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as a

Or

“no

mon as

mons.

we ask.

the same expression is current in those You remember Sainte-Beuve's defirural New England districts that the nition: “Je define un patois une ansummer visitor has spared.

cienne langue qui a eu des malheurs.” A pretty name for a child is the uni There is a curious kinship between the versal “little trick.” Naughty chil New England and the Southern diadren are “given the bud” or the “hick lects, plainly stamping their common ory;” sometimes they have the "hick- origin. Take words like “fault ” used ory wrapped round" them.

as a verb, or “delft ” for any sort of “I ain't goin' to marry a wife won't crockery, or "galluses” (suspenders), work agin a cole collar,” a man will or "tucking comb,” or “out” say. He has in mind horses that will noun (“best out at preaching I ever work only after they are warmed up heard”), or “unbeknown, by preliminary exercise.

great ” of anything: they are as comA housewife says that her boiling

on the shores of Cape Cod. water “ain't kicking yet,” or is kick Other old words survive here that ing, and certainly gives a very clear have faded out of New England speech. idea of a certain stage of ebullition. “Ben” for “been” is the old English They shut up cattle “to gentle them.”. form, and so is the construction “I ben” What could express our good inten

for “I was;

you can find it on almost tions better than the use of “aim any page of Latimer's or Ridley's serinstead of “mean, or our too great

"I does plough, I did plough, intimacy with the thief of time than I done ploughed,” says an Arkansas our everlasting “fixing,” to do? “Has darky, but so said reverend divines Coot harnessed the horses?

and scholars when America was discova “No'm, he's fixin' to hitch 'em.” Or ered. "Holp" is the old English form Thomas the unready, engaged days ago

of "help.” “Ax,

says Bishop Latito putter for us, is the party of the

mer, for "ask.”

“Worse and worser” second part.

"Mr. Peps, I thought Ben Jonson did not scruple to write. you were coming to mend our pump.” Old people here still say "persever" for “Yes ’m, fixin' to do it right straight. "persevere.” In all the old English “The all overs is a striking name writers one reads of "

a great

rich man;" for nervousness; and, somehow, "a fit and to this day it is a common expresified sheep” seems more to be pitied sion. A "sparkle” for a “spark, than a sheep "liable to fits.” So say, and, like our ancestors, we “put "plumb” is a more forcible adjective out a fire ” when we kindle it. They than “quite,” which has one meaning said “a power,” and “a heap,” and “a for the cultured, and an opposite in great sort,” and “a chance ” of things, tention for others.

but I have not yet encountered our "Triflin'” pictures a down-at-the most common phrase of multitude, “a heel morality even better than the New right smart.”

But they had the same England "shiftlessness." Besides, it use of “like," and said “seemeth like” is more versatile. Not only our minds when “as would be used by a modern and habits, but our health, our looks, grammarian; while we use "skipped our weather, may be “triflin’.”

out” as seriously as Wyckliffe did The dialect has in it the refraction when he wrote in his Bible, “Paul and of the life of the speakers; every fig Barnabas skipped out among the rabure borrowed from the forest and the ble.” brutes and the primitive arts tells the To one element in the Arkansas russtory. But a dialect is something tic's composition I give a hearty remore: it is the faithful custodian of the spect, namely, his robust independence. past.

He is no man's inferior, and every

we

black man's superior. For this very The store is near the mill, on the reason, because he is so secure in his river bank, with its gambrel roof shadself-respect, he has not an atom of the ing the wide piazza, and conveniently naturalized American's surly assertion; covering the last convoy of groceries, or he does not “mutter in corners and Shadrach Muzzle's new stove, which is grudge against the rich ” any more rapidly acquiring the fashionable terrathan he truckles to them; and he never cotta tint, "waiting on Shadrach.” In presumes a hair's breadth.

the rear, facing the village, is another Our renters open their doors when piazza, even more likely to hold a mob we pass.

Whatever the character of of booted and soft - hatted loungers. the occasion, be it wedding, or funeral, The store is the social centre. It has or neighborhood dance, one invariable more occupations than the mill, even, formula is called to us: “Won't you being the grocery, the milliner's, the all come by ? ” Yet their visits to us haberdasher's, the chemist's, the hardare a formal paying of their respects, ware store, the agricultural-implement as it were, once a year. The children depot, the gunsmith's, the meat marcome Saturdays to Constance's sewing- ket, and the jeweler's. It is also, on school and Mrs. Planter's Loyal Le- occasion, the temple of justice, and gion; the women attend the mothers' before the schoolhouse was built it meetings, which we try to make amusing was the church. It is the post office, with a faint suggestion of helpfulness: of course.

The post office is in the but that is all. When the planter, back part of the store, an unpretenwho is greatly beloved, fell sick, some tious desk, the glass of the boxes decoyears ago, several of the neighboring rated with announcements of the mail farmers would ride miles through the hours, estray notices, advertisements of mud, every day, to inquire about him. any coming “concert ” (which does not It is no lack of interest; it is their un- mean a musical entertainment, by any taught delicacy of feeling. “I ’lowed means; rather, reverting to the true you all was right busy, so I did n't definition of the word, it implies any come, says the Arkansas cracker; or, amusement conducted in concert, usu"I ’lowed you all had a right smart of ally the speaking of very moral litfolkses to the house, so I kep’ away.” tle speeches, and the reading of very

The pivot on which a cotton plan- broadly humorous selections by the tation turns is the cotton gin. The school-children), possibly intimations mill is a versatile and obliging provider of church services and the sheriff's of comforts. It saws up our logs into coming to collect taxes, and the proclalumber, saws our firewood, sharpens our mation of reward for the arrest of two tools, grinds our corn, and gins our cot- murderers, with their respective porton. The same dusky hands help in traits adorning the broadside. Our all cases.

We do have a different man present two, it is pleasant to know, to saw and to gin, but it would be con- have polished manners.” Every sidered sinful waste to use a fresh crew morning except Sunday, the mail rider for each new kind of work. Ginning rides up to the store door and remarks goes on like clockwork; but sawing is that the roads are “just terrible.” as thrilling as a circus, with the fre- The head clerk, who is deputy postquent hazards and the agility of the master, — the planter being the post

performers. Twice in two days of saw

master, opens

the mail, and reads the ing, this week, have I seen a black ath- names of the owners of letters aloud. lete save his skin by his nimble legs. Next to the post office is the grocery, a “There 's a nigger just missed of being little mixed, to be sure, with the crockkilled,” said the leaper, with a grin. ery, and with a very choice assortment

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of tinware and colored glass, among

Christmas time brings the festivity which a few bright blue owl jugs are

On Christmas Eve a huge conspicuous. Opposite is the dry goods fir will blaze, and spatter wax over department, and overhead dangles the the new platform, and be covered with millinery shop, in boxes and out. The gifts for old and young.

The walls pharmacy has the advantage of a win- will be decked with holly and mistletoe dow, and is near the stove.

Just across and the flaming swamp berries; and the aisle is the large shoe case that all the country round will gather. To represents the stationer's stand, the me this Christmas time has an infinite jeweler's, and the haberdasher's. At pathos. There, on the edge of the Christmas it is also the toy shop. Our wilderness, sullenly hiding who knows jewelry is of the highest order of gilt what secrets of

carnage

and plate and colored stones. On the left the little schoolhouse, with its cheerful a door opens into another building, windows, a flicker of human comradewhere great cypress blocks are the chief ship in the darkness. furniture of the meat market. Here The audience come in families, the pigs and sheep and beeves are dealt on horseback, on muleback, in rattling out; here, too, are the saddles, the farm wagons, with patchwork quilts

the
guns,

the furniture, for robes and overcoats. Some of the and the stoves. The shed adjoining clothes may be ragged, but they will holds ploughs, cotton planters, and stalk all be clean; very likely the housewife cutters, and there is a smoke-house for has robbed her sleep the night before the hams.

to wash and mend. “Beneath that spreading oak the I used to wonder what became of the smithy stands,” accommodating jack- unsuccessful adventures in fashions of at-all-trades, like the other buildings. head gear or wraps, but now I underA neat carpenter shop, a brickyard, the stand. Every year one observes a numstables, the barns, the corn cribs, and ber of startling experiments: frocks of the plantation boarding-house complete an extraordinary cut and florid color; the list of public institutions on the bonnets and hats that have made a river; but out in the fields, on the bold claim on public favor, but missed edge of the slash, stands the stanch lit- the mark. They wear I know not what tle white schoolhouse, that is church of an air of conscious failure, and and hall of entertainment as well, and one sees them forlornly flaunting themhas served the late Wheel and present selves in shop windows, appealing to Farmer's Alliance for a meeting-room. their last hope, the feminine weakness Here, one winter, a literary society for bargains, by large black figures on gathered weekly, to discuss such ex- small white cards, with “Marked down citing questions as, Which is of more to above the figures. Then, not value, a horse or a cow? or, Are po- piecemeal, as would happen if a deludlitical parties of more use or harm? ed public had fallen into the snare

The school-teacher is paid fifty dol- and carried them off, but suddenly, at lars a month, which represents as high a swoop, they disappear. Well, they a respect for learning here as three have gone South! The planter meets times the amount does in richer local- them in St. Louis, our contingent, ities.

that is, and they are introduced to Every Sunday, the Sunday school him as "an uncommonly cheap lot, in meets in the schoolhouse; and after perfect condition.” In nine cases out school Constance or Mrs. Planter holds of ten the “ uncommonly cheap lot” a brief service and reads a sermon, a

follows him home on a freight train. very short one.

Thus we observe a fashion of our

own.

Last winter, all the women and of a large audience. Mrs. Jarley's children, black and white, blossomed Waxworks were wound up on the same out like a tulip bed with bright-hued platform. The Land of Nod was given toboggan caps, which they wore, defy- by the school-children, and excited uniing age, looks, or weather, late into versal admiration. The question of costhe spring. Half the petticoats of the tumes was solved in the briefest manplantation, another year, appeared in ner, by making them ourselves.

We a “job lot” of striped cotton that had even manufactured shoes and armor; failed to impress the Northern fancy. the latter out of pasteboard and tinfoil

Christmas Eve, all our good clothes filched from tobacco packages at the will come to the fore.

store. We were somewhat appalled, You, gentle reader, who have never however, at the discovery that eight really touched elbows with the poor, little sleepy-heads, who should appear will smile over our grotesque finery. in the comely simplicity of nightgowns, By the stove sits a man who, lacking a must have costumes provided. The warm coat, has supplied its place with nightgown, it appeared, was an infrea quilt of many colors. But he is easy quent luxury. Fortunately, one little in his mind; does he not wear a shin- girl had several; so we managed, by ing new pair of rubber boots, and has borrowing, to fit out the crowd, — all not his wife new brass "breastpin and but one little lad, and him we draped ear - bobs"? And if our shoes are with a voluminous cheesecloth garment ragged, you will see very few ragged that had been made for an angel in a gowns; and there are many men in tableau. It was so long that he stumthe splendor of white linen as stiff as bled on it as he walked, and, being flour starch can make it.

constructed solely with an eye to the The children are so happy over their view from the front, it opened behind, toys that it gives the beholder a sof- and had a trick of inflating and part

Watching them; know- ing, giving his new blue jeans and red ing their narrow lives; picturing the flannel shirt the appearance of being cabin left behind in the lonely clearing, wafted along in a kind of broken balwhere the wind whistles through the loon. broken windows, and, outside, the lean The planter on a plantation is exkine are vainly nibbling at the cotton pected to direct all undertakings of stalks, I feel the weight of the imme- pleasure or profit. In most cases, he morial tragedy on my holiday mood. is postmaster, justice of the peace, free

Not they: one boy is winding a doctor, and matrimonial adviser for the Waterbury watch, and his whole be- neighborhood. ing is flooded with content; another is

Such a scene

as this is common: quite as happy over a pair of rubber Scene, the store.

Dramatis personæ, boots;

and little Johnnie Kargiss would the planter and Jeff Laughlin, whose not exchange that clumsy pocket knife wife has been dead full two months. for anything on the tree.

Laughlin. “Well, no, sir, I ain't Besides the Christmas tree, other come for tradin' to-day; I aimed to festivities have had the schoolhouse to ask you' advice.” thank. Here, on the teacher's plat- Polite but inarticulate murmur from form, was once erected an imposing planter, who goes on posting up his red-paper fireplace, wherein burned a ledger. lantern behind red tinsel, giving a life- Laughlin (whittling abstractedly on like semblance of flame; and Box and the rim of the desk). “Well, you see, Cox toasted their muffins and wrangled my mother-in-law, she 's a mighty nice over their room, to the uproarious glee old lady, and she gits a pension of

tened pang

at a

again!”

eight dollars a month, and spends ever' propose to Phonetta in form, on their cent on it fur the children; but, fact way home from "playing games is, she's so old and so nigh-sighted neighbor's, to be rejected, and to feel she jest natchelly cayn't keep things ever afterward that if “Mist' Planup; and it's too hard for her, and it's ter 'd named it to her, instead, she'd jest breaking her down.

And I jest of talked different.” ’lowed I'd ask you' advice.”

But we foresee that he will be conPlanter. "Well, Laughlin, I don't soled. In this country, widowers spend see anything for it but for you to marry no long time in mourning. Six months

are all that the most decorous would Laughlin (brightening considerably). ask; most widowers wait three months, “Well, I don't see anything else I kin two months, or only one. This haste do. I hate to terribly; but looks like does not imply hardness of heart so I jest natchelly ben obleeged to." much as a hard life. What, indeed,

Planter. “Had you anybody in your shall a man do who has three or four mind, Laughlin?”

little children, a big field waiting his Laughlin. “I reckon Phonetta Rose hand outside, and no woman to guide would n't have me?

things? Planter (with truthful frankness). The early marriages that are a most “No, I don't reckon she would.” prolific source of poverty and unhappi

Laughlin. “I 'lowed she'd think ness have a kindred excuse. “Well,” I'd got too many children.”

a young fellow says, “reckon I'll git Planter. “Yes, I dare say.”

married and make a crap! ” His wife Laughlin. “They ’re mighty nice, works in the field with him. If he still children, and make a strong force have children, they can help. Boys of for the cotton field.”

seventeen, girls of sixteen, are marPlanter. “They seem nice children.” ried here continually. Laughlin (very agitated). “I-I The women have a hard life, work

say, Mist’ Planter, don't you guess ing in the fields and in the house; they you could write a letter to Miss Pho age early, and die when, under happier netta, and ask her for me?'

chances, they would be in their prime. Planter. “Well, no, Mr. Laughlin. Thus it happens that so many men have I don't think she would take kindly to three, or four, or five wives "without,” having any other man do her sweet as one honest fellow said, “never fightheart's courting. You speak up for ing with none of 'em.” “I kep’’em yourself!”

all decent, an' I buried 'em all in a Laughlin (despondently). “Yes, sir, store coffin,” said he. An old planter, I'll turn it over in my mind; but you alluding to an unhealthy region, said, see I'd hate terrible for to have her “Why, right down there I buried two say no to me right to my face, and or three wives, and four children, and twud n't be nigh so bad in a letter. a heap of niggers ! ” And I ain't much in the habit of writ They are very fond of their children in’ letters myself” (which was strict and kind to them; unwisely kind, perly true, Laughlin being barely able to haps, as we Americans are inclined to sign his name and “read writin'"), be. To all the other hardships of a “so I did n't know but you,” etc.

woman's life here is added her mournUnlucky Laughlin! he has reached ing for her little children; for the carethe boundary line of the planter's ami less life bears hard on them, especially ability. "I won't write love letters in overflow seasons.

Sometimes we and I won't pull teeth!” declares the are reminded of this in a homely yet planter; and Laughlin goes his way to affecting way, as yesterday, when in

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