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  --  SALLIE SMITH'S STORY.   Table of Contents     CHAPTER XIV.

Albert, Octavia V. Rogers
The House of Bondage



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

folks' hair and some salt and a piece of old mistress's dress, and make a little bag and sew it up and put it under the steps where all the white folks have to pass over every day. Uncle Tim says it will make the white folks stop treating us so bad. He says when we go to put it under the steps we must say as we throw it, 'Malumbia, Malumbia, peace I want, and peace I must have, in the name of the Lord.'"

"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

he came to Louisiana. It was long before I was born; but I heard people say he was right from Africa to this country. We all used to call him. 'Uncle Summer-time' and he liked that name. He was a good old man, but he believed in houdoo. O, yes; no doubt they were heathen habits that he learned in his native land. I used to hear him many times, when he would be down on his knees praying, say, 'O, Shadrach, Meshach, Abed-Negroes' God blesses poor Summer-time's soul!' and then he would stop still and holler out, 'O, how me loves my Lord like my Lord loves me!' Although I was young I will never forget Uncle Tim Summer-time."

"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,

and how we used to hear her cry and say, "O, Daniel's God, have mercy on me!" And it makes me feel glad every time I pray, Warren; and now let us pray every time before we go to sleep.' Warren said, 'Well, let us pray to Daniel's God just like our poor mother did.' And we did every night before we went to sleep, after wandering all through the woods all day. Me and Warren would pray. We prayed low and easy; we just could hear each other. Warren used to pray, 'O, Daniel's God, have mercy on me and Sallie. Mother said you will take care of us, but we suffer here; nobody to help us. Hear us way up in heaven and look down on us here.' Madam, we did not know hardly what to say, but we had heard mother and other people praying, and we tried to do the best we could. Sometimes we was so hungry we could hardly sleep, and it would be so cold, too, we did not know what to do. We had a big heap of moss, and we made a brush arbor over it to keep the rain off. I took Warren to the same place where I had been going at night in the chimney-corners to keep warm. But, la, madam, one morning we overslept ourselves and the overseer of
that plantation caught us. He carried us home to old mistress. I heard her tell old marster to not to let the overseer hit us a lick. She said, 'Send them to the kitchen and give them a plenty to eat and stop whipping them, and see if you can't do more with them.' Madam, I tell you when I overheard her talking to marster tears came in my eyes. I told Warren. O, how glad we felt that morning! I cried for joy.

"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

Warren agreed right there not to give up praying night and day. We did follow our mother's rule. We would get up long before time to go to work to pray."

"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."


  --  SALLIE SMITH'S STORY.   Table of Contents     CHAPTER XIV.