weeping together 

286 iaortj atarolina Sfeetc^es 

as if the lights of heaven had been eternally 
extinguished for them. 

Nancy, in whom the first flush of grief was 
wellnigh spent, was the first to regain self- 

"Don't Sam, darling; I didn't know a man 
could cry so," she said. 

"Nor I either till now, Nancy," he replied, 
with an attempt to laugh. 

"I can't go, dear," he said, presently. 

Nancy caught her breath. Was not this the 
answering note to her heart-cry, "I can't let 
him go!" which had rung through her brain 
for hours at a time? What should she do? 
Sam was older, and knew so much more than 
she did; perhaps, after all, he was right, and 
nothing which parted them was worth while. 
Life was so short and so uncertain! What 
could she do against fate? And this seemed 
like the hand of fate turning them back. 

All this and much more swept through her 
mind while she grew outwardly calm and tried 
to comfort Sam by silent caresses. Then she 
spoke: "I'm only a girl, Sam, and I'm awfully 
ignorant, but I've had some hard things to 
go through. I never seem to know what's 
right at the time, and I get all mixed up. 
Then I try to think how I sensed it before 

(Srettmg an (^^ncation 287 

I was in the thick of it, and to go by that. 
I reckon that's what we've got to do now. It 
was like death when I got awake this morning, 
and I had to come out of doors to get my 
breath ; but I know we are in the right, and 
we must hold fast to that, no matter what 
comes. If you stayed now because of me, it 
would mean that I had spoiled your life, for 
there's nothing here for a man like you to 

Sam, still sobbing at intervals, said nothing, 
and she continued, "I didn't mean you ever 
to know how I'd broke down." 

"Nor I you, Nancy," he interrupted, "but 
the mischief's done now." 

"It's no mischief, Sam," Nancy replied, 
more cheerfully. "It's done us both a sight 
of good; and while you are away I shall never 
love you better than when I think how we 
cried here together. But you must go now, 
dear, or you'll miss the train at the Junction. " 

For an instant Sam's sobs mastered him. 
Nancy clung to him, but her own eyes were 
dry. Then he strained her to his breast, kiss- 
ing her eyes and lips. 

"It needn't be good-bye quite yet, Nancy. 
Come with me as far as Eagle's Crag, and 
wave to me across the gorge. It will be 

288 iaortf) OtaroUna Sbtttcf^e^ 

sun-up by the time I get round to the Knob," 
he said. 

When Sam was gone, Nancy, sitting on the 
mossy rocks, waiting for sunrise, swayed back 
and forth with her head bowed upon her knees. 
Nip thrust his nose under her arm, but she 
pushed him away. She could not yet tolerate 
a living touch in this chaos of misery that 
enveloped her. The tide of sorrow which she 
hoped had ebbed for good had turned, and 
only the feeling that it would be like disloy- 
alty to Sam to give way again kept her from 
crying aloud. 

From one of the coves at the foot of the 
gorge there came up the cry of a child. It 
touched her strangely. "Is there a wave of 
misery spreading over the whole earth?" she 
thought, "and was the child's cry a part of 
it? God help us all!" she exclaimed, as 
she felt herself one of this brotherhood of 

When the sun rayed on the eastern horizon, 
the coldness of the night melted suddenly 
into the soft balminess of the new spring. 
The mountain-peaks stand forth in silver 
armor, sending up welcoming tongues of mist 
as the sun touches their snowy summits. 

Nancy stood upon Eagle's Crag, and as 

©etting an (Ktiucation 289 

she did so Sam stepped forth into the sunshine 
upon a similar bowlder on the other side of 
the great chasm which now divided them. 
From the depths below, smoke was struggling 
above the trees from unseen chimneys, and 
the sounds of a new day awoke the echoes. 
Here a belated ax rang upon the wood for the 
morning fire; there the bleat of a stray sheep 
mingled with the lowing of cattle, the crowing 
of cocks, and the barking of dogs. Nor were 
human notes wanting. But these two, stand- 
ing above it all, were blind and deaf to every- 
thing but their own misery. 

With a show of bravery they answered one 
another's signals, and Nancy stood firm till 
Sam went on his way and a turn in the road 
hid him from her sight. Then a black mist 
seemed suddenly to drop between her and the 
world. The next two hours were a blank to 
her. At the end of that time she went wearily 
home. Her mother, who a moment before 
had stood in the doorway looking anxiously 
up and down the road, met her with cheerful 

*'I thought you'd be along right soon," she 
said. "I sot the coffee and the pone nigh the 
fire to keep hot for you. Better bile yourself 
a new-laid egg. The children's gone to Aunt 

290 iH^ortft (Carolina ^ktUf)t^ 

Maria's to spend the day. She's been pes- 
terin' me to let 'em come. For, he's gone 
to help Mr. Burns plow, and he done took his 
snack along with him. I 'lowed you and me 
could do all as wants doing at home." 

Nancy kissed her mother, without a word. 


"I was so heartsick over leaving you," 
Sam's first letter to Nancy ran, "that I 
thought every moment I must turn back; but 
when I saw you on Eagle's Crag you seemed 
like my good angel, encouraging me to go 
forward, and I plucked up heart again." 

Later he wrote: "I shall accomplish more 
this year than I thought I could. I got more 
education out of teaching last winter than 
I realized, and now everything comes that 
much easier. I'm away ahead of a lot of the 
fellows already. Nobody here knows about 
my little Nancy. I keep her picture locked 
up in my trunk, but she never misses a good- 
night kiss, I can tell you." 

Nancy, in her turn, wrote: "You do write 
such a fine hand, and such a beautiful letter, 
dearest Sam, that I'm ashamed of mine. It's 

(^tttiuQ an drtjucation 291 

good of you to like them, though. I'm trying 
hard to write better, and I study the lessons 
you marked out for me every chance I 

During the first year of their separation 
Nancy attended every school session within 
her reach. At the end of that time she was 
given a certificate which entitled her to apply 
for a position as teacher of one of the county 
free schools. This placed her upon the same 
footing as that held by Sam when he took the 
Wren Hill school. It made her a proud and 
happy girl, but, like Sam, she had discovered 
that her feet were only upon the lowest rounds 
of the ladder of knowledge. 

At this time she had what she regarded as 
a great stroke of luck. She was offered 
a scholarship in one of the best of the moun- 
tain mission schools. 

*'Isn't it almost too good to believe?" she 
wrote Sam. "It isn't only what I shall learn 
from books I think of. There's cooking and 
sewing and all kinds of useful things taught 
there. The best of it is, the teachers are real 
ladies, and I shall learn more lessons from 
them than they know of. I am so anxious to 
be worthy of you, dear Sam. You shall have 
no cause to be ashamed of me, if I can help 

292 laorti^ Olarolina Sfeetcjes 

it. I thought Pa would oppose my leaving 
home for so many months, but he is so taken 
up with some plans of his own just now that 
he don't seem to care. I'll tell you about 
that another time." 

Nancy spent the better part of the next two 
years at this school, while Sam, after gradu- 
ating from the Academy, got a position as 
bookkeeper in a town in the eastern part of 
the state. It was too far away to permit of 
his return home during his brief holidays, so 
he and Nancy did not meet during the three 
years. If it sometimes crossed his mind, 
amid his new surroundings, that he had prob- 
ably made a mistake in choosing for his wife 
a girl like Nancy, he did not harbor the 
thought. Despite these occasional misgivings, 
he remained loyal to her, determined in the 
depths of his heart to make her happy and to 
accept manfully for himself whatever of the 
worse, as well as the better, of marriage 
should befall them. 

He had seen no one from home, and since 
the death of his mother, in the first year of 
his absence, he rarely received a letter, except 
from Nancy, so his only knowledge of the 
home happenings came through her. 

She had sent him no new photograph of her- 

iSfettmg an (llrtjucatfon 293 

self, although he had begged for one. So he 
thought of the girl he loved as looking just 
as she did when he bade her good-bye, and in 
his mind's eye he always saw her amid the 
same humble surroundings. 

When the time came to write and ask her 
to name an early day for their marriage, 
Nancy's reply was a surprise to him. After 
telling him how glad she was that their long 
waiting was at an end, she added: "I've 
never told you that I was not the only one of 
my people getting an education. I thought 
it better to wait and see how things turned 
out; but now that the time of our reunion is 
at hand, my heart misgives me lest you think 
I haven't been frank with you, dear Sam. 
That's why I am spoiling the fine surprise 
I had for you by telling you the story now 

After I began to read papers and books to 
Pa and Ma, they looked at some things in a 
new light, and wanted to live better. It did 
me good to see the change, and I was often 
on the point of speaking of it in my letters. 
Afterward I wanted to surprise you. 

There was no good reason for our living as 
we did, for Pa had money laid by; but he was 
always saying that what had been good 
enough for his father was good enough for 

294 iflortf) 0!aroltna 5feetcf)es; 

him. The year you left, some of the summer 
boarders offered him a good price for the 
ridge land, where the view is so fine; so he 
sold it, and they put up three pretty cottages 
there. All that building going on put Pa in 
the notion of building a new house himself. 
When he makes up his mind to do a thing 
there's no stopping him, you know; so the 
house was soon finished. And what is more, 
it is comfortably furnished, even to a good 
organ. I've learned to play and sing quite 
respectably. That was another surprise I 
had for you. After the new house was done, 
Pa said he wanted the family to dress better, 
and that has made a great difference in their 
appearance. The children go to school regu- 
larly, so you see we are all, old and young, 
getting an education. I'm the only thing 
about the old place, dear Sam, that isn't much 
changed." That was all she said about her- 

When Sam went home to claim his bride, 
he was met at the door of her father's smart 
new house by a young lady with a gentle 
gravity of manner, who invited him into the 
best room. He was sure he had seen her be- 
fore, but where? While trying to remember, 
he asked, "Is Miss Nancy Rivers at home?" 

Q^ttiinq an drtjucation 295 

*'Yes, " she replied, sedately, and left the 

She returned in a moment with radiant face 
and outstretched hands, which, in some con- 
fusion, he took in his own. Then as the light 
fell full upon her laughing face, it was 
revealed to him where he had seen her 

"My God, Nancy, what a lovely girl 
you've grown to be!" he cried, drawing her 
into his arms and kissing her; "and to think 
I didn't know you, darling." 

"That's the best of it, Sam. I was so 
afraid I wasn't really improved, and that folks 
who said I was were flatterers. I wanted so 
to be worthy of you, dear. And oh, Sam! 
how handsome you are yourself! I'm so 
proud of you!" 

"Proud of me, indeed, Nancy! Why, I'm 
nothing beside you. How have you done it 

"I suppose it is all part of getting an edu- 
cation," replied Nancy, soberly. "It brings 
the tears to my eyes sometimes when I think 
how my determination to get an education 
has educated my whole family, too. You 
needn't be ashamed of any of us now, Sam." 
'Great heavens, child, I'm so proud of you 

(t i 

296 i^ortj Otarolma ^tttti)ts 

that my head is quite turned! Now that I 
have a good look at you, Nancy, I don't know 
how I dared to kiss you when you came in." 

'^Nonsense, Sam," Nancy replied, lightly 
kissing his cheek. *'You see I'm not afraid 
of kissing you." 

*'I should hope not, dear," returned Sam; 
*'but you've been just my little Nancy to me 
all these years. Now you're grown into such 
a" — Nancy playfully put her hand over his 
mouth. He kissed the hand and took it in 
his own. "Yes, let me say it, Nancy. You've 
grown into such a beautiful young woman 
that I feel all at sea." 

"But you love me just the same?" Nancy 
asked, in a troubled voice. 

Sam's reply satisfied her. 

Presently he took a tiny box from his vest- 
pocket, saying: "See, Nancy, here's your 
wedding ring. Try if it will fit you." She 
slipped it on. "Yes," he said, raising her 
hand to his lips and kissing the ring. "My 
blessing on it, and you, my darling," he 

"How like your dear old self !" said Nancy, 
laying her head on his shoulder. "Don't 
be foolish about me any more, Sam. You 
made me feel quite strange at first." 

(&tttmq an Q^^ucaiwn 297 

I ( 

Did I? Well, I felt quite strange myself," 
he replied, with a happy laugh. 

"And I am really to put that ring on your 
finger for good day after to-morrow?" he 
added, seriously. *'It's all like a beautiful 
dream coming true. " 



It was not to be expected that a mountain 
■town with a boom in the offing should take 
thought for free schools. Such at least was 
the opinion held by the authorities of Red- 
bank. That was twenty years ago. If poor 
people would persist in being drawn into the 
town by interest or curiosity, their swarming 
hordes of children must take their chances. 

The talk was all of how everything would 
"float" when the boom struck. Small heed 
fell to the share of a floating population, a 
large contingent of which belonged to the 
great unwashed. 

Fortunately, there were benevolent stran- 
gers also within the gates. As a drop in the 
bucket of educational need, some of these 
started a sewing-school for girls. Among the 
pupils was a little girl named Rosie Blake. 
She was a quaint little figure in her dark stuff 
gown reaching to her heels. Her faded light 
hair, strained back from a high, narrow fore- 


302 iBtort^ CItarolina Sfeetcftes 

head, was braided into a long, thin pigtail, 
tied at the end with a white string. She 
might have stepped out of one of those queer 
sketches of Porte Crayon's of ante-bellum 

Her gentle ways, and a quick, responsive 
smile that relieved her angular face from 
plainness, made her a very attractive little 
person in the school. It was called a sewing- 
school, but lessons in manners and household 
duties played a very important part in its 

Rosie proved so apt a pupil that she was 
much missed when she suddenly disappeared 
from the school. None of the other children 
knew anything about her, except where she 
lived. This was so far out of town that it 
was nearly a month before Miss Dollard, one 
of the teachers, could spare the time to visit 
her. She found Rosie's family living in a new 
cabin, built in the woods, on as primitive 
principles as though no growing town were 
near at hand. 

"I allowed when I see you comin that you 
was one o' the teachers Rosie set sich store 
by in sewin'-school, " said Mrs. Blake, coming 
forward to shake hands. "Have a chair." 

Rosie placed a chair for Miss Dollard. 

Hike (Bii^tx (^f}iVtixtn 303 

Then with a bob of her head and a duck of 
her lank figure intended for a curtsy, she 
withdrew behind her mother. 

Mrs. Blake, viewing Rosie's fine manners 
with pride, exclaimed : " You-uns done learned 
Rosie a sight! I were plum sorry she had to 
quit school." 

"I hope she hasn't left for good," replied 
Miss Dollard. ^'That's what I came to see 
you about." 

'"Bleeged to you, I'm sure," Mrs. Blake 
rejoined; "but I don't guess you-all heard 
what a sight o' trouble we-uns been havin'?" 

"No," answered Miss Dollard; "we have 
heard nothing since Rosie left school." 

"I can't rightly talk about it yet," said 
Mrs. Blake, with a choke in her voice. "We- 
uns buried our Nancy last week — our gal next 
older nor Rosie. She had pneumony fever. 
She were sick nigh on to a month. Her and 
the older gals worked in the mill. Rosie and 
two o' the least ones has been right bad off, 
too. Rosie took sick 'tendin' on Nancy, and 
she ain't been right peart since." 

While expressing her sympathy, Miss Dol- 
lard looked kindly at the little group gathered 
about the mother. Besides a baby in arms 
there were two younger than Rosie. 

304 i^ortf) (Carolina Sfeetcjes 

Following her glance, Mrs. Blake said: 
**This ain't all. Sammy's done hid; he's 

"Ashamed?" said Miss Bollard. 

"His face is queer," she explained. "He 
were born that way. Folks laughs at him, and 
looks at him so sharp 'pears like he can't 
stand it, nohow. He's a right peart little 
chap, and the lovingest you ever see. I didn't 
reckon he'd be afraid of you, 'count o' the 
way Rosie's always talkin' about you, but I 
don't guess he knowed who you was. He 
mostly hides when he sees anybody comin'. 
Mirandy and Rushy's away at the mill. We- 
uns is powerful lonesome without Nancy," 
added she, wiping her eyes on her apron ; 
"she were the peartest of 'em all." 

Rosie was quietly crying into a little hand- 
kerchief, which Miss Bollard recognized as 
a product of the sewing-school. The other 
children were snivelling sympathetically, ap- 
pealing at intervals to Rosie for the loan of 
her handkerchief, which was evidently a great 
novelty to them all. 

"I don't guess you knowed Miss Bayton 
from Ohio, did you?" inquired Mrs. Blake, 

Say you didn't? Well, she stopped at the 

( ( I 

Hike (Bt^tx Otfjilliren 3^5 

Hill House all winter, and she were mighty 
good to we-uns. She come every Sunday 
evening and had Sunday-school. She most 
learned them least ones to spell and read. 
She's done gone away now," Mrs. Blake 
added, with a sigh. *'First we-uns see of 
her she come every Sunday evenin* to read 
the Bible to Aunt Dinah, a pore old nigger 
that lives in yon house," she continued, point- 
ing to a wretched cabin in the pines near by. 

"The children sets a heap o' store by Aunt 
Dinah, and they kept a-runnin' in and out 
when Miss Dayton were there. They sot by 
when she were readin', and she were right 
friendly with *em. Sometimes she brung 'em 
candy. The children liked her splendid. 
After a bit she came in to see me. She said 
weren't we-uns goin' to give the children no 
schoolin*, and why didn't they go to Sunday- 
school. I done told her the plain truth; 
we-uns was too poor to send 'em. She allowed 
as they might go to Sunday-school, and talked 
somethin' out o' the Bible about without 
money and without price. 

I up and told her how Nancy and Rosie 
here done tried it, and the rich folks' children 
laughed at their poor clothes and plain ways. 
When they was comin' along home, some on 

3o6 iaortf) (Carolina ^ttttf^t^ 

'em hollered out to t'others to look at some 
o* father Noe's family, and axed 'em did they 
just come out o' the ark. Nancy and Rosie 
felt mighty mean 'count o' havin' fun poked 
at 'em, but they didn't know who Noe was 
then. That were before Miss Dayton read 
'em Bible stories. That's how Rosie come to 
go to sewing-school. She allowed as you-uns 
would learn her manners, so she needn't be 
shy of folks. She done learned a sight, ain't 
you, Rosie?" 

"Yes, marm," replied Rosie, smiling 
through her tears at Miss Dollard. 

"Arter a bit," Mrs. Blake resumed, "Miss 
Dayton said did we-uns want a Sunday-school 
every Sunday evenin'. I done told her yes, 
and be thankful. That's how she got to 
comin'. She done learned the children a 
sight out o' the Bible, and Nancy were that 
peart she could tell a heap of it over to her Pa 
afterwards. When she took sick Miss Day- 
ton come to see her, and set with her. She 
talked mighty pretty and consolin' to her and 
we-uns when Nancy were a-dyin'. It were a 
sight o* comfort," said the mother, with a 
heavy sigh. 

"Miss Dayton allowed as Nancy were one 
o' the Lord's little ones the Bible talks about, 

Hifee <©tfter (Ej^ilbren 307 

and we needn't be afraid He wouldn't take 
care of her. Nancy died smilin' up into her 
face, listenin' to her pretty talk," Mrs Blake 
added, crying quietly into her apron. After 
a pause she said: "Rosie knows a right smart 
o' stories Miss Dayton read out o' the Bible, 
don't you, Rosie?" Rosie's cheeks flushed 
deeply, but she made no reply. Her mother, 
taking no notice of her, went on: **Last 
night, when we all was in bed, and the fire 
burnin' low, so the room were all shadows, 
she were tellin' such a pretty one. It were 
about "Mary and Marthy. Tell it to the lady, 
Rosie, " said her mother in a tone of authority. 

Miss Dollard, who had been looking at the 
three beds the room contained, and wonder- 
ing if the whole family slept in such close 
quarters, glanced kindly at poor Rosie, who 
had turned pale at her mother's abrupt 

*'Do, Rosie; I should so like to hear it," 
she said, taking the child's hand in hers. 

The lessons in manners whch Rosie had so 
valued at sewing-school came to her aid. 
Swallowing hard, she began, in a shaky voice: 
*'Onct there was two sisters. Their names 
was Mary and Marthy. They was friends of 
the Lord, and He were comin' to see 'em. 

3o8 iEortf) (Earolma Sfeetcl)es 

Marthy heard it when she were doin' a errand 
at one o' the neighbors. She run home right 
quick, and done told Mary, and axed her 
would she help her slick the house up a bit 
before he come. But Mary wouldn't. She 
just sot round, sayin' how pleased she were, 
but Marthy went hoppin' about pickin' the 
crumbs off the floor," said Rosie, bringing her 
story to an abrupt termination. 

Her mother nodded smilingly at Miss Bol- 
lard to express her admiration for Rosie's 
gifts as a story-teller, while Miss Dollard, pat- 
ting the child's hand and thanking her, rose 

to go. 

Before leaving she asked Mrs. Blake if they 
would like their Sunday-school continued, if 
one of the other teachers and herself could 
take charge of it. The offer was gratefully 
accepted, and for many months Miss Dollard 
and Miss Nelson devoted their Sunday after- 
noons to the Blakes. The young people from 
a household close by were regular attendants, 
so that the Sunday-school often numbered 
fifteen or twenty pupils, varying in age from 
the baby up to young women of twenty-five. 

Miss Dayton's plan of following the usual 
Sunday-school work with a lesson in reading 
and writing was continued. The elder pu- 

Hifee <©ti)cr (E|)iltiren 309 

pils, who had never been to school, learned 
with difficulty, but the eagerness of the 
younger ones to master the three R's gave 
zest to the work. Tommy, the baby, sat 
on the bare floor, finding endless amusement 
in poking crumbs of green soda biscuit 
through the gaping cracks. He laughed with 
glee when the chickens under the house 
noisily squabbled for them. If a greedy one 
nabbed his finger, Sunday-school took a recess 
till he was pacified. 

Poor little Sammy, with his disfigured face 
and dreadful stutter, was the brightest of all 
the pupils. It was painful to look at him, but 
he soon won the affections of his teachers, 
who decided that something must be done to 
prevent his going through life bearing so dis- 
figuring a birth-mark. After learning that he 
could be successfully operated upon at the 
new hospital near Redbank, Miss Dollard 
broached the subject to his mother. 

To her consternation, Mrs. Blake exclaimed : 
"No, sir! The Lord made him that way, 
and we-uns ain't goin' agin the Lord! If 
He'd 'a' meant Sammy to be like other chil- 
dren, why didn't He make him so in the first 
place? Besides, supposin' he should die? Me 
and his Pa wouldn't never forgive ourselves 

3IO iHiorti) (Earolma S^etcjeg 

for givin' in to what you-uns is talkin* 

Arguments and pleadings were of no avail. 
The more the teachers saw of the child, how- 
ever, the more determined they were to save 
his sensitive spirit future suffering. They had 
seen little of the father, but were told that he 
was even "more sot agin a operation" than 
the mother. Sunday after Sunday they re- 
turned to the charge, but were constantly met 
by the humiliation of defeat. 

Sammy listened with eager interest when- 
ever the subject was broached. The teachers 
had at first feared his opposition, but they 
little knew what pluck he had. 

One Sunday Mrs. Blake said, reproachfully: 
"Sammy says if his Pa and me won't let him 
get his face fixed, he's bound to run off to the 
hospital and beg the doctors to do it right 
quick, before we-uns knows where he's 

To her surprise and disgust. Miss Dollard 
laughed. Then turning to Sammy she said: 
"That's right, my boy. It is you who will 
have to suffer all your life if it isn't done, and 
your parents will be glad by and by that you 
had your way in this." 

Although the father and mother still with- 

fltfee (^i^tt artiltJttn 3^1 

held their consent, the teachers felt from that 
hour that the victory was won. When the 
parents finally yielded, Miss Bollard hurried 
the child to the hospital, where the operation 
was performed almost immediately. 

The mother was permitted to act as nurse 
during Sammy's convalescence. "Ain't it 
just wonderful how easy-like the doctors done 
it?" she said, when the teachers visited the 
patient. "I ain't never had no use for doc- 
tors and doctors' stuff before, but I ain't 
a-goin' agin 'em no more. Just to think that 
Sammy'll look like other children now, and 
needn't hide hisself for shame no more! And 
it's all along o' you-uns. I used to have hard 
feelin's agin you, 'count o' your not givin' in 
about Sammy, but I can't tell you how thank- 
ful I be to you now. I sha'n't never forget 
what you-uns and the doctors done for 
Sammy. " 

They were sitting beside the child's cot, full 
of thankfulness and relief themselves that all 
was well. The poor little face was so envel- 
oped in bandages that only the eager eyes 
could speak, but at his mother's words 
Sammy stretched out his hands to his teach- 
ers, who clasped them in their own. The 
mother, quick to interpret the child's ges- 

312 iaortt OTaroIina Sfeetcjes 

tures, said: "He's a-tryin' to thank you-uns 
the best he knows how, now he can't talk." 

Dear little man! How patiently he had 
borne, and was still bearing, all the pain and 

To be like other children had been the haunt- 
ing desire of his life. He had been as one in 
bondage, and now he was free. By many 
little arts and dumb gestures he made his 
teachers understand that he felt that it was 
to them, first of all, that he owed his freedom. 
As soon as he could talk, he said to them: 
"Now I can go to free school when it starts, 
and not be ashamed no more. If it hadn't 
been for you-uns I wouldn't never have looked 
like other children. " 

The mother was fairly crying for joy. 
"I can't never thank you-uns enough for not 
givin' in to my contrariness about Sammy," 
she said. "I hated it that bad to see him 
like that I'd 'a' given my right hand to cure 
him. Folks allowed as it were goin' agin the 
Lord to meddle with such things, though, and 
we-uns reckoned he'd die if we give in to have 
the operation. 'Feared like we just couldn't 
stand it." 

Not long after Sammy's recovery, Miss 

ILi'fee (©tier (EJiltiren 313 

Dollard and Miss Nelson were obliged to leave 

The opening of free schools about that time, 
however, gave the Blakes and other poor 
children a coveted chance for "eddication. " 

There was also started near the Blakes a 
mission Sunday-school, which the poorest and 
humblest might attend, unabashed by their 
lack of fine raiment. 




Taylor, author of "On the Red Staircase," "An Imperial 

Lover," "A Yankee Volunteer," "The Cobbler of Nimes," 

etc. i2mo, $1.25. 

A rousing tale of adventure and love, whose scenes are laid in 
France in the time of Richelieu. 

"From opening to close a strong interest imbues the pages. It is 
a tale of adventure told with spirit. A charming love-current 
runs through it, ending as it should. We commend it as a story, 
bright and clean, well written, and thoroughly engaging." — 
The Independent. 


Taylor. i2mo, $1.25. 

"The story is a strong, well-studied, and striking reproduction of 
the social and political conditions of the age of Ring Henry 
VIII. As a romance it is swift, overflowing with life and action. 
In respect to the dramatic vividness and force of her picture. 
Miss Taylor shows the unerring instinct of the bom story- 
teller." — Chicago Chronicle. 


Breckenridge Ellis. l2mo, $1.25. 

"So vivid are this novelist's colors, so real his speech and actions, 
so superior his arrangement of plot and counterplot, that hardly 
another touch is needed to make the literary relationship of 
'The Dread and Fear of Kings * to actual Roman history com- 
pletely satisfactory." — The Boston Times. 


Tynan, author of "The Dear Irish Girl," "The Handsome 

Brandons," etc. i2mo, 75 cents. 

In this bright little story the author has told in a most entertain- 
ing way how a too keen susceptibility to the tender passion on 
the part of a gallant though somewhat elderly gentleman is a 
constant source of anxiety to his grown-up children, who are 
devotedly attached to him. 

For sale by booksellers generally, or will be sent, postpaid, 
on receipt of price, by the publishers, 

A. C. McCLURG & CO. 



A WORLD PILGRIMAGE. By John Henry Barrows, 

D. D. Crown 8vo. Illustrated, ;^2.oo. 

"Although much of the field of the book has been covered a 
hundred times, it nevertheless is thoroughly readable. All in 
all, it is one of the best books of travel which we have seen." 
— Co ngregatio n all si. 


By Elizabeth Wormeley Latimer. Crown 8vo. lUus., ^2.50. 

"With regret one notes that this is to be the last of Mrs. Lati- 
mer's excellent series of Nineteenth-Century Histories. We 
have come to look upon Mrs. Latimer as quite the most delight- 
ful purveyor of historical gossip to be found anywhere." — The 
Chicago Tribune. 


REVOLUTION. By Elizabeth Wormeley Latimer. 

Crown 8vo. Illustrated, $2.50. 

"The book is filled with exciting and thrilling reminiscences 
of those stirring times, generally from the accounts of eye- 
witnesses, sometimes from their own pens, others translated 
from the accounts of French sufferers and actors in the great 
drama." — Philadelphia Press. 


Chronicle. By Eva Emery Dye. i2mo. Gilt Top, with 
frontispiece, j^i.50. 

A graphic account of the movement that added Oregon to our 

"Mrs. Dye had rare matetlal at hand, and has used it with great 
skill and effectiveness. She has the historian's gift for bring- 
ing out significant events, the novelist's gift for vivifying 
characters." — The Buffalo Express. 

For sale by booksellers generally, or will be sent, postpaid, 
on receipt of price, by the publishers, 

A. C. McCLURG & CO. 




Fisher. i2mo, $1.25. 

"American readers will be glad to read the able little volume and 
learn there is yet a saving quality in French literature which 
they before had not known." — Inter Ocean, Chicago, 


By John Henry Barrows, D.D. ;^l.50. 

"Dr. Barrows has given not only to India, but to the thinking 
people of the world, a book of great merit and value." — Public 
Opinio 71. 

NATIONAL EPICS. By Kate Milner Rabb. i2mo,$i.50. 

"The compiler has performed a useful service in making acces- 
sible in the compass of a single volume so much material for 
the study of these noble poems." — The Review of Reviews. 



Translated by Kasimir Dziekonska. With portrait and other 
illustrations. i6mo, gilt top, deckle edges, 1^1.25. 

"Not for a long time have we seen so entertaining a book as this. 
It gives, with charming naivete, a picturesque account of high 
life in Poland at the middle of the last century — a life still per- 
vaded by feudal traditions and customs." — The Nation, N. V. 


i2mo, $1.50. 

"I would exhort all people who want to live long, and be really 
happy while they do live, to buy or borrow a copy of that price- 
less book and study it up as soon as possible." — Prof. Albert 
H. Walker, in the Hartford Times. 


ADDRESSES. By the Rt. Rev. J. L. Spalding, Bishop 

of Peoria. i2mo, 228 pages, ^i.oo. 

"Bishop Spalding may be said to be Browning and Whitman 
translated into beautiful prose. In the essays which make up 
this little volume there is the same power to enkindle aspiration 
so marked in these poets. 'Opportunity' is a volume such as 
one might profitably catch up from one's reading-table dozens 
of times in a week." — The Boston Budget. 

For sale by booksellers generally, or will be sent, postpaid, 
on receipt of price, by the publishers, 

A. C. McCLURG & CO., Chicago