Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Stories and Tales >> ''Bald-Head Bill Bauldy,'' And How He Went Through the Flurriday Campaign! >> Page 469

image of pageExplore Inside

Page 469

Short Stories | U of South Carolina P | 1974
Transcription BALD-HEAD BILL BAULDY469
This old African, who claimed to have been a Prince in his own
country, as was the boast of nearly every old African I ever knew,
had grown saucy from age and infirmity. His very impudence finally
became so amusing, as to disarm the anger of those who provoked
it; and, day by day, Cudjo grew more and more audacious ; showing
but little reverence for white or black, old or young, man or woman;
wagging his tongue with wondrous familiarity in all directions, with
a license as free as that of the wind which blows on all it listeth.
That he was a good flat-boatman and did his duty at the ferry,
reconciled all parties, in some degree, to his impertinences, even where
his humour might have failed to do so!— Cudjo, by the way,
was not his princely African name, but as he died finally, in the very
odour of sanctity with that name, in the bosom of the Fetisch Church
of Mumbo Jumbo, we respect his memory too much to declare his
regal title or royal claim, as a Prince among the Gullahs!
"We were crossing McCord's Ferry, on the Congaree, on one
occasion," said Major Henry, "Col. McCord and myself, when there
was a heavy freshet, the waters being very high; so high that polling
was difficult; the river was roughened by a heavy blow, and the
winds swept our poor little flat about, making it very difficult, and
indeed, somewhat doubtful, if we should be able to make the opposite
shore, or even regain that which we had left. The boat was old and
rotten, and one of the poles had broken. Two only remained, and these
were managed by Cudjo, and a young assistant negro named Tony,
which name was sometimes abridged to `Scrub.' Cudjo had but
little of the strength of youth remaining, and the vigour of his
arms bore no sort of proportion to that of his tongue.
"Cudjo was in a strait on the present occasion. All his labours
seemed to be fruitless in impelling the flat, which simply whirled
about, as it were, in a circle, making no headway; and, after the work
of a goodly hour, we found ourselves within a few yards of the
point of land from which we had taken our departure.
"Cudjo, suddenly threw down his pole, put his arms akimbo, and
confronting McCord, said as abruptly as gruffly,
" `hisser McCode, de white people ob dis country, is jis' so many
bloody big fool! Dey hab no sense!'
" `What moves you to think so now, Cudjo?'