Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter XIX / From Ship to Shore >> Page 471

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Page 471

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription THE CHARLESTON CURFEW. 471
it a yellow-fever season, you should not be here. If you say so,
we will take a week or so for the city and the island, before
we go to the mountain region."
Hem ! Ali ! When Miss Burroughs�do you think to
leave the city for your excursion to the interior ?' queried Duyck-
man of the lady.
" 0, not for a week or two.�
Gotham nodded to me as if to say
" That will just suit us."
Hark ! the gun ! Captain Berry has a private signal on his
arrival which he communicates to all the public ! Well, my
friends, our voyage is over. In ten minutes we shall be ashore."
I hear the ringing of bells," said Duyckman. A fire, per-
haps�or possibly the salutation of the city and its welcome,
in response to the gun of the captain. Your method of return-
ing a salute."
No ! it is our curfew ? That bell rings for ten o'clock. It
is a signal to Sambo and Cuffy, the darkies, that they had bet-
ter retire to their several lodgings for the night ; and when it
begins, at a quarter before the stroke of ten, the parties thus
especially notified begin to make tracks homeward. It is quite
an amusing picture to see them, at that hour, scattering, each
taking his separate way. One hurries home, bearing a string
of blackfish. He Las pleasant anticipations of a fry that night.
Another carries a basket filled with a variety ; he will scarcely
be willing that you should see what be carries. A third has a
bottle of whiskey in one pocket, and a pound of tobacco in the
other. And, thus armed and charged, they linger with their
comrades and acquaintance about the streets, till the stroke of
that curfew bell. A last word, a hurried shake of the hand, as
they meet and pass, and they retire from the sight as the bell
ceases, or rather, when the tattoo ceases which always is
beaten when the ringing closes. But of Charleston more
anon. Give your arm to Miss Burroughs. This is her brother
who approaches. Her carriage is on the wharf. I will see for
ours."

Our chronicle, for the present, is completed. The raconteur
is silent. The circle is dispersed. The spirits have nothing fur-