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»Women as Principal Characters

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A Letter from the Country

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Text from Harper’s Weekly

November 8, 1862, page 715 (3-4)

To the Edditer of Harper’s Weekly:

Dear Mr. Edditer—Sarah Blue is a woman, and I bein’ a person ov the sam secks, yu see it’s nateral we shouldn’t allways agree.

I call myself a thorrough administratix—I go fur the administrashun, thet is, fur the present one. None ov yure sham demockracys fur me!

Sarah says the same; but, between yu and me it ain’t true. Sarah is a good administratrix jest as long as affares go on tu suit her, but jest the eyedentical minit things go against the grain, she’s off’ on the other side like a roket.

But I don’t wunder at her idees bein’ sumwhat fuddled on pollytics, for her father was the gratest turn-coat yu ever did see. He was brot up a methodist—then turned dimmycrat, and was made hog-reeve the same yeer, and evry one said that he intered inter pollytical life for the sake ov gittin’ that office. Bimeby he hined the odd fellus (he was odd enuff the, in all konshunce!), and putty soon arter that he gut married and dyed his whiskers, fur which latter offense he was expelled frum the methodists, on the charge of pervurtin’ the Scripture, which says, thou canst not make one hair white or black. Then he bort a small farm (he was a blacksmith before), and settled daown near us, and has boted reggerlarly on the dimmycratic ticket ever sense, but twise—once in Harrison’s time, and agin in Taylor’s; and ef aour State elecshun had come befour Pennsilvany, so he’d a known old Abe was baound tu win, he’d have voted for him.

Sense the war brokek aout he’s jined the Quakers, and every time he hears ov a draft bein’ spoken of he quakes like a piece o’crab-apply jelly when yu fust turn it ker slap aout of the mold.

Naow there’s one thing where Sarah is as like her father as two peas. She is fond ov pollytics. She reeds the New York Herald reggerlarly, so’s tu be on all sides tu once; and don’t’ hardly touch a novel except the hisstorical novels in the Sunday paperss. She don’t reed menny works of fickshun, except ockashunally storys rit by the reliable correspondents of some of the newspapers. She nevver plays whist, becawse her father was a methodist; but she cheets awful in old maid and slap-jack, and sumtimes tells fokeses fortunes with the kards. But they don’t many of ‘em cum true. Tho’ once she told Sam Jennings thet he would be choked tu death sum dayeeting flap-jacks, as he had so menny in his maouth thet it removed the senter of gravety, and made him top-heavy, which cawsed him tu fall daown seller.

Wa’al, as I was goin’ tu remarc, the larst conversashun I had with Sarah was abaout pollytics.

I was doin’ oaur ioning—we don’t keep no hired gurl, and I du the work mostly—when in rushed Sarah Blue, as mad as a march hair, and sot rite daown on my pile ov hankerchefs, thet I’d put on the settle bench after ioning of ‘em till they was as slick as a whistle.

"Charity! What du you think?" says she, as pail as a gost.

"Why, for the land’s sake, what’s the matter?" says I.

"Matter enuff!" she ansered, looking the very picture of skorn. "Old Abe Lincoln has made a nu proclamashun!"

"Wa’al naow," says I, "I’m glad on’t!—is it good?"

Yu see I didn’t know exackly what it was—I didn’t know but it was sum nu kin of cake he’d maid. Yu know we hev Washingtun Cake, and ‘Lecshun Cake, and why shuldn’t we hev Lincun Cake? Haowever, I didn’t tell Sarah what I thort it was, and I was glad I didn’t arterwards.

"Good! Ther aint’ no good tu it," she replyed; "don’t yu think he’s gorne and told all the niggers tu cut sticks and run from there marsters as farst as thay kan; and he is trying tu aggeravate aour Suthern brethren [thet’s what she kalls the rebels], and I’m afrade they wun’t like it!"

"Du tell!" said I.

"Oh Abe, dear Abe!" says she, agoin’ rite daown on her nees tu the picture of the present ockupent ov the White Haouse, "du evry thing else but that! Kill the Saouth with yure bagonets, run ‘em thro’ with sords, shute ‘em with pistuls, and knock ‘em over with the cannons’ rore, but spare, oh! spare thare pockets! Skin ‘em alive, but don’t tutch their niggars!"

"Don’t yu mind a wurd she says!" cried I, impashuntly. "She don’t knnow what she’s a saying! Go it, Farther Abraham, and I’ll sustane yu!"

"Grimes and liberty!" "Glory halleuyah!"

Don’t yu think, Mister Edditer, that kritter gut so mad, she up and took one of my own flat ions and kum at me like a wild-cat!

I emmejitly seesed hold of the tongs, and we fit thare in the kitchen till her face looked as if she’d hed the small-pox, and mine was puffed up as ‘tis when I hev the tooth-ake, and all my kleen close that I’d oined hed tu be put inter the was agin.

I hev’nt bin aout ov the haouse sence.

But I had my reevenge, fur I rit a poim—a sarkastical poim, ov coarse—abaout the abolishun ov nigger slavery, and sent it tu Sarah Blue, and sined it Trooth, so she’d know who rit it. She hasn’t spunk anuff tu anser it, tho’. Her it si, deer reeder:



Abram, spair the Saouth!
  Tutch not a single nigger;
They’ll bee daown in the maouth
  Ef yu cut such a figgar!
Here Abram, let ‘em stand!
  Yure acks shall harm ‘em not.

When but a pickaninny
  They’re wuth a lot ov tin;
Naow, good as gold frum Ginny,
  A fust-rate price they’d win.
The Saouth wants mony arful,
  And fites us, tooth and nale;
But oh! kan it be lorful
  Tu give thare niggs leg-bail?

Who fired rite on aour flag—
  Dragged freemen tu thare graves?
Who luv tu boast and brag
  Thet we shall be thare slaves?
Who cum upon aour track,
  And scatter ruin threugh it?
And ef we dan’ strike back,
  For pity’s sake, let’s du it!

Yes! By our martyred dead,
  We’ll follow Abram’s plan;
On tu thare soil we’ll tread,
  And hit ‘em whare we kan!


[We shall be glad to hear from Mrs. Grimes again.—Ed. Harper’s Weekly]


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