- Highways and Byways of the Mississippi Valley - Clifton Johnson - Google книги
- WISCONSIN GREAT RIVER ROAD
- U.S. Routes 60 and 62 in Illinois
May not contain Access Codes or Supplements. May be ex-library. Buy with confidence, excellent customer service! First Edition. Very good. Green cloth hardcover with title, illustration and photo pasted down on the front cover. Gilt stamped title and design on spine. Top edge gilt. Light edge wear to the cloth binding. Like New condition. Hard Cover. Clifton Johnson. Green cloth with gold guilt lettering on front board and spine. Stamped illutration on front board. Of course the rooms were dark as a pocket when the shutters and doors were closed, and I was curious to learn what the inmates did in cold weather.
Oh, yas, sah. This house was built since the war; but across the road was an ante-bellum wooden cabin still farther gone in decay. Many of the old-time cabins had dirt floors in their kitchens, and that was the original state of the floor in this ancient wooden cabin; but latterly the dirt had been loosely overlaid with boards. Rudeness and frailty were not confined to the dwellings of the negroes. The house where I lodged, for instance, while it was very neat and pleasant, was of the thinnest and cheapest construction. The floors teetered and made the furniture shake with every footstep.
But there was evidence of an aspiration for the beautiful; else why was the interior woodwork painted that vivid green? Art was most lavished on the best room, where were a chromo painting in a heavy gilt frame, and a framed portrait of Jefferson Davis. Scarcely less prominent were two large colored prints, one advertising a Milwaukee beer, the second a brand of whiskey.
Highways and Byways of the Mississippi Valley - Clifton Johnson - Google книги
Nearly all the family were away every evening attending a series of meetings at a church seven miles distant. Practically all the churches of the whites in that portion of Louisiana were Catholic, and the services were in French, which was the common language of the people. With few exceptions they could speak English, too, though accent and manner were slightly foreign. On the opposite side of the road from my lodging-place was a great sugar-cane field. I often lingered in this and the other fields of the region watching the workers. The cane had attained a height of about a foot, and grew in rows of straggling scrawny stalks, resembling corn, but not nearly as handsome.
At frequent intervals there were grass-grown ditches for drainage. These did not, however, conduct the surplus water to the river as one would be apt to expect, but carried it to the low swamps and lakes in the other direction. Ditches were a feature of the entire country. They networked the cultivated fields, the grasslands, town-lots, and home premises, and there was a deep drainage ditch on each side of the highways.
The ditching was especially careful and elaborate in the rice fields, most of which were now flooded and getting green with the growing grain. The rice ditches had numerous dams; and slight ridges were thrown up here and there so that the earth was everywhere kept a little under water. This water came from the Mississippi, and during flood-time flowed in of itself; but later, when the river had fallen, it would be pumped in.
There were big pipes arching over the levee and pumping engines at frequent intervals along the waterside. The sugar-cane was getting its first hoeing, and every field had its straggling group of workers. Much of the time an overseer was among the workers, directing and urging. He rode on horseback, and during labor hours was rarely out of the saddle from morn till night. His sceptre of authority is a riding-whip or a stout stick. This is primarily for the horse, but it may be applied pretty freely to the negroes on occasion. They the best plantation help in the world, most willing and most easily managed.
It was hard and sweaty work for the laborers cutting the weeds and stirring the ground with their great clumsy hoes; and from time to time a water cart made the rounds. The cart only attempted to follow the plantation roads, and thence some lad lugged the water in a pail down the field and went from one worker to another. The help included men, women, and boys. The men were paid seventy to seventy-five cents a day, the women fifty to sixty cents, and the boys thirty cents.
These youngsters were put two on a row, and then were expected to keep up with the rest. I explored all the neighborhood and visited several of the nearer villages. In clear weather it was too hot for comfort walking anywhere except on the levee. There one got the benefit of the cold air from the water, and of any breeze that happened to be blowing; and it was a delight to watch the cloud-shadows darkling across the broad and lonely stream, and to look over to the opposite bank, dim and blue in the distance, with its irregular tree-masses and its houses hidden by the levee, all but the roofs.
The muddy current hurrying on its seaward journey always carried with it an endless procession of driftwood, the refuse and wreckage of thousands of miles of streams above. Most of it consisted of bruised and shattered forest trees washed out of the banks, roots and all. A good deal was driven in to the shore by the wind, and the river margin was much bestrewn. It is customary to graze cattle and horses on the levee and any land that may lie outside; but when the water begins to get dangerously high the grazing is stopped, lest the turf be injured and the waves seek out the weakness and make a crevasse.
One evening, as I sat by the riverside on the grassy slope of the levee near the village, a colored woman climbed the embankment from the landward and stopped to look at the stream. I done got nigh three mile to walk to whar I live. She went off muttering to herself as she hobbled along. Not far from where I sat a boat was moored, and a little darkey was pushing about in it with great hilarity. I was quite entertained by his antics, but pretty soon a sprinkle of rain sent us both in search of shelter.
As we came away from the levee, we heard an uproar in a near cabin. My companion ran and peeked through the fence, and then jumped up and down and clapped his hands and seemed greatly rejoiced and edified. A little farther on another disturbance was in progress. Some colored boys who had been playing marbles had gotten into a dispute, and had not succeeded in settling their differences without fighting; but a scarecrow of a young woman with a good stout slab swooped down on them, and they all scattered. Now and then she made a dash at this one or that and told the horrible things she would do to them.
She was particularly sharp toward a boy who was her brother, and who hovered at a distance, alternately weeping and reviling. Yes, I will. Nazaire had three schools. The free negro school was in a rickety cabin, with a big chimney right in the middle of the one room. Here sixty scholars gathered, and they filled the backless benches full and left very little open floor space.
The desks that accompanied the benches were long movable affairs, with a slant on either side, so that two rows of children could sit at each desk. Underneath the desk top was a narrow shelf which served chiefly as a convenient repository for hats and sunbonnets, though chance nails driven into the rough whitewashed walls were also more or less utilized for the same purpose.
A dog lay stretched out asleep under one of the benches when I made the school a visit, and two or three of the smaller children were creeping about the floor. In the main, the pupils were quiet and orderly. Perhaps they were somewhat daunted by the stout strap which the middle-aged woman, who was their teacher, carried ready for action over her shoulder.
The chimney had a fireplace on two sides, but the cabin walls were so thin and leaky the building could hardly have been warmed effectively. Beside the chimney, on the floor, was a bucket of water and a tin can to drink from. The teacher said the water came from a near well, and that it did not taste good and was liable to make a person sick. But I noticed the children drank often and copiously.
The teacher herself and some of the girls brought water from home in bottles. Nearly all the children were barefoot. In most instances they had their dinners with them, and some walked daily from a distance of three and a half miles. Their books were shabby and few, and not many of the pupils would attain more than the bare ability to read and write and do simple sums in arithmetic.
School begins each year in March and continues without a break for seven months. In the middle of the morning and afternoon sessions the little ones were allowed to go out and play, but the rest were kept steadily to their tasks. A good many of the voters made an all-day picnic of the occasion and hovered around the schoolhouse pretty constantly.
Only about thirty votes were cast in all, and the assemblage was never large. Behind one long desk sat the three commissioners and the clerk; but their duties did not necessitate continuous attention, and they sometimes went, one or two at a time, to other parts of the room or out on the gallery. Carriages and saddle-horses were hitched along the near fences, and the voters made themselves very much at home.
They even sat on top of the school desks, and some, from force of long-gone boyhood habit, got out their jack-knives and whittled off a few slivers. At the back of the room was an array of pails and bottles and a sugar bowl. Whenever an election official got thirsty or felt the need of being braced for his duties, he retired and took a drink of whiskey or claret. Also, each person as soon as he voted was conducted thither for a reviving glass; and some imbibed from time to time afterward until they could not walk straight and their speech became thick and stammering.
Every man had a pouch of fine-cut tobacco in his pocket, and at frequent intervals rolled and smoked a cigarette. If tobacco or wine or whiskey ran low, some little negro boy was called from the road and sent off in haste to the nearest store with money in his hand to buy more. The conclave joked and gossiped and told stories and talked crops endlessly. Their manner was characteristically French, and they put much intensity of voice and gesture into all they said. One of them gave a dramatic recitation, and marched up and down the floor and entered with as much spirit into the performance as if he had been acting on the stage.
Sometimes there were heated disputes over questions of politics and the methods of voting. Men shouted and shook fists and stamped in and out of the door and grew red in the face and told certain ones exactly what they thought of them. You would not risk your life as I did and eleven others with me. So the whites determined to put a stop to such a state of affairs, and twelve men with guns went to the polls where four hundred negroes were gathered. That was a critical moment; but the blacks did not offer resistance and hastened to get away.
The men with guns were at hand all day, and saw to it that the election went as they wanted it to go. Since then a black man rarely or never comes near the polls, and the twelve men are proud of their record, and consider themselves patriots and liberators worthy of special distinction. The proceedings of election day at the schoolhouse culminated in a dinner supposed to be served at two in the afternoon; but it did not materialize until an hour later, when an old colored mammy, with a basket on her arm, made several journeys to the polling-place from a villa among the trees across the road.
She came in at the rear door and spread forth a most ample and appetizing feast of roast chicken, beef steak, potatoes, rice, shrimps, cakes, and coffee. Go from there by train to some characteristic village, and then hire a team and drive about. Accommodations are poor in the rustic hamlets, yet not distressingly so, and many persons would perhaps enjoy for a short time the plain fare and rude quarters.
The life on the big plantations is decidedly interesting, and in many ways unique. I T was in the late dusk of an April evening that I arrived at Vicksburg, and I picked out a hotel at random. My choice was not altogether happy. The building was big and gaunt, and the worse for wear, and the rooms were barren and battered.
Yet it had the interest that age gives; for it dated back beyond the war, and its proprietor was a gray-bearded ancient who fought in the Confederate army. It stood on the brow of the steep hill that skirts the Yazoo River, and from my chamber window I looked down on the stream and the lights of the various craft that were moored along shore. A half-moon was shining encircled by a great hazy ring. Its light revealed dimly a broad reach of watery landscape extending far westward. Over there somewhere, a mile or two away, was the mighty Mississippi. Formerly it made a wide curve and swept past the bluff on which the city stands; but it some years ago cut through a neck of land and left Vicksburg stranded inland.
However, before the old channel had filled up, the Yazoo was induced to flow through it, and thus the place still has the benefit of the river traffic. In my rambles about the town I found everywhere much of the unexpected and picturesque. The buildings cling in a compact mass to the bluff skirting the river, and lift one above the other on the precipitous slope in a very odd jumble. For this effect the lay of the ground is largely responsible; but the structures themselves right in the city centre often offer curious contrasts of the substantial and modern elbowing the shabby and antiquated.
The queerest part of the city is on a big rough hill just beyond the business section up the river. This hill is nothing but clay; yet the clay is so firm it retains its shape even on slopes almost perpendicular. On the side toward the stream the hill rises in an upright wall, much overgrown with trees, grass, and shrubbery.
Now and then a rude little hovel finds a clinging-place in some irregularity of the bluff; and there are occasional rough ladders and stairways that give access to the height. The upland is crowned by as strange a helter-skelter of cabins, fences, paths, and devious lanes as ever existed in any African jungle. Its owner had a mania for collecting discarded metal, and all the vicinity of his castle was littered with heaps of rusty worthless wreckage.
I stopped to speak with an old colored woman who was preparing to wash some clothes she had boiling in a kettle set on a little fire in the yard. Her poverty was evidently extreme, and in our chat I questioned whether her life in the days of slavery was not easier and happier than now. We had to work long days den, and I never seen de sun rise while I was in de house.
WISCONSIN GREAT RIVER ROAD
She was interrupted by her husband, a gray old man, who came hobbling up the hill with a pail in one hand and a hoe which he used as a cane in the other. He had been a resident of the place since childhood, and was in the city when Grant besieged it in Presently he was telling of his war experiences. I reckon it cost as much as fifty dollars to dig de best caves. So de town surrender, and I jined de Union army.
Yas, I was in de d dozen Massachusetts regiment under Lieutenant Dodge. In a little glen back of the cemetery was a tiny whitewashed cottage, on the shadowed side of which sat an elderly colored woman and a small girl eating bread and milk. Some hens and chickens were picking around and watching the eaters, hopeful of getting a share of the feast; and a dog lay on the ground also alert and expectant; and a pig was rooting close by, and he, too, seemed to be watching for the bestowal of a portion of the bread and milk.
It was a hot afternoon, and I stopped to talk. Every negro at all advanced in years has something to say about old times, and the woman at the cabin in the glen was no exception. Are dey improve? Folks work Sundays same like any other days. Is you been in dese yere Vicksburg saloons? I spoke to the woman about the shops in the town owned by negroes; but she said there ought to be more, and she was not enthusiastic over the thrift of her race. Rabbit, den we chilluns would light out, skeered to death. She responded with a series of several which she told with great animation, acting out all the parts and changing her voice to suit the words of the different characters, and now and then rising and skirmishing around the yard to illustrate the more dramatic portions.
Rabbit was de smartest man in de crowd. One day when Mr. But Mr. Den Mr. All Mr. Yas, de rabbit mighty slick. Den he go off about his business. One day Mr. Buzzard loant him de money, and atter dat, once in a while he call on Mr. Wren to see when dat money be paid back. Buzzard take notice Mr. Look like he never git growed. Hawk say. The little girl had been an interested listener to these narratives. Tail holt is a mighty good bolt! At this particular place they took the flood philosophically enough.
Some of the land and houses had not yet been touched, but the majority of the dwellings were quite Venetian, and were either awash with the water, or were on a narrow island that had been the breastwork of a war-time fort. The village people owned quite a flotilla of boats, some of which were dugouts. These dugouts were usually of cypress and looked clumsy and ugly, but the village storekeeper, with whom I became acquainted, told me they were very serviceable.
The flood fertilized their land, and on the whole was a benefit. They always waited till the spring rise was over before planting much, though the water now and then would come up in the summer and do a great deal of damage. One of the local citizens who attracted my notice was a big-framed and very fleshy black man. He looked so superlatively lazy and amiable and talkative that I had the curiosity to ask how he got along in the world. I was surprised to learn that he owned a little farm, and was prosperous. Yet he did no work on his home place, because he claimed to have heart trouble.
His family took care of his garden, and he carried a load of truck to town every week. That sold for four or five dollars, which was money enough to make him independently rich. I first came across him sitting by a roadside ditch chatting with a woman who was fishing. The woman was not catching anything, and seemed minded to quit. Not far away were some children with poles and lines lingering along the banks of the ditch catching crawfish.
The most interesting excursion I made from Vicksburg was a steamboat trip in the Elk forty miles down the river. We started at noon of a quiet sunny day that was too hot on the land, but very comfortable on the water. Another steamer left the city at the same time, and each tried to get ahead of its rival; but we were gradually left behind.
Among the passengers was an old-time river captain. To him the race was peurile. My boat was beaten and I lost nine thousand dollars that I bet on her. Now the Elk slowed up to make a landing, and the other boat went on down-stream like a beautiful white water-creature and disappeared from view. At the shore were several waiting negroes.
U.S. Routes 60 and 62 in Illinois
They wore red shirts that made striking bits of color amid the wild greenery of the woodland. The water was up, lapping the banktop, and the boat swung about in the swift, boiling current, and pushed its bow snug to the shore. Our black roustabouts promptly got a rope around a tree, laid a couple of planks from the boat to the land, and hustled off the bags and parcels that were to be left. Then we went on, and we had the river all to ourselves for the rest of the journey.
Its vast loneliness was quite impressive, and it must have appeared much the same in the days of its first explorers.
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Nearly always the banks were wooded, but there were occasional openings affording glimpses of plantation fields and a scattering of cabins. From time to time we would butt up to the bank and discharge or take on freight, and the boat went over the same route, doing this twice a week the year through. The passengers included four young men who were making the round trip for an outing.
They spared no effort to have a glorious time, and their visits to the bar were almost unceasing. The capacity they displayed for stowing away liquor was a marvel; and they were very social and affectionate, not only among themselves, but with every one on board. Sometimes they engaged in a tipsy race about the deck. Sometimes they entwined their arms around one another and half sat, half lay in the deck chairs. Sometimes they felt their biceps and challenged each other to fight. The rest of us dodged them when we could. Even the pilot, when they came to the supper table, to which he had just sat down, rose hastily and left.
Again and again they treated to drinks and cigars the officers of the boat, the passengers, and such of the crew as they happened to meet. Once I saw their leader step up to the mate, pluck a half-smoked cigar from his lips, and throw it into the water. At the same time he handed out another. Among the persons treated by the picnickers were a couple of negro convicts who were manacled hand to hand. Their melancholy plight touched the tender sympathies of their benefactors.
The prisoners were on their way to a convict camp, where they were to work out their fines at the rate of four dollars a month. Presently we approached their destination, and the steamboat gave a shrill hoot with its whistle, as it always did when we were about to stop. The banks here were low enough so that the flood covered them and allowed us to go back to the levee. Behind the embankment were numerous barns and cabins, and a big, wide-spreading, white mansion in a grove. It was a great event on the plantation to have the steamer come so near, and quite a concourse of negro women and children gathered on the bank to chatter and laugh while they watched the rousters hurry the freight to shore.
We passengers looked down on the crowd from the upper deck, and one of the happy four swung a beer bottle in the air and asked if any of those on the levee wanted a drink. Now laugh! What are you all standing there for anyway? Let the women do the work, I say! Let the women do the work! Now laugh again! He drank the beer himself, and went down on the levee. We were a long time unloading; for there was an immense deal of cattle feed and farm supplies and household goods in great variety to be left.
This convict camp was a big plantation, and, like many other plantations, it had people enough on it to make a good-sized village. Our rousters carried out most of the freight on their heads or shoulders, and their celerity and deftness in the heavy labor were a wonder. Two of them stayed on the lower deck and heaved up a burden to each man in turn, and the leader of the two often broke forth in a strange chant, to which the other responded like an echo. This chant was a monotone consisting of an improvised sentence shouted each time a bag or box was lifted to a waiting roustabout. The fragments were such as these Though to me the roustabouts seemed so alert and willing, they were not at all satisfactory to the mate, who, puffing viciously at a cigar, was constantly urging them to greater haste, and once in a while he let off an explosion of oaths.
The captain told me he had known the mate to throw a rouster that was lazy right overboard. Toward evening we entered a twenty-mile bend that the river had deserted long before, and which had since been known as Lake Palmyra. It will wash off hundreds of acres of an exposed plantation in a single season. But when it washes on one side a sand bar starts opposite and soon rises above low water, begins to grow to willows, and at length builds up so that it can be cleared and cultivated. The stream progresses by many loops through the bottom lands, and often it cuts across the neck of the loops so that the valley is full of these abandoned channels; but the return of the stream to an old-time course is something unusual.
The weather had become threatening, and the sun, low in the west, had been gradually effaced in a gloom of thickening cloud. A rough wind arose, and there was a dash of rain. We had come to another stopping-place, and pushed up into the willows skirting the bank until we could run our gang-plank to land near a storehouse. While we were getting the goods to shore the clouds lifted in the west, and the sun shone out and sparkled on the waves and painted the misty east with a long streak of rainbow, and glorified the whole landscape with amber light.
It was a scene enchanted. Night came presently, but our journey continued with its frequent stops as before. One of our last calls was at a place where we went from the main channel back across country a mile or so. At first we followed a creek in the tall woods, and so narrow was the stream that we sometimes snapped off the branches on one side or the other. Then we came to more open country, where the brilliant eye of our searchlight revealed here and there a gaunt dead tree and a half-submerged barn, and in spots we could see the tops of fence posts.
It was a delicate piece of navigation, and not only was there danger of getting aground, or staving a hole on a snag, but the wheel might wind up a barbed wire fence which would be no less serious. However, we continued safely to a levee, where a bent little old man was waiting with a lantern, and walking about to keep warm in the clear chill night air. Not far away was a group of sheds, and the rest was woods. When we finished unlading, the bales and bags and boxes lay in half a dozen piles, covering the levee for some distance.
Now the boat backed around, and picked a cautious passage to the main waterway. About midnight we left Lake Palmyra by forcing our way against the tumultuous current pouring through the new crevasse, and then struggled on up-stream toward Vicksburg. Every one who could went to bed, but the berth assigned to me was in the same room with one of the drunken celebrators, and I preferred to let him have the entire space. In the first gray of the morning we arrived at Vicksburg; and though the trip was not all pleasure, I disembarked pretty well satisfied with its varied sights and experiences.
The battle-field is a national park. It covers a wide area, and for most persons the best way to see it is by driving. The town itself is remarkably picturesque, and one ought to do a good deal of rambling on foot to really appreciate the exhilarating changes of view, and the odd environment of some of the humbler habitations.
Vicksburg is an admirable place from which to make a river trip. Few people would however enjoy being on a Mississippi steamboat more than a day, as the lower river is very monotonous. My experience would indicate that it is desirable to carry along something to eat when making a trip on a local steamer, for the food that will be furnished is likely to be very bad. In Vicksburg, as in nearly all Southern cities, only the best hotels are really satisfactory.
I WAS only a short distance from Memphis, yet the region was almost as raw and rustic as if there had not been a large town within a hundred miles. To be sure great fields of corn and cotton were numerous; but I did not have to go far to strike the forest, and only a few decades have passed since the woodland was nearly omnipresent. The trees have been laid low to make fence rails and railroad ties, and to supply fuel for the old, wood-burning locomotives.
Much of what was cut was ruthlessly wasted or sold for a song. The spring was backward, but the corn had been planted and was beginning to come up, and the cotton fields had been ploughed and ridged and much of the seed was in. On my first day, work was pretty much at a standstill, for a heavy rain the previous night had converted the fields into mud and bog. There were more blacks than whites in this region, and the country was dotted over with their cabins. Many of the huts were made of logs, and they were all primitive. Some were so rudely constructed, and so open to the onsets of the storms, you wondered how they could be used for dwellings.
The old lanes along which these homes were scattered were very wild and picturesque. There were stumps in them and occasional large trees, while along the fences grew briers and bushes. Frequently they were hardly more than a cart track wide, and were so rough and rutted as to be practically impassable for a Christian vehicle. A rural delivery route ran through the district, and nearly every dwelling had its metal box set out by the roadside on a post. The white people owned their boxes at a cost of a dollar and thirty cents; but they told me that the negroes mostly rented theirs from a Memphis daily newspaper, and paid sixty-five cents a month for box and paper.
A representative of the paper had explained to the negroes that they could not have boxes except on these conditions, and that if they were without a box they could only get their mail by going to Memphis for it. Many of them did not want the paper and could not afford the expense, but they were too inexperienced to comprehend the swindle or to know what to do about it. Its walls and roof made a handy hanging-place for all sorts of articles. The chimneys were outside at the ends of the house.
They were usually of wooden slats thickly bedaubed with a mixture of clay and dry grass. Toward noon I passed through a long stretch of woodland. The wind rustled softly through the new foliage and the air was permeated with the odors of spring. Here and there were dashes of dogwood bloom, and patches of May-apple were coming into flower on the ground. I stopped for dinner at a farmhouse. The place was a half-wild sort of a ranch, the house badly out of repair, and in the home yard roamed numbers of turkeys, ducks, hens, goats, and hogs.
One of the boys, about ten years old, had been ploughing with a mule. We ate in the hot and grimy kitchen. Pork and mustard greens, corn-bread and coffee, were chief on the bill of fare. The farmer suggested I might prefer milk instead of coffee, and he poured a glass for me; but one taste was enough. The children of the family drank it freely, and the man also took a tumblerful. As he finished it he casually remarked that the milk was a little sour. You were treated with special respect, even at the hotels.
He was a genuine polished old-style gentleman, and his guests was all treated like they was persons of distinction. My host said he was going fishing later in the day. By night, when I returned to my boarding-place, the weather had turned cold, and the next day was so chilly and clouded I stayed indoors most of the time. A rude wind buffeted the trees and soughed wearily about the house, and I sat beside the kitchen fireplace to enjoy the grateful heat of the brisk fire that was kept burning there.
The gloomy skies and the bleak and boisterous wind seemed to put my landlady in a mood for telling ghost stories. Once I was sick for a long time and no one could make out what the trouble was. At last the house burned and most everything in it; but we saved my feather bed, and I tore it up to make pillows. Inside I found a hoodoo ring made of feathers twisted into a band or ring fifteen inches across, and tied to it was a hundred or more little bags. I put it in the fire, and after that I got well. I went to school there. Well, one night my room-mate and me was sitting together with a lighted lamp on our table.
Suddenly some one blew out the light, and the lamp chimney went on the floor and was smashed. We was all in darkness, and we ran to the door. We heard some one walking in the room over the broken glass of the lamp chimney, and we began to scream. They laughed at us, but when they listened and heard the footsteps they went to shrieking.
That brought the principal running up the stairs, and he opened the door; but there was nothing to see only some broken glass on the floor and us two girls limp with fright. The girls used to hear the noise of water falling on the floor, and bells would ring with no one ringing them; and there was one scholar named Flora Robinson who would go into a trance, and see a little girl in a pale pink dress who kept following her.
So her folks got some men to dig in that place, and a few feet down they came to a brick wall, and they tore that to pieces and found three glass jars, and they could see money and papers inside. A man stood guard; but during the night he was knocked on the head, and the jars was stolen. So much had happened that the school broke up, and Brinkley Hall with its forty rooms is vacant yet. He was very fond of music, and in his last sickness he said if he could return to earth he would make his presence known by playing the piano.
All the children heard it, too, and we jumped up from the table, scared to death. I said I never would want to use that piano again, and I sent it to Memphis to be sold.
My landlady in concluding urged me to call on a negro family by the name of Houston that lived next door and ask them what they knew about witches and other occult things. Their house was in a yard full of trees, and its aspect was rather pleasant from a distance, but when I got a close view I found it was shabby and decrepit.
I was welcomed into the kitchen, a dismal place that gloomy day in spite of the flames flickering in the fireplace. The floor sagged dubiously, the ceiling was brown with smoke, and panes were missing from the windows, and the holes stuffed with rags. Newspapers were pasted in a queer motley over the walls. The room had two beds. On one of them lay a gun. A sick girl was in the other, and the rest of the family sat in a circle at the borders of the rough, deepworn hearth doing very little except to spit into the fire at frequent intervals.
Houston and her two daughters each had a wad of snuff inside of her under lip. My landlady had mentioned that a pedler of spectacles had recently been along. Houston bought a pair for himself, and a pair for the old woman. Sure enough, when I entered the kitchen, Mr. Houston went to the window-sill and got his spectacles, and handed his wife hers, and they both put them on. We were soon talking about the mysteries, and Mr. Routes 60 and 62 in Illinois. State Tollways. Concurrency terminus. Illinois Department of Transportation.
Retrieved July 27, National Bridge Inventory. Federal Highway Administration. Google Maps. Retrieved January 14, American Highways. April Cairo Map. Retrieved July 13, — via University of Texas Libraries. The Daily Free Press. Carbondale, IL. Retrieved January 14, — via Newspapers. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved January 2,
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