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The facile pencil of Strother, through “Harper's guided that pencil is Virginia born, and the good and New Monthly Magazine,” under the title of " Virginia the faithful negro, so often to be found under the milder Illustrated,” has given us the finest sketches of negro sway of the patriarchal institution, appealed to its character ever delineated by art. The mind that I purest susceptibilities; and in placing upon the printed
OHARACTERISTIO SKETCHES FROM THE SOUTH SIDE OF THE POTOMAC.
page the servant, there was also at the same time de- | and date when the little cooing of the infant mouth aslineated" the friend.” We have the pleasure of pre- sumed articulate sound, and ob! prodigious! uttered senting, from the same master hand, two interesting the magic name of " Aunty." Great indeed is the blessspecimens of “old servants,” resemblances of which ing, in these degenerate days, of one of these faithful old are to be found about the mansion of every old Vir- creatures to our household; faithful as the sun, never-tirginian family. We allude to “ The Nurse” and the ing, always kind, always enduring, always happy; bless“ Mat Vender.” The former is a great personage in ed with a heart overflowing with kindness, and cures for every well-regulated family, and generally goes by the the colic, religious to a fault, and perfect in the preparageneral name of “ Aunty.” She is a faithful old negress tion of paps—a godsend, indeed, to helpless infancy and that has attended every one of the rising generation from just developing childhood. It is “old aunty ” who their infancy up, and knows ten thousand pleasing remi- keeps the ghosts out of the bedroom, and sits up with niscences of “Master William" or "Mistress Alice,” can the children winter nights, when the window sashes rattell when each put off the baby clothes to assume a more tle, and the juvenile imagination suggests that there are pretentious garb. She knows when the first tooth was “spooks about.” It is “old aunty" who can keep the cut, the first essay to walk was made, and can give day | baby still when all ordinary nursing has failed; her
very influence is soporific, and the complaining little raiment. In the old “ Mat Vender," we have the negro incipient humanity, under her influence, wilts into a “Nestor," who, having grown grey in the service of his trans-peaceful bud, or becomes as quiet as if it hung "massa,” is now allowed to spend the evening of his inanimate upon some neighboring tree. Who, that has days in the manner most agreeable to his own notions. felt the benign influences of these sable guardians of little While selling the mats and brooms, he gathers up all the folks, does not venerate their appearance, and look upon absorbing gossip of the day; hence “Uncle Pomp" them as juvenile kindly providences exerted especially becomes a great orator; and the solemnity with which to alleviate, and make bearable, the pains and troubles his exercitations are pronounced, is not the least salient of infantile life? “UNOLE," THE MAT VENDER, is gene- point of his character. On his return at evening rally an old servant, who, from long service and good to the patriarchal home, our old negro friend is to character, has won immunity from fixed tasks, and be found seated by the kitchen fire, retailing to his employs his time as he pleases, either sleeping in the delighted audience of brother and sister Cuffees sunshine, working in the garden, going on hunting expe- and very possibly there may be present young“ massa," ditions with the little masters, or, perhaps, more indus- and “missus ”—the wonderful results of his outside triously inclined, goes into the manufacturing busi- observations; his oratorical narrative is always listened ness, and makes crude articles of household wear, to with the most reverent attention, and the innocent which, though of little value, deludes the good-natured feeling of profound wisdom which fills the old fellow's creature that he is not altogether useless in the world, breast, is as pleasant to the intelligent listener to connor altogether dependent on his friends for food and template as it is delightful to himself to entertain.
The portion of country called the Dutch Fork lies posed of the same materials, graced the head of the between the Broad and Saluda rivers, in South Carolina. board. Occasionally, for a change, a pot of mush It is still inhabited by descendants of its first settlers was prepared, and set on in a large pewter basin, who were emigrants from every part of Germany. In with an opening made in the middle of the savory 1788, the region had all the characteristics of a Dutch mess, large enough to contain a quart of sweet colony, and much of its soil was under cultivation by milk. Into this was dipped each spoonful of the hot these sturdy, labor-loving farmers.
mush by the rosy-cheeked urchins and kinky-headed Being natives of different provinces in the Faderland, girls who stood round the oaken table—each furnished the language used by these settlers was various, and with a large pewter spoon, and performing his or her sometimes they found difficulty in understanding one part in the dexterous game of transferring the mush to another. Their manners and customs were also diverse; the milk and then to the mouth, at all sorts of angles but the experience of a few years taught them to vary and cross purposes. The children of that day were a little from the habits familiar in their own country, especially fond of this mess, and the women skillful in for the sake of accommodating each other in this “wild its preparation. Indian land" distinctions in dress and living to which many of them petticoat of flax or cotton' warp, filled in with woollen had clung, were given up for the simpler habits of a yarn of various shades and colors; the prevailing tints pioneer people.
being green, red, yellow and blue. The yarn was dyed It is curious, in the luxurious indulgence of modern at home with leaves and flowers gathered from the time as to the table on which Southern country land- forest; and weaved in the domestic loom; and the holders pride themselves—to see on what frugal fare broader and brighter the stripes which ran through the these primitive worthies lived. Tea or coffee formed cloth, the more beautiful it was thought to be. The no part of the usual morning repast; but on Sunday, like may now be seen in what are called Duffel blanthe good wife prepared a beverage that might have had kets. a table-spoonful infused into seven or eight gallons. Over this petticoat a gown was worn, with long or Rolled cakes, or Johnny-cake shortened, were the uni- short sleeves, according to the wearer's fancy. The versal solid material for breakfast, meat of any kind gown was left open in front for the space of half a yard, being seldom used. But as a substitute for tea or coffee, which opening was covered with a thin gauze apron, a dish of soup, renewed every morning, though com- | allowing the splendid stripes of the under garment to
as they called their new home. The The dress of the younger females for Sunday, was a
bę plainly seen. White stockings and high-heeled shoes, y ribbons, and the fiddle had scarlet streamers a yard long and a man's hat, completed the costume in which these attached to its neck. damsels might be seen tripping to church, she who had The procession was headed by a person riding a a lover, walking hand in hand with him. The gallant steady horse, and leading that of the musician. When wore a hunting-shirt or home-made coat, with shorts or all were ranged in file, two and two, they started—the knee-breeches as they were called, and cotton stockings bride and her leader going next the fiddler, the groom or a pair of leggins without stockings, covering the leg alone, followed by his attendants, and the rest of the to the shoe. The clothing of both sexes was of home- company in order. Alighting at the church door, they manufacture, for no one among the working-people walked in, the fiddler stepping aside at the entrance ever thought of buying raiment at a store. As fashion and standing still, plying his instrument vigorously, till will reign even in the wildwoods, some articles of dress all were seated in the sacred building-still observing were in special favor, particularly buckshin breeches, the same order. The minister then went into the puland those who made them plied a profitable trade. The pit and preached a sermon suited to the occasion. He old settlers yet remember Christian Hope—or as he was then performed the ceremony of marriage, and disgenerally called-Houpt—who earned a respectable missed the assembly with a benediction, which was livelihood by the manufacture of this article. He was scarcely uttered when the fiddle was again heard at the the grandfather of the excellent and much-respected door. The party returned in the same form as before, Rev. John C. Hope, whose name is familiar in South except that the husband took the precedence, while the Carolina.
wife followed in token of her submission thenceforWhile taking a view of the primitive customs of our ward. There was then a race among some of the bestancestors, it will not be amiss to describe their mode of mounted young men for “the bride's bottle," which courtship and marriage. Washington Irving has men- was taken by the fleetest horse. tioned the practice of “bundling” among the New- After the party had returned to the house, the bride Englanders; the method was not dissimilar among the and her leader lead the festivities by dancing three Dutch settlers ; and although young ladies of the pres- Dutch dances, at the end of which the official delivered ent day may be shocked-our veritable chronicler as- the lady to her husband to dance the same number with sures us that departures from strict virtue were then of him; he returning her, when they were finished, to very, very rare occurrence. The apartment occupied dance again with the leader. by the young girls of the family had each a square win- The dancing then became general, and continued till dow of somewhat peculiar construction, After the dinner. household had retired to rest, when all was profound The wedding-feast consisted of rice soup and chicken, stillness, the adventurous suitor would climb in at this sour krout and bacon, roast beef and pork, baked fowl window, approach the bed where his charmer lay, and and chicken-pies; these last a different article and called stretch himself composedly by her side. She took this by a different name from the modern manufacture. intrusion as a common-place piece of gallantry, entered While the repast continued, those of the men who were into conversation with him, and they discussed matters not too intently occupied, would watch the opportunity of interest till the day began to break, when the lover to dodge under the table and slip off one of the bride's bade adieu, leaped from the window and was gone. If shoes. Whoever was so fortunate as to obtain the the maiden to whoin his addresses were thus paid, prize, set it up, after dinner, to the highest bidder, who, looked with favorable eye on his suit, she promised to of course, was the leader, and who was responsible for marry him, and received from the young man a dollar any loss or injury sustained that day by the bride. to clinch the bargain. The next step was to inform the Sometimes, as a punishment for carelessness on his part, parents, or nearest relatives of the bride; and their its price was run up as high as five dollars. consent obtained, his own relations were told of the Over the bride's head, as she sat at the table, a huge intended marriage. They immediately went to the cake was suspended from one of the joists of the Louse. bride's family to hold a consultation as to the time of It was decorated with ribbons of all colors and artificial the wedding and the arrangements to be made for it, flowers woven into a wreath around it. This was and then the minister of the congregation was informed divided in due time for the guests, and they were served -it being his duty to publish the bans from the pulpit with rum or whisky; separating at an early hour three successive Sundays.
to return to their homes. The wedding always took place at the house of the The master-spirit of the Dutch Fork-made so by bride. On the appointed day the invited guests and honest industry and persevering labor—was Col. Jolin acquaintances migit be seen mounted on horseback and A. Summer, the son of Adam Summer, one of the coming from every direction. Among them, a man pioneer settlers, who had come in 1750, and settled on previonsly appointed to the duty of escorting the bride, Crim's or Grim's Creek, in what was then Orangeburg was called the “bride-leader;" and the two young men, District, near the line dividing it from Ninety-six ; now with each a damsel by his side, appeared as attendants. the line of division between Newberry and Lexington The fiddler came up with his violin under his arm, and Districts. He had several sons younger than John, from each of these officials wore a distinctive badge—a whom sprang a numerous offspring-many living in breast-knot of ribbons of various colors. The bride their native State at the present day, and others settled groom and his groomsman were also gay in crimson in the West. One of the first victims to the perilous
state of things in this region, was a member of this It was really true that the brothers Setzler were family. Nicholas Summer had already gained the rank looked on with dread throughout that superstitious of captain, and commenced life promisingly. One day, community, being supposed to possess supernatural riding along the road from Granby, then Congaree and gifts. Many strange and dark stories were told among Kenneley's ferry on the Saluda river, being on military the settlers, illustrating the imaginary powers bestowed duty, he was killed by the accidental discharge of ano- upon them. ther officer's rifle. He left a widow, and a son now When questioned further, the boy continuedliving near his old home.
“As I said, Ridlehober and Metz were determined to Among the settlers of the Fork were two brothers have some of Schneider Peter's splendid melons. There from Odenwald, named John and Peter Setzler. The they was, ripe in the patch, and no one durst touch one first was a gunsmith, and was called in the neighbor- on 'em !" hood "Rifle-maker;" the other a tailor, had obtained “I'd a made bold to ax him then!" observed another the cognomen of " Schneider Peter.” Indeed nothing boy. was more common than these sort of nicknames among “And be huffed for your pains, and mebbe poisoned the inhabitants of the Fork, especially the Swabians if he was the devil's own sarvant !" returned the other. from Schwarbzwald, the most numerous class among Wall, as I was tellin' ye, they went that same night the emigrants, and very blunt in their manners. arter the melons. It was dark as pitch, and they Wherever there was a Jacob," or Yockle,” it was mounted their colts and had their meal-bags to fetch sure to have a prefix; there was Nacht Yockle" the beautiful melons away for supper. Each on 'em “Rock Rockle”—“ Branch Yockle”—“Mourer Yockle” crammed in as many as the bag would hold, and they -“ Krum Yockle," and innumerable others. " John"
carried the stuffed bags to the fence, and hoisted 'em to was transmuted into “Hantz," and there was “Wild their shoulders to fling 'em over. But when they had Hantz,” “Schneider Hantz,” &c., &c. One man named got the bags up, they couldn't move to throw 'em over, John Oswald, who had a notable son which he called nor to flop 'em down agin." nis“ Kozle,” was thereafter known by the cognomen of “Stuff!" cried the leader ; “ What held 'em ?” · Kozle Hantz," and was thus called to the day of his "Massy on ye! 'twas the power !" cried the lad, and death : nay, his children and grandchildren bear the with a half groan of fear, his auditors looked around name to this day.
them. One evening a party of scouts from the lower coun- “I tell ye truth; the Rifle-maker and Schneider try, was approaching the little settlement where the Peter is both able to make any man stop still, and not Setzlers lived. The country had suffered much from the move hand or foot-for as long as they please! It's not depredations of these marauders, who properly belonged to be done in the day; for as soon as it began to to neither party in the Revolutionary struggle, and be morning, Metz and the other fellow got back their robbed and murdered according to their lawless will; strength like a flash o' lightnin'. But the old man had for their watchword was, “ free plunder.” The party come out, and gin 'em a scoldin', and as he bade 'em halted a few moments at the house of a farmer called begone, and come back no more, the day broke and they Abraham Chapman, for ret hm and in the brief were free!" conversation that ensued, their purpose to assault the The scouts begged their leader to take warning, and house of John Setzler, leaked out.
not attempt anything against these Mysterious Brothers; “I reckon I have seen you afore,” said one of the but he had heard they had money in the Rifle-maker's. Forkers, who had been standing by the horses' heads. cabin, and he was determined to venture all risks. "You come from the Fork between the Enoree and Though he laughed at their superstitious terrors, he was Tygar."
not free from their influence, but to drown them, The ruffian laid his hand on his weapon, but on second he sprang to horse, and the party rode rapidly on. thoughts nodded, and grinned a savage recognition to The night was very dark, but a candle was burning the person who seemed to know him, inly resolving in the house of the Rifle-inaker. As they came up, the that he should perish for it.
marauders drew a little back quite suddenly, for they “ You be going to the Rifle-maker's! Now, do you saw the outline of the old man's head, sitting at the know who helps them fellows—him and his brother ?” aperture which served for a window. asked the Forker.
Their leader took no thought, but dashing up, sprang “ The Devil! I suppose!”.
from his horse, and presented a pistol at the old man's “ Hush—not so loud; he may hear you ! but it is the breast. “I want your hard money!” he cried, with a fact. I tell you, sirs, the whole country knows it." brutal oath. “Knows what?"
“ Take it!” said the deep hollow voice of the RifleThat nothing can ever succeed agin 'em. They maker. The scouts waited for the report of the pistol. have the power !”
"Shoot !-why don't you shoot ! you rascal ?" cried “The devil's power ?" and the marauders looked at the same deep voice. each other anxiously, till the leader burst into a laugh. There was no reply.
“Ah! you had better take care!" said one of the lads Without a word more, the scouts jerked about their belonging to the house. “ You may be served like | horses, and fled as on the wings of the wind. Had they Mete and Ridlehober."
not beheld their leader paralyzed, as the dying gleam