Mr. Hall and His Family:
A Story of Southern Life.
NORTH CAROLINIANA COLLECTION B.W.C. ROBERTS
MR. HALL AND HIS FAMILY,
A STORY OF SOUTHERN LIFE.
BY GEO. G. SMITH,
Author of “Harry Thornton,” “Berry's Triumph,” “Childhood and
“A little child shall lead them.” (Bible.)
SUNDAY SCHOOL DEPARTMENT.PUBLISHING HOUSE OF THE METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH, SOUTH.BARBEE & SMITH, AGENTS, NASHVILLE, TENN.1893.
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1892, BY THE BOOK AGENTS OF THE METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH, SOUTH, In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.
THE children—and as for that, the grown folks—don't often read “Prefaces,” and I shall not write a long one.
A little girl had her mother to write and ask me to write a story for girls, and I could not refuse. The story has no plot; it is simply a series of pictures in the life of a child who might have lived when my dear mother lived. It is not a biography. Many of the incidents are true as I have told them. The story of that cruel school in Charleston, save that the picture of the teacher is imaginary, is as my mother told it to me. The conversion of Mr. Henry Hall found its parallel in the conversion of my grandfather's brother. It has been my purpose in my three stories, “Harry Thornton,” “Berry's Triumph,” and “Mr. Hall and His Family,” to give a true picture of a life gone out of sight never to return. There is neither poet nor fiction writer who has seemed to me to present the South as I know it. The “Georgia Scenes” and “The Dukesboro Tales” are accurate portrayals of a common feature of life sixty years ago, but, as I have already said in another “Preface,” neither the “Planter's Son” nor the “Georgia Cracker” has, as I think, been fully pictured. As to the Methodist, save to caricature him, or
to overpaint him, he has been almost entirely overlooked. The rector has had his full place. The good minister of the presbytery or the meeting has had his, but the Methodist has had none. These stories are not sectarian, but they are Methodist. They are Methodist, Southern, and I am neither disposed to deny it nor to apologize for it.
GEO. G. SMITH.
Macon (Vineville), Ga.
|A Great Question Settled||14|
|Making Ready for the Journey||21|
|They Make the Journey||28|
|Col. Alston and His Home||36|
|The New Home||40|
|Daddy Jack and the Storm||51|
|Removal to the Up Country||61|
|Life in Savannah||72|
|Susie in Trouble||82|
|“Dat Boy William”||87|
|Susie Joins the Church||93|
|They Move to Charleston||99|
|Miss Judith and Susie||104|
|Susie's Friend and Pleasures||110|
|Patrick O'Flaherty, Bridget, and Teddy||115|
|Mr. O'Flaherty's Troubles||126|
|“A Little Child Shall Lead Them”||131|
|“Dat Boy William” Again||137|
|On Sullivan's Island||144|
|Tommy's First Voyage||151|
|More About Susie||174|
MR. HALL AND HIS FAMILY.CHAPTER I.
WILMINGTON, N. C., in 1817, was not large, but was a sprightly city, located on the Cape Fear River not many miles from its mouth. Vessels of a few hundred tons came easily to its wharves. The war with England had not long ended, and Wilmington was now full of work, for it was her part to supply the European ships with turpentine, pitch, resin, and tar, which were in great demand since the war had prevented the East from getting its usual supply.
Among the shipping merchants who had their warehouses on the wharves was the house of Mr. Henry Hall. He was the head of the house, and his younger brother, John, was his bookkeeper.
Mr. Henry Hall was some fifteen years older than his brother, and was a different man in every respect. He was a man of large wealth, busy, bustling, brusque; his brother was quiet, decided, and steady. The older brother was an avowed unbeliever in Christianity, the younger a very positive and devoted Christian. He had, when a boy, been genuinely converted, and had joined the Society of Methodists, which at that time was the only organized Church in the city of Wilmington. This was much to his brother's displeasure, but the boy whom he had largely brought up was very dear to him, and his religion did not seem to do him any harm, and so John became his bookkeeper and confidential clerk in spite of his connection with the “African Meetinghouse,” as the Methodist church in Wilmington was called.
On the day this story opens, Mr. John Hall had finished his day's work, and leaving the river bank had made his way up the hill on which his simple home was built. It was a neat little cottage, surrounded with live oaks. A yellow jasmine and a white
rose clambered over the veranda, and a row of rosebushes bordered the walk.
Two little girls were standing at the gate this bright April afternoon watching for their father's coming: one, a black-eyed brunette of six; the other, a thoughtful, pale-faced little maid of four.
“Dere he is,” said Lizette, the elder. “I wonder what he brung me?”
Susie was tripping toward him, and was soon in his strong arms, with her arms around his neck.
“What you bring me?” said Lizette.
“O Lizette! Lizette! always ‘What you bring me?’ even before you kiss me.”
“Well, you's bringed me somethin’; I loves you all the same, and I'll kiss you now.” And she kissed him; but not before she had fished an orange from his pocket, in which she found one for Susie too.
“Well, Kitten,” said the father to Susie, “where have you been to-day? Did you want to see papa?”
“Me always want to see papa. Me had radder see papa dan anybody but” — and here the little chit paused.
“Than who, pet?”
“Anybody but God; me'd radder see God than anybody.”
“Well, that's right; love God best of all. Did you go and see grandma?”
“Yes,” said Lizette; “yes, we did; and she gived us ever so much cake.”
“What did she give you, Susie?”
“She give me a heap of kisses, and some cake too, and some love for you.”
“Where is mamma, darling?”
“She has gone to see Aunt Kennedy, ’cause Aunt Kennedy's so sick. Dere she is, tomin’ now.”
A curly-headed little boy of two and a half years of age was trotting beside a fair woman as she came toward them.
Mrs. Hall was about twenty-six, with rich black hair, deep blue eyes, and ruddy cheeks. She was more beautiful now than even in her girlhood. A happy home, abundant means, and a loving, cheerful heart made her, she said, one of the happiest of earth. Her husband had gone to meet her, and with the warmth of a schoolgirl she had kissed him, and now with his
hand in hers they were going into the house.
“And how is sister Kennedy?”
“Well, she's a little better. I met sister Julia over there, and what do you think she said to me?”
“Why, that I must keep the family from being disgraced by your being a circuit rider. And wasn't that funny? as if you had any such notion.”
“Well, suppose I had, what then?”
“What then? Why, darling, you are joking! It is all right for us to belong to the Society, and to go to the ‘African Meetinghouse,’ I reckon. I did not like it at first, and ma don't like it yet. But as to your going on a circuit, you have no notion of that, have you?”
“Well, not now,” he said with a smile, and they went into the veranda and then to supper. It was not long after the supper when a colored woman came to the door. Her head was turbaned with a rich red handkerchief, and she had over her dress a clean, checked apron.
She walked in and courtesied. “Good ebenin’, massa.”
“Good evening, Aggie. Are you going out?”
“Yes, massa, it's de class, and I must be dar; and will you please gib me a pass; ’cause dem patrollers don't like us Methodist niggers any too good, and de Lord knows I don't want to git in de sugarhouse for nuttin’ but sarvin’ de Lord.”
“Certainly I will give you one. Here it is.”
“Massa, I wants to ax you somethin’.”
“Well, you know St. Paul he say: ‘Spar’ de rod and de chile will be spiled.’ Now der's my William, he been run down to de crick on Sunday wid dem triflin’ Peden niggers, and I been watchin’ for him wid de cow-skin, but Joe say dat Moses say, ‘Wives, mine your husbands,’ and he say I must no whoop William. Now, massa, how is dat?”
“Well, I reckon I shall have to help you, and I will give William the whipping for you.”
“T'ank ye, massa. Good ebenin’.” And Aunt Aggie went to class.
Mr. Hall looked thoughtful, and Susie, who sat in his lap, was rubbing his brow.
“What are you doing, dear?” said the father.
“I'm ironin’ you out; you's wrinkled.”
Prayer was had and the family slept sweetly.
A GREAT QUESTION SETTLED.
MR. HALL was a local preacher. A local preacher among the Methodists is one who preaches whenever he can, but has no pastoral charge. He held his membership at the “African Meetinghouse.” This was the name given to the Methodist Church by the people, because for many years it had been the only Church to care for the black people, who were in great numbers near by.
When the mother of Mr. Hall was a young lady in Virginia, she had become a Methodist; and though she had not for many of her early years been connected with them, she had not forgotten the lessons she had learned. Henry, her oldest son, was like his father, strong-headed and willful, and Julia, her only daughter, was vain from her childhood; but John, her youngest boy, was always gentle and tender. He was so young when she was left a widow
that she was able to teach him what she believed to be true. He grew up a thoughtful, good boy. One day, while clerking for his brother, he saw a crowd gathered under the shade of a live oak. He drew near and found a colored man preaching. This man was Henry Evans. He was full of earnestness and devotion, and what he said touched the boy's heart, and he gave that heart to God. He came to his good mother and told her the story, and said he wished to join the Society at the “African Meetinghouse.” She said to him through her tears, “Go, my boy, and I will go with you;” and to the consternation of Miss Julia, and with the decided displeasure of Mr. Henry, the mother and son became members of the Society at the meetinghouse. There were not many white members, but those who were there were deeply devoted. Young Hall soon became a class leader, and then was an exhorter, and now was a local preacher.
Seven years before this story opens Susan Paythness came from the blue banks of the Cape Fear to Wilmington to go to
school, and met the handsome young clerk of Mr. Henry Hall; and when she finished her school and he reached his majority, they were wedded. She brought her husband a little property, and his mother had saved from his income enough for the purchase of a neat home, and now they were quietly living as we have seen them.
Wilmington had a stationed preacher, and had had one for a few years. The preacher stationed there at this time was James O. Andrew. He was a great friend of Mr. Hall, and from his little two-room parsonage he often came to the cottage to see his friend.
“John,” he said to him, “you are very nicely fixed here. Suppose your Master was to say, ‘Sell all that thou hast, give to the poor, take up the cross and follow me;’ what then? It seems to me that men like you ought not to sit at a desk. ‘The harvest is great and the laborers are few.’ ”
“When God needs me, he knows where to find me, James,” said his friend. “Till then I must bide in my lot.”
One day, however, not long after this,
Mr. Hall received a letter from Georgetown, S. C., which read thus:
Brother Hall: I must have a preacher for this place, or God's cause must suffer. I think you are the man. Can you come? The call is urgent; the King's business requires haste. I will be in Wilmington next week, and see you and get your answer.
What should he do? Did God ask this at his hands? Could he give up his home, his salary, his family, against the wish of all except his mother, and go out to preach, and at once?
Leaving the office, he sought Brother Andrew. He laid the case before him. “Must I, can I go?” he asked.
“If this is God's call, he will open the way,” said his friend.
When the dear wife heard of the call, she said she could not consent to his going. She never would; she never could. The husband had a great conflict, and the light went out from his life for a little while. Lizette could not see what papa was angry about, and little Susie tried in vain to iron the wrinkles away. She seemed to feel that something was the matter, but what it
was she could not tell. “De wrinkles do stay, papa darling,” she said one evening. “Why don't you smile! Is de smiles all gone where dey come from? Mamma don't smile neider, an’ de wrinkles won't go.”
“Yes, dear, they'll go after awhile.” He rose hastily, and walked out into the grove about the house, and under the dark shadows of the live oak he fell on his knees. A deep groan went up from his heart, and his head was bowed to the earth. “Not my will,” he said, “but Thine be done.”
Just then a gentle arm was thrown about his neck, and his sobbing wife drew him to her heart. “I have won the victory, my husband,” she said. “We will go. I will go with you, never to complain, never to draw back; and may God be with us!”
The clouds were gone now; the angels were about the home that night; and there was the fullness of peace in both hearts. When Brother Travis came, the answer was ready: “We will go.”
The battle was not yet won. On the
morning after the decision was made, Mr. John Hall called his brother Henry into his countingroom, and said: “Brother, you will have to get a new bookkeeper. I must resign.”
“Hoity, toity! what's up now?”
“I am going into the traveling connection.”
“John! have you lost all your senses?”
“No; I have just found them.”
“John, you have the hardest head and the least sense in it of any man in Wilmington, and if you are determined to play the fool, I don't see what right you've got to doom that wife and those poor babies to poverty and trial; but let a man get among those Methodists, and his sense is gone. Well, when are you going?”
“In two weeks. Mr. Cassell is a good bookkeeper, and knows our business, and he will take my place.”
“I am not thinking about my business, nor myself, but about Susan Hall and those babies. Just like a fool Hall when his head is set. Go your way, hard head.” And with a flushed cheek he left the room.
“Aggie, is you heard,” said Uncle Joe, “dat massa is gwine ter be a circus rider? Now what you t'ink of dat?”
“Joseph, I t'ink dat is all right.”
“How for you say dat? Don't David say, ‘Whomsoever don't feed him own folks, nobody's gwine to feed ’em?’ ”
“Joe, you's an irreligious nigger, you know you is. And what business is you talking about what David say? Much does Massa David care about you. Massa know what he's about, and de Lord he know Massa John, and he bin t'ink about him, and ef he want em to work for he, he can tek care of him, same as massa tek care ob us.”
Poor sister Julia, her cup was full. John had disgraced the family, as she feared, and Susan had gone crazy, too.
MAKING READY FOR THE JOURNEY.
WELL, mother,” said Henry Hall, “I suppose you have heard of John's last freak. First he joined that band of crazy fools—beg your pardon—at the ‘African Meetinghouse,’ and took you with him, then began to preach to the crowd of poor white folks and niggers; but now the lunatic actually intends to sell everything, give up his place in the store, and go into the ‘traveling connection,’ as he calls it. Unless you stop him, he is as sure to do it as a gun is iron.”
“Well, my son,” said the gray-headed mother, “I cannot stop him, and I would not if I could. If you could see things as John sees them, you would encourage him; but, my poor boy, you see nothing but this poor, fleeting world.”
“Pshaw, nonsense! He is crazy, that is what's the matter with him, and you never
can see anything wrong in what he does. Well, I must go. Good-bye.” And he mounted his gray horse and rode out to his rice plantation.
Brother Travis had reached Wilmington, and he laid before Mr. Hall the true state of the case. Brother McLean had been forced to give up his charge at Georgetown. Georgetown was a small city in South Carolina surrounded by large rice plantations. There were a few white people and a great many negroes in the charge. There was a parsonage, a small house sufficiently comfortable for the preacher's family, and he might rely on a moderate salary paid him by a few planters, helped out by the gifts of the plantation negroes. It was a somewhat dreary ride to reach the place, but it was better to travel the three days through swamp and pine woods than to go by boat to Charleston, and thence back to Georgetown by sea; so the land route was decided on. The cozy little cottage was to be vacated, the heavy furniture sold, and the family to take the carriage for Georgetown. It was no easy task to break up
thus, and but for the call of Providence Mr. Hall must have yielded to his brother's wish. There were strong reasons which he might have pleaded for this course, for but few of the Methodist preachers in those days were married, and when they married they generally located; but he said his call to go was to him, and he could only stop when the same Providence said so.
Uncle Joe had been porter at the store, and cared for the horse which had been used to carry the packages, and which was now to draw the wagon in which Aggie and William and Lias and their things were to be carried.
The heavy goods were to be shipped by packet. Joe was in no good humor, and he vented his displeasure on “Ball,” who, innocent of all intentions to do wrong, was quietly nipping the Bermuda grass in the yard, until his driver came near with his bridle, when, kicking his heels high up in the air and snorting, he dashed away.
“You, Ball, whoa dar. You feel mighty gran’ now, but when you's a circus hoss, and got ter go whar dem lazy African niggers
live, and eat rice straw, den you'll git tame enough for sho.”
“Ball,” either relenting or satisfied that resistance was useless, allowed Joe to harness him, and the work of loading began.
Mr. Hall had closed up his books and the accounts had been settled. His brother Henry was looking worried enough, but was trying to be as patient as he could. “Well, John, there is $2,000 to your credit, and the interest on this, with the rent of your house, will keep you from starving; but it does seem to me that you are the biggest fool in North Carolina to give up a thousand dollars a year for three hundred—and no certainty you'll get that—but go your way.”
“O my brother, if I did not believe that good book which you reject, I might look back; but I remember it says, ‘What will it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?’ ”
“Well, then, no use talking to you. When do you want to start?”
“Well, I'll tell Jack to bring round the
carriage and wagon, and if you will go, I'll see you safely there.”
The children did not know what was the matter. On Friday Lizette came in with her cheeks burning with anger. “Mamma,” she said, “Mamie Anderson says papa is going to quit the store and be a circus rider. Now is he, mamma? Is papa goin’ to ride the circus, like Uncle Travis?”
“Yes, darling; papa is going to be a preacher.”
“I don't want him to be a preacher; I wants to stay here. I ain't goin’; I am goin’ to Aunt Julia.”
“And leave us, darling?”
“No, you leave me; I ain't a goin’ to be a preacher's little girl, I ain't.”
“O yes, I reckon you will.”
“Papa,” said Susie, “is you doin’ to hebben tause hebben is prettier dan here? And you's doin’ away.”
“Yes, dear, papa's going to heaven, but not now.”
It was no easy task to break up, but it was decided on, and as cheerfully as they
could all things were made ready, and after a warm meeting on Sunday, and many prayers offered for those who were going away, they bade their friends good-bye.
At the colored people's meeting in the afternoon Mr. Hall preached, and many were the tears shed as he told them good-bye; and then the class leader, Cæsar Anderson, said to the black congregation: “Now, breddern and sisters, you is hear how Brudder Hall, who have bin preach to us dis many year, is gwine to demove to South Carolina. I hope you will all pray for him and de mist'ess and dem little chilluns, and doan’ forget what he bin say to we dese many days what is gone, and is to come. And Sister Agnes, what hab bin in Society sense she a young gal, and no one say nuddin’ agin her, she go too, and her weeked husband, for a worser man dan Joe Hall hain't been nowhere ’bout here. A hardened sinner he is; and his son William is gwine to be like him, I's feared. Pray for em, bruddern. And now jine your humble servant in prayer for ’em all.”
Joe had dressed in his best, and had taken
his seat up near the pulpit, and said that he meant to try to do better, as he was “gwine away from dem mean Wilmington niggers,” but “old Cæsar Anderson dun dribe all de goodness out ob his he'd.”
“Joe, you know Brudder Cæsar dun speak de truth, and nuddin’ but de truth, and ye had better depent now, ye had better depent.”
“But I t'ink Brudder Cæsar go too fur when he speak of my William. My William des as good as his Pompey, ever’ bit and grain, dat he is.”
THEY MAKE THE JOURNEY.
EARLY Monday morning the great carriage and the two-horse wagon of Mr. Henry Hall were at the door.
Riding in the carriage was Uncle Peter. He had belonged to Mr. Hall's father, had fallen to his brother Henry's care, and now, retired from all work, lived in his own cabin at “Belvidere,” Mr. Henry Hall's home place.
The old man was very gray, for he was very old, and he leaned on a long staff when he walked. “My young massa,” he said, “me nuss ye when ye one lillie baby; me mek ye de wagin; me mek ye whis'le; me rid ye on me back; me show ye how to ride de hoss; me catchee for ye de rabbit, de coon, an’ de ’possum; me lub ye lack me own boy; me lub ole massa; me lub ole missus; me lub Mas Henry, but ole Peter no lub Jesus; lillie massa fine Jesus, an’ he tell ole Peter;
old Peter find em too; me lub King Jesus; me feelie good all de time; lillie massa go preach King Jesus, and me see he no more. Eber night King Jesus say: ‘Peter, is ye ready?’ ‘Yes, Lord, me ready.’ De angel is comin’ soon. Las’ night King Jesus say: ‘Peter, is ye ready?” ‘Yes, Lord, me ready.’ ‘Is de robe white?’ ‘Yes, Lord, de robe is white.’ ‘Is de lamp bright?’ ‘Yes, Lord, de lamp is bright.’ Will de angels come soon? Good-bye, young massa, me pray for he all de time; de angels come soon.”
The kind neighbors came, and, last of all, Mr. Hall's sister Julia. She had a large hamper full of good things to eat. “Well, John, you never did have any family pride; but if you will go, leave me Lizette.”
“No, sister, I ought to have no pride, family or other kind, but I have enough. The Lord take it out of my heart. I can't give you my girl, but I'll try not to dishonor our name.”
It was a weary way through sands and sloughs till the night fell, and the travelers found themselves at the quarters of Mr.
Henry Hall's lower place. They were very comfortable here, but the next day as they were about to leave, Mr. Jenkins, the overseer, said: “Well, Parson, you'll have a hard pull to-day, and there hain't no good place to stop at unless you can get to Col. Alston's; but I reckon you can get lodging such as they is just this side of de ferry, wher’ de rivers come together.” Sure enough it was a hard pull. There had been a great deal of rain, and the Waccamaw was out of its banks, and the swamps were full of water. The wife, who had never been on such a journey, looked anxious enough at the wide waste of waters; but there was no accident, and at sunset they found themselves on the banks of the Great Pedee. There was no place to stop at but the ferryman's cabin. They asked for lodging.
“Well, stranger,” he said, “I reckin I'll do the best I kin. I can't leave the woman and them children thar in the rain. The niggers and the horses must do the best they kin, but you kin come in. I hope you've got some corn for the beasts, for
nary a mite is I got. The fresh done washed it all away, and we can't give you nothing to eat but some corn bread and fat meat. Our cows is on the high lands, and I wish to goodness we war thar too.”
“Well, give us a bed and we will make out; we have enough to eat.”
“Well, stranger, you'll find the skeeters powerful bad, but we are trying to smoke ’em out. Ef you stay outen the house, you'll get wet; ef you go in, the smoke will mighty nigh put out your eyes. Here, old ’oman, take care of this ’oman and the children.”
They went into the cabin. It had one room. The logs were wide apart and open. The rain came trickling through the roof. In the corner were two beds on stakes. The cat-tail of the swamps made the pillows, and oak leaves made the bedding. The mosquitoes buzzed about right vigorously, contending with the smoke which poured from a pan of burning chips. The mistress of the mansion was about the age of Mrs. Hall. She was pale and thin, and evidently in frail health. A little babe was lying in a large cotton basket, and two other children
were on the bed sleeping the sleep of the innocent. There was no light save that made by a pine knot in the fireplace.
“Whar is you'uns a gwine?” said the hostess.
“We are going to Georgetown.”
“You'uns is mighty rich, hain't ye?”
“No, not much; indeed, not at all.”
“Well, I wish I were. Livin’ down here in de swamp, eat up by mosquitoes, is powerful tryin’, and then I's had de chills these two year. I've tuck bones and dogwood bitters and all kinds o’ truck, but I ca-an't git rid of ’em. But I must stir round and git you somethin’ to eat.”
“O no, we have plenty. Have you got a coffee pot?”
“Why, no; we hain't nothin’ but a kittle. We don't have coffee more'n once a year.”
“Well, heat some water and we will have some coffee.”
“Will you have sweetenin’ in it?”
“Do you have it ever’ day?”
“Well, you must be rich, if you have good sweetened coffee ever’ day. That's as much as the Colonel does.”
It was dreary rain outside, smoke within. Lizette ate her supper and cried herself to sleep, and little Susie said: “Mamma, is we ’most to hebben yet?”
After supper Mr. Hall and his host, having seen everything cared for, came in, and Mr. Hall said: “I am going to sing for you, and we will have prayer.”
“Well, I wish you would; I hain't heerd no singin’ sence I was up on Little Pedee and heer Elder Mayberry sing the ‘Romish Lady.’ Say, kin you sing that?”
“No, I can't sing that, but I can sing you something better.” And in a round, sonorous voice he sung:
- “Alas, and did my Saviour bleed?
- And did my Sovereign die?
- Would he devote that sacred head
- For such a worm as I?”
He had finished the song, when he noticed that the woman's eyes were filled with tears.
“I say, mister, do you believe he died for you?”
“O yes, I know he did.”
“Well, I wish I could think he died for me. Parson Mayberry says as how maybe he did and maybe he didn't. If I'm elect, he died for me; if I hain't, he didn't, and I reckon I hain't. It makes me feel pow'ful bad, but I can't help it.”
“Yes, he died for you as he died for me. Now listen.” And he sung:
- “Arise, my soul, arise,
- Shake off thy guilty fears;
- The bleeding Sacrifice
- In my behalf appears;
- Before the throne my Surety stands,
- My name is written on his hands.”
“I am going to pray, and you must pray too, and ask him to save you now, and he will.”
They knelt. The poor woman and her poor husband wept, and when Mr. Hall rose from his knees there was a smile on her face.
“Stranger, you've told the truth. He died for me! he died for me!”
The husband said: “Pray for me, too! pray for me!” And they were both saved that night. What mattered smoke and
mosquitoes and poverty, now that Jesus had come?
Early next morning it was still raining. The ferryman put them over the Great Pedee, and told them that in two miles they would be out of the swamp, and in six more they would reach Col. Alston's, where they would be well cared for. They bade the honest, now happy, people good-by, and went on their way through mud and slush and water till, at nine o'clock, they drew up at the White House.
COL. ALSTON AND HIS HOME.
COL. ALSTON had large plantations on the Lower Pedee, where he raised rice. He had an elegant home in the hills, where he resided. With broad verandas, with wide windows, with roomy halls, the house was large, and furnished with the best English furniture. All that elegance could ask was provided.
The Colonel was warmly hospitable, and when his servant came into the dining room and said there was a gentleman with his wife and children at the door, “Bless my soul!” he said, “women and children out in such a storm! Get umbrella and shawls, and hurry; I would not turn a Federalist out such a day, much less a gentleman.” And putting on his greatcoat and hoisting his large, green umbrella he went out to meet the travelers. He said as he opened the carriage door: “Come in, madam; come,
sir; bring the children. Let us get out of this storm. Stay? of course you can stay; when did James Alston ever shut his door on a woman? Come, come in. Bless my soul, come in! Here, Jim, take them niggers to the kitchen, and put up this stock. Come in, come in. Bless my soul!”
The hospitable roof soon sheltered the strangers, and before the Colonel asked who they were they were hurried in to breakfast.”
“Well, but, Colonel, you have not asked who I am.”
“What do I care? You are not a Federalist and not a Tory, and everybody else is welcome to ‘Summerfield.’ ”
“Well, sir, I am Mr. Hall. Do you remember Henry Hall?”
“Do I remember Henry Hall? Bless my soul, do I remember Henry Hall? Why, I roomed with him at Chapel Hill. Do you know my old friend?”
“He is my brother.”
“He is? Bless my soul! And, Colonel, where are you going?”
“I am no colonel; and I am going to Georgetown.”
“You are? Bless my soul! You are a merchant?”
“No, I am a Methodist preacher.”
“What? you? Beg pardon. You, Henry Hall's brother, a Methodist? Bless my soul! Well, is Henry a Methodist? They look like they are going to take the country.”
“No, sir; not yet.”
“Well, eat your breakfast. You have got to stay here till this northeaster is over, Methodist or no Methodist. Anything but a Tory—bless my soul!—and a Federalist. I expect you had rough fare last night. Why did you not come here?”
“Well, Henry insisted I should, and I would have done so if night and the rain had not come. The people did their best, and I am glad we stopped.”
“Well, I ain't,” said Lizette. “I never want to see that place no more.”
“Papa,” said Susie, when they were alone, “was that big river the river Jordan, and is this hebben?”
“Not quite, my darling.”
The rain fell and fell, and then the winds
blew, and although fire in April is not common in Eastern South Carolina, a blazing fire was on the hearth.
The Colonel's wife was as gentle as he was brusque. They had no children. Two dear ones had died, and the shadows hung over the childless wife, but everything tenderness could do was done to make the strangers’ stay a pleasant one.
The next day was bright and balmy. It was only twenty-five miles to Georgetown, and as the Colonel was going to see Mr. Mordequi, his factor, he had his gig brought out, and they made their way over the piny woods road (all the better for the rain) to Georgetown, which they reached by 4 o'clock.
THE NEW HOME.
WHEN you reach Georgetown, go to Brother Wayne's. He will be looking for you,” said Brother Travis. So as they rode into the outskirts of the little city, Mr. Hall asked the Colonel if he knew Mr. Wayne.
“Know Tom Wayne, ‘Mad Anthony's’ brother? Certainly I do; and I don't know any harm of him, except that he is too easy on Tories and Federalists. I will go by and send him up from the store. Now, Parson, I reckon you've found out that I am not much of a Methodist, but Henry Hall's brother is always welcome to ‘Summerfield.’ I would have been glad to see you for his sake. I'll be glad now to see you for your own. Well, there's Tom Wayne's house. Every Methodist horse in this country can find his stable without a bridle to guide him.”
The carriage stopped, and good Sister Wayne and Sister Horry came out and welcomed the travelers. “You will stay with us,” they said, “till Monday, and then we'll fix the parsonage for you.”
The tired travelers found a welcome and a happy home. Uncle Joe and Aggie and William and Lias took charge of the parsonage kitchen, and went to fixing up things at once.
Georgetown was not so large as Wilmington, but, like it, was hidden among the live oaks. The church was a plain, barnlike building, with galleries all around it. Every Sunday morning these galleries were full of negroes from the plantations, who came in to hear the sermon and attend the class meeting. The most of the negroes were Africans, or those who had lately descended from them. When Mr. Hall rose in the pulpit, he had before him a little handful of intelligent whites, but a gallery full of negroes.
Service was over, and the negroes crowded around the preacher. “This,” said Brother Wayne, “is your class leader,
Jack. We could not get along without Jack. He is the king, and they all obey him.”
“T'ank ye, massa. Me try to keep ’em straight, but dey no keep straight lack me wants ’em. But dey know old Jack gib ’em de strap ef dey no mind de preacher. Massa Hall, me bring ye somet'in’ for cook, some tetter, some egg, and two, t'ree leetle chicken.”
“You may count on Jack bringing you something from the plantation every Sunday,” said Brother Wayne.
“Well, Jack,” said Mr. Hall, “come and see me when I get home, and we will talk matters over.”
The next day the family left Brother Wayne's and went to their own home. It was quite a change from the neat cottage in Wilmington to the humble house in Georgetown, and from the comfortable furnishing of their own home to the very plain and scanty supply of the parsonage. In those days most of the Methodists were quite poor, and even when they were able to do better they were so afraid of being
proud and worldly that they were content with bare necessaries, and left all luxury to the world. But the little house was home, and it was comfortable. It had four rooms, two large ones and two shed rooms. It was unpainted and very plain. There was a two-roomed kitchen, a stable, and a chicken house. Two beautiful live oaks were in the front yard, and twice as many in the back yard. The beautiful bay was in full view, and a broad veranda, front and rear, gave them a pleasant place to enjoy the delightful April days.
The family was not large. Mr. Hall was grave, thoughtful, and somewhat stern; Mrs. Hall, beautiful, impulsive, generous, and hasty. Lizette was her mother's pride. She was now six years old; was very beautiful, and very smart. I am sorry to say she was very willful and very selfish. She was very tender-hearted and very generous when she had her own way. I have often seen very selfish children very ready to give freely when they had all they wanted first. Susie was four. She was a queer child: very sensitive, very timid, very affectionate,
very thoughtful. She loved everybody, but her father was dearer to her than anybody on earth. She was not pretty, and she was not bright. Lizette was so sprightly, quick, attractive; but Susie was very slow and quiet, and little likely to attract any one's attention to her. Her mother was very delicate when she was born, and Lizette was herself a babe then, so Susie was turned over to mammy, as Aunt Agnes was called, and this faithful servant watched over her as she had not watched over her own children.
Susie loved to hear mammy sing and pray and talk, and often left everybody to find mammy, who was never too busy to stop and nurse her child.
“You love Susie better dan you do me, or anybody, mammy, you know you do,” said jealous Lizette.
“Well, sposen I does lub my chile? Don't eberybody lub you and pet you and gib you eberyt'ing? Say, now, don't dey? ’Cept massa, he knows my chile's de best chile in de worl’; but I lub you good enough. Don't I gib you gingercake and
groun'nuts, and make you lillie biscuit? Now tell me dat.”
“Yes, you does; but I know you love Susie best.”
“Well, ain't you shame o’ ’grudgin’ your lillie sisah, what nearly die when she lillie baby, what her mammy gib her? Miss Lizette, I shame for you.”
Susie seemed to see at once that “sister,” as she called Lizette, was to be chief, and never did little princess rule with a more regal sway than the little beauty.
Mr. Hall was a popular preacher, and all the Georgetown people went to hear him; and though he was very plain, and often severe, and they grew angry sometimes, they came again. He had only eighty white members, but he had one thousand three hundred and eighty colored people belonging to his charge, and to see after them was no little task.
Jack was the main class leader, but he had a corps of fifty helpers, who watched over the black flock on the large plantations, and on Sunday morning they met him in the church to give an account of
their work. He spent the week in visiting the plantations. The owners of the plantations rarely lived on them during all the year. The overseer had his house in the pine wood at the edge of the swamp, and the home of the planter, often very handsome and comfortable, was near by. Long rows of little cabins, each with a garden attached, formed the home of each negro family. Work was done by tasks, and the industrious and quick worker had often his half a day for his own patch, which was as large as he chose to have it. When the preacher came, which he generally did in a leisure time, to hold a meeting and examine into the class and catechise the children, the hands would gather in their board tabernacle, when they would have a service.
Some of Mr. Hall's members were large planters, and always gave the preacher all the help they could in doing his work. The poor negroes were very ignorant. Many of them had African heathens for their parents, and there was oftentimes great discouragement in the work; but the faithful preacher found his efforts were not
in vain. Old Jack Horry was the driver on Sister Horry's place, and was the leader of the leaders.
“You can trust old Jack through and through,” said Brother Wayne. “I have known him a long time, and since he was converted I have never known a man more trusty.”
So to see Jack, Mr. Hall rode out to the quarters. It was a leisure time. The rice had been flooded, and the hands had little to do but to attend to their own crops, and the driver was at leisure. The driver was the under overseer. The overseer on a large rice plantation was a very important person. He had to direct and control, but his head driver came and received his orders and gave them to the gangs, which were each under care of a subdriver. Jack had a comfortable cabin, which had two rooms, and which Dinah, his wife, kept exceedingly clean. He was a man of property. He had several cows, a marsh pony, a sow and pigs; and Aunt Dinah had a yard full of turkeys, ducks, and chickens. Jack always expected his preacher to eat at his
cabin, and Aunt Dinah always had a good meal for him. He was looking for Mr. Hall, and when he rode up in the gig, bringing Lizette and Susie, the old man warmly greeted them: “Come in, massa; come in to poor old Jack's house. He no hab much, but he hab what his Massa Jesus no hab; and what he hab he glad to gib to de Lord. Dinah, here de little gals I been tell you ’bout. Git ’em some sugar cane and peel ’em for ’em, and gib ’em some groun’-nuts.”
“Well, Jack, you have a large class here.”
“Yes, massa, me hab one big class. Dey is more dan dey is good.”
“You have been having some trouble with ’em?”
“Yes, massa, dem young niggahs been gib me heap trouble; heap. Dey been dancin’, feeshin’ on Sunday, and no go to class. I been tuck to ’em, I pray wid ’em, I tell ’em what I do, dey no do better. I gib some ob ’em one good strappin’, ’cause you know, massa, de good book say: ‘No spare de rod.’ I t'ink dey do better nex’ time.”
“Well, Jack, how long have you been in the Society?”
“I bin in S'ciety dis twenty yeah. You see, massa, I be one bad niggah. My massa, Maj. Horry, he hab me in de wah, and Mars Frank Marion and my massa hide out in de swamp and fight de Tory and de British, and den de wah ober, Mars Major he make me driber. Me quick like fire, and me beat de lazy niggah, and me beat Dinah dar, and me ’fraid nuddin’ but Mars Major. Well, one day jis ’bout night, a little man, berry pale and tired, ride up to de front gate and say he want to stay all night. Mars Peter tell him for to stay; an’ de nex’ day he say he must go to Charles-’on, and Massa Peter he say me go wid ’em and show ’em de way. Well, massa, dat little man was Massa Asbury; and when we ride along he tell me all about Massa Jesus, and he tell me to go to town to hear Massa Blanton preach. I ’fraid ob de debil, I ’fraid he come and tek me, I t'ink God no care for poor niggah, but when I hear de preacher I say, ‘Jack, dar is your massa.’ and bless de Lord I done tookee Massa
Jesus for my Massa, and I be try to sarb him dese twenty yeah.”
The little negroes were called up and catechised, and then there was a short service for the older ones, and Mr. Hall and the little folks went back to the town.
DADDY JACK AND THE STORM.
JACK was a frequent visitor at the parsonage, and “Lillie Blue Eye,” as he called Susie, was a great favorite with him. He always brought her something from the plantation, and always asked for her when he came to the parsonage. “Daddy Jack,” as Susie called him, was a great favorite of hers, and she sat upon his knee and looked up in his black, rugged face with real affection.
“Daddy Jack,” she said to him, “was you ever a little boy?”
“Why, yes, lillie missie, me be a little boy not so high. But dat be long time far away.”
“Did you have a father and mother like me?”
“Yes, lillie missie, but poor Jack left ’em when he lillie boy, and neber see ’em till to-day. Let me tell you about ’em:
My fadder and mudder lib ’long way ober de sea. Dey lib near de sea where de sheeps come. One big sheep come one day, and de white man see I. He say: ‘Lillie boy, would you like to ride in de boat an’ see big sheep?’ I say: ‘Yes, sir.” I go on de big sheep, and white man gib me cake and candy, and den he tek me in de boat back to me fadder. Den I go nudder time; and one night me sleep on de sheep. Den I go home; and one nudder night me sleep on de sheep, and in de mornin’ sheep ’way out to sea, and I neber see fadder nor mudder till to-day.”
“Daddy Jack, did your father love God?”
“O lillie missie, my poor fadder neber hear ’bout God. My fadder pray to de debbil.”
“Daddy Jack, what makes your father pray to the devil?”
“My poor fadder not know God, and he pray debbil not hurt ’em.”
“Daddy Jack, is you going to heben?”
“Yes, lillie missie, Daddy Jack is bound for dat place.”
“You won't be black then, will you?”
“Bless de Lord, lillie missie, Jack hab white heart, white robe, and be white all ober.”
“Well, Daddy Jack, I am go heben too. I want to go so bad. You's close to heben, ain't you?”
“Yes, lillie missie, me so close me can hear de angels sing: ‘Glory!’ ”
“Well, good-bye, Daddy Jack. When you get to heben and I come, you must meet me.”
“Yes, yes, Lillie Blue Eye; Daddy Jack look for you.”
The months rolled away and the summer was gone, when Aunt Horry came to the parsonage on a special mission. “Brother Hall, it won't do for you to spend September in the town. You and all the family will have the fever. You must shut up the house and go with me to the island. There is no use to say no. I know what is best, and you must obey. So to-morrow Daddy Jack, with the big boat, will be at the wharf, and you must all be there and go over and spend a month with
me at my summer place. You can come to town and preach, but the wife and children must stay there.”
Mr. Hall could not refuse so generous an invitation, and they were at the wharf, and dashed over the smooth, green waves of the bay to Pine Island, where Sister Horry had her summer home.
To my readers who have not seen the sea there would have been an unceasing joy in the first few days on the ocean shore. Stretching far away on the east was the blue sea, while the bay on the other side, and the little city, and the long line of land shore told how near they were to their home. The tides came in with their laughing waves, and went out again, leaving the sandy beach bare and hard. The busy little fiddlers, the quick-moving crabs, the long-billed curlew, the puffing porpoise, the white-sailed ships, the white sea gull, the great eagles, and the sea shells along the beach, all gave the children unceasing amusement and pleasure.
Mr. Hall returned to Georgetown on Saturday to preach on Sunday. When he had
made ready to go on Saturday, Daddy Jack said to him: “Massa Hall, me no like dem scurry clouds. Me t'ink dere be a storm. Me t'ink you better stay on de island. Maybe you no get back in two, tree day.”
“No, Daddy, I must go. Some of my people are sick, and I must go. You must take care of my folks. I leave them in your care.”
“I watch ’em, massa. I pray; but I no know de wedder if der is no storm.”
Daddy Jack, with Tom and Bill, pulled back from town to the island, and every few moments he looked at the angry sky. The wind rose, and the rain began to fall, and from a brisk breeze it began to blow a gale. Jack came anxiously to the big house, and calling his mistress, said: “Missus, we's gwine to hab a storm, and you better not go to bed. I's got de boat anchor strong, and if de wave rise high, I come for you. You need not be scare. I no sleep. Let de lillie ones go bed, and you and missie watch and pray, for we are goin’ to hab an ugly night.”
And an ugly night it was. Soon the
angry waves came rushing in upon the shore, getting nearer and nearer the big house. Now they rose over the steps; now they swept the lower floor. Daddy Jack had been watching the rising waters, and coming up to the side of the house against which the waves did not break, he leaped in at the window and held the boat while Tom and Bill took the women and children in their arms, and soon the waves, as they came rushing in from the sea, and the strong arms of the brave boatmen, bore the boat to the higher ground, where, if not well sheltered, the family were at least safe.
Daddy Jack had thoughtfully provided some dry pine, and as the rain had ceased to fall the howling winds only aided it in blazing high, and around it the shelterless ones stood until Jack felt it safe to take them into his cabin, which was on the highest point in the island.
Poor Mr. Hall! All night long he paced his room floor, praying for that protection for his family which only God could extend, and in the early dawn he turned his glass toward the big house on the island
only to see how the angry waves were sweeping through and around it. Where were they? Were they safe? He swept his glass over the island, and from the top of a dead pine on the dry land he saw a red flag floating. He knew his wife had a red shawl, and rightly judged that Daddy Jack had placed the ensign there. The storm was over, but the waves were rolling high when Daddy Jack, with his two strong oarsmen, struck out from the island, and riding the angry waves reached the wharf to tell that all were safe.
The waves had calmed somewhat, but were still high when Mr. Hall went again to the island. The upper story of the house had not been reached by the water, and as the furniture had been moved into the upper rooms, and as the waves subsided almost as rapidly as they came in, the family were in a few hours home again in their old quarters.
After an earnest prayer of thanksgiving to God, Mrs. Horry gave Mr. Hall the story of their danger and escape. “The island,” she said, “is likely to be swept by severe
storms, and so the house has been built, as you see, of very strong timbers and high from the ground. It is not an uncommon thing for the storms to drive the waves under the house, but it is not often that the water rises to the first story. Daddy Jack, who knows as much about storms as anybody, and who has been on the island during some very wild ones, saw that a fierce blow was coming, and we spent all day Saturday in moving lighter furniture to the upper story. Daddy Jack had the large boat in readiness if it should be as he feared, and gave us warning of our danger, but told us not to be frightened. The storm did come with terrible fury; first wind and rain, and then only wind and waves. Though comparatively safe, as we were in the upper story, we could not escape. At last we could hear the water sweeping through the lower rooms, and then Daddy Jack, with Tom and William, rowed the boat to the window, which you know reaches the floor, and, leaping in, fastened it to the chimney so as to hold it secure; and then, wading through the waves,
they came to us. Taking Agnes, Sister Hall, and myself in their arms, they placed us securely in the boat, which, being sheltered by the house, was resting on the waves; and then they brought the children. It was still blowing furiously, and as we swept from the shelter of the house, the wind and the waves drove us high on the island. The men leaped to the dry land and drew us ashore. Jack had thoughtfully made a large log fire, and we steered to that; and though the wind still blew angrily, we were moderately comfortable. Daddy was very anxious about you, and seeing Sister Hall's red shawl, he proposed to climb the dead pine, and put up the shawl as a flag, rightly judging that you would be on the lookout for a signal. Your little wife acted like a heroine. She was very much frightened at first, but she soon became calm and was as thoughtful as if she had been as used as I am to these dangers of the sea.”
“Well, Lizette, what did you do?”
“I screamed and screamed and screamed, but de win’ blowed so dat I ’spect nobody
heard me, an’ I wants to go back to Wilmington, where we don't have no storms, I do.”
“Well, Susie, my little girl, were you scared?”
“O yes, I was mighty scared, but I ’membered dat God made de storm, and Jesus made de storm stop; so I tole God I was his little girl an’ please to take care of me an’ mamma an’ Lizette an’ you an’ Aunt Horry an’ mammy, an’ I knowed he would, an’ den I was not scared no mo’; an’ den Daddy Jack come.”
The storm was over, and there were weeks of pleasant weather, and the family remained on the island till the frost fell, and then went back to Georgetown.
The Conference year was nearly over; and as the Conference was to meet in Wilmington, Mr. Hall found a packet going from Georgetown to Wilmington, and the whole family took that, and were, in a few days, safely at grandma's in Wilmington. They were here until Conference closed and Mr. Hall was read out to Sandy Creek Circuit. It was in South Carolina, and was two hundred and fifty miles from Wilmington.
THE REMOVAL TO THE UP COUNTRY.
MR. HALL was what the Methodists call a supply. He had not yet joined the traveling preachers, but he did so this winter, and was sent on a circuit. My little readers have already found out that this is a Methodist story. I make it so on purpose. And indeed how could I tell the story of a Methodist preacher's family if I did not tell a Methodist story? Most of my readers are Methodists, and while I do not want them to think Methodists are better than other people, I want them to know all about their Church, and never to be ashamed of it. The Methodist preachers, who belong to the Conference, are expected to go anywhere they are sent, and they go often among strangers. Sometimes they have right hard times. It is so now, but in the times of which I am writing it was a great deal worse. Sometimes a Methodist preacher was on a
large circuit and had to go a long way from home, and leave his wife and children for two or three weeks, and when he came back home he could stay only a very few days. When Mr. Hall came from Conference, he said he must go on a large circuit away in the upper part of South Carolina. Mrs. Hall could not keep back her tears when she knew she would have to go so far, and that Mr. Hall would be away from her so much of the time. But she remembered her promise that night under the live oak, and brushing away her tears, she made ready for her long journey. They were not going to keep house, and so they left Joe and Aggie and Aggie's children, and took only a servant girl. Mr. Hall bought a neat Jersey wagon, and old Ball was to pull it to their circuit.
“We are going, darling,” he said to his wife, “to a very different country from that we have been used to, and I expect you will find many things as you would not like to have them; but we are working for the Lord, and he will take care of us.”
It was a long way and a weary one.
“You will find a good home at Brother Dupre's, about the middle of your circuit,” said the elder; “but you will reach Brother Snodgrass's as you enter on your charge, and you had better go there first. Brother Snodgrass is pretty rough, but his bark is worse than his bite; and Sister Snodgrass is one of the salt of the earth.” It was decided to leave Lizette with her grandmother, and Mr. Hall, his wife, little Susie and Tom, with the nurse, began the journey. A two days’ journey brought them to Camden, where they were to spend the Sabbath. Mr. Hall drove at once to Father Smith's. His neighbors said he kept the Methodist tavern in Camden, but he said he was the Lord's housekeeper, and was only a tenant, and that it was his business to take care of all the Lord's servants as they passed through the city. He came out to meet the stranger. “Brother Hall! God bless you, my young brother! Get out and come in, and bring in the wife and little ones out of this cold. Ann!” he said to his wife, “Ann! come and meet Sister Hall.”
A bustling, fat, motherly-looking old lady
came to the door and to the carriage. “Come, dear; come in, come in. You must be almost chilled through. Here, Jimmy, take your Aunt Hall's things in. Give me the baby! Bless his little heart!” “And give me the blue-eyed girl,” said the old preacher. “Come to grandpa,” said the fatherly old man.
They were soon comfortably sitting at the fireside, and a hot and plenteous supper was spread on the table. It was always thus. No stranger was turned away, no want was ever known. How it was nobody could tell, but old Sandy came as near to it as any one when he said: “Massa Jesus, he know Fadder Smith, what preach to we, and what gib to eb'rybody, and Massa Jesus he send he ravens just lack he do to Lijah. You no see ’em, he no see ’em; but dem ravens dey come sho. Massa Jesus he know.”
The supper table was removed, and the Bible and hymn book were put on the stand. A fervent prayer was offered by the guest. The tired children were placed in the bed, and the old man said: “You begin now,
my son, a life I began over thirty years ago. From Virginia to Georgia I have preached the glad tidings. I have only this to say: trust God and do your duty; follow his guidance, and you will never want any good thing. But you are tired now; go to bed, for you have to preach three times to-morrow.”
On Monday the travelers left the hospitable home, and on Wednesday they drove up to the door of Brother Snodgrass. It was a double log cabin, with two large rooms and two shed rooms. It sat a little way from the roadside. Brother Snodgrass was at the corn crib when the travelers drew up. He was in no good humor, for he had learned that day that the bishop had sent them a married preacher with three children, one who had never traveled a circuit, and of whom he had never heard. It was late in the day, and the day was very cold. Brother Snodgrass was feeding his hogs when the travelers came up.
“Does Brother Snodgrass live here?”
“Snodgrass is my name. What mout yourn be?”
“My name is Hall.”
“Emph! I suppose you is our preacher?”
“Yes, that's who I am.”
“Well, get out and take your critter out. We haven't got no niggers to wait on anybody. Here, Betsy; here's the preacher with his whole family.”
Aunt Betsy Snodgrass put down her knitting and came running out to the wagon. “Get out, my poor dear; I speck you's most friz. Here, give me the baby. Bring in the things, gal. Come in; come in to the fire. I am powerful glad to see ye.”
The ride had been long and cold, and the warm greeting of the old lady was in strange contrast with the cold manner of her husband. After supper the latter said: “So they've sent you to our circuit. I sent word to Brother Asbury to send us a single man of age and experience, and now the Conference is sent us two right young men, and one of ’em with a big family to boot. Well, you'll find the circuit awfully let down. Brother Christopher was a powerful man to take folks into Society, but
what we want is somebody what'll turn ’em out. How large a family is you got?”
“A wife and four children.”
“Sakes alive! And how's you gwine to keep from starvin’? I spose you'll board ’round, and I reckon I'll have to board you the height o’ the time.”
“No; I don't expect to board around.”
“You don't? Well, how in the world do you expect to live? We hain't got no house, nor no furniture, and the last scrap of quarterage we got last year wer'n’t but $150 for two men, all told. I tell you beggars can't be choosers; you'll jest have to board round.”
“Well, I will just not do it. Now, Brother Snodgrass, I have come to this circuit to stay. I have brought my wife. She shall have a good home, and I expect the circuit to pay for it. It can do it, and it must do it.”
“Can do it! Why it ca-a-an't. Thar's ’Squire Larkin, who has twenty niggers, and I could not git but one quarter for quarterage last year, and I gave myself two dollars in quarterage, twice as much as the
run of ’em, and we did not git but $150, I tell you. You'll have to eat it out on ’em, or you won't git it.”
“Well, there's no use talking. I don't look like a man who is used to starving, for I weigh 180 pounds solid, and I am not going to board around, nor starve.”
“That's right, Brother Hall,” broke in the good wife, “talk up to William Snodgrass. It's just what he has been wanting somebody to do this long time. The Lord knows Betsy Snodgrass keeps the key of the smokehouse, and you is welcome to stay here long as you please, but I wouldn't board round if I was you.”
Brother Snodgrass looked first amazed and then amused, and at last a broad smile changed to a merry chuckle. “Well, bless my soul, the women and the preachers are both agin me. Well, have your own way, and if Billy Snodgrass don't stand by his preacher, he'll change powerful.”
Little Susie said gently, when they went into their room: “Papa, does Uncle Snodgrass love God? If he does, what makes him so cross?”
“Yes, dear; I am sure he does.”
“Will Uncle Snodgrass go to hebben?”
“I hope so.”
“Well, papa, will I have to lib wid him? ’cause I'll be scared all de time.”
“The stay at Brother Snodgrass's was pleasant enough after this little encounter, and on Monday Mr. Hall went twenty miles farther to ’Squire Dupre's. The ’Squire lived on a large cotton plantation, in a very commodious and comfortable but plain dwelling. He was not at home. He had gone to Newberry on business. The good wife received them with great warmth, and in the late afternoon the ’Squire returned. He was a man of portly person and florid face. His greeting was warmth itself. After supper, as he sat in the corner smoking his pipe, he said: “I saw Brother Snodgrass at Newberry, and he told me what you told him about boarding round. He laughed at your independence, and I said to him that you were right, and that you ought not to yield to any such demand. Now if you can put up with what we have, you can stay here all the time, and we will
settle the board bill in good time.” So the homeless family was housed.
Hills and mountains were new sights to little Susie. She had listened to her father reading at family prayers, and everything was associated in her mind with heaven and the Bible. “Is dat de mountain round Jerusalem?” she said as she saw one in the distance; and as she saw the hill on which Bethel church stood, she said: “Dat must be de Holy Hill papa read about.”
The year was a peaceful one, and though Mr. Hall was away a great deal of the time, yet the little family was so kindly cared for at ’Squire Dupre's that there was no real discomfort. Susie grew stronger in the bracing air of the hills, and when Mr. Hall turned his face toward Wilmington again, her cheeks were blooming as they had not bloomed before.
Mr. Hall was now appointed to Savannah. To reach Savannah it was easier to go to Wilmington and take the packet boat than to go by private conveyance; and as Mr. Hall wished to see his mother and get Lizette, who had been the year at school, he
decided to go that way to his appointment. The journey was made safely, and the little family in good time were on the Savannah packet boat and on their way to their new home. There was a rough sea, and they were all sick, but in a week's time the packet entered the mouth of the Savannah at Tybee, and on Saturday morning they were in Savannah.
LIFE IN SAVANNAH.
WHEN the packet came up to the wharf, the strangers were met by Brother Stone, who was the chief steward of the charge. His greeting was very hearty. “We've been looking for you, and while we are not many, we are anxious to do all we can for you. We have your home ready, and the carriage is here to take you to it.”
The little white cottage with its four rooms was a humble home, but it was home; and good Sister Stone and Sister Carpenter and Sister Snider were waiting, and received the new pastor and his family with real warmth. The table was spread with a nicely prepared breakfast, and in the larder were supplies for several days. Savannah was then a little city of about five thousand people. There were only three Churches for white people in its boundaries, and the Methodist Society was the weakest
among them; but on Sunday a houseful of strangers came to hear the new preacher. There was quite a contrast between the large crowds of colored people who filled the galleries and back seats in Wilmington and Georgetown and the few who sat in the galleries in Savannah, but among them were Uncle Tom and Aunt Peggy, who had been the first members of the Savannah class. Mr. Capers, who had been in Savannah the year before, was a very popular preacher, and on every Sunday night Presbyterians and Episcopalians came in crowds to hear him. They came now to hear the new preacher, and found him so fervent and eloquent that they continued to fill the seats every Sunday night. There were but few over fifty white members in the Church, but they were very devoted and earnest, and Mr. Hall soon found he had his hands full of work, among a very appreciative and loving people.
Uncle Tom and Aunt Peggy were among the first of his black flock to come and see him. They had come already Methodists from Georgetown to Savannah twenty years
before; and when Samuel Dunwody formed the first class, they joined it.
“Dey ain't many niggers what belong to ’Ciety here, Massa Hall. Dat Baptist, Andrew, he ’witch ’em all, and dey t'ink dey nebber go heben lessen Brudder Andrew done put ’em in de ribber fust; but Peggy and me say we Met'odist, for we hear of Brudder Andrew, and Scriptur’ say w'en you ’gin to plow stick it out, and we bin stick'n yet.
But as I am not writing the life of Mr. Hall in detail, so I need not tell how popular and useful the new preacher was, and how blessed he was in his work.
Susie was now six years old, and she did not even know her letters. I have said she was not bright. She did not learn readily; and while Lizette learned her letters in a day and was able to read very well before she was five, Susie had not yet been able to get beyond the first page of the spelling book. She thought a great deal and said very strange things, and talked to her dolls and her kitten and herself, and lived among the flowers; but somehow she could not
understand what the letters were for. Her mother was very anxious, and sometimes a little impatient, but her father had said she would learn after awhile, she could wait; but now she must go to school.
Susie loved home and was afraid of strangers, and while she was a very good little girl, she was a hard-headed one; and when her mother told her she must go to school, she began to cry. “I's afraid to do. I's afraid de cows will run after me, and I's ’fraid dat big black dog at de torner will bite me, and I's ’fraid de teacher will whip me; and den who'd take care of Popsy Wopsy when her mammy done gone?”
Popsy Wopsy was Susie's big doll. Her grandma gave it to her Christmas. Popsy Wopsy was made of cotton. She was dressed in a red calico dress with a red ribbon about her neck. She had two eyes painted with black ink, and a nose and a chin painted with ink too. She slept in Susie's bed, and Susie used to talk to her a great deal. Popsy Wopsy never answered back. She was never saucy, and she
never cried even when she fell down, as she often did. When Susie put her in a chair she sat there very quietly, and when she laid her down and said, “Now, Popsy Wopsy, you must go to sleep, your mammy is doin’ visitin’,” Popsy Wopsy was as quiet as she could be. Some people would have called Popsy Wopsy a rag doll, but then old people don't see things like children do.
“My little girl, you mustn't cry, and you must go to school, but mammy will go with you, and come after you, and you can carry Popsy Wopsy with you, and let her sit with you.” So Susie was quieted, and next day she went to school.
Miss Nora Ryan loved little children, and she had near twenty in her school; and when Lizette and Susie came, she kissed them both, and said: “Well, your name is Lizette. Can you read?”
“Why, yes, ma'am. I kin read good. I kin read all about the little boy in the apple tree, and not spell a word.”
“Well, Susie, can you read?”
“Can Susie read? Why, no, ma'am, she
don't know nothing. She don't know big ‘M’ from little ‘m,’ and mamma can't learn her.”
“Well, Susie, I think you will learn, but you need not try to-day. What's that you have in your arms?”
“Why, dis is Popsy Wopsy. You see I neber have left her by herself, and I was ’fraid she might be lonesome, so mamma said I might bring her to school.”
“Well, that's all right. Now you and Alice Wright can go out and play with Popsy Wopsy, and to-morrow I'll bring you a little book with pretty pictures in it.”
School was not so bad a place after all, and Susie and Popsy Wopsy and Alice had a good time.
It was not an easy thing for Susie to learn, but in a week she knew all the big letters, and in another she knew all the little ones, and before the school closed Susie could read pretty well. Popsy Wopsy, I must say, did not learn much, and Susie never could teach her how to read at all.
Miss Nora used to tell the little girls and boys some beautiful stories, some from the
Bible and some from—well, I don't know where. One that touched Susie very much was the story of the babes in the wood. The story was of a cruel uncle who wanted the property which belonged to his two little kinsmen. He hired a forester to take the little ones to a wood and kill them; but when the forester and his companion reached the wood, they quarreled and killed each other, and the little babes were left there by themselves; and they wandered and wandered, and at last laid down and died; and the robins came and gathered leaves and covered them; and because the robins were so kind-hearted, God gave them pretty red breasts.
Poor little Susie, how sad it made her feel; and then when she heard of Red Riding Hood she felt like she could not be glad enough because the woodman came just in time to save little Red Riding Hood from the wolf.
One day Susie said: “Miss Nora, may I tell you a story I thinks up myself?”
“Well, well, dere was a little girl, bery
little girl, and she went into de woods, and de big bears eat her up, and when her mudder come to hunt for her she found her safe and sound.”
“Well,” said Miss Nora, “she was safe and sound, was she? I am glad.”
“And so is I,” said Susie.
Really, school was not so bad after all. The big red cow simply went on nipping the grass as the little girls went by, and did not even so much as look at them with her great eyes. The black dog came up wagging his tail; and when mammy told Susie to give him a biscuit, he gulped it down and came up with almost a smile and let Susie pat him on his big shaggy head. Every morning as she came, the dog would run to meet her, so they might have a race. And then Miss Nora was so good. The old folks shook their heads and said Miss Nora was not strict enough; but somehow her little girls and boys learned faster than any little ones in the town. Even Dr. McWhir, who was as straight as an arrow and never smiled, and whose awful cane came down with fearful regularity on the shoulders of all alike,
never had such scholars as Miss Nora Ryan. Susie went through the primer and could read in the first reader before the summer came, and then her papa bought her a book. She and Lizette each had one. Susie's was “Mother Goose's Melodies.” Who Mother Goose was I don't know. I don't think she came from Boston, and I don't think she was born very lately, and I don't think she was one body at all; but her jingle was all music to Susie. Her mamma read it to her:
- Hey diddle diddle, the cat and the fiddle,
- The cow jumped over the moon,
- The little dog laughed to see such sport,
- And the dish ran away with the spoon.
“Mamma, did not that cow jump mighty high? I don't wonder the little dog laughed at her.”
Brother Myers looked a little solemn when he saw Susie with Mother Goose and Popsy Wopsy, and said something about Mr. Wesley on the training of children, but Mr. Hall said: “Wait, my brother, till you are married and have children of your own, and then you'll see. Mr. Wesley never had any children but those at Kingswood, and
a pretty kettle of fish he made of them with his rules.”
“Well, Brudder Hall, dat's wat all de fadders and mudders say; but if I should ever marry, you'll see”—
“Yes, I'll see.”
SUSIE IN TROUBLE.
POPSY WOPSY was not a rag doll to Susie.
She was her own darling, the dearest, sweetest, and best of all the doll family. Now, I am not going to try to explain how Popsy Wopsy, which to other people seemed only a rather homely bundle of rags, made in the rather ugly form of an ill-shaped girl, was to Susie what she was, only to say I have seen mothers who saw in their children what no one else saw, and who loved with all ardor and almost worshiped in them traits no one else could see but that mother. A word to the disparagement of Popsy Wopsy aroused Susie as nothing else did. But few ever spoke that word. They had too much respect for her feelings. With “Mother Goose” and Popsy Wopsy, Susie had an unceasing source of enjoyment. “The old woman who lived in a shoe” she was a little afraid
of, and Jack, who “fell down and broke his crown, when Gill came tumbling after,” excited her deep sympathy.
One Saturday afternoon little Alice Wright came over to see Susie. How close was their friendship for each other, with what warm sympathy they cared for Popsy Wopsy, and how they delighted in “Mother Goose,” we have not told, nor need we tell.
Alice had received a beautiful gift from her aunt in New York. It was a genuine wax doll, with golden hair and deep blue eyes and the rosiest cheeks, and, wonderful to tell, the doll could—or rather she could be made to—open and shut her blue eyes. O, she was a beauty! and Popsy Wopsy looked very plain and common beside her.
Now I am sorry to say that Susie was inclined to be jealous, and when this wonderful doll was put beside Popsy Wopsy, Susie's darling looked sadly common, and Susie could not hide that unpleasant fact from her eyes. Alice was delighted with her baby. It had such a fine dress, too; a
dress of real red silk, with a blue ribbon sash and a string of red beads around her charming neck.
“Now, Susie, ain't she a beauty? She is the prettiest and the sweetest doll dat ever was!”
Susie looked grave. Should she, could she be so unfaithful to Popsy Wopsy as to admit such claims for the new doll? Popsy Wopsy, who was so dear to her, and who had been such a favorite with Alice? Her motherly affection rose, and she said: “She is right pretty, but she ain't as sweet as Popsy Wopsy.”
“Yes she is; she's just the sweetest darling baby anywhere.”
“No she ain't,” said Susie. “She is proud, too, and she thinks she's mighty fine.”
“I don't care if she does. She is fine and pretty too, and is a heap sweeter than Popsy Wopsy.”
“Popsy Wopsy is a heap gooder.”
“Popsy Wopsy ain't got no blue eyes
nor rosy cheeks. She ain't nobody but a rag doll, nohow.”
This was too much, and Susie began to cry, and said through her sobs: “Alice Wright, you's real mean, and I don't love you, and I wish you'd go home.”
“And I don't lub you needer, and I'm a goin’ home, and I'll never, never come here no more.” And indignant Alice with flushed face went home.
“O mamma,” said Lizette, “Susie's done drove Alice home, and she says she's never comin’ here no more.”
Poor Susie was thoroughly miserable, and told her good mamma how deeply she had been wounded, and yet how sorry she was that she was so unkind to Alice.
Her mother told her it was wrong to get angry, and added: “Now, Susie, go to the kitchen and get mammy to give you some of those nice tea cakes, and take them to Alice, and tell her you are sorry, and make friends.”
Susie was not reluctant to go, for she was very sorry because of her temper. So she put on a nice white apron and was
soon at Alice's home. Alice came to meet her.
“Alice, I's brought you some cakes, and I's come to tell you I am sorry I got mad.”
“And I'm sorry I called Popsy Wopsy a rag doll,” said Alice.
And so the trouble ended.
“DAT BOY WILLIAM.”
I REGRET to say that Uncle Cæsar Anderson made a true prediction about “dat boy William;” for despite Mam Aggie's careful instructions, and not infrequent applications of the “cow-skin,” William continued to be the most mischievous, vexatious, and unmanageable black urchin in the neighborhood. To get up a dog fight, to set the dogs on the inoffensive cats, to pit Aunt Aggie's “domineck” rooster against Bill Wright's game rooster; indeed, to do everything forbidden and to neglect to do all that was commanded were striking features of William's character. He was quick and smart, could wait on the table, black the shoes, go on errands, and was truly fond of Mars Tommy, whose special attendant he was, and really loved his folks and his mammy; but William was a hard case.
William had, however, taken quite a religious turn; and when the big meeting was going on at the Baptist Church of Dr. Andrew Marshall, William was a faithful attendant. His mammy began to have some hopes of his reformation; and though she did not take much to the Yamacraw brethren of the deep water persuasion, yet she was glad of anything that would help William. She had concluded her Friday afternoon work and was sitting in her clean kitchen when she heard a knock at the door. She went to it and found Dr. Marshall. He was a venerable black man, dressed in black clothes, with a broad-brimmed hat and a great white cravat. His hair was almost snowy white, and was carded with scrupulous neatness. His manners were very dignified, an almost exact copy of the manners of the courtly Dr. Holcombe, who had been pastor of the Baptist Church of the whites years before, and who was Dr. Marshall's ideal of a preacher.
“Good evening, Missus Hall. I's not been requainted wid you, but I am Dr. Andrew Marshall, of the Fust Baptist Church.
I's called to see you on some berry ’portant bisness.”
“I's glad to see you, Dr. Marshall. I's hear you preach, and do’ we don't ’long to de same ’nomination, yet we's boun’ for de same place. I's glad to say we's not goin’ to quar'l ’bout t'ings.”
“No, Sis'er Hall, we Baptis’ folks is putty sure we's right, kase sence de day ob John de Baptis’ we's been here, but we's boun’ to let udder folks tek der own way. But I's sorry to say I's come on some berry displeasant matters. I's come to see you ’bout dat boy William ob yourn.”
“O Brudder Marshall, dat boy been de worry ob my life. What is he bin doin’ now?”
“Well, ma'am, we bin hab some meetin’ round at de church, an’ some boy dey make a fuss at de doo’, an’ Deacon Jones he berry quick in he temper an’ he go out fur to stop ’em, an’ he ketch your boy William an’ he pull his ear an’ he shake ’im good, an’ den he turn ’im loose.”
“Well, dat was right, only Deacon Jones should spank ’im bad.”
“Well, dat boy he come to church two, t'ree, four night, an' he 'have hese'f lack he had real 'ligion.”
“Done 'im good?”
“Well, ma'am, I don't know dat. He set in de gal'ry right ober whar Deacon Jones set. Now Deacon Jones, ef I mus' say so, he will go to sleep, an' one night he be asleep while I preach, an' he mouf open, an' he hab a big mouf, when kerchug down fum de gal'ry come a green apple, an' hit fell smack in Deacon Jones's mouf; an' de way dat man jump an' cough was a sight. Well, nobody know who did 'em, but your boy William he sot dar so good an' quiet dat I t'ink he de boy. Well, t'ree night ago Deacon Jones be standin' up an' singin' wid all his might, when pat on de crown ob his bald head come fall a June bug, an' he claw his b'ar head, an' de bug he git caught in his wool, an' de way dat man claw an' jump, an' eb'rybody laugh, an' den one man behin' your boy William he ketch at de collar an' say, 'You de boy,' but he jump loose an' run under de bench an' got away. Den Deacon Jones say he
tell Mr. Stone, de marshal, an' Deacon Stevens say he ketch 'im an' whip 'im, an' I say, 'No bruddern, I go see Sis'er Hall, an' I turn 'im ober to her.' ”
“T'ankee, Brudder Marshall, I's got a good cow-skin ober dar, an' I teach dat boy how to degrace he fambly an' bring mishonor on he par'nts. T'ankee fur tell me.”
When William came home his mammy got quietly up and buttoned the door, and, taking her cow-skin from the shelf on which it lay, said: “Now, William, tell me de truf an' nuffin but de truf. What you drap dat apple down Deacon Jones's t'roat fur?”
“I 'clar, mammy, I 'clar I neber drap no apple in Deacon Jones's mouf, I 'clar I didn't!”
“You tell a story, you knows you do, an' I's gwine ter whip yer fur tellin' a story.”
“I 'clar, mammy, I neber tell no story. I hope I may die dis minute ef I tell any story. I neber drap no apple.”
“Well, what you drap?”
“I jes' drap a permatters.”
“Well, what 'bout de June bug?”
“I neber done dat.”
“No, mammy, I jes' drap a black beetle.”
Alas for “dat boy William!” He was sadly punished, even though it was not an apple or a June bug.
SUSIE JOINS THE CHURCH.
SUSIE was a very religious child. She could not remember when she first began to pray. The first prayer she learned was:
- Now I lay me down to sleep,
- I pray thee, Lord, my soul to keep;
- And if I die before I wake,
- I pray thee, Lord, my soul to take.
Lord, bless papa and mamma and brother and sister; and make me a good girl, for Christ's sake. Amen.
She believed God loved her. She knew she loved him. She heard about Jesus. She never grew tired of hearing of how good he was, and was so sad at the story of his sufferings and death. If you had asked her if she loved God, she would have said she loved him better than anybody. I am sure there was no time since she opened her blue eyes in this world that she would not have gone to heaven if she had died, and yet until now Susie had never trusted
in Jesus as a Saviour, and asked God to give her a clean, new heart. She really did not know she was a sinner and needed a Saviour.
That September there was a revival in the Church at Savannah. Brother Andrew came over from Charleston, Brother Myers came down from Goshen, and Mr. Hall was already there. There was preaching every night and prayer meeting every morning. As the parsonage was near the church, little Susie and Lizette went to the meetings. Old Sister Campbell used to get happy and shout. Brother Stone would go around shaking hands, and many people would come crying to the front seats, where they would stay on their knees a long time. Sometimes they would rise up and shout, “Glory!” and then Mr. Hall and Brother Andrew would sing the song Susie loved to hear. The sermon would be very earnest, and Susie would do her best to keep awake, but she would go to sleep after awhile. When the sermon closed, she would wake up and eagerly watch what was going on. She said to her mother at home: “Mamma,
what made Mr. Bates cry so? Did anything hurt him?”
“Yes, his heart hurt him because he was a sinner, and he was afraid he would not go to heaven.”
“Mamma, what are sinners?”
“They are people who do wrong.”
“Won't they get to heaven?”
“Not unless God takes their sins away.”
“Mamma, I's mighty glad of one thing.”
“What is that, darling?”
“Dat I am not a sinner, and dat I'll go to heaven.”
“Did my little girl never do wrong?”
“Well, I never done much wrong.”
“Did she never get vexed with Lizette?”
“Well, she made me.”
“Did she not quarrel with Alice Wright?”
“Yes, ma'am, but I told her I was sorry, and we made up.”
“Did she not cry when I told her to go to school?”
“Well, now think of one day when you never did or said anything you ought not. Can you think of one?”
Susie was silent; then she said: “Good all day?”
“No, ma'am, I isn't been good all day, but I's been gooder dan I's been bad.”
“But a sin is a sin, if you have only done one.”
“Mamma, is I a sinner?”
“Yes, dear, we are all sinners.”
“Well, mamma, won't God take me to heaven?”
“Yes, dear, he will take away your sins if you ask him, for Christ's sake.”
“Who died for sinners?”
“Did he die for you?”
“Well, ask God to take away all your sins for Jesus's sake, and he will do it.”
The next day Susie said to her papa: “Papa, what did Mr. Snyder and Mr. Purse and so many people give you their hands for?”
“They joined the Church. By that they said that they belonged now to Jesus, and not to the world.”
“Papa, is I in de Church?”
“Yes, you've been baptized.”
“But is I in de Church like grown folks?”
“No, not yet.”
“Don't I belong to Jesus?”
“Well, God done took away my sins, 'cause I asked him.”
“Why, last night. Mamma told me God would, and I asked him, and he did; and I want to join de Church sure enough.”
“Well, dear, are you not too young?”
“Is I too young to love Jesus?”
“No, dear; and you may join the Church.”
And so the next time the invitation was given little Susie, now seven years old, joined the Church. She did not begin her religious life then. It began long before, but then Susie felt in her heart that her life belonged to God as she had never felt it before.
Now some of the grown people who may read my little book will think this was
a very great mistake of Susie's papa, and only evil would come out of it; but I think he was right. Jesus said, “Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of God,” and I think he knew.
THEY MOVE TO CHARLESTON.
MR. HALL was a traveling preacher, and Mr. Hall had, of course, to move; so when Conference met he was sent from Savannah to Charleston. Charleston was a very much larger city than Savannah. They were only about a hundred miles apart. The mail packets went between the cities every day. Soon after Conference Mr. Hall had all his family on board the “Mary Ann,” and she was floating with the tide toward Tybee. When Susie awoke the next morning, the little vessel, with her sails spread, was dashing her way through the water, with the land in sight on one side and the wide, bright blue sea on the other. She was making her way rapidly toward Charleston, where she arrived early in the day.
They found a little parsonage waiting for them. It was not very fine nor very
comfortable, but it was a shelter, and they found many very warm-hearted people glad to greet the new preacher and his family.
I have been telling so much about Susie that I have said very little of the rest of the household. Beautiful Lizette, who was now nine, and mischievous Tom, who was now five, have been almost forgotten; but they were still in the family, and so were Uncle Joe and Aunt Aggie and “dat boy William.”
Lizette was prettier than ever. Her black curls and dark, flashing eyes and her bright sayings made her a great favorite. She did not join the Church when Susie did. She rather thought Susie was a foolish little girl for doing so. She said she was not going to wear an ugly old bonnet like Aunt Freeman, and she wanted some gold rings and some ear bobs, and when she was grown she was going to wear them too.
“Dat's mighty weeked talk, Miss Lizette, and you a preacher's little gal. I's shame of you, dat's w'at I am,” said mammy. But Lizette shook her curls and laughed as she ran away. Mrs. Hall was a very good
woman, but she could not see why Lizette should not dress like other girls, nor why she might not be indulged a little, and so the little maid had her own way.
One day after they had been in Charleston a few days Miss Judith McKenzie called. Miss Judith was a teacher. Her father was a Scotchman, and her mother was Miss Judith Winslow, of Boston. Captain McKenzie was a seafaring man, whose ship visited Boston. There he met Miss Winslow, and they were married. After their one daughter, Judith, was grown, they moved to Charleston. They had been Congregationalists in Boston, but they became Methodists, and Miss Judith for near twenty years had been a pillar in Bethel Church. Miss Judith had two little gray curls on each side of her cap, and otherwise her hair, now getting gray, was primly laid on a very white, smooth brow. She dressed in gray. Not a ring nor a ruffle nor a furbelow was on her dress. She spoke in very slow and very calm tones, and moved with a very measured step. She was the very pattern of correctness. The old bachelor preacher
found her a model as a governess of children, but Brother Andrew rather doubted if her way was wisest. The reason was, Brother Andrew had some children of his own, and the bachelor did not have any, and that makes, I have noticed, a world of difference.
“I am afraid, father,” said Mrs. Hall, “that Miss Nora has spoiled Susie. It will not do for the child to have too easy a time at school, and I think we had better send her to Miss Judith, where she will have some discipline. Any way, I will see her about it.”
One day not long after Miss Judith called and gave Sister Hall her ideas of a true school government. “This life is a serious matter,” she said, “and children cannot be taught too soon how serious it is. They are naturally frivolous, and it takes hard discipline to teach them habits of self-control. We may love them ever so much, but the truest love is to subdue their stubborn will and mortify their pride.”
The loving, gentle mother stood abashed in the presence of Miss Judith, and yielded assent even when her heart doubted.
Susie came in from her play. She was a very truthful child. She abhorred a lie, and she did not know how to evade the truth. Children have strange intuitions, strange likes and dislikes. Susie was not at all attracted to Miss Judith, and when her mother said, “This is Miss Judith. She is to be your teacher. Don't you want to go to school to her?” Susie answered promptly, “No, ma'am.”
“Why not, darling?”
“'Cause I is afraid of her.”
Miss Judith smiled a quiet, gratified smile. “Well, little girl, Miss Judith won't hurt you if you are good.” But she looked as if it was a compliment to have the little girl afraid of her.
MISS JUDITH AND SUSIE.
IT was quite a long walk for the two little girls from the parsonage to the schoolroom, which was a room in a large, old-fashioned house. The house was two stories and a half high, and in the half story was a dreary-looking room, the sole light of which came through the gable window. The house was a dreary, dingy old building, with moss on the roof, and evidently a hundred years old. There was not a flower nor tree about it. The schoolroom was a large room in the first story. It was a cold, pitiless-looking place. The children were about twenty little girls. They were sitting very demurely and quietly, each by her little desk. “I never let children play,” said Miss Judith. “Life is no playtime; and if children play in childhood, they will wish to play when they are grown.” At 9 o'clock the school began, at 12 there was a short
recess, and at 2 the children went home. Susie was chilled as soon as she went into the schoolroom. Naturally timid, shrinking from strangers, afraid of harsh words, when she saw the room and the teacher, her fear became uncontrollable. Miss Judith said: “Elizabeth, you will sit in that seat and keep quiet; and, Susan, you will sit here by me.” Poor little Susie was so lonely, so desolate that her lips began to quiver, and soon the tears began to flow, and she began to sob.
“Susan Hall, I want no silly behavior. What is the matter with you?”
“I wants to go home.”
“Well, you are not going home, and you must stop that crying immediately. Do you hear?”
Alas! the sobbing continued.
“Susan, are you not ashamed to be such a perverse, obstinate child? If you do not stop that crying at once, I will find a way to make you.”
“I can't stop. I is trying.”
“Yes, you can; and you must, or I will lock you in the attic.”
Fear became terror, and with an earnest effort the little child drove back her tears.
“Now, Susan, if you will be a good girl, I will be good to you; but I do not intend to have any foolishness.”
Poor Susie! What was she to do? She could not get rid of her dread. The day passed, however, and with tearful eyes she went to school again the next day. She was a dull child, and she knew it. Miss Nora had known it, and had given the child sympathy and patience. But Miss Judith was too austere for such indulgence. The consequence was that when Susie tried to say her lesson she was so frightened that she always missed it.
“Now, Susan, I have waited on you long enough. You can learn, and you shall learn. Now, if you miss one word of that lesson, I shall most certainly punish you.”
The trembling child did her best; but when she was called to recite, she could not spell a single word.
Opening her dreadful desk, Miss Judith took out a dunce cap, and put it on the child's head, and, standing her in the corner
of the room, said: “Now, dunce, stand there.” Poor child! kings have lost crowns with less pain than she bore this shame.
The next day Miss Judith said: “Now, you obstinate, wicked child, I have tried to do something with you, and if you do not recite without missing the nines in the multiplication table this morning, I will send you to the attic to stay all day.”
It was frightful, but the very prospect of the punishment was too much for her, and as usual she missed every question. Taking her sternly by the hand, Miss Judith led her through the dark halls, up the long stairs to the dreary attic, and, closing the door, she locked the little girl in and went back to her duties. Poor child! she cried, she almost shrieked in terror. A great rat ran across the floor, and her fear became almost panic. At noon a colored girl came and brought a glass of water and a slice of bread to the little prisoner. The child's cheek was flushed with fever, and her eyes were red with weeping. She could think of but one friend that she could reach, and she cried: “O Jesus, do pity little Susie.”
At 2 o'clock the school was out and the children went home.
“Mamma,” said Susie, “I don't want no dinner, my head hurts so.”
“Well, darling, come and lie down here on mamma's bed, and you will feel better after awhile,” said the now anxious mother. “What can be the matter with the child?”
Susie fell asleep, and, tossing in her sleep, she cried: “O please, ma'am, please, ma'am, I will try. Please, ma'am, don't shut the door. Please, ma'am, I will; nine times two is—I can't think.”
“O my child,” said the mother, “what can the matter be? Run, Lizette, for Aunt MacFarlane, and tell her to come here.”
Aunt MacFarlane came, but not alone, for with her came Sister Bessent. They found the sick child, and then Sister Bessent spoke up: “I am too late, but I started here this evening to stop this. Miss Judith is killing this child. My Eliza told me a week ago of how the little baby was persecuted, and I intended to tell you then, but I said, when I heard from her of the poor
child being locked up in that dreary room, that I would come right straight. I am so sorry I did not come before.”
The brain fever continued a week; then the little pale-faced child began to see things as they were. Miss Judith sent every day to know how she was, and hoped that she would soon be well enough to come to school again. She had tried to do her duty, and she thought that she had done the child some service.
SUSIE'S FRIENDS AND PLEASURES.
THE roses did not come again to the little girl's cheeks very soon, and she was not sent to school for the rest of the year. But she had Popsy Wopsy and a beautiful blue-eyed wax doll, an elephant made of dark cloth and stuffed with cotton, some comical little mice with red eyes, a white rabbit with yellow eyes, a live mocking bird, “Mother Goose,” “Jack and the Bean Stalk,” “Jack the Giant Killer,” and “Little Jack Horner” to keep her company. Miss Judith sent her a copy of the “Child's Instructor,” in which a poor little boy with a wonderfully short jacket and a funny little hat stood looking intently at a temple that stood on a rather high and steep hill. On the temple stood “Fame,” and at its base stood “Truth,” “Morality,” and “Industry.” In the book was much good reading about “Truth” and
the rest, but somehow “Jack and the Bean Stalk” interested Susie a good deal more than Miss Judith's book, which, after all, told the little girl what she already knew: that she ought to tell the truth and be good. She had a beautiful book of “Bible Stories,” full of the prettiest pictures, and her papa used to call her to him and show her the pictures in the “Holy War,” and the “Pilgrim's Progress,” and tell her about the “Wonderful Dreamer” and his wonderful journey.
Now I am afraid some of my older readers will blame me for talking about “Mother Goose” and the wonderful “Jacks,” and ask me what is the use of these foolish things. I can't tell them what is the use; but when they tell me why my little girl loves flowers and bright colors, and why God makes so many pretty ferns to grow in the shadow of the rocks in the mountains, and spangles the pine woods with violets and pinks, and festoons the wild trees with the yellow jasmine, and why the bay and magnolia shed their fragrance in the deep depths of the wild swamp, then I will answer
why children love red and blue and green colors, and why “Mother Goose” and the wonderful “Jacks” hold their place.
I am glad that Mr. hall did not put his little girl in a straight-backed chair and teach her Greek, as one great man I read of once did his little boy. I am glad he gave her pictures and storybooks and playthings in abundance.
She had Mamie Mood and Tommy Wynn and Lillie Mason and funny Jim Brown for playmates, and they had a jolly time. Sometimes they played base, and sometimes they played checks; and sometimes when there were a good many of them they played “Chicky, My Chicky, My Craney Crow;” and that boy William, who dearly loved his “Miss Susie,” would stand on his head and walk on his hands and act like the clown did in a circus, which, I am sorry to say, that little reprobate managed once to visit.
On Susie's birthday they had a party. The little girls and boys came at 5 o'clock, and played all kinds of pretty plays until 8
o'clock, when they had a nice supper. Lizette and little Tom had their birthdays, as I believe all people have, and they had little parties. Well, some people will object to that too, and say that it was a foolish waste of money; but somehow I think no money is better spent than that spent in making good children happy. I am glad these little gatherings were children's parties, and not parties of little men and women. The little folks were little folks, and dressed like little children, and played like little children. They played a little play—let me see if I can remember it—I used to play it with the children even after I was a man. We had a great ring of boys and girls. Inside the ring was a boy and a girl. We all sung:
- Many, many stars are in the sky,
- And some as old as Adam;
- Fall upon your knees and kiss whom you please,
- Your humble servant, madam
And then the little boy would step to the ring and choose the girl he loved best and kiss her, and she would go into the ring in his place, and the little girl would make a
demure courtesy to a little boy and he would take her place in the ring.
Susie was trying to be a good Christian. She never grew angry nor used ugly words in her play, but she loved to play as the mocking bird loves to sing and the lamb to skip in the green pastures. For my part, I am glad she did love to play, and I hope the time will never come when I shall not rejoice with the children in their harmless sports.
PATRICK O'FLAHERTY, BRIDGET, AND TEDDY.
WHEN Mr. Hall reached Charleston, he employed a pleasant-looking, red-faced Irishman to dray his goods to the parsonage. Patrick O'Flaherty and Teddy, his horse, became pretty well acquainted with all the preacher's family. Like most Irishmen, Patrick was very kind-hearted, and very fond of “the childer,” as he called the children. He was especially attached to little Tom, who used to stand on the steps and call to him as he passed by with his dray. Many an orange and banana picked up by Patrick on the bay, when he was hauling fruit, found its way to Master Tom's pocket. Patrick liked “his Riverence,” as he called Mr. Hall, who, wherever he saw him, was always ready to lift his hat and greet the drayman as if he had been a lord.
One day Patrick and his faithful Teddy were going by the parsonage with a load of
sugar. Just as they entered the somewhat narrow street a circus procession came into the street before them. There was the red band wagon, with its trumpeters and drummers and a long team of white horses. Behind these came cages of wild beasts, and two elephants and two camels brought up the rear. Teddy was a good-natured horse, and thought a great deal of Patrick; but even an Irishman's horse can't stand everything; so when Teddy saw the long hump-backed camels and the big odd-shaped elephants, he lost all control of himself, and in spite of his great load and his master's assuring words he began to try to get out of the way. As he could not go forward nor turn around, he began to back. Unfortunately for Patrick, it happened that just behind him there had been made by the street gang an excavation for a sewer. Into the ditch Teddy backed one of the wheels of the dray, and Patrick and his load of sugar came tumbling out. Happily for Patrick, the sugar barrels came first, all but one small case of conical-shaped loaf sugar, which fell upon him, and, alas! broke one
of his legs in two places. Teddy too was thrown down, but was not hurt. A crowd quickly gathered and lifted poor Teddy to his four feet, where he stood trembling, and Patrick to his two, on which he could not stand at all. Just then Mr. Hall, who, with the little ones, was in the porch looking at the procession, heard little Tom cry out: “O papa! papa! Teddy is done fell down, and Patrick is killed!” Mr. Hall hurried to the spot to find Teddy up but Patrick down.
“O yer Riverence, I am kilt intoirely, I am. Both o’ me ligs but one is broke in two places intoirely. I am kilt, I am.”
“No, no, Patrick, not so bad as that. Bring him into the parsonage, men. And here, Jimmy, run and tell Dr. Mood to come as soon as he can.”
“An’ will you pl'ase sind to noomber fefty-five Coomberlan’ an’ tell Bridget O'Flaherty to coom too.”
Mr. Hall had Teddy taken into the yard and sent for Bridget and the doctor. The doctor came, and poor Patrick said to him: “Well, docthur, I don't think ye can do
mooch fur me, fur I'm a'most intoirly kilt, but I hope ye'll kape me alive till I see Bridget an’ the praste.”
“O no, Pat, you are better than half a dozen dead men yet; though if one of those big sugar barrels had fallen on you, your chance would have been small. Your leg is broken in two places, and you will have to be quiet for a little while.”
“Och, och, sure it's a'most the same as to be kilt, fur there's no one to tind to Tiddy, bad luck to him. Though, poor brute, I can't blame him fur bein’ scart o’ the ugly baste. An’ who'll see to poor Bridget, now her Patrick is got both o’ his ligs broke but one?”
“The Lord will provide, Pat. Now let Dr. Mood set your leg and you lie quiet here.”
In a little time Bridget—a bustling, red-faced, fat Irish woman—came to the door. She rushed to the room and turned to Mr. Hall: “An’, yoor Riverence, is me poor hoosban’ goin’ to lose his lig? an’ is he kilt?”
“No, Bridget, there is no danger, if you
will nurse him well, of his losing his leg; and as to being killed, he has just escaped that.”
“O thanks to the Howly Vargin an’ St. Patrick, I'll noors him. An’ now, Patrick, me b'y, joost hilt up an’ kape in good speerits, an’ ye'll pull through.”
Patrick could not be moved for some days; but he was comparatively free from pain, and soon his spirits came back.
Mr. Hall instructed Joe to take Teddy and the cart and faithfully serve Patrick's customers.
Patrick's priest, Father Rooney, came to see him, and finding he did not need extreme unction, he left him in the charge of Mr. Hall, with some little fear that if Patrick got well he might have too great a liking for the “swaddlers,” as he called the Methodists.
While Patrick was unable to be moved, he had much to say to the children, and they much to say to him.
“Mr. Patrick,” said little Tommy, “is you an Irishman?”
“Yis, me b'y.”
“An’ is Bridget an Irishman too?”
“Well, me b'y, I expict she is.”
“An’ is Teddy an Irishman too?”
Patrick smiled broadly and said: “Well, I can't say fur Tiddy, but he's an Irish name.”
“Mr. Patrick, is Irishmen good folks?”
“Well, little mon, soom moight be better nor they are.”
“Don't Irishmen drinks whisky? ’Cause William say dey do.”
“Well, little mon, soomtimes they do take a dhrap o’ the crater.”
“An’ William says Irishmen gets drunk. You gets drunk, don't you?”
“Well, me little mon, if me head had been cool the mornin’ I broke me lig, I moight o’ kipt Tiddy from fallin’, but I'll quit drink noo.”
“Patrick, does you ever come to hear papa preach?” said little Susie.
“Well, me blue-eyed angel, I can't say's I do. Sure an’ I belong to the Howly Catholic Church, an’ I go to the mass ivery Soonday; but whin I git so I kin walk, I'll certainly hear his Riverence prache one
time, if Father Rooney doos put me on penance.”
In a week Patrick was able to be moved. “May the blissin’ o’ all the saints an’ the Howly Vargin rist on yer Riverence,” said Bridget; “an’ would ye be pl'ased soomtime to coom and say poor Patrick at fefty-five Coomberlan’?”
“Now, Patrick, remember your promise not to take any more drink.”
“Sure an’, yer Riverence, I'll remimber it, an’ I'll remimber ye; fur though ye're a swaddler, ye've bin a thrue frind to me; an’ whin I git able to hop oot to the meetin’-hoose, I'm a coomin’ to hear ye, aven if Father Rooney doobles me penance.”
Mr. Hall called to see Patrick after he was safe at his old home. “Yer Riverence, I've got a confission to make to yez,” said Patrick one day. “I belong to the Howly Catholic Church, an’ whin I was a b'y in ould Irelan’ there was soom prachers, they call thim swaddlers. They were loike ye Mithodists, an’ soom ov us b'ys, whin one o’ thim was havin’ a matin’, we took each an ould goose an’ we toorned
him loose while the pracher an’ the paple was on their knays prayin’, an’ the geese flew cackle, cackle, an’ put oot the light, an’ we broke up the prachin’; an’ we was always at sooch tricks, an’ now whin me lig was broke an’ nobody cared fur me, one o’ thim very swaddlers took me in his own hoose an’ saved me lig. I had to tell ye. It was hivy on me heart.”
“Well, Patrick, I reckon the Irish Methodists will forgive you; I am sure I would; so if you will ask God, I am sure he will.”
“Sure, yer Riverence, I've been thryin’ to make it aven with God. An’ sure, I'll give a part o’ the first dollar I make to the blind man on the corner, an’ I'll fast on Winsday fur a whole moonth.”
“O Patrick, you can't make God love you by giving and fasting, but I will tell you about that some day.”
Father Rooney was a jolly priest. He had little time to worry over a poor drayman, and he had so much faith in Bridget that he had little fear that Patrick would have much to do with the swaddlers; but Father Rooney little knew what a preacher a child might be.
One day Susie said to her mother: “Mamma, let me take something good to Patrick, and let me and Tommy go to see him.”
“Well, dear, ask mammy to give you a loaf of that light bread and some of those tea cakes, and you can take Tommy and go and see Patrick and Bridget.”
“And may I take my book too, mamma, and show Patrick the pictures?”
“Yes, you may if you wish.”
So Susie put on her hood, and with little Tommy by the hand they went on a rather long walk to Patrick's home.
Patrick was able to sit up now, and even to hop around the room with his crutches to help him.
He was delighted to see the children, and they as much so to see him.
“And, Patrick, I've brought you my pretty book to show it to you, and to read to you. I wants to read you about Jesus loving little children. Patrick, you love Jesus, don't you?”
“Yis, my little blue-eyed angel. I would die fur him.”
“Patrick, would you go to live with Jesus if you was to die?”
“I don't know aboot that. I've done many very bad things, but thanks to the praste, I have made my penance. But I'm afraid I'll go to purgatory.”
“I know I'd go to heaven, ’cause I asked Jesus to take my sins away, and he done it. Did you ask him?”
“I asked the praste to ask him. But let me say your book.”
The book contained Scripture pictures and stories. Susie had heard the stories read till she knew them pretty well by heart. Patrick could not read very well, but as Susie sat by him she told the story as she had heard it from her father: “This is the poor boy what went a long way from his papa. He was very bad. He spent all his money. The people had nothing to eat, and could not give him none. He had to feed hogs, but he could not get nothing to eat. One day he said he would go back to his papa, and he went; and when he come home his papa seen him and run to meet him, and kissed
him. And papa says that's the way God does with sinners. If they is sorry and come back, God don't ask ’em no questions, but just takes their sins out of his book, and when they die, takes ’em to heaven.”
“Can that be so? Can I kape oot of purgatory? Will God furgive me?” These were questions which filled Patrick's mind after Susie left.
MR. O'FLAHERTY'S TROUBLES.
PATRICK was very serious when Susie left him. He had been a very active and not a thoughtful man, strong in body, and full of faith in the Holy Church. He had not been brought face to face with the question as to what would become of him after he left the world; but the very narrow escape he made from death, and little Susie's direct question, and especially his recollections of his past sinfulness, all united to make him very serious now.
Bridget had much to do to attend to the cow and the chickens and the ducks and the work in the kitchen, and Patrick had much time to think as he sat there waiting for the bones of his leg to knit together that he might walk on it. But the more he thought the worse he felt. Had he been killed, and had no priest heard his confession and absolved him and given him extreme
unction, he would have been lost; and now the best he could hope for was purgatory, and for its fires Patrick had little taste. He sent for Father Rooney. Father Rooney was, like Patrick, an Irishman. He was a stanch Catholic, a somewhat jolly friar. He loved a laugh, and a game, and a glass, but he dreaded a sick room, though he faithfully heeded the calls made, and he came to see Patrick. Patrick told Mr. Hall of the visit, and as he could tell it better than we can, we must let him do it.
One day Mr. Hall came to see his Irish friend. He had made no attempt to prejuudice Patrick or Bridget against their Church, and really had but little idea of doing so. He came to see Patrick because he had learned to know him, and really was fond of him, and because he sympathized with all the sorrowing and suffering, Patrick was always glad to see him, and never gladder than he was at this time.
“Well, Patrick, how is it with you to-day?” said Mr. Hall.
“Moighty bad, yer Riverence; moighty bad.”
“What? is the leg not doing well?”
“Yis, sir; Dr. Mood says it is doin’ as well as I could expict; but it is not me lig, sir, but it's me heart. Yer Riverence's little blue-eyed angel axed me where I would go to if I died, an’, sure, whin I thought o’ the sugar barrels rollin’ on me, and widout the praste, ov me bein’ sint oot o’ the world, it frightened me, sir, an’ I sint for Father Rooney. Bridget, sir, wint to early mass an’ saw him, sir, an’ he coom roond as I axed him, an’ I says to him: ‘Father Rooney,’ says I, ‘I's troobled aboot me sins, sir.’ ‘An’ good luck to ye, Patrick, that ye are,’ says he, ‘an’ now ye must make confission an’ do your penance.’ An’, sir, I confissed as best I coold. An’ thin Father Rooney said: ‘Is that all?’ An’ I tould him it was, sir, as far as was knowinst to me. ‘Have ye not been talkin’ to the swaddler?’ said he. An’, sir, it made me Irish rise. For though Father Rooney is me praste, sir, I coold not hear him call ye a swaddler; but
I had jist confissed, an’ I said noothin’. ‘Father Rooney,’ says I, ‘must I go to purgatory?’ ‘Sure an’ ye must, Patrick O'Flaherty; an’ ye may be thankful it is no worse wid ye, thanks to the prayers of the Vargin and the Howly Church.’ ‘But,’ says I, ‘Father Rooney, how long must I shtay there?’ ‘Well,’ says he, ‘if the masses is said fur ye faithfully an’ the saints pray fur ye, ye may get oot sooner.’ ‘But faith,’ says I, ‘Father, I don't want to go at all, at all.’ ‘Patrick O'Flaherty, ye have been a bad mon, sir; a bad mon. Ye have got drunk—not that that is a mortal sin, indade; ye have bate Bridget; ye have niglicted the holy mass; ye have not been to confission; ye have failed to pay yoor dues to yer praste an’ to the Church; an’ purgatory is too good fur the likes o’ ye.’ An’ with that he lift me.’
“Do the swaddlers go to purgatory, yer Riverence?”
“In truth, Patrick, I don't think there is such a place.”
Patrick's face brightened.
“No purgatory, yer Riverence?”
“Well, sir, how will me sins be burned away?”
“O Patrick, the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from sin. He loved us and gave himself for us.”
“O yis, sir; whin we can do soomthin’ fur him? The Lord knows I love him, sir; an’ whin I heard the Jew, Jake Menke, say a word forninst him, sir, I laid him flat on the groond, sir. But O! it don't take away me sin, fur I am all durty inside. Well, sir, will ye pray fur me? I don't want to go to purgatory, sir, at all, at all; an’ if ye swaddlers have no purgatory, I want to be wid ye, sir.”
“Well, Patrick, I will pray for you.”
“An’ will ye sind the little blue-eyed angel to see me, sir, an’ tell her to bring her book, pl'ase ye, sir?”
“A LITTLE CHILD SHALL LEAD THEM.”
WHEN Mr. Hall told Susie that Patrick wished her to come and see him and bring her little book of Bible stories, she was very glad to receive the message. She was a warm-hearted child, and the kind-hearted Irishman and herself were very good friends. So with little Tom, and provided with a basket of nice things from mammy's kitchen, she tripped the way to 55 Cumberland Street.
Patrick and Bridget were glad to see the children, and as Tom had taken great interest in some newly hatched ducks, Bridget took him into her back yard and left Susie and Patrick alone.
Children are very quick to notice, and Susie noticed that Patrick was in trouble. “Patrick,” she said, “what's the matter with you? You look like something hurts you?”
“An’ sure, me blue-eyed angel, soomthin’ doos hurt poor Patrick bad enough fur sure.”
“Well, can't you get well? Let me give you some peppermint. That's w'at mamma gives me when I hurt.”
“O me blue-eyed angel, you niver hurted loike poor Pat. An’ it's not me lig thet hurts me, it's me heart, me wicked heart it is.”
“Mamma told me how to get my heart to quit hurtin’,” said Susie, “and that was to pray to God, and when my heart hurted me ’cause I quarreled with Alice Wright, and done so many bad things, I told Jesus and he made it quit hurtin’. You know Jesus loves us all, and he don't want us to have hurtin’ in our hearts. Don't you know that?”
“O me darlint, I know Jesus loves you, but I don't know that he loves poor Patrick, fur he's been so bad.”
“O yes, Jesus loves everybody, and I know he loves you.”
“Will, me dear, I've prayed to the Howly Vargin an’ to the Howly Saints to pray
to Jesus for me, an’ I'm thryin’ to make him love me too. Till me, little angel, whither ye iver rid in yoor book that Jesus loved bad people. I know he took the little childers in airms, but they was swate little childers, not the loikes o’ me, ould an’ bad.”
“Why, Patrick, here is the picture of Jesus on the cross, and here is two mens, and they was bad men. They stole things; and one of them said bad things to Jesus when he was dying, but the other he was sorry for Jesus, and he told the one what said bad things that he ought to be ’shamed of himself, and he said he ought to die ’cause he had been bad, but Jesus was not bad at all; and then he asked Jesus to ’member him in heaven, and Jesus said he would take him with him that day.”
“An’ sure that thafe didn't go to purgatory. Bliss ye, me darlint, ye have lifted me heart clean up to hiven. If Jesus would save a dyin’ thafe won't he save Patrick O'Flaherty?”
“Why, Patrick, did you think that Jesus would not save you? Why, Jesus can save
everybody. That's what papa says he come for. Don't you know that?”
“Yis, me darlint, I do know it now. I fale it in me heart.”
“O Bridget,” he said as his wife came in, “I'm not to go to purgatory at all, at all. Jesus saved the thafe, an’ Jesus will save me too.”
Susie could not tell why Patrick was so full of feeling, but she knew that Patrick had heard some good news; and when she came back home, she said to her papa: “Papa, Patrick did not think Jesus loved him, but when I told him about the feef you told me about he said now he knowed Jesus would save him, because he took the feef to heaven.”
Mr. Hall went to see Patrick the next morning. Patrick's face was as bright as it had been sad. “O yer Riverence, I know now, sir, the swaddlers are right. There is no purgatory, sure, sir. The thafe didn't go there, sir, an’ all he done was to ask. An’ I asked the Lord, sir, an’ sure me hurtin’ is all gone, an’ me heart is all light, sir. An’, sir, whin Father
Rooney coom this mornin’ I tould him how I filt, sir, an’ he said: ‘Patrick O'Flaherty, ye have been talkin’ wid thim swaddlers till yer head is turnt intoirely.’ ‘Yis, sir,’ says I, ‘me head is turnt,’ says I, ‘an’, bliss the Lord, me heart is turnt too, sir. I am turnt all roun’,’ says I, ‘an’ sure I thenk Bridgit is turnt too,’ says I.”
Mr. Hall was very happy as he heard the story of the poor Irishman's change of feelings, and as Bridget sat by weeping he began to sing an old time song. Who wrote it I do not know, and whether the poetry or the music is good or not, I do not know, but I know it made me glad as a child, as it makes me glad now that I am growing old. Here are two stanzas of the song he sung:
- What wondrous love is this,
- O my soul, O my soul,
- That caused the Lord of bliss
- To send this precious peace
- To my soul?
- When I was sinking down
- O my soul, O my soul,
- Beneath God's righteous frown,
- Christ laid aside his crown
- For my soul.
Patrick cried and smiled and said: “Bliss the Lord, I know it now, I know it now!” Bridget too found it to be true that “Jesus was the only Saviour.” Father Rooney scolded and threatened, but as soon as Patrick was able to go on his crutches to Bethel, Bridget and he joined the Methodists.
“DAT BOY WILLIAM” AGAIN.
WILLIAM changed places, but places did not change William. Joe, his father, of whom we have had little to say for some time, though a good drayman and a good worker, was not as truthful nor as honest as the husband of so good a woman as Agnes ought to have been. Joe was very religious sometimes, but he took his religion out in talking, and he had little use for the Ten Commandments when it came to everyday life. In that respect I'm afraid Joe has had a rather large following, and William “took after” Joe.
You might send William anywhere, but the ease with which you sent him was equal to the difficulty with which you got him back. He loved to go to the wharf after a barrow load of oysters, for then he could play sweepstakes or steal time for a game of ball or follow the man with the monkey
and hand organ, and the failure of the boat to come in or the absence of the oyster man was always a good reason for his being behind. Sometimes he took little Tommy with him, and Tommy found it the height of pleasure when he could go to market or down on Hayne Street with William. William was very fond of Massa Tommy, but sometimes Tommy was in his way; and sometimes, when he was in a great hurry to go where he had no business, he was glad to slip off from his little master and leave him behind.
One Saturday afternoon, sometime after Patrick had been able to take Teddy and go back to his cart again, William was ordered to go after a barrow load of oysters at the bay. Tommy came running down, and seeing William ready for his trip, said eagerly: “William, I wants to go; I wants to go.”
“No, Mars Tommy, wait till nex’ time, an’ I'll bring you somet'ing.”
“No, I wants to go now. I will go now! Mamma says I may.”
“Well, den, run upstairs and git yer cap.”
When Tommy darted upstairs, William dashed down the street, for he heard the notes of the hand organ and knew there was a monkey near by. Tommy ran out of the front door and hurried after William, and it was not long before Tommy was lost. But little cared the curly-headed boy for that. William had followed the organ and monkey around, unconscious that Tommy was following or attempting to follow him. Tommy almost forgot William in looking into the shop windows, in seeing the great pile of red apples and yellow oranges, and the bunches of golden bananas; and the family at home, supposing that he was with William, were confident that all was well.
At last William reached home with his oysters. He had been gone two hours. Aggie had been waiting impatiently for him, and when he came she said: “William, you triflin’ bagabon’, whar you bin?”
“I ain't bin nowhar, mammy. I ’clar I ain't, ’cepin’ to de boat, but de boat warn't dar, an’ I had to wait.”
“William, you is a lyin’, you know you
is. Sam Mood bin by heah a nour ago, an’ he hab he oysters. Whar is Mars Tommy?”
“I ain't seed Mars Tommy.”
“You ain't seed Mars Tommy? you say dat? Laws a massy! whar is dat chile? William, you dun bin lose dat chile. O whar is he?”
“William,” said Mrs. Hall, “where is Tommy?”
William was by this time getting frightened. “I ’clar, Miss Susan, I neber see Mars Tommy sence I lef’ here, I ’clar I ain't. O missus, let me go fin’ ’im.”
“My child is lost! My poor child! My precious Tommy!”
“Tommy is lost!” screamed Lizette. “Tommy is lost!”
“Mamma,” said Susie, “don't Jesus know where Tommy is? I'll ask him to find him.” And she fell on her little knees. “O Jesus, find Tommy, please.”
Mr. Hall came in just then, to find the trouble at its height. He calmly said: “Don't be so frightened. Unless the boy is run over, and I have no idea he is, we
will find him safe and sound. I will send the bellmen round, and then go down to the bay; and, Aggie, you and William go on Hayne and Meeting streets and we will find him before long.”
In the meantime Tommy was having a right good time. The organ and monkey had come his way, and he had followed the wonderful attraction. At last he began to grow tired, and he looked for William, but he could not find him. “Please, sir,” he said to a pleasant-faced old gentleman, “does you know where William is?”
“William? my little boy. Who is William?”
“Why, William is just William, dat's all. Where is he?”
“I am sure, my dear, I don't know. What is your name?”
“Tommy, who is your father?”
“Why, he is papa.”
“Where is he?”
“Where is your home?”
“Why, it is at home.”
“My, my! what am I to do?” said the good-natured old gentleman. “Come, Tommy, come, and we'll try to find William.”
The old man led the little boy toward the marshal's office, and Tommy seemed content enough, when a drayman passed and Tommy cried out: “Hello, Patrick!”
Patrick stopped his dray. “Why, Master Tommy, what are ye doin’ here, me boy?”
“I am huntin’ William.”
“Do you know this little boy?” said the old man.
“Sure, an’ I do, sir.”
“Whose child is he?”
“Mr. Hall's, sir, who lives by the Bethel chapel.”
“Well, he is lost.”
“Sure, he's found, sir. Put him on me dray, sir, an’ I'll take him home. Now, Master Tom, ye hould on like a man, an’ Tiddy an’ me will take ye to yer papa in a little while.”
Tommy thought it fine fun to ride behind “Teddy” on the dray, and it was not long
before the distressed mother had the boy in her arms.
As Patrick drove down Cumberland he found Mr. Hall and gave him the good news. And Aggie heard it, and later William came in to meet a somewhat insufficient punishment for his mischievous prank.
ON SULLIVAN'S ISLAND.
THE summer had come with all of its severe heat. The season was unusually trying, and the little parsonage at Bethel was not built for comfort, and the heat was stifling. During a part of the day not a breath of wind stirred the delicate leaves of the China trees, and day and night the energetic mosquito kept busy. Susie had not recovered from her winter attack, and her cheeks grew paler day by day. She lost appetite, and languidly lay on the front porch or back piazza. Her father became alarmed, and called in Dr. Mood to see her. “Brother Hall, you must get away from here. You must either go to the mountains or to the island, or you will be down with fever in a month.”
“But, doctor, how am I to go? I cannot leave my flock, and Susie will not leave me.”
“Well, I can't tell you how, but go you must.”
The next day the good doctor came again. “I have fixed it all. Brother Muckenfus has a cottage already furnished on Sullivan's Island. He is going to Connecticut for three months, and he says that you may walk in and take possession.”
And so it was arranged.
Sullivan's Island was a bank of sand washed out of the sea at the mouth of Charleston harbor. It is covered, or was before any cottages were built, with small palmettoes and with a few scrubby oaks. The cottages were all along the beach, and the bathing was in the surf. The bright blue sea stretched far away on one side, and the city was on the other, across the bay.
The little family went over in the steam ferryboat, and found a nice home ready for them. Aunt Aggie found the kitchen well equipped; and although it was mid-summer, oysters came fresh from their beds, and the fisherman brought in fish still alive from the waters. Joe came with the
family. The parsonage was placed in charge of Patrick and Bridget for the three months the family were to be absent. It was a delightful change, and the children were almost wild with delight at the transition from the pent-up parsonage, and the royal freedom of the island.
The cottage was a very open, comfortable house, with broad verandas front and rear. It was on the highest part of the island, and commanded a view of the wide sea, which stretched far, far away. There was a constant and gentle breeze to cool the July heat. The tides were coming in and the tides were going out; now covering the long stretch of sand along the beach, now leaving its miles of white sand bare and tenantless, except where in the shallow pools the crabs went sliding away, or on the sand the sandfleas were skipping, and the busy little fiddlers were scurrying to their holes. A long row of bath houses, little cribs where the bathers changed their clothing, and down whose steps they went into the strengthening waves. It was only a few days before there was brightness in the
languid eyes of the children, and color in their pale cheeks.
William was in his element. Our first introduction to him was when he went down to the creek with those “Peden niggers” in Wilmington. At Savannah he had many a dip in the river, and not a few times when William was waiting for the oysters in Charleston his dusky form might have been found floating like a cork in some safe spot in the bay, and now William had free license to swim as much as he pleased; and then there was the fishing and crabbing, and Tom and William had a great time on the beach and fishing off the wharf for the crackers and yellowtails which abounded there.
Crabbing was William's favorite sport, and as there are few more toothsome relishes than well-prepared crabs, William was encouraged in his sport. My little friends in the interior never saw a crab, and if they could see the great spider-looking shell fish as he goes speeding toward the water, moving backward, and especially if they could see the savage look with which,
when hard pressed, he opens wide his claws, they would give him a wide berth; and if one of them should draw up his line and see a crab holding to it, he would drop his fishing pole, I am afraid, and run away. And I am sure if the crab should but clamp his curious claw upon one of their toes or fingers, there would be no little commotion. But William was pretty well acquainted with the art of crabbing. With his short pole and line, to the end of which was attached a piece of beef, and with his net, he went to the wharf with Tommy to catch some crabs for supper. Several had already been caught and were thrown into the bucket, and Tommy was busy inspecting the catch.
“Now, Mars Tommy, you better let dem crab alone. He git his claw on you, you t'ink somet'ing got you, an’ he ketch you so quick you know nuthin’.”
“I ain't afraid of no crab! My! my! Why, what a teeny, weeny one! He can't bite.”
And Tommy incautiously seized the little crab, and at once there was a wild
wail: “O William! William! Run here; de crab done got me! O! O!”
“Dar, now; I tole you dat,” said William. But he caught the crab which had hold of Tommy's hand and bit savagely at the biter, if one can be said to bite with a claw. Crabbie let go.
“Now, Mars Tommy, you let dem crab alone. Little crab, big crab, all crab bite de same; but ef he bite you, you bite him, den he let go.”
Tommy was much subdued, but at a safe distance from the basket he inspected William at his work. William was elated at his good luck, and became himself somewhat careless. He had just caught a large crab and threw him at the basket, but missed his aim. The crab was scampering at a lively rate to the water. William ran to arrest him, and as he seized him by one claw the crab seized him with the other. Stung by the pain, he raised him to his mouth to adopt his favorite method, when the crab with the other claw fastened, alas! on William's fat nose. It was now William's time to wail, and wail he
did. “O mammy, mammy! Run here, mammy!”
Aunt Aggie heard the scream, and ran, to find William in captivity. She speedily released him. “Now, William, my son, don't be sech a fool nevermore to bite a crab when he is got he claw loose. He always get you, William.”
William found the advice good, and I think it good myself. I think that more than once if I had been more careful about the loose claw I might have had a happier escape.
TOMMY'S FIRST VOYAGE.
WILLIAM and Tommy were inseparable. William was a good fisherman, and as the tide came in he used to go to the wharf to catch fish for the family. Uncle Joe had a boat, and he used to go out to the deep water to catch trout, or to where the whiting fed. William went with him frequently, and once he had taken Tommy along. Tommy felt as if he was quite a water man. William had gone to the wharf one morning, and was busy catching yellow-tails and crabs. His father's boat was carelessly fastened to one of the piles. The tide was on its ebb, and the boat was just afloat. Tommy had waded in and was in the boat. Joe had thrown a link in the chain over a hook nailed to the pile. Tommy had seen him loose the boat when he went with him fishing, and mischievously, while William was not looking, he did as he had
seen Uncle Joe do, and the boat began to float with the tide. Fearlessly, and utterly unmindful of any danger, the little voyager stood up in the boat and, holding to the chain, called out to the now horrified William: “Look! Look, William, look! I am sailing.” He was already several rods out from the wharf, and the boat was moving rapidly as the tide ebbed away.
“Marcy on me! Look dere!” said William. But the quick-witted boy had no time for debate. He threw down his pole and leaped into the sea, and struck out manfully for the boat. He had little need to divest himself of any clothing, for the thin cotton jacket and trousers were all he had on, and were as light as a bathing suit. He could swim like a fish, and in a little while he was at the boat and in it. He looked for the oars, but they were not there. William would have turned pale, but his color was a fixed one, and he could only express with his eyes the dread his cheek would not betray.
“Why, William, what's de matter wid you? You look real scared.”
“You neber min’ ’bout me now, Mars Tommy; you jist sit still in dis boat. We git out all right.”
But how, he could not tell. William was not very correct in his life, but he was strong in his faith, and he began to pray. They were going at a lively rate out to sea, when Joe came back to look for his boat. He was to go to the whiting bank and catch some whiting at full tide; and when he saw the boat was missing, he at once suspected that his hopeful son had gone off with it.
“William,” he cried, “bring back dat boat, you black rascal!”
“I cain't,” said William from the distance.
Joe saw the oars. The truth flashed on him: the children were adrift. “Lordy marcy! Dem chilluns! dem chilluns!”
As good providence would have it, Bill Mood had that moment rowed his boat to the shore.
Joe ran to him like a madman. “Bill Mood, git in dat boat!”
“What's de matter?”
“Matter ’nough! Dem teeny, weeny
chilluns is out yonder in dat boat wid no oar, no paddle! Jump in, man! Jump, an’ pull for your life!”
It required no second word. Into the boat the brawny fellow leaped, and with sturdy stroke they bounded over the waves. They had hard work, but they caught the runaways. Tom was laughing merrily at the way Uncle Joe was pulling, but William was too glad to laugh; and when Joe caught the boat and stepped in, William began to cry for very joy.
“Yes, you young rascal, I make you cry sure when I git you back. I tan you good one time for runnin’ away wid my boat.”
“Why, Uncle Joe,” said Tommy, “William never runned away at all. I got in de boat, and de boat runned away wid me, and William cotched me.”
I am sorry to say Master Tom's grammar and pronunciation were sadly flavored by the kitchen, much to his mother's annoyance; but his words were plain enough to Joe, who soon rowed them back to shore with the oars he had been thoughtful enough to throw into Bill Mood's boat.
THE exciting event of which we have just told was not known at the cottage until all danger was over. Master Tom received a severe reprimand, and while William was right sharply berated by his mother for his carelessness, his mistress was so glad that Tommy was safe that he really reaped a reward for that almost calamity which had been caused by his devotion to the rod and line.
Mr. Hall went over every morning to visit his parishioners. There was much sickness. A kind of bilious fever, called dengue fever, prostrated many people, and he had his hands full. One day Patrick said to him: “Will yer Riverence plase call at noomber siventy-six Coomberland an’ say me ould frind, Dennis O'Ruly? I can't go this mornin’, an’ I'm anxious to hear.”
Mr. Hall called. Mary O'Ruly, the wife,
was sick, Dennis was delirious, and one of the children was also burning with fever. “Dennis was working till day before yesterday unloading a ship from the West Indies,” said Mary. “He came in with a chill and an awful pain in his head and back, and he has been getting worse till he is now awful bad.”
“Have you had a doctor?”
“No, sir; not yet. I have been too sick to go after one, and Dennis was taken so suddent.”
“Well, I'll send you one.”
Dr. Mood met Mr. Hall as he went up the street; and when told of the distress of the laborer's family, he went at once, taking Mr. Hall with him in his gig. He examined the patient, and an expression of real anxiety came over his face. Prescribing for the sick one, and leaving the remedies, he came out to his gig. “Well, Brother Hall, it has come at last, as I feared.”
“The fever—the yellow fever. Dennis has a well-developed case, and we will have
a thousand more in a week. I am so glad your family and mine are on the island. I wish you were away too.”
“I would come back if I was,” said Mr. Hall. “To leave one's people in these times would be the basest desertion.”
Dr. Mood was right. The fever in a week had covered the city from the neck to the bay. Physicians were busy from morning till night. Everybody who could get into the country or to the island fled; but there were no railroads in those days, and many were forced to stay.
“Brother Hall,” said Dr. Mood, “we must get Dennis to the hospital, and you had better see Father Barry, his priest, about it at once.”
Father Barry had taken the place of Father Rooney. He was a very different man from his predecessor, and while just as devoted a Catholic, he was as liberal as his creed would allow him to be. He was unquestionably devout and self-sacrificing, and was now constantly at work among the poor. He had turned his parsonage into a hospital, and when Mr. Hall came and reported
the case of his sick parishioner, he said: “I will send for him at once, and I am obliged to you for telling me of him. There is a poor woman here who belongs to your people, and whom I would be glad for you to see.”
The Catholic priest and the Methodist preacher were thus brought together, and day by day they walked the almost deserted streets ministering to the sick and dying. In the Catholic parsonage there were some Sisters of Charity who were acting as nurses for the suffering patients. They soon learned to know the Methodist preacher, and always greeted him kindly. Father Barry and the good Sisters knew no distinction in creeds then. They ministered to all, and the Protestant pastors visited all alike as they went on their daily ministrations.
Mr. Hall came over early every morning and went back at night. There was no fever on the island, and the family were all quite well, but there was a look about the eyes of the wife that told of deep anxiety.
“Mamma,” said Susie, “what makes
papa stay away all the time? and what makes you so bothered?”
“My darling, there are so many sick folks in the city, and papa has to be with them; but I hope it will all be well.”
“Mamma, is God gone away? Can't he take care of papa?”
“Yes, my dear, and God will do it if you pray to him.”
“Well, mamma, I's done asked God to take care of papa, and I know he will do it; but I is mighty ’fraid he will get sick.”
Mr. Hall never faltered. Day by day the pestilence moved on with its stealthy step. The great wholesale houses on Hayne and Meeting streets were closed from morning till night. The weeds and grass sprang up where the busy crowds were accustomed to walk. The physicians’ carriages and the hearses that bore the dead were almost the only vehicles seen. The pastors of both the Presbyterian and Episcopal Churches were ill, and Mr. Hall's only helper was the Baptist preacher and the Catholic priest. He came one morning to the Catholic parsonage to see Mrs. Evans, one of his members,
who was very ill. Sister Marie, a French immigrant, was her nurse. Mr. Hall asked for her. “O Meester Hall, Meestress Evans be nearly gone. De doctaire say she no live to-day; but O seer, she be von booteeful woman in heart. She so sweet, so patient, so happee. She vant to see you so bad.”
Mrs. Evans had had a sad life. Born in wealth, well educated, thoroughly refined, she had married a bright young man from an adjoining estate; but dissipation, extravagance, and gambling had cost him the whole property, and at last he lost his life in a duel. His poor wife, robbed of all, came to the only thing she had, a little cottage which her father had owned as a home for a favorite servant, and here by teaching a few small children she had managed to supply her simple wants. Her old nurse, Aunt Sukey, came to her, and together they struggled on. Aunt Sukey belonged to Bethel, and through Aunt Sukey's influence she was led to attend the services there; and years before this she had given her heart to God and joined in Society, as they called
joining the Church in those days. Aunt Sukey was taken with a severe sickness, and her mistress nursed her to the last, and buried her; and when the fever came, she sunk under it. A good Catholic neighbor had her taken to the hospital, and now she was dying.
She was not yet fifty, but her hair was like snow, and her dark eyes were in strange contrast with the marble whiteness of brow and cheek. She loved her pastor, and extended her wasted hand as he came in, and a sweet smile covered her face. “O, I am so glad to see you! I am so near home, so near home, and Jesus is so near me! I wanted to tell you how happy I am. Sister Marie has been so good, and you have been so good, and Father Barry has been so good, and God is so good. Sister Marie, you sung for me ‘O mother dear, Jerusalem,’ and I want you to sing it once more; and then, Brother Hall, pray for me and rejoice with me.” And the good Sister sung the dear old song which for fifteen centuries and more had gladdened sad hearts, and then the Methodist preacher
knelt at the bedside of the dying saint, and fervently prayed.
Sister Marie was in tears when he rose. She said: “O Meester Hall, me poor leetle head can't make it out, but me heart tell me dot woman gone to Him she love; but she no was like me. She no know like me de catechism my mudder teach me. She no confess. She no ebsolve. She no unction. But she safe, I know she safe.”
“O Sister Marie,” said the good Protestant, “our hearts speak better than our heads.”
“Well, I be glad to die like her.”
“I am sure you will; don't fear.”
Mr. Hall at last went too far and too long, and one day he came to his home with a severe chill, and then the fever followed. He grew worse and worse. Dr. Mood said to Father Barry: “Mr. Hall is very ill, and he must have a skilled nurse, or he will die.”
“Mr. Hall shall not die if nursing can save him,” said the good father.
“Vat you say?” said Sister Marie. “You vant somebody to nurse Meester Hall? Vell,
I am dat von; I vill go dees ver hour.” And so the gentle Sister, with her prayer book and crucifix and rosary, went in her Sister's robes to the island to nurse the Protestant preacher back to life. The fight for life was a hard one, but Sister Marie was skillful, and the doctor was wise, and God was merciful, and the tide of life did not go out.
Little Susie and merry Lizette and Tom were all quiet during the days when death was so near.
Sister Marie, when the cloud was over, said: “I mus’ go avay. God so good. You vill leev.”
“God bless you, my good Sister; you have done much for me.”
“No! no! Pray ven he come I vill be readee. Good-bye.”
MR. HALL was out of danger, but was far from being well. The terrible fever had left him almost as feeble as a little child. Dr. Mood, who had been very assiduous in his attentions, said to him: “You must get away from here. You can do no more work for this season, and to remain here is to needlessly risk your life. You must go northward, and not return till after a white frost.”
“But I cannot leave Susan and the children.”
“Well, take them with you. But go.”
The next day Mr. Hall received a letter from his brother Henry. It read thus:
“BELVIDERE,” August 20, 1825.
My Dear Brother: I have learned that the fever is in Charleston. Come away at once. I have room enough in “Belvidere” for you all, and mother is there. Come by the first boat.
“Susan,” said Mr. Hall, “see how the Lord opens the way. Get the children ready, and as soon as I can travel I will go to North Carolina.”
Patrick was to take care of the parsonage, and Joe was to go with his sick master. Patrick had been incessantly at work during the pestilence. He had once had the fever, and he and Bridget had become fortified against it. His warm Irish heart was full of sympathy for the suffering, and day and night he was at work. When “his Riverence” was taken sick, Patrick did not fail to come to see him every day, and now that Mr. Hall was out of danger, his devoted friend was happy beyond measure.
“An’ sure, yer Riverence, it's mesilf that's glad the docthurs ordered ye away. I'll take keer of iv'rything, an’ ye must be off an’ away soon. Capt. Jinks, ov the ‘Mary Ann,’ from Nooberne, has jist coome down wi’ a load o’ corn an’ bacon, an’ is goin’ back impty; I'll say him an’ ax if he will noot take ye all to Noorth Car'lina.”
The matter was easily arranged. The
little sloop of one hundred tons burden had a good cabin and no passengers. The captain was a kind man and a good sailor. The little family were all embarked in a day after the decision was made, and with the tide the “Mary Ann” floated out to sea. There was a good wind from the south, and the little sloop made quick time over the quiet waters and soon was safely in sight of the wharf at “Belvidere.”
Mr. Henry Hall was a rice planter as well as a merchant, and his summer home in which he spent most of his time was called “Belvidere.” It was located on the sound in a grand grove of live oaks. The house was one of those comfortable, unpretentious mansions which were common on the old plantations: wide verandas went all around the house, large windows came down to the floor, and great halls, through which the breeze could always find passage, divided the house into two sets of apartments. He had no little children with him at the time, his wife and mother constituting his family. He had been looking for his brother, and when the “Mary Ann” rounded the point
he rightly supposed she was making for the wharf, and when the skipper brought her to it, he was there to meet his brother. He had hardly yet become reconciled to his brother's decision to be a traveling preacher, but had determined to make the best of it and not allow it to affect his relations to him.
The greeting was very warm and tender, and the dear old mother, who had not seen her son and his family for three years, almost overlooked the emaciated appearance of Mr. Hall in her joy of seeing him once again.
There were few more delightful places than the home of a planter like Mr. Hall, and Susie and Lizette and Tom were in some danger of being badly spoiled by the fond kinsfolk. Wilmington was not far away, and Aunt Isabella came, and Mrs. Hall's mother, and a crowd of relatives. There were well-trained and numerous servants, abundant supplies for the table, pure air, and delightful company. Everything was favorable to Mr. Hall's recovery. Though there were few white children,
there was a yardful of little negroes who, with William in the lead, were ever in search of new pleasures. It was now to the cow pen—or, as they called it, the “cuppen”—to see the cows and the little calves, and then to see the colts in the stable yard, and then on a hunt for the hens’ nests, and to see the great droves of ducks and geese swimming on the sound. And then such plays as they had at night when the lightwood blazed on the hearth! and what stories by Dilsy, who never tired of “Br'er Rabbit” and his trials; and of “ha'nts” and “ghosties” and giants “wat eated up bad chilluns;” and then mammy's sweet old songs. These were some of the things that made the stay at “Belvidere” so pleasant. They had been there but a little while before and old gray-headed man, moving slowly, leaning on a long staff, came hobbling to the house. It was old Peter. “My lillie massa come; ole Peter see ’im once mo’; ole Peter t'ink he in glory, for my lillie massa come agin, but so now me come see my lillie massa.”
“Come in, Daddy Peter, come in and see
him. He has been very sick, but is nearly well now.”
“Bless de Lord; howdy do, my lillie massa. Ole Peter been look for de angels dis long time, but dey no come yit. Dey comin’ soon.”
“Daddy Peter, here are the children: Lizette and Susie, you remember, daddy, don't you?”
“Yes, daddy give me heap of groundnuts and hickory nuts; didn't you, daddy?”
“Sure, lillie missus, I gib ’em to you when you wid ole miss.”
“Well,” said the father, “you all must go down to see daddy.”
“Yes, come heap time. Daddy always glad to see you; daddy no’ stay long here; de angels come soon. Good-bye, lillie massa, good-bye.” And old Peter hobbled back to his cabin.
Mr. Henry Hall was very busy, but he was very kind. He had increased his estate and his cares. He treated his brother with great respect, but one day said to him: “Now, John, I don't want to interfere with you; I believe in free thought, and am
willing to give you all I ask; let me alone, and I will let you alone. Have prayers with the family, but don't expect me to be present. My carriage and driver are always at your service, and your friends are always welcome to ‘Belvidere,’ but you need not trouble yourself about my religion.”
His brother knew him too well, and was, withal, too wise to disregard this request. The days sped on, and recovery of strength came slowly. The children often went to the quarters where Daddy Peter had his snug and comfortable cabin. The old man was up early every morning, winter or summer, always had a fire in the fireplace, and he was always delighted to see his “lillie missuses,” as he called Susie and Lizette. They generally took him his breakfast from the family table. This morning as they went to the cabin Lizette said: “Look, Susie, there ain't no smoke in the chimney, and the door is shut.”
“Well, Daddy Peter he no lock he doo’. He in dar waitin’ for he breakfus,” said William. They tapped, but daddy made no reply. They went into the cabin, but Daddy
Peter was in bed. William went closer and said softly: “Daddy, daddy; we brung your breakfus.” But the old man never opened his eyes. “Daddy, daddy!” he said in a louder voice. But there was no response. William started back in fright. “Somet'in’ de matter wid Daddy Peter. I's goin’ to tell mammy.”
The little girls came running to the house. Uncle Henry was still in the dining room with their father. “Uncle Henry,” said Lizette, “Daddy Peter is asleep, and we can't wake him.”
“Dear me, dear me!” said their uncle, “the good old man is gone at last.” And he hurried to the cabin. His brother and the whole family followed. Sure enough, the angels had come. Old Peter had gone home. Tears rolled down every cheek. The faithful slave had been their true friend all their lives. No one now knows how the white people used to love their negro slaves, and few would credit the true story if it was told.
“Dear old daddy,” said Uncle Henry, “you have gone home. The angels have
come.” It was a strange speech for the master to make, but it came involuntarily from his heart. Aggie and Joe and Dilsy and others came, and old Peter was prepared for his burial. The white shroud was made under the direction of ladies at the “big house.” The negro carpenter made a neat coffin, and the servants on the plantation were given a recess to attend the funeral. Mr. Hall was not too feeble to talk to the plantation slaves and to read the funeral service, and under the weeping willow Daddy Peter was laid to sleep. They returned sadly home. It was the first time Susie had seen one dear to them all laid away in the grave. She did not think of Daddy Peter as dead. There was no death to her; Daddy Peter had gone to heaven. That night Uncle Henry held the little girl on his lap, when she said to him: “Uncle Henry, Daddy Jack is gone to heaven, ain't he?”
“Yes, my darling; if there is any heaven, Daddy Jack is there.”
“Why, Uncle Henry, there is a heaven. Ain't you going to heaven? Grandma is
going, and papa and mamma and me and aunty and us all. I know you is too.”
The tears came into his eyes, and the arrow went through his heart. He began to read his Bible, he began to pray, he took Jesus as his Saviour, and he could say to his little niece: “Yes, dear, Uncle Henry is going too.”
MORE ABOUT SUSIE.
MY book is getting so large that we must take leave of Mr. Hall and his family. But I told you on the title page that my story would be mostly about Susie, and so we will devote a few more words to our little favorite before we part.
Did our darling little girl have no faults? Well, yes; but I have not looked for them, and have not told about them, and after all they were not so many.
She was very sensitive. She could not bear to be scolded at all, or teased, or disappointed. Lizette was not so. She laughed when they teased her, and teased them back. She did not go off and sulk, but sometimes Susie did. If her mamma did not kiss her and notice her, Susie thought her mamma was angry, and tears would come in her blue eyes, and she would go and lie down in the trundle-bed and cry, and mammy would find her and take her in her lap, and kiss her and calm her. And then she was so careless. She never knew where her apron was, nor her handkerchief, and she
lost her playthings and left them scattered about; and when her mamma scolded her ever so little, she cried like her heart would break. I have seen some other little girls just like her, and a great many little boys much more careless—only they didn't cry.
She did not like to study. She loved to play and to hear stories told and to dream, but she did not love her books. Her mamma said Susie was dull, but I agree with her papa, that she was merely slow; though she did not like to study hard lessons, and did not learn as fast as she might have done.
And I am afraid Susie was a little selfish. She was not stingy at all. She was willing to give away almost anything she had, but then she wished to be noticed and to be loved. If her papa took Lizette on one knee, she wanted to sit on the other; and if Lizette had a storybook, she wanted one too; and if she gave anybody anything, she wanted them to know that she gave it, and for them to thank her.
But Susie had a great many good traits, and I really think she got rid of all her faults after awhile. She loved her God very much—he is her dear Father in heaven; she loved to read his book, and to go to his church, to sing his praises, and to pray to him.
Jesus was to Susie the dearest being that ever wore our form in this world. She knew
he loved her, and she loved him with the deepest love, and wanted everyone else to do so.
She loved her mamma and her papa, and not only loved them but honored them and obeyed them, and did all she could to make them happy.
She was very kind to Tom and Lizette. She loved her older sister ever so much, and thought nobody was so sweet as Tom.
She was good to all the servants. She never hurt their feelings, but spoke respectfully to them. She called them mammy and daddy if they were old, and uncle and aunt if they were younger, and never called them “niggers,” because mammy said the bad man was a “nigger,” and it hurt the colored people's feelings to call them niggers.
She was always kind to poor people, and was always ready to give to them. She was just such a little girl as every little girl could be, if she would do as Susie did, if she would pray to God to make her better every day, and if she would ask the Good Spirit to live in her heart.
But I have not time to go back to Charleston with Mr. Hall, nor to tell the story of Susie further at this time, so I will leave them all in the pleasant home of Uncle Henry at “Belvidere,” in the beautiful month of October, 1825.