Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Stories and Tales >> Ephraim Bartlett, the Edisto Raftsman >> Page 417

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Page 417

Short Stories | U of South Carolina P | 1974
Transcription EPH RAI M BARTLETT417
Soon a matter of twenty dogs burst out of the woods, and pushed
directly for the house as if they knowed it; and then came the riders
five in all four white men and one nigger. Ef I was scared at
the sounds afore, the sight of these people didn't make me feel any
easier. They were well enough to look at in the face, but, lord
bless you, they were dressed in sich an outlandish fashion! Why,
even the nigger had on short breeches, reaching only to his knees,
and then stockings blue and red streaked, fitting close to his legs;
and sich a leg, all the calf turned in front, and the long part of
his foot pretty much where the heel ought to be. Then he had
buckles at his knees, and buckles on his shoes, jest for all the world
like his master. And he wore a cap like his master, though not quite
so handsome, and a great coat of bright indigo blue, with the cuffs
and collar trimmed with yellow. His breeches were of a coarse buff,
the same color with the gentlemen, only theirs were made with a
finer article the raal buff, I reckon. They had on red coats that
were mighty pretty, and all their horns were silver mounted. Our
Governor and his officers, nowadays, never had on prettier regi-
mentals. Well, up they rode, never taking any more notice of me
than ef I was a dog; and I saw the nigger throw down a fine buck
from his saddle. There was only one, but he had a most powerful
head of horns. While they were all getting off their horses, and the
nigger was taking 'em, I turned quietly into the house ag'in to try if
a kick or two could get Bram out of his blankets. But, lord have
mercy, when I look in, what should I see but another nigger there
spreading a table with a cloth as white as the driven snow, and
a-setting plates, and knives, and forks, and spoons, and bottles, and
salt, and pepper, and mustard, and horse-radish, all as ef he had a
cupboard somewhere at his hand. I was amazed, and worse than
amazed, when I seed my own jug among the other things. But I
hadn't the heart to touch it. For that matter, the nigger that was
setting out the things kept as sharp an eye upon me as ef I was a
thief. But soon the dishes began to show upon the table. There were
the pots upon the fire, the gridiron, the Dutch oven, and everything,
and the most rousing fire, and Bram still asleep in the corner, and
knowing nothing about it. I was all over in a sweat. Soon, the
gentlemen began to come in, but they took no sort of notice of
me; and I slipped out and looked at their horses; but as the nigger