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And so the “set” proceeds--its length
Determined by the dancers' strength;
And all agreed to yield the palm
and skill, to “ Georgy Sam,”.
Who stamps so hard, and leaps so high,
« Des watch him!" is the wond'ring cry-
De nigger mus' be, for a fac',
Own cousin to a jumpin'-jack !"
On, on, the restless fiddle sounds-
Still chorused by the curs and hounds-
Dance after dance succeeding fast,
Till “supper” is announced at last.
That scene--but why attempt to show it?
The most inventive modern poet,
In fine new words whose hope and trust is,
Could form no phrase to do it justice !
When supper ends--that is not soon-
The fiddle strikes the same old tune;
The dancers pound the floor again,
With all they have of might and main;
Old gossips, almost turning pale,
Attend Aunt Cassy's gruesome tale
Of conjurors, and ghosts, and devils,
That in the smoke-house hold their revels;
Each drowsy baby droops its head,
Yet scorns the very thought of bed :-
So wears the night; and wears so fast,
All wonder when they find it passed,
And hear the signal sound, to go,
From what few cocks are left to crow.
Then, one and all, you hear them shout:
“Hi! Booker! fotch de banjo out,
An' gib us one song 'fore we goes-
One ob de berry bes' you knows !"
Responding to i he welcome call,
He takes the banjo from the wall,
And tunes the strings with skill and care-
Then strikes them with a master's air;
And tells, in melody and rhyme,
This legend of the olden time:
Go’wax fiddle!—folks is tired o' hearin' you a-squawkin',
Keep silence fur yo’ betters--don't you heah de banjo talkin?
About de 'possum's tail, she's gwine to lecter--ladies, listen!
About de ha'r what isn't dar, an' why de ha'r is missin':
“Dar's gwine to be a oherflow," said Noah, lookin’ solemn-
For Noah tuk the “Herald," an' he read de ribber column--
An' so he sot his hands to work a-clarin' timber-patches, An' 'lowed he's gwine to build a boat to beat de steameh
“ Natchez." Ol' Noah kep' a-nailin', an'a-chippin', an'a-sawin'; An'all de wicked neighbors kepa-laughin' an'a-pshawin'; But Noah didn't min' 'em-knowin' whut wuz gwine to
happen: An' forty days an' forty nights de rain it kep’a-drappin'. Now, Noah had done cotched a lot ob ebry sort o' beas'esOb all de shows a-trabbelin', it beat 'em all to pieces! He had a Morgan colt, an' sebral head o' Jarsey cattleAn' druv 'em 'board de Ark as soon's he heered de thunder
rattle. Den sech anoder fall ob rain !-it come so awful hebby, De ribber rizimmejitly, an' busted troo de lebbee; De people all wuz drownded out—'cep' Noah an’de critters, An' men he'd hired to work de boat-an' one to mix de
bitters. De Ark she kep’a-sailin', an' a-sailin', an' a-sailin'; De lion got his dander up, an' like to bruk de palin'-De sarpints hissed-de painters yelled--tell, what wid all de
fussin', You c'u'dn't hardly heah de mate a-bossin' 'roun' an'cussin'. Now, Ham, de only nigger whut wuz runnin' on de packet, Got lonesome in de barber-shop, an'c'u’dn't stan’de racket; An’so, for to amuse he-se'f, he steamed some wood an' bent it, An' soon he had a banjo made--de fust dat wuz invented. He wet de ledder, stretched it on; made bridge, an' screws,
an' apron; An' fitted in a proper neck--'twuz berry long an' tap'rin'; He tuk some tin, an' twisted him a thimble for to ring it; An’den de mighty question riz: how wuz he gwine to string it? De 'possum had as fine a tail as dis dat I's a-singin'; De ha’rs so long, an thick, an strong,--des fit for banjo
stringin'; Dat nigger shaved 'em off as short as wash-day-dinner graces; An' sorted ob 'em by de size, frum little E's to basses. He strung her, tuned her, struck a jig,—'twuz “Nebher min'
de wedder"She soun' like forty-lebben bands a-playin' all togedder; Some went to pattin'; some to dancin'; Noah called dle
figgers An' Ham he sot an' knocked de tune, de happiest ob niggers! Now, sence dat time-it's mighty strange--dere's not de
slightes' showin' Ob any ha'r at all upon de 'possum's tail a-growin’;
An' curi's, too,--dat nigger's ways: his people nebber los'
'emFor whar you finds de nigger-dar's de banjo an' de 'possum!
The night is spent; and as the day
Throws up the first faint flash of gray,
The guests pursue their homeward way;
And through the field beyond the gin,
Just as the stars are going in,
See Santa Claus departing-grieving-
His own dear Land of Cotton leaving.
His work is done-he fain would rest,
Where people know and love him best-
Ho pauses-listens-looks about-
But go he inust: his pass is out;
So, coughing down the rising tears,
Hé climbs the fence and disappears.
And thus observes a colored youth--
(The common sentiment, in sooth):
Oh! what a blessin' 'tw'u'd ha' been,
Ef Santy had been born a twin!
We'd hab two Chrismuses a yeah-
Or p'r'aps one brudder'd settle heah?!"
GUALBERTO'S VICTORY.-ELEANOR C. DONNELLY.
A mountain pass so narrow that a man
Riding that way to Florence, stooping, can
Touch with his hand the rocks on either side,
And pluck the flowers that in the crannies hide.
Here, on Good Friday, centuries ago,
Mounted and armed, John Gualbert met his foe;
Mounted and armed as well, but riding down
To the fair city from the woodland brown,
This way and that, swinging his jeweled whip,
A gay old love-song on his careless lip,
And on his charger's neck the reins loose thrown.
An accidental meeting; but the sun
Burned on their brows, as if it had been one
Of deep design, so deadly was the look
Of mutual hate their olive faces took ;
As (knightly courtesy forgot in wrath,)
Neither would yield his enemy the path.
“Back !" cried Gualberto. “Never!" yelled his foe;
And on the instant, sword in hand, they throw
Them from their saddles, nothing loath,
And fall to fighting, with a smothered oath.
A pair of shapely, stalwart cavaliers,
Well-matched in stature, weapons, weight, and years,
Theirs was a long, fierce struggle on the grass,
Thrusting and parrying up and down the pass;
Swaying from left to right, in combat clenched,
Till all the housings of their steeds were drenched
With brutal gore: and ugly blood-drops oozed
Upon the rocks, from head and hands contused.
But at the close, when Gualbert stopped to rest,
His heel was planted on his foeman's breast;
And looking up, the fallen courtier sees,
As in a dream, gray rocks and waving trees
Before his glazing vision faintly float,
While Gualbert's sabre glitters at his throat.
“Now die, base wretch !" the victor fiercely cries,
His heart of hate outflashing from his eyes :
“Never again, by the all-righteous Lord'!
Shalt thou with life, escape this trusty sword, -
Revenge is sweet!” And upward glanced the steel.
But ere it fell,--dear Lord! a silvery peal
Of voices chanting in the town below,
Grave, ghostly voices chanting far below,
Rose, like a fountain's spray from spires of snow,
And chimed and chimed to die in echoes slow.
In the sweet silence following the sound,
Gualberto and the man upon the ground
Glared at each other with bewildered eyes
(The glare of hunted deer on leashed hound);
And then the vanquished, struggling to arise,
Made one last effort, while his face grew dark
With pleading agony: “Gualberto! hark!
The chant-the hour—thou know'st the olden fashion,-
The monks below intone our Lord's dear Passion.
Oh' by this cross !”—and here he caught the hilt
Of Gualbert's sword,—“and by the Blood once spilt
Upon it for us both long years ago,
Forgive--forget-and spare a fallen foe!"
The face that bent above grew white and set
(Christ or the demon ?-in the balance hung):
The lips were drawn,-the brow bedewed with sweat,-.
But on the grass the harmless sword was flung:
And stooping down, the hero, generous, wrung
The outstretched hand. Then, lest he lose control
Of the but half-tamed passions of his soul,
Fled up the path way, tearing casque and coat
To ease the tempest throbbing at his throat;
Fled up the crags, as if a fiend pursued,
And paused not till he reached a chapel rude,
There, in the cool dim stillness, on his knees,
Trembling, he flings himself, and, startled, sees
Set in the rock a crucifix antique,
From which the wounded Christ bends down to speakı
“ Thou hast done well, Gualberto. For My sake
Thou didst forgive thine enemy; now take
My gracious pardon for thy times of sin,
And from this day a better life begin.”
White flashed the angels' wings above his head,
Rare, subtile perfumes through the place were shed;
And golden harps and sweetest voices poured
Their glorious hosannas to the Lord,
Who in that hour, and in that chapel quaint,
Changed by flis power, by His dear love's constraint,
Gualbert the sinner into John the saint.
MARK TWAIN VISITS NIAGARA.--S, L. CLEMENS.
Niagara Falls is one of the finest structures in the known world. I have been visiting this favorite watering-place recently, for the first time, and was well pleased. A gentleman who was with me said it was customary to be disappointed in the Falls, but that subsequent visits were sure to set that all right. He said that the first time he went, the hack fares were so much higher than the Falls, that the Falls appeared insignificant. But that is all regulated now. The hackmen have been tamed, numbered, and placarded, and blackguarded, and brought into subjection to the law, and dosed with moral principle till they are as meek as mis. sionaries. There are no more outrages and extortions. That sort of thing cured itself. It made the Falls unpopular by getting into the newspapers; and whenever a public evil achieves that sort of success for itself, its days are numbered. It became apparent that either the Falls had to be discontinued, or the hackmen had to subside. They could not dam the Falls, and so they did the hackmen. One can be comfortable and happy there now.
I drank up most of the American Fall before I learned that the waters were not considered medicinal. Why are