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Recently Eli Rudgis had been thinking a De coon he hab er eejit wife, good deal about Grim; for, as the war con- An' she nebber comb her hah in 'er life, tinued, it grew in his mind that the South was
Keep er-hocin' yo' co'n, honey. going to lose the fight. He had only recently heard of President Lincoln's emancipation
“An’ de coon say: 'I knows w'at I 'll do,'
Hoe yo' co'n, honey, proclamation, and with that far-seeing pru
An' he wife she squall out, 'I does too!' dence characteristic of a certain order of An' she snatch 'im poorty nigh in two, provincial intellect he was considering how
Keep er-hoein' yo' co'n, honey. best to forestall the effect of freedom if it should come, as he feared it would. Grim “ So dat coon he allus recollec', was his property, valued at about eight hun
Hoe yo' co'n, honey, dred dollars in "good money," or in Confed
Ef he talk too loud he mus' expec'
She scratch he eyes an' wring he neck, erate scrip at, perhaps, two or three thousand dollars, more or less. He shrank from selling
Keep er-hoein' yo' co'n, honey!” the negro, for in his dry, peculiar way he was fond of him ; but, on the other hand, he could
Rudgis listened stoically enough, so far as not consent to lose so much money on the out- facial expression went; but when the low, come of an issue not of his own making. It softly melodious song was done, he shook his can readily be imagined how, with ample lei- head, and smiled aridly. sure for reflection, and with no other problem
“ Got more sense 'an er Philadelphy larto share his attention, Rudgis gradually buried yer,” he muttered under his breath, “an' he's himself, so to speak, in this desire to circum- got some undertakin' inter that noggin er vent and nullify emancipation, in so far as it his'n. S'pect I hev ter do somethin' er 'nother would affect his ownership of Grim, when it wi' him, er he 's er-goin' ter git the best o should come.
me.” Grim was far more knowing, far better in
He drew away at his wheezing pipe, leanformed, and much more of a philosopher, than ing his chin, thinly fringed with grizzled beard, his master gave him credit for being. By some
in his left hand, and propping that arm with means, as occult as reliable, he had kept per
his knee. His typical mountain face wore a fectly abreast of the progress of the great, puzzled, half-worried, half-amused expression. weltering, thundering, death-dealing tempest
“Dern 's black pictur',” he continued inauof the war, and in his heart he felt the com
dibly, though his lips moved; “ he air a-coning day of deliverance, the jubilee of eternal siderin' freedom right now.” freedom for his race. Incapable, perhaps, of
“Whi' man tuk me fer er fool, seeing clearly the true aspect of what was prob
Hoe yo' co'n, honey, ably in store for him, he yet experienced a
Wo’k me like er yaller mule, change of prospect that affected every fiber
An' never gi' me time ter cool, of his imagination, and opened, so to say,
Keep er-hoein' yo' con, honey,” every pore of his sensibility. Naturally wary, suspicious, and quick to observe signs, he had hummed Grim in that tender falsetto of his. been aware lately that his master was revolv- There was a haze in the air, a Maytime shiming some scheme which in all probability would mer over the Pocket and up the terraced effect a change in their domestic relations, to slopes of the mountains. Suddenly a heavy the extent, possibly, of severing the tie which booming, like distant thunder, tumbled as if for so long had bound together the lord and in long, throbbing waves across the peaks, and the thrall of Lone Ridge Pocket.
fell into the little drowsy cove. “He studyin' 'bout er-sellin' me,” he solilo- "W'at dat, Mars Rudgis ? 'Fore de Lor'! quized, as he lingered over his task of basket- w'at dat?” cried the negro, leaping to his feet, mending after Rudgis had gone away, “an' and staring stupidly, his great mouth open, his he fink he er-gwine ter fool dis ol coon. Well, long arms akimbo. 'fore de Lor', mebbe he will.”
Eli Rudgis took his pipe-stem from his " What ye mutterin' thar, Grim ? " called mouth, and sat in a harkening attitude. “Hit's
“ the master from his seat on the veranda. thet air war er-comin',” he presently said, and * What ye growlin' 'bout, lak er pup over er resumed his smoking and reflections. ham-bone?"
"De good Lor', Mars Rudgis, w'at we “ Nuffin', sah; I jes tryin' fo' ter ketch dat gwine ter do ?” stammered Grim, his heavy chune w'at I be'n er-l'arnin'."
countenance growing strangely ashen over its Then, to clinch the false statement, Grim corrugated blackness. began humming:
“Shet erp, an'mend that there basket," “De coon he hab er eejit wife, growled the master. “Goin' ter mek ye wo'k Hoe yo co'n, honey,
like the devil er-beatin' tan-bark while I kin;
fer thet 's yer frien's er-comin' ter free ye, a good bed, sufficient clothing, and unlimited Grim, sure 's shootin'.”
tobacco — what more could he want ? The African bowed his head over his light His master, however, observed that he was task, and remained thoughtfully silent, while doing a great deal of thinking; that lately he the dull pounding in the far distance increased was busying his mind with some absorbing to an incessant roar, vague, wavering, sugges- problem, and from certain signs and indications tive, awful.
the fact appeared plain that Grim was making Rudgis thought little of the wider significance ready to meet the day of freedom. Rudgis saw accompanying that slowly rolling tempest of this with a dull, deep-seated sentimental pang destruction; his mental vision was narrowed mixed with anger and resentment. Years of to the compass of the one subject which lately companionship in that lonely place had enhad demanded all his powers of consideration. gendered a fondness for his slave of which he Was it possible for him to hold Grim as his was not fully aware, and out of which was now slave despite the proclamation of emancipa- issuing a sort of bewilderment of mind and soul. tion, and notwithstanding the triumph of the Would Grim indeed forsake him, desert him to Federal armies ?
go away to try the doubtful chances of a new “ Ef I try ter take 'im down the country ter order of things? This question was supplesell 'im, they 'll conscrip' me inter the war,” he mented by another based on a different stratum argued to himself,“ an'ef I stays yer them'fernal of human selfishness. Rudgis, like all mounYankees 'll set 'im free. Seem lak it air pow'ful tain-men, had a narrow eye to profit and loss. close rubbin', an' dern ef I know what ter do! The money represented by Grim as his slave I air kind o’’twixt the skillet an' the coals." possessed a powerful influence; it was the
Day after day he sat smoking and cogitating, larger part of his fortune. while Grim pottered at this or that bit of labor. Grim, on his part, watched his master as the He had an unconquerable aversion to going tide of the war flowed on through the mouninto the army, a thing he had avoided, partly tain-gaps far to the east of the Pocket; his calcuby reason of his age and partly by one per- lations were simpler and more directly personal sonal shift or another, after the exigencies of than those of his master. Of course things could the Confederacy had led to the conscription of not remain in this situation very long. Grim “able-bodied men " regardless of age. He felt was the first to speak straight to the subject.
" that things were growing to desperate straits “Mars Rudgis," said he one day, “yo' be’n in the low country, and he feared to show him- 'siderin' erbout sellin' me." self outside his mountain fastness lest a con- This direct accusation took the master unscript officer might nab him and send him to the front. Not that he was a coward; but in “Wha-wha-what's that air ye air er-sayin', the high, dry atmosphere of the hill-country ye ol' whelp?” he spluttered, almost dropthere lingered a sweet and inextinguishable ping his pipe. waft of loyalty to the old flag, which touched "Yo'be'n er-finkin''at I 's gittin' close onthe minds of many mountaineers with a vague ter de freedom line, an' ye s'pose yo''d better sense of the enormity of rebellion against the git w'at ye kin fo' me, yah-yah-yah-ee-oorp!" government of Washington and Jackson. And and the black rascal broke forth with a mighty yet they were Southerners, good fighters, guffaw, bending himself almost double, and Yankee-haters, and clung to the right of prop- slapping his hands together vigorously. “But erty in their negroes with a tenacity as tough yo''s 'feared dey git ye an' mek yo' tote er as the sinews of their hardy limbs. They were, gun, an' 'at yo''d git de stuffin' shot outen yo' indeed, far more stubborn in this last regard ef yo' try take me down de country, yah-yahthan any of the great slave-owners of the low yah-ee-ee-oorp!” country, owing, no doubt, to their narrow, pro- “Shet erp! What ye mean? Stop thet air vincial notions of personal independence, which sq’allin', er I 'll —". felt no need for the aid or the interference of “Yah-yah-yah-ee-eep! I done cotch onter the law in their private concerns.
yo' ca'c'lation, Mars Rudgis, 'fo' de Lor' I has, Grim was not a typical slave, but he was oh! Yah-yah-yah-yah-ha-eep! An' yo' fink a legitimate instance of the slavery known in I 's er eejit all dis time, yah-yah-yah! Oh the secluded region of the Southern mountain- gi' 'long, Mars Rudgis, yo' cayn't fool dis country. He was as free, in all but name, as chicken, yah-ha-yah-ha-ha-ha-ee-eer-pooh!” were most illiterate laborers of that day, barring Rudgis tried several times to stop this flow that his skin and the Southern traditions set of accusative mirth, but at last, quite confused, him on a plane far below, and quite detached he stood tall and gaunt, with a sheepish grin from, that of the lowest white men. He had on his dry, wrinkled face, gazing at the writhno bonds that galled him personally; plenty ing negro as he almost screamed out his sento eat, just enough work to keep him robust, tentious but fluent revelation.
“I done be’n er-watchin' yo' like er sparrer- The officer leaned over his saddle-bow, and hawk watchin' er peewee, Mars Rudgis, an' I looked from one to the other of the culprits. say ter myself: Jes see 'im er-figerin' how “Yes, sah; it wa' bony-hokus 'at we 's ermuch I 's wo'f, an' how much he gwine ter lose playin', 'zac'ly dat, sah,” continued Grim. w'en I goes free.' An' I done be'n jes er-bustin' “ Playing what ? ” grimly inquired the ofover it all dis time, yah-yah-yah-ee-ee!" ficer.
“Grim,” said Rudgis, presently, with slow, "Rokus-pokus, sah." emphatic expression, “I air er-goin' 'mejitly “You lying old scamp,"cried the officer, glarter give ye one whirpin' 'at ye 'll ricomember es ing at him, "you 're trying to deceive me!" long es they 's breath in yer scurvy ol' body!” “ Ax Mars Rudgis, now; ax him, sah."
They were standing on the veranda at the “Humph !” and the Federal turned to the time. Rudgis turned into the entry, and imme- master. “What do you say, sir?" diately came out with a ramrod in his hand. “Tell 'im, Mars Rudgis; tell 'im 'bout
“ Now fer yer sass ye air er-goin' ter ketch w'at we 's er-playin',” pleaded Grim. hit,” he said, in that cold, rasping tone that Rudgis moved his lips as if to speak, but means so much. “Stan' erp yer an' take yer they were dry and made no sound. He licked med'cine."
them with his furred, feverish tongue. Never Grim went down on his knees and began to before had he been so thoroughly frightened. beg; his mirth had vanished; he was trembling violently. Rudgis never had whipped him.
"Fo' de Lor’ sake, Mars Eli, don' w'irp de po' ol chil’! I jes funnin', Mars Rudgis; I jes want ter see w'at yo'gwine say. 1—"
At that moment there was a great clatter of iron-shod hoofs at little yard gate; the next, three or four horses bounded over the low fence and dashed up to the veranda.
" Please, Mars Rudgis, don'w'irp me! I did n' mean no harm, Mars Rudgis, 'deed I did n'! Oh, fo' de Lor' sake!"
“ Ha! there! stop that!” commanded a loud, positive voice.
Rudgis had already looked that way. Hesaw some mounted soldiers, wearing fra bile blue uniforms and bearing bright guns, glaring at him.
“O, Mars Rudgis, I never gwine do so no mo', don'w'irp me! don'w'irp me!" con- “ Are you dumb ? ” stormed the officer, tinued Grim, paying no heed to the soldiers. again handling his weapon. “Can't you "Le' me off dis yer time, fo' de goo' Lor' speak ? ” sake!"
“ Hit were hoky-poky,” gasped Rudgis. “ If you strike that negro one blow, I 'll Dah, now! Dah, now! Mebbe yo''s shoot a hole through you quicker than light- sat'sfied, sah. W'a' 'd I tol yo'?” cried Grim, ning!” roared one of the men, who appeared wagging his head and gesticulating. “We 's to be an officer, at the same time leveling his jes er-playin' dat leetle game.” pistol.
The officer wanted some information about Rudgis dropped the ramrod as if he had a road over the mountain, so he made Grim been suddenly paralyzed. Grim sprang to his saddle a mule and go with him to show the feet with the agility of a black cat.
way. As he rode off he called back to Rudgis: “What does this mean?” demanded the “ This man 's as free as you are, and he officer, showing a gleam of anger in his eyes, need n't come back if he don't want to.” his voice indicating no parleying mood. When they were quite gone, and the last
Rudgis stood there, pale, stolid, silent, his sound of their horses' feet had died away mouth open, his arms akimbo.
down in the straggling fringe of trees at the "Lor', sah, we 's jes er-foolin'," said Grim, foot of the hill, Rudgis picked up his ramrod seeing that his master could not find a word and looked at it quizzically, as if he expected to say. “We's er-playin' hoky-poky.” it to speak. Slowly his face relaxed, and a
queer smile drew it into leathery wrinkles.
“ Hit were hoky-poky, by gum!” he muttered. “The dern ole scamp!'
Presently he filled his pipe, and lighted it, grinning all the while, and saying:
“ The triflin' ol' rooster he hed half er dozen dif'ent names fer it; but hit were hoky-poky jes the same. The dern old coon!”
ENGRAVED BY J. F. JUNGLING,
The day passed, likewise the night; but Grim did not return. A week, a month, six months; no Grim, no mule. Sherman had swept through Georgia, and on up through the Carolinas; Johnston and Lee had surrendered. Peace had fallen like a vast silence after the awful din of war. The worn and weary soldiers of the South were straggling back to their long-neglected homes to resume as best they could the broken threads of peaceful lives.
Rudgis missed Grim more as a companion than as a slave. He mourned for him, in a way, recalling his peculiarities, and musing over that one superb stroke of wit by which, perhaps, his life had been saved. Never did he fail, at the end of such a reverie, to
" PRESENTLY HE FILLED HIS PIPE, AND LIGHTED IT." repeat, more sadly and tenderly each time, "Hit There was the ring of genuine delight in the were hoky-poky, blame his ol' hide!” The negro's voice — the timbre of loyal sentiment humor of this verbal reference was invariably too sweet for expression in written language. indicated by a peculiar rising inflection in pro- He slid from the mule's back,- not the same nouncing were, by which he meant to accen- mule that he had ridden away, but an older tuate lovingly Grim's prompt prevarication. and poorer one, and scrambled through the
Spring had come again to the mountains, lop-sided gate. bringing its gush of greenery, its mellow sun- “Well, by dad!” was all Rudgis could say. shine, and its riotous birds. Into the Pocket“ Well, by dad !” blew a breeze soft, fragrant, dream-burdened, “ Tol' yo' dey could n't sot dis niggah free, eddying like a river of sweets around the did n' I?” cried Grim, as he made a dive for lonely, embowered cabin.
both of his old master's hands. “I's come Early one morning Rudgis was smoking in back ter 'long ter yo' same lak I allus did. his accustomed seat on the veranda. In his Yah sah; yah sah.” shirt-sleeves, bareheaded and barefooted, his Rudgis arose slowly from his seat and cotton shirt open wide at throat and bosom, straightened up his long, lean form so that he he looked like a bronze statue of Emaciation, towered above the short, sturdy negro. He so collapsed, wrinkled, and sear was he. His looked down at him in silence for some moRoman nose was the only vigorous feature of ments, his face twitching strangely. Slowly the his unkempt and retrospective face.
old-time expression began to appear around The sound of a mule's feet trotting up the his mouth and in his eyes. With a quick step little stony road did not attract his curiosity, he went into the house, and returned almost albeit few riders passed that way; but when instantly, bearing a ramrod in his hand. Grim came suddenly in sight, it was an appari- "Well, Grim," he said, with peculiar emtion that relaxed every fiber of Rudgis's frame. phasis, “ef ye air still my prop'ty, an' ye don't He dropped lower in the old chair, his arms objec', s'posin' we jes finish up that air leetle fell limp, and his mouth opened wide, letting game er hoky-poky what we was er-playin' fall the cob-pipe. He stared helplessly. w'en them Yankees kem an' bothered us."
“Yah I is, Mars Rudgis; got back at las'. How ye do, Mars Rudgis ?"
WHAT THE GOVERNMENT IS DOING
HE farmer was never right practice of agriculture, and has asked the before so prominent a lawmakers for such protection and help as it figure in the United is in their power to afford.
States. This fact is It is the purpose of this article to state very 03 all the more note- briefly the principal points of some of the more
worthy when consid- important legislation bearing upon agricultural ered 'in connection interests. Space, however, makes it necessary with the decreasing to leave a large and important part of the field proportion of our uncovered. By special exception, railroad le
population living in gislation is treated in another article. Nor will the country, and with the growing importance any attempt be made to trace the effects of leof our city industries as compared with agricul- gislation, which, though of great influence on ture. The explanation is to be found in the fact the welfare of the farmer, yet touches his inter"that the United States has just reached a point ests only in common with those of others. This of marked change in agricultural conditions. exception will throw out any consideration of
For more than a century the pioneer farmer the general effect of the tariff on the tiller of the has been working his way, year by year, toward soil. The specific protection meant for his dithe West. Beginning on the Atlantic coast, he rect benefit will be noticed, but it will not be cut the forests of New England, exhausted the possible to touch the still more important and fair fields of Virginia, tried and passed by the more difficult consideration of the net results fertile valleys of central New York, stopped of the McKinley Act, arising from giving him for a time in the Ohio Valley, completed the control of the home market with increased conquest of Kansas, quickly took possession prices for some of his products, and at the of Nebraska and Montana, and now has come same time requiring him to pay increased face to face with the agriculture of the Pacific prices for some of the articles which he conSlope. During all this time he has planted his sumes. Another important class of laws is seed and gathered his crops without giving a composed of those relating to banking and thought to the destruction his methods were money. The changes which are asked in these bringing upon the fertility of the soil. The ex- lines deserve the respectful and careful conhaustion of the soil was a matter of no serious sideration both of the people at large and of import, for to him its only meaning was an easy Congress, but they can not be considered here. move to a new location. We of to-day see the Another tempting topic which the writer must birth of agriculture in the United States. The not discuss is the fairness to the farmer of the farming of the past was land-skimming; the laws which distribute the burdens of national, farming of the future must be land-culture. State, and local taxation. Another body of Suddenly the old pioneer farmer has found the laws of the greatest interest is State legislaplay played out, and the present wide-spread tion; but all that can be done in this article interest in the farmer is the manifestation of is to make mention of some of the more inthe fact that our agriculture — still the great- teresting subjects which it covers. Prominent est of our industries — is under the necessity among these at present are the making and of accommodating itself to new conditions. the care of country roads; and if it be true, as
So long as the supply of virgin land was suf- stated, that it often costs more to haul grain ficient, agriculture asked few favors. The East- ten miles by wagon to the railroad than to ern and Middle States have long been studying carry it by rail and steamer from the interior methods for preserving the soil, diversification of the United States to Liverpool, it will be of products, and means of protection from plant seen that this subject deserves even more atdiseases, insect pests, and other enemies. But tention than it is now receiving. Other subit is only recently that crop disasters or low jects are the control of the fertilizer trade, the prices, affecting the great staple-producing re- inspection of milk, butter, meats, and other gions of the West, have brought the farming products, the liabilities of owners of stray population to an agreement in the demand for stock, the necessity of fences, the regulation help. This demand has called men of science of the slaughtering of animals, the duties and to the study of the principles that underlie the privileges of grain-elevators and other public VOL. XLIV.- 61.