• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Half Title
 Advertising
 Frontispiece
 Title Page
 Dedication
 List of Illustrations
 Chapter I
 Chapter II
 Chapter III
 Chapter IV
 Chapter V
 Chapter VI
 Chapter VII
 Chapter VIII
 Chapter IX
 Advertising
 Back Cover
 Spine














Group Title: Cozy corner series
Title: Ole mammy's torment
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE TURNER PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00085511/00001
 Material Information
Title: Ole mammy's torment
Series Title: Cozy corner series
Physical Description: 118, 6 p. : ill. ; 19 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Johnston, Annie F ( Annie Fellows ), 1863-1931
Johnston, Mary G., b. 1872 ( Illustrator )
Sacker, Amy M., b. 1876 ( Illustrator )
Page Company ( Publisher )
C.H. Simonds & Co
Colonial Press ( Printer )
Publisher: L.C. Page and Company
Place of Publication: Boston
Manufacturer: Colonial Press ; Electrotyped and printed by C.H. Simonds & Co.
Publication Date: 1897
 Subjects
Subject: Children -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Uncles -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Orphans -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
African Americans -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Intergenerational relations -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Clergy -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Family -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Christian life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Work ethic -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Storytelling -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Publishers' advertisements -- 1897   ( rbgenr )
Family stories -- 1897   ( local )
Genre: Publishers' advertisements   ( rbgenr )
Family stories   ( local )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: United States -- Massachusetts -- Boston
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: by Annie Fellows Johnston ; illustrated by Mary G. Johnston and Amy M. Sacker.
General Note: Publisher's advertisements precede and follow text.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00085511
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002232282
notis - ALH2674
oclc - 02722696
lccn - 07010536

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Half Title
        Half Title
    Advertising
        Advertising 1
        Advertising 2
    Frontispiece
        Frontispiece
    Title Page
        Title Page 1
        Title Page 2
    Dedication
        Dedication 1
        Dedication 2
    List of Illustrations
        List of Illustrations 1
        List of Illustrations 2
    Chapter I
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
    Chapter II
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
    Chapter III
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
    Chapter IV
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
    Chapter V
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
    Chapter VI
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
    Chapter VII
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
    Chapter VIII
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
    Chapter IX
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
    Advertising
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
        Page 134
    Back Cover
        Back Cover 1
        Back Cover 2
    Spine
        Spine
Full Text





















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The Baldwin Librazy
UniU v sity
m lj3ofI



















OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT








Works of
Annie Fellows Johnston
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(Trade Mark)

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OTHER BOOKS
Joel: A Boy of Galilee. $1.50
igBrother .50
Ole Mammy's Torment. .50
The Story of Dago .50
Cicely .. .50
Aunt 'Liza's Hero .50
The Quilt That Jack Built .50
Asa Holmes 1.00
Flip's "Islands of Providence" 1.00
Songs Ysame (Poems, with Albion
Fellows Bacon) 1.00

L. C. PAGE & COMPANY
200 Summer Street Boston, Mass.







OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT


BY
ANNIE FELLOWS


JOHNSTON


UllustrateB b
MARY G. JOHNSTON
AND
AMY M. SACKER


BOSTON
L. C. PAGE AND COMPANY
(INCORPORATED)
1897

























Copyright, i897
BY L. C. PAGE AND COMPANY
(INCORPORATED)

















Colonial reis:
Electrotyped and Printed .by C. H. Simonds & Co.
Boston, Mass., U. S. A.






























TO

TWO TORMENTS WHOM I KNOW
























PAGE

BUD AND IVY Frontispiece

JOHN JAY -. 2

"'WOT WE ALL GWINE DO NOW?" 7

MARS' NAT 29

"A GROUP OF PRETTY GIRLS SAT ON THE PORCH" 37

"FILLED BOTH HIS HANDS" 41

UNDER THE APPLE-TREE 52

UNCLE BILLY 65

"THE GANDERS HAD CHASED HIM AROUND" .76

" GEORGE CAME OUT AND LOCKED THE DOOR". 93

"SAT ALONE BY THE CHURCH STEPS" II















OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT.


CHAPTER I.

UNCLE BILLY rested his axe on the log he .
was chopping, and turned his grizzly old head
to one side, listening intently. A confusion of
sounds came from the little cabin across the
road. It was a dilapidated negro cabin, with
its roof awry and the weather-boarding off in
great patches; still, it was a place of interest
to Uncle Billy. His sister lived there with
three orphan grandchildren.
Leaning heavily on his axe-handle, he thrust
out his under lip, and rolled his eyes in the
direction of the uproar. A broad grin spread
over his wrinkled black face as he heard the
rapid spank of a shingle, the scolding tones of
an angry voice, and a prolonged howl.






OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT.


"John Jay an' he gran'mammy 'peah to be
havin' a right sma't difference of opinion to-
gethah this mawnin'," he chuckled.
He shaded his eyes with his stiff, crooked
fingers for a better view. A pair of nimble
black legs skipped back and forth across the
open doorway, in a vain attempt to dodge the
descending shingle,
while a clatter of falling
tinware followed old
Mammy's portly figure,
as she made awkward
but surprising turns in
her wrathful circuit of
the crowded room.
"Ow! I'll be good!
F I'll be good! Oh,
Mammy, don't! You'se a-killin' me!" came in
a high shriek.
Then there was a sudden dash for the cabin
door, and an eight-year-old colored boy scurried
down the path like a little wild rabbit, as fast as
his bare feet could carry him. The noise ended
as suddenly as it had begun; so suddenly, in-
deed, that the silence seemed intense, although
the air was full of all the low twitterings and





OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT.


soft spring sounds that come with the early
days of April.
Uncle Billy stood chuckling over the boy's
escape. The situation had been made clear to
him by the angry exclamations he had just over-
heard. John Jay, left in charge of the weekly
washing, flapping on the line, had been unfaith-
ful to his trust. A neighbor's goat had taken
advantage of his absence to chew up a pillow-
case and two aprons.
Really, the child was not so much to blame.
It was the fault of the fish-pond, sparkling
below the hill. But old Mammy couldn't
understand that. She had never been a boy,
with the water tempting her to come and angle
for its shining minnows; with the budding wil-
lows. beckoning her, and the warm winds luring
her on. But Uncle Billy understood, and felt
with a sympathetic tingle in every rheumatic
old joint, that it was a temptation beyond the
strength of any boy living to resist.
His chuckling suddenly stopped as the old
woman appeared in the doorway. He fell to
chopping again with such vigor that the chips
flew wildly in all directions. He knew from
the way that her broad feet slapped along the





OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT.


beaten path that she was still angry, and he
thought it safest to take no notice of her, be-
yond a cheery -" Good mawnin', sis' Sheba."
Huh! Not much good about it that I can
see!" was her gloomy .reply. Lowering the
basket she carried from her head to a fence-
post, she began the story of her grievances.
It was an old story to Uncle Billy, somewhat
on the order of "The house that Jack built;"
for, after telling John Jay's latest pranks, she
always repeated the long line of misdeeds of
which he had been guilty since the first day he
had found a home under her sagging rooftree.
Usually she found a sympathetic listener in
Uncle Billy, but this morning the only comfort
he offered-was an old plantation proverb, spoken
with brotherly frankness.
Well, sis' Sheba, I 'low it'll be good for you
in the long run. Troubles is seasonin'. 'Sim-
mons ain't good twel dey er fros'bit,' you know."
He stole a sidelong glance at her from under
his bushy eyebrows, to see the effect- of his
remark. She tossed her head defiantly. I
'low if the choice was left to the 'simmon or
you eithah, brer Billy, you'd both take the
greenness an' the puckah befo' the fros'bite





OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT.


every time." Then a tone of complaint trem-
bled in her voice.
I might a needed chastenin' in my youth,
I don't 'spute that; but why should I now, a
trim'lin' on the aidge of the tomb, almost ,
have to put up with that limb of a John Jay ?
If my poah Ellen knew what a tawment her
boy is to her ole mammy, I know she couldn't
rest easy in her grave."
"John Jay, he don't mean to be bad," re-
marked Uncle Billy soothingly. "It's jus'
'cause he's so young an' onthinkin'. An' aftah
all, it ain't what he does. It's mo' like what
the white folks say in they church up on the
hill. I have lef' undone the things what I
ought to 'uv done.' "
Doubled up out of sight, behind the bushes
that lined the roadside ditch, John Jay held his
breath and listened. When the ringing strokes
of the axe began again, he ventured to poke out
his woolly head until the whites of his eyes
were visible. Sheba was trudging down the
road with her basket on her head, to the place:
where she always washed on Tuesdays. Sh-b
was far enough on .her way now to make itf
safe for him to come out of hiding.






OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT.


The tears had dried on the boy's long curling
lashes, but his bare legs still smarted from the
blows of the shingle, as he climbed slowly out
of the bushes and started back to the cabin.
"Hey, Bud! Come on, Ivy!" he called
cheerfully. Nobody answered. It was a part
of the programme, whenever John Jay was
punished, for the little brother and sister to
run and hide under the back-door step. There
they cowered, with covered heads, until the dan-
ger was over. Old Sheba had never frowned
on the four-year-old Bud, or baby Ivy, but
they scuttled out of sight like frightened mice
at the first signal of her gathering wrath.
Ivy lay still with her thumb in her mouth,
but Bud began solemnly crawling out from be-
tween the steps. Everything that Bud did
seemed solemn. Even his smiles were slow-
spreading and dignified. Some people called
him Judge; but John Jay, wise in the negro
lore of their neighborhood Uncle Remus,
called him "Brer Tarrypin" for good reasons
of his own.
"Wot we all gwine do now.?" drawled Bud,
with a turtle-like stretch of his little round head
as he peered through the steps.





OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT. 7

John Jay scanned the horizon on all sides,
and thoughtfully rubbed his ear. His quick
eyes saw unlimited possibilities for enjoyment,
where older sight would have found but a dreary-


outlook; but older sight is always on a strain
for the birds in the bush. It is never satisfied
with the one in the hand. Older sight would
have seen only a poor shanty set in a patch of






OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT.


weeds and briers, and a narrow path straggling
down to the dust of the public road. But the
outlook was satisfactory to John Jay. So was
it- to the neighbor's goat, standing motionless
in the warm sunshine, with its eyes cast in the
direction of a newly-made garden. So was it
to the brood of little yellow goslings, waddling
after their mother.; They were out of their
shells, and the world was wide.
Added to this same feeling, of general con-
tentment with his lot, John Jay had the peace
that came from the certainty that, no matter
what he might do, punishment could not possibly
overtake him before nightfall. His grandmother
was always late coming home on Tuesday.
"Wot we all gwine do now?" repeated Bud.
John Jay caught at the low branch of the
apple-tree to which the clothes-line was tied,
and drew himself slowly up. He "did not reply
until he had turned himself over the limb several
times, and hung head downward by the knees.
"Go snake huntin', I reckon."
"But Mammy said not to take Ivy in the
briah-patch again," said Bud solemnly.
That's so," exclaimed John Jay, an' shingle
say so too," he added, with a grin, for his legs


8





OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT.


still smarted. Loosening the grip of his knees on
* the apple-bough, he turned a summersault back-
ward and landed on his feet as lightly as a cat.
"Ivy'll go to sleep aftah dinnah," suggested
Bud. "She always do." It seemed a long time
to wait until then, but with the remembrance of
his last punishment still warm in mind and
body, John Jay knew better than to take his
little sister to the forbidden briar-patch.
Well, we can dig a lot of fishing' worms," he
decided, "an' put 'em in those tomato cans
undah the ash-hoppah. Then we'll make us a
mud oven an' roast us some duck aigs. No-
body but me knows where the nest is."
Bud's eyes shone. The prospect was an in-
viting one.
Most of the morning passed quickly, but the
last half-hour was spent in impatiently waiting
for their dinner. They knew it was spread out
under a newspaper on the rickety old table, but
they had strict orders not to touch it until Aunt
Susan sounded her signal for Uncle Billy.. So
they sat watching the house across the road.
"Now it's time !" cried Bud excitedly. "I
see Aunt Susan goin' around the end of the
house with her spoon."






OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT.


An old cross-cut saw hung by one handle
from a peg in the stick chimney. As she beat
upon it now with a long, rusty iron spoon, the
din that filled the surrounding air was worse
than any made by the noisiest gong ever beaten
before a railroad restaurant. Uncle Billy, hoe-
ing in a distant field, gave an answering whoop,
and waved his old hat.
The children raced into the house and tore
the newspaper from the table. Under it were
three cold boiled potatoes, a dish of salt, a cup
of molasses, and a big pone of corn-bread. As
head of the family, John Jay divided everything
but the salt exactly into thirds, and wasted no
time in ceremonies before beginning. As soon
as the last crumb was finished he spread an old
quilt in front of the fireplace, where the embers,
though covered deep in ashes, still kept the
hearth warm.
No coaxing was needed to induce Ivy to lie
down. Even if she had not been tired and
sleepy she would have obeyed. John Jay's
word was law in his grandmother's absence.
Then he sat down on the doorstep and waited
for her to go to sleep.
If she wakes up and gets out on the road






OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT.


while we're gone, won't I catch it, though!"
he exclaimed to Bud in an undertone.
"Shet the doah," suggested Bud.
No, she'd sut'n'ly get into some devilmint
if she was shet in by herself," he answered.
How oft the sight of means to do ill deeds
makes ill deeds done! John Jay's roving eyes
fell on a broken teacup on the window-sill, that
'VIammy kept as a catch-all for ,stray buttons
and bits of twine. He remembered having
seen some rusty tacks among the odds and
ends. A loose brickbat stuck up suggestively
from the sunken hearth. The idea had not
much sooner popped into his head than the
deed was done. Bending over breathlessly to
make sure that the unsuspecting Ivy was
asleep, he nailed her little pink dress to the
floor with a row of rusty tacks. Then cau-
tiously replacing the bit of broken brick, he
made for the door, upsetting Bud in his hasty
leave-taking.
Over in the briar-patch, out of sight of the
house, two happy little darkeys played all the
afternoon. They beat the ground with the stout
clubs they carried. They pried up logs in
search of snakes. They whooped, they sang,






OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT.


they whistled. They rolled over and over each
other, giggling as they wrestled, in the sheer
delight of being alive on such a day. When
they finally killed a harmless little chickdn-
snake, no prince of the royal blood, hunting-
tigers in Indian jungles, could have been
prouder of his striped trophies than they were
of theirs.
Meanwhile, Ivy slept peacefully on, one little
hand sticking to her plump, molasses-smeared
cheek, the other holding fast to her headless
doll. Beside her on the floor lay a tattered
picture-book, a big bottle half full of red
shelled corn, and John Jay's most precious
treasure, a toy watch that could be endlessly
wound up. He had heaped them all beside her,
hoping they would keep her occupied until his
return, in case she should waken earlier than
usual.
The sun was well on its way to bed when
the little hunters shouldered their clubs, with a
snake dangling from each one, and started for
the cabin.
"My! I didn't know it was so late!" ex-
claimed John Jay ruefully, as they met a long
procession of home-going cows. -"Ain't it





OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT.


funny how soon sundown gets heah when yo
havin' a good time, and how long it is a-comin'
when yo' isn't!"
A dusky little figure rose up out of the weeds
ahead of them.- "Land sakes Ivy Hickman "
exclaimed John Jay, dropping his snake in sur-
prise. "'How did you get heah ?"
Ivy stuck her thumb in her mouth without
answering. He took her by the shoulder,
about to shake a reply from her, when Bud
exclaimed, in a. frightened voice, "Law, I see
Mammy coming Look! There she is now, in
front of Uncle Billy's house! "
Throwing away his club, and catching Ivy up
in his short arms, John Jay staggered up the
path leading to the back of the house as fast as
such a heavy load would allow, leaving Brer
Tarrypin far in the rear. Just as he sank
down at the back door, all out of breath, old
Sheba reached the front one.
"John Jay," she called, "what you doing',
chile?"
Heah I is, Mammy," he answered. "I'se
jus' takin' keer o' the chillun !"
"That's right, honey, I've got something'
mighty good in my basket fo' we all's sup-





OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT.


pah. Hurry up now, an' tote in some kin'lin'
wood."
Never had John Jay sprung to obey as he did
then. He shivered when he thought of his
narrow escape. His arms were piled so full of
wood that he could scarcely see over them,
when he entered the poorly lighted little
cabin. He stumbled over the bottle of corn
and the picture-book. Maybe he would not
have kicked them aside so gaily had he known
that his precious watch was lying in the cow-
path on the side of the hill where Ivy had
dropped it.
Mammy was bending over, examining some-
thing at her feet. Five ragged strips of pink
calico lay along the floor, each held fast at one
end by a rusty tack driven into the puncheons.
Ivy had grown tired of her bondage, and had
tugged and twisted until she got away. The
faithful tacks had held fast, but the pink calico,
grown thin with long wear and many washings,
tore in ragged strips. Mammy glanced from
the floor to Ivy's tattered dress, and read the
whole story.
Outside, across the road, Uncle Billy leaned
over his front gate in the deepening twilight,





OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT. 15

and peacefully puffed at his corn-cob pipe. As
the smoke curled up he bent his head to listen,
as he had done in the early morning. The day
was ending as it had begun, with the whack of
old Mammy's shingle, and the noise of John
Jay's loud weeping.












CHAPTER II.


IT was a warm night in May. The bright
moonlight shone in through the chinks of the
little cabin, and streamed across Ivy's face,
where she lay asleep on Mammy's big feather
bed. Bud was gently snoring in his corner of the
trundle-bed below, but John Jay kicked rest-
lessly beside him. He could not sleep with the
moonlight in his eyes and the frogs croaking so
mournfully in the pond back of the house. To
begin with, it was too early to go to bed, and in
the second place he wasn't a bit sleepy.
Mammy sat on a bench just outside of the
door, with her elbows on her knees. She was
crooning a dismal song softly to herself,- some-
thing about

Mary and Martha in deep distress,
A-grievin' ovah brer Laz'rus' death."

It gave him such a creepy sort of feeling that
he stuck his fingers in his ears to shut out the





OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT.


sound. Thus barricaded, he did not hear slow
footsteps shuffling up the path; but presently
the powerful fumes of a rank pipe told of an
approaching visitor. He took his fingers from
his ears and sat up.
Uncle Billy and Aunt Susan had come over
to gossip a while. Mammy groped her way into
the house to drag out the wooden rocker
for her sister-in-law, while Uncle Billy tilted
himself back against the cabin in a straight
splint-bottomed chair. The usual opening re-
marks about the state of the family health, the
weather, and the crops were of very little inter-
est to John Jay; indeed he nearly fell asleep
while Aunt Susan was giving a detailed account
of the way she cured the misery in her side.
However, as soon as they began to discuss
neighborhood happenings, he was all atten-
tion.
The more interested he grew, it seemed to
him, the lower they pitched their voices. Creep-
ing carefully across the floor, he curled up on
his pillow just inside the doorway, where the
shadows fell heaviest, and where he could enjoy
every word of the conversation, without strain-
.ing his ears to listen.






OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT.


Gawge Chadwick came home yestiddy,"
announced Uncle Billy.
Sho now exclaimed Mammy. "Not lame
Jintsey's boy You don't mean it! "
That's the ve'y one," persisted Uncle Billy.
"Gawge.Washington Chadwick. He's a min-
istah of the gospel now, home from college with
a Rev'und befo' his name, an' a long-tailed
black coat on. He does n't look much like the
little pickaninny that b'long to Mars' Nat back
in wah times."
And Jintsey's dead, poah thing "exclaimed
Aunt Susan. What a day it would have been
for her, if she could have lived to see her boy
in the pulpit "
Conversation never kept on a straight road
when these three were together. It was con-
tinually turning back by countless by-paths to
the old slavery days. The rule of their master,
Nat Chadwick, had been an easy one. There
had always been plenty in the smoke-house and
contentment in the quarters. These simple old
souls, while rejoicing in their freedom, often
looked tenderly back to the flesh-pots of their
early Egypt.
John Jay had heard these reminiscences





OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT.


dozens of times. He knew just what was
coming next, when Uncle Billy began telling
about the day that young Mars' Nat was
christened. Mis' Alice gave a silver cup to
Jintsey's baby, George Washington, because
he was born on the same day as his little
Mars' Nat. John Jay knew the whole family
history. He was very proud of these people
of gentle birth and breeding, whom Sheba spoke
of as ou' family." One by one they had been
carried to the little Episcopal churchyard on
the hill, until only one remained. The great
estate had passed into the hands of strangers.
Only to Billy and Susan and Sheba, faithful
even unto death, was it still surrounded by the
halo of its old-time grandeur.
Naturally, young Nat Chadwick, the last of
the line, had fallen heir to all the love and re-
spect with which they cherished any who bore
the family name. To other people he was a
luckless sort of fellow, who had sown his wild
oats early, and met disappointment at every
turn. It was passed about, too, that there was
a romance in his life which had changed and
embittered it. Certain it is, he suddenly seemed
to lose all ambition and energy. Instead of






OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT.


making the brilliant lawyer his friends expected,
he had come down at last to be the keeper of
the toll-gate on a country turnpike.
Lying on his pillow in the dense shadow,
John Jay looked out into the white moon-
light, and listened to the old story told all over
again. But this time there was added the
history of Jintsey's boy, who seemed to have
been born with the ambition hot in his heart
to win an education. He had done it.
There was a quiver of pride in Uncle Billy's
voice as he told how the boy had outstripped
his young master in the long race; but there
was a loyal and tender undercurrent of excuse
for 'the unfortunate heir running through all
his talk.
It had taken twenty years of struggle and
work for the little black boy to realize his
hopes. He had grown to be a grave man of
thirty-three before it was accomplished. Now
he had come home from a Northern college with
his diploma and his degree.
"He have fought a good fight," said Uncle
Billy in conclusion, finishing as usual with a
scriptural quotation. "He have fought a good
fight, and he have finished his co'se, but "--





OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT. 21

here his voice sank almost to a whisper "he
have come home to die."
A chill seemed to creep all over John Jay's
warm little body. He raised his head from the
pillow to listen still more carefully.
Yes, they say he got the gallopin' consump-
tion while he was up Nawth, shovellin' snow an
such work, an' studying' nights in a room 'thout
no fiah. He took ole Mars's name an' he have
brought honah upon it, but what good is it
goin' to do him ? Tell me that. For when the
-leaves go in the autumn time, then Jintsey's
boy must go too."
Where's he stayin' at now?" demanded
Mammy sharply, although she drew the corner
of her apron across her eyes.
He's down to Mars' Nat's at the toll-gate
cottage. 'Peahs like it's the natch'el place for
him to be. Neithah of 'em's got anybody else,
and it's kind a like old times when they was
chillun, playing' round the big house togethah.
I stopped in to see him yestiddy. The cup
Mis' Alice gave him was a-settin' on the man-
tel, an' Mars' Nat was stewin' up some sawt
of cough tonic for him. The white folks up
Nawth must a thought a heap of him. He'd





OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT.


just got a lettah from one of the college pro-
fessahs 'quirin' bout his health. Mars' Nat
read out what was on the back of it : 'Rev'und
Gawge W. Chadwick, an' some lettahs on the
end that I kain't remembah. An' he said,
laughin'-like, sezee, 'well, Uncle Billy, you'd
nevah take that as meaning' Jintsey's boy, would
you now ? It's a mighty fine soundin' title,'
sezee. Gawge gave a little moanful sawt of
smile, same as to say, well, aftah all, it wasn't
wuth what it cost him. An' it wasn't! No, it
wasn't," repeated Uncle Billy, solemnly shaking
the ashes from his pipe. "What's the good of
a head full of book learning' with a poah puny
body that kaint tote it around ?"
Somehow, Uncle Billy's solemn declaration,
"he have fought a good fight," associated this
colored preacher, in John Jay's simple little
mind, with soldiers and fierce battles and a
great victory. He lay back on his pillow, wish-
ing they would go on talking about this man
who had suddenly become such a hero in his
boyish eyes. But their talk gradually drifted to
the details of Mrs. Watson's last illness. He
had heard them so many times that he soon felt
his eyelids slowly closing. Then he dozed for






OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT.


a few minutes, awakening with a start. They
had gotten as far as the funeral now, and were
discussing the sermon. They would soon be
commenting on the way that each member of the
family "took her death." That was so much
more interesting, he thought he. would just
close his eyes again for a moment, until they
came to that.
Their voices murmured on in a pleasing flow;
his head sunk lower on the pillow, and his
breathing was a little louder. Then his hand
dropped down at his side. He was sound asleep
just when Aunt Susan was about to begin one
of her most thrilling ghost stories.
In the midst of an account of "a ha'nt that
walked the graveyard every thirteenth Friday
in the year," John Jay turned over in his sleep
with a little snort. Aunt Susan nearly jumped
out of her chair, and Uncle Billy dropped his
pipe. There was a moment of frightened
silence till Mammy said, "It must have been
Bud, I reckon. John Jay is allus a-knockin'
him in his sleep an' making' him holler out. Go
on, sis' Susan."
The moon had travelled well across the sky
when Mammy's guests said good night. She






OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT.


lingered outside after they had gone, to look far
down the road, where a single point of light,
shining through the trees, marked the toll-gate.
It would not be so lonely for Mars' Nat, now
that George.had come home. She recalled the
laughing face of.the little black boy as she had
known it long ago, and tried to call up in hei
imagination a picture of the man that Uncle
Billy had described. Visions of the old days
rose before her. As she stood there with her
hands wrapped in her apron, it was not the
moon-flooded night she looked into, but the
warm, living daylight of a golden past.
At last, with a sigh, she turned to take the
chairs into the house. Lifting the big rocker
high in front of her, she stepped over the thresh-
old and started to shuffle her way along to the
candle shelf. The chair came down in the
middle of the floor with a sudden bang, as she
caught her foot in John Jay's pillow and
sprawled across him.
The boy's first waking thought was that there
had been an earthquake and that the cabin had
caved in. He never could rightly remember
the order of events that followed, but he had a
confused memory of a shriek, a scratching of






OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT. 5

matches, and the glimmer of a candle that made
him sit.up and blink his eyes. Then something
struck him, first. on one ear, then the other,
cuffing him soundly. He was too dazed to
know why. Some blind instinct helped him to
find the bed and burrow down under the clothes,
where he lay trying to think what possible fault
of his could have' raised such a cyclone about
his ears. He was too deep under the bed-
clothes to hear Mammy's grumbling remarks
about his "tawmentin' ways" as she rubbed
her skinned elbow with tallow from the candle.












CHAPTER III.


STANDING in the back door of Sheba's cabin,
one could see the red gables of the old Chad-
wick house, rising above the dark pine-trees
that surrounded it. A wealthy city family by
the name of Haven owned it now. It was open
only during the summer months. The roses that
Mistress Alice had set out with her own white
hands years ago climbed all over the front of
the house, twining around its tall pillars, and
hanging down in festoons from its stately eaves.
Cuttings from the same hardy plant had been
trained along the fences, around the tree-trunks
and over trellises, until the place had come to
be known all around the country as Rose-
haven."
Sheba always had steady employment when
the place was open, for the young ladies of the
family kept her flat-irons busy with their endless
tucks and ruffles. She found a good market,
too, for all the eggs she could induce her buff






OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT.


cochins to lay, and all the berries that she could
make John Jay pick.
This bright June morning she stood in the
door with a basket of fresh eggs in her hand,
looking anxiously across the fields to the gables
of Rosehaven, and grumbling to herself.
"Heah I done promise Miss Hallie these
fresh aigs for her bufday cake, an' no way to
get 'em to her. I'll nevah get all these clothes
done up by night if I stop my i'onin', an' John
Jay's done lit out again little black rascal!"
She lifted up her voice in another wavering call.
" John Ja-a-y! The beech woods opposite
threw back the echo of her voice, sweet and
clear,- "Ja-a-y !"
Heah I come, Mammy!" cried a panting
voice. I was jus' turning' the grine-stone for
Uncle Billy."
She looked at him suspiciously an instant,,
then handed him the basket. "Take these
aigs ovah to Miss Hallie," she ordered, "and
mind you be quickah'n you was last time, or
they might hatch befo' you get there."
"Law now, Mammy said John Jay, with a
grin. He snatched at the basket, impatient to
be off, for while standing before her he had






OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT.


kept scratching his right shoulder with his left
hand; not that there was any need to do so,
but it gave him an excuse for holding together
the jagged edges of a great tear in his new
shirt. He was afraid it might be discovered
before he could get away.
It was one of John Jay's peculiarities that in
going on an errand he always chose the most
roundabout route. Now, instead of following
the narrow footpath that made a short cut
through the cool beech woods, he went half a
mile out of his way, along the sunny turnpike.
Mars' Nat stood outside his kitchen win-
dow, with his hands in his pockets, giving
orders to the colored boy within, who did his
bachelor housekeeping. Usually he had a jok-
ing word for old Sheba's grandson, but this
morning he took no notice of the little fellow
loitering by with such an appealing look on his
face. John Jay had come past the toll-gate
with a hope of seeing the Rev'und Gawge," as
he called him. It had been three weeks since
the man .had come home, and in that time
John, Jay's interest in him had grown into a
sort of hero-worship. There had been a great
deal of talk about him among the ignorant col-








OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT.


ored people. Wonderful stories were afloat of
his experiences at the North, of his power
as a preacher, and of the plans he had made
to help his people. He would have been
surprised could he have known how he was
discussed, or how the stories grew as they
travelled.
Those who had any claim whatever to a for-
mer acquaintance stopped at the cottage to see
him. Their interest and the little offerings of
fruit or flowers, which they often made their
excuse for coming, touched-him greatly. To
all who came he spoke freely of his hopes.
Realizing that he might have but the one op-
portunity, he talked as only a man can talk who
feels the responsibilities of a lifetime crowded
into one short hour. One by one they came
and listened, and went away with a new expres-
sion on their faces, and a new ambition in their
hearts.
To all these people he was Brothah Chad-
wick;" to the three old slaves bound to him
by ties almost as strong as those of kinship, he
could never be other than Jintsey's boy; but
to two persons he was known as the "Rev'und
Gawge." Mars' Nat took to calling him that





OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT.


in a joking way, but John Jay gave him the
title almost with awe. It seemed to set him
apart in the child's reverent affection as one
who had come up out of great tribulation to
highest honor. Old Sheba had not cuffed her
grandson to church every week in vain. He
had heard a great deal about white robes and
palms of victory and "him that overcometh."
By some twist of his simple little brain the
term Reverend had come to mean all that to
him, and much more. It meant not only some
one set apart in a priestly way, but some one
who was just slipping down into the mysterious
valley of the shadow, with the shining of the
New Jerusalem upon his face.
As long as the cottage was in sight John Jay
kept rolling his eyes backward as he trudged
along in the dust; but Mars' Nat was the only
one in view. Twice he stumbled and almost
spilled the eggs. A little farther along he con
cluded that he was tired enough to rest a while
So he sat down on a log in a shady fence cor
ner, and took a green apple from his pocket.
He rolled it around in his hands and over his
face, enjoying its tempting odor before he stuck
his little white teeth into it. The first bite was





OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT.


so sour that it drew his face all up into a
pucker and made his eyes water. He raised
his hand to throw it away, but paused with his
arm in the air to listen. Somebody was playing
on the organ in the church a few rods up the
hill.
It was a quaint little stone church, all over-
grown with ivy, that the Chadwicks had. built
generations ago. The high arched door was
never opened of late years, except at long inter-
vals, when some one came out from the city to
hold services. But the side door was certainly
ajar now, for the saddest music that John Jay
had ever heard in all his life came trembling
out on the warm summer air.
Forgetting all about his errand, he scrambled
through the fence and up the gently rising
knoll. His bare feet made no noise as he
tiptoed up the steps and stood peering through
the open door. It was dim and cool inside,
with only the light that could sift through
the violet and amber of the stained glass win-
dows; but in one, the big one at the end, was
the figure of a snowy dove, with outstretched
wings. Through this silvery pane a long slant-
ing ray of light, dazzling in its white radiance,





OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT.


streamed across the keys of the organ and the
man who played them, the Reverend George.
It threw a strange light on the upturned
face, a face black as ebony, worn with suffer-
ing, but showing in every feature the refining
touch of a noble spirit. His mournful eyes
seemed looking into another world, while his
fingers wandered over the keys with the musi-
cal.instinct of his race.
John Jay slipped inside and crouched down
behind a tall pew. The only music that he
had been accustomed to was the kind that
Uncle Billy scraped from his fiddle and plunked
on his banjo. It was the gay, rollicking kind,
that put his feet to jigging and every muscle
in his body quivering in time. This made him
want to cry; yet it was so sweet and deep
and tender as it went rolling softly down' the
aisles, that he forgot all about the eggs and
Miss Hallie. He forgot that he was John Jay.
All he thought of was that upturned face with
the strange unearthly light in its dark eyes, and
the melody that swept over him.
A spell of coughing seized the rapt musician.
After it had passed, he lay forward on the organ
a while, with his head bowed on his arms. Then







OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT.


he straightened himself up wearily, and began
pushing the stops back into their places.
The silence brought John Jay to his senses.
He crawled along the aisle and out of the door,
blinkling like an owl as he came into the blind-
ing sunshine. Many experiences had convinced
him that he was born under an unlucky star.
When he went leaping down the hill to the log
where he had left his basket, it was with the
sickening certainty that some evil had befallen
the eggs. He was afraid to look for fear of
finding a mass of broken shells strewn over the
ground. It was with a feeling of surprise that
he saw the white ends of the top layer of eggs
peeping out of their bed of bran, just as he had
left them. With a sigh of relief he picked up
the basket; then whistling gaily as a mocking-
bird, he set out once more in the direction of
Rosehaven.











CHAPTER IV.


SOMETHING unusual was going on at Rose-
haven. Awnings were spread over the lawn,
gay colored lanterns were strung all about the'
grounds, and a stage for outdoor tableaux had
been built near the house, where a dark clump
of cedars served as a background.
John Jay had orders to take the eggs directly
to the cook, but his curiosity kept him standing
open-mouthed on the lawn, watching the hang-
ing of the lanterns.
A group of pretty girls sat on the porch
steps, between the white rose-twined pillars.
One of them was tying up the cue of an old-
fashioned wig with a black ribbon; another
was mending the gold lace on a velvet coat,
and the others were busy with the various
costumes which they were to wear in the tab-
leaux. Now and then a gay trill or a snatch
from some popular song floated out above their
laughing chatter. Suddenly one of them looked







OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT.


Up and saw John Jay standing in the gravelled
drive.
", Look, girls she exclaimed. Here's the
very thing we want for our old Virginia days!
Hallie looks like a picture in that lovely bro-
caded satin of her grandmother's, and Raleigh
Stanford does the cavalier to perfection in that
farewell scene. All it lacks is some little Jim
Crow to hold his horse, and there is one now.
Oh, Hallie come out here a minute "
In response to her call, a beautiful dark-
haired girl came out on the porch from the
hall, carrying a pasteboard shield which she
had just finished covering with tinfoil. John.
Jay's mouth opened still wider as it flashed a
dazzling light into. his eyes. He thought it was
silver.
"Isn't it fine?" she asked, waltzing around
with it on her arm for them to admire the
effect. Then she dropped down on the step
above them. "Was it you who called me,
Sally Lou ?" she asked.
"Yes," answered the girl, who had finished
tying up the cue, and now had the wig pulled
coquettishly over her blonde curls. Look at
the little darkey over there. I was just telling






40 OLE MAMMY S TORMENT.


the girls that he is all that is needed to com-
plete your cavalier tableau. Call him over
here and tell him that he must come to-night."
Just then the boy turned and started on a trot
to the kitchen. "Why, it's John Jay!" ex-
claimed Hallie. Old Lucy has been scolding
about those eggs for the last two hours. His
grandmother promised to send them over im-
mediately after breakfast. I'll go down and
see what kept him so long. He is always get-
ting into trouble."
Make him come up here," begged Sally
Lou, "and get him to talk for us. I know
he'll be lots of fun, for he has such a bright
face."
In a few moments the laughing young hostess
was back among her guests, with John Jay fol-
lowing her. "Don't you want to see all my
birthday presents ? she asked, leading the way
into the library and beckoning the girls to fol-"
low. See I found this mandolin in my chair
when I went to the breakfast-table this morn-
ing, and this watch was under my napkin.
This tennis-racquet was on the piano when I
came up-stairs, and I've been finding books and
things all morning." She opened a great box







OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT.


of chocolate bonbons as she spoke, and filled
both his hands.
He looked about him with round, astonished


eyes, but never said a word in answer to the
eager questions of the girls, beyond a bashful
"yessa" or "no'm."







OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT.


The arrival of Raleigh Stanford and one of
his friends, on their wheels, put an end to the
girls' interest in John Jay. He was dismissed
with a message to Sheba that sent him flying
home through the woods like an excited little
whirlwind. The lid of the basket flopped up
and down, in time to the motion of his scamper-
ing feet. At the foot of the hill he began call-
ing." Mammy! and kept it up until he reached
the door. By that time, he was so out of breath
that he could only gasp his message. Sheba
was expected to be at Rosehaven at seven
o'clock, and John Jay was to take part in the
performance on the lawn.
It took a great deal of cross-questioning be-
fore Mammy fully understood the arrangement.
She could readily see that her services might
be desired in the kitchen, but it puzzled her to
know what anybody could want of John Jay.
She shook her head a great many times before
she finally promised that he might go.
Bud had passed a very dull morning without
his adventurous brother. Now he came up
with a bit of rope with which to play horse.
But John Jay was looking down on such sports
at present.






OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT.


Aw, go way, boy," he said, with a lofty air.
" I ain't no hawse. I'se goin' to a buthday-
pa'ty to-night. Miss Hallie done give me an
invite me an' Mammy."
Whose goin' to stay with me an' Ivy?"
asked Bud, anxiously.
"Aunt Susan, I reckon," answered John Jay.
" Mammy tole me to go ask her. Come along
with me, an' I'll tell you what all Miss Hallie
got for her buthday. I reckon she had mos' a
thousand presents, an' a box of candy half as
big as Ivy."
Bud opened his eyes in amazement.
"Deed she did," persisted John Jay, enjoying
the sensation he was making. She gave me
some, and I saved a piece for you." After much
searching through his pockets, John Jay handed
out a big chocolate cream that had been mashed
flat. Bud ate it gratefully as they walked on,
and wiped his lips with his little red tongue,
longing for more.
After supper, as Mammy and John Jay went
down the narrow meadow path in Indian file,
he ventured a question that he had pondered
all day. "Mammy, does we all have buthdays
same as white folks ?"






OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT.


"Of co'se," answered the old woman, tramp-
ing on ahead with her skirts held high out of
the dewy grass.
"When's yoah's ?" he asked, after a pause.
Well," she began reflectively, not willing
to acknowledge that she had never known the
exact date, "I'm nevah ve'y p'tick'lah 'bout its
obsa'vation. It's on a Monday, long in early
garden-makin' time."
They had come to a little brook, bridged by a
wide, hewed log. When they had crossed in
careful silence, John Jay began again. Mammy,
when's my buthday ?"
I kaint tell 'zactly, honey," she answered,
"'twel I adds it up." As she began counting on
her fingers, her skirts slipped lower and lower
from her grasp, until they brushed the dew of
the wayside weeds.
"Yes, that's it," she announced at last.
"Miss Hallie is nineteen this Satiddy, and you'll
be nine next Satiddy. A week from to-day is
yoah buthday. Pity it hadn't a-happened to be
the same day, then maybe Mis' Haven mought
a give you something' like Mis' Alice give Jint-
sey's boy."
John Jay had that same thought all the rest






OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT.


of the way to Rosehaven, but after they entered
the brilliantly illuminated grounds he seemed to
stop thinking altogether. It was a sight beyond
all that his wildest imaginings had pictured.
He did not recognize the place. All the lan-
terns were lighted now, hanging like strings of
stars around the porches, and from tree to tree.
Violins played softly, somewhere out of sight,
and everywhere on the night air was the breath
of myriads of roses. Handsomely dressed
people passed in and out of the house, and across
the lawn. The light, the music, and the perfume
made the place seem enchanted ground to the
bewildered little John Jay, and when he reached
the illuminated fountain just in front of the
house, he clung to Mammy's skirts as if he had
suddenly found himself in some strange Eden,
and was frightened by its unearthly beauty.
The fountain into which, only that morning,
he had thrust his hot little face for a drink, now
seemed bewitched. It was no longer a flow of
sparkling water, but of splashing rainbows.
From palest .green to ruby red, from amethyst
to amber it paled and deepened and glowed.
All the evening he moved about like one in a
dream. The tableaux with their shifting scenes






OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT.


of knights and ladies and marble statuary were
burned on his memory as heavenly visions. He
knew nothing of the tinsel and flour and red
lights which produced the effect. He stood
about as Miss Hallie told him : he held a horse
in one tableau, and posed as a bronze statue in
another. Then he went back to the fountain,
and sat dreamily watching it, while the violins
played again,- in the long parlors this time,
where the dancing had begun.
Raleigh Stanford, still in his cavalier cos-
tume, and with Miss Sally Lou on his arm,
spied him as they passed by. Oh, there's that
*funny little fellow that was here this morning! "
she said. We tried to make him talk, but he
just kept his head on one side, and was too em-
barrassed to say anything."
Hey, Sambo," called the young man sud-
denly in his ear. What do you know ? "
John Jay gave a start, and looked up at the
amused faces above him. He took the question
seriously, and thought he must really tell what
he knew; but just at that moment he could
remember only one thing in all the wide world.
Every other bit of information seemed to desert
him. So he stammered, I-I know M-Miss






OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT.


Hallie, she's nineteen this Satiddy, an' I'll be
nine next Satiddy."
Miss Sally Lou laughed so gaily that her
young cavalier made another effort to please
her.
Is that so! he exclaimed, as if surprised.
"It's a mighty lucky thing you told me that,
now, or I never would have thought to bring
you anything. You didn't know that I am a
sort of birthday Santa Claus, did you ? Just
look out for me next Saturday. If I'm not
there by breakfast-time, wait till noon, and if I
don't get there by that time it'll be because
something has happened; anyway, somebody'll
be prancing along about sundown."
Oh, come along, Raleigh," said Miss Sally
Lou, moving off toward the house. You're
such a tease."
John Jay, sitting beside that wonderful foun-
tain and surrounded by so many strange, beau-
tiful things, did not think it at all queer that
such an unheard-of person as a birthday Santa
Claus should suddenly step out from the midst
of the enchantment and speak to him.
A blue velvet cape on," he said to himself,
thinking how he should describe him to Bud.







OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT.


" An' gole buckles on his shoes, an' a sword on,
an' a long white feathah in his hat. Cricky!
An' it was his hawse I done held! Maybe it
will be something' mighty fine what he's goin' to
bring me, 'cause I did that !"
Later he found his way to the kitchen, where
Sheba was washing dishes. The cook gave him
a plate of ice-cream and some scraps of cake.
She was telling Sheba how beautiful Miss
Hallie's birthday cake looked at dinner, with
its nineteen little wax candles all aflame. That
was the last thing John Jay remembered, until
some one shook him, and told him it was time to
go home. He had fallen asleep with a spoon
in his hand.
Mammy was afraid to take the short cut
through the woods after dark, so she led him
away round by the toll-gate. He was so sleepy
that he staggered up against her every few
steps, and he would have dropped, down on
the first log he came to, if she had not kept
tight hold of his hand all the way.
When they reached Uncle Billy's house, he
had just gone out to draw a pitcher of water.
Mammy stopped to get a drink, and John Jay
leaned up against the well-shed. The rumbling






OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT.


of the windlass and the fall of the bucket against
the water below aroused him somewhat, and by
the time he had swallowed half a gourdful of
the cold well-water he was wide awake.
Uncle Billy went up to the cabin with them
in order to hear an account of the party, and to
walk back with Aunt Susan. John Jay fell be-
hind. He could not remember ever having been
out so late at night before, and he had never seen
the sky so full of stars. They made him think of
something that Aunt Susan had told him. She
said that if he counted seven stars for seven
nights, at the same time repeating a charm which
she taught him, and making a wish, he'd certainly
get what he wanted at the end of the week.
Now he stopped still in the path, and slowly
pointing to each star with his little black fore-
finger, as he counted them, solemnly repeated
the charm:

"Star-light, star bright,
Seventh star I've seen to-night;
I wish I may and I wish I might
Have the wish come true I wish to-night."

Come on in, chile! What you gawkin' at ?"
called Mammy from the doorway. John Jay







50 OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT.

made no answer. It would have broken the
charm to have spoken again before going to
sleep. He hurried into the house, glad that
Mammy was so occupied with her company
that she could pay no attention to him. She
stood in the door with them so long that John
Jay was in bed by the time she came in. Al-
though he pretended to be asleep, inwardly he
was in a quiver of excitement.
I'll count 'em every night," he thought.
The wish that burned in his little heart was
a very earnest one, fraught with hopes for his
coming birthday.










CHAPTER V.


LATE hours did not agree with John Jay.
Next morning he felt too tired to stir. He
groaned when he remembered that it was Sun-
day, for he thought of the long, hot walk down
to Briar Crook church. To his great surprise,
Mammy did not insist on his going with her:
she had been offered a seat in a neighbor's
spring-wagon, and there was no room for him.
So he spent a long, lazy morning, stretched
out in the shade of the apple-tree. A smell
of clover and ripening orchards filled the heated
air. The hens clucked around drowsily with
drooping wings. A warm breeze stirred the
grasses where he lay.
Ivy dug in the dirt with a broken spoon,
while Bud kicked up his heels beside John Jay,
listening to a marvellous account of Miss Hallie's
party. It lost nothing in the telling. For years
after, John Jay looked back upon that night as a
John of Patmos might have looked, remembering
51







OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT.


some vision of the opened heavens. The
lights, the music, the white-robed figures, and
above all, that wonderful fountain looking as if
it must have sprung from some "sea of glass
mingled with fire," did not belong to the earth
with which he was acquainted. He repeated
some part of that recollection to Bud every














day for a week, always ending with the sen-
tence uppermost in his thought: "And next
Satiddy I has a buthday."
Of course he knew that his celebration could
be nothing like Miss Hallie's; but he had a
vague idea that something would happen to
make the day unusual and delightful. Every





OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT. 53

night after he had gone to bed, and when
Mammy was drowsing on the doorstep, he
raised himself to his knees, and looked through
a wide hole in the wall where the chinking had
dropped out from between the logs. Through
this he could see a strip of sky studded with
twinkling stars. One by one he pointed out
the magic seven, repeating the charm and whis-
pering the wish.
It was a long week, because he was in such
a hurry for it to go by. But Friday night came
at last; and, as he counted the stars for the
seventh time, the little flutter of excitement in
his veins made them seem to dance before his
eyes.
Early Saturday morning he was awakened
by Mammy's stirring around outside among the
chickens, and instantly he remembered that
the long-looked-for day had come. Somehow,
a feeling of expectancy made it seem different
from other days. He wanted it to last just as
long as possible, so he lay there thinking about
it, and wondering what would happen first.
As soon as he was dressed, Mammy sent him
to the spring for water. He was gone some
time, for he had a faint hope that the birthday






OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT.


Santa Claus whom he had met at Miss Hallie's
party might come early, and he spent several
minutes looking down the road.
Breakfast was ready when he reached the
house, and he set the pail down in such a hurry
that some of the water slopped out on his
bare toes. His wistful eyes scanned the table
quickly. There was a better breakfast than
usual--bacon and eggs this morning. There
was no napkin on the table under which some
gift might lie in hiding, but remembering Miss
Hallie's other experiences, he pulled out his
chair. A little shade of disappointment crept
into his face when he found it empty.
After he had speared a piece of bacon with
his two-tined fork, and landed it safely on his
plate, he rolled his eyes around the table.
"Did you know this is my buthday, Mammy?"
he asked. I'm nine yeahs ole to-day."
"That's so, honey," she answered, cheerfully.
"You'se getting' to be a big boy now, plenty
big enough to keep out o' mischief an' take
keer o' yo' clothes. I'll declare if there isn't
anothah hole in yo' shirt this blessed minute! "
The lecture that followed was not of the
gala-day kind, but John Jay consoled himself






OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT.


by thinking that he would probably have had a
cuffing instead had it happened on any other day.
After breakfast Mammy went away to do a
day's scrubbing at Rosehaven. The children
spent most of the morning in watching the road.
Every cloud of dust that tokened an approach-
ing traveller raised a new hope. Many people
went by on horses or in carriages. Once in a
while there was a stray bicycle, but nobody
turned in towards the cabin. -
After a while, in virtue of its being his espe-
cial holiday, John Jay ordered the smaller chil-
dren to stay in the yard, while he took a swim
in the pond. But the pleasure did not last
long. He could only splash and paddle around
dog-fashion, and the sun burnt his back so badly
that he was glad to get out of the water.
Afternoon came, and nothing unusual had
happened, but John Jay kept up his courage
and looked around for something to do to
occupy the time. A wide plank leaned up
against the little shed at one side of the cabin.
It made him think of Uncle Billy's cellar door,
where he had spent many a happy hour sliding.
"I'm goin' to have a coast," he said to Bud.
A smooth board which he found near the






OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT.


woodpile furnished him with a fine toboggan. By
the help of an overturned chicken-coop, which
he dragged- across the yard, he managed to
climb to the top of the shed. Squatting down
on the board, he gave himself a starting push
with one hand. The downward progress was
not so smooth or so rapid as he desired.
"Needs greasin'," he said, looking at the
plank with a knowing frown. A rummage
through the old corner cupboard where the
provisions were kept provided him with a wide
strip of bacon rind, such as Uncle Billy used
to rub on his saw. John Jay carried it out of
doors and carefully rubbed the plank from one
end to the other. Thef he greased the under-
side of the little board on which he intended to
sit. The result was all he could wish. He
slid down the plank at a speed that took
his breath. Up he climbed from the coop to
the shed, carrying his board with him, and
down he slid to the ground, time and again,
yelling and laughing as he went, until Bud
began to be anxious for his turn. When the
little fellow was boosted to the shed, he did not
make a noise as John Jay had done;. he slid in
solemn silence and unspoken delight.






OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT.


Over an hour of such sport had gone by
when Bud remarked, "Ivy's a-missin' all the
fun."
"She's too little to go down by herself,"
answered John Jay; "but if I had another
little board I'd take her down in front of me."
He began looking around the wood-pile for
one. Then he caught sight of the big dish-pan,
which had been set outside on the logs to sun.
"That's the ve'y thing!" he exclaimed.
"It'll jus' hole her." The bacon rind was
.nearly rubbed dry by this time, but the pan,
heated by sitting so long in the sun, drew out
all the grease that remained. It took the
united strength of both boys to get Ivy to the
top of the shed, but at last she was seated, with
John Jay just behind her on his little board,
his legs thrown protectingly around the pan.
They shot down so fast that Ivy was terrified.
No sooner was she dumped out of the pan on
to the ground than she retired. to a safe dis-
tance, and stuck her thumb in her mouth.
Nothing could induce her to get in again.
I'm goin' down in the dish-pan by myself,"
announced Bud from the shed roof. "It jus'
fits me."






OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT.


John Jay grinned, and stood a little to one
side to watch the performance. "Go it, Brer
Tarrypin he shouted.
Maybe Bud leaned a little too much to one
side. Maybe the pan missed the guiding legs
that had held it steady before. At any rate some-
thing was amiss, for half-way down the plank
it spun dizzily around to one side, and spilled
the luckless Bud out on the chicken-coop.
Usually he made very little fuss when he was
hurt, but this time he set up such a roar that
John Jay was frightened. When he saw blood
trickling out of the child's mouth, he began to
cry himself. He was just about to run for
Aunt Susan, when Bud suddenly stopped cry-
ing, and turned toward him with a look of
terror.
Aw, I done knock a tooth out!" he ex-
claimed, and began crying harder than before,
feeling that he had been damaged beyond
repair.
John Jay laughed when he found that noth-
ing worse had happened than the loss of a
little white front tooth, and soon dried Bud's
tears by promising that a new one would cer-
tainly fill the hole in time.






OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT.


"Keep yoah mouf shet much as you can
when Mammy comes home to-night," he cau-
tioned; "for I sut'n'ly don't want to ketch a
lickin' on my buthday. It's mighty lucky the
pan didn't get a hole knocked in her."
Mammy came home just before dark. The
children were on the fence waiting for her.
John Jay felt sure that if Miss Hallie knew
that it was his birthday she would send him
something. He wondered if Mammy had told
her. The basket on the old woman's head was
always interesting to these children, for it never
came back from Rosehaven empty. The cook
always saved the scraps for Sheba's hungry
little charges. This evening John Jay kept his
eyes fixed on it expectantly, as he followed it
up the walk. He had thrown one foot up
behind him, and rested the toes of it in his
clasped hands as he hopped along on the other.
Maybe there might be a birthday cake in that
basket, with little candles on it. He didn't
know, of course, but maybe.
They all crowded around, as Sheba put the
basket on the table and took out some scraps
of boiled ham, a handful of cookies, and half of
an apple pie. That was all. John Jay looked







OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT.


at them a moment with misty eyes, and turned
away with a lump in his throat. He was be-
ginning to grow discouraged.
Mammy was so tired that she did not cook
anything for supper, as she had intended, but
set out the contents of the basket beside the
corn bread left from dinner. Before they were
through eating somebody called for sis' Sheba
to come quick, that Aunt Susan was having
one of her old spells.
Like enough I won't get back for a good
while," said Mammy, as she hurriedly left the
table. "Put Ivy to bed as soon as you wash
her face, John Jay, an' go yo'self when the
propah time comes. Be a good boy now, and
don't forget to close the doah tight when you
go in."
When Ivy was safely tucked away among
the pillows, the two boys sat down on the
door-step to wait .once more for the birthday
Santa Claus. John Jay repeated what the
thoughtless fellow had said:
If I don't get there by noon, it'll be
because something has happened; anyway,
somebody'll be prancing along about sun-
down." In the week just passed, Bud had





OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT. 6I

come to believe in the birthday Santa Claus
as firmly as John Jay.
"Wondah wot he's doing' now?" he said,
after a long pause and an anxious glance
down the darkening road.
Ah, well for those two trusting little hearts
that they could not know! He was sitting
on the steps of the porch at Rosehaven with
a guitar on his knee, and smiling tenderly into
Sally Lou's blue eyes as he sang, "Oh, yes, I
ever will be true! "
It grew darker and darker. The katydids
began their endless quarrel in the trees. A
night-owl hooted dismally over in the woods.
The children stopped talking, and sat in anxious
silence. Presently Bud edged up closer, and
put a sympathetic arm around his brother. A
moment after, he began to cry.
What you snufflin' for?" asked John Jay
savagely. "'Tain't yo' buthday."
"But I'm afraid you ain't goin' to have
any eithah," sobbed the little fellow, strangely
wrought upon by this long silent waiting in
the darkness.
Aw, you go 'long to bed," said John Jay,
with a careless, grown-up air. "If anything






OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT.


comes I'll wake you up. No use for two of
us to be setting' heah."
Bud was sleepy, and crept away obediently;
but the day was spoiled, and he went to bed
sore with his brother's disappointment.
John Jay sat down again to keep his lonely
tryst. He looked up at the faithless stars.
They had failed to help him, but in his des-
peration he determined to appeal to them once
more. So he picked out the seven largest
ones he could see and repeated very slowly,
in a voice that would tremble, the old charm:

Star-light, star bright,
Seventh star I've seen to-night;
I wish I may and I wish I might
Have the wish come true I wish to-night."

Then he made his wish again, with a heart
felt earnestness that was almost an ache. Oh,
surely the day was not going to end in this
cruel silence! Just then he heard the thud
of a horse's hoofs on the wooden bridge, far
down the road. Nearer and louder it came.
Somebody was prancing by at last. He stood
up, straining his eyes in his smiling eagerness
to see. Nearer and nearer the hoof-beats






OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT.


came in the starlight. "Bookity book! Bookity
book!" The horseman paused a moment in
front of Uncle Billy's.
John Jay hopped from one foot to the other
in his impatient gladness. Then his heart
sank as the hoof-beats went on down the road,
Bookity book! Bookity book! growing fainter
and fainter, until at last they were drowned
by the voices of the noisy katydids.
He stood still a moment, so bitterly disap-
pointed that it seemed to him he could not
possibly bear it. Then he went in and shut
the door, -shut the door on all his bright
hopes, on all his fond dreams, on the day that'
was to have held such happiness, but that had
brought instead the cruelest disappointment
of his life.
The tears ran down his little black face as
he undressed himself. He sat on the edge
of the trundle-bed a moment, whispering bro-
kenly, "They wasn't anybody livin' that cared
'bout it's bein' my buthday !" Then throwing
himself face downward on his pillow, he cried
softly with long choking sobs, until he fell
asleep.












CHAPTER VI.


ALTHOUGH John Jay bore many a deep scar,
both in mind and body, very little of his life
had been given to sackcloth and ashes.
"Wish I could take trouble as easy as that
boy," sighed Mammy. "It slides right off'n
him like watah off a duck's back."
He's like the rollin' stone that gethah's no
moss," remarked Uncle Billy. He goes rol-
lickin' through the days, from sunup 'twel sun-
down, so fast that disappointment and sorrow
get rubbed off befo' they kin strike root."
Despite all his troubles, if John Jay had
been marking his good times with white stones,
there would have been enough to build a wall all
around the little cabin by the end of the summer.
There were two days especially that he remem-
bered with deepest satisfaction: one was the
Saturday when Mars' Nat took him to the circus,
and the other was the Fourth of July, when all
the family went to the Oak Grove barbecue.
64






OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT.


But now blackberry season had begun, -a
season that he hated, because Mammy expected
him to help her early and late in the patch.
So many of the shining berries slipped down
his throat, so many things called his attention
away from the brambly bushes, that sometimes
it took hours for him to fill his battered quart
cup.
Usually his reward was a juicy pie, but this
year Mammy changed her plan. Berries were
in demand at Rosehaven, and she had very
little time to spend in going after them.
I'll give you five cents a gallon for all you'll
pick," she said to John Jay. He looked at her
in amazement. As he had never had any money
in his life, this seemed a princely offer. He
was standing outside by the stick chimney when
she made the promise. After one sidelong
glance, to see if she were in earnest, he threw
his feet wildly into the air and walked off on
his hands; then, after two or three somersaults
backward, he stood up, panting.
Where's the buckets at ?" he demanded.
"I'm goin' to pick every bush in this neck o'
woods as clean as you'd pick a chicken."
Now it was Mammy's turn to be surprised.






OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT.


She had expected that her bffer would lure him
on for an hour or two, maybe for a whole'day.
She had not supposed that it would keep him
faithfully at work for a week, but it did. His
nimble fingers stripped every roadside vine
within a mile of the cabin. His hands and
legs, and even his face, were criss-crossed with
many brier scratches. The sun beat down on
him unmercifully, but he stuck to his task so
closely that he seemed to see berries even when
his eyes were shut. Every day great pailfuls
of the shining black beads were sent over to
Rosehaven, and every night he dropped a few
more nickels into the stocking foot hidden
under his pillow.
Berries is all mighty nigh cleaned out," he
said one noon, when he was about to start out
again after dinner. "Uncle Billy says there's
lots of 'em down in the gandah thicket, but I'se
mos' afeered to go there."
Nothin' won't tech you in daylight, honey,"
answered Mammy, encouragingly, "but I would
n't go through there at night for love or money
I'd as lief go into a lion's cage."
Did you ever see any ghos'es down there
Mammy ?" asked John Jay with eager interest,





OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT.


yet cautiously lowering his voice and taking a
step nearer.
"No," admitted Mammy, "but oldah people
than I have seen 'em. All night long there's
great white gandahs flappin' round through
that thicket 'thout any heads on. You know
they's an awful wicked man buried down there
in the woods, an' the sperrits of them he's
inju'ed ha'nts the thicket every night. There
isn't anybody, that I know of,, that 'ud go down
there aftah dark for anything on this livin'
yearth."
Then who sees 'em ?" asked John Jay, with
a skeptical grin.
"Who sees 'em ?" repeated Mammy wrath-
fully, angry because of the doubt implied by
his question and his face. Who sees 'em ?
They've been seen by generations of them as
is dead and gone. Who is you, I'd like to
know, standing' up there a-mockin' at me so
impident and a-askin' Who sees 'em ?'"
She turned to begin her dish washing, with a
scornful air that seemed to say that he was
beneath any further notice. Still, no sooner
had she piled the dishes up in the pan thin she
turned to him again, with her hands on her hips.






OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT.


"Go down and ask Uncle Mose," she said,
still indignant. "He can tell you tales that'll
send cole chills up an' down yo' spine. He saw
an awful thing in there once with his own eyes.
'Twan't a gandah, but something' long an' slim
flyin' low in the bushes- he reckoned it was
twenty feet long. It had a little thin head like
a snake, an' yeahs that stuck up like rabbit's.
It was all white, an' had fo' little short legs an
two little short wings, an' it was moah'n- flesh
an' blood could stand, he say, to see that long,
slim, white thing running' an' a-flyin' at the same
time through the bushes, low down neah the
groun'. You jus' go ask him."
John Jay swung his buckets irresolutely.
"I don't believe I'll go down there aftah ber-
ries," he said. "I don't know what to do.
They isn't any moah anywhere else."
Mammy wished that she had not gone to
such pains to convince him. Nothin' evah
comes around in the daytime," she insisted,
"an' I reckon berries is mighty plentiful, too,"
she added, persuasively. "Nobody evah saw
anything down there in the daylight, honey.
I'd go if I was you."
John Jay stood on one foot. He was afraid





OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT.


of the headless ganders, but he did want those
berries. He walked out through the door, hesi-
tated, and stood on one foot again. Then he
'went slowly down the hill. Mammy, standing
in the door with her apron flung over her head,
watched him climb up on the fence and sit
there to consider. Finally, he dropped down to
the other side, and started in the direction of
the gander thicket.
It was a place that the negroes had been
afraid of since her earliest recollection. It was
only a little stretch of woodland, where the
neglected underbrush had grown into a tangled
thicket. No one remembered now what had
given rise to the name, and no one living had
ever seen the ghostly white ganders that were
said to haunt the place at night. Still, the
story was handed down from one to another,
and the place was shunned as much as possible.
Brier Crook church stood at one end, with
its desolate little graveyard, where the colored
people buried their dead under its weeping
willows and gloomy cedars.
John Jay avoided the lonely road that led in
that direction, and took the one that wound
around the other end of the thicket, past a de-





OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT.


serted mill. Yet, when he reached the ruined
old building, with its staring windows and
sunken roof, he was half sorry that he had not
gone the other way.
The berries were on the far side of the
thicket, and he was obliged to pass either
the graveyard or the old mill to reach them.
The possibility of plunging boldly into the
thicket ard pushing his way through to the
other side had never occurred to him, although
it is doubtful if he would have dared to do so
even had he thought of it. He ran down the
dry bed of the stream, and past the silent moss-
grown wheel, breathing a sigh of relief when he
came out into an open field beyond.
Balancing himself on the top rail of the
fence, he looked cautiously along the edge of
the thicket. It did not look so dismal in there,
after all. A woodpecker's cheerful tapping
sounded somewhere within. Butterflies flitted
fearlessly down into its -shady ravines. A
squirrel ran out on a limb, and sat chattering
at him saucily. Then a big gray rabbit rustled
through the leaves, and went loping away into
the depths of the thicket. -
"I don't believe there's anything skeery in






OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT.


there at all !" exclaimed John Jay aloud. After
starting several times, and stopping to look all
around and listen, he followed the rabbit into
the bushes. Plunging down a narrow cow-
path which wound in and out, he came to an
open space where a few trees had fallen. Here,
with an exclamation of delight, he pounced upon
the finest, largest berries he had ever seen.
They dropped into the tin pail with a noisy
thud at first, and then with scarcely a sound, as
they rapidly piled higher and higher.
Both pails were filled in a much shorter time
than usual, and then he sat down on a wide log
to enjoy the lunch he had brought with him.
There were two big slices of bread and jam in
one pocket, and a big apple in the other. As
he sat there, slowly munching, he began to
feel drowsy. He had awakened early that
morning, and had worked hard in the hot sun.
He stretched himself out full length on the
log, to rest his back. while he finished eating
his apple.
The branches overhead swayed gently back
and forth. His eyes followed them as they
kept up that slow, monotonous motion against
the bright sky. He had no intention of






OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT.


closing them; in fact, he did not know they
were closed, for in that same moment he was
sound asleep.
The woodpecker went on tapping; the squir-
rel whisked back and forth along the limb; the
same gray rabbit came out and hopped along
beside the log where he lay. Suddenly, it
raised itself up to look at the strange sight,
and then bounded away again. The sun
dropped lower and lower. In the open fields
there was still light, but the thicket was gray
with the subdued shadows of the gloaming.
John Jay might have slept on all night had
not a leaf fluttered slowly down from the tree
above, and brushed across his face. He opened
his eyes, looking all around him in a bewildered
way. Then he sat up, and peered through the
bushes. A cold perspiration covered him when
he realized that it was dusk and that he was in
the middle of the gander thicket. He snatched
up the Blackberries, a pail in each hand, and
stood looking helplessly around him, for he
could not decide which way to go. In front
of him stretched half a mile of the haunted
thicket. It was either to push his way through
that as quickly as possible, or to go back by






OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT.


the long, lonesome road over which he had
come.
Just then a harmless flock of geese belong-
ing to an old market-gardener who lived near
came waddling up from the creek, on the way
home to their barn-yard. They moved along
in a silent procession, pushing their long, thin
necks through the underbrush. John Jay was
too terrified to see that their heads were prop-
erly in place, and that they were as harmless as
the flock that fed in Aunt Susan's dooryard.
"They'll get me! They'll get me!" he
whimpered, as they came nearer and nearer,
for his feet seemed so heavy that he could
not lift them when he tried to run. Made
desperate by his fear, he raised first one pail
of berries and then the other, hurling them at
the startled geese with all the force his wiry
little arms could muster.
Instantly their long white wings shot up
through the bushes. There was an angry
fluttering and hissing, as half running, half
flying, they waddled faster towards home. John
Jay did not look to see vwhat direction they were
taking. He was sure they were after him.
He could hear their long wings flapping just






OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT.


behind him; at least, he thought he could, but
the noise he heard was the snapping of the
twigs he trampled in his headlong flight. No
greyhound ever bounded through a wood with
lighter feet than those which carried him. His
eyes were wide with fright. His heart beat so
hard in his throat he thought he would surely
die before he could reach the cabin. At every









step the light seemed to be growing dimmer
and the thicket denser, although he thought
he certainly must have been running long
enough to have reached the clearing. Still
he ran on, and on, and on. The recollection
of one of Mammy's stories flashed across his
mind.
Once a man had lost his way in this wood,
and the ganders had chased him around and
around until daylight. The thought made him







OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT.


so weak in the knees that he was ready to drop
from fright and exhaustion. Then he recalled
a superstition that he had often heard, that any-
one who has lost his way may find it again by
turning his pocket wrong side out. He -was
twitching at his with trembling hands, look
ing with eyes too frightened to see, and fum-
bling with fingers too stiff with fear to feel,
but the pocket seemed to have' disappeared.
"It's conju'ed too," he wailed, as he ran heed-
lessly on.
Something long and white slapped across his
face. An unearthly, wavering voice sounded a
hoarse, long-drawn "Moo-oo-oo!" just in front
of him. He sank down in a helpless little heap,
blubbering and groaning aloud, with his teeth
chattering, and the tears' running down his
clammy face. There was a louder crackling,
and out of the bushes walked an old spotted
cow, calmly switching her white tail and look-
ing at John Jay in gentle-eyed wonder.
Strength came back to the boy with that
familiar sight, but not being sure that the cow
was not as ghostly as the ganders, he scram-
bled to his feet and started to run again. To
avoid passing the cow, he turned in another




OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT.


direction. This time, it happened to be the
right one, and in a few moments more he had
dashed into the open. Then he saw that it was
not yet dark in the fields.
Mammy heard the sound of rapid running
up the path, and came to the door. John
Jay dropped at her feet, trembling and cold, and
so frightened that he could only cling to her
skirts, sobbing piteously. When, at last, he
found his breath, all he could gasp was, "Oh,
Mammy! the gandahs are aftah me! the gan-
dahs are aftah me "
Big boy as he was, Mammy stooped and
lifted him in her arms, and holding him close,
with his head on her shoulder, rocked back and
forth in the big wooden chair until he grew
calmer. Not until he had sobbed out the whole
story, and wiped his eyes several times on her
apron, did he see that there was company in the
room.
George Chadwick was sitting by the door.,
It was the first time he had been in the cabin
since his return from college. He had ridden
up from the toll-gate on a passing wagon to
see his old friend, Sheba, and had been there
the greater part of the afternoon, listening to
I





OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT.


her tales of his mother in the old slavery days.
He had not intended to accept her urgent invita-
tion to stay to supper, but when he saw that she
shared John Jay's fright, he decided to remain.
Had it not been for his protecting presence in
the house, Mammy was so affected by the boy's
story that she would have barred every open-
ing. Then, cowering around one little flicker-
ing candle, they would have fed each other's
superstitious fears until bedtime. George knew
this, and so he stayed to reassure them by his
matter- of- fact explanations, and his cheerful
common sense. While he could not convince
them that they had been needlessly alarmed, he
drew their attention to other things, by stories
of college life and experiences. at the North,
while Sheba bustled about, bringing out the
best of her meagre store to do him honor.
Ivy, scrubbed until she shone, and in a stiffly
starched apron, sat on his knee and sucked her
thumb. Bud squatted at his feet in silence,
sticking his little red tongue in and out of the
hole where the lost tooth had been. As for
John Jay, his hero-worship passed that night
into warmest love. From that time on, he
would have gone through fire and water to





80 OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT.

serve his "Rev'und Gawge," anywhere in
fact, save one place. Never any more was
there motive deep enough or power strong
enough to drag him within calling distance of
the gander thicket.













CHAPTER VII.


Now that berry picking was at an end, John
Jay slipped back into his old lazy ways. Er-
rands were run with lagging feet; work was
done in the easiest way possible, and every-
thing was left undone that he could by any
means avoid. Mammy scolded when she came
home at night and found both water-pail and
wood-box empty, but he went serenely on with
his supper. No matter what happened, nothing
ever interfered with his appetite.
"Those chillun are getting' as bad as little
young turkeys 'bout strain' away from home,"
mumbled Aunt Susan one morning, as she
watched them slip through the fence soon
after Sheba had left the house. "An' they
ain't anything wussah than young turkeys for
running' off. 'Peahs like that kind of poultry
is nevah satisfied with where they is, but always
want to .be where they isn't. It's the same with
those chillun."





OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT.


Although Aunt Susan did not know it, there
was one place where John Jay and his flock of
two were always content to stay; that was on
the steps at the side door of the church. Nearly
every afternoon found them sitting there in a
solemn row, waiting for the shadows to grow
long across the grass, for it was then that
George oftenest came to play on the organ.
He always smiled on the three grave little
figures, waiting so patiently for the music of
his vesper hymns.
It touched the lonely man to have John Jay
follow him about, with that same wistful look
in his eyes that a faithful dog has for its
master. Sometimes he sat down on the steps
beside the children and talked to them awhile,
just to see the boy's face light up with pleasure.
It was a mystery to Sheba, how a dignified
minister could care for the companionship of
such a harum-scarum little creature as her
grandson. She did know the tie that bound
them, but their natures were as near akin as
the acorn and the oak. In John Jay the man
saw his own childhood with all its unanswered
questions and dumb, groping ambitions; while
the boy, looking up to his Rev'und Gawge"





OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT.


as the highest standard of all manliness, felt
faint stirring within, of the possibility of such
growth for himself.
Early one morning George sent a message
to Sheba, asking that John Jay might be
allowed to spend the day with him and help
watch the toll-gate, while Mars' Nat was in town.
That morning still stands out in the boy's
memory, as one of the happiest he ever spent.
Along in the middle of the afternoon, when
travel on the turnpike had almost ceased on
account of the heat, George went into his room
and lay down. John Jay sat on the floor of
the porch, holding the old hound's head in his
lap, and lazily smoothing its long soft ears.
He felt very important when a wagon rattled
up and the toll was dropped into his fingers.
He wished that everybody he knew would ride
by and find him sitting there in charge; but
no one else came for more than an hour. It
had seemed as long as ten hours, with nothing
to do but slap at the flies and talk to the sleepy
hound. John Jay grinned when he saw the
arrival, for it was a man -whom he knew.
"Good evening Mistah Boden," he called,
eagerly. The man stopped his horses.





OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT.


Hello !" he said. You're in charge, are
you? Where's the rest of the folks?"
"Mars' Nat, he's gone to town to-day,"
answered John Jay, proudly. "I'm keeping'
toll-gate this evening Mistah Boden."
"So!" exclaimed the man, with a cunning
gleam in his little eyes. "That's the lay of
the land, is it ?"
Instead of taking out his pocket-book, he
threw one foot over his knee, and began to
ask questions in a friendly manner that flat-
tered John Jay.
Let's see. Your name's Hickman, hain't
it ?
"Yessa, John Jay Hickman," answered the
boy.
"Yes," drawled the man, gnawing at a plug
of tobacco which he took from his pocket. I'
know all about you. Your mammy used to
cook for my wife, and your gran'mammy washed
at our house one summer. How is the old
woman, anyhow ?"
She's well, thank you, Mistah Boden," was
the pleased answer.
"And then there's that brother of her's-
Billy! old UncleBilly! How's he getting on?"





OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT.


Oh, he's mighty complaining Mistah Boden;
he's got such a misery in his back all the time
that he say he jus' aint got ambition 'nuff to
get out'n his own way."
"Is that so?" was the reply, in a tone of
flattering interest. The man beckoned him
with his whip to step closer.
"Look here, boy," he said, in a confidential
tone, "it's a mighty lucky thing for me that
Nat Chadwick left you here 'instead of a
stranger. Every penny of change I started
with this morning dropped out through a hole
in my pocket somewhere. I didn't find it out
until I got within sight of the place;. then,
.thinks I to myself, 'oh, it won't make any dif-
ference. Nat and I are old friends; he'll pass
me.' I guess you can do the same, can't you,
being as you're in his place, and I'm an old
friend of your family? You needn't say any-
thing about it, and I'll do as much for you
some day."
John Jay looked puzzled. Before he could
reply George walked out on the porch and
stood beside him. He bowed to the man
politely. "I'll take the toll, if you please,
Mr. Boden. Put up the bar, John."





OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT.


The man hesitated a moment, then tossed
him the change, and gave the horses a cut
with his whip that sent them dashing down
the road.
If he wasn't jus' trying' to sneak his way
through 'thout payin'! exclaimed John Jay,
indignantly. George made no comment, but
John Jay seemed unable to quit talking about
the occurrence. Half an hour later he broke
out again: "-He thought 'cause I was jus' a
little boy he could cheat me, an' nobody would
evah know the difference. I nevah in all my
life befo' heard tell of anything so mean "
Haven't you ? asked George, with such
peculiar emphasis and such a queer little smile
that John Jay felt guilty, although he could not
have told why.
No, I nevah did," he insisted.
George leaned against the door-casing, and
looked thoughtfully across the fields. There
are more turnpikes in life than one, my boy,"
he said kindly, and every one has its toll-gate.
There is the road to learning. I gave up every-
thing to get through that gate, even my health.
One cannot be anything or do anything worth
while without paying some sort of toll. It may






OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT.


be time or strength or hard work or patience,
and sometimes we have to give them all."
"'Peahs like I've nevah struck any such
roads in my travellin'," answered John Jay,
carelessly, who often understood George's little
parables far better than he cared to acknowl-
edge.
"But I know one road that you are on now,
where you try to slip out of paying what you
owe every day."
John Jay hung his head, and rubbed his bare
feet together in embarrassed silence. If the
Reverend George said it was so, it must be so,
although he did not know just what. he was
hinting at.
Mr. Boden knows very well," continued
George, "that the money that is paid here goes
to keep the road in good condition for him to
travel over. He is very glad to have such a
good pike provided for him, but he wants it for
nothing. I know a poor old woman who keeps
the road smooth for somebody. She works
early and late, in hot weather and cold, to earn
food and shelter and clothes for somebody;
and that somebody eats her bread, and wears
out the clothes, and sleeps under her roof, and





OLE MAMMY'S TORMENT.


never pays any toll. He owes her thanks and
willing service, all the help he can give her
poor, tired old body, but she never gets even
the thanks. He takes all her drudgery as a
matter of course."
John Jay's head dropped lower and lower, as
he screwed his toes around in the dust of the
path, mortified and embarrassed. All the whip-
pings of his life had never stung him so deeply
as George's quiet words. He was used to be-
ing scolded for his laziness. He never paid
any attention to that; but to have his "Rev-
'und Gawge" regard him as dishonest as Mr.
Boden hurt him more than words could express.
Another wagon came rattling up in a cloud
of dust. Without waiting to see the new-
comer, he dodged around the corner of the
house and ran down to the barn. A pair of
puppies came frisking out ready for a romp,
and an old Maltese cat, stretched out in the
sun, stood up and arched its back at his ap-
proach. He took no notice of them, but crawl-
ing up into the hay, threw himself down in a
dark corner with his face hidden in his arms.
Mars' Nat came home after awhile. John
Jay could hear Ned putting the horse into the




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