xt7gf18sbv2h https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7gf18sbv2h/data/mets.xml Sea, Sophie Fox. 1892  books b92-107-27902041 English Printed by John P. Morton, : Louisville [Ky.] : Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. "That old-time child, Roberta"  : her home-life on the farm / Sophie Fox Sea. text "That old-time child, Roberta"  : her home-life on the farm / Sophie Fox Sea. 1892 2002 true xt7gf18sbv2h section xt7gf18sbv2h 

    00--Be-- -soW-as--- If - -0
    Al     l     so0
    ,J _ fl0
    W. w :At_ u Gus X
    tASE 1 jug 0            )
    lo \ SAX He'dll . N  E [
    Id- .X.,_ ah  .  t \.,, C0
    Wj_-E='--nt fl E l  yE0

    i00t ms

    !!           at0
_e8 1;-



This page in the original text is blank.




             BY SOPHIE FOX SEA


This page in the original text is blank.



                -frs. preston pope,

                 PICTURES OF SILVER."

This page in the original text is blank.



OBERTA MARSDEN, or Lil Missus, as the negroes
     called her, for the opening of my story dates back
     several years before the Civil War began, lived on a
country place in Kentucky. She was a beautiful child,
and,, despite a few foibles that all flesh is heir to, such a
really lovable one that she was fairly worshiped by
mother, aunt and uncle, and every one of the negroes,
from old Caleb, the testy and ancient coachman, to the
veriest pickaninny, who thought it a great feat to catch
hold with grimy fingers to the fluttering strings of the
little girl's white apron when she came among them at
Christmas and on other occasions to distribute sweets and
more substantial tokens.
   It was a great wonder that the child was not utterly
spoiled. But it seemed that her nature reflected the love
lavished on her as a mirror the face that looks into it.
   Aunt Betsy declared she did not have one selfish bone
in her whole body.
   I think the reason of that was, there were so many
about her looking to her for comfort in some way, that



when little more than a baby in years she fell into the
habit of thinking of and caring for others almost as a
woman would.
   Aunt Betsy was a rheumatic, and always ailing, and
the child could not remember the time when her beauti-
ful, patient mamma was not very, very sad. Although she
smiled often on her little daughter, it seemed as if there
were tears right behind the smiles, just like rain-drops
shining through the rays of the sun. And when she crept
close to her at night she could feel the long lashes sweep
her cheek, and they were so often wet.
   The negroes on the place, especially the older ones,
would grumble out their aches and pains to the child, as
if they thought she had the gift of healing. And indeed
she had, in her way.
   For when old Squire split his foot open with an ax,
they lived so far in the country they could n't get a physi-
cian every time it needed attention, and her kind, brave
mamma undertook to dress the wound herself every morn-
ing. She would let the deft little fingers squeeze a sponge
full of tepid water over the cut as many times as it was
necessary, then hold the scissors and bandages, and help
in other ways. And old Squire said the tender, compas-
sionate little face "ho'ped 'im as much as Miss July did."
   Those that need sympathy intuitively know where to
get it. It's just like the flowers reaching out for sun and




   I expect the city children who read this story feel
very sorry for Roberta because she lived in the country.
But they needn't be, for she was never lonely and scarcely
ever idle. The older negroes on the place said she was
like "ole missus" (that was her grandmother) in her
ways. And among other things they told about the old
lady, to show how stirring she was and what a manager,
was her method of arousing the household to their duties
in the beginning of the week: "Wake up! wake up! I
say. To-day 's Monday, to-morrow 's Tuesday, next day 's
Wednesday, next day's Thursday, then comes Friday,
and Saturday will be here before you know it, and
nothing done."
   Roberta did n't belong to any " mite society " nor the
"little busy bees," where city children are trained to think
of and help the poor, and she didn't wear the badge of
the " Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals," as
many children do nowadays. Indeed I don't expect she
ever heard there was such a society. But she was instru-
mental nevertheless in doing a great deal of real practical
good. 0, how her eyes did flash when she saw animals
mistreated. She made beds for the cats and beds for the
dogs; and when any of the milkers struck the cows while
they were milking them, if she was near about, she would
say, "Mamma says good milkers are always gentle with
the cows, for they won't give down their milk unless you
treat them kindly. And anybody can tell by the quantity




of milk you get whether you are good to them or not. If
I was a cow I would n't give down my milk if you struck
me and hollered at me."
   So she made the cruel milkers ashamed of themselves
often.' And she practically established a foundling asy-
lum for little motherless lambs and calves; raised them
herself on the bottle just like they were babies.
   " 0, you tootsey weetsy darlin',". I 've heard her say to
a bright-eyed, gentle lamb, her especial delight. The lit-
tle creature would run to her and bleat by way of telling
her it was hungry, and when she had fed it it would rub
its pretty head against her knee and look love at her, just
as I have seen babies look love at their mothers.
   And, my! how she did fuss over the little negro chil-
dren when they were sick! It just kept her busy bringing
them gourds of fresh water from the spring and watching
the well ones to see that they did n't purloin the dainties
she brought the sick. She actually learned how to sew,
making clothes for the pickaninnies.
   And you just ought to have seen her when any of the
fathers and mothers whipped their children severely. She
would fly down to the cabin, tear the pickaninnies away
and trot them up to the big house, and pet them until
they were willing to take another whipping to get the
good things she gave them.
   "She 's jes de very spi't ob her par," old Squire would
say on those occasions; "Dat's jest de way hees eyes



useter flash out at Mis Betsy when she cum 'twix' him an
Mis July."
   0, I wish I could make the little children who read
this story see, as I have seen it, the country place where
Roberta Marsden was raised.
   On either side fields of golden-tasseled corn, rustling
in the breeze and shimmering in the sunlight, many of
the stalks so entwined with morning-glories, pink, white,
blue, and variegated, one could almost believe fairies had
been there and arrayed the yellow silken-haired corn
babies for some festival, so crowned and garlanded they
were. In front of the house were wooded slopes, where
the birds sang their love songs and chattered noisly in
bird language all the day long. Those woodlands might
have been called a primeval forest, for the trees were truly
there in the earliest memory of the oldest living resident
of the county.
   It used to puzzle me to understand how the birds
knew when it was time to wake up and begin their matin
songs, for it was so like night there. Roberta, who was
an early riser and withal a child of poetic imagination,
used to say " that the fairies woke them up." She declared
she saw a little glittering thing, with wings and wand of
silver, alight on the tops of the trees and peep through
at the Darbys and Joans of the bird tribe. And she was
sure it must have told them it was time to wake up; for
soon would begin a low twitter that swelled louder and




louder, as bird after bird joined in until every family of
birds was represented. From the back porch of the
house could be seen a range of blue misty hills, that
Roberta called brides. They were often enveloped in
white filmy folds, like bridal veils, and one might catch
glimpses of the river from there also gliding along be-
tween banks of green.
   A giant's great glittering eye she called that; the
trees on the hills above the giant's brows, and the ferns
and grasses growing on either bank were upper and lower
lashes. With a little encouragement Roberta would have
been a genuine poet.
   But Aunt Betsy took such a literal view of things,
she was constantly saying to Mrs. Marsden:
   "That child's imagination will get away with her,
Julia, if you don't check it. It will, indeed."
   And she had a way of making the child repeat over
and over again descriptions of things that had struck her
fancy, and cutting here and there until the description
did n't seem applicable at all to the places she had seen.
   "I feel just like the old woman in Mother Goose,
Auntie," Roberta would say, her eyes full of vexed tears,
"when she woke up on the king's highway and found
her petticoats were cut off."
   ' But truth is truth, child," said Aunt Betsy.
   Aunt Betsy's intensely realistic temperament could
not understand that fine, exquisite perception God had



given the little girl, which enabled her to see beauty that
others, differently organized, would never see, nor, believe
was there.
   The house, where four generations of Mrs. Marsden's
family had lived, was home-like, but quaint and unpreten-
tious. It had a very solid look and was in thorough repair,
for the family were thrifty and well-to-do always. Luxu-
riant vines of the Virginia creeper grew on the sides of
the house and around the pillars of the porches. Wander-
ing tendrils hung from the eaves and crept in the second-
story windows. There was a wild-brier rose there that
had been planted by Mrs. Marsden's grandmother. It
partook somewhat of the nature of the old lady; nothing
could keep it from doing its duty. It filled the air with
fragrance in its season, and was a mass of delicate pink
flower cups.
   Inside of the old house were many little nooks, and
each nook haunted by the spirit of some legendary story.
As is the case in all houses where successive generations
of the same family have lived and died, ghostly visitants
came at certain times, so the negroes said, rang bells softly
at dead of night, tipped across the floor with but the echo
of a step, jostled medicine bottles together and did many
curious things. Roberta, brave as she was and sensible
as she was, would actually cover up her head with the bed-
clothes, and nearly smother for fear she would hear the
bells and ghostly steps.




   Mam' Sara was the only one of the negroes who did n't
believe in ghosts. " No, indeed, honey," she would say to
Roberta, " daid fo'ks don' never cum bak. If they gits ter
Heaven, they don' wan'er, and if they gits ter de udder
place they can't. The devil won' never let 'em git away
frum him, kase he 's wuk so hard ter git 'em."
   The part of the house of most interest to Roberta was
the parlor, where were stored the heir-looms of the family,
a spinet with all the ivory worn off the keys, two pier-
glasses with brass claws for feet, and a clock so tall and
big she actually hid in it once when she was playing " hide
and go seek" with some little visitors, who said they had
seen a clock "larger."
   Roberta was a very amiable child, but old Squire said
she "wuz techus erbout sum things." And the old clock
must have been one of the things.
   The chairs were brought from Virginia on the backs of
mules, and the covers on them embroidered by the little
girl's grandmother. The same busy hands that superin-
tended the manufacture of those piles of linen sheets
stored away in the presses above stairs, and the counter-
panes woven with the American eagle in the center,
bunches of hollyhocks and sweet pea in the corners, and
trumpet vines running along the edges.
   The paper on the walls of the parlor was a curiosity.
It was imported from England many, many years before
Roberta's mother was born, because her grandfather saw a



room somewhere, I think in Baltimore, that had similar
paper, and he took such a fancy to it he ordered some from
the same place. The paper was wrought in great panels,
with life-size figures of orientals in the center. They were
terrible looking men, the children thought. They had
swarthy skins and beards down to their waists, and fierce
eyes that flashed out beneath their turbans with a fe-fo-fi-
fuin look.
   Those fierce eyes were the cause of no little alarm, I
can assure you, when darkness swooped down upon Rob-
erta and Polly and Dilsy, playing Lady-come-to-see in the
old parlor in childlike unconsciousness of the passage of
time. Polly, the imp, would always insist upon singing
" Lady Jane Grey," as they tiptoed backward out of the
room. They did not dare to look away, for fear those ter-
rible men would fly at them when they were not looking
and throttle them with their long, bony fingers, so they
joined hands and sung as they tiptoed backward:

        Lady Jane Grey, she went to church for to pray;
          She went to the stile and there rested awhile:
        She went to the door and there rested a little more;
          She went up the aisle and there rested awhile;
              She looked up; she looked down;
              She saw a corpse lie on the ground;
            She said to the sexton, must I look so
            When I die Boo, boo!

   Now when they came to the last part it was always
Polly who stretched open her eyes till they looked like an



owl's great round eyes, and jumped at Roberta and Dilsy
and hollered "Boo, boo!" Although they knew it was
coming they were awfully scared, and would break loose
and run, screaming like mad things, into the sitting-room,
really believing the orientals were after them. They had
made believe it so many times, and Polly had said so many
times, "'I '11 cross my heart, Lil Missus, 't wus dem drefful
men dat sed 'boo-oo'; I seed thar lips muven; you don'
ketch me in thar no mo'," they had come to really believe
it. They had heard the story of the children who played
wolf, and a wolf did sure enough come and devour them.
As many times as they had played Lady Jane Grey they
were always worse scared the last time than ever before.
The sitting-room was a cozy place when they got there,
panting for breath after their fright in the parlor.
   In one of the deep window recesses Roberta had set
up her entire doll family to housekeeping. She was very
fond of her dolls. The mother instinct in her was devel-
oped very early. She had wax dolls and china dolls and
rag dolls. Mrs. Marsden painted features on the rag dolls,
and they looked very natural. There was Miss Prim and
Miss Slim, Mrs. Jolly and Mrs. Folly, Miss Snappy and
Miss Happy, named from their different expressions.
Roberta had the quaintest way of talking to her dolls.
She had caught some of Aunt Betsy's old-time ideas:
   " Straighter, my dears, straighter. One's spine should
never touch the back of a chair," and, "Don't rest your


            HER HOME-LIFE ON THE FARM.               I7

elbows on the table while you are eating; my great-grand-
mother used to keep cushions stuffed with pins to slip
under the children's elbows," etc.
   Her favorite dolls were the figures cut out of the
fashion plates of Godey's Lady's Book. She was an artist
with her fingers, if there was a pair of scissors in them.
So she took sheets of different colored tissue-paper, cut
dresses, and fitted them nicely on her dolls. Each doll
had a variety.
   I believe she thought her dolls looked cosier at the
dinner-table than anywhere else, and she kept them sit-
ting there a great deal. Sometimes Polly, who seemed
born to make trouble, would roll her eyes at the dolls and
say, " You iz de greedes' things. Whar iz you gwiner to
put it"
   Then, of course, Roberta would feel obliged to take
some notice of their sitting at the table so long: " Come,
get down now, dears. Little ladies should not appear
greedy. "
   Roberta was very much like some mothers of real
children, who will wink at what their little ones do at
one time, and, if a neighbor drops in at another, who is
not of the same way of thinking, scold the poor children
for doing those very things they, had winked at before.
But Roberta did not have it in her heart to scold any-
body much, not even that impish Polly, who would
go around after she had provoked her little mistress



beyond endurance, sniffling and singing in a dolorous
              Whar she goes en how she fars,
              Nobody knows en nobody kyars,

and invariably wind up by getting the very playthings
she wanted from Roberta as a peace offering.
   [ must not forget to tell you about Roberta's Sunday
School for little negro children. If the child did n't
always keep perfect order and make the headway she
would have liked, it was n't because she did n't try. Her
whole heart was in the work. She really was very intel-
ligent, and Aunt Betsy said, " If there was such a thing as
anybody being born in this world a Christian, she believed
Roberta was." I think she must have had the germ of
object teaching-that is the fad now-in her nature, she
could paint such vivid mental pictures to convey an idea.
Once she was telling Polly about God's punishment of
sinners, and Polly said, "Lawdy, Lil Missus, I feel dem
blazes creepen' all over me dis minit." She had a great
deal to contend with, almost as much as Mrs. Marsden
had, in getting the older negroes to come in to prayers.
Nine times out of ten, when she rang the bell for them
Sunday morning, Squire would put 'his head in the door
and say:
   "Mis July, dat deviles hoss dun played me dat same
trick ergin. He dun lade down in de mud en roll ober
en ober. 'T will take me clar up ter de time to start ter


            HER HOME-LIFE ON THE FARM               I9

chech ter git dat mud orf him, en hard wurk at dat. Dat
hoss knows ez well when Sad-day night comes ez you duz.
Jes' de way he dun las' week when I hetch him in de plow:
lay down en groan lak he sick enuff ter die, ter keep
fum worken'; en half hour arfter I turn him luse frolerken
lak er colt -jes' kicken' up his heels, I kin tell you."
   " Why not drive some of the others, Uncle Squire, so
you can come in to prayers"
   "I dun turn em all out, en dey 's gorn, de Lord unly
knows whar. If I 'd unly know'd it en time now. But I '11
show 'im-I '11 show 'im. I gwiner be mity solid wid 'im,
en mebbe heel larn arfter while dat he aint his own master."
   At other times it was a mule.
   " Mis July, dat mule dun tore down dat rock fence
ergin. I bounter fix it or de stock will git out en go orf,
you knows dat ez well az I duz. Dat mule 's yours, en you
kin do what you please wid him, but ef he 'longter me I 'd
sell him de fus chance I git. Dat mule nuff ter mek er
man strike hees gran-daddy."
   Now, it was a well-known fact that Mrs. Marsden had
tried several times to sell the mule, and old Squire had
always declared "the mule was the most valuable animal
on the place, and it was just giving him away to sell him
at the price offered."
   Polly was Squire's granddaughter, and inherited his
want of reverence for sacred things. She was very, very
trying, especially on one occasion I will tell you about.



   Roberta gathered the children together, took her Cate-
chism and primer, and went down to the summer-house.
She noticed that Polly's expression was sulky, and that
she was rolling her eyes at Dilsy. But Polly was always
tormenting Dilsy. Dilsy was a little hunchback negro,
that everybody but Polly felt sorry for and tried to turn
the soft side of life to.
   Roberta was not much discouraged by Polly's actions,
still she knew it was a great deal pleasanter to teach her
when she was in a good humor, and concluded to resort
to a strategy to mollify her.
   The child was a close observer of nature, and knew
how indispensable to germinate seed was a mellow, rightly
prepared soil, and what service sunshine and timely rain-
falls were to growing crops. So she intuitively drew an
analogy in her childish way between the soil the plow-
man turns over and the human heart.
   Now, if there was one thing that Polly delighted in
more than another it was the game of "Chick-a-mie,
chick-a-mie, craney-crow."
   So the children joined hands and moved around and
around in a circle, singing:

         "Chick-a-mie, chick-a-mie, craney-crow,
         Went to the well to wash my toe,
         When I got back my chickens was gone.
         What o'clock is it, old Buzzard"

Then they would fly around looking for the chickens.


           HER HOME-LIFE ON THE FARM.              21

At least all of them but Polly would. Polly always took
the part of old Buzzard, so she could flop down in Dilsy's
seat, although she knew she would have to get right up.
   Somehow, that evening Roberta's strategy did not
seem to have accomplished its object, judging from Polly's
expression. Still she hoped for the best. Polly was the
biggest, so she always begun with her.
   " Who made you, Polly "
   No answer immediately; then,
   " Dunno fur sarten, spec' 't wuz Gord."
   A lump gathered in the child's throat. Her bump of
reverence was so largely developed it distressed her to see
a want of it in others; she said " it hurt her feelings."
   She passed it by, however, and ventured on another.
   "What else did God make"
   "Dunno fur sarten, never seed 'im wuken'."
   "For shame, Polly! God made all things. Say 'God
made all things."'
   "No, never. Never made Dilsy thar. Dilsy nuffin'
but er scrap he throw'd erway when he got fru cutten' out
de grow'd-up ones."
   "For shame, Polly! Do n't you know everybody has
to be little and grow up."
   " No, never! Adam and Eve wuz born'd grow'd up."
   "Well, that was because they were the first people on
earth, and there was nobody to be papa and mamma for
'em, and take care of 'em, when they were little."



   "Dat's like Dilsy thar. Dilsy never had no daddy."
   "Well, Polly, you have n't answered my question yet.
Say 'God made all things.'"
   "No, never!   God never made mammy's twins-no
mo' dan he made Dilsy thar. Dey iz prezak like dem
monkeys I seed de time I went en town ter de circus."
   Now Polly was not an impartial judge of the twins,
for she had been installed as their nurse, and she hated to
   "For shame, Polly! Those nice little babies. And
then, besides, as God made all things, he made monkeys
too, of course."
   "No, never,! You can't make me berleeve dat. Gord
nerver wase hees valerbel time maken' monkeys."
   That was the "last straw that broke the camel's back."
After trying so hard to be patient, and especially as she
knew it was nothing but pure contrariness in Polly, for
only the Sunday before she had answered every question
correctly, and added some pious interpolations exceedingly
gratifying to her young teacher.
   So she got up, went to her refractory pupil, and lifted
her forefinger by way of giving emphasis to her words.
  But Polly, recognizing that her little mistress's temper-
ature was rising, felt a proportionate rise in her own,
rolled her eyes till nothing but the whites were visible,
and stuck her lower lip out.
   It would be impossible to conceive of a creature uglier


           HER HOME-LIFE ON THE FARM.              23

or more aggravating looking than Polly, when she did
that way.
   In a flash, down came Roberta's little soft pink palm
on her cheek.
   Mrs. Marsden happened to be passing on her way to
the quarters to visit a sick servant, and witnessed the
performance. She was amused, but worried too, that
Roberta had allowed herself to be so provoked, for it
almost made a farce of the whole thing; and she knew
how much in earnest her little daughter really was. The
child's flushed cheeks and flashing eyes brought back, 0
so vividly! another face and another pair of flashing orbs
so like hers. There were tears in Mrs. Marsden's eyes
when she went in the summer-house and took her seat on
the bench that circled around it.
   " Did you strike Polly, daughter"
   "Yes 'em, Mamma."
   " What did you strike her for, daughter"
   " She would n't say her lesson, Mamma, and she knew
it all the time. And she rolled her eyes at me so, and
stuck out her lip and looked so ugly, I just could n't help
it, that 's all."
   "I am sorry, daughter, that you gave way to your
temper so. For remember, you are only the sower that
plants the seed, and God takes care of all the rest. If
you really try to teach Polly, and she won't be taught, you
mustn't make a personal thing of it, but just leave it



with God. Then, again, daughter, unless you practice
self-control, teaching others is a farce. I know Polly has
been very trying, indeed. But I want you to show a real
forgiving spirit, as one should always show when one is
working for the Master. I want you to tell Polly you are
sorry you struck her. For you are sorry, -I know-I see
it in your face."
   A kind of staccato snuffle was heard in the direction
of Polly.
   Roberta gave another look at the surly, unprepossess-
ing countenance, then said, in a low voice:
   "I will, Mamma, if you will let me hide my face in
your lap while I am saying it."
   " But why hide your face in my lap, daughter"
   "Because - because - Mamma- I am afraid - if she
looks at me as she did before, that I will slap her again.
I don't believe I could keep from it this evening; I am
all out of sorts."
   Afterwards that observation of Polly's, "Dilsy never
had no daddy," caused Roberta no little thought. Really,
she was no better off than Dilsy, she, reasoned, for of
course the child did not take in the full significance of
the imp's meaning. Nobody ever told her that her papa
was dead. Indeed she had been taught to pray for him
every night. She felt sure he was living. But, where
Why did he not come home and pet her, like other little
girls' papas she knew-pet her, and make her beautiful,



sad mother smile sometimes. For it seemed to the child
that she grew sadder and sadder all the time. There was
nobody she could talk to about him, for her mamma's
eyes filled with tears at any chance allusion to him. Aunt
Betsy nearly snapped her head off when she asked her a
question, and Uncle Squire, chatty as he was upon every
other subject, would squint his eyes in a knowing way,
puff out his cheeks, and answer, " Lay o'ers ter ketch med-
dlers." Yes, there was one person she was sure she could
coax into telling her why her papa never came home to
see them all, and that was dear, good Mani' Sarah, the
weaver. When Aunt Betsy scolded Mami' Sarah, she
would get down on the floor by Aunt Betsy -and hug her
tight around the knees and say, "God love you, Mistiss,"
to show her she was n't mad at her for scolding her. That
was " religion," mamma said. Aunt Betsy would cry, and
   " Get up, Sarah, you make me ashamed of myself."
   Yes, she would go to Mami' Sarah at the loom-house.
It was considered a great treat by Roberta to go down to
the loom-house. That was where the wool, cotton, and
flax was carded, spun, and wove, then manufactured into
winter and summer clothes for the negroes on the place.
Yard upon yard of beautiful red and black flannel, blue
and brown linseys, and blue and white striped cottonades,
for the women, jeans for the men, and that coarse fabric
called tow-linen made from the refuse of flax. The won-




derful counterpanes, I have mentioned before, were manu-
factured there and the linen for sheets and towels. Let
me tell you something curious while I am on the subject
of the loom-house: Roberta's grandmother raised silk-
worms in the room adjoining. She fed them on mulberry
leaves. Mam' Sarah told Roberta they made a noise like
wind while they were feeding. Those worms spun fluffy
balls of silk, called cocoons, that the old lady reeled her
silk thread from.  She had all the silk thread and
embroidery floss she needed.
   There were no silk-worms raised in Roberta's time, and
the room was given up to other uses.
   There was kept the huge iron mortar where the grains
of corn were crushed to make the delicious hominy Ken-
tuckians are so fond of. When rightly prepared each
grain stands out like the beautiful white-plumed corn
captains and colonels that dance up so gaily over beds of
live coals. There were made also the tallow dips, almost
the only light used in the old days on the farms in
Kentucky. Pieces of cotton wick were cut the required
length and fastened at regular intervals to sticks of wood.
One of the rows of wicks was dipped in the melted tallow,
taken out and suspended over a vessel to drip. Then
another was dipped, and another, till the same process was
gone through with all. That was repeated many times
before the wicks held enough tallow to be used for candles.
An improved method was to run the wicks through tin



molds, the required size and shape, and fasten them at
one end with a knot; then pour in the melted tallow,
and set the molds aside for the tallow    to harden.
The candles were put in brass, silver, and bronze candle-
sticks, accompanied by quaint little waiters that held
snuffers, used to nip off the charred wick, as the tallow
melted away from it. Very primitive that, compared with
the brilliant luminaries we have now.
   Well, there were hanks of different colored yarns and
strings of red peppers hanging from the ceiling of the
loom-house. Great beams ran through, called "warping
bars," where the various warp threads were measured and
cut for the loom. There were scutchens for dressing flax,
carding combs, spinning wheels, and the great wooden
loom with shafts reaching almost to the ceiling.
   It was prime fun for Roberta to go down to the loom-
house in the long winter evenings, and, sitting down be-
fore the open fire-place, help Polly and the others card
the wool in long, smooth "curls," and pile them in even
layers, ready for the spinner.
   It required deft fingers, too, to gather together all the
bits of wool caught on the many sharp teeth of the card-
ing comb, and that, by working the two parts of the comb
up and down, like a see-saw, then turning them over and
smoothing the rolls with the back.
   Those were busy days on the farms in old Kentucky,
and happy days, besides. The very best days for many,




both white and black. That afternoon I will tell you
about especially, Mam' Sarah had a bright-colored rag car-
pet in the loom. There she sat, her eyes fixed intently
on the pattern before her, shuttles carrying the black, red,
and orange filling flying in and out under her deft, busy
fingers. Many a strip of that gay filling had the little
girl cut, sewed, and wrapped. Mam' Sarah raised her eyes
and smiled at the child, but did n't stop working.
   "Do n't it tire you Mam' Sarah" Roberta once com-
passionately asked.
   "No, indeed, honey! Pear-lak I got sumfin' in my
elbers en sumfin' in my knees that keeps on goen, sumfin'
like springs. I never gits tired. I likes it."
   That was the secret, Mam' Sarah liked it. One can
keep on forever when one "likes it." "A merry heart
goes all the day, a sad one tires in a mile."
   Roberta climbed upon a stool and sat there watching
Mam' Sarah. She was a' nice person to watch. She had
such kind eyes and such a pleasant' mouth. Roberta
thought Mam' Sarah's mouth was just made to say
"honey." Just like a "prune" and "prism" mouth I've
read of somewhere. Her skin was the color of coffee,
with a little cream in it. She always wore a head-handker-