The Nursery and Its Deities II
church, and obliged him ignominiously to bring up the rear with
shamefaced inferiority. Mom Charlotte on Sundays, when in
her superior mood, would look at her spouse with contempt,
and say, "B' Luke, he nothin' but a black nigger; he mout' stan'
out to de spring," referring to Daddy Luke's thick Nubian lips,
and pointing at the well about one hundred yards distant from
There was also a certain "little black Sarah," who was the
foster-sister of my uncle, Irvine Bulloch, my mother's younger
brother. In the old Southern days on such plantations there
was almost always a colored "pickaninny" to match each white
child, and they were actually considered as foster brother or
sister. Little Irvine was afraid of the darkness inside the house,
and little Sarah was afraid of the darkness outside the house,
and so the little white boy and the little black girl were inseparable companions, each guarding the other from the imaginary dangers of house or grounds, and each sympathetically rounding out the care-free life of the other.
My mother's brilliant half-brother, Stewart Elliott, whose love of art and literature and music took him far afield, spent much of his time abroad, and when he came back to Roswell (the name of the plantation) he was always much amused at the quaint slave customs. One perfect moonlight night he took his guitar into the grove near the house to sing to the group of girls on the porch, but shortly afterward returned much disgusted and described the conversation which he had overheard between little white Irvine and little black Sarah on the back porch. It ran as follows, both children gazing up into the sky: Sarah: "Sonny, do you see de Moon?" "Yes, Sarah, it do crawl like a worrum." The moon at the moment was performing the feat which Shelley poetically described as gliding, "glimmering o'er its fleecelike floor." The young musician could not stand the proximity of such masters of simile as were Irvine and Sarah, and demanded that they should be forbidden the back porch on moonlight nights from that time forth !