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Title: Other Fools and Their Doings - or, Life among the Freedmen
Author: Anonymous
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                          TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE:

—Obvious print and punctuation errors were corrected.


[Illustration: “HAM STERNS, I RECKON YOU KNOW ME.”—Page 190.]



                              OTHER FOOLS
                           AND THEIR DOINGS,


                       LIFE AMONG THE FREEDMEN.

                        BY ONE WHO HAS SEEN IT.

                               NEW YORK:
                       J. S. OGILVIE & COMPANY,
                            29 ROSE STREET.



                               COPYRIGHT
                                 1880.
                        BY J. S. OGILVIE & CO.



                               CONTENTS.


               CHAP.                              PAGE

                 I. THE BEAN ISLAND PEOPLE           7

                II. DISTRUST                        28

               III. THE GLORIOUS FOURTH             45

                IV. LEGAL REDRESS                   60

                 V. PREPARATIONS                    74

                VI. THE CLOUD THICKENS              87

               VII. PORTENTOUS DARKNESS            108

              VIII. MEMORY AND EXPERIENCE          129

                IX. THE SITUATION                  148

                 X. THE ATTACK                     157

                XI. A MASSACRE                     179

               XII. INCIDENTS AND PARTICULARS      197

              XIII. THE SCALLAWAG                  219



                             OTHER FOOLS
                           AND THEIR DOINGS.



CHAPTER I.

THE BEAN ISLAND PEOPLE.

  “O Tam! hadst thou but been sae wise
  As ta’en thy ain wife Kate’s advice!”

  —TAM O’SHANTER.


IT was April, 1876, and Deacon Atwood and Captain Black were riding
along the sandy highway in the sparsely settled vicinity of Bean
Island, in the State of South Carolina.

Though the sun shone uncomfortably hot, neither the men nor the horses
they bestrode seemed anxious to escape its rays, for they traveled
quite leisurely several miles, till they reached a point where the road
forked.

There they paused a few moments, and continued their conversation in
the same low, earnest tones they had previously employed.

The Deacon was fifty years of age, large, broad-chested, red-faced,
with full fiery red beard and thin brown hair, which gathered in
sodden, tapering hanks about his short neck and large ears; and his
pale-blue eyes looked out of little triangular orifices on either
side of a pyramidal nose, upon the apex of which was balanced a
narrow forehead of a “quirked ogee” pattern. His hands were large and
freckled, and he kept them in constant motion, like his huge feet,
which seemed even too heavy for his clumsy legs. His snuff-colored
suit, and the slouched hat he wore on the back part of his head, were
dusty with travel.

His companion was younger, taller, and less stoutly built than he. His
eyes were large and dark, and his head, crowned with bushy black hair,
was poised upon a long, slim neck. His manners indicated more culture
than the Deacon had received.

“Well, Deacon,” said he, rising in his stirrups, “we have submitted
long enough, and too long, and there must be a change: and I am bound
to do my share to secure it.”

“And I won’t be behind yo’, Cap’n,” replied Deacon Atwood. “These
niggers must be put down where they belong, and the carpet-baggers
driven back where they came from.”

“It’s doubtful whether many of them would be received there. I
apprehend that the most of them “left their country for their country’s
good” when they came here. A man don’t emigrate for nothing, and I
expect they have been run out of the North for some mean acts, and have
come to the South to prey upon a conquered people.”

“I reckon that’s so, and I wonder how yo’ men that ’a’n’t no church
obligations on yo’ ken keep from swearing when yo’ think of it. I
declar, when I get to turning it over in my mind I get so mad that
I can’t hardly keep from it myself. As yo’ war saying, it reaches
everywhere. Less than half the people is white to be sure, but then
we own nine-tenths o’ the land, and yet we must be taxed to support
nigger schools, and niggers and carpet-baggers in all the offices, and
new offices trumped up where there a’n’t enough to serve them as wants
’em—health officers in every little town, and scavengers even, under
pretense of fear of yellow fever, to give salaries to dumb niggers as
don’t know nothing only how to rob Southern gentlemen, and all sorts of
yankee “public improvements” as they call ’em! Why, I’m taxed this year
to mend a road that runs down past me there, and nobody but niggers
never travels on it. It is positively insulting and oppressive!”

“Well, Deacon, I suppose your statement that niggers and carpet-baggers
are in all the offices might be called a slight exaggeration, but then
we could sit here till dark and not finish enumerating the grievances
this State government, backed by that Cæsar Grant, at Washington,
imposes upon the people of South Carolina—those that ought to be the
ruling class—the South Carolinians.

“But the best thing we can do is to take hold of these military clubs
and work them; and in that way bring about a better state of things.
I, for one, am determined this State shall go Democratic this coming
fall; and if we unite in this method I’ve been explaining to you, we
can effect it. Just bring this Mississippi method up in your club
to-night—or support Lamb, if he does—and we’ll whip the rascals.
Nigger voters are too thick—must be weeded out!”

“That’s just what I’m going to do,” replied Deacon Atwood; “and in
order to do it, I reckon we’ll have to go on.”

“Yes; my sabre club meets this evening, too, for drill. So good
evening!”

“Good evening, Captain.” And the two men separated. The Captain kept
the main road, and the Deacon took a sort of back, plantation route,
seldom traveled except by the farmers residing upon it, where he soon
fell into deep meditation, his chin dropping upon his breast, and his
respiration becoming slow and heavy. His old white horse, even, seeming
to pass into a similar state of somnambulency, walked dreamily along,
till his nose, far down towards the ground, came in contact with a
fresh and tender shrub, around which his long tongue instinctively
wrapped itself, and he came to a full stop.

“Hud up!” said the startled Deacon, gathering up his bridle with a
nervous jerk; and his small eyes quickly swept a circle around him.

With something like a shudder and an audible sigh of relief, he
composed himself again, for only a quiet landscape had met his vision.

A swampy forest was on his left hand, and long stretches of scrub
palmettos, interspersed with cotton-patches, on his right.

Seeing two colored men at work in one of the latter, and probably
feeling a need of human companionship, he rode up to the crooked rail
fence, and shouted “Howdy?”

“Why, howdy? Deacon, howdy?” was the friendly response, as one of the
men laid down his heavy cotton hoe, and approached the fence.

“How is work, January?” asked Deacon Atwood, pleasantly.

“I gets along mighty well, I thank yo’. I hope yo’ do,” said the
freedman, who, though about the age of his neighbor, was too much
accustomed to being addressed as a boy, and by his Christian name, to
take offense at the familiarity.

“Well, I’ll be blamed if yo’ niggers don’t get along better’n the white
folks! These confounded carpet-baggers are larnin’ yo’ how to fleece us
that owns the land, and blowed if yo’ ain’t doing it!”

“Why, Deacon, I don’t know what yo’ mean. I ha’n’t been fleecing
nobody, I’m shor’. If God Almighty gives me my freedom, and gives
me strength to work what land I’m able, and makes the crops grow,
why ha’n’t I a right to get ’long? I can’t see who’s hurt, not to my
serious knowledge?”

“It a’n’t yo’r working, it’s yo’r voting. Yo’ vote them villains into
office, and they’re bleeding the country to death with taxes. Now, we
a’n’t gwine to stand it. All the gentleman has agreed together that
yo’ve got to come over to our side. It’s for yo’r interest to be thar.”

“Can’t do it, nohow, Deacon,” replied the negro, smiling good-humoredly.

“If yo’ don’t there’ll lots of yo’ be killed,” said Deacon A., kindling.

“Now, Deacon Atwood,” said January Kelly, deliberately, “I think a
parcel of gentleman that was raised and been college-bred, men that
would undertake to ride over things by killing out a few niggers—well,
I think its a very small idea for an educated man. I think they must
have lost all conscience of heart; I think all conscience of heart
are gone when they come to do that, _I do_; but you a’n’t in earnest,
Deacon? You’re a Christian man. I ha’nt got _no neighbors_ as would
hurt me. I’m a honest man as works hard, and minds my own business, and
takes care o’ my family; and nobody ain’t gwoine to kill me, nohow.”

“Oh, no, January; nobody won’t hurt honest, hard-working darkies like
you, if they let politics alone; but then there’ll be lots of the
leaders be killed, ’fo’ election, if just such men as yo’ don’t come
over and help us save the State,” said the Deacon.

“Why the State is all here. I don’t see as it’s lost, nor gwoine to
smash, either; and if we have a Government we’ve got to have leaders.
If all the men stayed to home and worked land like I do, there wouldn’t
be no Government.”

“So much the better,” snapped the Deacon. “The strong could take care
of themselves and look out for the weak ones too.”

“Well, I don’t know about that. The rogues would steal and kill all
the same, and who’d take care of our lives and our property, and
collect the taxes, and build the bridges the war burned down, and the
school-houses, and pay the teachers, and all them things?”

“There is too many of them now; and South Carolinians shall rule South
Carolina!” broke forth Deacon Atwood, with great vehemence; “and I want
you to come over to the democratic party where you won’t get hurt.
We’ll all help you if you will.”

“Why Deacon, I thought yo’ was just saying we is getting along the
best. I was born in South Car’lina, an’ so was mos’ all the collud
people in the State to-day, and ain’t we South Carolinians then? Now
all I has got to say is, _that it’s a mighty mean man as won’t stand
to his own_. It war the ’publican party as made me a free man, an’ I
reckon I shall vote ’publican _long as I breaves_! That is all I can
say, Deacon. I don’t know no mo’.”

“Hud up!” said the Deacon, and he rode abruptly away.

“What on earth has come over Deacon Atwood, I wonder,” said Mr. Kelley,
to a tall, muscular black man, who, swinging his hoe lazily, had at
length planted his row abreast with the spot where his employer had
dropped his when the Deacon saluted him.

“Talking ’bout politics, I reckon!” was the drawling reply.

“Yes, and he did make some awful threats! Why, Pompey, he said they’d
lots of the niggers ’round here get killed ’fo’ election if we didn’t
come ovah to the democratic party! Now I’ve hearn that kind o’ talk
ever since reconstruction, but I never did, myself, hear the Deacon,
nor no such ’spectable and ’ligious men talk it ’fo’; though they say
they did talk it, an’ gone done it, too, in some places. He says it’s a
general thing now, from shor’ to shor’ this time ’mong the gem’men. He
says the taxes is ruining the country, an’ niggers an’ carpet-baggers
is in all the offices, an’ the money is wasted, an’ there’s got to be a
change.”

“Oh, —— —— him! It’s just the odder way about—shutting up
offices—doing away wid ’em, an’ turning de niggahs out to make room
for old confederate soldiers! I hearn Kanrasp, an’ Striker, an’
Rathburn, an’ some o’ them big fellahs talkin’ ’bout it dar in Aiken.”

(Pompey had boarded in a certain public institution at the county seat
for the greater safety of the contents of market-wagons in the town
where he resided.)

“The land mos’ all b’longs to the white folks, sho nuff, an’ the rent
is so awful high that a nigger has got to work hisself an’ his family
mos’ to death to keep from gittin’ inter debt to de boss, let alone a
decent livin’, an’ now the gem’men is bound to resist the taxes fo’ the
schools, so our chillun can’t have no schools. I thinks it’s toughest
on our side!” said Kelley.

“Kanrasp said de Governor is doin’ splendid,” continued Pompey,
“cuttin’ down expenses so dey is a gwoine to save a million an’
seventeen hundred an’ nineteen thousand dollars an’ mo’ in one year; or
he did save it last year.”

(Pompey had a memory for numbers, though neither gift nor training for
mathematical calculations.)

“Striker, he was mad cause de Governor made ’em put down an’ print just
ebberyting wouldn’t let ’em buy no “sundies” or somethings—I do’nt
know. De white folks wouldn’t let de niggers have no money in old slave
times, an’ now dis Governor Chamberlain dat ’tends to be a ’publican,
he makes de nigger an’ de Legislature men as come from de North be
mighty careful dey don’t get no cent o’ de white folk’s taxes ’thout
printing jes’what it’s all boughtened.”

“Well, now, that’s right and honest like,” replied Kelly, “‘cause
they’ve been thieves don’t make it right for us to steal; and then the
niggers pays taxes, too, and don’t ort to be cheated neither; and I’d
like to know if them ways don’t make the taxes easier? They do say
they was a mighty sight o’ stealin’ from the treasury going on thar in
Columbya a while ago. I reckon Governer Chamberlain is a honest man,
and don’t steal hisself neither.”

“Certainly, de taxes is easier. Lawyer Crafty, dar in Aiken—he’s a
democrat too, you know—he joined in de talk some, and he said it is
easier’n it was; fo’ de taxes used to be thirteen or sixteen mills on a
dollar (if yo’ know what dat means), but now it is only eleven.”

“I don’t prezackly understood it,” said Kelly, “but I know eleven ain’t
so much as thirteen nor sixteen; and I do reckon it makes it easier.
I reckon it’s mo’ cause the white folks wants all the money and the
offices theirselves, as makes the fuss.”

“Yes,” drawled Pompey, “and dey makes any man a carpet-bagger dat
wa’n’t baun in de South, an’ some ’publicans as was. De Governor has
been in de State, an’ all he’s got, now ’leven year; Kanrasp said so;
an’ Cummings—de head teacher o’ de big school in Columby—de Versity
dey calls it—he’s been in de South thirty year an’ mo’; an’ dey calls
him a carpet-bagger, too, an’ all his boys; but de boys was baun here.
But den dey is ’publicans an’ teaches niggers, too, I wonder is dey any
carpet-baggers up North or anywhere?”

“I don’t know, I never did hear tell of ’em; but the No’th beat in
the wa’, you know. But ’bout this killin’ niggers; I’m a thinken, the
Lo’d knows we has had enough o’ that: but I can’t help thinking,”
said Kelly, and the two men entered into a long conversation upon
the subject which we will not follow, as our present interest is
with Deacon Atwood, who had resumed his way with Kelly’s quaint and
expressive phrase “must have lost all conscience of heart,” as his
constant and sole companion, for he had not yet “lost _all_ conscience
of heart.”

Arrived at home, he ate his evening meal in haste and silence, and
immediately set out for the hall where his Rifle Club met, accompanied
by his eldest son, who was a minor by a few months.

Mrs. A. shouted after him, admonishing to an early return, as she did
“detest these night meetings, anyhow.”

The father and son rode in silence, while the short Southern twilight
faded, and night settled upon the picturesque landscape, soft as the
brooding wing of peace; and balmy breezes rustled through the gigantic
long-leaved pines and mammoth live-oaks, and over fields of sprouting
corn and cotton; and the dark soil seemed to sleep calmly and sweetly
under the white moonlight and a sprinkling of white sand, which
sparkled like snow.

“Watson, my son,” said the Deacon at length.

“Yes, father.”

An ominous silence warned the boy of a weighty communication
forthcoming.

“I’d rather yo’d ’a ’staid to home to-night, but as I’d promised yo’
going, it couldn’t be helped. I reckon we’ll have an exciting time,
but now as yo’ are a going, _try to keep cool_. Like enough thar’ll be
some things said that better not; but as yo’ll be present, now mind
what I say, and keep cool. Try to be careful. Don’t get excited nor be
imprudent. It’ll do for us to foller the rest. Just let them take the
lead and the responsibility.”

“Well, father,” replied the youth demurely, well knowing that his
cautious parent would be the first tinder to take fire and lead any
conflagration that might be imminent.

It is not to our purpose to report the doings of that political Rifle
Club’s meeting—the stirring speeches of citizens of the State, who
forgot that they were also citizens of the Nation against which their
treasonable resolutions were moved, discussed, and voted; nor the
inflammatory harangues of Deacon Atwood; nor the courageous utterances
of one little man of broader intelligence and views than his
neighbors, who urged that the coming political campaign be prosecuted
in a fair, straightforward, lawful and honest manner, which should
command respect everywhere, and convince the hitherto intractable
colored voters that their former masters were disposed to accept the
situation resultant upon the war, and with their support, reconstruct
the politics of the State upon a basis of mutual interests, in place of
the antagonism of races which had prevailed ever since the emancipation
and enfranchisement of the slaves.

While these discussions relieved over-accumulations of eloquence and
over-wrought imaginations, they also disclosed the true state of
feeling, and the deep smouldering embers of bitterness that once “fired
the Southern heart” to fratricidal war.

Unfortunately, good and calming counsels often gain least by
interchange of expression with those of passion, and so it came that
young men, and men whose years should have brought them ripe judgment,
but did not, shuddered the next morning at the recollection of words
they had uttered, and decisions made in that club-room, from which it
would be difficult to recede.

Betrayed by his sanguine temperament and his implacable foe—the love
of strong drink—Deacon Atwood was one of these.

“It’s a pretty pass when a man at yo’r time of life stays out till two
o’clock in the mornin’ drinkin’, and mercy knows what, I do declar!”
said Mrs. A. as she met her liege lord at the door of their domicile,
“And takin’ his only son out to initiate him, too, and yo’ a church
officer.”

“Wh—wh—why didn’t yo’ go to bed, Ja—Ja—Janette, I didn’t
ex—ex—expect to find yo’ up.”

“No, I shouldn’t reckon yo’ did, judging by yo’ exes. Making a fool and
a beast o’ yo’self, and tempting yo’ son, when we’ve been praying for
his conversion so long.”

“Wal Ja—Janette, yo’ ’ort to ha’ prayed for me, too, fo’ I’ve made a
’nough sight mo’ fool o’ myself than Wat has o’ hissen. But I’ve been
true to the State,” drawled and stammered the Deacon, with thick and
maudlin utterance, “and if I could stand as much w’iskey as some on em,
I’d a’ been true to myself also. But who’s been here, Ja—Janette?”
Vainly trying to stand erect, and pointing with nerveless finger to an
armful of crooked sticks that lay upon the blazing hearth. “Who brung
’em in?”

“It wa’n’t yo’, Deacon Atwood; I might ha’ froze to death walking this
house, and nigh fainting with fear, thinking some nigger had outened
yo’ smoke fo’ yo’ fo’ allus’ on this earth.” (He was fumbling in his
pocket for an old clay pipe he carried there.) “I do believe uncle
Jesse and aunt Phebe are the best Christians on this plantation. Yo’r
old mother took her toddy, and went to snoring hours ago, thinking
nothing o’ what might happen yo’—her only son, who she’s dependent on
to manage all her thousand acres o’ land; though gracious knows I wish
she’d give yo’ a foot or two of it, without waiting to all eternity
fo’ her to die ’fo’ we can call an earthly thing our own. I couldn’t
get that story I hearn yo’ telling Den Bardon ’to’ther day, out o’ my
head, and I war that scarred I couldn’t go to bed.”

“What story was that?” asked Watson, as he hung his whip and saddle
upon a wooden peg in a corner of the kitchen where the trio were.

“Why, about that Texas Jack that is around here, killing niggers and
everybody; and he don’t have more ’n a word with a man till he shoots
him down. If I had a knowed yo’ was coming home tight, father, I’d a
been scarred ’clar to death shor’. A pretty mess yo’ll hev’ in the
church now, Deacon Atwood! Elder Titmouse’ll be after yo’ shor.”

“Hi, hi, hi,” laughed the Deacon. “Hic, a-hic, a-hic, hi, hi. No danger
o’ that, old gal. He’d have to be after the whole church, and take the
lead of the leaviners hisself. He’s the Chaplain o’ the Club, and the
d-r-u-n-kest man in town to-night. The old bell-sheep jumped the fence
first, and helter skelter! all the flock jumped after him. Hick, a-hic.
But who, hic, taken that wood, hic, from the yard, hic, and brung it
thar?” demanded the head o’ the house, with changed mood, ominous of a
coming domestic storm. “Dina’s gone, and Tom’s gone, and yo’ wouldn’t
do it if yo’ froze.”

“Wal, now, I was feeling powerful bad, a-walking the house, and crying
and praying mighty hard, and fust I knowed I heard a humming and a
singing, and who should come up to the do’ but Aunt Phebe, and Uncle
Jesse close behind? They reckoned thar was sickness, and they come
to help. Now, I call that Christian, if they be niggers. “Why yo’re
freezing,” says Uncle Jess, “and yo’ll git the fever.” So he brung the
wood and made the fire, and we all prayed for _yo’_, a heap mo’n yo’re
worth; fo’, as I say, I war a thinking o’ Texas Jack. When we heahed
ole Duke whinny they went home, and this minute they’ve blowed their
light out.”

“Hi! hi! Old gal, we’ve been _making_ Texas Jacks—setting ’em up all
night; and they’ll be thicker ’n bumble bees and yaller jackets ’fo’
’lection. But they don’t know how to kill nobody but radicals—niggers
and carpet-baggers and scalawags.”

“Now, Deacon, if yo’ve been setting up anything agin such men as Jesse
and Den, and Penny Loo, I just hope yo’ll git chawed up by yo’re own
Jacks?” said this Southern aristocratic female Christian, in great ire.

“No danger o’ Texas Jack’s hurting _me_. He won’t chaw his own arms,”
shouted the Deacon, triumphantly. “I’m fo’ defending the State and the
white man’s rights; South Car’linans shall rule South Car’lina,” and he
reeled about the room, swinging his limp arms, and shouting, “Hurrah
for South Car’lina! Hurrah for the old Pal-met-to State!”

“Come, come father,” said his son, “let me help you to bed. You talk
like a crazy man.” With the assistance of Mrs. A., the Deacon was soon
where his lips were safely guarded by slumber.

“It is a pity you hadn’t let father join the Good Templers with me, but
may be he wouldn’t ha’ stuck to the pledge,” said the boy, sadly, as
he bade his mother good night.

Near eleven o’clock the next morning, with nerves unstrung, head sore,
and stomach disordered, and altogether in an irritable condition of
mind and body, Deacon Atwood sauntered out into one of his mother’s
fields, where a large mulatto man was mending a somewhat dilapidated
rail-fence. The hands of the farmer, were keeping time to a succession
of old plantation “spirituals” which rolled from his capacious chest
like the sound of a trumpet.

“O, believer, go ring that be—l—l.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Don’t you think I’m gwoine to ring that beautiful bel—l—l?”

       *       *       *       *       *

“This winter’ll soon be ovah.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“When the bride-grooms comes.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“We’ll march through the valley in that field.”

“Yo’ seem to be mighty happy this morning, Jesse,” growled the Deacon.

“Well, Deacon, why shouldn’t I be happy? I’m well, and my wife is well,
and my children is well, and we’re all about our business, and the
children in school a learning, and God Almighty is saving my soul, and
raining his spirit into my soul, and raining this beautiful sunshine
down unto the cawn (corn) and the cotton, to make ’em grow, and why
shouldn’t I sing? Why, brother Atwood, I feel like I’d like to ring
that beautiful bell so loud that all the folks in the worl’’d hear it;
a proclaiming that the Lord Jesus’ll save every poor sinnah that’ll let
him,” and the dark face shone with the spirit-beams that glowed within.

The Deacon winced under the churchly title of brotherhood, and what he
thought a covert reproof, but yielding to the power of a stronger and
more rational nature than his own, he did not remark upon it, though
fondly imagining that he felt himself vastly the superior.

“It is well enough to be happy if yo’ can, I reckon,” said he,
snappishly, “but I don’t feel so. I confess I’m thinking more about
politics now-a-days than about religion.”

“That’s no wonder then that yo’ a’n’t happy. It don’t pay to get away
from the Laud into politics—brings trouble.”

“Oh, a plague on yo’r preaching! We must attend to politics sometime:
we can’t leave it to yo’ niggers all the time. The Democratic Party has
got to beat next fall, or we’ll all be ruined together.”

“Of course it is right for you to think about politics,” replied Jesse,
“and to talk about politics, and to vote about politics, but you know
“_what-sa-ever_ ye do—whether ye eat, or drink, or _what-sa-ever_ ye
do, you must be a thinking of the glory of the Laud.”

“We wouldn’t have no trouble in carrying this next election if it
wasn’t for these leading radicals,” said the Deacon, in an angry mood,
which had not been improved by Uncle Jesse’s reproof. “There is not
more than one in a thousand of the niggers that knows how to read and
write, but is an office-seeker; but I tell yo’, Jesse, every one of ’em
will be killed!”

A silence ensued, during which Deacon Atwood repeatedly thrust his heel
into the soft soil, and turning the toe of his boot about, as though
crushing some reptile, he made a row of circular depressions along the
side of a cotton hill.

Pausing in his work, and pointing at the busy, great foot, Mr. Roome
(for that was Uncle Jesse’s name) remarked, with a broad smile, “Deacon
Atwood, them is nice looking little places you’re making there, but
allow me to tell you that I reckon your wife won’t like the looks
o’ that black streak you’r making on the bottom of that leg o’ them
light-colored trousers o’ yourn.”

Vexed beyond control that he could not disturb the equanimity of the
colored man, the irate Deacon now squared himself about, and, thrusting
both his itching fists deep into the pockets of the abused articles of
his apparel, he looked fiercely into the face of the negro, saying:

“Maybe you don’t believe me, but it is true, and all settled; and I’ll
bet you that Elly and Watta and Kanrasp will be killed before another
’lection, and I can give you the names of twenty more that will be
killed, and among them is ‘Old Bald-head’” (the Governor).

A shadow passed quickly across the dusky face, and a set of fine teeth
were firmly set together for a moment. But that soon passed, and
the face wore its usual expression: “What are you going to do with
President Grant and his soldiers?”

“Oh, all the No’th is on our side,” was the prompt response. “And if it
a’n’t, we don’t care for Grant nor his soldiers. I carried a gun once,
and I can again.”

The farmer had completed his work, and, folding his arms, he now
confronted his “Boss,” and spoke slowly and impressively.

“Mind, now, what you’re doing, Deacon, for the United States is _mighty
strong_. You recollect once you had two Presidents here, and it cost a
long and bloody war, and the country ha’n’t got over it yet.”

“Yes, sir, but the No’th is on our side now, I tell yo’, and we shall
be able to carry our point.”

“May be so, I can’t tell,” said Jesse, dropping his hands by his
sides, “but I shall be very sorry to see another war started here,
and I didn’t live in the No’th from ’61 to ’67 to come back here and
believe that the people there is going to stand by you in killing us
off to carry the election. Maybe they’re tired of protecting us, and
disgusted with our blunders and our ignorance, but they won’t join you
nor nobody, nor uphold nobody in killing us off that way.”

“Well, you’ll see we shall carry this next ’lection if we have to
carry it with the musket—if we have to wade through blood to our
saddle-girths,” said the Deacon. “And more—this black Militia Company
at Baconsville has got to stop drilling; it has got to be broken up.
It is too much for southern gentlemen to stand—flaunting their flag
and beating their drum right under our noses! It is a general thing
with us now from shor’ to shor’, and the law can’t do nothing with so
many of us if we do break it up, and we’re going to.”

“Now, just be careful, Mr. Atwood, what you say, and what you do. I
a’n’t going to uphold our colored folks in violating no law, and you
know I ha’n’t, nor nobody else neither. I believe in law, and I say
let’s stick by the law; and,” gathering up his implements of labor, “I
suppose you’ll excuse me, for I’ve got to go around to the other side
of this oat field, by the woods there, and mend that other gap; that
is, if you don’t care to walk around that way.”

The Deacon did not care to walk that way, and so the conversation
ended for the time; though the subject was frequently renewed during
the subsequent summer months, in the hope of inducing Roome, who was
influential among his people, to declare for the white man’s party, but
in vain.

A scion of a family that, in the early settlement of the State, had
procured a large tract of land at five cents per acre, and had retained
much of it through unprolific generations by penuriousness that had
been niggardly and cruel in its exactions upon slave labor, Deacon
Atwood was coarse and gross in temperament, and had received little
culture of any kind. All his patrimony had vanished through the war
and its results; for the parsimony of his ancestors had formed no part
of his inheritance, and he had pledged all for the Confederate loan.

His aged mother—a violent rebel, and a widow before the war—yet
refused to pledge her land to raise funds for what became the “Lost
Cause,” and found means to retain possession of one thousand acres
of cotton land, for the management of which her son was now acting
as her agent. Mrs. Deacon Atwood was what the reader has seen her,
and not an ill-selected specimen of the average planters’ wives, who
but seldom left the schoolless vicinities of their homes; and as her
family had fared no better than her husband’s in the general financial
overthrow, they were quite naturally and rapidly drifting towards their
affinity—the social stratum called in ante-bellum times, “poor white
trash.”



CHAPTER II.

DISTRUST.

  “The murky shades o’ care
  With starless gloom o’ercast my sullen sky.”

  —BURNS.


“WALK in, Mr. Roome; walk in. Glad to see you. Have a chair? Well, what
is the news from Bean Island and Baconsville?”

“Bad, Mr. Elly, bad!” replied Uncle Jesse, as he seated himself, and
took from his hat a huge red cotton pocket-handkerchief, with which he
proceeded with great deliberation to wipe his dusky face and bald head.

“I did not know it was so warm out,” said the courteous host. “This
office is such a cool place that I come up here Sunday afternoons to be
cool and quiet. It is a good place to read.”

“I reckon it is not so warm to most folks. I’m hotter’n I ought to be,
I know; but I’m worreted,” said Uncle Jesse, still wiping industriously
with both hands at once, and then thrusting the handkerchief into his
hat which he had been holding tightly between his knees, he placed it
carefully upon the floor beside him, and putting a hand upon either
knee, he leaned forward, looked earnestly into Mr. Elly’s face, and
with a significant expression, and in a low tone asked, “Is you alone,
Mr. Elly?”

“Yes; or, but—well, Mr. Watta is in the back office, but I can close
the door”—rising.

“No, no,” said Uncle Jesse, raising both hands deprecatingly. “Ask him
in; ask him in. Or, why can’t I go in there?” glancing around at doors
and windows.

“Certainly you can,” replied Elly. “Did you want to see Mr. Watta?”

“I reckon so; yes. Well, now, this is what I call providential; and
I reckon I wa’n’t fur wrong in coming, if it is Sunday. The folks in
No’thern Ohio don’t do no business on Sundays, and money paid Sunday
a’n’t paid at all—can be collected over again; but work is driving
awfully now. The freshet put the cawn back so for awhile; but it is
ketching up now. But I knowed I ought to come.”

Handshakings and preliminaries over, the trio were soon seated around
a large writing table—colored men all of them. Both Elly and Watta
were tall and slender—the former quite black, and the latter very
light—and both had enjoyed the blessing of education at a Northern
school established for the benefit of freedmen, and almost sanctified
to the race by bearing the name of “Lincoln.”

Jesse Roome’s northern experiences had not been with books, save at
evening schools, of which he had eagerly availed himself; but his
naturally well-balanced mind and keen powers of observation had not
been idle; and sensible ideas of common duties and relations of life in
a highly-civilized and enlightened community were his reward.

Elly was a thriving lawyer and ex-member of the State Legislature,
where he had been “Speaker of the House,” and, ever with an eye to
business, he had already scented a fee in his visitor’s troubled manner
and reply.

“You must excuse my abruptness, but I leave on the train for Columbia
in half an hour,” said he, “and you and Watta can talk after I am gone.
Now, what can I do for you?”

“First of all, I want some money for my services as constable; and
second I want to talk about the political situation, and to tell you
some things I have heard men say that is interested. Well, how I got to
know this thing—”

“What thing?” asked the lawyer. “Why, that Elly and Watta and Kanrasp
and some score of other radicals, has got to be killed,” said Uncle
Jesse, lowering his voice to a husky whisper.

“Ha! ha! ha?” roared Elly, throwing himself back in his chair, till his
head seemed in danger of getting wedged between the chair-back and a
bookcase behind him. “Why, Roome, I thought you was a sensible man,”
said he, when he had recovered his breath. “The days of the Ku-Klux
Klan’s are over, and all done in this State. When we punished two
hundred and fifty of the fifteen hundred ‘very respectable gentlemen,’
as they called each other, who were arrested in 1871-’2, the thing was
killed out here, you see.”

“No, I don’t see,” said Roome.

“But do you suppose a man really means what he says when he talks like
that now-a-days?” and the two threatened men laughed, and wriggled in
great apparent merriment, and in true negro fashion, though really
quaking with fear.

“I certainly do believe it, Mr. Elly, and Mr. Watta, and I only hope
the good Laud will show that I’ve been afeared for you for nothing. The
parties was in earnest, and intended it, I’m shor’; and you know I’m
not a old woman, nor a baby to be scart for nothing.

“I’ve took the trouble to resk my life to tell yo’ to take care of
you’n, and now I’ve done my part. I didn’t tell Watta right there to
home, because I reckon as yo’ is a lawyer, Mr. Elly, I’d best tell you
first, and see what is best to do for your protection. I taken trouble
to do this. But Watta is here now, and I’m done,” said the old man in a
grieved tone.

“We are much obliged for your kind intentions, though you needn’t have
been so much scared about us.”

“Well, now, let me tell you,” and the farmer proceeded to narrate
minutely the incidents and facts with which the reader is already
acquainted, and others of similar import.

“Give me names and I’ll put them through in the law, for threats,” said
Elly.

“I can’t do that,” said Jesse, folding his arms tightly.

“Why not?”

“Because I live in the woods, and my life wouldn’t be worth anything;
and I a’n’t going to tell yo’, though you’ll believe me yet.”

“I believe _you_ now, but I don’t believe you’re a white man.”

“You will yet though, I ha’n’t nothing more to say now, but just mind
what I tell you. You is both men that is marked to be killed, because
you is leading radicals; so the white folks says they is gwine to kill
you and a score more right round here close; I can’t help it, but I’ve
done my duty, and you must take car’ of yourselves. It wouldn’t be no
use to prosecute this man. It would only make the whole of ’em mad, and
worse than ever ’em open a hornet’s nest; but I want to ax you this
favor, just remember my life now, as I’ve remembered your’n, and not
tell that I told you this.”

“Oh, we won’t tell, and we’re much obliged to you for your good
intentions but we don’t scare worth a cent, after all.”

Uncle Jesse left the office, and the other men walked down to the
railroad station to meet the through train going north.

“What do you think of the old man’s story?” asked Watta.

“I don’t think much of it. He has maintained such an equivocal attitude
that it is hard to tell whose hands he is playing into. He has been on
one side and then on the other—with the colored people and then with
the whites, till there is no telling where he is now.”

“Elly, you are unfair. That man is just as true as steel; he is solid
gold all through. He is with the side that is right, that is all,
only he has more courage to speak out than some of us have. I reckon
the fact is that the right hasn’t _always_ been the colored side. I’m
afraid it hasn’t, though we’ve had so much the worst chance since
we’ve had a chance at all, and such an outrageous list of grievances to
remember, and to bear, that it isn’t an ordinary man that can look at
things fairly here.”

Now, I have a mind to think there is something serious in this matter,
and that there will be more and more as election approaches. The white
men at Baconsville are _awful mad_, because our Militia Company has
been reorganized lately, and has been preparing for the centennial
Fourth of July. One would think they expected to be massacred in their
beds; and so they go to work and do things that might make every nigger
mad at them. Sensible, isn’t it?

“They are just raving, the white men are, some of them, and they do
talk dreadfully. Old man Bob Baker there, gets into a passion whenever
he sees us drilling on Market street. He hates to see a nigger he has
hunted in the swamps before the war, and his dogs couldn’t catch, or
could, practicing the use of arms with a State gun in his hands, and
the Union flag over his head. He is like a mad bull, and “the stars
and stripes” is the red rag that sets him a roaring and tearing up the
ground.”

Here Watta, the speaker, slapped his companion’s shoulder, and both
broke into a loud laugh.

“He has got an idea,” he resumed, “that all the roads within five miles
of his plantation belong to _him_, I reckon, by the way he swears
whenever he meets or passes the Company. I tell the boys to give the
flag an extra spread whenever he is in sight, and we have it out.”

“It is the flag of the Union that you carry, and you are the National
Guards of South Carolina, too,” replied Elly.

“Well, it _is cutting_ to the old rebel and slave-hunter!” he
continued. His occupation is gone, gone forever; and I don’t suppose he
or his trained blood-hounds take kindly to such cheap game as possoms.
There is a mighty sight of brag and bluster about these southern
whites, though they’ll dodge quick enough at sight of a United States
musket with a Yankee behind it. They hav’n’t forgotten their whipping
yet.”

“Yes, but they’ll dodge back again just as quick, when the musket and
Yankee soldier are withdrawn, and they are fast forgetting the past;
and this centennial year and celebration are unwelcome reminders of it
which they would like to resent.”

“Well, yes, I reckon so. You see the mention of the rebellion as one of
the hard strains which the Union has survived cannot well be avoided,
and so the “red rag,” as you call it, is in their faces pretty often if
they take a newspaper, or steal the reading of one. There are only five
white men, ‘gentlemen,’ who call upon me regularly to get the reading
of my papers, free of course, and call me a ‘nigger.’ They don’t take a
single paper themselves, nor buy one, nor say ‘thank ye’ for mine; nor
always think to ask if I have read it myself.

“Ah, there she comes! right on time;” and Elly closed and pocketed his
gold watch, while the train approached the platform.

“You’ll see, Jesse? Please get that name out of him, and I’ll put the
rascal through for threats; though I’m not afraid of him. Good day,”
and with the grace of a courtier he waved adieu to his friend, as the
train moved away.

He was soon comfortably seated, and gazing out at the window. He was
very well dressed, in strong contrast with a large majority of his race
in the southern States. His tall shining hat lay beside him upon the
crimson plush cushion of the seat, leaving his crisp and glossy frizzed
hair the only covering of his shapely head.

Among the occupants of the car were many “northerners” returning from
winter residences in Florida.

“We talk of the receding foreheads and projecting jaws of the African,”
said a lady sitting opposite, in a subdued tone to her masculine
companion, “but just imagine those two men with hair and complexions
exchanged,” indicating Elly and a man in the seat immediately in front
of him, who was in a double sense, a fair specimen of southern “poor
white trash.”

  “‘Now, deil-ma-care about their jaws,
  The senseless, gawky million,’

“As Burns says,

  ‘I’ll cock my nose aboon them a’,’

“For I’m bound for dear New England, away from this land of rags
and dirt, slatterly ways, lazy habits, flowing whiskey and tobacco,
narrow brows and wide mouths, and people of all imaginable shades,
from ebony to cream-color or white,” replied the gentleman. “If you
like to continue studying and comparing these faces, do so; but don’t
suggest it to me, for I long to be where the very air is not darkened
with—‘nigger, _nigger_’ and my ears shall rest from the sound of their
uncouth voices.”

“Their voices are expressive. You should call out the smooth tones.”

“But I can’t always. I’m sure I can’t forget the night of our arrival
at Jacksonville,” he continued, “Thirty, weren’t there _fifty_
black men standing near that train, all _barking_ their loudest for
passengers? Yes, you may reprove me, I know these don’t sound like
the words of an abolitionist. But I am one, I insist; but if upon
oath describing that sound that greeted our arrival in that city, I
must say the voices of ‘thirty yelping curs;’ and to pass through
among them, with their grabbing for one’s baggage, and those frightful
sounds in one’s ears, and the knowledge of the unsettled state of the
country—the antagonism between the races—I’d as lief—well, I don’t
know what I wouldn’t choose!”

“Yes, but if, when that big-mouthed, two-fisted fellow grabbed your
satchel, you, instead of striking him with your cane and umbrella,
had looked kindly into his great-rolling eyes, and mildly said you
preferred to walk and carry it yourself, I think he would have dropped
it as quickly, and more quietly, and been more likely to remember
you kindly. I remember quite similar scenes in the North, with Irish
hackmen. But we have outgrown them; and so will the South, and the
negroes out-grow these scenes; and for me, the more I see these colored
faces, the more that is intelligent and agreeable I see in them.”

Elly’s face had been singularly bright and cheerful before over-hearing
this colloquy; but then a change came, and presently he leaned out
of the window, gazing at a large dilapidated mansion (it could not
worthily be called a ruin,) which stood some rods from the railroad.

Many a day he had played about the door of a poor little cabin in its
rear, or ran at the bidding of his young mistress as she walked in a
small grove the train was just then entering; or had held the bridles
for the gentlemen mounting at the door of “the great house,” watching
well their movements, least, as is the habit of some men to cut their
dogs with their whips and laugh at their yelps and leaps, they should
thus enjoy an exhibition of his agility.

Under that great tree, in the edge of yonder cornfield, his mother
writhed under the lash, for complaining that her task was too heavy;
and obliged to witness the rising of the great welts upon her naked
back, his father had snatched the instrument of torture from the hand
that wielded it, and on an attempt being made to dispossess him of it,
had dealt the overseer a smart blow across the back of his hand.

Then had followed a gathering of “the hands” from that and neighboring
plantations, to witness the “maintenance of discipline,” and Elly’s
father—a valuable specimen of plantation stock—was made, under the
cat o’ nine tails, a physical wreck.

Beside that old decaying cotton-house, now scarcely visible, his oldest
sister was once hung up by her hands and severely whipped, because she
preferred field labor by the side of the father of her child, who was
called her husband, to what was called an easier life—in “the big
house after Missus got sick, and was agwoine’ to die.”

Next, the train rattled over a long stretch of spiling though a
cane-brake, where were familiar trees, under which Elly had paused for
breath, and standing upon their knotted roots, listened to the baying
of pursuing blood-hounds; and so vivid was his recollection of this,
his first attempt to escape from slavery, that the sick, cringing,
trembling feeling returned as he observed the bent canes leaning away
from the half-submerged ties of the railroad track; an involuntarily
moving of his feet upon the car floor, as if again seeking a footing
upon their bent stalks, a semiconsciousness of present circumstances
was restored, through which his mind leaped over the terrible capture
and chastisement, and he seemed again to hear the sounds of the “Yankee
Camp,” and felt the joy of his happy entrance there, a “Contraband of
war,” but a chattel slave no longer.

Then came a realization of the inestimable service the “Yankee
Governess” had rendered him when she stealthily taught him to read,
and spurred his young master’s lazy efforts, by contrasting his
acquirements with those of the listening slave boy.

Through that poor beginning, made in weakness and danger on the
part of both pupil and teacher, when it was a crime, punishable by
imprisonment in the State’s Prison, he had made his way to positions of
honor and emolument.

What meekness, humility and honesty must not a man of such experiences
possess, if, conning them over, pride did not lift up his heart,
resentment make his arm restless, and a sense of robbery long-endured,
make his present powerful position seem a providential opportunity
for retaliation and self-reimbursement! From an abyss of enforced
degradation and ignorance and despair he had emerged into the light and
life of personal and political liberty, equality, respectability and
honor; and the young master whose opportunities he once so earnestly
coveted, and before whose absolute will he was forced to bow, now sued
for favors at his hands, and found “none so poor to do him reverence.”
Was ever the nobility of human nature put to stronger tests than in
these two peoples?

“Good evening, Mr. Elly,” said a broad-browed, florid-faced, red-haired
man in the aisle beside him.

“Good evening, Marmor, good evening;” was the hearty response. “Take a
seat?” removing his hat to make room.

“I will gladly take the seat, if you will just step out and let me
turn over the back of this one in front, so that we can have the use
of the two sofas, for my feet are at their old tricks and troubling
me a good deal. They are easier when I lay them up. One might as well
personate ‘Young America’ in this Centennial year when it makes him
more comfortable.”

“Mind you don’t get them too high now,” said Elly, as they seated
themselves after the change, and he spread a newspaper upon the cushion
before them, to protect it from Marmor’s boot-blacking. “You might
share the misfortune of Ike Partington; and if all your brains _should_
run down into your head, what would become of “The Times?” and Elly
laughed and wriggled, in strange and silly contrast with his usually
dignified manner.

“I don’t furnish brains for “The Times”, said Marmor, “I only publish
it. But what is the campaign going to be, do you think?”

“Oh, of course we shall win.”

Marmor kept his eyes fixed upon his middle finger nail, which he was
carefully cutting, and did not reply.

Elly scrutinized his face awhile, and then asked, “Don’t you think so?”

“I am not so positive as I wish I was.”

“You don’t think the colored voters of the State are going back on the
party that gave them freedom, and the only one that will preserve it
for them? They’ll all vote the Republican ticket, of course.”

“Yes, unless they are intimidated.”

“Now, Marmor, I’ve seen a hint—or what I take for one—in your paper;
but I hope you don’t really think there will be trouble.”

“I _am_ afraid there will be trouble. Hanson Baker told me the other
day that there are fifteen hundred men ready and waiting to come there
and break up the Militia Company in Baconsville, and that they are
going to do it; and it is a frequent boast among the men—the white
Southerners, I mean—that they will carry the election if they have to
do it at the point of the bayonet. They can’t do it honestly, that’s
shor’; but I’m afraid there will be trouble.”

A pause ensued, after which Marmor resumed. “I’m almost tired of
this State, and if my business could be squared up I’d get away; but
I shan’t be driven out. I wish the colored people had the spunk to
emigrate to some of the idle western land. It is a heap better and
richer than this here, by all accounts; and though it might be some
colder, it would make them stronger and smarter, and they’d be heaps
better off than they are here.”

“There _are_ a great many _talking about it_, don’t you know—going by
colonies? It would be a deal better than going to Africa. I shall go
myself if the old Confederates ever get into power here again.”

“See you stick to that, Elly; and, as for me, I reckon I shall have
to go by that time, or before. I was born in South Carolina, and shed
my blood in defense of her (as I thought then), at Fort Sumter, got
wounded there, and I was as good as any of them till I consented to
accept a clerical office under a Republican administration; and then
the old Confederates persecuted me and my wife, till I found out how it
felt to others, and I have seen under what tyranny a man lives here.
He dares not think for himself at all. I served under Hampton in the
war, before I got my eyes open. Like most of the private soldiers,
and plenty of commissioned officers, I was made to believe a lie, or
I never would have raised a hand against the National Government in
the world. I used to say just this way: If the No’th would only let us
manage our State matters ourselves, and would let our slaves alone (you
know I owned a few slaves), I didn’t care if the Territories and new
States were free. But Lincoln, and Garrison, and Greeley shouldn’t come
down here, and take our nigger property away from us; they shouldn’t
be emancipated by the United States Government—the slaves shouldn’t.
Enough others said the same, and dozens of our speakers said it on
the stump and platform, and plenty of the great leaders were right
there—consenting by their silence, if not saying the same things, when
_they_ knew well enough that these were just the principles of the
Republican party—the ‘Unionists’ who elected Lincoln. What did _we_
care for their ‘sympathy for the slaves,’ or their _wishes_ for the
‘constitutional right’ to liberate them, so long as they admitted they
hadn’t got it, and we knew they couldn’t get it short of a two-thirds
indorsement by the States through a direct vote of the people? There
was slave property enough in sixteen of the thirty-four States to make
us pretty sure on that score, in addition to the interests of cotton
manufacturers and sugar dealers in the No’th who wanted our products
and no interruption of business. Then we had the Fugitive Slave Law for
the return of our runaways.”

“But you know the Republican idea was that the new States coming
in, being all free, they could at last secure the constitutional
two-thirds.”

“Yes, at _last_” said Marmor, derisively, “_at the last great day_,
while slave-owners had each a vote for three out of every five of his
slaves without asking their assent. But our hot-headed course hastened
emancipation about a hundred years; and now that it is over I’m glad
of it, though it did cost an ocean of blood and treasure. Slavery
cursed the whites as well as the blacks, and ought to. When I think of
all I saw in that war—I got this difficulty in my feet there (moving
them with a grimace), and of the horrible sufferings it brought on our
people, and how those leading villains knew all the time that they were
deceiving us, I can’t think what wouldn’t be too good for them! And
when that war was over, and the No’th had us in her hand as helpless as
a trapped mouse, she not only spared their lives, but gave everything
back to them which they had forfeited; and now you hear them go on
about the National Government and the northern people, especially any
that come and settle among us and try to develop the resources of the
State, in a way that is simply outrageous! You would think the South
was the magnanimous _patron_ of the stiff-necked and rebellious No’th.
I verily believe the South would have liked the No’th better if it had
put its foot upon her after she fell. Conquer your rebellious child or
yield to his dictation without demur.

“There are some who know no such thing as equality. Somebody must be
the ‘Boss’, in their practice.”

“But republican principles would not allow the government to hold these
States as provinces,” remarked lawyer Elly.

“They should have been held as territories,” said Marmor, “consistently
or not. My blood is German (my father emigrated from Germany to
Charleston when a small boy), but it has got the South Car’lina heat in
it. I’m for _efficiency_.”

“Nineteen-twentieths of what they call carpet-baggers, and make folks
believe are just adventurers, are northern men, capitalists generally,
who in emigrating did not leave their manhood behind. It matters
not how heavy taxes they may pay, nor how long they remain in the
State; if they vote the Republican ticket and maintain the principles
and practice of equal justice for all men in the State, they are
‘carpet-baggers;’ and if they vote Democratic, according to the will
of the confederate whites, though they vote ‘early and often,’ and
at points far removed from each other, they escape the opprobious
epithet.”



CHAPTER III.

THE GLORIOUS FOURTH.

  “Plumes himself in Freedom’s pride
  Tyrant stern to all beside.”

  —BURNS.


ON an insignificant little village built on a narrow flat beside the
Savannah river, the sun had been pouring his red hot rays all day, with
even greater intensity than was usual at that season of the year.

The inhabitants, however, paid little heed to the extreme heat, and
only when the sun sank to the western horizon did they leave their
fields and workshops and wend their ways homewards.

Two railroad bridges, and another for the public highway, connected
this little village with the city of A——, on the opposite side of the
river, and in the neighboring State of Georgia.

A long low trestle carried one of those railroad tracks two or three
squares or streets back from the stream towards the hills a half-mile
away.

Not far from this trestle, on a broad street which ran parallel with
and along the brink of the stream, stood a strong, two-story brick
building. Its uses had been various; but at the time of which we write
it did service as an armory or drill room for Co. A of the Eighteenth
Regiment of National Guards of South Carolina; and also as a dwelling
for the Captain of the Company, who, having just returned from his
day’s work in the city, now sat with his chair tilted back against the
post of the open door, tossing his infant and conversing with his wife,
who was preparing their evening meal.

It might be mentioned that the parties in this little domestic scene
were of African descent.

“Howdy? Cap’n Doc, Howdy?” shouted a negro teamster, driving up to the
door with a great dash and rattling of wheels.

“Hello! That yo’, Dan?” replied the Captain, letting the front legs of
his chair down upon the floor with a bump that came near unseating him.
“Come in, won’t ye?”

“I’m obliged to yo’, but I couldn’t nohow. I just wants, to know what
sort of a combustification is we gwoine to hev to-morrow; and when does
de militia come out?”

The speaker was evidently “the worse for the drink,” which must account
for his forgetfulmess of what he had been well informed of, and he
wriggled and giggled as if greatly tickled.

“The militia,” said Captain Doc, “has got to faum (form) and march down
to the grounds, when the doings begin, and stand guard; and after the
speeches and all is ovah, we shall go through the usual everlutions,
accompanied with music and the flag. I’m sorry we didn’t get that
shooting-match I tried to have, so we could ha’ got some unifaum; but
I shall inspeck yo’s guns and accouterments mighty close, and put yo’
through mighty sharp on the drill.”

“But a nigger that don’t car’ ’nough ’bout the Centennial fo’th o’ July
to get to know all ’bout the doings fo’ the third o’ July, don’t ’zerve
to be baun free and ekil.”

“Wal, I wa’n’t baun free an’ ekil, an’ I don’t ’speck to be baun free
an’ ekil, nuther, but ’fo’ I done gone ovah to ’Gusta wid dis ere load
o’ truck, I knowed all ’bout it. But I met dat are _magnifishent_ young
gem’man, Tom Bakah, and, oh, laws!” (spreading his horny palms, with
fingers extended and rolling his head and eyes from side to side),
“‘mose put my eyes out o’ my head! All upsot my idees! His nose turned
up, ’pears like six feet high; no, six inches high; and he drove he
horse so scrumbunctious like, ’mose upset my little ambulancer,” and
Dan turned to his two little rats of donkeys in harness of knotted
raw-hides, which resembled old and assorted clothes lines.

The little creatures stood meekly before an indescribable vehicle, a
ridiculous cross between a rude hay-rick and a huge crockery-crate on
wheels. It was all out of proportion to the little team, whose backs
were scarcely as high as the waist-bands of stumpy Dan.

“Tough little fellahs, dese is,” said the teamster, patting them
affectionately, “but mighty feared o’ Mars’ Tom, a’n’t yo’,—Eigh,
Jack?”

“See dat nigh critter cock his eye now, and wag dat off ear,” continued
Dan, winking at Captain Doc, and giggling and wriggling as before.

“Don’t like Mars’ Tom, do yo’, Jack?” again addressing the intelligent
donkey, which not only wagged his off ear, but shook his head in a
most decided manner, to the great amusement of his owner.

“Oh, Dan, you musn’t mind the antics of that boy Tom,” said a voice
behind him; whereupon Dan wriggled and jumped, and whirled about, and
bowed himself double, and made grimaces, and giggled and wriggled, and
danced a jig; and finally, with another low bow and long scrape of his
right foot, he shook hands with the speaker, who was no other than
our friend Marmor. “Tom is only just home from school, you know, and
of course the man who knew more before he was born than could ever be
cudgeled into that knowledge-box of hissen, is _nothing_ to him! Let
him alone, and let him swell though, just as big as he can, he’ll bust
the quicker, and we’ll find out the quicker how big he really is when
the vacuum is gone, and what is left is packed down solid.”

“‘Pears like dis yere young Tom cat tinks he smell a mice, or a niggah
he’s huntin,” said Dan, “an’ he’s gwoine fo’ to _chaw ’im up_ mighty
quick!” (suiting his gesture to his words by a long sniff, and a quick
motion of his jaws.)

Dan’s buffoonery was irresistible, and the half dozen persons who
had gathered at the captain’s door manifested their appreciation by
hilarious applause.

“‘Pears like I couldn’t leave such ’stinguished comp’ny, nohow,” he
continued, “but dey is a panoramia fo’ my vishum which am decomrated by
hoe cakes an’ hominy, an’ lasses an’ bacon, an’ sich tings;” and with
his hands upon his empty stomach, Dan bowed very low and obsequiously,
and mounting his “ambulancer,” gathered up the ragged ends of his
raw-hide ribbons, touched Jack with his long green stick, and rattled
away, while Captain Doc shouted after him, “Two o’clock, and no tipsy
men on parade.”

The queer little turnout, which would have been a spectacle in any part
of the northern states, though common enough in the southern, crept
slowly up the steep hill in the rear of the village, where buildings of
curious and indescribable styles were scattered without order or taste,
and few indications of thrift. Stopping on the outskirts of the town,
and before a small cabin built of one thickness of rough boards, the
vertical cracks between which would nearly receive the fingers of an
adult, and the windows of which, without sash or glazing, were closed
only by clumsy wooden shutters—the usual style of cabin inhabited by
the southern negro—Dan leaped from his vehicle, and entering, sniffed
and looked about searchingly, till a tall, angular mulatto woman
entered from the back door with an armful of wood.

“Any suppah yet, Mira?”

“No, sah. Yo’ suppah ha’n’t ready yit, but I’s cookin’ it. I’s mighty
tired. I’s done done all dat whole big cotton field.”

“Good, chile! good, chile!” said the husband, approaching and
attempting to kiss her as she stooped to replenish the open fire.

No sooner had his breath touched her face than she turned, with a stick
of wood in one hand, and confronted him, while the smoke and flame
leaped out in alarming proximity to her dress.

“See here now, yo’ Dan; yo’ been drinkin’ gin,” fixing her dark eyes
reprovingly upon his silly face. “Dat’s de way yo’ been spendin’ yo’
money.”

“Mira Pipsie, yo’s de smartest woman in de whole worl’. Yo’s got ’em
zackly, I reckon” (wriggling and curveting about the room and back to
her side again). “I nebber boughtened me no finery o’ no kind; no new
bonnet, nor nuffin. Yo’ buys what yo’ wants, an’ so does I.”

“Yes; but yo’ comes home an’ wants suppah, an’ it’s de cotton o’ my
raisin’ as buys yo’ suppah.”

“Yah! yah! yah! I’s a lucky dog, shor!” and he executed a jig followed
by a double shuffle, knocking his heels upon the bare floor with what
vigor he could command, and at the same time improvising as follows:

  “I’s de smartest little wife
  Ebber seen in all yo’ life;
  She marks her cotton-bag
  Wid a little calico rag,
  An’ gits de biggis’ price,
  An’ as slick as any mice
  She smiles, an’ bows, an’ flies aroun’,
  An’ totes her cotton off to town.
  Home she comes, an’ O my!
  See de new bonnet! _Oh, my eye!_
  Away to church she sing an’ pray,
  Hallelujah! look dis way!
  Dina Duncan’s in de shade,
  Mira beats all on dress parade.
  But jes’ see Dina’s _bran new shawl_!
  Can’t heah no mo’ preachin’ af’er all.
  Elder, I’m gone nex’ Sunday sho’,
  Can’t wear dis here ole shawl o’ mine no mo’!”

Here the song abruptly terminated, for the “smartest little wife,”
who was some inches taller than her husband, and by no means slender,
took her liege lord by the damp, unstarched collar of his soiled blue
shirt, and marching him to the door, seated him upon the step, saying
in a low, decided, and well recognized tone, “Now yo’ jes’ set dar,
yo’ drunk niggah, yo’, an’ don’t yo’ open dat big red mouf o’ yo’n no
mo’ till I git some hominy to fill it up. I don’t want no niggah’s
heels scratchin’ roun’ on my flo’. Ef yo’d buy bettah finery ’n dem
ole trowsahs, an’ go to church, an’ let whiskey ’lone, yo’ cotton’d be
some good. Ef I didn’t mark my cotton o’ my raisin’, an’ toat de money
myself, I’d jes like t’ know whar yo’d git yo’ tea, an’ coffee, an’
flou’h, an’ all dem tings?”

With an admonitory shake of her finger, she entered the house, and
resumed her culinary operations; but soon reappeared, bearing a gun and
accoutrements, and sundry materials for polishing them; having first
dexterously examined it, and found it without charge.

“Heah now, yo’ Pipsie; yo’ got sense ’nough t’ clean dis ’ere gun?” she
asked. “Reckon you’ll be mighty proud o’ dis ’ere ‘finery,’ marchin’ up
an’ down long o’ de res’, an’ de folks all lookin’ on.”

“He, he! Didn’t I say ‘smartest little wife’? Reckon I kin do dat are.
Reckon I’ll p’rade on de fo’th, an’ yo’ll wait till Sunday.”

Two of his neighbors presently joined Mr. Pipsie, with whom he was soon
discussing the anticipated celebration, which was quite a novelty in
the locality. Suddenly a loud sound of wheels was heard.

“Hello!” cried Dan, springing from his seat. “Heah comes my friend
Bakah! Hello, Babe! Bett’ take car, dat team, else yo’ git toated clean
off, an gone to smash ’fo’ yo’ muddah knows nuffin ’bout it. Reckon yo’
didn’t ax her mout yo’ gwout alone?”

The sound of the jolting wagon rendered this speech inaudible to the
youthful driver, who was passing without a “Howdy!” (an offense in that
locality) but the loud, derisive “guffaw” of the three colored men,
which followed Dan’s sally, did not fail to reach him, and he paused
suddenly, just past the door.

He was tall and large, but unusually boyish for a youth of twenty
years. In an angry tone he shouted:

“Dan Pipsie, come out here! I want to see yer.”

That individual made his way, quite deliberately, to the side of the
vehicle, and with a strange mixture of timidity and bravado in his
manner.

“What do you mean by cursing me in that way? I ha’n’t done nothing to
you,” said the boy.

“Oh, laws! I’s jest in fun, an’ I’s shor’ yo’ didn’t heah yo’r name
mixin’ up in it. A man’s a right to talk or cuss on his own do’,”
(door) “an’ nothin’ to no man no’ his boy gwoine ’long de road.”

The youngster’s eyes flashed, and his face was pale with rage.
What! _he_ to be called a _boy_ by a “nigger?” He looked down upon
the diminutive black figure beside him, in whose hands was one of
Remington’s best rifles, and that alone restrained him from laying the
long lash of his driving-whip close about the “black biped,” as he
mentally called him. He did venture to retort with some asperity.

The altercation was brief, but heated, and soon the whip was cracked
decidedly closer to Pipsie’s left ear than was comfortable to its owner.

“Yo’ jes be little mo’ ca’ful, yo’ young man!” said Pipsie, rubbing
the ear briskly. “Yo’ not got no runaway niggah slave heah now. I’se a
free man, an’ got as much rights as yo’, an’ mo’n dat, too, I’se got
a United States gun heah, an’ I knows how to shoot, too. Yo’ needn’t
’sult no National Guards fo’ nuffin’. Ef yo’ ha’n’t got no mo’ yo’
want say t’ me, yo’ bes’ jes’ git ’long ’bout yo’ business, or yo’ may
git hurt!” and he made a feint to raise the empty gun to his eye, when
young Tom Baker rode away in great haste.

Baconsville had never witnessed such a “celebration” as it enjoyed the
next day, which came bright and beautiful.

Though usually tardy in morning rising—possibly from dread of the
malaria, which the sun dissipates by nine o’clock, on this memorable
day, the inhabitants of the village were astir at an early hour, for,
through the heavy fog which crept up from the river, and shrouded the
whole valley, the red-haired and fair-skinned Marmor, and the largest,
strongest, and blackest citizen, with a few followers, were dimly
visible, dragging a blacksmith’s anvil along the principal streets.

They paused frequently in front of the residences and shops of the
chief citizens to salute them by an explosion of gunpowder upon the
anvil—the nearest approach to a cannonade possible in the impecuneous
little city. But not earlier than four o’clock in the afternoon was
the excitement at its height. At that time the brass band was playing
national airs under a great oak tree on a vacant plot of ground on
which a platform had been erected; and a few seats placed in front
of it for the accommodation of the gentler sex were rapidly filling;
for, at a safe distance, thirteen explosions upon the anvil, in
commemoration of the thirteen original colonies, were being followed by
thirty-seven, in honor of the then existing States of the Union.

These were the recognized signals for the commencement of the most
important exercises of the day; and the militia having formed at the
armory, marched to the rostrum, bearing the “Stars and Stripes,” and
were disposed on either side of the speaker’s stand, while other free
and patriotic citizens stood in compact groups near and about the
well-filled seats.

All being ready, a chairman elected, the glass of water and bouquet
of flowers placed before the speaker, and the band having duly
discoursed, a short, smooth-voiced negro—an accredited preacher of
the Methodist persuasion, and member of the State Legislature from
that district—was introduced. He made a long, peculiarly energetic,
interesting and instructive address, rich in metaphor and quaint
expressions, glowing with native eloquence, and abounding in graphic
description, wholesome counsel, and eulogy of the “United States.”

Not an allusion was made to the past relations of the races in the
South, unless an exhortation to gratitude towards the United States
be so construed, in view of the fact that the very few whites present
acknowledged no such debt.

After the address, music followed, and then Marmor was formally
introduced to his neighbors, and read in clear, loud tones the
inevitable “Preamble and Declaration of Independence,” to the manifest
disgust of a small group of men who stood in the rear of the crowd.

A tall, muscular man, with iron-gray hair and bushy beard, turned upon
his heel with an oath, saying: “Marmor, the contemptible radical, takes
too much pleasure in reading that preamble to me, and I’m a fool to
hear it any way. _All men created equal!_ It is a self-evident lie!”
and he strode away, followed by the boyish young man, Tom, to whom the
reader has already been introduced.

“Father,” said he, “that red-headed fool acts like a Yankee. You
wouldn’t suppose he fought for the Lost Cause.”

“It is the cursed German blood in him!” replied “the old man Baker,” as
his neighbors called him. “He hasn’t been in the State long enough to
get the Republican taint out of it. His father wasn’t born here.”

“It is a pity that a Yankee bullet hadn’t hit _him_, instead of brother
Will.” He’s a scalawag and a carpet-bagger, both in one.”

“Yes, I’d like to rid the State of his presence, and the niggers of
one leader. If it wasn’t for the leaders, we could manage the ignorant
ones.”

The exercises at “the stand” closed at five o’clock, and the Militia
soon formed, thirty or forty strong, and marched off up Market street;
which being over one hundred and fifty feet in width, afforded ample
space for the evolutions which the men performed with commendable
precision for nearly an hour.

At length they stood resting at the upper end of the street.

“Have you noticed the clouds, Captain?” asked the tall
second-lieutenant, approaching his superior with raised cap, “That’s
so, Watta,” replied Captain Doc, glancing at the clouds, “We’ll march
down to the armory and dismiss. Attention, Company.”

The necessary orders being given, they proceeded by fours, interval
march, open order, with guns across their shoulders, and arms over
their guns; thus occupying little over one third of the width of the
street.

Soon after they had thus started, a single buggy occupied by two young
men, turned from Main street into Market street, entering it two or
three streets in front of them and approached the advancing Militia-men
at a slow trot. The horse was old and steady, and neither the
glittering guns, nor flag, nor fife and drum disturbed his equanimity;
and, urged by his driver, he did not pause nor turn aside till in the
very face of the soldiers, who had already halted.

The road was broad and level, but the travel had been confined mostly
to one track, and the remainder of the surface was overgrown with grass
and May weeds.

Just at the place of their meeting, a well occupied a few feet in the
centre of the street; and a shallow ditch crossed the half of the
street at the right of the vehicle. Yet fully fifteen feet of the level
highway was unoccupied at the right of the Militia, and the driver
could easily have passed around the Company, had he chosen to do so,
instead of urging his horse directly upon the advancing column.

The discourtesy of this act was aggravated by the fact that the young
men had, during a half-hour previously, been driving leisurely from
one bar-room to another, or sitting in their carriage and watching
the movements of the Company in common with a large number of
other citizens, both white and colored, during which time frequent
opportunities had occurred in which they might have driven up the then
totally unoccupied street.

These young men were Tom Baker and his sister’s husband, Harry Gaston,
who, like his father-in-law, had often expressed his aversion to “the
Nigger Militia Company.”

Captain Doc left his position, and approaching them said:

“Mr. Gaston, I do not know for what reason you treat me in this manner.”

“What manner?”

“Aiming to drive through my company when you have room enough on the
outside to drive in the road.”

“Well, this is the rut I always travel in,” was the contemptuous reply,
made with an oath.

“That may be true,” replied the Captain, “but if ever you had a company
out here, I should not have treated you in this kind of a manner. I
should have gone around, and showed some respect to you.”

“Well,” retorted Gaston, “this is the rut I always travel in, and I
don’t intend to get out of it for no niggers!”

“You don’t intend to break up our drill do you?” asked Lieutenant
Watta; his yellow face growing visibly pale.

“All I want is to pass through and go home.”

“But you want to drive through our ranks.”

“No! ——. He can’t go through here,” said another voice.

“We will stay here all night before we will give way to them,” said
Watta, the conversation with lawyer Elly and Uncle Jesse recurring to
his memory.

“Never mind,” said Gaston with an oath, “you won’t always be insulting
me. You had better stop now, for you’ll find you’ve got to.”

“Egh, Watta, don’t yos’ mind what Mann Harris said—tole that Hanson
Baker, Tom’s brother, said a month ago that there’s gwoine to be the
—— to pay in Baconsville pretty soon? Reckon the white folks is begun
that p’ogramme he tole ’bout,” said another militia man. “He said
fifteen hundred of ’em was ready to break us up, an’ of co’se Gasten’s
one of ’em.”

A volley of oaths and abusive epithets was rolling from Tommy Baker’s
lips; which was indeed their most familiar utterance when addressing
persons of color; and some members of the company began to return the
charge in kind.

“Attention, company!” shouted Capt. Doc. “It is going to rain, and we
had best house our guns. We won’t hold any contention with these men.
Now, yo’ hush up! I’ll settle this matter. Open order, and let them go
through.”

The command was obeyed, but not without murmurs of discontent, which,
however, were soon quieted, as a slight shower descended, and they
hastened off to the armory.

Marmor, with his two little children, had been standing a few rods
away, watching and praising the exercise.

When the altercation occurred, being a Warden of the town, he sent John
Carr, the Town Marshal, or Chief of Police, to ascertain its cause; but
it was passed before his arrival at the scene.



CHAPTER IV.

LEGAL REDRESS.

  ‘O thou dread Power! whose empire-giving hand
  Has oft been stretched to shield the honored land!’


SO trivial a quarrel as that narrated in the closing part of our last
chapter, had it occurred elsewhere than in a community in which the
inhabitants had so recently sustained the relations of masters and
slaves, would scarcely have elicited remark upon a subsequent day;
but over the three or four hundred colored, and forty or fifty white
residents of Baconsville there settled a dark cloud of anxiety and
apprehension of coming evil.

Angry looks and threats of violence on the part of the whites were
recalled and anxiously discussed by the colored people, as were also
the recent and frequently expressed determination to “carry the next
election for the Democratic Party, if even through blood waist deep,”
though the colored voters were largely in the majority, and almost
without exception, if unintimidated, voted the Republican ticket.

These, with the oft-repeated boast that the illegal Rifle Clubs,
trained cavalry companies, were ready to co-operate for the suppression
and utter dispersion of this colored company of State militia, with the
fact that similar acts of violence were by no means new experiences to
the ex-slaves in the South, but were even then being perpetrated in
the surrounding country, made the outlook for the colored population
gloomy, indeed.

On the other hand, the officers of the town, with the single exception
of our friend Marmor, were all of the colored race, and as he was a
Republican native, he was even more repugnant to his white neighbors
than a “nigger.”

On the other hand, during the two months preceding this encounter,
these militia-men were known to have been drilling as often as once or
twice a week, though the law required such practice but once a month.
This alarmed the whites, with whom anticipations of “insurrections” are
still either congenital or feigned.

In the days of slavery, and also by the South Carolina “Black
Code” (the only exclusively white legislation in the State since
reconstruction), arms were strictly forbidden to the negroes, and under
heavy penalties; yet, through the subsequent Republican legislation,
they rejoiced in being the “National Guards,” bearing the same flag
which Sherman “carried down to the sea,” and under which Captain Doc
learned tactics and heroism in the “Black Regiment,” which once swept
over Fort Fisher, and closed the last port of the rebellious States.

What signified it to those conscience-accused whites that these were
poor men maneuvering by the light of the moon to save the expense of
lighting their drill room; and, unable to spare time from their toil,
they took it from the hours of their rest, to prepare for a creditable
performance on the Nation’s Centennial birthday? So much the worse. The
Fourth of July was the birthday of the “national nonsense” that “all
men are created equal;” and it was not the fault or credit of these
white men that there was left a nation to celebrate its Centennial.

Now that the sole militia of the State was enrolled from this
emancipated race (white men would not enlist under charters, because
unassured that they should not be subordinated to colored officers, and
they might be required to sustain a State government of the colored
majority), how should one expect the former masters to be content and
at ease, even though no concerted outbreak had ever occurred among
the freedmen, whose temper is naturally peaceable and timid even to
servility?

Undoubtedly, the fears of those once reputed hard masters, or who
still find it difficult to conform to the new conditions, are often
distressing. They are also nature’s incontrovertible testimony to the
wisdom and divine origin of equal rights.

Great was the excitement of the Baker families when the young men
arrived with the tale of their “narrow escape from the militia men.”

Early the next morning, the old slave-hunter and his three sons set
out for the office of Trial Justice Rives, who, though a colored man,
it was thought could be more easily induced to meet out punishment to
those miserable offenders, than Louis Marmor, who was the only other
competent magistrate in the town.

Of course, as has been the custom of the whites there, from the
earliest settlement of that country, these gentlemen all wore their
side-arms, and for greater safety these were put into the very best
condition, and fully loaded, as they suspected the Town Marshal, who
ran after them on the previous evening, might attempt a counter-arrest
for the same offense.

Young Tommy did not feel quite safe from Dan Pipsie without his
eighteen-shooting rifle in addition; and so, with it in hand, he
mounted his young bay horse, while beside him rode his brother-in-law,
Harry Gaston,—the best shot in town, bearing also his carbine; while
the father and his eldest son, Hanson, were seated in a light wagon in
which were placed additional firearms, lightly covered with a lap-robe.

Thus equipped, they proceeded in safety, through the quiet little
village to the Justice’s office; and finding it closed, went two miles
further on, to his plantation, and returned with him to his office;
quite a formidable party to be sure. Arrived there, they entered
complaints against Dan Pipsie for threats to kill, and against the
officers of the Militia Company for “obstructing the highway.”

The Justice, being himself Major-general of that division of the State
Militia, after thoughtfully scratching his crispy locks awhile, said:

“I reckon it is best to hear a _statement_ of the testimony, and then
decide whether it is a case for court-martialing, or for trial under
the _civil law_.”

Ten o’clock of the next morning was fixed as the time for hearing the
case.

At that hour Justice Rives was found seated behind his desk, and busily
examining papers and documents.

The Bakers made their appearance, accompanied by a few friends, among
whom were two professional men—a Reverend, and an M. D.; though
not with compresses and consolations for the possible wounded and
dying, (for South Carolina chivalry does not fight its duels with
“niggers,”) but with bail money (modified from bullets), should that
counter-arrest, which they feared, be attempted.

Automatically, or through force of habit, each race in the southern
States still assumes, in assemblies, the positions and attitudes
imposed in the days of slavery. In the churches of the colored people
one or more of the most desirable seats are reserved for whites, and
these often remain vacant, or nearly so, during a lengthy service,
while church members stand to exhaustion for want of seats.

Hence, the front seats of Gen. Justice Rives’ court-room were occupied
by the plaintiffs and their friends, and the defendants and their
friends sat at a respectful distance in the rear, while a number of
boys and women of color gathered outside of the door.

The magistrate, who had not altogether escaped the envy of his less
fortunate neighbors, had often been accused by them of a sycophantic
weakness for the approval of the whites; while the latter declared
that justice could not be obtained by them before a colored officer,
and that, as a political canvass was approaching, they would not again
submit to negro magistrates.

He therefore felt his position peculiarly trying, especially when he
saw that they were all thoroughly armed.

He held both his official positions by appointments of the Governor,
to be sure; yet he knew that the preponderance of wealth, intelligence
and bravery was with the white race; while at the same time he did not
forget that if “a traitor to his race,” he would probably, through
ostracism and insult, reap a bitter retribution from his own people.

A peace warrant was, however, soon issued against Dan Pipsie, his
“Daddy” being present to give bail for his future good behavior. Then,
with some apparent reluctance and nervousness, the Justice called the
principal case.

Mr. Watta arose and announced that lawyer Kanrasp, from the county seat
would appear for the defense.

To this Robert Baker strenuously objected, as, not having been advised
that attorneys would be employed, he had none. He therefore asked a
postponement of the case.

Kanrasp then suggested to his client that inasmuch as the proceedings
had thus far been very informal—the paper served being neither a writ
nor summons, and not at all a legal paper—he would withdraw from the
case, and let Rives take judgment if he chose, when the case could be
appealed to the Superior Court, where justice might be had.

This he did on account of the extreme indignation manifested by the
Bakers and their friends.

Gaston, who was a shriveled, weason-faced specimen of the _genus homo_,
with sandy hair, flaming whiskers, and a face in which whiskey held a
profusion of freckles in purple solution, was the first to testify,
which he did in accordance with his views of the affair.

“Now, Captain,” said the Judge, when Gaston had finished, “as you have
no counsel, you may question the witness if you want to.”

Captain Doc was a well-made, medium sized and shrewd man, little
less than forty years of age, with very dark complexion, having
three-fourths African blood.

He arose from his seat quite slowly, and squarely fronting Gaston,
asked:

“Mr. Gaston, did I treat yo’ with any disrespect when I spoke to yo’?
Didn’t I treat yo’ politely?”

“I ca’n’t say that you treated me with any disrespect; but I can say
this much, that there was two or three members of your company that
showed some impudence to me, and I also saw them load their guns.”

“Mr. Gaston,” replied the Captain, looking searchingly in the eyes of
the little man, “didn’t yo’ see me examining the cartridge-boxes and
the pockets of the company, to see if they had any ammunition before we
went on drill?”

“Yes, I did.”

“Did yo’ see any?”

“No.”

“_I_ did. I found one man with a cartridge in his pocket, and I took it
away, and scolded him about it.”

Gaston replied, “Yes, I saw that.”

“Well then, are yo’ _certain_ that these men loaded their guns?”

“I saw them moving them, and I thought they were loading them.”

“And so yo’ came here to _swear_ that we wanted to kill yo’? That’s
about as much as a colored man can get for his care not to give
offense. A man is a fool to go out of his way for any of yo’ white
folks anyway. Yo’ had no right to aim to drive through our Company as
yo’ did; but when I gave in and got out of yo’r way, and let you go
‘long—gave yo’ the road that b’longed to us—yo’ just come heah with
such a lie as that against us.”

“Captain, I don’t want you to treat my court with contempt,” said
Rives, severely. “If you can’t address the gentleman more politely you
must sit down.”

“Judge, I don’t mean no contempt,” said Doc, in a conciliatory tone,
“not if I know myself. I never expect to treat no lawful court with
any contempt. I was only asking questions, but if the questions is not
legal, then I don’t want to ask him. I won’t ask no mo’, but leave it
to yo’r discretion,” and he sat down.

“Well, sir, to sit down without permission is contempt of court.”

With such an air of drollery as only a negro can assume, Doc sprung to
his feet again, saying—

“Yo’ mus’ pardon me sah. I’s not accustomed to law offices. If sitting
down or anything else is contempt, I’m asking yo’r pardon this minute;
for I didn’t mean to contempt this court.”

“It is contempt, sir!” thundered the judge, “and I put you under
arrest, and dismiss this court till July the 8th at four o’clock in the
evening.”

Some protestations were made on account of the lateness of the hour,
but Rives insisted he could not leave his plantation labor earlier, and
immediately declared the court adjourned.

Neither the day nor hour was satisfactory to the complainants, as it
was on Saturday afternoon, when many country negroes were certain to
visit the village shops, stores, and market; but as the whites were
more generally masters of their own time, it is possible Rives feared
he might need the presence and support of his own race should he not
condemn the accused.

Harry Gaston was enraged and strutted about like a bantam cock; his
face became almost livid, and his hands nervously bobbed in and out
of the breast pockets of his short coat, where rested a well-prepared
pistol on one side, and a flask of whiskey on the other. Alas, the
_flask_ knew little rest.

“I pray you be calm, my dear nephew,” said the Reverend Mr. Mealy,
who, though inwardly _seething_, was so enswathed in his own innate
mealiness, that he was measurably cool. “Do not allow this degraded
black to disturb you. Remember your position in society. You have
been raised by me as my own son. Do not disgrace yourself and me by
condescending to dispute with one in his station, and of his color,”
and grasping the young man’s arm, he moved towards the door.

Lieutenant Watta, who had been sitting beside his Captain, now
sprung to his feet, and grasping Doc’s arm, rushed towards the door,
attempting to lead him out.

Doc, however, hung back, and having extricated himself, said in a low
tone, “Watta, keep cool!” and he sat down again.

“I won’t keep cool!” retorted the lieutenant. This white-livered judge
has shown partiality. Look at the arms in this court room! and Rives
is afraid!” (with a sneer.) “They may shed my blood if they can, but I
won’t keep still and see my captain arrested for contempt just because
in questioning, he got ahead of these unrebuked and cowardly bullies
when you humbled us all, on the Fourth of July, to avoid a fuss and
concilliate their lordships;” and the enraged man strode out of the
building, threw the gate back upon its hinges, and standing in the
opening thus made, drew himself to his full height, and threw out his
empty palms exclaiming

“I carry no arms; but we’ve got arms.”

“Yes, you’ve got arms, but you’ll see how it’ll be yourselves!” said
Hanson Baker, who had been haranguing the people outside the court
house. “There’s a fellow from Texas here, two or more of ’em, and
they’re going to kill that Town Marshall, and nobody isn’t going to
know who done it, and then they’ll leave.”

“What does he or they know about John Carr, the Marshall?” asked a very
large, but irresolute-looking black man.

“He’s been informed of his character, and I tell you John Carr won’t be
living in this town three months, neither will some o’ the rest.”

“How about that Harmony Case?” asked the same voice (a case of massacre
of blacks).

“Well, I wasn’t there, but they done it, and there’s a programme laid
down for the white folks _this_ year.”

“That is wrong,” said a voice.

“Well, if it _is_ wrong, it is no matter; it’ll be done all the same.
There is no laws now.”

“Ha! ha!” laughed the crowd, the whites applauding, and the blacks
deriding the threats.

“Does yo’ pretend to say there a’n’t no law in the State now?”

“No, there a’n’t no law in this State, nor any other State. It’s been
a hundred years since the Constitution of the United States, and it’s
played out now, and every man can do as he likes. We’re going to get
Chamberlain and his crowd out o’ the State House.”

“How about Grant? You know he’s President.”

“By——! we’ll have him too.”

“Take care, that is treason,” said another.

Harrison Baker and Watta proceeded, each with his harangue, and paid no
heed to each other, till the plaintiffs and their friends crowded out
of the building, pistols in hand, ready for instantaneous use.

A frightened old mammy bawled out, with great eyes rolling, and great
hands waving, “See the pistols and guns! See the pistols and guns! Oh,
Lor’! they ort to be shot down theirselves!” but the next instant she
cowered under the same fierce gaze of the “old man Baker,” which had
made many a stalwart runaway stand tamely after the dogs were taken off
and while the shackles were put on.

“Uncle, Uncle, let me go,” said Gaston impatiently, striving to free
himself from that worthy’s grasp. “I want to shut that yellow chap’s
mouth with this little bit of lead. The judge ought to arrest _him_,
but I’ll take his case if you’ll let me go, I’ll give him a mouthful to
chaw!”

“Shut my mouth, would you?” retorted Watta, who had caught the words
as the two men approached the door. “You’ll find that hard business
before you are through with it, if you try. The whites have ruled us
long enough. Two hundred and fifty years they bought and sold us like
cattle, till the United States set us free; and since then, colored
citizens have been tied and whipped, and shot, and murdered in cold
blood, and driven from their homes, and their property destroyed, to
this day. But it is all no matter here before this white-livered judge.
It’ll take a regiment to tie and whip _me_, or spill what black blood
_I_ have.”

“Do not speak to him, my nephew,” said the Rev. Mr. Mealy.

“A regiment!” cried Gaston, with a sneer. “Let me go and whip him
myself;” but the readiness with which he yielded to the pressure of his
uncle’s hands, was amusingly in contrast with his words.

“We will have this matter settled by law now, and know whether we
are to be run over in this way. We will know which are to rule this
place—the blacks or the whites,” said Rev. Mr. Mealy. “We’ll know what
rights this militia company have. They have got an idea that they can
do whatever they please. We’ll have it settled now.”

“This court is a mockery of justice,” continued Watta. “Look at those
arms on the side of wealth, and an unarmed poor man arrested for
contempt, because he has a dark skin and cornered his opponent by
lawful questions. The next time a white swell rides into our ranks
while we are on parade we will see that he doesn’t take us to court for
obstructing his way.”

Rev. Mr. Mealy, Dr. Shall, and General Rives were active and nearest
in efforts to control the now highly incensed Baker family and Gaston;
and an influential colored man succeeded in getting Watta out of the
street. With deep muttered threats and oaths, the Bakers and their
friends at length betook themselves to their conveyances and their
homes.

Captain Doc conversed with the constable, in the justice’s office,
while the latter official went to his dinner and returned. Re-entering,
Rives approached, and extending his hand said good-humoredly, “Shake
hands Doc.”

“I don’t know,” replied he, with averted eyes.

“Yes, you will. I couldn’t help it. You was bearing on so hard that
they would have shot you in two minutes more. I did it to save you.”

“Is that so, judge? Then here’s my hand. I didn’t mean no contempt; but
if I’ve contempted you, or your court I’m sorry.”

“That’s all right now, and I’ll remit the fine. Now let me tell you,
you’d best settle this matter somehow, if it is possible. I’m afraid
trouble will come of this. I wish Watta had ’a’ kept still.”

“So do I. He’s a marked man now, shor’, and his life an’t worth much,”
said Nat Wellman, the constable.

“Settle it?” said Capt. Doc. “Major General Rives, nothing will settle
it but to let the company be broken up. I won’t do that, and my oath to
the State, that I have taken as Captain, wonldn’t let me if I wanted
to.”

“I can’t see the end of this yet, I can’t,” said the Judge, with a
sigh, as the trio separated.



CHAPTER V.

PREPARATIONS.

  “Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world,
  Like a Colossus; and we petty men
  Walk under his huge legs, and peep about
  To find ourselves dishonorable graves.”

  CASCA, IN JULIUS CAESAR.


THE 8th of July, 1876, was an exceedingly hot day, and few white
residents of the State of South Carolina ventured out of doors in the
hotter hours, though, as is usual, the colored race needed less caution
to avoid sunstroke.

About nine o’clock, A. M., two gentlemen issued from an attractive
residence, which was situated on a slight eminence on the outskirts of
a little village called Enfield Court-House. Leaving the broad piazza,
they walked leisurely down the gently sloping lawn to the street. As
they closed the gate behind them a covered buggy passed, in which was
seated a middle-aged man who bore a decidedly commanding air.

His hat lay upon the seat beside him, and the light hot breeze lifted
the long iron-gray hair which lay upon his shoulders, and fluttered his
linen duster and the loose flapping curtains of the carriage with a
cool and comfortable appearance.

His horse was fresh, and so spirited that the neatly-gloved hands of
the gentleman were well-exercised in controlling him.

He found time to gaze at the two gentlemen upon the ground, however,
but gave no sign of recognition, save possibly a little more lofty
elevation of the head.

“The General is off on professional business, judging from his manner
and duster,” remarked the elder of the two pedestrians.

“I often find it hard to repress a smile, even in his presence, at
his _wondrous pomposity_. What kind of a business would he do in the
North—Ohio, say—with all his airs? He wouldn’t have a client.”

“Oh, yes, he would. There are plenty of people everywhere, who never
know what estimate to put upon others till they, or some one else tell
them. But the General’s “airs,” as you call them, are his stock in
trade here.”

Both men laughed heartily.

“But to think of a man passing his neighbor and State Senator as he did
you, Mr. Cone! He should respect your office, at least.”

“Ah! that’s what he does not do when a radical is the incumbent. He was
once quite condescending and affable to me, when I let politics and
education alone, and didn’t meddle with them at all.”

“Meddle! Senator! Who has a better right than you to take an interest
in politics?”

“Young man you forget yourself, you must learn meekness and
discretion—not to put too fine a point on it—or you will get into
trouble.”

“But we are immensely in the majority,—the State is really in our
hands. Why should we cringle and bow to this haughty minority just
because the blood of their families, is in our veins, mixed with
various proportions of African?”

“But you’re a ‘nigger’!”

“True, and they used to say that black men had no rights that white men
were bound to respect. That was their day. This is ours.”

“Ah, but I want a better pattern for my life than they have been. I
say, because we are in the majority, let us take all the honors and
offices we can, but wear them meekly for our safety’s sake, and fill
them honorably for conscience’s sake. Good morning!” and the twain
separated to go, the one to his law studies, and the other to his
duties as planter and legislator.

We will accompany the General. Right through the torrid heat he kept
on, over hill and valley, only stopping occasionally to cool his
reeking horse in the shade of some friendly tree, or to converse with
some white man whose house he entered briefly, or whom he beckoned to
his carriage if within call.

At length he descended a long hill, and, reining his horse below the
bridge, he drove into a small stream, where, in the shade of some
overhanging trees, he paused a few moments, allowing his horse to drink
while he hastily pencilled a few figures in his notebook. Adding them
up he shook his head thoughtfully, and said, in a low tone: “That will
not do. Which way next?”

On looking up, he descried a horseman descending the hill before him.
Driving out of the water, and regaining the road, he awaited his
approach.

“Howdy do, General?” said the equestrian, pausing beside the carriage.
“Hot day this.”

“Infernally hot, Dr. Wise!” and he grasped the extended hand, as he
wiped the perspiration from his face and neck with his left, and,
though apparently irritated by the heat, he shook hands cordially.

“It _is_ hot here, hot as that hottest of all places, and I hear they
are going to have that over here in Baconsville pretty soon; I hear
so,” and the Doctor shook his fat sides with a chuckling laugh, adding:
“You must have important business to call you out to-day.”

“It is quite important, _quite_,” replied General Baker. “I have got a
suit on hand in Baconsville that is quite important, and if that other
place you are talking about comes there, I hope I shall not find it
hotter than this hollow is. Niggers may stand it, but I cannot.”

Both gentlemen were delighted and laughed loudly.

“I’ve just come from there,” said Dr. Wise.

“From where—Baconsville? or the other hot place?”

“Oh, from Baconsville,” replied the medical man, laughing. “I couldn’t
have got away from the other place with all this fat.”

The laugh again subsiding, he continued: “You see I have a patient I
am watching over there; and being in the neighborhood, was called in
to see two or three of the better class of colored people. I’m afraid
you’ll have trouble, there, at that suit. The niggers are saucy, and
very angry about that collision between the Bakers and the militia.”

“Well, Doctor, the colored people in South Carolina have become so
insolent and insurrectionary, and intractable, and have taken on so
many intolerable airs, that they must be made to know their places.
You will see their wenches on the streets of Augusta and Charleston,
and all our cities, with their “pin-backs” and “button shoes,” and
“bustles,” and indeed imitating our ladies in everything; and they
even act as though they expected a white man to step aside and let
them pass, as if they were the ladies themselves. I saw an affair in
Charleston the other day that _made my blood boil_, and I involuntarily
laid my hand upon my pistol, but fortunately I was preserved from using
it.

“Three great black—_creatures_, I suppose I must call them _men_—were
walking up the street, and met three young ladies whom I know to be
members of one of our best families. What do you think but that these
impudent brutes actually crowded our ladies into the gutter—made
them actually step off the pavement for want of room to pass! Quite
fortunately the ditch was dry, and not deep—four or five inches, at
most. But such indignities are too great a tax on the forbearance of a
gentleman of gallantry! Only one of the ladies actually stepped off,
but then, time was when I could have blown out the brains of all three
of the rascals, and the community and the State would have sustained
me. But those were days of “home rule.” Alas! when shall we ever see
them again!

“I do not know what they are meditating at Baconsville, but I hear they
have been performing military evolutions, with arms in their hands, two
or three times a week, recently, and at night too; and I am called over
to put a stop to it. Why, we are not safe in our beds! It is one of the
atrocities of our carpet-bag government that they are allowed arms _at
all_, and now they have attacked our people.”

“Now, you don’t say so, General!” exclaimed the Doctor.

“To be sure! This case of mine would bear that construction; though Mr.
Robert Baker has, in the absence of counsel, very mildly, and I fear
unwisely, put it on the ground of ‘obstructing the highway.’ He might
have made a case much stronger, for they obstructed the way with their
guns and bayonets, and Gaston says some of them, at least, were seen to
load their guns on the spot.”

“It is a case of positive violence, then, and insurrection?”

“Oh, positive insubordination,” said the General, with great emphasis
and indignation. “And they have been making such threats that I’m
called over to see if there is any redress possible—any law or means
by which they can be restrained.”

“If anybody can straighten them out, _you_ can, General; whether it
is to be done by law or by force of arms. We haven’t forgotten your
record in the Confederate service. But have you no help? You will need
backing, I fear.”

“I have called upon several gentlemen along the way, and interested
them and their clubs, I think; and the club at Enfield promise to come
over to my assistance one hundred strong at least. But I have just been
computing and could desire even a larger force, especially should the
Judge decide adversely to us; for something _must_ be done to insure
our protection. I confess I feel some concern.”

“On reflection, I think you need not, General, for the community is
fully aroused by a report that the negroes intend to _mob_ those young
men.”

“Mob them!” ejaculated General Baker, with an oath. “They will scarcely
dare to do that. They know my military reputation too well to try that,
and I shall be prepared for them, now that you have kindly forewarned
me. But to be so Doctor, I must bid you good-day, and hasten forward,
for a good seven miles lies before me yet.”

“I have great confidence in your ability to command success, and am
sure the darkies have a wholesome respect for the same. So, wishing you
all success, I also bid you good-day.”

The General now called more frequently upon the white people along the
way, but soon found them anticipating his coming and ready to join him
soon; forming quite an escort of cavalry as they proceeded.

It was two o’clock and intensely hot when they arrived at Sommer Hill,
and found about one hundred and fifty men grouped in the shade of two
wide-spreading oak trees near a church there, and around a grog shop
opposite.

The General’s arrival was greeted with three cheers, three times
repeated, and three “tigers;” and the men, anxious to do him honor,
pressed around his carriage to shake his hand and assure him that they
still cherished the recollections of his gallantry on behalf of the
“lost cause.”

Though quite animated, this scene was brief, for courteously declining
the scores of invitations to “drink,” General Baker informed his
followers that the call to duty was still more imperative to his mind
than those to eat or drink, and he must hasten forward to consult with
his clients before the hour for court arrived.

Directing them to remain there till signaled, and to keep an outlook
from the brow of the hill overlooking Baconsville, two miles away,
he bravely rode thitherward entirely unattended, notwithstanding the
earnest protestations of his numerous friends.

“So brave a man who can decline such entreaties to drink, and as
gracefully as the General did, ought to be at the head of a temperance
society,” said a young man, lounging near the church.

“That’s so, Jimminy!” replied a comrade. “Wonder if he isn’t.”

“I’m afraid not. I suppose he takes his wine, and probably something
stronger sometimes; though he wants a cool head now. I wish those
fellows over there wouldn’t drink so. I’m for breaking up the nigger
militia; but we want cool heads for it. We can _scare_ the niggers out
of it if we work it right, and all keep sober.”

“That’s what I think, but you see already how it will be. I would go
home and give it up, but they’ll say I was afraid. I don’t want to get
into no collisions with the United States, for my part; and if a lot
of them get drunk, I’m afraid something will be done that will lead to
that.”

Less than half a mile from where this conversation was passing, Harry
Gaston sat in his shady porch.

“Don’t set there doing nothing but watching,” said a tall lean young
woman who sat just inside of the door, busying herself by rocking in an
easy chair. “The General will think yo’ reckon on ’im awfully, an’ he’s
conceited enough now, mercy knows! There, take them old papers of yo’re
uncle’s, and make as if yo’ was studying politics on yo’ own hook;” and
she tossed a handful of newspapers upon the floor beside him.

He took up a copy of that celebrated democratic organ of the South, the
Charleston _News and Courier_, dated May, 1875, and read—

“Governor Chamberlain richly deserves the confidence of the people of
this State. The people of South Carolina, who have all at stake, who
see and hear what persons outside the State cannot know, are satisfied
with his honesty. They believe in him as well they may.”

“Bah! the contemptible carpet-bagger!” said Gaston, dashing the paper
on the floor; and picking up another, dated February, 1876, he read
again—

“We believe that, without regard to consequences or to his party, he
(the Governor) will go on in the narrow path of right.”

Another—“January, 1876. In South Carolina the conspicuous leader in
the fight for reform, the one man who has made reform possible at an
early day, is Governor Chamberlain, whose election was the greatest
blessing in disguise that this people has ever known.”

“The greatest curse!” exclaimed Gaston kicking the paper off the porch.

“That the _Courier_?” drawled Mrs. Gaston. “I thought that used to be
the best paper in the South—true to the Confederacy all through the
war. Has it gone over to the Radicals?”

“It don’t pretend so, but it has been bribed, I reckon.”

A voice from the highway, now called the husband away to hold a brief
colloquy with General Baker.

“My horse is very tired and warm, and I myself am in need of
refreshment; so, Mr. Gaston, I shall be obliged if you will strike
across the fields and notify your father-in-law of my arrival, and
bring him and your brother-in-law, Tom, to the store of Mr. Dunn to
meet me for conference about the suit we have in hand,” and the great
man drove on.

“Mary, General Baker wants me to go across the fields to your father’s
for him,” said the young man, with a demure countenance, on re-entering
the house.

“Well, I reckon yo’ won’t do no such a thing!” she replied, forcibly.
“A mighty easy thing it would be for some nigger to pop you over, and
nobody to see. Yo’ won’t go that way.”

“I’ll just gallop down the other road and get to the village ahead o’
the General; Tom’s thar’, we can go together after the old man; though
I a’n’t afraid of the niggers.”

“See! see! Meester Dunn,” said that worthy’s helpful “frau,” as they
sat at their dinner in a room immediately in the rear of their grocery.
“Dar is Shinneral Paker from Enefield, an’ er pe shtopping right here!
Pe quick, now. My laws! but dis vill pe ine goot ebening by de bar!
De Shenneral shtop ’ere, an’ all de gem’mans and companies come, too!
Hurry, now Shorge!”

“Dat alle right now. I fix ’m mit ole Bob gester-tag,” said the
shrewd though moderate husband, George, arising from the table, and
shuffling through the glass door by which the dining-room and grocery
(or more accurately _groggery_), communicated, he greeted the great
military dignity with a volume of broken English that was almost
incomprehensible.

Shaking the dust from his apparel, the distinguished guest ordered food
and drink for his beast, after time given him to cool; adding that he
would refresh himself while waiting for the appearance of his clients.

“Alle right! alle right! De ole voman vill serve you,” replied Dunn, as
he followed his colored servant and the weary horse to the stables.

Gaston and Tommy were by this time crossing the great truck-farm of
Robert Baker, every rood of which was purchased with the earnings of
trained blood-hounds, chasing fugitives from justice or labor, and
mainly the latter.

In a sag of land, between the hills on the right and the river on the
left, was a brickyard, in the office of which Mr. Robert Baker and his
son Hanson were found.

The four men were soon _en route_ for Baconsville. A colored boy, bound
apprentice to the older Baker, skulked along the crooked fence by the
wayside.

“Joe,” said the old man, stopping the horse, “Joe, come here.” The
personal appearance and reputation of the old man, and recollections of
a recent chastisement for drumming for the militia company, made little
Joe’s dark skin quiver as he timidly approached the vehicle.

“Get in,” said the same gruff voice, as room was made for the child
at Baker’s feet, where he gathered himself into the smallest possible
ball, from which two great, soft, timid eyes looked from one face to
another, and from the two glittering guns of the young men who rode on
either side, and the pistol-shaped lumps on the left breasts of their
thin coats, to the breasts of the two men fronting him in the carriage,
where he could see two more bright and shining “nine-shooters” peeping
out.

The wind presently raised a paper from a basket standing beside him,
and disclosed two great horse-pistols lying on a clean white napkin.

“I wonder is dey gwoine to shoot Doc and Watta wid dem ’ar’, as Ned
Dunn said dey is?” thought the child. “Dat looks like dar’s a mighty
nice lunch undah ’em, anyhow?”

Hanson Baker jerked the lap-robe from his knees, and covered the basket
from view.

They soon reached Dunn’s store, and alighted, and removing the basket,
bade Joe return with the horse and carriage, and remember to stay there
closely.

As they sat in close conversation in the back part of that groggery,
while the General partook of the “nice lunch” the basket did contain,
it was plain that “Old Bob Baker, the slave catcher,” and the
aristocratic General had little in common except their patronymic and
their political opinions and ideas.



CHAPTER VI.

THE CLOUD THICKENS.

  “Yon Cassius has a lean and hungry look;
  He thinks too much: such men are dangerous.
  Fear him not, Cæsar, he’s not dangerous;
  He is a noble Roman and well given.”

  —JULIUS CÆSAR.


THE State of South Carolina was settled by political refugees and
desperadoes of every description and from every nation, with no unity
of ideas or interests; and African slavery was introduced but two years
after the first settlement had secured a permanent footing. Hence,
arrogance and oppression, rapacity and murder, early became the rule
and occupation of the people.

The existence and perpetuation of slavery during more than eight
generations caused and necessitated an arrest of progress in
civilization, and the war which resulted in the emancipation of
the slaves and the re-establishment of the Union, found the whites
in several of the Southern States, in many respects not far in
advance of the people of England in the sixteenth century; and as
those feudalistic and inharmonious families—the descendants of the
earliest settlers—are still recognized as “the first families,” the
“aristocracy of the State”—in the year of our Lord 1876, and of
the Republic one hundred—boasting and bravado were accomplishments
ostentatiously displayed there, and often sustained by such brutal
assault and lawless violence and outrage, as those of the worst days of
feudalism.

This state of society alone explains the temerity of the threats and
preparations for violence, and their fearful consummation, which
blacken the history of the Republic’s centennial year.

While Robert Baker and his sons were in Dunn’s groggery, informing
their counsel respecting the particulars of the suit he was about
to conduct for them, many exciting scenes were transpiring in the
vicinity, and the streets of the doomed village were becoming lively
with the presence of armed men, who were freely imbibing whisky, and
threatening to “kill every —— nigger in Baconsville that day.”
Especially loud and frequent were the threats against the Captain and
Second Lieutenant of the militia company.

As soon as half-past three o’clock, quite a crowd had gathered around
George Dunn’s store, and the bar was evidently reaping the rich harvest
Mrs. D. had anticipated; while with loud and excessively revolting
profanity, the case shortly to be tried was canvassed, and rumors of a
“negro insurrection” rehearsed.

“Who is that coming?” asked one, as a quiet man of medium size
approached.

“Oh, that is Judge Kanrasp of the county seat, he is a cursed Northern
Republican,” was the reply, accompanied by a shocking oath.

The wrathful eyes of the entire crowd were fixed upon him as he came
up, and, entering the store, approached the place where the two Bakers
sat, and addressing the General said, “Mr. Gaston informed me that you
wished to see me.”

This was not his first interview with Mr. _Robert_ Baker in connection
with this difficulty. The latter had stopped him that morning upon the
streets of the city opposite, to speak of the pending trial.

The Judge had then stated his opinion that Gaston’s testimony had
thus far developed no legal case against the colored men, and urged
the abandonment of the case, as to push it further, would merely
excite ill-feeling between the two races at a time when it was most
undesirable—at the commencement of a political campaign—and even
should the plaintiffs secure a judgment, it was a matter which could be
appealed, and in a higher court their case could not stand a moment.

“I shall do no such thing,” replied Mr. Baker. “The negroes of
Baconsville have been very offensive; they have interfered with my
sons, and I am _determined that they shall be punished. The case shall
be prosecuted_, and so far as any feeling is concerned, I don’t care
for that. Some of my friends and neighbors from the country have been
informed that the trial will take place this evening, and they will be
present, not less than twenty-five or thirty of them.”

“Mr. Baker, perhaps there will be two or three hundred,” said Kanrasp.

“Well, yes (with an oath), two or three thousand!” and the two men
separated, and the Judge at once crossed the river to Baconsville, and
confidentially communicated all to a discreet colored man there, in
whose cool, quiet determination he had great confidence; commissioning
him to see the officers of the militia company, and instruct them
to present themselves at the Court, submit to judgment whatever it
might be, and then, by an appeal to a higher court, find an easy way
out of the difficulty; as the “precept” or informal paper which had
been served upon them, must cause the judgment to fail there; and
stating that in case of an attempted defense before Justice Rives, he
apprehended serious trouble from the throng that would undoubtedly be
present.

Other important business detained both Kanrasp and his influential
friend Springer till the middle of the afternoon, when, on re-entering
the street, they saw the village thickly besprinkled with squads of men
from the rifle clubs of the vicinity. These clubs or military companies
existed in open defiance of law and the Governor’s prohibitive
proclamation.

“This looks like trouble,” said Judge Kanrasp to his friend. “Strange
way to attend a simple trial! Now go right up and see those officers
_immediately_, and urge them to be on hand at court, and stand
judgment.” So saying he went to Marmor’s office upon other business,
where Gaston soon rode up, bringing Gen. Baker’s request for the
interview, to which we find him responding.

“I am here to represent my cousin, Mr. Robert Baker, in this matter,”
said the General, “and wish you, Mr. Kanrasp, to sit down and tell me
what it is.”

Judge K. complied, adding the advice he had given his clients.

“We have been annoyed a great deal by the negroes about here, and I am
determined to get satisfaction, and Gen. Baker has been brought here as
my attorney, to see that satisfaction is given us,” said Robert Baker,
in a loud and vehement tone.

“Now, Judge Kanrasp,” said the General, “will you not go and see those
officers of this company and request them to call upon me? I desire
to tell them what I think is necessary for them to do to prevent the
possibility of difficulty in the future. A great deal of feeling has
been growing between Mr. Robert Baker’s family and immediate neighbors,
and these colored people in Baconsville.”

“What proposition do you make them?”

“Well, I think it will be necessary for them to apologize to my cousin
and surrender their arms.”

As he did not say to whom their arms should be surrendered, the Judge
replied——

“Well, General, you know I am, like yourself, merely an incident
in Baconsville; and whilst I have, of course, a certain amount
of influence with the colored people, on account of my political
affiliations with them, I cannot undertake to say that they will
respond to your request. I will do what I can to induce them to do so.
But suppose these negotiations and propositions fail, is it likely
that that there will be a collision?”

“I think there will.”

“Well, as I am one of a very few white ‘radicals’ here, if a collision
takes place I suppose I shall stand a pretty poor chance.”

“I have no doubt that you will.”

Shortly after Judge K. left Mr. Marmor’s office (which adjoined
his dwelling), Capt. Doc, Lieut. Watta, Mr. Springer and Rev. Mr.
Jackson (the Legislative member who had delivered the oration on the
4th), entered. Mr. Jackson was much excited, and walked up and down
the room, interlarding questions and ejaculations and prayers quite
promiscuously; unheeding the kindly solicitude of a bright little boy
of five years, with shining auburn ringlets, and great, soft, spiritual
eyes, which looked eagerly towards “the Elder’s” face as he went
tugging a large Bible back and forth behind him.

“Ha! Jackson, hear that boy now,” said Doc. “The child is the best
Christian of the two, come to the pinch.”

“What? What was you saying Doc?” asked the Reverend Honorable.

“Why, just see what that boy has got, and hear what he’s saying. _He_
don’t scare worth a cent. Do you Bub? You’ll make a soldier some day,
won’t you?”

“No sir, I reckon I won’t, cause soldiers kill. ‘Thou shalt not kill.’
That’s the sixth commandment.”

“What about the book, sonny,” asked Elder Jackson.

“My Sunday school teacher says when I’m afraid, I must ask God what to
do; and this is His letter, He wrote it. It’s big,” tugging to raise it
to the level of the man’s hand.

The Elder took the Bible, sat down, drew the child to his side, opened
it at random, and read, Isaiah xviii: 7: “In that time shall the
present be brought unto the Lord of hosts of a people scattered and
peeled, and from a people terrible from their beginning hitherto; a
nation meted out and trodden under foot, whose land the rivers have
spoiled, to the place of the name of the Lord of hosts, the Mount Zion.”

He closed the book muttering, “Yes, the freshet came clear up to the
church, clear up to the church.”

“The whole matter is that the Bakers are determined to break up this
drilling,” said Marmor. “You’re too good a drill master, Doc. The old
man himself told me that it was wrong, and that the niggers shouldn’t
have no militia company, and that it was wrong for you to drill by
moonlight. I told him that the white militia over here in Georgia
drilled on the streets every night. ‘Well, it’s wrong for the niggers
to drill at _all_,’ says he.”

“Well, now, it does ’pear to me like the white folks is determined
to put the devil into the colored people’s heads anyhow. Now, we’re
honest in this matter, and only want to have a nice militia company
like the white folks does, and like free citizens has got a right
to, and to protect the State when it needs it and the Governor calls
for us; but they just goes to work, and by talking about what they
pretend the colored people is a going, or _intending_ to do, they just
makes the colored people mad, and puts these bad ideas into their
heads, and by-and-by the colored people, maybe will get courage enough
to undertake to do as they is really instructing us to do. And then
there’s more’n that in it too. Mor’n two months ago Hanson Baker tole
me and John Peters, Press Wells, and John Bade, and if I mistake not,
Lem Panesly, that the Democrats had made it up in their own minds,
and they had gone over the State, and also had about thirty men from
Texas and Mississippi to come into this State, and they were feeding
them, and organizing all the white men into certain different clubs;
and before election that there had to be a certain number of negroes
killed—leading men; and if after that they found out they couldn’t
carry the State that way, they was gwoine to kill enough so that they
could carry the majority. He said it is a fact that that has to be
done, and he said in the presence of these men, that it had to start
right here in Baconsville. He said Baconsville is the leading place in
the county (for the niggers, you know), and if they could be successful
in killing them that they wanted to in Baconsville, they could carry
the county; but the same has to be done in all the counties, that there
was no way to prevent it. I told him we had some laws, and a Governor
and a President. He says he didn’t belong to none o’ the clubs, and
hadn’t nothing to do with it, but it would be done, shor. I says,
‘Suppose the colored men have a poll to themselves, and the white men
to themselves,’ and he said, ‘It don’t make a bit o’ difference what
sort o’ polls they have; it is the voting we want to stop; and these
voting niggers has got to be killed. The white men has declared that
the State has got to be ruled by white men again, and we have got to
have just such a government as we had before the war; and when we git
it, all the poor men and the niggers has got to be disfranchised, and
the rich men will rule! And he tole me then that our town marshal,
John Carr and Dan will certainly be killed. I asked why? and he said
there was plenty of men that had plenty against them, and they would
kill them _shor_. Says I, ‘Mr. Baker will I be in that number?’ he
says, ‘No, I don’t know whether yo’r name is down or no, but it depends
on how yo’ behave yo’self.’ He’d been drinking some, or he wouldn’t
ha’ been so free to tell. Well, then I received a note the other
day—a letter with my name, and specifying a dozen or more in this
neighborhood that have to be killed; and _I was shor_ to be killed.
Now, this is the beginning of it shor. They want to disband this
company so that the Governor won’t have nothing to call on to put them
down, and we can’t get no protection till the United States can send
soldiers from somewhere, after we can get word to the Governor, and he
can git it to Grant. They must think we’re just cowards and fools if
we’ll let ’em break us up, though I’ll agree that the men ha’n’t got
much fight in ’em, but I have, and I wish _they_ had,” and Captain Doc
tossed a newspaper to the extreme end of the room.

“Scattered and peeled!” “Scattered and peeled!” said the Elder, as he
resumed his striding about the apartment.

While these excited men thus conversed, there were borne from the
street to their ears the sound of blood-curdling oaths, and shouts of
“We’ll carry the State about the time we’ve killed four or five hundred
of these niggers and their carpet-bag cronies.” We’ve got to have South
Carolina.” “The white men have got to rule.” “This shall be a white
man’s government again.”

“Just hear that chap singing,” said Marmor with a ghastly smile:

“We’re going to redeem South Carolina to-day. This is the beginning of
the redemption of my Caroline.” The poor, maudlin fellow sat upon his
horse near the corner of the street hard by, and improvised a lengthy
political madrigal evidently to his own exquisite delight.

“I reckon you’ve got the right of it Doc,” said Marmor; “the political
side of this fuss swallows up all the rest. The fuss on the Fourth, was
only got up for making a spot to strike at.”

“Well,” said Doe, both goes together; for all the politics they know is
to put the niggers down, and themselves up atop; and they are trying to
fool the ignorant ones into believing that the constitutions has all
run out, so they won’t try to take the law on ’em.”

“They’d better look out, or they may feel the law themselves. If
Chamberlain can’t enforce it, there is a United States, they’ll find!”

“I reckon so! I reckon so!” chimed in all present.

“Capt. Doc,” said Elder Jackson, “you must remember that it is not your
own life and your company’s lives that is in danger, but that of every
colored individual in town; and the happiness and prosperity of all
will be at their mercy if a fight takes place; and so I beg you to come
to terms with Baker. Bend and apologize a little for the sake of them
that had nothing to do with the Fourth of July difficulty.”

“What can _I_ do? Just tell me. I haven’t failed to think of that, I
tell you. That part of it is the biggest trouble to me now.”

“It is Watta that has offended them the most,” said Springer; “for he
got so mad last Thursday. He’s got too much white blood in him to stand
their abuse, and he was nigh about as abusive as Hanson Baker himself,
that day.

It was all true enough what he said, but that didn’t make it no better
for them to take.”

“Now, Brother Watta, just you go, as you know you ought to, and
acknowledge you ought to have kept your temper, and that’ll make the
whole thing right, and Doc’ll apologize too,” said the apparently
confiding Elder.

“Do you think so? Well, suppose you come along with us,” said Watta, a
slight veil of credulity scarcely concealing a sarcasm that bordered
upon contempt for the self-loving simplicity of the Elder. “I’d rather
get on my knees to them,” he added more seriously, “bad as I hate them,
than have my wife and children as scared as they are to-day. But I
doubt the success of even that, unless I would give them my gun, and
promise to lie there, and let them kick me when they chose, or shoot
me if they like, and I’m afraid my _temper_ would rise _then_, if I
didn’t.”

In defiance of fears, the men all laughed at the ludicrous picture
of this tall, genteel-appearing, light yellow _gentleman_, brimful
of the same “spirit” that fired some of the noblest heroes the South
ever boasted of, and in whose veins coursed much of the same ancestral
blood, cringing in such a pusillanimous fashion.

“It is no time for fun,” said Springer. “Will you go with _me_, Adam
Watta, and see General Baker?”

“If you say you think it’ll do any good, I will go.”

“You can but perish if you go,” said Elder Jackson, who was, like many
another, very courageous for his neighbors, and quite willing to bid
them Godspeed in any efforts for the safety of the town, including
Elder J. and his possessions.

But the men paused in the doorway. “Ask a man to run the gauntlet of
all those armed and half-drunken enemies? I tell you I can’t do it; I’m
not prepared to die, and I sha’n’t go. I could _fight_, but to go right
into a crowd to be _murdered_, I’m not ready,” and Watta turned back.
Looking out upon the constantly increasing mob, Springer did not urge
him.

“I’m going to Prince Rives’s house,” said Doc, and strode out of the
office and down the street.

The cry of an infant was heard in an adjoining room, followed by the
sound of a rocking cradle, and the voice of the little boy singing in
chanting style, “You must not cry, little sister; for the wicked men is
all agoing around to kill all the little children, ‘from two years old
and under,’ and they will shoot your papa, and make your mamma cry. So
take this rattle and be still.”

“Louie,” called Marmor, from the office. “Don’t say such things.
Nobody’ll hurt you, nor the baby. Where is your mamma?”

“She is here crying—sitting right here crying.”

“The man arose quickly, and entered the room. “Why, Jane,” said he,
“what are you crying about? It will be all settled, and there’ll be no
fuss.”

“Don’t you wish you could make me believe that, when you know you don’t
believe it yourself? I do wish you would go away over to the city, and
take the train somewhere. I know they will be after you. You know they
want you killed, because you are a radical leader; and now will be
their time.”

“Do you suppose I would go and leave you and the children?”

“You know you couldn’t defend us, and we don’t need it. We’re a great
deal safer without you than with you. I should fret all the time for
fear that you had fallen into their hands, to be sure; but I _know_
there is no chance for you to escape death if you stay here.”

Marmor returned to his office, and found that his friends had all left.
He saw them approaching Rives’s house. There they found Captain Doc
and the Trial Justice in earnest conversation.

“I can’t appear before your court, Judge Rives—not to-day,” said the
captain; “for I feel that your court is unable to protect my life, and
I believe my life is unsafe. I am willing that yo’ should go to work
and draw up a bond, that yo’ think proper, and I am willing to give
bonds to a higher court, where I think my life will be safe. The reason
I come to yo’ to tell yo’, is because I don’t want yo’ to suppose that
I treat yo’r court with no disrespect by not coming; but it is because
I don’t think my life is safe.”

The Justice reflected.

“Well, you must use your own judgment,” said he. “Of course, if your
life is unsafe, and if these men intend to take your life, of course,
I can’t protect you. I haven’t protection enough to protect you; my
constables can’t do much!”

“That is my belief,” replied Doc, “and for that reason I don’t want to
go befo’ yo’r court without yo’ force me to; and then if I am killed,
yo’ will be responsible.”

“You can use your own judgment, Captain. I shall go to court at the
proper time. Your name, of course, will be called, and if you don’t
answer to your name—well, _you won’t be there to answer_. It’s a pity
but this thing couldn’t be settled without going to court. I’m afraid
once at the court room it will be impossible to get along without
trouble.”

“Well, I want it settled,” said Doc. “And I,” “And I,” said the two
Lieutenants.

“Well, then, suppose I go for you, and ask what will give
satisfaction,” said Springer.

“All right,” was the ready response from all.

Mr. Springer met Judge Kanrasp coming down the street, from his
interview with the General, and each communicated the message he bore,
and thought the best thing for the safety of the town, was to get the
parties together with the crowd excluded.

“Who is to take the guns?” asked Mr. Springer.

“I don’t know. The Governor, I suppose. If not, that may alter the
case.”

“If Gen. Baker will guarantee the safety of the men, I believe they
will be safe, but he should guarantee the safety of the town also.”

“So say I,” replied Judge Kanrasp, and each passed on his errand.

Judge K. reported to the officers only Gen. Baker’s request for an
interview, and withheld his proposition for a settlement.

Soon Mr. Springer returned with the same request from the General.
They all approached the door, and Doc went out upon the street, but
re-entered immediately.

“There is no one more readier than I am to settle, but I see a great
crowd down there at Dunn’s store, all armed, and drunk, or playing off
drunk. Springer, yo’ tell Gen. Baker that I would meet him, but that I
would like for him to come away from where them men are, and that I am
willing to meet him at yo’r house, if that is agreeable.”

The aspect of things became more gloomy very soon. A company of
twenty-five or thirty thoroughly-armed and mounted men had entered the
village some time before, since which squads had been seen coming in
from all directions.

Several leading citizens had joined the group at Rives’s house, and all
united in urging the officers to comply with Gen. Baker’s request; but
they were more and more reluctant to go, fearing it was only a ruse to
decoy them there, secure, disarm, and then murder them.

The suspicion was but natural, as similar transactions had been far
from rare since reconstruction. At length, after it had been reported
that Gen. Baker had sworn to lay the town in ashes if they did not
comply with his demands, all the members of the company again consented
to go, but on approaching the door, fell back again.

“You must go to save the town,” said Springer; “but don’t take your
guns.”

“We won’t go without them,” said all the men.

“But he’ll make a demand for their surrender. Better leave them behind.”

“Yes, that is just it,” said Watta. “You men have been keeping that
back. Why should we go to General Baker? Why doesn’t he come to us if
he wants to see us? There are no drunken rowdies here for him to fear.
Two men drove into our ranks, an organized a legally chartered company
of the State militia, with loyal guns in our loyal hands, and a flag
which brought us freedom from these old masters—the right to stand
up like men, and not fear their nigger-catching blood-hounds; and we
have sworn to be true to that flag—to the United States, and to the
State, and ourselves, and to take care of these guns that belong to
the State, and to yield them up only to lawful authority. These two
nigger-catchers whose occupation is gone, drove into our ranks; and we,
like a set of cowards, opened ranks and let them go through; and now
they bring this ex-confederate General, who got the only title he has
and of which he and they are so proud, in fighting the United States;
they bring this General Baker here, and he asks us to go down to old
Baker’s feet and apologize—for what? _I_ don’t know; and to give up
our guns that we have sworn to protect from all enemies of the Union,
and all unauthorized persons—to give them to this ex-confederate
General, who boasts to-day, and is applauded by these, his old
confederate soldiers around him to-day, for what he did against the
Government. _He_, surrounded by those who love and revere him for what
he did to destroy the Union and keep us and our parents and children in
slavery—he demands our guns and ourselves! Pretty _National Guards_!!
Which are we, men, cowards or traitors?”

“Don’t take your guns, and may be possible you can get along without
giving the guns up. I surely don’t want you to be traitors,” said the
Elder; “but I trust an apology will do.”

“And I trust no such thing,” said Doc. “And where shall we be after
this, living or dead? It won’t make much difference. They want to break
us up! that’s it—and enslave us!”

“Where shall we be? On our knees forever at their feet,” replied Watta;
“that is, if a single man of us ever got away alive, which I’ll warrant
we never should if we refused to give up our guns.”

“But remember, there’ll be bloodshed if you don’t go,” said Elder
Jackson. “Better humble yourselves than be killed.”

“And remember, too, the women and children, and the property,” added
Springer.

“You men is mighty thoughtful; suppose yo’ ’go yo’selves. ’Twouldn’t
be no blood shed if _they_ got killed, I reckon yo’ think,” said a man
from the ranks.

They had retired to an upper room, and Kanrasp approached a window
looking towards Dunn’s store. Doc followed, and then Watta, and then
others.

Still more armed men were seen coming into the town, and the mob around
the General’s headquarters was more dense and disorderly.

“You all know that it would be only my dead body that would ever leave
that place, if I went there,” said Watta. “I should be riddled with
bullets in no time. Those men standing outside of that groggery are
thirsting for my blood this minute.”

[Illustration: “BUT I ‘AM ONLY A NIGGER,’ (BARING HIS YELLOW ARM TO HIS
ELBOW.)”—Page 105.]

“I have known Gen. Baker for several years, and I believe he is an
honorable man, and he will protect you,” said Judge K——.

“An honorable man?” repeated Watta. “‘An honorable man’ he may be when
dealing with those he acknowledges his equals, if there are any such;
but I am ‘only a nigger’ (baring his yellow arm to his elbow.) “Honor?
He’ll ventilate no honor when a nigger or politics is concerned. I
don’t mean any disrespect to you, Judge; but Gen. Baker doesn’t hold
the same views about colored people that you do, as you know.”

“Well, I’m going,” said the First Lieutenant, “and I talked as bad as
any of you on the Fourth. I’ll apologize.”

“But they hate me more than all the rest of you,” resumed Watta, still
inspecting his bare arm. “I’m nearer their color, and the best thing
they can say of a man of my complexion is that he’s a smart fellow,
but needs watching. And they do watch us, and they magnify everything
we do or say, and misconstrue it, and lie about us. And then you know
I’m that heinous offender—a ‘nigger school teacher, and a Republican
newspaper correspondent.’ Why, Gen. Baker _can’t protect me_. I should
be shot a dozen times before he knew I was coming. And then he’d regret
it. That wouldn’t do me much good, nor my family. I tell you it is only
a trap, a decoy, to get us up there and massacre us. If they kill me,
they must come after me, I a’n’t fool enough to go to them to get shot.”

“If the General could get shet of them armed men, would you go?” asked
Springer.

“Yes, certainly.”

“Then, I’ll try if he will go to my house,” and he slipped cautiously
out of the dwelling, for the whites thought the officers were in the
Armory, and he did not wish to undeceive them.

He was successful on his mission, and soon returned; but the officers
had seen the shouting throng surround and follow their General, and as
the streets were rife with warlike menaces, _all_ now utterly refused
to go to a house so near Dunn’s store and the main crowd.

“See! see!” they exclaimed. “They are coming down the street to meet
us! Gen. Baker can’t protect us!” All of which Springer could not
dispute, so he sadly returned to Gen. Baker, who, on his approaching,
called out:

“I suppose you couldn’t get those fellows to meet me?”

“No, General, they are too afraid of these armed bodies of men you have
around you. That is the only reason.”

“Armed men? armed men? I don’t see any armed men!” and that military
dignitary rolled his eyes about as if in pantomime. “Well Sam, there’s
no use parleying any longer. Now, by —— I want those guns, and I’ll
be —— if I don’t have them!”

A movement of expectancy swayed the throng as these words were heard
and passed from lip to lip, and then a shout rent the air.

Mr. Springer wended his way back through the crowd of men on horseback,
and men on foot, whose fingers fidgeted upon the triggers of their
firearms, and he sought the house of Justice Rives with a heavier heart
than he had ever borne before; while General Baker entered his carriage
again, as the hour for court drew near.



CHAPTER VII.

PORTENTIOUS DARKNESS.

      “Ye gods, it doth amaze me!
  A man of such feeble temper should
  So get the start of the majestic world.”

  —CASCA.


A SMALL, dark man, with a lithe form and sparkling eyes, had been busy
preparing Justice Rives’s office for the expected court, as he had been
previously directed, and was unaware of the excitement prevailing in
other parts of the village. His task completed, he seated himself in an
armchair, adjusted his feet high upon the post of the open door, and
with his coat off and fan in hand, sat leisurely reading.

About half past three o’clock he was startled by an imperative voice,
asking, “Where is Rives?”

On looking up from his newspaper, he saw Robert Baker and his legal
counsel seated in the latter’s carriage, which stood before the door.

“Mr. Rives is at his house, I reckon; but he’ll be here directly,” was
the reply.

“Go and tell him to come here to me,” commanded the General.

“I’m not Mr. Rives’s office-boy. I am a constable, and am here
attending to my business. He told me he would be here by four o’clock,
and he won’t come any quicker by my going after him.”

General B.—“Do you know who you are talking to?”

Constable Newton.—“I’m talking to General Baker, I believe.”

Gen. B.—“Well, you scamp! bring me some paper here.”

Newton.—“Here is the office, and here is the chairs, and here is
the paper, and pen and ink, sir; and here is the chairs for all the
attorneys that wants to do business here to come in and sit down.”

Gen. B. (with an oath).—“Bring it to me, sir!”

Newton.—“I won’t do it. Come in, sir, and sit at the table.”

The irate General sprang from his carriage, and, followed by the
ever-ready Gaston, rushed into the court room in a menacing manner. But
the imperturbable constable did not move, nor show signs of disturbance.

Gen. B. (with a vile epithet and oaths, which the reader should
imagine, thickly strewn throughout this colloquy).—“Give me that
chair!”

Newton.—“There is a chair.”

General B. thundered.—“_Give me that chair you are sitting on!_ Get
out of that chair, and give it to me! I want this chair and intend to
have it!”

“All right,” replied Newton, after a pause; “if this chair suits you
better than the others, take it.”

Gen. B.—“You —— leatherhead radical! You sitting down there fanning
yourself!”

Newton.—“I am fanning myself, sitting in my own office, and attending
to my own business.”

Gen. B.—“You vile brute, you! You want to have a bullet-hole put
through you before you can move!”

At this juncture old man Baker and one of his followers, pistols in
hand, reinforced the General, and Tommy rode as close to the door as
possible, with his trusty carbine, while others appeared outside.

Newton arose, and taking his chair by the back, turned the seat of it
toward General Baker, and, still holding the back with both hands, said:

“There it is, Gen. Baker, if you want it; and you can shoot me, if you
want to. Mr. Robert Baker, you know what sort of a man I am. I have
always tried to behave myself when you came in the office.”

Robert B.—“Yes, but” (with an oath) “this drilling has got to stop. I
want you to go for Rives.”

Newton.—“I’ve got no right to go for Rives, and I’m not going.”

Robert B.—“Well you’ll be a dead man, and you’ll wish you had gone.”

Newton.—“I am but one man.”

Gen. B. (with oaths and sneers of contempt).—“Sitting down there with
your feet cocked up!”

Newton.—“Well, General, I’m not dead; but if you’re going to kill me,
why kill me; and that is all you can do.”

Gen. B.—“We’ll take our time about that. We’ll show you, you insolent
darkie!—you contemptible nigger!”

The Bakers returned to their carriages in high dudgeon.

“There is Justice Rives’ private secretary,” said the old man, as they
were about leaving the premises. “If you will speak to him, I think he
will go for Rives.”

“No,” replied the incensed General, “I am not going to be insulted
again. You can do so if you choose.”

Robert Baker did choose, for he preferred to reserve resentment, rather
than allow it to thwart or hinder his purposes. Gaston, however,
‘halted’ the secretary, and undertook the mission himself.

Can the reader imagine the scene in that upper room in Rives’ house,
when a female servant announced that Gaston was at the door below,
urging the presence of Judge Rives at the court-room, as Gen. Baker and
his clients were waiting there; though the hour had not yet arrived?

Noiselessly the entire group descended to the ground floor, and,
screened from view, listened breathlessly to the collocution which,
however, was brief and courteous, as the young man naturally wished to
conciliate the favor of the Judge. He was dismissed with the assurance
that the court should be opened promptly.

Prince Rives (the Judge’s baptismal name was Prince—it might seem
sacrilege to designate a name given in slavery as “Christian”) stepped
quietly into his sitting-room—a perfect bower of flowers, ferns
growing under glass, and singing-birds, where his wife and eldest
daughter were anxiously watching the crowd gathering in the streets.

“I’m going down to the office now,” said he, “and if any trouble should
occur, stay right here in the house, and keep the children in, and you
will all be safe.”

Alas! these were assurances false even to the heart of him who made
them.

Has the reader ever laid a kiss upon a loved one’s brow, and then
watched the dear form passing beyond recall, perhaps, (oh, that
terrible _perhaps_!) if returning at all, to come a lifeless thing—an
uninhabited tenement—or in agony and blood; while the ever active
imagination chafed and chid the hands and feet that fain would do
its bidding and follow that loved form, though duty fettered them to
inactivity?

Or has he gone out under the benediction of love, to meet a hate that
might hold him in its deadly grasp, forbidding his return?

To such we need not describe the adieus exchanged in that little
sitting-room; for the sweet influences of love take no cognizance of
complexion.

Trial Justice Prince Rives soon issued from the front door of his
house, book in hand, erect and commanding, looking the true ideal
African General as he was, and walked leisurely up the street,
unattended, and apparently unarmed; as if to show the mob that at least
one negro was not afraid.

Tall, straight, powerful, his black and shining visage perfectly calm,
he strode through the throng of armed and angry men that surrounded the
door of his office, and crowded the court-room.

Kanrasp and Springer followed at some distance to witness should any
disturbance arise; and while attention was thus attracted towards the
court-room, the officers all made their way to the armory, whither
many other members of the Company and other citizens had already
hastened for safety behind its strong walls, doors and window-shutters.
Women and children fled across the long bridge to the city, or to
the surrounding country; though many remained to guard their small
possessions, and share the fate of husbands and fathers, should the
worst come.

Armed men were still coming in, and yet more rapidly, and the sinking
sun heralded a brief, southern twilight and a moonless night; while a
great terror took possession of the inhabitants of the doomed village.

A few straggling members of the Company appearing with their guns,
which they had formerly taken to their homes for cleaning, became the
unfortunate subjects of a hue and cry as they hurried along towards the
rendezvous, and were marked for the night’s barbarities.

No small exhibition of nerve was now required of that African
Major-General of the obnoxious “National Guards,”—one of the very men
whose high military position was so offensive to the white men now
surrounding him, and thronging his court-room, that, though notably
fond of the practice of arms, they utterly disregarded the law
requiring their enrollment as State Militia-men, lest they might be
subordinated to him.

Yet with measured step and dignified mien he passed the carriage where
the Bakers still sat, greeting them with easy politeness.

“I should like to know whether you are sitting in the capacity of
Major-General of State Militia, or as a Trial Justice?” said Gen.
Baker, when all was in readiness.

“That will depend upon the nature of the testimony. I am sitting as a
peace officer; and if the facts are such as to justify my sitting as a
Trial Justice, I will do so; if not, it will be otherwise.”

“It is immaterial to me; I merely wanted to know. I want to investigate
the facts of this matter, and either capacity will be agreeable to me,”
replied the General.

At this juncture the Intendant (Mayor), approached, and whispered to
the General, “I think if you would suspend this trial for awhile, we
could settle it.”

“Just ask the Judge. If he suspends I am willing.”

A brief conference ensued, after which the Judge announced a suspension
for ten minutes.

This caused dissatisfaction among the spectators, as a peaceful
adjustment would be but a tame issue of all their military preparations.

Intendant Garndon then conducted the plaintiffs and their attorney to
the council chamber, which was separated from Dunn’s shop on the corner
or Main Street by only one half the width of a narrow street.

At this time the largest and most unruly part of the cavalry was
gathered about this corner groggery, and a less suitable place for the
conference could not have been selected; but each would-be peacemaker
seemed to think peace most attainable on his own premises.

Though the distance was less than four squares, as they could proceed
but slowly through the throng, it sufficed Gen. Baker to administer a
lecture to the dusky official upon his personal culpability in having
allowed “this so-called militia company,” to train “upon Mr. Robert
Baker’s road,” and with arms in their hands—though, doubtless the
poor, berated mayor found difficulty in understanding how a public
highway could be “Mr. Robert Baker’s road,” or how he could have
disarmed the State’s militia.

As has already been stated, quite a number of colored citizens, and of
the rank and file of the militia men, had gathered in and about the
armory, hoping to find protection there.

Among them was Dan Pipsie, who was quite sober, and his own plucky self.

“Well, if I war Captain Doc, I’d do anyt’ing on earth to settle dis
myself,” said Dan. “I wouldn’t have de blood of all dese collo’d
families on _my_ head. When I die, I don’t want no man’s wife cussin’
me, noh blamin’ me fo’ his death.”

“Capt. Doc a’n’t a bit to blame now,” replied Mann Harris. “I was ’bout
two hundred yards from ’em at the time of the fuss. I saw Gaston and
Tom Baker drive down, and get out and go into Nunberger’s store. I saw
the company coming back, an’ they was a gwoine up then, and they met
and talked awhile, an’ the company divided an’ let them go through.
Let’s go down, an’ see Rives about this, Ned O’Bran, an’ git him to
send a dispatch to the Governor to help us.”

“Well, come on,” replied Ned.

They entered the quiet office of the Justice, and found him sitting
there alone, and looking over books and papers.

“General, what _is_ you doing?” asked Harris, with emphasis.

“I am waiting for people to come into court again.”

“If you wait here awhile longer, they’ll make you jump out o’ here
entirely!”

“What is the matter?”

“Well, there’s about four hundred men out there with guns and pistols.”

“Ah! I’ll go out and see—Well, really, this is surprising! What is all
this about?”

“I don’t know,” said the excited Harris. “They’re gwoine to take the
guns away from the armory.”

The three men walked up the street conversing. Meanwhile Captain Doc
entered his own apartments, which it will be remembered, were in the
same building as the armory or drill room.

“I’ve been in my shirt sleeves,” said he to his wife, “ever since I
left my bench at noon; but, (with a grim smile,) if I’m gwoine to see
such big men as General Baker or the Laud, I reckon I’d best put my
coat on.”

“Oh, Doc, don’t talk so ’bout de Laud! I’m awful scarred to have yo’
go.”

“I’ve got a right to go. They say General Baker’s gone up to the
Council Chamber, and he and Garndon’ll be expecting us.”

“I’m awful scarred fo’ yo’, an’ I’m a mind to go ’way myself. ’Spex
they’ll be shootin’ ’round yere so the baby couldn’t sleep no how.
Mann Harris, he’s taken his wife off, ’bout an hour by sun, or so,
poor soul! sick as she’s been, now mighty nigh on to a year. Mann tole
me he’d positive his word thar’ would be no fuss nor killin’; but I’d
positive my word he war’ ’feared, else he wouldn’t come totin’ Dinah
down all dem stairs, an hauled ’er off up to Miss Pipton’s; fo’ it’s
mighty nigh on to fo’ mile ovah da; and Dinah has determined to me that
it hurt her tolerable bad to stir at all.”

The Captain had been looking out of the window while she spoke, towards
Dunn’s store and the Council Chambers, Turning abruptly, he asked—

“Where is the baby?”

“I done toted ’er ovah to Elder Jackson’s but I can’t let ’er stay dar.
I’ll jes lock up de house, an’ git de baby, an’ clar out ovah de rivah,
fo’ de scar o’ stayin’ in dis yere house’ll perish me out, if I’m de
onus one fo’ a quarter hour mo’.”

“Now, Debby, yo’ get the baby, and take ’er over to Rives’s, and stay
thar, he’s been so conciliating to ’em, and they think a heap o’ him.
Blamed but I wish the baby was here a minute till I kiss ’er ’fo’ I
go up to see General Baker. Don’t get scared now. They won’t hurt the
women, I reckon. It’s only them as votes an’ can manage a gun they’re
after. Take care yo’rself,” and he kissed her.

“Oh, ain’t yo’ scarred to go, Doc?” sobbed she, clinging to him. “I
spex yo’re forced to by persuasion; but I’m feared they’ll put a bullet
into yo’, and maybe fifty.” Here she broke down entirely, and wept
aloud, sobbing, “Oh, don’t go, Doc! don’t go!”

“But I’ve got a right to, to save the town. He’ll lay it in ashes. I
wouldn’t like to tell yo, all the way they’re talking, and making big
threats, and abusing us to everything yo’ can think.”

“To my knowance they’re mighty bad; and I’m mighty glad Mann Harris
sent his wife off.”

“Well, Debby, yo’ go and get the baby, and take good care of her. I
reckon you’d best tote her ovah to your mother’s ’cross the river. Some
on ’em might hurt her if they knowed she was mine.”

They left the house together, and Doc locked the door, and put the key
in his pocket.

“Oh, my lawses!” exclaimed Mrs. Doc. “Don’t yo’ go up thar, Doc! Jes
see such heaps o’ men! Jes lots and piles of ’em! _Now yo’ sha’n’t go!_”

“No mo’ I won’t! They picks out all the hardest places for a man to go
to; but his soldiers ’d follow the General anywhere. There he is now.
_He_ ain’t gwoine to meet _me_. See! He knows I’m here well enough, but
he won’t look at me. Ah! He’s gwoine over to the city. P’raps he’ll
just clar out, now he’s got the rest agoing. There’s Kanrasp, and Rives
too.”

General Rives and his two neighbors met General Baker at the next
corner. The latter was on horseback and rode up to General Rives and
demanded the name of the Colonel of the Eighteenth Regiment.

“Colonel Williams,” was the reply.

“Where is he?”

“At his house, I reckon.”

“I want him. I want those guns, and by——I’ve got to have them.”

“General Baker, I don’t know what to do about them. I’ll go up and see
the Captain, and consult with him, and see if he says to give them up.”

A moment later and he met Judge Kanrasp, who was earnestly urging the
colored men, women, and children who were huddled in knots upon the
street, to go home and remain quietly in their houses.

“Kanrasp,” said Judge Rives, “It is no use for you to stay here and get
killed; and you will be killed if you stay,—a ‘carpet-bagger and a
radical,’ like you.”

“That’s so,” added Marmor, and Doc, and Watta, who now joined the
group; and they hastily accompanied him down to the Rail Road platform
nearly opposite the armory, and urged him to flee, as one who would be
first attacked. Rapidly crossing the river, upon the Rail Road bridge,
the train, which arrived, in ten minutes took him homewards; too soon
for the accomplishment of his purpose to learn Gen. Baker’s mission to
the city.

Never were the combative characteristics of the whites and colored
races in the Southern States more clearly exhibited than in the scenes
at Baconsville that day, though leading colored men, whose exceptional
energy, and perhaps assertion, had made them such, were necessarily
prominent. Not bravery, so much as skill in its exercise, constitutes
the white man a leader among his fellows.

In general terms it may be said that timidity, with extremely rare acts
of rashness, characterizes the colored race, bravado and arbitrary
assumption, of the white and both are the victims of mutual suspicion
and distrust, which often _cause_ the dreaded ill.

Gen. Baker was absent half an hour, and on his return a general
remounting took place, while over the hill at the back of the village,
came a large company of horsemen, all well armed.

Down Main street they rode, two abreast, and were at once distributed
throughout the town; a squad upon each street corner, attended by an
equal number of infantry; all with weapons in hand ready for immediate
action.

Look which way they would, the distracted freedmen saw armed men, and
re-enforcements constantly arriving from all directions.

Darkness was approaching, and though the hills around were still
touched by the glow of the setting sun, its refracted rays seemed to
exaggerate the squalor, and magnify the deformities of the little town
in the valley; and, exalting the warlike preparations, to clothe them
with every imaginable horror; while the humidity of the evening air
intensified the sounds of blood-thirsty riot.

Justice Marmor now closed and locked his office door, and began at this
tardy moment, to think of adopting Mrs. M’s advice.

Stepping out of his own back door, he leaped the fence into his
neighbor’s yard, and, mounting his doorsteps, stood in a closely
latticed corner of a porch, and took observations.

The square was surrounded by the Rifle-clubs,—the remnants
and second-growth of the cropped, but not uprooted Confederate
cavalry,—standing thick, two abreast, with guns resting upon each left
arm.

In the vernacular of the South, Marmor was “a _scallawag_,” for, though
once a brave Confederate soldier, he had become a consistent advocate
of the idea that the “all men” who are “created free and equal”
includes the colored race; and probably no man in the devoted town
stood in greater danger than he.

“Co im ’s house, Meester Marmor:——i’m ’s house quick!” said Dan
Lemfield, opening the back-door of his dwelling. You be mine neighbor,
and shall not be shot on mine dreshold. Co hide self! Co!”

Marmor did not decline the invitation, but stepped quickly in, and
passing to the parlor in front, peeped from behind the window shades,
which Mrs. Lemfield had drawn closely down.

At the opposite corner of the street, his most implacable enemy, the
eldest son of Col. Baker, sat upon his horse, with self-complacent
manner waiting the appearance of his prey, or the word of command from
the great General. He was supported by eight or ten other men, not less
vigilant.

“Oh, Mr. Marmor!” besought Mrs. Lemfield, “do go up stairs, and keep
out of sight. They have threatened about you so much that some of them
will surely come in here, and kill you! Do go up, quick! quick!”

Marmor obeyed, and immediately the host, who had been out, re-entered
with wild eyes and white lips.

“Vo ish dat mon, Sarah?”

She signed with her hand, in reply; at the same time saying, in an
indifferent tone, “Oh, he’s gone up, he is not here,” for their little
child had entered, and she feared it might betray their guest.

The excited Jew (for Lemfield was a Jew) leaped up the stairs, calling
out as he ran, “Don’t shoot! It’s me—jist me. Oh, moine goot freund!
Vat vill dese men to? Shenneral Paker say he vill hab de guns, oder he
vill pekin to fire in von half hour. Colonel A. P., dat ole man you
seen sthrapping on dem pig bistols by’me Post Office, he tole me close
up mine par in’ leetle sthore. Vell, dey ish hab too much visky now;
so I mind quick, I tell you! He tole same ting yo’ mudda, an’ she pe
shut up.”

“Where is she?” asked Marmor.

“My golly! Se ist plucky ole voman. Se im leetle sthore—all ’lone by
self. She not come avay.”

“Where are my wife and children?”

“Im house—your house. Dat ish pest blace. Nicht wahr? Pest not pe mit
you.”

“I don’t know,” replied Marmor, absently.

“Oh, ya! Mon come here, mon sag, ‘Meester dare sure.’ Now co dis vay,”
and he led the way to a loft; “Here co om roof van dey get you. Hark!
Vat dat noise down stair ish?”

The next instant Mrs. Marmor rushed into the chamber and threw her arms
about her husband’s neck in a paroxysm of weeping.

He folded her to his breast, and commanding a calm and cheerful tone,
said, “Jane, Jane, don’t give way so. Why, I’m not afraid; I shall come
off all right, and nobody will hurt you or the children. Our people are
chivalrous, and won’t hurt a woman.”

“Oh, you don’t know! you don’t know!” she sobbed. “Capt. Baker just
now told me, as I was coming to bid you good-bye,” (here her sobs
interrupted her speech) “he told me,” she resumed, “if I wanted to
save my children from getting killed, to go into the house and lock
the doors. And so I must go and save my poor babies. Duck got scared
and ran off and left me all alone,” and she placed her cold trembling
hands on either side of her husband’s face, and kissed him. Then
pressing them upon her heart, she descended the stairs, moaning aloud.

“Great heavens! Am I a _man_?” exclaimed Marmor, “to let my wife go
like that, and I hiding to save my own life!” and he sprang to the
stairs to follow her.

Quick as thought, the Jew placed himself before him, and held him back.

“She be not cry for self; just for _you_. You co da, she cry more. Man
not touch her, noh leetle kinder. Yo’ co hide now, quick!”

Five minutes later, the same Col. Baker, her husband’s enemy, rapped
loudly upon Mrs. Marmor’s door, with the loaded handle of his
riding-whip.

Almost too much frightened to stand, she opened the door, and peeped
out.

“You must take your children, and leave this house if you do not want
to be killed,” said the gallant Colonel.

“Oh, where shall I go? What shall I do?” cried the distracted mother.

“You must get out of here, and that is all I can tell you,” said he,
with an oath. “No use to lock your door—leave it open, I tell you, and
go!”

Nearly all the colored people had, by this time, taken the advice of
Judge Kanrasp, or of their fears, and fled the streets. Like timid
conies, some sought the vain shelter of their homes, others that of the
neighboring cornfields or river-banks and bridges, and still others
fled to the surrounding country.

Doc, Watta and Sems went across the street after Kanrasp left, taking
about thirty or forty men with them to the drill-room on the second
floor.

About this time four colored men were seen to issue from an humble
dwelling, and, with heroic purpose as their only visible weapon,
they quietly made their way along the fortified streets. They were
frequently halted and their business demanded, when their uniform reply
was “To see Gen. Baker;” and the moral sublimity of their position
seemed to impress even the conscienceless rioters, for only verbal
abuse was hurled at them.

Arm-in-arm walked Gen. Justice Rives and the Methodist preacher—Elder
Jackson—(visibly quaking within his spotless linen, and coat of snowy
whiteness). Behind this worthy pair came Springer, the chief man of
money and of business in the town, with Lem Picksley, a well-known,
peaceable, and long-time resident; the best educated and best-liked
citizen.

At length they found the man they sought—armed, mounted and surrounded
by cavalry arranged in warlike attitude, who appeared to reverence him
as their chief.

“Gen. Baker,” said Rives, “we have come to ask if there is _anything_
we can do to make peace.”

“Nothing will satisfy me but the surrender of the men and their guns.”

“We have no authority to surrender them, as you very well know.
The men are not criminals convicted, and you have no warrant or
authority of law; and the men say their oaths to the State forbid
their surrendering the arms to you. If you can show any authority for
receiving them, that you have more than any other private citizen, they
will give them up at once; but they say they cannot otherwise, because,
if they should voluntarily yield them up to you or any other private
citizen, especially surrounded by such an armed body as this, without
authority of law—well, General, you’re a lawyer, and you know what the
law calls it. The law and their oath of office will not allow them.”

“Rives,” replied this great chieftain, “you are the Major General of
the State Militia in this district, and can demand them.”

“Not without cause, or order from my superior!”

“By ——!” said the negro-catcher, Baker, who stood near, “you had
better do something, for there’s going to be —— to pay here, if those
officers and guns are not delivered up.”

“I want to see the Colonel of this regiment. I want these officers and
these guns,” said Gen. Baker with great vehemence.

Ned O’Bran, who had joined the four peace-makers, now slipped through
the crowd and back to the armory.

“How does it look, Ned?” asked Lieut. Watta from a window above his
head.

“It looks squally. Now, Watta, you men just bar the windows and doors,
and let nothing nor nobody in the world in there; and by this means
they will have nothing nor nobody in the world to fight, if they want
to fight, but themselves. There’s bound to be a fuss; for I heard Gen.
Baker say myself, that what he intended to do this evening won’t stop
till after the seventh of next November, and that is election day, you
know. So shut yourselves up, and keep still.”

Watta closed the window, and Ned returned to the place of conference.

A horse pushed against Springer’s companion, and he mildly laid his
hand upon the animal’s shoulder and said, addressing it, “Take care,
sir!”

Quick as thought the rider’s whip cut a smart gash upon the dusky cheek.

The chivalrous Gen. Baker, looking on, took out his own pocket
handkerchief, and wiped the perspiration from his own face, while
the unoffending mulatto wiped the blood from his; and Springer’s
unflinching eye arrested the hand of another of the General’s aids, as
he was about to send a bullet through his (Springer’s) brain.

Neither the attack nor menace elicited rebuke nor notice from the
“high-toned” General, who disdainfully turned and rode away.

“If we will box the guns up,” said Rives, following him, “and return
them to the Governor, will _that_ be satisfactory?”

“—— the Governor! I am not here as the Governor of South Carolina,
nor his agent, but as General Baker!”

“Well, we are sorry if there is nothing we can do to make peace,
General, but (turning to his companions) we must return without it, and
each do the best he can for himself.”

“Here’s Ned O’Bran,” said Springer in an undertone, “Brother Jackson,
you had better go with him, for his house is outside of the picket
lines; and as you’re a member of the Legislature, you must look
out—they’ll be after you shor.”

“I was just going down to the drill room to be safe myself,” said
O’Bran. “My family went on so that I am on my way back to the armory.”

“You can’t get through this way. The pickets are everywhere. You had
best go home. It’s every man for himself, and the Lord for us all,”
said Springer, and the men separated.



CHAPTER VIII.

MEMORY AND EXPERIENCE.

  “Oh! the blessed hope of freedom how with joy and glad surprise,
  For an instant throbs her bosom, for an instant beam her eyes!

         *       *       *       *       *

  Oh, my people! O my brothers! let us choose the righteous side.”
—WHITTIER’S VOICES OF FREEDOM.

THE sun was sinking in the west, when the sound of Aunt Phoebe’s
dinner-horn was heard, followed by Uncle Jesse’s cheery response.

Auntie was the model-housekeeper of the neighborhood, (not a high
compliment, some readers might think, could they see many of the homes
there, where the women spend most of their strength and time at field
labor), she having been raised a house-servant, and, by rare chance,
blessed with a mistress who gave her personal attention to the comfort
of her household.

Auntie’s house boasted glazed windows, two rooms and a loft; and the
broad boards of her floors were so clean and white that her kitchen was
quite inviting as dining-room and sitting-room also.

Her iron tea-kettle shone and steamed beside a small cherry back-log
upon the great hearth, which spread below the wide “Dutch-back”
chimney, while the hoe-cakes were “keeping” between a blue-edged
earthen plate, and a bright tin pan, upon a hot stone near by, and a
kettle of boiling corn, filled the room with its sweet aroma.

The snowy cloth spread upon the table in the middle of the floor, was
set about with crockery almost antique,—the gift of “old Missus’” when
she “broke up,” because the great plantation was sold for taxes.

During the war the Confederate and Union armies had swept over the
region in alternation, like swarms of locusts, taking every marketable
thing; Abraham Lincoln’s Proclamation of Emancipation had freed every
“hand,” and, as the old lady had lost all her sons in the war, and all
her means to hire laborers, and would not lease to niggers, she folded
her hands and let her remaining possessions drift from her, and finally
died a pensioner upon her friends.

Many a time had Aunt Phoebe’s childish hands washed these same cups and
plates, while her mother cooked for “the great house;” and as she now
brought an extra large plate, she paused, and with eyes fixed upon it,
a long stretch of years seemed to pass before her.

“Make hay while the sun shines,” she spelled around the sunny picture
of hay-makers in the centre of the plate; and before her seemed to
arise the placid face of her poor mother; and again she heard her
say,—“Dat’s ’de way ’dey do at ‘de North, chile’. ’Taint ’de colored
folks as does all ’de work dar’. Oh Lord! oh Lord!” I was ’mos’
free——thought I _was_ free shor’ ’dat time Missus tuck me ’not’h wid’
her. Mighty nice gem’men tole’ me I war free;—I needn’t go back South
no ’mo’. So I jes walks off: but, oh laws! He didn’t know ’nuffin ’bout
’dem United States Marshal ’dey call ’em, I ’reckon; but may be ’dey
didn’t ’blong to no United States, nohow. Spex’ ’dey come from South
Caroline. ’Dey tole’ I ’jes got go ’long back wid Missus, or ’de whole
’dem United States ’sogers’d he afe’r me, shor; Wal, Wal, ’pears like
’day didn’t none of ’em know nohow; fo’ nother gem’men said ’dem United
States Marshals hadn’t got ’nuffin to do wid me, nohow, ’cause Missus’
brung me ’long herself. I didn’t run away ’nohow, ’cause I neber was so
low as a runaway nigger. ’Pears like I didn’t know who ’t believe, an
so I came back ’long wid’ Missus to make shor’.

“Po’re ole’ Lize, she lived nex’ do’ to Missus’ hotel. She used to set
by ’de pump in ’de back yard, evenings, and smoke and smoke. “Dar was
a young miss ’dar, used to come too, ’an talk ’wid us, ’an she tole’
Lize war free, and I war’ free, ’cause we didn’t _runned away_ from
’de South. ’Reckon she war right, now; but I didn’t know, an’ she war’
young.” Lize was ole an’ been sick aheap, an’ wan’t ’woth much. She
was ’gwoine to be sold in St. Loo, an’ all her chillun,—five chillun.
’_Dey_ sold right smart, but no body didn’t want Lize; but a bad man
said he’d give twenty dollah.”

“Lize seen a mighty nice gem’man from de No’th da, an’ she got hold his
feet, an’ roared an’ cried till he bought her.

“Wal, ’pears like he didn’t know what t’do wid her af’r all; hadn’t
got no wife, no nothin’ but lots o’ money. Well, shoo’ ’nuff’ dat bery
night he tuck mighty sick. Ole Lize nussed ’im night and day, six,
eight weeks or mo’, till he got well, Doctah said ’Dar’s de ole creatur
dat save yo’ life. It wa’nt me, nohow.’ Wal, Mars’ Sam war mighty
good den to ole Lize. He tuck ’er off No’th, and spex cause he hadn’t
got nothin’ nor no place, he coaxed ’er to stay wid ’is sistah. But,
laws! she wa’n’t like he. She’s cross, an’ scold ole Lize a heap, when
she’s crying ’bout her boys jes’ been sole ’way down t’ New Orleans,
’cause dey war so high spirited like, an’ Lize wa’n’t dar to keep ’im
quiet like. Lize wanted t’ go back to St. Loo, an’ see ’er girls.
Cross woman! She tole ole Lize all dat to make ’er fret; an’ Mars Sam
’ad writ dat, dat war why he didn’t wan’r Lize to come back, cause he
didn’t want ’er to fret. Poor soul! couldn’t write to Mars’ Sam.

“Laws, I’s young an’ spry den, an’ wanted to be free _powerful bad_;
but de Laud he say, I mus’ stay right yere, an’ cook for Missus, a
slave all my life, maybe.” Fresh and clear as when first spoken, Aunt
Phebe seemed to hear these tales which once impressed her youthful mind.

And then right between the hay-makers and Auntie’s eyes there came
another picture. She could see the great smoke rolling up over the
woods beyond the cotton field, and hear the cannon’s roar, and the
shells screeching and crashing through the trees, and see “old Missus”
wringing her hands and weeping, and praying the good Lord to spare
her four sons who were fighting in the confederate ranks; and all the
slaves were praying for the “Yankees,” while they exhausted every
means to soothe and comfort “old missus.”

That same night, when the house servants were all in her cabin except
Lucy, who was “staying wid Missus,” Uncle Tim, the plantation preacher,
was repeating what scripture passages he could remember, there came a
loud rap on the closed door behind.

“If yo’ de Laud o’ de Debbil,” said Uncle Tim, “in de name ob de Laud,
I tell yo’ come in,” and a Yankee soldier entered.

There she could see him stand in the light of the “fat pine” which Tim
put on the fire—the “Lincom Soger”—repeating the Proclamation of
Emancipation. How plainly he stood out now! and the great light that
shone around him seemed almost to smite her blind as it did then.

There was dear old granddaddy, with wrinkled hands that had toiled
without recompense for nearly a century, clasped tightly together. How
slowly and easily he slipped from his chair onto the floor! She thought
he was kneeling; but when she bent to help him, she heard his whisper,
“Free into glory! Free into glory! ’Tain’t no niggah _slave_ yo’ comin’
fo’, Angel!” and his withered lips closed forever on earth, while his
“new song,” broke forth from lips of fadeless bloom, in a land where
love makes slavery impossible.

And there she saw “Mammy”—the dear form swaying backwards and forwards
as she wept and moaned, “Oh, wicked, cruel man to cheat poor slaves! It
is too good for true! _too good for true!_”

And then, before Aunt Phebe, opened the two deep graves where they
buried them side by side, father and daughter, grandfather and mother.
The tardy emancipation that had opened slavery’s dungeon had opened
also the pearly gates for the aged and the invalid.

The big hot tears were rolling slowly down Auntie’s cheeks and
threatening a briny shower upon the hay-makers, when Uncle Jesse’s step
upon the threshold startled her, and the plate fell to the floor and
broke into a score of pieces.

She dropped into a chair, threw her apron over her head, and wept aloud.

“Wal! wal! wal!” said her husband, as he scraped the soil from his
shoes at the door, “crying that way about a broked up plate? Oh! it’s
one old Missus gave yo’,” he added, as he approached the fragments.

As suddenly as her grief had seemed to come, she flung her apron from
her face, tossed up both her arms, and broke into a loud, clear strain;
laughing, clapping her hands, shrieking and stamping her feet:

  “Glory and honor, praise King Jesus!
  “Glory and honor, praise de Lamb!
  “Oh Jesus comin’ dis way
  “Don’t let your chariot wheels delay!
  “Jesus Christ comin’ in his own time;
  “Take away de mudder leabe the baby behind.”

“Oh you got that wrong,” said Uncle Jesse, who, with his two workmen
had joined lustily in the chorus. It’s “Take away the baby, leave the
mother behind.”

“I sings it jes as I wants it,” replied his wife. “De Laud he tuck my
mudder, an’ he lef’ me behind.”

  “Give me grace fo’ to run dat race,
  “Heaben shall be my hidin’-place;
  “Wet or dry, I means to try
  “To get up into heaben when I die.
  “If yo’ get dar befo’ I do,
  “Tell dem I am comin’ too.
    “Glory and honor, praise &c.

  “God be callin,’ trumpet be soundin’;
  “Don’t dat look like judgment day?
  “De tombs be bustin’, de dead be risin’,
  “De wheels ob time shall not be no mo.
    “Glory and honor, praise, &c.

  “Chariot dartin’ to de new grabe-yard;
  “Go down angels and veil wid de sun;
  “Go down angels and veil wid the moon,
  “Fo’ the wheels ob time shall not be no mo.”
    “Glory and honor, praise, &c.

“It’s de Debbil’s bad luck! fo’ I _seen_ dat plate gwoine down on de
flo’; but I sung to de Laud, an’ He’ll break de cha’m,” said Auntie,
with the evident satisfaction of one who has been at once shrewd and
dutiful. (It is thought an ill omen to see crockery fall, if it breaks.)

“Auntie, I shall like mighty well to see dat chariot comin’, when I
sho’ de Laud is in it, said Brother Johnson,” the class leader, who
was one of the workmen, “but jes at dis pertickeler time I wants to be
gnawin’ one o’ dem cawn-cobs in dat skillet.”

“A wicked an’ a glutton man de Laud He despise,” she retorted, as she
arose, and casting a reproving glance upon the offender proceeded to
“dish up” the repast. Meanwhile Brother Gibson struck up the following:

  “I lub my sistah, dat I do!
  “Hope my sistah may lub me too:
  “If yo’ get dar yo’ gwoine to sing an’ tell
  “De fo’ arch-angels to tune de bell.”

Supper was announced just as the sun reached the “hour mark” upon
the cabin floor, which had done duty as indicator of the time for
the evening meal for many months; and further musical exercises were
indefinitely postponed.

The repast had not yet been disposed of when the voice of a man was
heard calling, “Whoop! whoop!”

“That is Den Bardun,” said Uncle Jesse, as he sprung from the table to
the door.

“Hello! What’s wanted?” he shouted in reply.

“Man here from Baconsville wants help. Says they’re killing all the
colored people over there. Will you go?”

“Come over; come over, and bring him along;” and Uncle Jesse hastened
back to the table to finish his meal while the twain should be pacing
the two hundred yards intervening between the two dwellings.

They entered presently, both much excited, and the Baconsville man
bearing a double barreled shot-gun.

“What is the matter?” asked the host, gulping down a half cup of
coffee and leaving the table to greet his guests. “I couldn’t hear half
you said.”

“Ugh! Matter enough!” replied Den. “Tell him, Sterns.”

“Why, the town of Baconsville is just running over of armed white
men—rifle-clubs, regular cavalry companies, and they’re going to kill
all the niggers, ravish the women, and burn the houses, and put all the
children to death!”

“No! no! no!” cried Uncle Jesse. “Tell a man something he can believe
now! They won’t do no such thing as that. The white folks has got more
sense ’n that. They won’t do no such things, and I don’t believe it!
You are scart and excited.”

“Just go and see then, Mr. Roome. If you don’t believe me, may be you
won’t believe your own eyes,” replied the man.

“Well, Roome, come on! Let’s go and see for ourselves; for if it is
true, we ought to help,” said Brother Gibson.

“No sir! You just wait, and keep inside the law!” said Jesse Roome,
after scratching his head thoughtfully a moment. “I believe in _law_,
and them that has kept inside the law is the ones that is coming out
ahead.”

Sterns then gave a graphic description of the incidents, threats, and
indications in Baconsville, up to the close of the court-scene at about
half past four o’clock.

Of course the whole group were intensely excited, and Aunt Phebe
listened, shrieked, and prayed by turns; but Uncle Jesse was still
firm in his first decision to keep inside the law.”

“There’s been heaps of threats, I know, enough to make a man intimidate
of his shadow; but there’s a pile o’ bluster and brag in these old
aristocrats; just like a barking dog though, he’ll never bite.”

“Heigh! but they be a biting _now_, sho,” said Sterns with a shrug.

“And then our folks ha’n’t always done right,” Mr. Roome continued.
“It’s a new thing for us to make laws and be officers, and all that;
and some thinks ’cause they make the laws, that they needn’t keep ’em;
and some is mighty ambitious, and likes to pay off old scores through
the laws. Now that a’n’t right, and it can’t do no good, nohow. Some
laws has been made wrong, and some has been executed wrong, and it
a’n’t reasonable to suppose that a man that has been a slave all his
life, and ha’n’t had nothing to do ’bout no laws only to be lashed when
his master has a mind to, is going to rise right up and know everything
at once. And the masters that has been masters over us so long, I
suppose it’s mighty hard for them to stand the nigger majorities in
this State, and have the niggers that they used to have under them,
just like that dog now, making laws for them, and in the offices.
Well, now, we ought to think o’ these things, on both sides, and have
patience and do the best we can, and _keep inside the law_. If the
militia company and the white folks has got up a quarrel over there in
Baconsville, and either of them is going to breaking the laws—well, I
a’n’t going over there to join ’em in doing it! That is all.”

“But it’s the white folks that is breaking the laws; and I’m surprised
that yo,’ Mr. Roome, a’n’t ready to help us against ’em. They’re all
there, mounted and armed, and officered; and they says they shall have
these men and their guns. The militia ha’n’t got guns enough there, and
not scarcely no ammunition; and they’re just going to be massacred!”

“No! no!” replied Uncle Jesse, “that won’t be done. Them white folks
know we’ve got a Governor and courts.”

“But there’s too many of ’em for the courts to stop ’em. There’s two or
three thousand, all armed, and some of ’em is the biggest men in the
State, the old aristocrats; and the Governor’s militia can’t do nothing
against these Rifle Clubs yo’ know, these old confederate soldiers that
served in the war. They’re all _them_, or the one’s they’ve trained up,
are officering now.”

“I know, I know,” said Jesse, “but you know there’s the United States.
The United States won’t see us killed off that way.”

“‘Cause the United States is _too fur off_ to see it; and when we’re
all killed, the United States can’t bring us alive again.”

“Why didn’t they just let them two young fellows go through that
company in the first place on the 4th of July? It’s mighty provoking
to see the niggers celebrating the 4th with the same flag _they_ used
to brag so much about ’fore the wa’, (though they have hated it ever
since), and the State guns, and all! We’ve growed so big now, we can
afford to stoop down to such little fellows as they’ve got to being.
What’s the use o’ keeping up a quarrel when we’ve got to live together?”

“Now, Jesse,” said Den Bardun, “we’ve been stooped mighty nigh double
all our lives, and our fathers and grandfathers before us, and some of
their backs is getting stiff. It’s well enough to make a bow, but some
folks don’t enjoy being rid over, and I reckon _yo’r one_.”

“I can’t stay to hear yo’ talk, and if yo’ a’n’t men enough to go and
help yo’ neighbors when they is getting jist _slayed_, I’m gwine to
find some _men_ somewhar; and if ever yo’ wants help like us, to save
yo’ life and property, maybe yo’ll get it. I hope so,” and Sterns
hastened away.

Uncle Jesse paced up and down the room for some moments, with his arms
folded and his chin upon his breast; while Den Bardun leaned against
the door-post, and watched alternately this neighbor and the chickens a
hen was endeavoring to call into a coop in which she was confined near
the door.

“It _seems_ hard! It does seem hard!” said Roome, without raising his
eyes from the floor, “and it seems cruel like, I know it does. But it
is _right_! _I know it is right!_ and I feel it right in my breast,”
looking up with an assured manner, and striking his broad chest with
his palms. “Sit down, Den, sit down. What do you think about this
doings?”

“I believe it’s a mighty hard affair, and I’m afraid it’s a big one;
and I don’t believe it’s all about the 4th of July scrape, either. It’s
more like the democratic party, and they’re playing off that it’s the
militia.”

“What makes you think so, Dan?”

“Well, Deacon Atwood, he says to me the other day, says he, “All the
officers of the Republican party has got to be killed out, shor;” and I
asked him what for?”

“Was he talking of the colored officers or of all of ’em?”

_White_ and _black_, making no exceptions. He says, “we’re going to
have this election, and the only way we can get it, will be to kill out
the leading men, and then the ignorant men will do right.”

“Mr. Atwood came here the other day,” said Jesse, “I’d hired Mott
Erkrap, you know, to work for me, and he left me because I wouldn’t
give him 4th of July; and he wanted to come back, and I wouldn’t take
him back. The Deacon came concerning him, and he said then that the
Republican party, before long, was going to ketch the Devil, (Uncle
Jesse lowered his voice as if in awe of his Satanic Majesty.) Says he
“There’ll be worse than seventy-seven claps of thunder striking right
against them. Of course we was astonished at his speaking so rash and
’reverent right here in the yard. We was all very much astonished, me
and my wife, and Mott Erkrap, and a stranger from the city that came
with Mott, at his speaking so rash and ’revrent at what would happen to
the Republican party in short time.”

“Hark!” exclaimed Aunt Phebe, raising her hands. “Oh, Lord! they be a
killing ’em!”

The sound of small arms came unmistakably upon the evening air.

“Oh, no! It takes more’n one bird to make a spring. It a’nt so strange
to hear a gun fire!” said Uncle Jesse; at the same time approaching the
door to listen.

“But there’s another! and another! and heaps of ’em!” said she,
becoming almost frantic with excitement.

“Good Lord! they be a fighting!” exclaimed both Dan and Jesse.

Several of the nearer neighbors soon came running up, breathless and
alarmed, to ask what should be done.

“What _is_ all we gwoine to do, Uncle Jesse?” asked a small coal-black
man, rushing up to the yard, gun in hand. “Don’t ye think we ought to
go down and help ’em!—!—! but it’s awful to hear them guns and stand
here with my good rifle in my hands doing nothin’;” and he strode back
and forth in front of the door where the group was standing, clasping
his trusty weapon to his breast.

“You’d best remember the Lord in such a time as this, anyhow, and not
be swearing,” replied Roome. “The more goes there, the worse and the
bigger that fuss has got to be, and the more colored people will get
killed any how for the whites has got to beat. No, no, Penny you’d best
keep away if you don’t want to be killed.”

“I wonder where Deacon Atwood is?” asked Den Bardum.

“He a’n’t there, you may be shor. He’ll talk big, and put the rest up,
but keep safe hisself,” said Jesse.

“How about that Sheriff’s office?” and Penny looked significantly at
both Jesse and Den.

“That’s so,” said Den, “we three did promise to get him nominated
on the Republican ticket, didn’t we? He was mighty in love with our
Governor then.”

“But the Governor won’t support this kind of doings,” said Roome.

“Goodness gracious! Just hear the guns!” said Penny, “We’ll see fire
pretty soon. They’ll be burning houses, certain.”

“I do hope this isn’t our folks begun this,” said Jesse. “I hope
they’ll keep inside the law, and then the United States can protect
us, and not let the white folks here kill us all off. But if our folks
begun this, the good Laud knows what will become of us all. If Deacon
Atwood goes in for this kind of thing, I’ll go back on _him_; for I
won’t stick to any body that violates the law. My motto is to punish
every man, white and black, that violates the law. It does seem mighty
hard to stand here, and hear them guns, and believe that somebody’s
getting killed; but I feel in my breast that it is the right thing to
do. Does any of you know who’s gone over from Bean Island?—any of the
neighbors?”

“Of the white folks? or the colored?”

“Either one.”

“Dr. Ave, Joe Ennery, Coot Hogg, and Ramal Bardun, John Rammel, and
Robert Blending has gone; and Captain Black, and Williams, and I expect
the Payne boys.”

“Do you _know_ that, Penny?” and Uncle Jesse bit his lips.

“Yes, I met them near sundown, gallopping hard that way; or rather, I
didn’t meet the Payne boys.”

“Hist! There comes the old man.”

“Good evening Mr. Payne,” said the host, extending his right hand in a
cordial welcome, while with his left he made a sign behind his back,
commanding caution.

This was clearly visible, though the sun’s light had entirely faded;
for the cabin door, near the outside of which they stood, was wide
open, and a fire of fat pine was filling the broad chimney’s throat
with a sheet of flame.

“Old man Payne” was a small man, with a large head, quick, deep-set
gray eyes, under a broad brow which was crowned with snowy hair.

He it was who had counselled discretion, moderation and honorable
dealing at the Club meeting at which Watson Atwood was initiated into
the mysteries of modern southern politics.

A descendant of an honored southern family, he yet seemed from
infancy to have inherited many notions which were antagonistic to the
environments of his childhood, and which several seasons spent in New
England, in the early home of his mother, served to strengthen and
intensify.

His wife, always fully Southern in ideas and sympathies, had reared
their children so, aided by their surroundings, while he had very
quietly cherished his own sentiments.

A chair was brought, and he seated himself without speaking, sighed
heavily, folded his small nervous hands, and gazed away into the
darkness; and as volley followed volley, he shuddered, and wept.

“Good God,” said he at length, “I had hoped this kind of thing was
over! Jesse, what do you know about this?”

“Nothing,” was the prompt reply. “I know nothing; at least, I’ve just
_heard_ that there’s a fuss between the Militia company and the white
folks. Do you know who’s in it, Mr. Payne. Who begun it, I mean?”

“I only know they say the officers would not go to court, but just
fortified themselves in the armory, and defied the law, and said they
were going to fight. Joe Morey says they’ve been making awful threats
lately, and so the Rifle clubs were called out to sustain General
Baker, who undertook to conduct the suit for Robert Baker and Gaston.”

“Defied the law? How’s that, Mr. Payne?”

“I don’t know Jesse, but that is what Joe Morey said.”

“Is that all you know about it?”

“Yes.”

“Has any body gone over from here, from the Island, I mean?”

“Yes, some on both sides, I guess.”

“And what is the intentions of the white folks?”

“I do not know, except that they intend to get some security that the
negroes shall give up their guns, and stop drilling. They say they
do not feel secure in their lives and property while the Militia is
drilling with arms in their hands.”

“What has the colored people ever done? And why don’t they treat them
so well that they won’t be afraid of them? They’re State Militia.”

“I know, I know that Jesse; but our boys will listen to nothing. I’m
afraid of the consequences, and do not want another war.”

“A good many of ’em is pretty old “boys,”—old Confederate soldiers,”
said Roome, “and there can’t be much that is worse than this, judging
by the guns we hear. How do you know there’s any gone?”

“They went by my store, and I tried to persuade them not to go.”

“Who was they?”

“I can not give names, Jesse.”

“Did Hankins go, Mr. Payne?”

“I cannot tell, Jesse; but I’m glad you are all here. If you stay here,
you will not be hurt. But I didn’t think till now,——some of them may
be straggling off here, and I had better go back to my store,” and the
old man walked sadly away.

The night had set in, dark and moonless; and an hour’s brisk discharge
of small arms was followed, (after an interval of respite), by the
booming of cannon, which heightened the terror and direful forebodings
of the listeners.

Uncle Jesse’s dwelling became a tabernacle to the Lord that night; for
from it arose the ceaseless voice of true prayer—“the soul’s sincere
desire,” through all those hours of darkness and terror, till just
ere the dawn of the Sabbath morning, his neighbors departed to their
several places of abode.



CHAPTER IX.

THE SITUATION.

                                            “Peace fool!
  I would have peace and quietness, but the fool will not.”

  SHAKESPERE.


UNCLE JESSE, as the reader is by this time aware, was a man of
influence among his neighbors, few of whom, of either race, were
capable of such just and comprehensive views of their political and
social relations.

Little influenced by color prejudice (which is common to both races,
though from widely different causes and in various degrees, throughout
the United States), he possessed great reverence for law, as such; a
fact mainly due to a residence of several years among the law-abiding
people of that portion of the State of Ohio known as The Western
Reserve, at a period when his mind was peculiarity receptive.

Born a slave in 1834, he seized the first opportunity offered by the
late war, to flee from bondage and learn to live like a man.

Aunt Phebe preferred to wait with their two little children, her
invalid mother, and aged grandfather, for the coming of the “Yankees,”
which was confidently and hopefully expected.

And so in 1867 Uncle Jesse returned and found her and their children
free, and thriving, in the same cabin in which he left them, though
the “big house” was vacant, and the plantation in new hands.

At that time the Southern States were rife with utter lawlessness
and bitter animosities; and acts of malicious and cruel outrage were
frequent occurrences.

From the first settlement of the State, society had been divided into
many and antagonistic classes, throughout which, however, prevailed an
universal and sycophantic _aping_, each class of that above it; while
the upper stratum sat in serene security of social distinction—fortune
or misfortune, personal respectability or degradation, culture or
ignorance, plethora or poverty, _all_ were forgotten or obscured in
the penumbra of that formidable and enigmatical word _birth_, untitled
though it must be.

Now that the old landmarks had to some extent been swept away, there
followed a general and tumultuous scramble in the debris, each being
anxious to secure all that was possible, or failing, to resent the
affront of another’s success.

Thus the worst elements and characteristics of every class were made
prominent.

Families bred in opulence, and accustomed to claim the unpaid toil of
others as their rightful due, and to believe political leadership and
oligarchal control their birth-right, and who, like their ancestors
for generations, cherished contempt for all who worked for their
own subsistence, found extreme humiliation in laboring for their
own bread, and submitting to the legal restrictions imposed by the
general government, controlled as it was by those they had formerly
derided as the “mud-sills” of the North, even though those restrictions
were equitable and generous. In resentment of the equal citizenship
conferred upon their former chattled slaves, they committed, and
defended in each other, such outrages upon the persons and property of
the negroes and resident northern whites, as are not even admissable
between civilized enemies at open war.

Not a few planters who formerly owned thousands of acres of land,
and from three to five thousand slaves, were, by the failure of
the Rebellion, for the success of which they had staked all their
possessions, as poor as the “cracker” families, which had formerly
“squatted” like caterpillars and locusts upon the skirts of their
plantations. They were even sometimes subjected to these as magistrates
and officials, as they often were to their former slaves.

This haughty planter-race, having utterly failed in its last great
pretension in bitterness of spirit still cherished its disdain for
those it could not conquer, into which disdain the education of two
hundred and fifty years of _irresponsible ownership of laborers_
has concentrated the egotism, the selfishness and the cruelty thus
engendered.

The intelligence of this class was never commensurate with its wealth.
Schools were necessarily few in the South during the existence of
slavery, and family feuds and favoritisms notoriously controlled the
distribution of the honors of those that did exist, and social and
political distinction depended upon culture in no degree. Hence there
was little to spur the laggard, or to encourage and inspire genius, and
the actual ignorance, or at best, the superficial scholarship of “the
first families” was astounding. Since the war, poverty and aversion
to the North have materially lessened southern patronage of northern
schools, and under the “carpet-bag” administration the higher schools
of the State, and the common schools in country districts in which the
aggregate number of pupils did not warrant the opening of more than one
school, were accessible to colored students; a recognition of equality
which the whites would not tolerate; and so they consigned themselves
to ignorance.

The class formerly known as “sand-hillers,” “crackers,” or “poor white
trash,” were lazy, filthy and ignorant, and frequently degraded below
the level of the slaves. These, with the class next above them in
the social scale—the “working people,” who owned few or no slaves,
and labored with their own hands on small farms, or as mechanics,
experienced a social promotion nearly equal to that of the slaves; as
emancipation, the ravages of war, and a more general distribution of
land, through confiscation and sales for delinquent taxes, broke up
the land monopoly and political retainership which had so long existed
to the opulence of the planters, and the semi-mendicity of the lower
classes.

The confederate service had also given acceptable occupation and wages,
and even some inferior military titles to men who had formerly begged,
or stolen, or starved, rather than earn their bread by honest labor;
and such military glory, won in defence of “The Lost Cause,” could not
be utterly ignored in the contest for recognition of some sort.

The class called “respectable people,” consisting of artists, merchants
and professional men, teachers, &c., whose title to recognition rested
upon wealth and culture, probably received the change with the most
equilibrity, while the freedmen had everything to gain, and nothing to
lose.

The most ignorant of them well knew that it was to “de Yankees,” “de
Lincum sogers, de United States,” or “Mar’s Lincom,” that they were
indebted for emancipation. The raving of their masters against northern
abolitionists was, to them, quite sufficient evidence that somehow the
war had its origin, near or remote, in northern antagonism to slavery.

History will never fail to record the good behavior of the freedmen of
the southern states of America, the causes of which were manifold.

The experiences and legends of the slaveship, and centuries of
repetition of similar evidence, had taught the African that there were
other powers, stronger than brute force, which he could not command.

Again, he was not self-liberated. The brother of his master had been
his deliverer (whatever may have been his motive), and gratitude,
the moral attraction of gravitation, is the strongest moral power in
the universe; which the All-Father well knew when He sent His Son to
suffer.

This deliverer, this brother, believed in _law_, the invisibility
and incomprehensibility of which appealed to the superstition of the
emancipated slaves. This northern brother had struggled desperately
with the tyrant, poured out his treasure and shed his blood without
stint in the conflict; and having conquered, stood with weapons in
either hand, to command the peace in the name of this invisible
and incomprehensible _law_; while the religious, industrial, and
educational influences which he summoned from his northern home, coming
up while yet the atmosphere was tremulous with the sounds of expiring
conflict, brought food for hungry bodies, intellects and souls; healing
for lacerated spirits; and the vesture of a better civilization for the
nakedness of the black, and the mail-chafed form of the white.

Women who pressed to the battle-front with a cup of water for the lips
of the dying, and a pillow for the wounded head that lay upon the
bloody sward, from hearts baptized to self-sacrifice, and pens lit with
the zeal of the Nazarene, sent white-winged, burning messages all over
the news-reading North; and while from thousands of homes there, brave
men came with flaunting flags, and beating drums, and booming cannons,
singing as they marched:

  “We are coming, Father Abr’am,
  Three hundred thousand more,”

and

  “We’ll hang Jeff Davis on a sour apple tree.”

(and voluntarily broke that pledge,) from out those same homes stole
a procession of women, not clandestinely, not timidly, but brave of
soul and strong of heart and inflexible of purpose, though without
ostentation. The bible and spelling-book were their only weapons, and
their song was of “the mercies of the Lord forever,” and their “trust
under the feathers of His wings!” “Neither the terror by night,” “the
arrow by day,” “the pestilence in darkness,” nor “destruction at noon,”
nor the “thousand falling on their right hand,” and on their left,
could make them afraid; “because they had made the Lord their strength,
even the Most High their refuge.” They went forth to “tread upon the
lion and the adder, the young lion and the dragon.” Scorn, insult,
slander, poverty, loneliness, sickness and death, they trampled under
their feet; for “through the work of the Lord were they made glad,” and
they “triumphed in the work of His hands.”

Away on in the Elysian fields of heaven, when the cycles of eternity
shall have encircled the universe, and rolled back upon their track in
such repeated and intricate mazes as only the Infinite mind can trace,
they shall receive from the lips of the ransomed of all nations, “the
blessing of those once ready to perish”; and the blessed assurance that
the torch they lit in the freedman’s hut, lit a beacon that illumined
the world.

If the South is saved to civilization, its chief human savior was “the
nigger school-teacher.”

To these evidences of kindly interest on the part of the Northern
people, and the influence of, and confidence implied in the immediate
presence of feminine representatives of the best and most peaceable
element of the North, certainly not less is due than to the natural
timidity of the race, or their great faith in ultimate Divine
deliverance, which needed intelligent direction.

Evidently the most difficult lesson, and yet that most needed by all
the former inhabitants of the southern states is _reverence for, trust
in, and submission to law_. The old habit of irresponsible authority,
of domination instead of true democracy—the idea that the sovereign
citizen may be superior to the law enacted by the popular will, is hard
to eradicate.

Like the writhing beheaded serpent, which responds with slow-dying
malice to the glow of the sun that does not make night because its
green eyes are sightless, beheaded slaveocratic feudalism blindly
ejects its spite at inevitable oncoming civilization.

Through the philanthropic movements which have been indicated, an
entirely new ingredient was injected among the heterogeneous elements
of southern society which were seeking a new basis, and a few
northern soldiers, enamored of the delicious climate and naturally
productive soil to which war and conquest had introduced them, and
from which slavery had formerly excluded them, brought their families
from Northern homes, or married daughters of this sunny land, and
became permanent residents. Then followed capitalists, allured by the
numerous apparently good investments the almost universal bankruptcy
afforded.

With these came money, and such industry, enterprise, skill and public
spirit as was before unknown in that slavery-cursed land; and the
pecuniary results of which the Southerner can only account for by
supposed political corruption or downright stealing from the public
funds—the most familiar means.

Still the formerly favored class, true to its arrogance, and not
ignored by those accustomed to worship at its shrine, ranks the
possessor of one of its patronymics, especially if garnished by
military title won or sustained in confederate service, among the most
enviable of men; for “The Lost Cause” is as dear to South Carolinians
as ever—an ideal worshiped all the more devoutly because of its
unreality, and with demonstration necessarily somewhat restrained.



CHAPTER X.

THE ATTACK.


 “Shepherd—Name of mercy, when was this, boy?

 Clo.—Now, now; I have not winked since I saw these sights; the
 men are not yet cold under water, nor the bear half dined on the
 gentleman; he’s at it now.

 Shep.—I Would I had been by to have helped the old man!

 Clo.—I would you had been by the ship’s side, to have helped her;
 there your charity would have lacked footing.

       *       *       *       *       *

 Shep.—This is fairy gold, boy, and ’twill prove so; up with it, keep
 it close; home, home, the next way. * * * *

 Clo.—Go you the next way with your findings; I’ll go see if the bear
 be gone from the gentleman, and how much he hath eaten; they are never
 curst, but when they are hungry; if there be any of him left, I’ll
 bury it.”—Winter’s Tale—Shakespeare.

IMMEDIATELY after the interview of the four colored men with General
Baker, Rives hastened to the drill-room, where he soon found the
Captain of the militia company.

“Doc,” said he, “Gen. Baker says if you do not give up the guns, he
will melt the ball down before ten o’clock to-night.”

“Judge, just step this way,” and the Captain took him through a
communicating door into his own bedroom adjoining.

“General,” said he, in a confidential tone, “yo’ are the Major General
of the militia of this Division, isn’t yo’?”

“Yes.”

“Now, here. I am willing to do this. I’ve sent for the Colonel, over
and over, three times, but he don’t come. Now, while I believe that,
under the law, I have no right to give up the guns to yo’ but yo’ being
the General of Militia, I will give yo’ these guns to keep, if yo’ will
take ’em and take my chances.”

“I have no right to take those guns out of your hands,” replied Rives,
(too glad that it was so.) “The law does not give me any such right,
and I’m not going to demand them. You can do just as you please. I want
the thing to be settled, if possible, but I don’t demand the guns.”

“Well,” said Captain Doc, “if yo’ don’t take ’em, I don’t intend to
give ’em up to General Baker.”

“You do not say that you intend to fight?”

“No, sir, I don’t say anything of the kind; but I don’t intend to give
up the guns to General Baker; but if yo’ will take ’em to relieve the
responsibility of blood being shed in town from me, I will give ’em to
yo’.”

“No. I have no right to demand them. Yo’ must use your own discretion
about it,” replied Rives.

“Well, if that is the way yo’ are going to leave me, I’m not going to
give ’em to General Baker.”

Doc then hastily penned the following note and dispatched it:

“Gen. Baker:—These guns are placed in my hands, and I am responsible
for them, and have no right to give them up to a private citizen; I
cannot surrender them to you.”

Signed.

A reply came.

“I must have the guns in fifteen minutes.”

“Well,” Doc coolly remarked, “then he’ll have to take ’em by force, and
I shall not be responsible.”

He was in the armory with less than forty men, only twenty-five of
whom were members of the militia company; the others having fled there
unarmed, for protection.

“Now boys,” said he, “we may as well settle down to work, for we are in
for it, shor. Yo’ keep away from them windows, for any of ’em will be
firing in here. I’ll go on top of the roof, and see what they’re doing.”

So saying he ascended through a scuttle, and took observations

General Baker was riding hither and thither, assisted by his aid, the
Colonel of the same name. As he waved his gloved hand, and indicated
their positions, the men immediately assumed them.

First, twenty-five or thirty men were stationed in front of the armory.
The building, as has already been stated, stood facing the river, and
the broad street before it was not less than one hundred and fifty feet
in width.

Next, behind an abutment of one of the railroad bridges fifteen or
twenty more were placed, and still further down the stream thirty or
forty more. A continuous double line of cavalry encircled the entire
square, while up the river’s bank, near and above the scene of the
encounter of the young men and the militia company on the 4th, stood
some hundreds more in reserve.

With all the consequential airs of an officer who knows himself for a
great General about to win for his already honor-burdened brow fresh
wreaths that shall be amaranthine General Baker proceeded to place
squads of men here and there, on the corners of the streets and in
other commanding positions, clear across the sub-level half-mile from
the river to the hills, and even upon its slope, till all the streets
were thoroughly picketed and guarded, and escape made presumably
impossible. Seeing all this Captain Doc descended to his men, and
distributed them between the windows, and in the front corners of the
room, under protection of the walls.

“Jes, see ’dem five men’s settin’ on deir hosses, ovah ’dar on de
rivah-bank!” said corporal Free, rising upon his knees from his
crouching position below one of the high windows, and peeping out.
“Cap’n, I don’t like de looks of tings out dar!”

“Well, then, don’t look out, but make yor’self easy, and stay right
where I put yo’.”

“That’s jest what we’re bound to do, Cap’n; we’ll make ourselves easy
and peaceable.”

“Dare comes Gen’l Baker from down street, on hossback, an’ he an’t
more’n fifteen yards from ’dis building! Now he’s motioned his hand to
dem five mens, an’ dey done rode right off down towards de road bridge!
Oh, laws! I seed a mighty big crowd o’ Georgia white men coming up de
street, wid guns in deir hands;” and he hurriedly crouched down to his
former position, little knowing that the city police, stationed at the
bridge in extra numbers, allowed no colored people to pass.

“Harry Gaston and a posse is running all the women and children out of
the streets, that was looking over this way!” said another militia man,
who stood peeping out at the side of another window. “Boys, it do look
like thar’ was gwoine to be a fight here, shor!”

“The Intendant asked for time to get the women and children out o’
town, an’ General Baker said he’d give ‘half an hour,’” said another.

“_Onus fifteen minutes_, it was,” roared Mansan Handle, “Onus fifteen
minutes to get ’em all out, an’ he swore about _that_. I’m glad _my_
woman’s gone.”

The sound of rapping at the door below was heard, and a voice called:

“Doc, Captain Doc!”

“Don’t none o’ yo’ go near the windows, but just yo’ keep still where
yo’ be,” said the Captain, who then threw up a sash, and looking down,
asked what was wanted.

“You see, Captain, that General Baker has all his men ready to attack
you, but he gives you one more chance. The fifteen minutes are up, and
he sent me to ask if you are going to surrender, and give the guns up?”

“I can’t give them up to him. I don’t desire no fuss, and we’ve got
out of the street into our hall for the safety of our lives, and there
we’re going to remain; but we are not going to give up the guns to
anybody without authority to take ’em.”

The messenger galloped back to his chief.

It was a time of too intense feeling for speech, in that hall. A brief
moment of suspense, and the sound of hoofs was heard, and the horsemen
who had been stationed in front of the building removed to a street in
the rear.

Then down by the river-bank came a flash, a quick, sharp report, and a
small column of smoke rose straight up into the air. It was a signal
gun, and quickly followed by a volley from the men stationed behind the
abutment of the railroad bridge.

“Crash! crash! crash!” came the bullets like hail through the glass
windows, for the strong shutters had not been closed; the little band
preferring exposure to suffocation and ignorance of the enemies’
maneuvers.

As the colored men had less than five rounds of cartridges, they
reserved their fire twenty or thirty minutes. Then Captain Doc gave the
order. The discipline of the men was excellent, and their small supply
was eked out by irregular and infrequent discharges.

“Good Laud!” exclaimed several at once, after firing a light volley.

A young man down by the abutment was seen to throw up his arms and fall.

“That was Merry Walter,” said one of the men.

“Was it?” asked Doc. “He’s gone at his work hind side before. Not
more’n two hours or so ago, he said, “We’re gwoine to kill all the
colored men in Baconsville to-day, and then we’ll take the women and
children, and then I’m going to kill all that are against me.” That’s
just the words he said.”

“Oh!” was the general exclamation.

“_That’s just awful!_” said Friend Robins. “But he’s gone to meet it.
I a’n’t prepared to die myself, but I shouldn’t like to meet the Laud
right after saying such a thing as that.”

“We may all have to meet Him ’fo’ dis job is done,” said another.

The attack commenced about six o’clock, and soon every pane of glass
in the numerous windows was strewed in fragments upon the floor, yet
not one of the men was injured, and Merry Walter was the only white man
harmed during the whole affray except one slightly wounded by a comrade.

Night was coming on apace, calm, but moonless; and Captain Doc went
upon the roof again to take observations. Several of his men were
already there, though each unaware of the presence of the others, on
account of the peculiar construction of the roof.

Doc there discovered that the attacking party was gradually closing
up towards the armory, and he immediately descended again. He found
the men still talking, and seeming to have become accustomed to the
straggling shots that occasionally visited them.

“I think if I _is_ to go, I’d send some of ’em ahead o’ me if I had a
gun,” said Pompey Conner, “but I don’t mean to go if I can help it.”

“Yo’re mighty quiet, Watta,” said Doc.

“What’s the use of talking? Better be shooting. It’s a pity we cannot
clear out all that vermin.” (With a gesture of disgust.)

Half an hour more of irregular firing against the brisk one from
outside, (where the enemy continued to approach,) and a voice was heard
there: “William McFadden, go across the river and bring two kegs of
powder, and we’ll blow this building up.”

“Bring me some long arms, too—two cannon—I can’t drive these niggers
out with small arms.”

Only Captain Doc caught the order fully, but he recognized the voices
respectively of Colonel Pickens (probably a descendant of a valiant
Colonel Pickens, who, in the early days of the State’s history, drove
a large party of Indians from their homes. They took refuge in a
deserted house near Little River in the present County of Abbeville,
near Aiken, Pickens _burned them there_. They died without a murmur;
the few who attempted to escape were driven back or shot by the
surrounding riflemen. The next day Captain William Black, in going from
Miller’s Block-house, on the Savannah River, heard a chain rattling
near the ruins. He paused, and found a white neighbor baiting his
wolf trap with a piece of one of the dead Indians.” _History of the
Upper Counties of South Carolina_ by J. H. LOGAN, A. M. pp 67-68),
Baker and the gallant General, and sprung upon the roof again, but
soon hastened down, and quietly slipped from the hall down the stairs
of his private apartments, and so out upon the street. Aided by the
darkness and his own dark skin, and some confusion just commencing in
the hitherto orderly ranks of the enemy, he soon found the weakest
point in the surrounding force. Re-entering the hall with hammer,
saw and nails from his own ample supply, he tore down boards from a
rough partition there, and constructed a rude ladder. This he fastened
securely to the sill of one of the rear windows of the hall. By this
time the men had become thoroughly alarmed; and, but for the strong
controlling influence of their Captain, a panic must have occurred. In
his immediate presence, however, they were yet controllable.

“Here, Lieutenant Watta, yo’ go down first, and receive the men; and
all yo’ men follow him. Not too fast, now! Some of us will keep firing
once and awhile, and so make them think we are here yet. I’ll go last,
but yo’ receive the men, and keep them till I come. I know just where
we’ve got to make a break, and I’ll get yo’ all off if yo’ keep cool,
and not get excited; though yo’ll have to fight right smart to get out
even the best way, for we are surrounded.”

This was attempted, but when the brave Captain left the dark, deserted
hall, and reached the ground, he found but fourteen of the men there.

“Where is Lieutenant Watta?” he inquired. “He’s got excited and gone
off, and controlled off the best part of the Company. He wanted to take
us along too.”

“Well, men, we are surrounded, and I think there is over three thousand
men here in Baconsville, and there is more coming over from the city
all the time. The lower part of Market street is completely blocked up
with ’em for two hundred yards; looks like as thick as they can stand;
and in Mercer street it’s the same, and in Main street the same. But
right in front of the building there isn’t so many; and if yo’re ready
to fight pretty sharp and mind orders, I’ll get yo’ out safe, maybe.

“We’d best go up to Marmor’s office, and out that way. They won’t
expect us to go up street towards old man Baker’s; they’ll expect us to
go towards the city bridge, or to Sharp’s hill.”

While the crowd was intent upon the arrival, placing, and firing off
the cannon, the fifteen men reached the street.

“Here they come! Here they come!” shouted the mob, as the men sought to
cross Main street.

The numbers against them were, of course, overwhelming; but the colored
men were fighting for life, and the darkness and their dark skins were
to their advantage.

They dodged, or hid, or ran, or stood and fought bravely, as either
best served them; till, after two or three hours of such effort, they
were all safe together out of the town, in a strip of thick bushes
which bordered “a branch” (a small tributary of the river), in one
of Robert Baker’s fields. Only one was wounded, and be not disabled.
Here all sat down to rest and give thanks for deliverance. But the
brave Captain was troubled about the Lieutenant and the men he had
“controlled off.” He was sure they would “get squandered;” and that if
they did, they would be killed.

So, leaving his comrades with many injunctions to remain there
quietly, where no one would expect them to take refuge, he returned,
and through numerous hair-breadth escapes, at length reached the
besieged square.

The most of the houses there, as is quite common in the South, stood
upon wooden spiles, or short brick pillars, for coolness and less
miasma.

Imagination is active and potent in the Southerner, and his contempt
and resentment towards a “nigger” that dares thwart the will of a
white, feed his courage best when the dark skin is visible.

So there stood the brave Southerners encircling that devoted block, and
firing into it at random, no one having yet attempted search under the
houses where the negroes would be the most likely to secrete themselves.

But Captain Doc, escaping the bullets, called in subdued tones under
several of the dwellings, and received two or three responses.

“Yo’ll get ketched here, bye-and-bye,” said he, “shor as the worl. Yo’
come along, an’ I’ll get yo’ in a better place.”

With the end of his gun he knocked a few bricks from the walled
underpinning of a building that was nearer the ground than the others.

“Crawl in, an’ I’ll brick yo’ up.”

They obeyed with alacrity, and he replaced the bricks and went in
search of other parties.

Looking out from a little cornfield, he saw one of the men whom he
sought, run across an adjacent garden, and called to him.

The fugitive was the Town Marshal, or chief of police. Bewildered by
fight, or not recognizing the voice, the man ran on and leaped the
fence into Mercer street. The moon had now arisen, and shone very
brightly.

“We’ve got you now!” shouted Harry Gaston, with a terrible oath; and
with several of his comrades immediately surrounded Carr.

“We’ve got you now! You’ve been Town Marshal long enough. Going around
here and arresting white men; but you won’t arrest any more after
to-night.”

“Mr. Gaston,” said the Marshal with the assured voice and manner of an
innocent man. “Gaston, I know yo’, and will ask yo’ to save my life. I
havn’t done anything to yo’. I have only done my duty as Town Marshal.”

“Y-e-s,” replied Gaston with a sneer. “Your knowing me a’n’t nothing.
I don’t care nothing about your marshalship. I ha’n’t forgot that five
dollars you made me pay for dipping my head in Ben’s Spring, and I’ll
have satisfaction to-night, for we’re going to kill you;” and the six
men all fired upon the unarmed Marshal at once.

“Oh Lord! Oh Lord!” cried the unfortunate man.

“You call on the Lord, you —— ——?” said they.

“Oh Lord! Oh Lord!” rang out loud and clear upon the midnight air, and
as he uttered the words a second time they fired again, and he fell.

While his flesh still quivered, southern chivalry proceeded to draw
a pair of genteel boots from his feet, and a valuable watch from his
pocket; and then left him with the stars gazing into his dead face,
and the witnessing angels noting testimony for the inquest of a just
heaven.

Captain Doc had climbed upon a timber of the railroad trestle, and was
looking through the tassels of corn which grew around him and made a
friendly shade.

“By ——!” said one of the ruffians, “I reckon some of us had better go
over in that cornfield. There’s good hunting thar, I reckon.”

Stealthily Capt. Doc now crept between the corn-stalks diagonally to
the left, till he reached and entered Marmor’s printing office, which
was, like the Justice’s office, connected with his dwelling. Here he
remained an hour or more, supposing himself to be alone, and listened
to the sounds of violence without, and of many men coming over the long
bridge from the city, whooping and yelling like demons.

Then came blows upon the front door of the office, threatening its
destruction, and our Captain made his exit through the one at the rear.

When Lieut. Watta had “controlled off” more than half the men who
escaped from the armory, he took them right into the teeth of the
enemy. At once the little squad was scattered in every direction, in
their own expressive dialect, “squandered;” but most of them soon
rendezvoused in Marmor’s printing office, entering at the back door, as
Doc and his men had done.

“Boys, let’s run out. They’ll ketch us here, shor,” suggested one of
the party, and opened the front door, but quickly and noiselessly
closed it again, as the foe were numerous there.

“If you go that way, you’ll get killed,” said the Lieutenant; and all
immediately ran out at the back door, and secreted themselves in the
yards and under the houses; all but Corporal Free, who crept under a
counter in the office.

When the door was eventually broken in, and the mob proceeded to
demolish the machinery and whatever else they could find, a fragment
struck the wall, and, rebounding, threatened the concealed head of the
Corporal, who dodged, and thus revealed his presence.

“Hello! There’s a great nigger poking his head out,” exclaimed the
rioters.

“I surrender! I surrender,” cried the poor fellow, as they dragged him
out. “Where is Gen. Baker? Where is Gen. Baker?”

“Who is this?” asked one of the white men, pausing in his work of
demolition, and approaching where the light of their lantern fell upon
the face of their captive.

“Why it’s John Free. Don’t yo’ know me?—de man dat libed neighbor to
yo’, Tom Sutter, for a year or mo’?” replied the prisoner. “I’m John
Free, John Free. _Yo’_ know I’m a honest man as don’t do nobody no
harm. I wants to see Gen. Baker.”

“—— —— you!” said the white man Tom Sutter, looking down into the
dark face, “you’re one of Capt. Doc’s militia-men, first corporal.
We’ll fix _you_ to-night.”

“Oh, please send Gen. Baker to me if yo’ please. He is a high-toned
gem’man, I’ve heard ’em say, and he won’t let any of his men hurt a
prisoner dat surrenders. I tell yo’ I surrender! I surrender!”

“You go to ——! We’re going to fix you pretty soon;” and beating him
with their guns, they dragged him out at the front door, and down Main
and Market streets, to a place where fifty or sixty ruffians (“the good
people of South Carolina”) stood shoulder to shoulder in a circle, and
backed by a crowd of hundreds, were guarding thirty or forty other
unarmed captives.

A demoniac howl of delight arose from the drunken, blood-thirsty throng
on his approach; and as each victim arrived, the “high-toned gentleman”
and “chivalrous General and his aids applauded their subordinates
with—“Good! boys, good! (with oaths). Turn your hounds loose, and
bring the last nigger in! Can’t you find that—Capt. Doc?”

There Corporal Free found his first and second lieutenants, and with
them and the others he was compelled to sit down in the dust of the
street.

While Capt. Doc stood at the back of Marmor’s office, undecided which
way to flee, and hearing the work of destruction and the pleadings of
the captured man within, he looked across the gardens to his own house,
and saw it all alight, and men there breaking furniture, pictures and
mirrors dashing upon the floor, and destroying beds and clothing. They
had also commenced to scour the entire square for their prey.

He leaped a fence which separated Marmor’s back yard from his garden,
and as he did so a gruff voice called “Halt!”

At the same instant the old time slave-hunter Baker, rushed from Dan
Lemfield’s back door, pistol in hand, and fired.

“—— —— him! I’ve got him!” said the gray-haired sinner, as he
stooped to examine what had a moment before been the habitation of
an immortal soul, now fled for protection to the High Court of the
Universe.

Urged by his host, the old man re-entered the house, repeating as
a sweet morsel to his tongue, “I’ve got him! I’ve got him!” though
ignorant what “nigger” he had got.

_But had he?_

“Fear not them which can kill the body, and after that have no more
that they can do.”

Our Captain now crept softly through the little cornfield which
occupied the centre of the square, diagonally, to the extreme corner;
to the dwelling and office of the Postmaster, and made his way to a
second-story verandah which extended the entire length and breadth of
the two rear sides of the edifice. This verandah was thickly latticed,
but a few strips were broken off, high up on the end next Market street.

There he stood, looking down upon “the dead-ring” we have already
described, till day lit the east.

Mann Harris was a large, black man—a porter in a store in the city
opposite, and he sat among the other prisoners in the dust of the
street almost beneath Doc’s feet.

Having conveyed his invalid wife to a place of safety, he had returned
to protect his property. He sauntered about the streets, watching the
current of events while that remained safe, and then retired to his own
dwelling, probably supposing that “every man’s house is his castle,”
and he would there be at once beyond the reach of attack, and the
temptation to resentment. Peeping down from a second-story window (for
he closed the house to give it the appearance of being deserted), he
saw ‘old man Baker’ and his son Hanson standing at the corner of his
house, pistols in hands.

His inoffensive neighbor Pincksney approached, and was about to pass.

“Where are you going?” demanded Baker.

“I’m going to the drill-room.”

“You can’t go.”

A brief parley resulted in a repetition of the prohibition, “I tell
you, you can’t go, and you may as well go back!” emphasized with an
oath.

“All right,” and the colored man walked back. Soon another attempted to
pass on the opposite side of the way.

“Where are you going?” shouted Baker.

“Going about my business!”

(A fearful oath). “You’d better go back, or I’ll shoot you!”

The young man retreated precipitately, and hid in a back yard.

Soon after this the attack opened, and Mann Harris sat in a back room
of his home, listening to the terrible sounds for hours; or with unshod
feet crept across the floor lest a footfall might be heard by some
lurking foe, and watched the flashing of guns from the windows of the
armory.

Then followed the booming of cannon. “Good God!” he exclaimed, “we is
all done killed! They will shoot down every house in the town! But I’ll
have to take it as it comes.”

He heard the shout, “Here they come! Here they come!” and heard Baker
and his friends fire upon the negroes as they crossed the street, and
Doc’s men fire in return.

Four times after this the cannon shook the windows, as it belched forth
its canister, and sent terror through the town and surrounding country.

The sound of small arms continued in various parts of the village,
while the debauched desperadoes sought their victims in their
hiding-places.

Then the familiar stentorian voice of John Carr, crying, “Oh Lord! Oh
Lord!” and the succeeding volley which silenced it, struck terror into
the poor man’s soul, and he fell upon his knees alone in the darkened
room, and with forehead upon the floor, and trembling in every limb,
he whispered, “God Almighty, I’m an awful bad man! I a’n’t prepared to
die. Oh, save me, Jesus Christ!”

The discharge of firearms nearly ceased, at length, but was succeeded
by loud shouts and sounds of violence and cursing, the shrieks of
women, and the cries of little children, and the alarm of fire—for
the ruffians dragged the helpless innocents from their houses, some
of which they set on fire, in their zeal to arrest every ‘nigger’ and
‘radical.’

Harris’ house, and that of General Rives, joined and communicated by
folding doors: indeed, were only different apartments of the same
dwelling.

The sound of numerous heavy feet was soon heard upon the porch. A blow,
and Rives’ door flew open.

The occupants had fled, but the shouts and oaths, the heavy blows, and
cracking furniture, and crashing crockery and glass, told that “the
white-livered Judge” was no exception when Republicans must suffer.

“Oh laws!” said Harris, mentally, “from the sound of that smashing up
of things and going on, I feel pretty bad myself! Though they has done
all the shooting niggers in the street, the next turn will be mine,
shor!”

He stood in the hall, ready for exit through the front door, and when
he heard the butts of their guns strike upon the folding doors which he
had secured the best he could, he walked out upon the porch.

Ten or twelve blood-thirsty men stood at the foot of the steps, and
vociferated.

“Come down, you —— big nigger! come down!”

“I ha’n’t done nothing,” said Harris.

“No, none of you ha’n’t done nothing,” was the response, while as many
as could, laid hold upon him, and speedily, though not tenderly,
conducted him to the “dead-ring.”

“Let me stand up,” said he, attempting to rise from the dust where they
had seated him. “A man can’t see outside at all,—can’t see among the
white folks at all.”

“You sit down there, you great big nigger!” said little Gaston,
sticking him with a gun; and Mann Harris sat down.

The next moment, with a great shout and halloa, Lieutenant Watta was
brought, and compelled to sit down close beside Harris.

“Good! good! boys,” shouted the great General. “But can’t you get that
Captain? I want that Captain, now.”

“What sort of a looking man is he?”

“Oh, he’s a saucy-looking fellow, and has side whiskers and a
moustache.”

“I’ll write it down,” said one producing a pencil. Failing to find
paper in any of his pockets, he turned towards the moonlight, and wrote
it upon his shirt cuffs.

“Halloa Tom, let me have your pencil while I write it upon my
shirt-front,” said another. “The starch makes it as good as paper.
We’ll catch him before long now.”

Little did they think he was just above their heads, watching their
writing.

Watta’s white blood, which had boiled and seethed all day and in the
early evening, had spent its fury, and the gentler nature of the man
had assumed control.

“Oh, they’ve fotched _you_, Watta,” said Harris, really more alarmed
for him than for himself.

“Mann,” said Watta in a low tone, “what do you think of this?”

“I don’t know what to think of it.”

“Do you think they will kill any of us?”

“Yes I do, just so.”

“Do you think they will kill me?”

“I do Watta; that I do: and all you have got to do is to pray God to
save your soul.”

“Oh, my poor wife and children!” cried the poor man, softly, folding
bis long thin hands across his knees and dropped his head in the
anguish of despair.

“Just give up your wife and children, and every thing else, and be
prepared to die,” said Harris, “for they are going to kill you. There’s
been so many envious niggers telling lies on you, and the white folks
is ‘allus’ ready to believe ’em; and they have been making such threats
about you, and I’m satisfied they’ll kill you.”

Watta bent his head lower, and the tears fell fast.

“That you?” asked Harris of another.

“Yes, I was hid under my own house, an’ ’dey was gwo’ine to shoot me
dar, an’ I tole ’em I surrendered, ’an ’dey brung me heah.”

“And Dan Pipsie! you here too?” exclaimed the inquisitive Harris.

“Yes, me and Eck Morgan was on top o’ de drill-room, along wid Sam
Henry and tree or fo’ more of ’em. We went out de back way when de
cannon come, an’ we jumped Marmor’s fence, an’ went up onto his shed,
an’ got into a back window.”

“Was Marmor there?”

“No, nobody wasn’t ’dar; only jes de white men come ’dar an’ broke
open de house, an’ de out-houses, an’ dry goods boxes; an’ we could
see ’em looking to see if dar war any niggahs’ dar. Den’ dey come into
de house, an’ broke eb’ry ting up, an’ carried off eb’ry ting; and den
dey just broke open de do’ whar’ we war; an’ Ben Grassy, an’ George
Wellman, ’dey jumped out o’ de window we got in at, an’ I don’t know
war’ dey got to; but de men dey just kotched us, and fotched us heah.”



CHAPTER XI.

A MASSACRE.

  “Slaying is the word,
  It is a deed in fashion.”

  JULIUS CÆSAR.


THE “dead-ring,” as has been said, was on Market street, and quite
near the Post Master’s residence, which occupied the corner and stood
flush with both Market and Cook streets. Captain Doc stood in the upper
verandah, almost over the heads of the crowd surrounding “the ring,”
and looked down upon them.

“It is about time we began the killing,” said one of the crowd, “We’ve
been hunting and capturing long enough. Now who shall be killed?”

“Kill ’em all, of cose,” replied one of his fellows.

“We’d better find out what Gen. Baker says,” said a third. “We’ll go
round to Dunn’s store, and see what he says. Whatever he says, I say
it’ll be right.”

“If yo’ say _dat_, yo’ won’t kill any of us,” said Corporal Free;
“fo’ Gen. Baker is too high toned a gem’man to allow a man dat has
surrendered, to be killed. He’s a gem’man from one of de first families
of de State.”

“You shut up your mouth,” said one of the chivalry, as he threw a
handful of dirt into Free’s face.

“Now, I tell you what,” said another speaker, fingering a huge pistol;
“all get on this side of these —— niggers, and we’ll just fire into
’em.”

At that moment a cheer arose, and hats of all descriptions were swung
wildly in the air.

“Hurrah! Here comes our chief!” shouted the mob, and made room for
horse and rider to approach the ring, though the single solid circle of
armed men remained unbroken. The poor fellows upon the ground raised
their heads, and cried out each for his life, “Oh, Gen. Baker!” “Oh,
Gen. Baker!” “You will save me!” “You will save my life,” “Gen. Baker,
I surrendered right off, I did,” “I han’t done nothing,” “I’m just a
honest, hard-working man.” “Don’t let ’em kill me, Gen. Baker!” “Yo’
will set _me_ free, General Bakah, I’m sho fo’ yo’s a gemman!” and
beseeching hands were uplifted, and dark faces upturned in earnest
pleading for the protection they felt sure “a high-toned gentleman,”
and “chivalrous chieftain” would give.

“Is William Daws here in this ring?” asked the General.

“Yes sah,” was the prompt and confident reply.

“You’re the black rascal that burned my house down,” and with a vile
epithet this personification of southern magnanimity rode away.

“Ah! Ah!” groaned the crowd, in derision of the misplaced confidence of
the negroes.

“There’s Alden Watta,” said a mocking voice. “You’re a _magistrate_, I
suppose! You’re a —— nice looking magistrate!” and he scooped up a
handful of soil and threw it into the back of Watta’s neck, as his head
hung down. “There’s a baptism for you.”

Watta did not heed it.

“Boys, we’d better go to work, and kill what niggers we’ve got; what’s
the use o’ waiting? We shan’t be able to find Capt. Doc,” said a new
speaker.

“We’ve had our orders from Gen. Baker, so far, and we’d better get
orders from him now,” said another, who was possibly more merciful.

“If we don’t kill all, they’ll give testimony against us, some day to
come,” said the first speaker.

“That’s so,” said a third. “Gen. Baker has got us here, and we ketched
the men as he told us, and I think we’ve got something to say now.”

“No, gentlemen,” said a fourth, “just pick out the Republican leaders
and kill them, and let the rest go. They’re all Republicans, I know,
but they a’n’t all leaders; and some of these boys didn’t never hurt
nobody. Some of ’em is good fellows!”

“A—h! that a’n’t worth a cent! We’ve come out here to have some fun,
and now let’s have it.”

So they contended till the excitement became quite alarming, and
pistols were drawn upon each other by the mob.

“Well now,” said a new voice, “I’ll tell you how you must do it.”

“Listen! Listen! Hear the Judge’s son! Hear the the young Georgia
Judge!” shouted several men; and so there came a calm.

“This has been a military affair so far,” said the young man, “and
let us carry it through so. We must just have a court-martial. These
niggers are prisoners of war. This is a conflict between the South
Carolina Rifle Clubs, the natural offspring of our honored Confederate
Cavalry, (cheers), and the National Guards, the pets of the Yankees,
(groans). The South Carolinians have been victorious, [tremendous
cheers], as they always will be, [vehement applause]. And now, as
becomes the sons of noble sires, [cheers], sons who are honored [when
in uniform], by wearing the gray of our “Lost Cause,” [cheers], and who
to-night have done honor to the gray, (cheers), let us not forget to be
generous to our prisoners; but choose from our number twenty men, who
shall retire and consider the case of each of these we have captured;
and as they decide, so the man shall fare.”

Applause and assent followed, when another voice added, “And if any
of you have old scores you want settled, just bring them before the
court-martial.”

The men were selected, though not without difficulty and some final
dissatisfaction and threats, but as the Captain was acceptable to the
most violent, the matter was finally adjusted upon a compromise.

Capt. Sweargen, [the same who menaced Mr. Springer during the last
conference held with Gen. Baker previous to the commencement of active
hostilities], withdrew and organized his court, and soon returned to
the “dead ring,” and gave the following elegant military order.

“All you black scamps, get up here; we’re going to carry you to the
county seat, and put you in jail.”

“No; we’ll start for there, but we’ll lose them on the road,” said a
bystander.

“That’s it,” said another, “we’ll leave them in the swamp.”

“Come on, boys, come on this way, we’ll attend to the—s,” said Capt.
S—, and the ring and crowd moved down the street about twenty yards.

“Halt! Now all you blasted niggers, sit down!”

“Capt. Sweargen! Capt. Sweargen!” said Mann Harris, “As yo’ are the
Captain of this killin’, I will ask yo’ to save my life.”

“You hush; yo’ talk too much, you great big nigger you,” said one of
the crowd.

“I’m gwoine to talk. It’s life or death for me, an’ I’m gwoine to talk
for my life.”

“Captain! Captain! Oh, don’t let them kill me!” said Sam Henry. “I’ve
allus been a industrious and honest fellow, and ha’n’t never hurt
nobody, nor stole, nor nothin’.”

“Yes, but you’re a blamed Republican, and so is all the rest of yo’,
and that’s enough. We’ll carry South Carolina Democratic now, about the
time we kill four or five hundred of yo’ voting niggers. This is only
the beginning of it. We’ve got to have South Carolina, and these clubs
has got to go through the State.”

“Yes,” added another, “the white man has got to rule here. This is a
white man’s government.”

The excitement was again increasing, and all talked at once on this
topic, on which alone all seemed to agree.

“Now, men, we’ve got this court-martial, and must proceed according to
military law,” shouted Captain S.

“There a’n’t no law,” cried a voice. “The law has run out at the end of
a hundred years, and there a’n’t no constitution neither.”

“There a’n’t no court in South Carolina that can try us anyhow,” said
another.

“That’s so! That’s so!” resounded through the crowd.

“Hello! Hurrah! here comes another nigger! Got Capt. Doc this time?
Capt. Doc! Capt. Doc!” (with oaths), rang through the swaying mob which
surrounded the dead ring, as a posse from the General’s headquarters
advanced with the new victim.

Not without difficulty a way was opened for the conveyance of—not
Captain Doc (who was watching and listening attentively at the Cook
street end of the verandah, and not twenty paces from the spot), but a
good faced boy, yet in his teens.

His eyes rolled wildly about, he trembled violently, and his breath
came quick and short, though without a sound.

“Oh, Friend Robbins,” said Watta, “I’m sorry they have got you? Your
widowed mother and the children need your support. Where is Joey? (the
company’s drummer-boy).”

“I don’t know,” whispered Friend.

“Ha! This is the boy that wouldn’t sell us ammunition in Mrs. Bront’s
store,” shouted one of the assassins. “I cursed you well then, old
chap; but we’ll give _you_ all the ammunition you want, and more’n
you’ll ask for.”

Poor Friend had passed a dreadful night, (for this was now in the
small hours of the morning), since he slipped down the ladder from the
drill-room.

He had taken refuge in Marmor’s office, from thence fled to the street;
been driven back through the rear yard, leaped Dan Lemfield’s fence,
escaping a shot aimed at him, hid under a pile of railroad cross-ties
in Lemfield’s yard during a dreadful hour, only then to be dragged out
by three men with pistols and lanterns in their hands, searching every
hiding place. They took him out upon the street, and to their commander.

“Who is that?” asked the lofty General.

“It is Friend Robbins,” answered the boy, looking frankly into the
officer’s face.

“What are you doing here?”

“I have not been doing anything; the men came in there, and brought me
out.”

“Do you belong to the militia company?”

“I do, sir.”

“Well, we killed one —— nigger down there to-night, and I want you to
go down there and see him, and see if you know him. Two of you men take
him down there.”

This was done; and there upon the ground lay the dead man, his eyes
wide open and staring away through the clear, white moonlight, away
from the blood-stained earth towards that infinite One, before whose
face the escaped soul stood, corroborating the testimony of his blood
which “cried from the ground.”

“Who is that?” asked one of the guards.

“That’s John Carr,” replied the boy.

“He’s the Town Marshal, a’n’t he?”

“Yes sir.”

“Well, he’ll be Town Marshal no more!”

“I don’t know sir.”

Friend was then conducted back to the General.

“Are you ready, sir?” asked the men, each presenting his pistol.

“No; don’t kill him,” said the General, “but take him yonder, and keep
him till I call for him.”

They took him down under a rail road trestle, and kept him half an hour
surrounded by men, who amused themselves by torturing him with all
sorts of alarms, questions and indignities.

At the expiration of that time, General Baker rode by, and directed
that he be taken to the “dead ring.”

“Oh, here you are Tom,” said Gaston, approaching the corner of the
Post-Master’s house. “I’ve been looking for you. You know we’ve got
Watta down there.”

“Yes, that’s a streak of good luck; but I wish we could only get hold
of their ringleader, that Doc. I’m mighty glad we’ve got Dan Pipsie,
though.”

“Yes,” and the young men laughed. “I want Doc mighty bad too, but I’m
thinking more about what we’re going to do with what we have got. I
reckon the Court Martial is the best way. Captain Sweargon has got
great respect fo’ General Baker. They shan’t let Watta and Pipsie off
nohow.”

“No,” said the General, who rode up at that moment and caught the last
remark. “Watta and Dan Pipsie are two dangerous men, and ought to be
taken care of.”

“Now, General,” said a stumpy little man, strutting up to that
dignitary, “yo’ve brought us all here, all this crowd, and we’ve got
the niggers; and now if you won’t kill them, they’ll just go and give
testimony agin us, and get us into trouble.”

The General stared at the little man with the most serene contempt, and
turning his horse’s head, rode away without speaking.

But the little man was neither abashed nor silenced. He
continued,—“Here General Baker has brought us here, and kept us up all
night helping him to capture a lot of niggers, and he ought to kill the
last one of ’em; for if he don’t they’ll be up here to vote against us,
and they’ll be giving testimony against us.”

“That’s true enough, Volier, true enough,” said several of his
associates.

“I’m sleepy and tired,” continued Volier. “Here, Bub,” addressing a
small boy of twelve years, “You ought to be abed and asleep long ago.”

“No, sir-_ee_,” said the boy, ejecting a volume of tobacco-juice from
his mouth. “_I_ a’n’t sleepy.”

“Let’s go up into this piazza, and go to sleep,” urged the little man,
“Come, come on!”

“No, I _sha’n’t_,” replied the boy. “I want to go and spit on them
niggers some more.”

So the little man yielded, and accompanied the lad in quest of his rare
sport; much to the relief of Captain Doc’s mind.

At the same time Gaston and Tom Baker approached the “dead ring” also,
and the name of Alden Watta was immediately called, as that of the
first victim to be sacrificed.

“We’ll fix you! we’r’e going to kill you now, without a doubt,” cried
the mob.

“Gentlemen,” said Watta, standing up in a calm manner, “I am not ready
to die, and haven’t done anything to be killed for. Will you allow me
to prepare to meet my God? Please let me pray.”

“You ought to have been praying before now; you have talked enough
without praying, and we’re going to kill you now. I don’t care,” said
young Tom Baker, with numerous oaths. “But we’re going to kill you.”

“Oh, gentlemen, do spare my life! I will not interfere with you. I will
only take care of my family as an honest man should. I will go clear
away out of the State, if you will only spare me to take care of my
wife and my little children!”

“Watta, old chap, is that you?” cried Gaston, crowding nearer, (with an
oath). “We’ll fix you directly.”

“Oh, Gaston! Gaston! What do you want with me? Please do, do all you
can for me, and I will be your friend as long as I live, and leave the
legacy of gratitude to my children!”

“Yes, I _will_ do all I can for you; I’ll do it in a short while. He’s
had time enough, boys.”

As many as could lay hands upon him did so, and they carried this
Second-lieutenant of the National Guards, this County Commissioner,
this graduate of a Freedman’s High School, this teacher of a colored
school, this correspondent of the —— —— _Times_, this influential
Republican, this husband and father, this young man who bore the
general reputation of being a straightforward and truthful man, a man
that could be depended on, and had a great deal of resolution; not a
violent man, not given to insolence nor trouble of any kind, a pleasant
and affable man though one of spirit, this American citizen, and they
bore him away to be sacrificed.

By main force they took him several rods down the street and into the
edge of a field.

Each individual of the crowd panted for a share in so great a service
to southern Democracy.

When he was allowed to stand upon his feet again, he looked around
upon a wall of circular steel mouths, each ready to belch forth hot,
blazing, sulpherous, leaden death; for every man presented the muzzle
of his gun or pistol at the hapless victim.

Falling upon his knees he cried out, with clasped hands and upturned
face, “Oh, God! there is neither justice nor mercy upon the earth! I
cast my naked soul and all I have upon Thy mercy!”

He paused and pressed his hands over his face. A tremendous volley,
followed, and Alden Watta’s soul leaped into the presence of that Judge
whom no Ku Klux Klans can corrupt or intimidate; and the murderous
throng hastened back to procure another victim.

“Oh, Free, and all of yo’, what is yo’ gwoine on so a beggin’ fo’?”
said Dan Pipsie. “If dey is gwoine to kill us all anyhow, what is de
use o’ beggin’ so? I only wish I had some o’ my wife’s ’ligion now; and
I’d like fo’ her to pray fo’ me.”

The committee soon returned from the court, and announced the Armorer
of the militia company, Dan Pipsie, as the next condemned.

With an air of perfect indifference he arose and accompanied the
murderers to the field of blood.

A volley was heard, and the committee returned, but Dan did not.

Ham Sterns was the next called. He was a large mulatto, and was sick.

“O. Gentlemen!” he pleaded, “I haven’t done anything. What do you want
to kill me fo’? I a’n’t a member of the militia company, and I was
just peaceable at home when some of you just come and dragged me out
here; and now you’re going to kill me. I a’n’t even a ’publican leader.
Please let me go!”

“Ham Sterns, I reckon yo’ know _me_,” hissed an evil-eyed, sallow-faced
man, stepping before him, and shaking his fist in his face. “Now I’ll
be quits with you on that sale affair; you and Alf Minton. I’ll learn
yo’ to outbid me!”

“Come out here! come out here?” shouted the mob, and Ham Sterns was led
away. The guns fired, and the committee returned, but Ham Sterns never
did.

“Oh them tremendously firings!” said Sam Henry, with a shudder of
horror, as he buried his face in his palms and began earnestly to pray
for divine deliverance.

“Is this you, Sam,” asked a kindly voice at his ear. “Get up, Sam,”
and a white man who stood behind him took hold of his arm and said,
“Gentlemen, this is a boy that I know, (they were all “boys,” even if
grey-headed) and he is a harmless boy. He don’t belong to the militia
nohow. I’ll be responsible for him,” and he led him away.

Alfred Minton was now called for, but no response came.

“Alf Minton! Alf Minton!” was repeated with oaths and imprecations, and
still no response.

The committee entered the ring, and touched each man upon his head,
asking, “Who’s this?”

At last a small, sick, weakly-looking young man acknowledged the name.

For the credit of human nature be it recorded that one of the mob
begged that the poor, sick boy be let alone; and others were evidently
tiring of bloodshed.

But the majority were not yet satiated, and with profanity, they
shouted, “O, we’ll fix him! We’ll _cure him_!” and they led him also
away. The guns fired; the crowd returned; but Alfred did not.

During this execution another white man conveyed Friend Robbins
away; learning which, when too late to interfere, some of the more
sanguinolent ran up to headquarters with complaints; but the moving
spirits there having had their own desires for revenge measurably
satisfied, and despairing of the arrest of Captain Doc; and perhaps,
the inflaming effects of their potations beginning to wane, they began
to think of possible court scenes in the future. So they were but
indifferent listeners, and even suggested the possibility of some other
method of disposing of the remaining captives.

Pompey Conner, a noted thief and gambler, whose skill at cards had
often taxed the purses of some of this fastidious throng of captors was
the next called at the “dead ring.”

“Pompey you _run_,” whispered Mann Harris, who sat beside him.

Pompey was a powerful man, when he chose to exert his strength, and he
darted through the crowd like an arrow; stooping a little, and with his
brawny shoulder cleaving his way.

When he reached a clear track, numerous shots followed, and the mob
thinking him severely wounded jeered and shouted triumphantly; while he
crouched behind a tree, rolled his great eyes, nodded his woolly head,
and muttered audibly as he turned up the leg of his trousers, “It only
just scalped my leg, af’er all.”

“What better fun do you want than that, boys? This _is_ fun! ha! ha!
ha! Let’s let ’em all go, and shoot after ’em like rabbits,” cried a
mere boy.

“Oh, no! you’ve done enough for to-night. Now let these prisoners go.”

“Yes, let these prisoners go,” chimed in another.

“Let’s pile ’em up like frogs and shoot into ’em,” said another, with
an oath that should make the blood curdle; while still another said,
“No don’t do that, but let ’em go and don’t shoot after ’em.”

“Oh, no, we ought not to leave none to tell the tale. Let’s kill ’em
all!”

“We came out for _fun_; now let’s have it, and not give up so,” said a
very young man, a minor.

“If we kill them all, there’ll be nobody left to tell the tale; and if
we leave anybody, they’ll go and testify against us; and I tell you we
might as well make a sure thing of this,” was repeatedly reiterated.

“Oh, let them go,” said a new speaker. “Let us swear them before they
go, not to tell anybody, nor anything about it.”

After much discussion, this counsel prevailed.

“Now all you —— black rascals you, get up here,” said Captain
Sweargen.

The prisoners quickly obeyed.

“Now, you all get down again, on your knees, and hold up your right
hands.”

All obeyed. “I solemnly swear,” said the Captain, “I solemnly swear,”
repeated the prisoners, “that I will never go into any court to
testify, [repeated] nor to know anything about this affair, nor what
has been done in Baconsville this evening, nor to-night, nor that I
know any of the men who was in the party.”

The prisoners all took the oath.

“Now, you —— rascals, get away from here!”

Each sprung to his feet, and all but two ran for life. Corporal Free
dodged behind a tree, and Mann Harris, who was on the edge of the dusky
group, stood still.

Fifteen or twenty of the irrepressible “chivalry” leveled their guns
upon the liberated prisoners whom the South Carolina rifle clubs had
captured from the National Guards, and fired; “just like they was
shooting at birds.”

As evidence of the skill of these riflemen it may be mentioned that but
one of those colored men was wounded, and he but slightly, though the
firing was at fifteen paces.

“Mann Harris, where do you live?” asked a maimed relic of the
confederate service.

“I live right on the corner opposite Dan Lemfield’s.”

“Well, you go on home.”

“I can’t do it.”

“Why can’t you?”

“I’m afeard to go through them men by myself.”

“Come on, I’ll go with you.” So that one-armed white man sat upon his
horse, and the great muscular negro walked beside it, holding upon the
saddle for protection. They passed from Market into Cook street, and
wended their way among the slowly dissolving crowd.

Nearing Mercer street, the escort began to converse. “Well, Mann, now
you see what the result is when niggers vote against the white people.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” replied the colored man.

“Have you always voted?”

“Yes, I has; I voted the ’publican ticket all the time.”

“Well, you don’t intend to say you want to vote it?”

“If this fuss is about, I sha’n’t vote no kind of a ticket.”

Another horseman on the opposite side of the narrow street overheard
the last remark, and approached.

“Harris, I know you,” said he. “We was boys at the same time, and have
known each other all the while along; and I know that you are a nigger
that has got good sense, good common sense. You see where this nigger
is lying, here?” [They had just come upon the body of John Carr.] “Yes,
sir; I see him.”

“_Well, just so will we lay you, if you ever vote the Republican ticket
again._”

“Well, sir, I will not vote no kind of a ticket.”

“No, —— that’s the plan,” said the proud Southern, “and we intend to
carry it out; and the only way for you to save yourself is to come over
and vote with us; because we know that you know mighty well, when you
vote against us you are voting against your interest.”

“I didn’t know it was so much against your interest as to kill a man,”
replied Harris. “I had no idea that it was any such thing as that.”

“Well, you see what the consequence is, and we’re going to carry this
State, and we intend to do it if we have to kill every nigger, and this
rascally Governor too; he is the head of all the thieves in the State,
and the white people don’t intend to stand it no longer; they intend to
break it up.”

Harris and his protector then moved on, and soon reached their place of
destination.

“Mann,” said Mr. W——, “I’ve got a little talk for you. I, to-night,
by your being recommended to me, saved your life; and now you can do me
a favor, and I will tell you what it is.”

“All right, Captain. There a’n’t nothing that I could do that I
wouldn’t do for yo’, for yo’ saved my life.”

“Yes; what I want to say to you is, that you don’t know anything about
the affair at all; that they had you around there, but you knowed
nobody; that these are unknown parties; and if any one comes to get you
to go into court to testify, or say anything about calling anybody’s
name, _you don’t know_. This time we will let you off; but next time
we get at this thing, we’ll _git_ you. Now I will tell you as you do
me a favor, and don’t you call anybody’s name; don’t you own to them
that you do know; and tell them, the rest of them, not to say anything
about it; that you seen the boys, but you didn’t know who it was. If
any one asks you, tell ’em you don’t know; it was unknown parties.
Good-night;” and his magnanimous benefactor rode away, and left Mann
Harris upon his door-step.



CHAPTER XII.

INCIDENTS AND PARTICULARS.

            Sabbath holy
            For the lowly
  Paint with flowers thy glittering sod;
  For affliction’s sons and daughters,
  Bid thy mountains, woods and waters
  Pray to God—our Father God.

            Still God liveth,
            Still he giveth
  What no man can take away;
  And, oh Sabbath! bringing gladness
  Unto hearts of weary sadness,
  Still thou art an holy day.”

  _Whittier._


UNDER cover of the morning fog Captain Doc descended from the verandah
of the Postmaster’s residence. As he slid down a pillar of the open
piazza of the lower story, a black face stared from one of the lower
windows, with an expression of mingled terror and surprise. Reassured
by a smile upon Doc’s face, he raised the sash cautiously, and
whispered, “Does you want to come in?”

“No, no, Dick!” was the reply, “this town isn’t a safe enough place to
hold me when the day comes. The hounds will be back again, when they
have fed and slept a little. Have you been there all night?”

“Yes; and all alone too. The family knowed it wa’n’t safe for ’em
here, pertic’lar Mr. Rouse. And so dey left me to see after tings.
Gen. Baker, nor none of ’em’ dar’n’t _touch dis house_, cause the Post
Office is yere, and dat’s dee United States—they are ’afeared o’ de
Yankees you see. But, oh my! Ha’n’t it been a long night, and a _awful
one_! ’Pears like I’m a hundred yeah old. How many’s been killed?”

“I don’t know. Enough, anyhow.”

“Dey didn’t git yo’? I’m surprised, Doc.”

“No, nor they won’t;” and waving an adieu to Dick, the Captain walked
noiselessly to the back part of the garden, and leaped the fence into
Mercer street.

There, stiff and stark lay the body of John Carr, the Town Marshal; and
further up, close beside the fence, a shapeless heap, as it appeared,
which Doc knew must be the body of Moses Parker, whom the slave-catcher
had “got” on the previous evening.

Keeping on towards the hills and near the railroad, he escaped
unobserved; till, when ascending the hill, he heard his name spoken,
quite near him. Though startled for an instant, he was immediately
joined by Ned O’Bran, who came out from a clump of bushes where he had
spent the night in terror; and, in company, the two men walked to the
county seat, distant nearly twenty miles. There they found an excited
people, and several refugees from the scene of massacre, among whom was
Elder Jackson.

“Phebe,” said Uncle Jesse, early that morning, “I don’t believe you’d
best go up to church to-day. I don’t believe there’ll be many women
there, for I reckon they all would leave the town last night.”

“And _I_ don’t believe dar’ll be _no men_, nor no church nuther; fo’
Eldah Jackson bein a Legislatur man, an’ a Radical, ’ll have to streak
it, yo’ may be sho; fo’ of co’se de white folks has beat de niggahs, as
dey allus does.”

“Well, now, it’s queer; but I never did thought about the Elder last
night? For certain they’ll be after him; for there’s a political side
to this ’ere fuss. Now you git breakfast just as quick as you can, and
I’ll go over and see.”

“I’m afeared to have yo’ go.”

“But somebody ought to see after Elder Jackson.”

“Dat’s so; I wish I could go wid yo’.”

“No, no. Maybe I shall have to escape myself, and it’s a heap easier to
escape on horseback, than it would be in a wagon, and two of us.”

“Hadn’t yo’ best git Den Barden to go ’long, Jesse?” asked his wife as
he arose from his hasty breakfast.

“No, Phebe, I’m just agoing to leave the Laud Jesus Christ here, to
take care of you and the children, and get God Almighty to go ’long
with me, and see after me; and I’m going to go without anybody else at
all.”

So after reading with much needful moderation, and not without verbal
errors, the 69th Psalm, he knelt with his little family upon the
cottage floor, and repeated the same sentiments from a full heart.

Though not more than three miles from the village in a direct line, a
good five miles or more of circuitous and somewhat lonely road lay
between Jesse’s home and the scene of the massacre; and he had ample
time for reflection.

He had long maintained, among his neighbors, the only attitude an
unprejudiced lover of justice could; but it had brought to him alike,
confidence and distrust, reverence and envy, respect and aversion;
and while his assistance and advice were sought by the moderate and
by the extremists on both hands, he scarcely knew whether he had a
friend on whom he could certainly rely, or an enemy who would betray
him. Fortunately his road did not cross the river, for the city police
yet stationed at the bridge still denied passage to persons of color,
though allowing whites to pass freely.

As he entered the little town, he saw a number of men moving along the
principal street, and evidently carrying some heavy burden. He did not
approach them, but went directly to Elder Jackson’s house.

He found it deserted, and large charred spots upon the surface gave
evidence that attempts had been made to fire it; and the garden was
trodden down and utterly destroyed. He then turned toward Springer’s
house. This stood back from the sidewalk, and not without misgivings he
entered the trampled yard, and rapped at the closed door.

Springer answered the summons in person, and greeted his friend with
genuine cordiality.

“Why, brother Jesse, I’m surprised and glad both, to see you this
morning.”

“And I’m thanking the Laud, this minute to find you alive, and to get
inside the shelter of your house. It ’pears like the streets is full of
ghosts, or something a man’s glad to get away from. What is going on
down street? I seen ’em carrying something into society hall.”

“Come in and set down Brother, Jesse. I suppose they’re collecting the
dead. The Intendant was in here, and wanted me to go down and see them
before they moved ’em—to go on the coroner’s jury, in fact; but I told
him I couldn’t. I’m sick. This last night’s job is worse than a fever.
You didn’t come up, Jesse?”

“No, I didn’t. I couldn’t think it would be right, nor any good,
somehow, and so I staid away. But maybe now I ought to ha’ come?”

“No, you hadn’t; you’d only been another one. My mother-in-law is very
bad this morning. The scare last night was enough to kill a well woman,
and you know she was pretty sick and weak before. I guess we’d best
go away to talk. Come right up stairs, and we’ll set and talk all we
want to, and she won’t hear us;” and Mr. Springer took his guest to a
tasteful chamber.

The house was not large, but was well furnished and neatly kept.

“Where is the Elder?” asked Mr. Roome, when they were again seated.

“That I don’t know. He may be in the Kingdom of Glory, but I suppose
he left town, and went to the city maybe. He and Ned O’Bran went off
together, and the last I saw of him they were going up Main street,
making for Ned’s house.”

“How many is killed, and who be they?”

“Seven killed and two wounded that we know; and there’s a good many
more missing that we don’t know whether they’re dead or not. Marmor is
one o’ them.”

“Marmor? Well, if there was one man in town to be killed, Marmor would
be that man. There ain’t no man in Baconsville them white democrats
want to kill so bad as they do Marmor, without it is Watta!”

“Watta they’ve got! He’s gone! and I’m afeared they’ve got Marmor also.”

“_Watta’s gone?_ I _knowed_ he’d be killed!”

“Yes, and Den Pipsie, and Ham Sterns, and John Carr——”

“Why, Springer! You don’t say John Carr is killed?”

“He was the first man they took; then Moses Parker——I heard them both
shot, and knew the voices. Alfred Minton, he got shot too, but they say
he an’t dead yet. Oh, that makes me remember (rising). His father came
here just before you did, and wanted me to go down there. They wanted
somebody to pray; for he can’t live. I suppose I must go, but I tell
you I can’t bear to. All these things seem so awful that they make me
sick, and I can’t help it. Won’t you go Jesse? Go down and pray with
the poor fellow.”

“Where is he?”

“Lying right there on the ground where they shot him, last night; and
they say somebody has mommucked him up awfully.”

“Well, Brother Springer, I’ll go, but I want you to go ’long.”

“Do they know who shot him?” asked Uncle Jesse, when they were on their
way.

“It is said to be unknown parties that done all the shooting from this
“dead ring” they had, but there’s one comfort—the Lord knows who done
it; and He knows who started the thing, and put these unarmed victims
into the hands of an armed posse big enough to arrest the whole of
Aiken County. There,” (as they reached a point between Dan Lemfields’
corner, and the railroad trestle-work), “this is where Moses Parker
fell, and laid till an hour ago. You can see the blood.”

Mr. Roome looked, but did not speak. Passing under the trestle-work,
and advancing a few steps, they came upon a pool of blood.

“This is where our Town Marshal was shot between nine and ten o’clock
last night. I heard him holler, “Oh, Lord! Oh, Lord!” twice, before
they fired. It was a great volley, several guns, and I wonder they
didn’t some of ’em kill him instantly. He begged mighty hard before
they shot. I heard him.”

The men resumed their walk, turning down Cook street, and so coming out
upon Market street, and then turning down that.

“There, right there was the “dead ring,” they say, where they had
twenty-five or thirty prisoners, the Lord knows how long; and finally
shot some of ’em, and then swore the rest not to testify against them,
and let ’em go, and shot after ’em as they went.”

“Brother Springer,” said Uncle Jesse, grasping his companion’s arm,
“don’t tell me no such talk! You don’t expect I’m going to believe it’s
more than an awful bad dream you’ve had.”

“Did you dream you saw the blood back there? and there’s four or five
dead men in this hall at your left.”

“That’s a fact! Nor I didn’t dream the threats I’ve heard made; but I
really thought it was mostly blow and bluster; half of it any how!”

“So did I, so did I,” replied Springer, “and I wouldn’t believe, though
I seen all these streets thick with armed men in the evening, that they
meant to kill anybody,—only to scare the colored people,—till I heard
’em shoot John Carr, and then I was scared.”

By this time the two men had passed another street and an embankment
of the lower rail road, and approached a small group of citizens, both
colored and white. Upon the bare ground, in a great pool of blood, lay
the poor boy Minton, apparently in the last agonies of death. He was in
great distress, and unable to converse at all.

Fire-arms alone had not sufficed for the fiendishness of his murderers;
for blows as with an axe or hatchet, had gashed his side, broken his
ribs, and cut a large piece of flesh from his thigh. It was a horrible,
sickening sight.

“Alfred! Alfred!” cried Uncle Jesse, falling upon his knees at the
boy’s head.

“Alfred, who cut you so? Tell us who did it, Alfred; it makes fury boil
all over me!”

A groan was the only response; and then from the depths of his great
heart, so uniformly held in subjection to his clear reason, and
well balanced judgment, Uncle Jesse poured forth such a prayer as
had never been heard by those spectators before,—a prayer for the
departing soul; that it, going from this body weltering in blood shed
by murderous hands, might go up to the righteous Judge innocent of any
vengeful or unforgiving spirit;—a prayer full of righteous indignation
at these atrocious crimes against his people, and of the spirit which
said ‘Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.’

As he arose from his knees, Sam Pincksney touched his elbow, and they
shook hands in silence. Minton groaned and seemed to desire a change
of position. The father and brothers turned him upon his back. Another
groan, a quick gasp, a sigh, and death released him from suffering.

Many hands waited to give all needed, assistance and so Springer
invited a few of his neighbors to accompany him to his house, that Mr.
Roome might learn more particulars of the affair of the previous night.

“Now I want to get a clear idea of this matter as I can get,” said
Uncle Jesse when they were all seated in Springer’s chamber.

“I can tell you how it begun,” said the host, “but it will take us all,
and more too, to tell how it went on.”

He then narrated the history of the trouble from the collision on the
4th of the month, up to the time when General Baker rode to the city
across the river, substantially as the reader already has it.

“All this time while he was gone,” said Springer,—“about half an
hour,—armed bodies of men continued to come into town; and in fact,
a portion of them stopped and threw themselves into line right in
front of the house here. As soon as General Baker got back, they
mounted again, and went up on Mercer and Cook streets, and so on over
to the river there, and there they fell into line. Then myself and
Judge Rives, and Pincksney, and Elder Jackson, had an interview there
with General Baker; and we asked him if there was anything we could
do,—what was necessary to bring about peace.

“He said nothing would satisfy him but the surrender of the men and
their arms. The white men were so boisterous they treated us very
badly. One man, Captain Sweargen, drew his pistol while we were having
this interview with General Baker;—and really, I thought he seemed to
be looking at me, and that he was going to shoot; but when he saw me
looking at him, he put his pistol in his pocket again.

“Pincksney was whipped in his face, cut right in, as you see, and so
then we got away as quick as possible.” “Didn’t the General stop these
things?”

“No, not at all. Didn’t appear to notice ’em at all. Then the firing
begun pretty soon down on the river-bank.”

“The white men down there are saying this morning that it was the
Militia that begun the firing,” said Sam Pincksney.

“No? Why, they can’t say that! It sounded like right from, the
river-bank,” said Tim Grassy, an intelligent-looking mullato, about
thirty years of age, who was a brother-in-law of Springer.

“Well, _I_ know the _white men_ fired first, for just let me tell you,”
said Ben, a younger brother of Tim Grassy.

“George Hansen was at our warehouse, (Ben was bookkeeper in Springer’s
cotton warehouse,) and he told me there was going to be trouble, and
he wanted me to go up to his plantation with him, and see his game
chickens. But I told him I couldn’t get off. He told me he saw a great
crowd of white men gathered up back there in the country. An hour after
he left, squads of men commenced coming in, and half an hour after that
I went into the armory for protection. The white men opened fire and
kept it up as much as fifteen minutes, and maybe half an hour, before
they gave the colored men a _chance_ to fire at all. I know, for I saw
it.”

“Did any white men get killed?”

“One, Merry Walter.”

“Then I suppose some of our people must have killed him!” said Uncle
Jesse, sadly.

“Well, I don’t know,” said Mann Harris, who had sat quietly listening,
though reputed the greatest talker in Baconsville, “they quarrelled
among theirselves, some.”

“Yes,” replied Ben, “but Merry was a Democrat, and I suppose they
wouldn’t want to kill him themselves.”

“I heard some of ’em talking this morning, some respectable-looking
gentlemen from Georgia, and saying that they had been told that this
had been all to break up a nest of thieves and robbers—that the people
in Baconsville was that, and that Capt. Doc is a rowdy, and the Militia
Company is a band o’ thieves; and Hanson Baker said that is a fact and
just so.”

“I never heard anything like that in all the years I’ve lived here,”
said Springer, the oldest resident except Uncle Jesse, who assented to
his testimony.

“They talked about Pompey Conner’s robbing market wagons, and even
hauled up that old graveyard affair, more than three years old; and
they know the Republican niggers are after every thief they know of,
and punishes ’em too. Pompey took his turn in jail, and so did that old
republican nigger that dug them three graves open; the democratic one
got away, but I’ve seen him back just the other day. I don’t believe
they cared anything for the graves; they only thought there was some
money buried somewhere in the graveyard during the war.”

“That mean democratic nigger that lives over back of the hill there,
was in town yesterday, and some of ’em said that he told the white
folks where to find men—where their houses were, and if that is true
it is just contemptible!” said Springer.

“The fact is,” said Ben, the niggers are getting a bad name everywhere,
with these old white aristocrats, and especially since this fuss.”

Ben was young, and his honest, expressive face glowed as he spoke, with
animation which subsided immediately into grave thoughtfulness.

“What has become of Capt. Doc?”

“Don’t know; nobody knows. He’s sharp though, and I hope he has got
away. If they were to get him they would think he must be drawn and
quartered, I expect,” said Ben.

“Springer, you said Marmor is among the missing?” said Uncle Jesse.

“We don’t know what has become of him. Old man Baker was in Dan’s house
a good part of the night, Pincksney says; and the houses join, you
know; and the last seen of Marmor, he was jumping the fence into Dan’s
back yard. Dan’s folks are there this morning, but don’t seem to want
to see nor speak to anybody. There’s a mystery about it somehow.”

“Dan is a kind of a queer dark man, you know. Jews mostly is,” said Tim
Grassy.

“Dan is a likely sort of fellow,” said Mr. Roome, “I wish he didn’t
sell so much whiskey.”

“Between twelve and one o’clock,” resumed the host, “I heard Col. Baker
(at least I took it to be his voice). Some of them just opposite here
had said the house was afire, and I heard him sing out to the crowd,
‘Put that fire out! nothing like that shall go on; I don’t want any
burning.’ Soon after that I heard firing again, and I heard somebody
else holler. I don’t know who it was, but I suppose it was Moses
Parker.”

“Who shot him?”

“That I don’t know.”

“Where was Watta killed? Poor fellow! I knowed he’d be killed, if
anybody was.”

“Down at the ‘dead-ring,’” said Harris, who then gave the account the
reader has had, and continued, “When I stepped into my house I stepped
right onto some of my wife’s clothes. They had taken ’em all out of
the bureau, and flung ’em all over the floor, broke open three large
trunks I had, and taken away every rag of clothing I had, and my wife’s
bran new dress that she had made very fancy to be baptized in next
month—had never had it on—they taken that away, and her watch and
chain, and all her jewelry, and all my clothes; and taken a pin of mine
that didn’t cost me but sixty-five dollars; and I don’t suppose some
of them fellers ever had sixty-five dollars in their lives; and I told
Pick. Baker so this morning. Just so; and he said it was some of the
factory crowd from the city, none o’ his men hadn’t done it. I said I
don’t know; I seen some of his men looked pretty bad too, and I thought
they’d take things just as quick as anybody.

“He says, ‘Well, there’s bad men in all crowds.’ Everything in my
house is broken up. They carried off all my lamps and such things, tore
down my curtains, broke my dishes, and carried off what they couldn’t
break—all the victuals and everything. When I told Gaston so this
morning, he offered me twenty-five cents to get me something to eat,
and I told him I thanked him. They just walked right over my wife’s
clothes, and spit on ’em.”

“Harris, what do you suppose they did all this for?”

“Well, they said before it happened that I would see the white people
intended to carry the state democratic, and I expect this is to
intimidate us. Hanson Baker told me last night, (or this morning it
was) when I was going home after they done killed the men that was
lying there; and I asked them how they intended to carry the State
Democratic, and they said, ‘You see there? Well, that’s the way we’ll
lay you just so, if ever you vote the Republican ticket again;’ and I
said, ‘If that’s the way you’re going on, I an’t a going to vote nohow.
I’m done voting,’ and they said, ‘You’d better be done voting, unless
you vote the Democratic ticket.”

The whole company accepted this view of the motives of the rioters.

“They didn’t disturb you, Springer?” asked Uncle Jesse. “You didn’t
finish.”

“Well,” he resumed, “this shooting and hollering and setting fires and
so on, continued till the hours I named; and when they got through
killing those they wanted to, or could get, the crowd commenced going
away. You could hear them passing out in different directions,
hollering and cursing and cavorting around, and saying what they had
done. They would swear and say that they had got Baconsville all right
now; thought they had killed a sufficient number to prevent nigger-rule
any longer in the county—thought they had put a quietus on nigger-rule
in the county for all time to come. They went on hollering and calling
the names of the men they had killed; and one would say, ‘He don’t
answer,’ and another would say, ‘He’s looking at the moon and don’t
wink his eyes,’ and they went on making sport of the men they had
killed, and cursing all the time.

Then they commenced robbing, and you could hear it all over town.
It looked like they had parted themselves up into squads for that
business. You could hear them go to a man’s store, and burst it open
and go in, all along the streets. They broke open my warehouse,
and destroyed all my books and papers, and tore up the floors and
partitions—well, just ransacked the place entirely. Then they came
here. I had become alarmed at that time, and said to these young men
who were here with me, ‘I think it is best for us not to remain in this
building, I think they will come here.’ Up to that time I was basing an
opinion that they would not come here, upon the part that I had taken
in the whole affair during the day. I felt that it would keep me out of
danger; but then I saw very readily that even General Baker had lost
all control over the men, and I became alarmed, and thought best to
leave the house.

I thought probably they would not interfere with my wife; but if _we_
were found here, they would kill us. Sure enough, I suppose we hadn’t
any more than got out of the house and passed round from the front to
the back side, before we heard the footsteps of them passing up the
front steps. I was then behind the house, and there was a light in
my wife’s bedroom, and I saw one of the men in that room. I didn’t
recognize him, though I heard him very distinctly ask her where I was,
and where Benny was. She told him that she didn’t know where I was;
that I had gone away somewhere. They then commenced ransacking the
house; and they took a couple of shot guns I had here, and carried them
off; and they did use some very abusive words to my wife. That’s the
extent of what occurred here.”

“No, that’s not quite all, Sam,” said Tim Grassy. “They asked my
sister, who is staying with my mother who is sick, you know, they
asked her where was Springer’s money? She told them they didn’t have
any. They told her she was a cursed liar. I heard that distinctly, for
I felt uneasy about my sick mother, and crept back close up to the
window. They staid there some time, and we heard them coming down, and
I jumped over in Mrs. Dunn’s yard opposite her cow house, and stayed
there till I knowed all of them was gone.”

“Well, suppose we all go down to the hall and see the bodies of the
dead, and then I must go home,” said Uncle Jesse.

The six men walked slowly down to the old warehouse, which had been
reconstructed into a hall for the use of the various secret societies
of the village, of which the people of the South are so fond.

There arranged in a row, were the bodies of five men; all murdered for
possessing greater or less proportions of African blood, and being
true to the National Government which gave them freedom—nothing more
nothing less.

But for these it had been no crime to pass ordinances protective of the
public peace and convenience, or to enforce them—no crime to be an
intelligent leader among one’s fellows—no crime to practice in the use
of arms under sanction of law and the nation’s flag.

The homes of these men had been completely sacked, and not a whole
chair or table was left in some, on which to lay a coffin, though the
wife in one had given her only bed, a poor stack of straw, to ease the
removal of wounded Merry Walter to his home across the river.

The body of the highly respected and beloved Watta was in his home,
where a distracted widow knelt beside it comfortless; and two
fatherless little ones clung to her skirts, and wept in sympathy,
though ignorant of the magnitude of their loss.

A large number of spectators thronged the hall and vicinity, among whom
were many white people from the adjoining State of Georgia. Blacks were
still denied passage by the A— police.

“How many were wounded?” asked one.

“Three colored and one white!”

“Talk about Georgia! Talk about Georgia?” said he.

“It’s all this Captain Doc and his lawless band,” said another
Georgian. “This Baconsville is an awful place,” he continued,
regardless of the presence, shrieks and wailings of the families of the
slain, except as he must needs pause occasionally for the sounds to
subside, that he might be heard. “They are all a set of thieves. It’s a
very Sodom!”

“There’s no more of that kind of doings here than in any other place in
the South,” said a third, “the fact is there a’n’t more than forty-five
or fifty white persons live in this village, and the Bakers and Gaston
and them, think they shouldn’t be responsible to any laws passed by
_colored men_, and think it is an outrage if they or other white folks
are arrested for violating them; and the niggers have mostly let them
do as they pleased, which has made the exceptions seem personal and
harder to stand.

“On the other hand, it’s likely the niggers don’t waste any love on
old Bob, as they naturally can’t forget how he got his property; and
it is likely there’s all the envious feelings the poor are apt to have
against the rich, besides, which makes their overbearing ways and
impositions, and violations of town ordinances seem more offensive;
and it’s possible they take offence sometimes when none is intended;
maybe it is so on both sides, though the niggers are not _naturally_
suspicious, we know. It’s just an envious, suspicious village, with
overbearing and suspicious white neighbors.”

“There’s a little more than that too,” said another man. “Here’s a
State with a big nigger majority on election days, and a county with a
bigger one; and a State and national campaign a coming, and it’s the
centennial, and the nigger ‘gush’ is tantalizing to them that don’t
want a union with the North, unless they can control it; and the whites
naturally want to begin the next hundred years with the State in their
hands.”

“Oh, fol-de-rol-dol! The superior race _ought_ to rule. That’s the
whole of it,” said another.

“All that doesn’t make this right,” said the first speaker. “The whites
have had the best chance to be civilized, and the negroes have _never
done anything_ like this. Talk about Georgia! Georgia has never been
guilty of such a barbarous thing as this, and had it not been for those
Bean Island men, it never would have happened.”

“_That stirs fury all over one, sir_; to have that said after I have
strove so hard to keep things quiet in Bean Island!” said Uncle Jesse,
“I shall inquire about that;” and scarcely bidding a hasty adieu to his
friends, he abruptly left the place, and mounting his horse, rode home,
and hastened to the residence of Deacon Atwood.

“Deacon,” said he, “a very nice gentleman from Georgia says that had it
not been for Bean Island people, that them men would never have been
killed.”

“It’s a lie! It’s a lie!” cried the Deacon, “and if they go on talking
that way, the whole cat will be let out at once. There an’t a word of
truth in it! There wa’n’t a Bean Island man shot a gun. Dr. Ava and
Joe Ennery guarded the prisoners, and when they were to be killed, they
were to be delivered into the hands of unknown parties that the law
couldn’t detect them. That was a plan laid before. They didn’t fire
a gun there, nor kill a man; _not one!_ There was nobody stayed over
there from Bean Island, but some drunken fellows that couldn’t get
away; and if they keep on talking in that way, the whole cat will get
out of the water.”

“Deacon Atwood, that was wrong then. You ought never to have killed
them men after taking them prisoners.”

Dea. A.—“I agree with you there.”

Uncle Jesse.—“They ought not to have killed them after they stopped
fighting.”

Dea. A.—“They ought never to have stopped fighting till they killed
them _in the fight_!”

Uncle Jesse.—“They didn’t kill any of them in the fight; they must
have been very poor marksmen, as many as they was there, and couldn’t
kill anybody, and had to wait till they got out of ammunition, and then
took ’em out and killed ’em. Why didn’t they let ’em be taken by the
law, and be tried and had justice done ’em?”

Dea. A.—“I suppose the men were so ambitious that they didn’t intend
they should live. Now I tell you, Jesse, what this Georgia gentleman
said, isn’t so. Bardon Ramol and Bob Blending met a young nigger this
morning just before they got to Horse Creek, a coming home, and Bardon
he says to him, ‘Now, don’t you go down there. Didn’t you hear the guns
down there last night? The last one is killed, and it’s all over, and
it an’t worth while to go.’”

Uncle Jesse.—“And so they got him to turn back? That’s well enough,
but not much.”

Dea. A.—“Yes. Now they’re accusing Sam Payne, and Tad Volier—that
little fellow not more’n four feet high—to day, and I’ll swear it’s a
lie; for them men were not killed by anybody that is on this side the
river.”

Jesse Roome did not tell his neighbor how well all this conversation
assured him that he was privy to all the plans, at least; but simply
asked, “Sam Payne was not there?”

Dea. A.—“No, Jesse, he wasn’t there.”

Uncle Jesse.—“Well, Deacon Atwood, I’ve always been a good friend to
you, and I’ve told you some things that the colored people were going
to do that was wrong, and we have been pretty confidential a great many
times; but I just tell you, sir, if you go to violating the law, then
I’ll back down. I will not stick for anybody that will violate the law.
My motto is to punish every man, white or black, that will violate the
law.”



CHAPTER XIII.

THE SCALLAWAG.

                              “Get thee gone!
  Death and destruction dog thee at the heels.

         *       *       *       *       *

  If thou wilt outstrip death, go cross the seas,
  And live with Richard from the reach of hell.
  Go, hie thee from this slaughter-house
  Lest thou increase the number of the dead.”
—KING RICHARD III.


WHEN Col. Baker ordered Mrs. Marmor to leave her home, she would not
ask shelter in the house of her nearest neighbor—that most Christian
Jew, Dan Lemfield—lest her presence might jeopardise the safety of her
husband; and she stood upon the doorsteps with her infant in her arms,
and little Louie beside her, gazing up and down the street in utter
dismay, and not knowing whither to flee. Only a few steps at her left
was the drill-room, the centre about which all the warlike preparations
were arranged, and every dwelling in the beleaguered square, except her
own and Lemfield’s, was the abode of at least one colored family, and
therefore clearly unsafe.

“Where is my papa? Why don’t he come and go with us, mamma?” asked the
little boy in the piping voice of childish grief.

“Hush, child! Mamma’s glad he is not here. Keep still and maybe the
soldiers won’t hurt us.”

“Will they hurt us maybe, mamma?” The boy now began to wail piteously,
and the babe cried in sympathy.

“Hush, Louie! Mamma will tell you,” said Mrs. Marmor. She sat down
upon the steps, in presence of the armed foe by which the street was
occupied, and, placing her own person in range of any possible shot
that might be aimed at Marmor’s boy, she spoke in low and rapid tones:—

“If you cry, these men will see you; and if you keep still, maybe they
won’t notice, and sister will keep still too. You don’t want little
sister to get hurt. You will be a brave man, like papa, won’t you? Papa
isn’t afraid, and he keeps still.”

Pressing both his little hands over his mouth for an instant, and
choking back one or two great sobs, the child looked up into his
mother’s eyes, smiling through his tears, and repeated—“I cried unto
God with my voice, even unto God with my voice, and he gave ear unto
me. Mamma, there’s Mr. Dan. See! Mamma, see!”

Turning, she saw the Jew at his door, beckoning her with earnest
gesticulation, although beside him stood the burly Rufus Baker. As she
approached, she heard Mr. Lemfield say something about hostages, and
Baker replied with a significant wink and nod.

“We will all die together, if we must,” said the distressed wife and
mother, mentally.

“Co im, Mrs. Marmor. Co im,” said Lemfield. “Don’t sthop out here mit
de leetle kinder. You huspand go vay? Dat ish pad. May pe he’ll come.”
A quick glance at his shrewd face, and she accepted his invitation,
and entered the hospitable door with her little ones.

Dan soon followed, and taking her aside, said hastily, “You must not
tell. You pe like you know not vare de man ist. I tink I co get old
Bob and feed ’im viskey. Ven he trunk he shleeps much, and vants more
viskey. He pe here he not tink you huspand be here; and ve knows he pe
killing no mon. Now you take care.”

Poor Mrs. Marmor took the cue quickly.

Almost immediately after this the first gun fired. The Jew flew to the
front door, and soon returned accompanied by the great bushy-whiskered
negro-hunter, who was much excited.

Mrs. Marmor feigned great uneasiness and anxiety for the safety of
her husband, and could but shudder under the piercing eye of the old
man, while Louie hid behind her chair and peeped out at him with the
fascination of fear.

Their host seemed to forget the presence of his other guests in his
solicitude for Mr. Baker’s comfort.

“You not pe vell I see. Dat ish pad. Vat ish te matter?”

“I’m excited, and I reckon I’ve taken cold. Give me some whiskey,”
replied the hypochondriac. “I’ve sweat too much. The day has been
terribly hot!”

“Ya. Dat ish goot. Col. Paker tole me shut up mine par; but I not open
it to serve you. I shust pring it here, and you trink mit my family.
Vill I make shling? oder toddy?”

“O sling, sling.”

“Alle right. Dat ish goot;” and Dan bustled away to the bar-room and
brought a bottle of strong liquor, from which he soon mixed what he
called “de ferry pest shling eber made in de country,” and with great
show of solicitude presented it to the old man, who gulped it down and
smacked his lips with evident satisfaction.

In common with all mankind Robert Baker had an impressible point; and,
as with every other tyrant, that point was vulnerable to flattery. By a
discreet use of this depletive, and a vigorous administration of sling,
and industrious cultivation of his hypochondriacal tendency, the Jew
soon had him upon his back, and courting a perspiration which should
relieve him of numerous imaginary ills. The rapid discharge of firearms
upon the street, however, kept the patient nervous and excited; and
Dan’s family screamed and exclaimed, and Mrs. Marmor and her boy wept
silently as volley followed volley.

“Where is my papa?” Louie sobbed into his mother’s ear; for to him “old
man Baker” was an ogre, who would devour any little boy he chanced to
observe.

“Let us pray God to take care of him. He is taking care of _us_. See,
little sister is asleep.”

“What makes you cry, mamma?”

“Oh, just hear the guns? Somebody will get hurt,” and they wept and
trembled together, while Lemfield continued to ply his patient with
whiskey, till even his eagerness for the fray could not master the
oncoming stupor of drunkenness.

Two hours or more passed thus, and it was dark, when fearful yells
burst out, curdling the blood of every listener. They were like the
jubilations of demons, and were soon followed by the booming of cannon.

Couriers brought frequent advices of the progress of affairs, which
Lemfield carefully received for the old man, and as carefully withheld
from every occupant of the house except the refugee in the chamber.

At the sound of the artillery, Baker rolled from the sofa, and
gleefully exclaiming, “We’ll get ’em now —— them!” he reeled from the
front to the rear door, pistol in hand, chafing under the restraint of
his self-appointed nurse, like a hound in the leash when the horn of
the huntsmen is heard.

A tramping sound in the back yard drew both men to the door.

“Who ish dat?” demanded Dan, peering into the darkness of a shady part
of the enclosure.

“There goes a —— nigger! Here he goes! Here he goes!” shouted the old
slave-catcher.

“Don’t shoot! Don’t shoot!” cried the Jew; but while he yet spoke it
was too late.

“I’ve got ’im! I’ve got ’im!” cried the old man, running to his fallen
game.

“Co im quick! Co im quick, Meester Paker! Somebody vill shoot _you_,”
and the excited little man caught the murderer’s arm and dragged him
into the house, while the dusky form of Nat Wellman crept on all fours
into a yard still further to the rear, and found safety in a deeper
shade.

Filled with such terrors the night wore on, and Marmor’s were not the
only infants that sobbed themselves to sleep in the midst of those
dreadful alarms, though many were laid in the shadows of the cornfields
or the dampness of the swamps that surrounded the besieged town.

“_Ich vill make ine shling, vat vill make_ Old Bob _shleep, so Ich
vill_!” muttered Dan, as he mixed a few drops of laudanum with a fresh
mug of the steaming beverage. “Ich hab no more mens killed by mine
house.”

The patient was at length awakening great echoes in his bed room, with
his stentorian breathings, notwithstanding renewed disturbances upon
the premises, and that most Christian Jew stole up to Marmor’s retreat.

“For your life, Meester Marmor, do co hide somevare! Dey pe hunt you,
and say dey vill purn your house. Dey shware dey vill hab you. Dey
say you be ine —— scallavag, ine republican, and dat you pringht
ammunition to de nigger militia.”

“It is false!” said Marmor, “the only ammunition I ever brought to this
town is republican newspapers.”

“Dat make no odds. Dat pad ’nough, dey tink, and dey pe hunt you; dey
co tru mine house shust now. Dey find Shimmy’ (Jimmy, Marmor’s servant)
in yo’ yard, and dey vip ’im to tell vo you ist; but he know notting.”

The hunted man fled to the house top, where he lay long, listening to
the crashing of his printing presses and furniture, and the shrieks
and cries of colored women and children whom he saw violently dragged
from their houses by fiendish men athirst for the blood of their
husbands and fathers for whom they sought; and wondering if his own
mother was suffering similar indignities, he blamed himself for hiding.

He saw houses fired, in various directions, but the flames were
soon extinguished by the less reckless of the assailants, or by the
occupants, some of whom were thus captured.

About two o’clock in the morning the tumult in his own house was
renewed and increased; and, driven from their hiding place there, two
colored men leaped from a window of the second story, upon a roof
beneath it, and with almost superhuman effort, climbed upon that of a
higher part of the building, and scarcely less miraculously escaped
death by the pistol of their friend Marmor, who mistook them for foes.

“For mercy’s sake don’t shoot!” cried one, just in time to arrest a
second discharge.

The three men lay flat upon the roof to avoid discovery, but the sound
of the pistol and the voice had betrayed them, and several of the
rioters attempted to follow the young men.

Meanwhile the three men slipped down through the scuttle into
Lemfield’s house.

Obliged to abandon pursuit in that direction, the ruffians re-entered
the window, descended to the street, and pouring into the next house,
rushed to the stairs.

“Vas fur you co up mine shtair? Co town! Ich say, co town!” cried Dan.
“Ich been goot freund to _ebery man_, so you shall not break mine
tings. You must go vay, mine vamily pe sick up dar, and you will schare
mine cronk poy so he co todt!” and pushing past them, he mounted the
upper steps, still persisting in his opposition, and obstructing the
way.

“_Ich no niggah, no’ publican, no notting dat votes’ cainst you. So you
co vay!_”

“We won’t hurt you, nor your family, Dan, if we find you all right,
but, (the reader must imagine the vilest and most profuse epithets and
profanity), Louis Marmor is up there, and we _will have him_. He’s a
scallawag, and a republican, and is helping the niggers, and we must
get him. He has got to die as well as the rest.”

“Er nicht dar.”

“You’re a lying Jew dog!”

“Ich schvare youns, Louis Marmor ist not pout mine blace, _py de beard
of Abraham_!”

“You swear to that, do you?” asked the leader.

“Ich schware! Ich schware!”

“B-o-y-s, b-o-y-s,” said old man Baker, staggering from the couch
where Mrs. Marmor had shaken him into consciousness, “Boys, oh,
come back! come, come, come back! Dan’s a good fellow. I’m quite
unwell, quite unwell,” drawled he, “and he has taken care of me and
pro—pro—protected me from them —— niggers, and I’ll protect his
house and family. Now just come back. Don’t go up there. I’ve been
here all night, so far, and hide nor hair o’ Louis Marmor ha’n’t been
seen about here. I’ll vouch for _this_ house, and guard it too. So
don’t go up.”

“If you say so, Mr. Baker, we’ll come back, but we thought he was thar
sho’.”

“Ha’n’t been about here to-night. I’ve been here and could see, and
Dan’s all right.”

The ruffians yielded, and the three men, who had been unable to reach
the scuttle and escape, were saved; though, confident of a speedy
return of their foes, the colored men immediately sought another place
of concealment.

The cries and pleadings of another captive were soon afterwards heard
in the back-yard, and he was conveyed in triumph to the “dead-ring”
which was still insatiable while ungraced by the persons of Marmor and
Doc.

Though the house was not again entered by the mob, so strong and
general was the suspicion that Mr. Marmor was upon the Jew’s premises,
that after his return to his home even Robert Baker was persuaded to
believe it, and a vigilant watch was maintained several days thereafter.

While Aunt Phœbe was hastening the preparation of Uncle Jesse’s
breakfast the next morning, Jane Marmor sat beside her husband in the
Jew’s chamber, and described the condition of things, as she had found
them in their home; for she had already ventured there, and had looked
in upon her mother-in-law, who had locked herself into her own little
shop, and remained there, alone, and (strangely), unharmed, through the
night.

Harry Gaston, and Hanson, Tommy, and old man Baker relieved each other
on watch all the next day, each being assisted by a band of trusted
followers; and Marmor, close behind Dan’s window-shades, listened to
their threats against himself, and their attempts to convince such
negroes as ventured near them, that he, Kanrasp, and the “carpet-bag
Governor,” were solely responsible for the massacre; and while his
colored friends were anxiously conjecturing his fate, his experiences
in the affair had scarcely begun.

As the day declined, Mrs. Marmor joined her entreaties to those of
their host, urging upon her husband the necessity of attempting escape,
as there were indications of more decided search of the premises.

Night came at length, and spread her dark mantle over the village; but
the hunted man had scarcely escaped the house when the rising of the
full moon made concealment almost impossible.

As the weather was very warm, and he must make speed, he went without
a coat. Choosing a time when the sentry had passed to the extreme of
his beat, he walked up the street with apparently careless moderation,
hoping to be mistaken for a laborer, and to reach a small station on
the railroad three miles distant, before the arrival of the next train.

This he accomplished in safety, but arrived too early.

A congregation was gathering at a church near by, for the Sunday
evening service; and as his lips were parched with thirst, he
approached and procured a drink of water.

Several persons there knew Marmor, but as he had shaved his beard, and
otherwise slightly disguised himself, they were not confident of his
identity.

However, on his return to the carriage-road, he was at once confronted
by six armed men.

The click of their gun-locks was his first intimation of their
presence, and with the bound of a wild deer, he dashed into a black
swamp hard by.

His pursuers were mounted, and therefore could not enter it; but the
swamp, though over a mile long, was narrow; and they hunted him on
either side.

It was a cane-break, and but for the extreme drought of the season,
would have furnished but poor footing indeed.

The tall, stiff reeds reached far above his head, and some skill
was needful to break them over with the font and thus secure a
standing-place. His hat was soon knocked off by a shot, and his
low-quartered shoes lost in the mire. At length a place was reached
where a point of firm land extended into the swamp, and on this several
of his pursuers took position, (for their number had been increased),
to cut him off, should he attempt to pass.

They had lost sight of him, but as he approached he distinctly saw
Robert Baker directly opposite and facing him, and not far distant. He
noted the resolute bearing and determined visage of the old hunter;
but felt himself still incompetent to fully sympathize with the hunted
slave of the former times; whom no arm in the State or nation was
strong enough to deliver from his master, or this hired hunter and his
blood-hounds.

But, having little time for sentiment or reflection, he took a hasty
survey of the positions of such of his pursuers as were in sight,
deliberately approached the edge of the swamp, took aim at the old
hunter, who he felt sure would not scruple to take _his_ life, and
firing, ran rapidly in a direction he thought they would not suspect;
and thus escaped for the time.

But, instead of approaching the town as he intended to do, he wandered
in a circuitous direction, and returned to the church.

The services were over, and as he saw that many of the men were
mounting horses, he retreated to the woods again, where he lay till
morning.

His pursuers inquired of the worshippers, and finally got upon his
track the next morning, bringing their trained dogs. From that time
till Wednesday morning they chased him up and down the woods and
swamps. His feet were wounded and swollen, his bare head exposed to the
burning July sun, and he had eaten nothing since Sunday morning.

On Tuesday morning he became desperate, and resolved to leave the
swamp. He did so, and ran along the road. On several occasions the
dogs were upon him when he again intrenched himself among bushes
surrounded by water, and lay watching, pistol in hand. But as he had
no ammunition besides that in his revolver, he determined to make that
as useful as possible, and reserved for a probable extremity.

Once they caught sight of him at two hundred yards distance and cried.
“There he is! There’s the —— scallawag!” and hissed their dogs upon
him.

On Wednesday morning he eluded them and reached the residence of the
Intendant of Baconsville, on the outskirts of the town. He was a
pitiable object indeed; with clothing torn and covered with mud, feet
bare, swollen and bleeding; fair broad brow burned to a blister, auburn
hair, unkempt; famished, fainting, and only his determined energy left
of his former self.

Refreshed by a cup of coffee and a judicious breakfast, and a bath for
his feet, he hobbled to his home, which he reached about ten o’clock.

It had become his sole wish to see his family once more, and if he must
die, to die with them; and his apprehensiveness had become so great
that he with great difficulty persuaded to tarry at his neighbors for
food. To be driven from home, and hunted through swamps and forests,
like a ferocious beast, had become an insupportable thought.

And wherefore _was_ he?

Because he sought through that great instrument of enlightenment, the
press, to disseminate his political opinions, and the principles of a
Republican government, and to strengthen and perpetuate the Union.

An hour after reaching home he became aware that the foe was on his
track and approaching, but the house was kept closed, and guarded by
leading citizens, and he remained till the afternoon of the following
day; when, so disguised as to be unrecognized by familiar friends, he
took the railroad train for the Capitol, and escaped.

A band of those white ruffians boarded the train, and passed through it
several times, enquiring for him, and even propounded their questions
to him, without recognizing him.

The horrors of this massacre were but the commencement of a succession
which blackened the history of the political campaign of the year 1876
in the State of South Carolina, and in other Southern states, and
disgraced the Republic in the sight of the nations she had invited
to witness the successes she had achieved under a free and popular
government.

Is it asked what punishment was meted out to those miserable offenders?

They were arrested, liberated for several months under bail of $500
each, and clearly convicted upon trial; but because the jury of twelve
was empanelled upon a strictly party basis, and the six white men were
_avowedly_ opposed to conviction on any evidence, a mistrial ensued.

As under “the conciliation policy” of the national administration
which followed the next subsequent election, the United States’ troops
which had been sent into the State at the request of the Governor
were withdrawn, the defeated Democratic candidates for Governor and
Legislature, supported by the unchartered and hence illegal rifle
clubs usurped the State government, and all further proceedings against
the rioters were dropped, and the notorious General Baker was elected
to a seat in the Senate of the nation, by that spurious legislature of
his State.

Such is the justice, and such the tender mercies, to which have been
consigned the emancipated slaves of the Southern States, and these and
similar experiences have caused the “Exodus” of the freedmen to the
great north-west.

With such fearful odds, can the reader wonder at their seeming timidity?


                               THE END.





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