« EelmineJätka »
and wrinkled in large wrinkles like folds clean an' smooz as a swimmin' fish, an' of black woollen overlapping each other. ben's yo' wicked ole knees befo' de Virgin, The face widened from the brow, and the an' tinks yo'self too good to drink de café chin seemed to repeat itself in a great bag noir wid Sinai. Skt!" of flesh, where one might imagine she And Sinai hissed like an enraged goose, stowed away odd bits as in a kangaroo's while her eyes snapped, and her lean body pouch. She was arrayed, this interesting shook. link of humanity, in a red linsey skirt “Hush, 'ooman, fur de love o' de saints ! short enough to display her bare feet and De child is widin sound." ankles, around which cast-off snake-skins “Hoh! so leetle missy not know all were bound as amulets against rheuma- true ob her so much 'spectable nuss ! tism. A sacque opening nearly to her Reckon I'll tell. Missy-Miss Dina—" waist in a V shape showed a tattooed neck “You needn't say any more," cried ornamented with chains and charms and Dina, running in. “I've heard every things without a name. There were am- word, and I'll thank you not to abuse ber beads, and a little carved horseshoe, Maum Dulcie any more. If you do, you and a wooden fetich, and a child's caul get no coffee, no anything, in this house, tied up in a piece of buckskin. Finally, ever again!" from this mysterious bosom a strong odor “Spec's I'll go," muttered Sinai, untyof asafætida exhaled as Sinai moved brisking her coffee bag; “but look to yo’self, ly about Dulcie's kitchen, preparing her little snappin'-tertle.” coffee.
“Honey, don't anger her, " said Maum 'Gimme a cup, Dulce," she said, socia- Dulcie. “She'll trick you, she will. She's bly, “an' I make you cup café money no got de evil-eye.' buy."
“If she does, I'll have her whipped," Dulcie should have known better than cried Dina, energetically, red spots comto refuse, but, “I don't drink no sich ing into her cheeks. “Now aren't you stuff,” she said, with a gesture of scorn ashamed of yourself, you wicked old hea“dreened through a stockin' leg at dat!" then ?"
“Ho! 'tain't so 'nuff good for Queen Neither old heathen seemed sure which Dulcie! Queen o' de Mabyn roost, is yer? was addressed, for Dulcie began to cry, You nigger, you! is you a-darin' to put and Sinai whined out, "Don' ye go be on airs ober me?" and Sinai beat herself hard on po' ole destite 'ooman, honey. on the breast.
I wouldn't do no harm t'ye, nod so much For answer Maum Dulcie began turn- as breathe on de flower in yo'liddle ing the leaves of her book and crooning han’.” something expressive of her entire will “Well, I think you wouldn't," cried ingness for the wicked ones of earth to the girl, throwing back her head. “I'd backbite her“jes' as much as dey please,” | like to see anybody that could harm Adine if the Lord would only hand down her Mabyn. Now leave, Sinai; and don't you crown, and wash her in His flowing blood. come into this kitchen again until you
“'Er crown!" shrieked Sinai, apparent- have permission from me. ly addressing spirits of the air. "Listen Sinai crept out, and the young princess, at dat murderin' h’ole hypocrite! Who relaxing from her dignity, began to laugh. gwine ter gib zat crown ?-Lord or debbil ? Then she pointed her slim little forefinger B’liebe
at the shame-covered Dulcie. Shet yo' scandalous mouf !” said “Ah, Dulcie-Dulcie Dover! I've found Dulcie.
you out! Ha! ha! ha!” "Scand'lous ? Zat means I spiks lies? The girlish laughter pealed through the Skt! Who seed yo' las' moon-risin' w'en kitchen. . She looked so pretty standing Hoodoos met a-dancin', an'a-chargin', and there, her black hair down-dropping, her a-rarin', an'a-foamin' at de lips like ze face sparkling with a child's mirth. cotton-mouth snake? Whar wuz zat w'ite “Oh, honey, don't laugh. I's shame hank'chif zen? Whar was dem black silk to look at you—deed I is." stockin's zat you sticks y’ole elephant feet “I don't mind it; I think it's fun. out for ter show? Hoh! yo' legs wuz bar' Why didn't you tell me long ago, when I as mine, an'a-whirlin' roun' like de win', begged so for your secret ?” an' yo' wuz a-sayin' de mos' bad words. “It's nuthin' fur you ter know." Skt! To-day yo' walks hin' leetle missy “Well, I know now, so you may as
well make a clean breast, and tell me all said Dulcie, with despairing emphasis ; about it. What is Hoodooism, anyhow?" "an' somethin' pulls an' pushes till I git
“It's de ole African r'ligion, honey. dar. I feels it as if cords wuz aroun' my It's jes’ like white folks' r'ligion, on'y it's neck, an' han's pushin' from behin', an' heathenism, an' dey worships de debbil." I has no peace till I is wid de essemblage
"Worship the devil! I should think of de glitterin' ones. Den good-by to de you would be afraid to."
blessed Virgin an’de thorn-crowned Lord. “I's afeard not to," said Dulcie, with Dim dey is as de shade ob a salt cedar in a groan, “an' I comes to de Virgin pray- de sun; but Satan flares befo' me like a in' her pardon.”
fire in de forest, an' I dances in de ring “Want to keep in with both sides, do till sense an' remembrance is gone." you? Look out, Maum Dulcie, or, between Dina drew a long breath. “Maumie, two stools, you'll fall to the ground.” how I should like to see a Hoodoo meet
“Yes, dat is my torment."
“Now suppose you should make friends "Little missy, is you crazy ?" with the devil,” said Dina, argumenta “No, I'm not. And I will see one. tively, “what could he do for you ?" Won't you
take me some time ??? "Why, honey, dem dat is faithful is “Not while de breff is in dis body.” promoted in his kingdom, an' dey is free “You shall,” cried little warm-temperto wander 'mongst de stars an' roun' deed Dina—"you shall take me. I order earth, a-settin' traps an' ketchin' souls fur it. Or I'll tell papa you're a Hoodoo, de burnin' pit.”
and he'll send you off to one of his sugar “Nice business, that! Now come, plantations." Maumie, you know it's all nonsense. Dulcie rose, her eyes flashing. Why don't you give it up?"
you'd be a tell-tale? With your blood ?" “Honey, you min' dat big nigger dat Then she burst into tears. yo' pappy's had whupped over an' over Dina was in her arms in a moment, agin fur drunkenness?"
but not forgetting in her burst of remorse “I do," said Dina, with a prompt shud- to renew her entreaties. der. “I saw him whipped once. The "Would I hol' a cup o' pizen to yer blood came.”
lips, my chile ?" 'Yes, childie; an' right it wuz fur Mars' “You know that is foolishness, MauFrank ter try an' cure dat sinner ob his mie. How could it hurt me just to go sins. But what wuz de good? When he and look on a little while ?" sol' one o' his pigs or chickens to de white “I won't! I won't! I won't!" said Maum folks, or some gentleman tossed him a Dulcie. quarter, off he wuz ter spen' it in drink. And swearing she would ne'er consent, An' does you min' de time dat he broke consented. inter de wine-cellar, an' wuz foun'stretch
VI. ed out, dead as a snake in winter, wid A few weeks later, one of Mr. Mabyn's drink?"
creditors foreclosed a mortgage on a sugar “Yes, and how papa shut him up in plantation up in the interior of the State. the crib for a week, giving him nothing It was decided to sell the personal proper. but bread and water."
ty, including the negroes that appertained “An' a whuppin',” said Dulcie, “every to the estate, at auction, in New Orleans, mornin', reg'lar as sun-up. Well
, dat and a prolonged absence was necessitated didn't cure him. An', my birdie, dat nig- for Mr. Mabyn. He left the home and ger walked inter misery wid his eyes wide Dina, as usual, in the charge of Maum open. He knowed dat a bitter an' black Dulcie. It had not yet occurred to the punishment wuz at de end ob his rope, father that his daughter was anything but he bore it for de sake o' de drink. more than the unobtrusive child whom Dar wuz a cravin' an'a gnawin' widin he had occasionally observed at play in him, an' he wuz a hungry lion till he the yard. had filled himself. Den he turned inter After Dina's discovery of her secret, a sneakin' wolf, a-howlin' for marcy.” Maum Dulcie had made strong resolu
"A light breaks," laughed Dina. “I tions of abstinence as to Hoodoo entice- . begin to see what all this has to do with ments. But it was very curious. Some Hoodoos."
wild superstition of her race was inter“De Hoodoo meetin' is my drink,” | woven with her being, and all her blood Voi.. LXII.-No. 371.-47
fired when she heard that the Hoodoo | line. In its centre was a rough stone priest had called a meeting of his devo- structure that looked to Dina more like a tees. Instinct, like a leaping passion or tottering chimney than anything else, mother-love, was stronger than reason. but which her nurse informed her in a No force could hold her back, when from whisper was de altar." A fire was kinthe altar that bugle sounded.
dled under it, and across two stones a pot It was but a few days after her father's simmered, its contents exhaling an odor departure that indolent Dina noticed one so queerly blended that only a very eduof the old restless fits coming over Maum cated nostril could have disentangled its Dulcie. She had been watching for it, component essences. Around the caldron truth to tell, and she whispered in her -let us name it caldron, as being witchnurse's ear, “There is to be a meeting to-hinting and weird-negroes were skipnight.”
ping, less clad than decency allows, and “Yes, honey, but Dulcie ain't a-gwine all holding pine torches above their heads. ter no mo' sich heathen gatherin's.” One figure, “I know what that means—that you
“above the rest will wait until I am asleep, and then slip
In shape and gesture proudly eminent, away. Come, Maumie. It's no use. I'm who might have been the priest, would going—to keep you out of mischief.”' occasionally stir the bubbling mixture,
“Miss Dina," said Dulcie, emphatical- and add something to its contents from a ly, "I puts my foot down as ter one thing stone jug. When the jug was emptied, Ef go you will, you's got ter dress all the negroes one by one danced up to the muffled up, wid yo' face hid, an' ter keep pot-caldron-and dipping into it with out o' sight, an' ter come home soon's I small green gourds that they drew from says de word. Holy Mary! nobody mus' their bosoms, drank down the steaming know dat Dina Mabyn was at a Hoodoo liquor as unconcernedly as if it had been meetin'. It might spile yo' chance for a pine-apple juice. Whatever it was, it husban', honey.'
seemed to take immediate effect, or its "I'll risk that," laughed Dina, "only to drinking was a preconcerted signal, for go-to go-to go; that is the thing for us the dance grew faster, and a wild song to do.”
began-a thrilling monotony of five notes, The night was dark when two figures repeated again and again, alternately fast stole from the Mabyn gate and plunged or slow, low or loud, ever varying, yet into the shadows. There was no moon, ever the same. Dulcie, holding herself and the palely glittering stars lent no rigid beside her young mistress, began to light to earth. Dina clung to Maum Dul- jerk like a mummy touched by a galvanic cie's arm. Even to her fearless soul this battery. Suddenly she tore herself from began to seem a wild freak. They walk- Dina's detaining grasp, rushed forward ed along the beach, seeing no one—for the with an African yell, and joined in the hour was midnight-until Dina began to dance as wild and mad as any Hoodoo tire, when Dulcie struck across the flat among them. land. They had not far to go-for in its “I believe Maumie is right," thought widest part the island only measured the forsaken Dina, with a cool little shrug three miles—before they saw blue lights of her shoulders. “It is the devil's own dancing in the darkness.
worship.” "Dar dey is!" whispered Maum Dulcie. The impression deepened every mo
On they pressed. A cluster of cedars ment. They did look tremendously like and oleanders concealed and revealed the demons, dancing and howling round the light in fitful gleams. They drew near-fire, and maltreating a straw effigy proer, and Dina felt herself stumbling over duced from behind the altar. Evidently stones. Dulcie took her by the arm, and this personified an enemy, for a fiendguided her among the trees to a great live-ish spite was vented upon it.
It was oak.
thrown down, trampled, stuck through “Stop here."
with knives, whipped, and spat upon. Hidden by the tree, Dina peered out at Finally it was lighted with a blazing a very curious sight.
brand, and tossed into a grave - shaped The heath had been cleared of the sharp hole. After this the excitement seemed shrubs and grasses that still grew at the to die out; some threw earth into the pit edge of the circle, and formed a boundary | as if they were filling a grave, others
leaned against each other, breathing heavi-lipped wretch, "you've got ter take dat ly. Dina's eyes had borne enough, and, back 'fo' you leaves dis place, whar you've deciding to leave Maumie Dulcie, she had stole our secret." just turned to slip away, when she was Ah, Dina! pretty Dina! poor Dina! startled by old Sinai's shrill voice.
danger is near -danger from the beast “Frens-zere ees traitre 'mong us-you you have maddened ! see zat Dulce Mabyn?"
Some one appeared at Dina's side. Dina paused, indignant.
From the skies, or the bursting earth ? “She is ze traitre. She deserve pun- She did not know; but there he was-a ishment-yes ? She wear two face. She slight, elegant figure, a clear voice, and a talk out two sides her mouf. She worship hand that held a pistol. wiz ze black blood, zen she sneak to w'ite "You hounds," he said, in a quiet tone, man's altar. What we go do wiz ole “fall back!" Dulce?"
There was no hesitancy in obeying. A quick, confused murmur of voices Back they pressed upon each other, those arose. Dulcie was surrounded, and vio- on the outer edge slipping away, and belent reproaches heaped on her. Dina ing swallowed up in darkness. stood her ground, frightened, but with no “Lift out the woman whom you threw intention now of leaving without her into this hole,” he continued. “Is she nurse. All talked together, and she could dead ?" no longer understand them. In fact, their “Lord, no, marster, she ain't hurt; souls had soared up to that picturesque on'y jes’ skeered, and kin' o' faint like." realm where oaths blossom for the pluck Dulcie was lifted from the dark hole, ing, and what they said was chiefly made and a few moments in the air revived her. up of their vigorous embellishment.
“Dina!" she called, feebly. The end of the matter was that the “Oh, Maumie! Maumie! how badly Hoodoos sprang at Dulcie, tore off her they have treated you, these wicked Hoodress, and wrapping her in a blood-stained doos! I hope the Bad Man will burn piece of cotton bagging, tossed her into them up some day. Your cloak is torn the pit where they had already thrown to pieces. Here, take my hood." the straw effigy.
"Honey, hush; dar's a strange genThis was too much for Dina. With tleman." a cry of anger she sprang from her ref “Why, he saved us both.
We ought uge. Her hood fell back, and her glitter- to thank him. And we are very grateful ing indignant face shone in the murky to you, sir"—with a sudden inclination light as a star shines. Her lips were toward the stranger. “Now, Maumie, drawn back over her short teeth. lit- let us hurry away.” tle enraged animal looks just so when They started, but the stranger with about to bite.
them, leaving the Hoodoos in no humor What have you done to Maum Dul- to continue their rites. cie, you mean, wicked creatures ??? She “How did you happen to be here, my ran to the edge of the pit, calling, “Dul- child ?” he said, indifferently, as they cie! Maumie!" in a piercing tone.
But walked away. for the first time poor Dulcie's ears were “I was so curious, and I made Maumie deaf to the call of her nursling. “You Dulcie take me.” have killed her!" cried the young girl, “An'a wicked sinner I was ter do it,” and you shall be hanged for it. I know groaned the old woman.
I see Jim Fairfax, and Prince “I think you were,” he said, lightly; Littleton, and George Jack, and you, you but you were punished enough. I did wicked, wicked old Sinai! I know every not think there would be a limb of you one of you, and I shall tell your masters left." on you, just as sure as my name is Adine Dulcie shuddered, and faltered in her Mabyn."
walk. A low mutter arose. They had crouch “Here, take a pull out of my brandy ed before white blood; but as the child flask," said the stranger, good-naturedly, shrieked her denunciation, fear aroused “and we will walk more slowly. Take wrath. Eyes met eyes with a dreadful my arm, little girl. This is a sorry night purpose.
for you." “No, miss," said one black demon “Oh, it's no matter, now that it is over,
and I hope it will cure Maum Dulcie of simples, blending and compounding with Hoodooism. She doesn't really believe exquisite nicety. The results were curiin it, you know. She is a good Catho- ously fresh; and if there was one merit lic. But sometimes she is tempted of the over another for which the critics lauded devil.”
Mr. West, it was for his native American Exactly”—with a short laugh. originality. “But it was very strange that you Mr. West's peculiar method did not alshould have been there," burst out Dina, low too luxurious a development of his frankly.
moral nature. Sentiments of delicacy, “I was straying about-I always walk emotions of a lofty grade, were valuable until a late hour, trying to tire myself to to him only as they were useful to him in sleepiness—when I heard voices and saw his work. He had long since drained lights. I followed them, of course, for I himself of what he could give, but everyam a stranger to your part of the country, where about him he found rich studies. and keep my eyes open for adventures. The blush on a woman's cheek, the naive And, by Jove! I got more than I bargain- selfishness of a child, the constancy of a ed for. It was superb to see you spring foolish heart, the agony of some dying bed, at those wolves! What a picture it would the solitary virtue of a sin-stained soul, make!"
the gleam of a passionate eye, the reThe stranger had assumed a familiar morse of a wrecked nature-all he obair in talking to Dina, of which she was served without a throb of sympathy, and too ignorant to feel the sting. It really carefully utilized to his credit and the had not occurred to him that she was glory of literature. a gentlewoman. Some creole girl, he But his task was sufficiently arduous; thought, or a quadroon, the granddaugh- and after some years, when he had tired ter of the old woman whom she called her his eyes and spoiled his digestion, he saw
He was surprised, therefore, when that the strain must be relaxed for a time. they stopped before the gate of a house His medical man advised complete rest; worthy to be called stately.
so he had taken a vacation from living, "This is my home,” said Dina. “I as he said, and had come to this Southern will bid you good-night, and I thank city by the sea to vegetate for three you with all my heart and soul for your months. kindness to Maum Dulcie,” she added, ex “I am almost sorry I met that little tending her hand with warm impulsive- girl," he mused, thinking of Dina and the
Hoodoos. “Here I had vowed myself to “May I not ask the name of the young rest, and my brain has already begun to lady I have had the honor of serving ?" spin rhymes about her. I wonder if she he said, with marked courtesy.
is as pretty as she looked last night in that “I am Adine Mabyn.”
Eblis light?” “And I am Marion West,” he said, lift Perhaps it was to find out that he strolling his hat. “I think, Miss Mabyn, that ed the next afternoon in the direction of I have cause to be grateful even to the the Mabyn place. Dina was in the garHoodoos. Good-night.” And he walked den. He raised his hat, and she hastened away, leaving Dina slightly puzzled, a down the curving walk evidently to speak little sleepy, and too tired to talk over to him. the startling night with Maum Dulcie. “Good-evening, Mr. West," said Dina.
“I am so glad to see you!
For do you VII.
know you lost your handkerchief last Marion West was a fashionable author. night ?" An extreme elegance, wit, and precision "I did not know it," he said, smiling, distinguished his poems, sketches, and and feeling relieved; "but it is scarcely novels; and he was certainly quite as surprising, as I might be tracked through clever a man as his admirers supposed the world by cuff buttons, pocket-handhim, though in a different way. With a kerchiefs, penknives, and note-books." keen intellectual perception and a good “Old Sinai found it,” said Dina, brightmemory, he still owed his success in life ly; "and she brought it here to-day, tryto a sixth sense with which he was gifted, ing to win my forgiveness by such an for so his genius for imitation might be extraordinary burst of honesty. I am called. He used authors as a chemist his having it washed, and we will send it to