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AUGUSTUS BALDWIN LONGSTREET.
AUGUSTUS BALDWIN LONGSTREET was born in Augusta, Georgia. He became first a lawyer and was elected to the State Legislature in 1821 and judge of the Superior Court in 1822. Later he became a clergyman in the Methodist Church and president of Emory College, Georgia, being afterwards successively president of Centenary College, Louisiana, of the University of Mississippi, and of South Carolina College.
His best-known book, “Georgia Scenes,” seems in his later days to have troubled his conscience and he tried to suppress it entirely. But sketches so amusing and so true to life would not be suppressed. See Sketch in Miss Rutherford's American Authors, (Atlanta).
WORKS. Essays and Articles in various magazines. Georgia Scenes, Characters, Incidents, in
Letters to Clergymen of the Northern the First Half Century of the Republic, by Methodist Church.
a Native Georgian. Letters from Georgia to Massachusetts.
Master William Mitten.
(From Georgia Scenes, first edition, 1835.*) (Ned Brace was a real personage, Judge Edmund Bacon, born in Virginia, 1776, lived in Edgefield, South Carolina, and died there in 1826. He was of very social, hospitable nature, a practical joker, and, as Dr. Maxcy called him, “a perfect Garrick” in his conversation. He was a lawyer of great ability; and when very young and a student at Augusta he was appointed to deliver an address of welcome to Washington on his Southern tour. If the following anecdotes are not true, they might well have been, as Judge Longstreet says.]
This being the Sabbath, at the usual hour Ned went to Church, and selected for his morning service one of those Churches in which the pews are free, and in which the hymn is given out and sung by the congregation, a half recitative.
* By special kindness of Mr. Charles Edgeworth Jones, Augusta, Ga.
Ned entered the Church, in as fast a walk as he could possibly assume; proceeded about half down the aisle, and popped himself down in his seat as quick as if he had been shot. The more thoughtless of the congregation began to titter, and the graver peeped up slily, but solemnly at him.
The pastor rose, and, before giving out the hymn, observed that singing was a part of the service, in which he thought the whole congregation ought to join. Thus saying, he gave out the first lines of the hymn. As soon as the tune was raised, Ned struck in, with one of the loudest, hoarsest, and most discordant voices that ever annoyed a solemn assembly.
“I would observe,” said the preacher, before giving out the next two lines, “ that there are some people who have not the gift of singing ; such, of course, are not expected to sing."
Ned took the hint and sang no more ; but his entrance into church, and his entrance into the hymn, had already dispersed the solemnity of three fifths of the congregation.
As soon as the pastor commenced his sermon, Ned opened his eyes, threw back his head, dropt his under jaw, and surrendered himself to the most intense interest. The preacher was an indifferent one ; and by as much as he became dull and insipid, by so much did Ned become absorbed in his dis
And yet it was impossible for the nicest observer to detect anything in his looks or manner, short of the most solemn devotion. The effect which his conduct had upon the congregation, and their subsequent remarks, must be left to the imagination of the reader. I give but one remark: “Bless that good man who came in the church so quick," said a venerable matron as she left the church door, “how he was affected by the sarment."
Ned went to church no more on that day. About four o'clock in the afternoon, while he was standing at the tavern door, a funeral procession passed by, at the foot of which, and singly, walked one of the smallest men I ever saw. As soon as he came opposite the door, Ned stepped out and joined him with great solemnity. The contrast between the two was ludicrously striking, and the little man's looks and uneasiness plainly showed that he felt it. However, he soon became reconciled to it. They proceeded but a little way before Ned inquired of his companion who was dead.
“ Mr. Noah Bills,” said the little man.
“Nan?” said Ned, raising his hand to his ear in token of deafness, and bending his head to the speaker.
“Mr. Noah Bills,” repeated the little man, loud enough to disturb the two couples immediately before him.
“ Mrs. Noel's Bill!” said Ned with mortification and astonishment. “Do the white persons pay such respect to niggers in Savannah? I sha’n't do it.” So saying, he left the procession.
The little man was at first considerably nettled; but upon being left to his own reflections, he got into an uncontrollable fit of laughter, as did the couple immediately in advance of him, who overheard Ned's remark. The procession now exhibited a most mortifying spectacle—the head of it in mourning and in tears, and the foot of it convulsed with laughter.
A SAGE CONVERSATION.
(From Georgia Scenes, first edition, 1835.)
[Three old women over their pipes.] Mrs. Shad.—The old man likes a joke yet right well, the old man does; but he's a mighty good man, and I think he prays with greater libity, than most any one of his age I most ever seed, -don't you think he does, Mis' Reed?
Mrs. Shad.—Why, he married-stop, I'll tell you di. rectly-Why, what does make my old head forget so?
Mrs. Barney.-Well, it seems to me I don't remember like I used to. Didn't he marry a Ramsbottom?
Mrs. Reed.-No. Stay, I'll tell you who he married presently. Oh, stay! Why I'll tell you who he married! He married old daddy Johnny Hooer's da'ter, Mournin'.
Mrs. Shad.—Why, la ! messy on me, so he did !
Mrs. Barney.--Oh, mighty well; but I'd forgot that brother Smith married her. I really thought he married a Ramsbottom.
Mrs. Reed.—Oh no, bless your soul, honey, he married Mournin'.
Mrs. Barney.--Well, the law me, I'm clear beat!
Mrs. Barney.--Emph, emph, emph, emph! And brother Smith inarried Mournin' Hooer! Well, I'm clear put out! Seems to me I'm gettin' mighty forgetful somehow.
Mrs. Shad.—Oh yes, he married Mournin', and I saw her when she joined society.
Mrs. Barney.-Why, you don't tell me so !
Mrs. Shad.-Oh, it's the truth. She didn't join till after she was married, and the church took on mightily about his marrying one out of society. But after she joined, they all got satisfied.
Mrs. Reed.—Why, la! me, the seven stars is 'way over here!
Mrs. Barney.—Well, let's light our pipes, and take a short smoke, and go to bed. How did you come on raisin' chick. ens this year, Mis' Shad?
Mrs. Shad.-La messy, honey! I have had mighty bad luck. I had the prettiest pa'sel you most ever seed, till the varment took to killin' 'em.
Mrs. Reed and Mrs. Barney.-The varment!!
Mrs. Shad.-Oh, dear, yes. The hawk catched a powerful sight of them; and then the varment took to 'em, and nat’ly took 'em fore and aft, bodily, till they left most none at all hardly. Sucky counted 'em up t'other day, and there warn't but thirty-nine, she said, countin' in the old speckle hen's chickens that jist come off her nest.
Mrs. Reed and Mrs. Barney.-Humph-h-h!
Mrs. Reed.-Well, I've had bad luck, too. Billy's hounddogs broke up most all my nests.
Mrs. Barney.-Well, so they did me, Mis' Reed. I always did despise a hound-dog upon the face of yea'th.
Mrs. Reed.-Oh, they are the bawllinest, squallinest, thievishest things ever was about one; but Billy will have 'em, and I think in my soul his old Troup's the beat of all creaters I ever seed in all my born days a-suckin' o' hen's eggs.
He's clean most broke me up entirely. Mrs. Shad.—The lackaday !
Mrs. Reed.—And them that was hatched out, some took to takin' the gaps, and some the pip, and one ailment or other, till they most all died.
Mrs. Barney.--I reckon they must have eat something didn't agree
with them. Mrs. Reed.-No, they didn't, for I fed 'em every mornin' with my own hand.
Mrs. Barney.-Well, it's mighty curious !
A short pause ensued, which was broken by Mrs. Barney with, “ And brother Smith married Mournin' Hooer!”