Albert, Octavia V. Rogers
|CHAPTER XIII. -- IN THE WOODS.|
Aunt Sallie's cruel treatment, continued--Her brother Warren runs away and joins her in the woods.
"THE next time I ran away I met my brother, who had run away two or three weeks before the overseer caught me that night. He told me the overseer beat him so much he could not work. Because I ran away he said my brother knew where I was. My brother's name is Warren. Poor Warren! when he met me that morning he was scarred all over. The overseer told him he had to find me or he would almost skin him. So Warren left the place; but I hadn't seen him in two months, I reckon, till I met him that morning. We sat all day long talking over what we had better do. Warren said, 'Sallie, let me tell you what's best for us to do. You know old Uncle Tim says he can houdoo and make the white folks stop doing us so bad, and let us do what he told us. Let us get some of the white
"Aunt Sallie, what does Malumbia mean?"
"La, madam, I don't know what it meant. But Warren wanted me to fix the bag and put it under them white folks' steps, but I thought it best to stay in the woods."
"Who is Uncle Time?"
"He was an old man that stayed around the yard to wait on the white folks and take care of the horses and cow. He first came from Africa. He said he used to eat folks in Africa. He could not talk good like we all could. He came from South Carolina to Louisiana, when my marster bought him. Uncle Time had religion, and I used to hear him say, when he would be talking to my mother, 'Me lover my Lord like my Lord lover me; me never eater poor soul no more.' I don't even remember when
"Aunt Sallie, what did you and your brother decide upon in the woods!"
"O, we wandered about in the woods, I don't know how long. We would pick berries to eat, and would get any thing we came upon. I told Warren about my dream of our mother, and that I saw her come up to me, and that I had been praying every night on my moss bed. I wanted to get him to pray too. I said to him, 'Warren, you know how our poor mother used to pray way before day in the morning,
"After they gave us something to eat they let us rest awhile. Me and Warren went to our house and we talked how mistress looked like she was sorry for us when she saw us just come out of the woods that morning. We hardly ever saw her, for we lived in quarters and the house was away off. I told Warren Daniel's God had heard us praying in the woods, and I said, 'Warren, let us keep on praying and trusting in God.' I said, 'You know the overseer used to beat us whenever the caught us, and roll me in the barrel, tie me up by my waist-band, and punish us all sorts of ways.' But this morning he got us and did not give us a lick, but gave us a good breakfast and sent us out here to rest. Madam, me and
"So, Aunt Sallie, you did not believe in voudous?"
"No, ma'am. The next time I saw Uncle Tim I told him I did not believe in it. I said, 'Uncle Tim, I have been praying ever since my mother died, and you see the overseer don't do me as he used to. I tell you, Uncle Tim, Daniel's God heard me and Warren.' He told us to keep on praying; said, 'Daniel's God is a great God. He will hear his children when they cry.' He was a good old man, but we could not understand him much what he said, and he believed in houdoos."
"Yes, the vice of voudouism which is practiced among the colored people is the result of ignorance and slavery. They will, in the course of time, ignore such doctrine, for they are being educated, and the time will come when such simple and nonsensical teachings will find no place among them."
"Yes, ma'am; I believe they will learn better in the course of time."
"Well, tell me, Aunt Sallie, did you both finally remain at home after you were caught in the chimney-corner?"
"Yes, ma'am; we stayed after that. The overseer stopped doing us bad; but we had to work mighty hard to keep up. We both was blessed to see freedom. My brother is living right now in Springtown, and he comes to see me every Christmas. We both are soldiers for Jesus. He is a deacon in a Baptist church, and I am one of your noisy dry-land Methodists."