Toby, A Man Of Powerful Frame, Six Feet High, His Face Ornamented
With A Beard Of Fashionable Cut, Had Hitherto Stood Leaning Against The
Wall, Looking Upon The Frolic With An Air Of Superiority.
came forward, demanded a bit of paper to hold in his hand, and harangued
It was evident that Toby had listened to stump-speeches in
his day. He spoke of "de majority of Sous Carolina," "de interests of de
state," "de honor of ole Ba'nwell district," and these phrases he
connected by various expletives, and sounds of which we could make
nothing. A length he began to falter, when the captain with admirable
presence of mind came to his relief, and interrupted and closed the
harangue with an hurrah from the company. Toby was allowed by all the
spectators, black and white, to have made an excellent speech.
The blacks of this region are a cheerful, careless, dirty race, not hard
worked, and in many respects indulgently treated. It is, of course, the
desire of the master that his slaves shall be laborious; on the other hand
it is the determination of the slave to lead as easy a life as he can. The
master has power of punishment on his side; the slave, on his, has
invincible inclination, and a thousand expedients learned by long
practice. The result is a compromise in which each party yields something,
and a good-natured though imperfect and slovenly obedience on one side, is
purchased by good treatment on the other. I have been told by planters
that the slave brought from Africa is much more serviceable, though more
high-spirited and dangerous than the slave born in this country, and early
trained to his condition.
I have been impatiently waiting the approach of spring, since I came to
this state, but the weather here is still what the inhabitants call
winter. The season, I am told, is more than three weeks later than usual.
Fields of Indian corn which were planted in the beginning of March, must
be replanted, for the seed has perished in the ground, and the cotton
planting is deferred for fine weather. The peach and plum trees have stood
in blossom for weeks, and the forest trees, which at this time are usually
in full foliage, are as bare as in December. Cattle are dying in the
fields for want of pasture.
I have thus had a sample of the winter climate of South Carolina. If
never more severe or stormy than I have already experienced, it must be an
agreeable one. The custom of sitting with open doors, however, I found a
little difficult to like at first. A door in South Carolina, except
perhaps the outer door of a house, is not made to shut. It is merely a
sort of flapper, an ornamental appendage to the opening by which you enter
a room, a kind of moveable screen made to swing to and fro, but never to
be secured by a latch, unless for some purpose of strict privacy.
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