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The Continental Monthly, Vol. 2, No. 2, August, 1862 Devoted to Literature and National Policy   By:

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VOL. II. AUGUST, 1862. No. II.



'My God! drowned herself and her child!' exclaimed the Colonel, with deep emotion.

'Come, my friend, let us go to them at once,' I said, laying my hand on his arm, and drawing him unresistingly away.

A pair of mules was speedily harnessed to a large turpentine wagon, and the horses we had ridden the day before were soon at the door. When the Colonel, who had been closeted for a few minutes with Madam P , came out of the house, we mounted and rode off with the 'corn cracker.'

The native's farm was located on the stream which watered my friend's plantation, and was about ten miles distant. Taking a by road which led to it through the woods, we rode rapidly on in advance of the wagon.

'Sort o' likely gal, thet, warn't she?' remarked the turpentine maker, after a while.

'Yes, she was,' replied the Colonel, in a half abstracted manner, ' very likely.'

'Kill harself 'case har man war shot by thet han'som overseer uv yourn?'

'Not altogether for that, I reckon,' replied my host,' I fear the main reason was her being put at field work, and abused by the driver.'

'Thet comes uv not lookin' arter things yerself, Cunnel. I 'tend ter my niggers parsonally, and they keer a durned sight more fur this world then fur kingdom cum. Ye cudn't hire 'em ter kill 'emselves fur no price.'

'Well,' replied the Colonel, in a low tone, 'I did look after her. I put her at full field work myself.'

'By !' cried the native, reining his horse to a dead stop, and speaking in an excited manner; 'I doan't b'lieve it, 'taint 't all like ye; yer a d d seceshener thet comes uv yer bringin' up; but ye've a soul bigger'n a meetin' house, and ye cudn't hev put thet slim, weakly gal inter th' woods, no how!'

The Colonel and I instinctively halted our horses, as the 'corn cracker' stopped his.

'It is true, Barnes,' said my host, in a low voice, 'I did do it!'

'May God Almighty furgive ye, Cunnel,' said the native, starting his horse forward, ' I wudn't hev dun it fur all yer niggers, by .'

The Colonel made no reply, and we rode on the rest of the way in silence.

The corn cracker's house a low, unpainted, wooden building stood near the little stream, and in the centre of a cleared plot of some ten acres. This plot was surrounded by a post and rail fence, and in its front portion was a garden, which grew a sufficient supply of vegetables to serve a family of twenty persons. In the rear, and at the sides of the dwelling, were about seven acres, devoted mainly to corn and potatoes. In one corner of the lot were three tidy looking negro houses, and close beside them I noticed a low shed, near which a large quantity of the stalks of the tall, white corn, common to that section, was stacked in the New England fashion. Browsing on the corn stalks were three sleek, well kept milch cows and a goat.

About four hundred yards from the farmer's house, and on the bank of the little run, which there was quite wide and deep, stood a turpentine distillery, and around it were scattered a large number of rosin and turpentine barrels, some filled and some empty. A short distance higher up, and far enough from the 'still' to be safe in the event of a fire, was a long, low, wooden shed, covered with rough, unjointed boards, placed upright, and unbattened. This was the 'spirit house,' used for the storage of the spirits of turpentine when barreled for market, and awaiting shipment. In the creek, and filling nearly one half of the channel in front of the spirit shed, was a raft of pine timber, on which were laden some two hundred barrels of rosin. On such rude conveyances the turpentine maker sent his produce to Conwayboro. There the timber raft was sold to my wayside friend, Captain B , and its freight shipped on board vessel for New York... Continue reading book >>

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