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About The Hesperian / (Lincoln, Neb.) 1885-1899 | View Entire Issue (April 27, 1896)
Dixie; or A Sailor's Story-
It was a still summer night. Lake Erie
was unusually calm: yet struggling billows
rolled here and there. The Northern Light,
enroute from Chicago to Buffalo, with a
large cargo of grain aud machinery and with
three hundred passengers on board, was
sailing gracefully on her course. The clear
sky was one big unrolled galaxy of stars:
the large full moon hung directly overhead
and its rejection lit up the dark blue waters.
That peculiar beauty of the lake in the moon
light lias often served as the poet's theme.
My shipmate and I were sitting enjoying
a tranquil smoke on the after-quarter deck.
Everything was quiet below; the music and
dancing in the cabin had ceased. The mid
night watch had changed and gone down.
Hie dull heavy thumping noise of the big
engine bellow, beating constantly the time,
the occasional cllank of the rudder chains at
the stern, and the smothered roar of ruhin"
waiters at the prow, were the only noises to
disturb the perfect silence, While thus sit
ting in the cool lake breeze and gentlv
rocked by the motion of the ship, my mind
wandered to long loved places, to the home
of my childhood, to sonse old play ground,
U wrae mound marking the resting place of
a dear friend. The ffiie in mv jiiwe had mn
omit. My shipnaate was apparently looking
ait his feet, his pipe in his itnomtb upside
down, no fine in it.
Owir reverie wa suddenly broken by a
UoiDd blow of the big whittle. The
whole ship trembled. We were; answered
by the passing ft&ai; the answer aoMnded
CMuBy Bike a echo. My, shipmate, seeing
tflbe ashea oust of may pipe, a5d, I wa Swat
thinking how to-day 1 might have owned a
ship Bike flhu" 1 knew from iite igmwi that
a Bong itfxy was wjw going to be iniwraveled.
"Ye,, I might have been wortHii a in web a
this wholle ship and the cargo thrown jm,
he eontiniBed. "Every ttme I think aboait
It I kick maiyaelf for being TOh a J fool.
Here I am mt a aallor before the jraast and
have to woirk two and three. Jay and night
at a clip very often, as we did last trip into
Chicago, and 1 expect we will have to do it
when we get into Buffalo. I might just as
well have been wearing my broadcloth."
He had now gotten his pipe refilled and
lighted, after taking a few puffs he contin
ued "I was born and raised in Tennessee
on old Judge Trotter's plantation. Old
Trotter had about three hundred slaves; he
was very good to etn; they done about as
they pleased, and he never 'lowed a one of
them to be whipped if he knew it. They
saucied everything about the place "cept him
and ole missus.
5Iy mother was one of the house women,
so I was raised about the house. When 1
got big enough some of ihe boys learned me
to drive, and before long I was driving the
carriage all aroucd. At first I thought it
fun but after awile I got tired of it and then
they made me tlo it. That was about all the
work I ever done, was driving that carriage,
and it was going nearly all the time.
Old Trotter's only child, Georgia, was
just one year younger than me, and as I
said I was raided about the big house, so we
were brought np together, my mother nursed
us both. It was alright when we was little,
but when we got bigger Georgia's mother
tried to keep us apart a little more. Bat it
was no we. Georgia was one of thtfe
spoiled young one, hard-headed, and bound
to have her own way. She would fight her
mother and fat he or anybodv when she wa
only twelve year old, and when she got one
of her high ways she wa boss of the place.
After while, whew Georgia was about seven
teen, the of J folk sent her away to aebool,
!5o-ton S believe it wa. Before be left sbe
btd me good-bye when tm one saw as.
Tbew she was only a frolicking girl but
three year afterward when she came hack,
what a change ! She was young mhm and
tended to all her father business. She wa
mart; be had studied Vittbmetic and Greek
and grammar and all tbi kind a thing.
She took her ride in the carriage nearly
every morning. I wa the only coach man
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