Page images
PDF
EPUB

leans. It was a Southern statesman who added the Louisiana territory of more than 1,000,000 square miles to our domain. Under a Southern statesman Florida was acquired from Spain. Against the opposition of the free States, the Southern influence forced the war with Mexico, and annexed the superb empire of Texas, brought in New Mexico, and opened the gates of the republic to the Pacific. Scott and Taylor, the heroes of the Mexican war, were Southern In material, as in political affairs, the old South was masterful. The first important railroad operated in America traversed Carolina. The first steamer that crossed the ocean cleared from Savannah.

men.

The first college established for girls was opened in Georgia. No naturalist has surpassed Audubon; no geographer equalled Maury; and Sims and McDonald led the world of surgery in their respective lines. It was Crawford Long, of Georgia, who gave to the world the priceless blessing of anesthesia.

The wealth accumulated by the people was marvellous. And, though it is held that slavery enriched the few at the general expense, Georgia and Carolina were the richest States, per capita, in the Union in 1800, saving Rhode Island. Some idea of the desolation of the war may be had from the fact that, in spite of their late remarkable recuperation, they are now, excepting Idaho, the poorest States, per capita, in the Union. So rich was the South in 1860, that Mr. Lincoln spoke but common sentiment when he said: "If we let the South go, where shall we get our revenues?"

In its engaging grace—in the chivalry that tempered even Quixotism with dignity-in the piety that saved master and slave alike—in the charity that boasted not-in the honor held above estate-in the hospitality that neither

condescended nor cringed-in frankness and heartiness and wholesome comradeship-in the reverence paid to womanhood and the inviolable respect in which woman's name was held the civilization of the old slave régime in the South has not been surpassed, and perhaps will not be equalled, among men.

And as the fidelity of the slave during the war bespoke the kindness of the master before the war, so the unquestioning reverence with which the young men of the South accepted, in 1865, their heritage of poverty and defeat, proved the strength and excellence of the civilization from which that heritage had come. In cheerfulness they bestirred themselves amid the ashes and the wrecks, and, holding the inspiration of their past to be better than their rich acres and garnered wealth, went out to rebuild their fallen fortunes, with never a word of complaint, nor the thought of criticism!

THOMAS NELSON PAGE.

1853-

THOMAS NELSON PAGE was born at “Oakland,” Hanover County, Virginia, of distinguished ancestry. He was educated at Washington and Lee University, studied law, and settled in Richmond. His first writings were poems and stories in the Virginia negro dialect, some of them in connection with Armistead Churchill Gordon. He is now (1894) editor of "The Drawer" in Harper's Monthly, and stands high as one of the younger writers of our country.

[blocks in formation]
[graphic][merged small][merged small]

Mr. Page delineates finely the old Virginia darkey and his dialect, as Mr. Harris does the darkey of the Carolinas and Georgia. There is a marked difference between them.

"The naturalness of his style, the skill with which he uses seemingly indifferent incidents and sayings to trick out and light up his pictures, the apparently unintentional and therefore most effective touches of pathos, are uncommon.”

66

MARSE CHAN'S LAST BATTLE.

(From Marse Chan: In Ole Virginia.*)

:

Well, jes' den dey blowed boots an' saddles, an' we mounted an' de orders come to ride 'roun' de slope, an' Marse Chan's comp'ny wuz de secon', an' when we got 'roun' dyah, we wuz right in it. Hit wuz de wust place ever dis nigger got in. An' dey said, 'Charge 'em!' an' my king! ef ever you see bullets fly, dey did dat day. Hit wuz jes' like hail; an' we wen' down de slope (I 'long wid de res') an' up de hill right to'ds de cannons, an' de fire wuz so strong dyar (dey had a whole rigiment of infintrys layin' down dyar onder de cannons) our lines sort o' broke an' stop; de cun'l was kilt, an' I b'lieve dey wuz jes' 'bout to bre'k all to pieces, when Marse Chan rid up an' cotch hol' de fleg, an' hollers, 'Foller me!' and rid strainin' up de hill 'mong de cannons.

"I seen 'im when he went, de sorrel four good lengths ahead o' ev'ry urr hoss, jes' like he use' to be in a fox-hunt, an' de whole rigiment right arfter 'im. Yo' ain' nuvver hear thunder! Fust thing I knowed, de roan roll' head over heels an' flung me up 'g'inst de bank, like yo' chuck a nubbin over 'g'inst de foot o' de corn pile. An' dat's what kep' me from bein' kilt, I 'spects. Judy she say she think 'twuz Providence, but I think 'twuz de bank. O' c'ose,

* By permission of author, and publishers, Charles Scribner's Sons, N. Y.

Providence put de bank dyah, but how come Providence nuver saved Marse Chan?

"When I look 'roun' de roan wuz lyin' dyah by me, stone dead, wid a canı annon-ball gone 'mos' th'oo him, an' our men had done swep' dem on t'urr side from de top o' de hill. 'Twan' mo'n a minit, de sorrel come gallupin' back wid his mane flyin', an' de rein hangin' down on one side to his knee. Dyar!' says I, fo' God! I'spects dey done kill Marse Chan, an' I promised to tek care on him.'

6

66

'I jumped up an' run over de bank, an' dyar, wid a whole lot o' dead men, an' some not dead yit, onder one o' de guns, wid de fleg still in he han', an' a bullet right th❜oo he body, lay Marse Chan. I tu'n him over an' call him, 'Marse Chan!' but 'twan' no use, he wuz done gone home, sho' 'nuff. I pick 'im up in my arms wid de fleg still in he han's, an' toted 'im back jes like I did dat day when he wus a baby, an' ole marster gin 'im to me in my arms, an' sez he could trus' me, an' tell me to tek keer on 'im long ez he lived.

"I kyar'd 'im 'way off de battle-fiel' out de way o' de balls, an' I laid 'im down onder a big tree till I could git somebody to ketch the sorrel for me. He wuz cotched arfter a while, an' I hed some money, so I got some pine plank an' made a coffin dat evenin', an' wrapt Marse Chan's body up in de fleg, and put 'im in de coffin; but I didn' nail de top on strong, 'cause I knowed ole missis wan' see 'im; an' I got a' ambulance, an' set out for home dat night. We reached dyar de nex' evenin', arfter travellin' all dat night an' all nex' day."

« PreviousContinue »