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of the town has free ramble. At the bottom of the broad steps on the upper side of the house is a large mud-puddle, in which dogs and hogs alternately wallow, there being at least five of the former and nine of the latter running about. The dogs are gaunt and wolfish, — the hogs are slab-sided, half-grown, and very long of nose. There is in the yard about everything one can name, except grass and cleanliness, — bits of wood and crockery, scraps of old iron, wisps of straw and fodder, old rags, broken bottles, sticks, stones, bones, hoofs, horns, nails, etc., etc., ad infinitum. The barber throws the sweepings of his shop on one side the house, and the cook is equally free with her slops on the other side.
The “ Missus” is the head of the house. She is tall and angular, with a complexion sallow to the last degree of sallowness, eyes in which there is neither life nor hope, hair which I am sure has not felt either comb or brush during my stay. Her dress is a greasy calico, of the half-mourning variety, to which she sometimes adds an apron which is n't more repulsive only because it can't be. She is a type of women, thank God, without counterpart in the North. She goes about the house in a shuffling, shambling manner, with the cry “Robert — Robert — Robert,” or “'Manda — ’Manda —’Manda,” always on her tongue. There is no variety of accent in this cry, but only one of length, as “Robert -. Ro-be-rt — R-o-b-e-r-t.” During meals she stands at the head of the table, and serves out the allowance of tea or coffee, and sugar and milk, with an unending string of such talk as this: “ Robert, tend the hominy”; “Gal, get the gemman's cup and sasser”; “ 'Manda, mind the fies”; “ Goodness gracious, nigger, why don't ye pass them biled eggs”; “ Now, Robert, do see them flies”; “'Manda, look arter them squeet pertaterses”; “Now, ye good-for-nuthin' nigger, can't ye brush away them flies?” She complains, in whining, listless fashion, to everybody, about the “niggers,” telling how idle, shiftless, and ungrateful they are.
She has a husband, who takes special pains to inform everybody that he has n't anything to do with the hotel; and whose sole occupations, so far as I can see, are smoking, complaining about “the niggers," and doctoring a poor old blind, spavined horse.
The genius of the house is Robert, who stands on his head as well as on his feet; who is trim, pert, wide-awake; who picks out a Northern man with unerring instinct, and is always ready and prompt to serve him ; but who is forever out of the way, or very busy when that cry of “ Robert — Ro-be-rt — R-o-b-e-r-t” shuffles up through the house. What trick of stealing sugar he has n't learned is n't worth learning. “ She talk about the niggers, — bah!” he exclaims, as he goes about his work.
When I was ready last evening to go to my room, I sent Robert for a light, and told him to bring me a whole candle. He came back directly and said, throwing his finger over his shoulder, “She says can't have it." I followed him into the dining-room, where she sat whining at ’Manda.
“Madam, I should like a light.”
She told Robert to bring her a candle, and was about to cut off a piece two inches long. .
“I should like a whole candle to-night, if you please," said I.
“ Want a whole candle, sir ?”
“ Yes, ma'am, I 'm going to write in my room awhile this evening.”
“ Want a long candle? What yer goin' to write? Want all this candle ?"
“ Can't I have the candle ?”
“ The whole candle ? Gemmen allers takes a short light and goes to bed right soon.”
“Shall I take that candle, or shall I send Robert out to buy me one?”
“I reckon ye can have this. I'll send Robert up for it arter a while.”
I did n't stop to argue that point, but when I reached the hall I said to Robert, “ You 'll find the door locked if you come up”; to which he responded, “I sha’n’t come.”
The table is wretched. The tea, eggs, and waffles are the only articles even passably good. Bread and biscuit are alike sour and leaden, and all the meats are swimming in strong fat. The cook is a large and raw-boned negrowoman, who is aided by the “ Missus,” the boy Robert, and the girl 'Manda. I suppose Sarah cooks quite to the satisfaction of her mistress ; but I doubt if it would be possible for any Northern girl, even with twenty years of training, to make of herself a cook so utterly bad as Sarah is. She certainly exhibits most remarkable ability in spoiling everything in the line of eatables.
The general management of the house, I scarcely need add, is hopelessly miserable. Everything is forever at sixesand-sevens, and the knowledge of where anything was yesterday gives not the least indication of its present whereabouts. The establishment, not less in its several parts than in its aggregate whole, is an unclean thing. Shiftlessness has here his abode, and there is neither effort nor desire to dispossess him. And the traveller's bill is three dollars and a half per day!
I have not drawn this picture except for a purpose. I hear, already, in this Southern trip, a great deal about the superior civilization of the South. This hotel is a part of its outgrowth. Orangeburg was a place of twenty-five hundred to three thousand inhabitants. It is the county seat. Here is the State Orphan Asylum. The place is midway between Charleston and the capital. Let any one consider what is the character of the only public house in any Northern town of the same size, and similarly situated, and then the quality of this boasted Southern civilization will be apparent. Nor can it be said that the war is responsible for the condition of things here, for the house was full from the beginning, and has not suffered any loss from either army. It could not receive a week's support in any community of any State from Maine to the Rocky Mountains. Yet here it lives on and on, year after year, a witness for Southern civilization. Let us call things by their right names, — then shall we say Southern barbarism. . .
THE SITUATION WITH RESPECT TO THE NEGRO.
ORANGEBURG C. H., September 9, 1865. ECALLING how persistently the whites of this State I have claimed, for twenty-five years, to be the negro's special friends, and seeing, as the traveller does, how these whites treat this poor black, one cannot help praying that he may be saved from his friends in future. Yet this cannot be. Talk' never so plausibly and eloquently as any one may of colonization or deportation, the inexorable fact remains, that the negro is in South Carolina, and must remain here till God pleases to call him away. The problem involved in his future must be met on the soil of which he is native; and any attempt to solve it elsewhere than in the house of these his so-called special friends will be futile.
The work of the North, in respect to South Carolina, is twofold: the white man must be taught what the negro's rights are, and the negro must be taught to wait patiently and wisely for the full recognition of those rights in his own old home. He waited so long in the house of bondage for the birthright of freedom, that waiting is weary work for him now; yet there is nothing else for him and us, — nothing but faith, and labor, and waiting, and, finally, rest in victory.
The city negro and the country negro are as much unlike
as two races. So, too, the city white man and the country white man differ much from each other. The latter, however, is just what he chooses to be, while the country negro is just what slavery and his late owners have made him. Tell me what you will derogatory of the country negro, and very likely I shall assent to most of the language you use. He is very often, and perhaps generally, idle, vicious, improvident, negligent, and unfit to care well for his interests. In himself, he is a hard, coarse, unlovely fact, and no amount of idealizing can make him otherwise. Yet, for all that, he is worth quite as much as the average country white.
The negro, one may say, is made by his master. I even doubt if he is, in many cases, morally responsible for his acts. With him there is no theft when he takes small property from the white; there is, of course, crime in the eye of the law, but there is none in the design or consciousness of the negro. Has not every day of his existence taught him that robbery is no crime? So, too, if this uncouth freedman, just from the plantation, falls into a passion and half kills somebody, you will utterly fail in your effort to make him understand that he has committed a grave crime. Has not his whole life been witness of just such right and lawful outrage on humanity? This language may indicate a bad state of affairs; but it points out certain conditions with respect to the negro that must be taken into account by any one undertaking to deal with him as a freedman.
Everybody talks about the negro, at all hours of the day, and under all circumstances. One might in truth say — using the elegant language of opposition orators in Congress — that “the people have got nigger on the brain.” Let conversation begin where it will, it ends with Sambo.
I scarcely talk with any white man who fails to tell me how anxious many of the negroes are to return to their old homes. In coming up from Charleston I heard of not less than eleven in this condition, and mention has been made