« PreviousContinue »
webbed gloom that seemed to lie just beyond the rafters. He sat thus silent and serious a little while, but finally squared himself around in his chair and looked the little boy full in the face. The old man's countenance expressed a curious mixture of sorrow and bewilderment. Catching the child by the coat-sleeve, Uncle Remus pulled him gently to attract his attention.
"Hit look like ter me," he said, presently, in the tone of one approaching an unpleasant subject, "dat no longer'n yistiddy I see wunner dem ar Favers chillun clim'in' dat ar big red-oak out yan', en den it seem like dat a little chap 'bout yo' size, he tuck'n start up fer ter see ef he can't play smarty like de Favers's yearlin's. I dunner w'at in de name er goodness you wanter be a copyin' atter dem ar Favers fer. Ef youer gwineter copy atter yuther folks, copy atter dem w'at's some 'count. Yo' pa, he got de idee dat some folks is good ez yuther folks, but Miss Sally, she know bet
She know dat dey aint no Favers 'pon de top side er de yeth w'at kin hol' der han' wid de Abercrombies in p'int er breedin' en raisin'. Dat w'at Miss Sally know. I bin keepin' track er dem Favers sence way back yan' long fo' Miss Sally was born'd. Old Cajy Favers, he went ter de po'house, en ez ter dat ar Jim Favers, I boun' you he know de inside er all de jails in dish yer State er Jawjy. Dey allers did hate niggers kaze dey aint had none, en dey hates um down ter dis day.
"Endurin' er de war," Uncle Remus continued, "I year yo' Unk Jeems Abercrombie tell dat same Jim Favers dat ef he lay de weight er his han' on wunner his niggers, he'd slap a load er buck-shot in 'im; en, bless yo' soul, honey, yo' Unk Jeems wuz des de man ter do it. But dey er monst'us perlite unter me, dem Favers is," pursued the old man, allowing his indignation, which had risen to a white heat, to cool off, "en dey better be," he added, spitefully, "kaze I knows der pedigree fum de fus' ter de las', en w'en I gits my Affikin up, dey aint nobody, less'n it's Miss Sally 'erse'f, w'at kin keep me down.
"But dat aint needer yer ner dar," said Uncle Remus, renewing his attack upon the little boy. "W'at you wanter go copyin' atter dem Favers chillun fer? Youer settin' back dar, right dis minnit, bettin' longer yo'se'f dat I aint gwineter tell Miss Sally, en dar whar youer lettin' yo' foot slip, kaze I'm gwineter let it pass dis time, but de ve'y nex' time w'at I ketches you in hol
lerin' distuns er dem Favers, right den en dar I'm gwineter take my foot in my han' en go en tell Miss Sally, en ef she don't natally skin you 'live, den she aint de same 'oman w'at she useter be.
"All dish yer copyin' atter deze yer Favers put me in min' er de tine w'en Brer Fox gotter copyin' atter Brer Rabbit. I done tole you 'bout de time w'en Brer Rabbit git de game fum Brer Fox by makin' like he dead?" *
The little boy remembered it very distinctly, and said as much.
Well, den, old Brer Fox, w'en he see how slick de trick wuk wid him, he say ter hisse'f dat he b'leeve he'll up'n' try de same kinder game on some yuther man, en he keep on watchin' fer his chance, twel bimeby, one day, he year Mr. Man comin' down de big road in his one-hoss waggin, kyar'n some chickens, en some eggs, en some butter ter market. Brer Fox year 'im comin', he did, en w'at do he do but go en lay down in de road front er de waggin? Mr. Man, he druv 'long, he did, cluckin' ter de hoss en hummin' ter hisse'f, en w'en dey git mos' up ter Brer Fox, de hoss, he shy, he did, en Mr. Man, he tuck'n holler Wo! en de hoss, he tuck'n wo'd. Den Mr. Man, he look down, en he see Brer Fox layin' out dar on de groun' des like he cole en stiff, en w'en Mr. Man see dis, he holler out: 'Heyo! Dar de chap w'at bin nabbin' up my chickens, en somebody done gone en shot off a gun at 'im, w'ich I wish she'd er bin two guns-dat I does!'
"Wid dat, Mr. Man, he druv on en lef' Brer Fox layin' dar. Den Brer Fox, he git up en run' 'roun' thoo de woods en lay down front er Mr. Man ag'in, en Mr. Man come drivin' 'long, en he see Brer Fox, en he say, sezee:
""Heyo! Yer de ve'y chap w'at bin 'stroyin' my pigs. Somebody done gone en kilt 'im, en I wish dey'd er kilt 'im long time ago.'
❘ "Den Mr. Man, he druv on, en de wagginw'eel come mighty nigh mashin' Brer Fox nose; yit, all de same, Brer Fox 'lipt up en run 'roun' 'head er Mr. Man, en lay down in de road, en w'en Mr. Man come 'long, dar he wuz all stretch out like he big 'nuff fer ter fill a two-bushel baskit, en he look like he dead 'nuff fer ter skin. Mr. Man druv up, he did, en stop. He look down pun Brer Fox, en den he look all 'roun' fer
* Uncle Remus: His Songs and his Sayings. New York: D. Appleton & Co. P. 70.
ter see w'at de 'casion er all deze yer dead Fox is. Mr. Man look all 'roun', he did, but he don't see nothin', en needer do he year nothin'. Den he set dar en study, en bimeby he 'low ter hisse'f, he did, dat he better 'zamin' w'at kinder cu'us zeeze done bin got inter Brer Fox fambly, en wid dat he lit down outer de waggin, en feel er Brer Fox year; Brer Fox year feel right wom. Den he feel er Brer Fox neck; Brer Fox neck right wom. Den he feel er Brer Fox in de short ribs; Brer Fox all soun' in de short ribs. Den he feel er Brer Fox lim's; Brer Fox all soun' in de lim's. Den he tu'n Brer Fox over, en, lo en beholes, Brer Fox right limber. W'en Mr. Man see dis, he say ter hisse'f, sezee: "Heyo, yer! how come dis? chicken-nabber look like he dead, but dey aint no bones broked, en I aint see no blood, en needer does I feel no bruise; en mo'n dat he wom en he limber,' sezee. 'Sump'n' wrong yer, sho'! Dish yer pig-grabber mout be dead en den ag'in he moutent,' sezee; 'but ter make sho' dat he is, I'll des gin 'im a whack wid my w'ip-han'le,' sezee; en wid dat, Mr. Man draw back en fotch Brer Fox a clip behime de years-pow!-en de lick come so hard en it come so quick dat Brer Fox thunk sho he's a goner; but 'fo' Mr. Man kin draw back fer ter fetch 'im a n'er wipe, Brer Fox, he scramble ter his feet, he did, en des make tracks 'way fum dar."
Uncle Remus paused and shook the cold ashes from his pipe, and then applied the moral:
"Dat w'at Brer Fox git fer playin' Mr. Smarty en copyin' atter yuther folks, en dat des de way de whole Smarty fambly gwineter
MR. RABBIT'S ASTONISHING PRANK.
"I 'SPECK dat 'uz de reas'n w'at make ole Brer Rabbit git 'long so well, kaze he ain't copy atter none er de yuther creeturs," Uncle Remus continued, after a while. "W'en he make his disappearance 'fo' um, hit 'uz allers in some bran new place. Dey aint know wharbouts fer ter watch out fer 'im. He wuz de funniest creetur er de whole gang. Some folks mouter call him lucky, en yit, w'en he git in bad luck, hit look like he mos' allers come out on top. Hit look mighty cu'us now, but 'twa'n't cu'us in dem days, kaze hit 'uz done gun up dat, strike
'im w'en you might en whar you would, Brer Rabbit wuz de soopless creetur gwine. "One time, he sorter tuck a notion, ole Brer Rabbit did, dat he'd pay Brer B'ar a call, en no sooner do de notion strike 'im dan he pick hisse'f up en put out fer Brer B'ar house."
"Why, I thought they were mad with each other," the little boy exclaimed.
"Brer Rabbit pay his call w'en Brer B'ar en his fambly wuz off fum home," Uncle Remus explained, with a chuckle which was in the nature of a hearty tribute to the crafty judgment of Brother Rabbit.
"He sot down by de road, en he see um go by-ole Brer B'ar en ole Miss B'ar, en der two twin-chilluns, w'ich one un um wuz name Kubs en de t'er one wuz name Klibs."
The little boy laughed, but the severe seriousness of Uncle Remus would have served for a study, as he continued:
"Ole Brer B'ar en Miss B'ar, dey went 'long ahead, en Kubs en Klibs, dey come shufflin' en scramblin' 'long behime. W'en Brer Rabbit see dis, he say ter hisse'f dat he 'speck he better go see how Brer B'ar gittin' on, en off he put. En 'twa'n't long n'er 'fo' he 'uz ransackin' de premmuses same like he 'uz sho' 'nuff patter-roller. W'iles he wuz gwine 'roun' peepin' in yer en pokin' in dar, he gotter foolin' 'mong de shelfs, en a bucket er honey w'at Brer B'ar got hid in de cubbud fall down en spill on top er Brer Rabbit, en little mo'n he'd er bin drown. Fum head ter heels dat creetur wuz kiver'd wid honey; he wa'n't des only bedobble wid it, he wuz des kiver'd. He hatter set dar en let de natal sweetness drip outen his eyeballs 'fo' he kin see his han' befo' 'im, en den, atter he look 'roun' little, he say to hisse'f, sezee:
"Heyo, yer! W'at I gwine do now? Ef I go out in de sunshine, de bumly-bees en de flies dey'll swom up'n' take me, en ef I stay yer, Brer B'ar'll come back en ketch me, en I dunner w'at in de name er gracious I gwine do.'
"Ennyhow, bimeby a notion strike Brer Rabbit, en he tip 'long twel he git in de woods, en w'en he git out dar, w'at do he do but roll in de leafs en trash en try ter rub de honey off'n 'im dat away. He roll, he did, en de leafs dey stick; Brer Rabbit roll, en de leafs dey stick, en he keep on rollin' en de leafs keep on stickin', twel atter w'ile Brer Rabbit wuz de mos' outlannishlookin' creetur' dat you ever sot eyes on. En ef Miss Meadows en de gals could er seed 'im den en dar, dey wouldn't er bin no mo'
Brer Rabbit call at der house; 'deed, en dat | todes um. Ole Brer B'ar, he stop en look, dey wouldn't.
"Brer Rabbit, he jump 'roun', he did, en try ter shake de leafs off'n 'im, but de leafs, dey aint gwineter be shuck off. Brer Rabbit, he shake en he shiver, but de leafs dey stick; en de capers dat creetur cut up out dar in de woods by he own-alone se'f wuz scan'lous-dey wuz dat; dey wuz scan❜lous.
"Brer Rabbit see dis wa'n't gwineter do, en he 'low ter hisse'f dat he better be gittin' on todes home, en off he put. I 'speck you done year talk er deze yer booggers w'at gits atter bad chilluns," continued Uncle Remus, in a tone so seriously confidential as to be altogether depressing; "well, den, des 'zackly dat away Brer Rabbit look, en ef you'd er seed 'im you'd er made sho' he de gran'-daddy er all de booggers. Brer Rabbit pace 'long, he did, en ev'y motion he make, de leafs dey'd go swishy-swushy, splushysplishy, en, fum de fuss he make en de way he look, you'd er tuk 'im ter be de mos' suvvigus varment w'at disappear fum de face er de yeth sence ole man Noah let down de draw-bars er de ark en tu'n de creeturs loose; en I boun' ef you'd er struck up long wid 'im, you'd er been mighty good en glad ef you'd er got off wid dat.
"De fus'n w'at Brer Rabbit come up wid wuz ole Sis Cow, en no sooner is she lay eyes on 'im dan she h'ist up 'er tail in de elements, en put out like a pack er dogs wuz atter 'er. Dis make Brer Rabbit laff, kaze he know dat w'en a ole settle' 'oman like Sis Cow run 'stracted in de broad open day-time, dat dey mus' be sump'n' mighty cu'us 'bout dem leafs en dat honey, en he keep on a-rackin' down de road. De nex' man w'at he meet is a black gal tollin' a whole passel er plantation shotes, en w'en de gal see Brer Rabbit come prancin' 'long, she fling down 'er basket er corn en des fa'rly fly, en de shotes, dey tuck thoo de woods, en sech n'er racket ez dey kick up wid der runnin', en der snortin', en der squealin' aint never bin year in dat settlement needer before ner sence. Hit keep on dis away long ez Brer Rabbit meet anybody -dey des broke en run like de Ole Boy
wuz atter um.
"Co'se, dis make Brer Rabbit feel monst'us biggity, en he 'low to hisse'f dat he 'speck he better drap 'roun' en skummish in de neighberhoods er Brer Fox house. En w'iles he wuz stannin' dar runnin' dis 'roun' in his min', yer come ole Brer B'ar en all er his fambly. Brer Rabbit, he git crossways de road, he did, en he sorter sidle
but Brer Rabbit, he keep on sidlin' todes um. Ole Miss B'ar, she stan' it long ez she kin, en den she fling down 'er parrysol en tuck a tree. Brer B'ar look like he gwineter stan' his groun', but Brer Rabbit he jump straight up in de a'r en gin hisse'f a shake, en, bless yo' soul, honey! ole Brer B'ar make a break, en dey tells me he to' down a whole panel er fence gittin' 'way fum dar. En ez ter Kubs en Klibs, dey tuck der hats in der han's, en dey went skaddlin' thoo de bushes des same ez a drove er hosses."
"And then what?" the little boy asked. "Brer Rabbit p'raded on down de road," continued Uncle Remus, "en bimeby yer come Brer Fox en Brer Wolf, fixin' up a plan fer ter nab Brer Rabbit, en dey wuz so intents on der confab dat dey got right on Brer Rabbit 'fo' dey seed 'im; but, gentermens! w'en dey did ketch a glimpse un 'im, dey gun 'im all de room he want. Brer Wolf, he try ter show off, he did, kaze he wanter play big 'fo' Brer Fox, en he stop en ax Brer Rabbit who is he. Rabbit, he jump up en down in de middle er de road, en holler out:
"I'm de Wull-er-de-Wust.* I'm de Wuller-de-Wust, en youer de man I'm atter !'
"Den Brer Fox, he stan' off en ax Brer Rabbit who is he, en Brer Rabbit 'spon' back:
"I'm de Wull-er-de-Wust, en likewise youer de man I'm atter!'
"Den Brer Rabbit jump up en down en make like he gwine atter Brer Fox en Brer Wolf, en de way dem creeturs lit out fum dar wuz a caution.
"Long time atter dat," continued Uncle Remus, folding his hands placidly in his lap with the air of one who has performed a pleasant duty,-"long time atter dat, Brer Rabbit come up wid Brer Fox en Brer Wolf, en he git behime a stump, Brer Rabbit did, en holler out:
"I'm de Wull-er-de-Wust, en youer de mens I'm atter!'
"Brer Fox en Brer Wolf, dey broke, but 'fo' dey got outer sight en outer year'n', Brer Rabbit show hisse'f, he did, en laugh fit ter kill hisse'f. Atterwuds, Miss Meadows she year 'bout it, en de nex' time Brer Fox call, de gals dey up en giggle, en ax 'im ef he aint feard de Wull-er-de-Wust mout drap in."
* Or Wull-er-de-Wuts. Probably a fantastic corruption of "will-o'-the-wisp," though this is not by any means certain.
PETER THE GREAT AS RULER AND REFORMER.*
THE WAR IN LITHUANIA.—1708.
AFTER the declaration of the interregnum in Poland, the disasters and confusion in that unfortunate country increased. Some of the nobles declared themselves for Stanislas; others waited for the election of a new king. As is frequently the case in civil wars, families were divided and had members in both camps. Prince Yanusz Wisniowiecki, the Voievode of Cracow, was one of the leaders of the confederation of Lemberg; while his brother, the Grand Hetman of Lithuania, after some hesitation, went over to King Stanislas, and took with him the Lithuanian army. General Sienicki, by a secret arrangement with Michael Wisniowiecki, captured the forty thousand rubles that arrived from Moscow, and, in spite of his oath, declared himself on the side of the Swedes, and established himself in the fortress of Býkhof. Although his garrison was small, yet it required a considerable force to dislodge him. Lieutenant-General Bauer failed at the first storm. Prince Répnin and General Hallart were sent to reënforce him, and engineers were demanded from St. Petersburg to construct mines. After four weeks' siege and several assaults, Býkhof was taken and razed to the ground. Sienicki was carried in chains to Moscow, where he ended his life in prison, and the garrison, about three thousand men, was sent to Azof.
The Russians were hated by the Poles, and murders were not infrequent. A petty nobleman, Wiezicki, living in Dub, invited to his house a party of officers and soldiers of the Seménofsky regiment, thirteen in all, who were going to Pinsk, and murdered them during their sleep." I am very sad," Peter wrote to Captain Izma of the guard, "over such good officers and soldiers, with whom I had grown up from boyhood," and he ordered Sheremétief to hunt out the murderers, who had taken refuge in the forests. Wiezicki and nine of his peasants were caught and executed.
In the spring of 1707, four months before Charles actually left Saxony, there was a rumor that he was about to march
through Poland and invade Russia. immediately sent detachments into Great Poland, toward the Silesian frontier, in order to devastate the country, and thus render the Swedish march more difficult. Towns like Rawicz and Lissa were burned and destroyed, bridges were broken down, and wells filled up. Colonel Schultz, with his band of Tartars and Kalmuks, was most active in this kind of work.
The danger seemed so pressing that the engineer Iván Kortchmin was sent to Moscow, to put the fortifications of that city, and especially of the Kremlin, into thorough repair. He arrived there in the middle of June, and in ten days the work began. But, even before his arrival, the report of Charles's march had reached Moscow, and, according to Pleyer, "the Muscovites were greatly terrified. Nobody spoke of anything except of flight or death. Many of the merchants, under pretext of going to the fair, took their wives and children to Archangel, where they had usually gone alone. The great foreign merchants and capitalists hastened to go to Hamburg with their families and their properties, while the mechanics and artisans went into their service." The foreigners, not only of Moscow, but of all the neighboring towns, applied to their ministers for protection, as they feared not only the harshness and rapacity of the Swedes, but, even more, a general rising and massacre in Moscow, where people were already embittered by the immeasurable increase of the taxes." "The terror here has still more increased," he wrote, in a subsequent dispatch, "since the order has arrived to repair all the walls around the town and fortify the Kremlin. An engineer has come here who studied fortifications for two years in Berlin, and has drawn up a plan of the works. The beautiful old church of Jerusalem, or the Trinity, is to be pulled down. The Hospital row of shops, famous from old times, the Foundry Court, the Red and White walls, with all the churches, houses, monasteries, all he proposes to pull down, otherwise it will be impossible to shoot. Five thousand men are at work every day. The people are so enraged that the
Copyright, 1880, by Eugene Schuyler. All rights reserved.
engineer does not dare to show himself without a guard." The Jerusalem Church referred to by Pleyer is just outside of the Kremlin, and is that commonly known by the name of the Church of St. Basil the Beatified, with its eleven domes, each of different color and design.* Fortunately for the beauty of Moscow, this plan of wholesale destruction was not carried out, and this church, the towers and walls of the Kremlin, and the other antiquities, were preserved. The news of the disorders at Moscow reached the army, and an official proclamation was sent back, deriding the fears of the Muscovites when the enemy was not as near as he had been previously, but saying that precaution was better than negligence, and quoting the old Roman proverb: "A wild beast cannot harm a cautious horse." Meanwhile, two men were taken from every house, to work on the fortifications, or three rubles had to be paid every month; and so strict were the demands that children were taken from the houses as pledges for the appearance of the workmen. In November, the fortifications were inspected by the Tsarevitch Alexis, who had just returned from the army, and Pleyer writes: "In the last six months the fortifications have made great progress. Guns will soon be placed on many of them, and fire can be opened. The engineer demands 10,000 cannon." The Tróïtsa Monastery and the towns of Mozháisk, Sérpukhóf, Tver, and others, were fortified in the same way.
Peter had already, in January, 1707, given Apráxin orders for the protection of the frontier, and had recommended that, from the beginning of spring, no grain nor hay should be allowed to remain in the granaries or barns, but that all should be concealed in the woods or buried in the ground, and that the cattle should also be hidden in the woods and swamps, in places agreed upon beforehand by the villagers, to which they could flee on the approach of the enemy. The army was strengthened with fresh recruits; and in the same way that Peter had taken into his service agents for finding out new sources of revenue, so he soon had agents, paid and volunteer, informing him where recruits could be obtained. The nobleman Bezobrázof, for instance, reported that in the district of Briansk there had been lately a vast in
An engraving of this church was given on page 905 of SCRIBNER'S MONTHLY for April, 1880.
crease in the number of church servitors, who were unnecessary for religious purposes, but would make excellent dragoons or soldiers. Peter replied with a decree to enroll all who were fit for military service. Instructions had also been given to Mazeppa for the defense of Kief and the Ukraine.
The Swedes, by remaining in Saxony, gave Peter time for preparation. It was not until August, 1707, that Charles began to move. He had with him the best army he had yet commanded, composed, with those that joined him at Slupce, of 44,000 men, in excellent condition, well clothed and well armed, of whom 24,000 were cavalry. They were not all Swedes, for his recruiting agents had been very busy in Saxony, Silesia, and other German countries. Some of his best officers, however, such as Arvid Horn and Magnus Stenbock, had, for unknown reasons, gone back to Sweden. Not every one in Europe felt as sure of the Swedish success as did Charles. Huyssen wrote from Vienna, in September, that "the Swedes marched unwillingly, and admitted that they had become quite unaccustomed to war after their long repose and luxurious life in Saxony." "Some even predict a Russian victory, while others say that there would be less glory, but also far less danger, if the Tsar should withdraw his troops from Poland, and diminish the forces of the enemy by petty skirmishes and by sudden attacks by the Cossacks."
Peter himself had long àgo decided that this was necessary. A council of war had resolved not to risk a battle in Poland, and even not on the frontier, unless it were absolutely necessary; but to resist at the river crossings, harass the rear-guard, and lay waste the country in the line of march. On hearing of the project of the Swedes, Menshikóf withdrew from Poland, established a strong outpost line along the Bug, from Pultusk to Brescz-Litewski, and took a position at Dezentsoli, between Wilna and Grodno, while Sheremétief, with the cavalry, Iwas at Minsk. Another council of war at Meretch confirmed what had been decided upon months before at Zolkiew.
Peter again experienced the excitement, the anxiety, and the dejection which overcame him during the winter, when his troops were shut up in Grodno, and he noticed in himself a greater irritability than at any time since the events of 1698 and 1699. In a fit of anger against Apráxin, who had not punished those governors who had sent him