Monday, January 20, 2020

Traders and Paradise



  
 

THE TRADERS & PARADISE 




NOTES ON CHRISTIAN GOTTLIEB PRIBER







Christian Gottlieb Priber studied law at the University of Erfurt where he published his inaugural dissertation in October 1722 on Usu doctrinae juris Romani de ignorantiae juris in foro Germaniae (The Use of the Study of Roman Law and the Ignorance of that Law in the Public Life of Germany)

13 June 1735  he submits a Petition in London to be allowed to leave the country on the next ship to Georgia. Present at the Palace Court was the Earl of Egmont and Mr. Oglethorpe and others.  "Read a Letter from Christian Gottlieb Priber desiring to be sent in the next Embarkation to Georgia with a  Letter of Recommendation from Jr. John Eddleston to the Trustee. RESOLVED; that the said Christian Gottlieb Priber  be sent in the first Embarkation to Georgia.



December 1735  South Carolina Gazette:
"To be Sold by Mr. Priber near Mr. Laurans the Sadler, ready made mens cloaths, wiggs, spatterdashes of fine holland, shoes, boots guns, pistols, powder, a silver repeating watch, a sword with a silver gilt hilt, english seeds, beds & a fine chest of drawers very reasonable for ready Money, he intending to stay but a few weeks in this Town."

1 Jan 1736/7 P: 25 Feb 1736/7 CHARLES RUSSELL (*), Berkeley County, Esq. Wife: Mary, executrix. Wife's children: Rachell Heatley, William Heatley, Charles Russell, Sophianis Russell, John Russell, Euginia Russell, and Joseph Russell. Wit: Christian Gottlieb Priber, Henry Spacks, John Pearson.


 In 1725 Capt. George Chicken, Commissioner of the Indian Trade, on an expedition to the Indian country, speaks of stopping at Capt. Charles Russell's, and again in 1730 Sir Alexander Cuming, ambassador to the Cherokees, accompanied by Col. Chicken and George Hunter the surveyor, stopped at Russell's on the Cherokee path near Amelia   This shows that almost immediately upon arrival Priber began association with the Cherokee traders)

February 27, 1736 the S.C. Council Journal reports Priber's petition for a land grant in Amelia township (***), stating that he had  "a family of six persons in the province and also a wife, four children and one servant in Saxony." The Council granted him land, but Priber went directly into Cherokee country, [In the thirty-second year of the rule of the emperor Maximilian I, Martin Luther began teaching and writing at Wittenberg in Saxony]



SETTING THE SCENE

CHARLES RUSSELL - VIRGINIA TO CONGAREE


 1705 *Allenson Clarke & Charles Russell, 945 acres named Windsor Forest in Henrico County  -
1710  Gilbert Gibson was sued in Henrico County  by *Allenson Clarke for a 4 pound currency debt in September 1710 * Allenson Clarke is said to be son of William Clarke and Mary Gibson.
 1720 William Pettypool[**] who proved a Henrico County, Virginia deed (1) of Charles Russell to John Bolling (1720) in which "He says he knew said Russell in Virginia and that he is same person who married the widow of John Davis."
             
[*]On the western side of the river, opposite, were an almost equal number of settlers, among  whom may be mentioned: Anthony Wright, whose name is preserved by "Wrights Branch," Roger  Gibson, Luke Gibson [****] , William Paine, William Harrison, Nathaniel Hill, Charles Russell [HISTORIC CAMDEN]
 [**]William Pettypool lived about 20 miles northeast of Fort Christianna on Mocossoneck (Monk's Neck) Creek. Other Indian Traders, namely Richard Smith and Roger Tillman, lived on adjacent land on Monk's Neck Creek. In 1711 William had 65 acres surveyed on the south side of Monk's Neck Creek, which was adjacent to land he leased to Joseph Stroud in 1711, in Prince George County (formed from Charles City County in 1703) (6).
 [***]   Mary Gibson of Amelia County, South Carolina, sold the 100 acres she and Hubbard purchased in Northampton County [DB 1:58].
 John Bunch Plat For 350 Acres In Berkly County And A .5 Acre Town Lot In Amelia Township. Date: 11/15/1735
March 22d. 1710-11 Rec'd from John Wright Esqr, Agent, Twenty One Bonds for Sundry Indian Traders to take out Licences-----Wm. Dettypoole [sic], Thomas Edwards & Henry Tally of Virginia yr. Bond---cwh, listed as partners in bond -also listed were; Ricd. Smith & George Smith of Virginia their Bond David Crawly John Evans & Ricd Jones of Virginia their bond.   - [Not proven but George Smith is likely the husband of Frances Gibson, daughter of Gibby Gibson.  Phoebe Jones widow of Richard Jones and son Gibson Jones were living in Louisa County when Phoebe married Gideon Gibson, son of Gilbert Gibson. In 1714 David Crawly was with Capt Robert Hicks and John/Jack Bunch in South Carolina]
[****] Fol. 222b. 9 Dec 1749, Council Chamber. Minutes containing petition from Luke Gibson whose warrant for 150 acres of land expired before he returned from the Cherokees. 6p.
 ID: I57560 •Name: Luke Gibson , fought against Cherokee •Sex: M •Birth: ABT 1725 in NC •Death: in SC •Note: listed in the accounts of the Public Treasurer of South Carolina, paid 4.17.6 pounds on 31 October 1759 for unspecified services to the battalion in the expedition against the Cherokees [Clark, Colonial Soldiers of the South, 936].


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Congaree 

Among the traders at Congaree Fort was Robert Lang, Daniel Gibson, John Gibson and his son Gilbert, [possibly from Henrico County with Charles Russell, the Myricks, Jacksons, Howells, Busby, Browns etc.,  these men were Chickasaw and Cherokee traders, trappers, etc.  



James Adair - Cherokee Chickasaw Trader, Author,  Good Friend of Gideon Gibson

James Adair, author of "History of the American Indians"  published in 1775, as a Cherokee Trader was personally acquainted with Chritian Priber. He writes about Priber in his book, and is a close, personal friend of Gideon Gibson of the Pee Dee who later removed to the Natchez Trace. Agnes, daughter of James Adair married to John Gibson, son of Gideon.  

John Gibson is found in Surry County in the part that became Wilkes in 1774 with wife Agnes and shortly after is found at Fort Nashville where he was killed by Indians. Samuel Gibson, founder of Port Gibson, Mississippi, believed to be son of above mentioned Roger Gibson, went to Nashville and took Agnes and family to Mississippi. 



CHRISTIAN G PRIBER AND THE KINGDOM OF PARADISE

1741/1742 Winter-- Antoine Bonnefoy- "At the time when we arrived in the village there were three English traders there, who each had a store-house in the village where I was, and two servants of theirs.

There was also a German, who said in French that he was very sorry for the misfortune which had come upon us, but that it would perhaps prove to be our happiness, which he proposed to show us in the sequel"
" I had occasion to ask the German, who was called Pierre Albert, who had accosted us on the day of our arrival, and who was lodging in the cabin of my adopted brother, what he wished me to understand. I prayed him to explain to me what was this alleged happiness he promised us. Guillaume Potier and Jean Arlut were present.

He replied that it would take time to explain to us what he had to say to us, addressing himself to all three; that he thought we ought to join his society; that he would admit us to an establishment, in France, of a republic, for which he had been working for twenty years; that the form of the government should be that of a general society of those composing it, in which, beyond the fact that legality should be perfectly observed, as well as liberty, each would find what he needed, whether for subsistence, or the other needs of life; that each should contribute to the good of the society, as he could. I told him, as did my comrades, that we were disposed to join him as soon as he should have shown us some security respecting his establishment~~~~~~~~~~~~

The next day we got together again and I began to ask him where he had learned French, which he spoke quiet fluently. He told me that, being of good family, he had been instructed in all that a man ought to know; that after having completed his studies, he had learned English and French; that he spoke these two languages with a little difficulty as far as pronunciation was concerned, but that he wrote German, Latin, English and French with equal correctness; that for twenty years he had been working to put into execution the plan about which he had talked to us; that seven or eight years before he had been obliged to flee from his country, where they wished to arrest him for having desired to put his project into execution; that he had gone over to England, and from there to Carolina, and had also been obliged to depart thence for the same reason, 18 months after having arrived there; that having found among the Cherakis a sure refuge he had been working there for four years upon the establishment which he had been planning for twenty; that the Governor of Carolina having discovered the place of his refuge had sent a commissioner to demand him of the savages there, but that then he was adopted into the nation, and that the savages, rejecting the presents of the English, had refused to give him up; that he had 100 English traders belonging to his society who had just set out for Carolina, whence they were to return the next autumn, after having got together a considerable number of recruits, men and women, of all conditions and occupations, and the things necessary for laying the first foundations of his republic, under the name of the Kingdom of Paradise; that then he would buy us from the savages, of whom a large number were already instructed in the form of his republic and determined to join it; that the nation in general urged him to establish himself upon their lands, but that he was determined to locate himself half way between them and the Alibamons, where the lands appeared to him of better quality than those of the Cherakis.

My comrades and I planned our flight, and agreed together to feign enthusiasm for the execution of the project of Pierre Albert, who had the confidence of the savages, and they left us at liberty with him. I noticed even, on different occasions, that he urged them to live peaceably and to ask peace from the French. The savage with whom I lived, who was one of the principal men of the nation and the other chiefs, sometimes asked me in what manner they could appease the French and bring them to their place to trade. I told them that it would be necessary for them to send a calumet of peace to the nearest post; that I supposed that would be the post of the Alibamons. They told me that they had already been there, but that they feared the savages of those regions, with whom they were not on good terms; that they did not wish to have any new war. . . .


While Pierre Albert and I were working toward peace the three English traders were daily instigating the savages to continue to make war upon us. They were themselves working to enlist parties; which I saw them doing some days before my flight. After having their drum beaten by one of their negroes who was a drummer, and enlisted 70 men, they distributed among them, from their storehouses, the munitions necessary for going to the Outamons, as well as against the voyageurs of Canada. Of the 52 villages which compose the nation of the Cherakis, only the eight which are along the river are our enemies. The other villages remain neutral, whither because of their remoteness or their spirit of peace. Carolina is 15 days' journey by land from the village where I was, Virginia 20, and the Alibamonts 10 to the south. . . .


The 29th of April a day on which the savages had given themselves up to a debauch, was that which we chose for our escape. We had got together a sufficient amount of ammunition. We went out from the village at nine o'clock in the evening. Jean Arlas had his gun. Coussot was not armed, not having been able to take his from the cabin where he was. Guillaume Potier, who was in our plot, having got drunk with the savages, was not in condition to go with us and we could not wait longer for him without risk of being discovered. We marched until daylight, going to find two pirogues that were in a little river six leagues from the village. In one of these we embarked ."



30 May 1743 South Carolina Gazette of excerpts appearing in Charlestown (today Charleston) probably publishes one in the order Oglethorpes of written letter "from Frederica in Georgia", when its receiver its business associate, is to be assumed South Carolina acting governor William bulletin: "the Creek Indians brought finally Mr. Priber here as prisoners. It is a very unusual nature; he is a small ugly man, but he speaks nearly all languages flowing, particularly English, Dutch, French, Latin and indianisch; he speaks very blasphemisch against all religions, but particularly against the Protestant; it was in the process justifying a city at the foot of the mountains under the Cherokee where all criminals, debtor and slaves before the justice or here Mr. Zuflucht should find.

One found a book ready to be printed written by him, which belongs to him with him and whose he praises himself and believes from which he that it was privately printed meanwhile, but it does not want to say where; it shows, how the refugees are to deny their living costs and specifies, after which principles the city is to be governed, to which it gives the name paradies. It enumerates many peculiar privileges and natural rights (like it it calls), on which its citizens have requirement, particularly the dissolution of marriages and the common possession of women and all kinds of dissipations; the book is put on very tidy and full taught of quotations; it is extremely bad, but has it some flights of fancy full invention wealth, and it is a misery that so much spirit is turned to a so bad project."




May 30, 1743 the S.C. Gazette reported that Captain Kent,British commander at Fort Augusta, had perceived "a remarkableintractability in the Creek Indians in matters of trade," and,learning that Priber was about to take a journey, he employed Creeksand frontiersmen to waylay him at Tallipoose village




August 15, 1743 South Carolina Gazette, The Creek Indians have at last brought Mr. Priber prisoner here; he is a little ugly man, but speaks all languages fluently . . . he talks very prophanely against all religions, but chiefly the Protestant; he was for setting up a town at the foot of the mountains among the Cherokees, which was to be a city of refuge for all criminals, debtors, and slaves. . . . There was a book found upon him in his own writing ready for the press, which he owns and glories in and believes it is by this time printed but will not tell where, in which . . . he lays down the rules of government which the town is to be governed by, to which he gives the title of Paradise. He enumrates many whimsical privileges and natural rights . . . particulary dissolving marriages and allowing community of women and all kinds of licenciousness; the book is drawn up very methodically, and full of learned quotations; it is extremely wicked, yet has several flights full of invention, and it is a pity so much wit is applied to so bad a purpose.



1743--In a treaty signed at Charleston  the Cherokee agreed to trade only with the British, return runaway slaves and expel Non-English whites from their territory, and the Cherokee received substantial amounts of guns, ammunition, and red paint.




James Adair-" the governor committed him to a place of confinement, though not with common felons, as he was a foreigner, and was said to have held a place of considerable rank in the army with great honor.



1743-1751
Priber enjoyed some considerable freedoms in his prison. He entertained the intelligentsia of Frederica, among them the physician Frederick Holtzendorff  from Brandenburg, and the Lutheran pastor Johann Ulrich Drie├čler, whom he assisted in translating the Lord's Prayer and some bible verses into the Cherokee language. His cell in the barracks served for some time as a literary salon.



May 1st, 1751
Anthony Dean -
Great Tellico,
I believe a great deal of the Mischief done here, some white Men are often at the Bottom of, and it is no Wonder, when every Horse Stealer can screen himself here from Justice, and infuses bad Notions in the Heads of the Indians, against the Traders and Others, which could not be if the Trade was regulated, and proper Officers kept here to see Justice done



Emmett Starr
History of the Cherokee
page 24
The Cherokees detailed to the missionaries parallels to practically every one of the stories of the Bible. They called Abraham, Aquahami; Moses was called Wasi. These accounts were so circumstantial that many investigators were led to believe that the Cherokees were of Semitic origin. But it is palpable that they had been told these stories by Priber during his short stay among them and that they had forgotten their origin within seventy years and attributed it to legends that had descended from the mythical Kutani and their primal religion. On account of the fact that the Cherokees thought that the missionaries were bringing back to them their old religion, it was a comparatively easy task to convert them from a tribe of savages to a Christian nation with in the comparatively short period of theirty years. When they were converted, they, at the behest of the missionaries cast aside every vestige of their ancient customs to such an extent that not any of their mythology has ever been preserved, even among those of the tribe that speak the Cherokee language.



MYTHS OF THE CHEROKEE, James Mooney p. 36-7

"In 1736 Christian Priber, said to be a Jesuit acting in the French interest, had come among the Cherokee, and, by the facility with which he learned the language and adapted himself to the native dress and mode of life, had quickly acquired a leading influence among them. He drew up for their adoption a scheme of government modeled after the European plan, with the capital at Great Tellico, in Tennessee, the principal medicine man as emperor, and himself as the emperor's secretary.  Under this title he corresponded with the South Carolina government until it began to be feared that he would ultimately win over the whole tribe to the French side.  A commissioner was sent to arrest him, but the Cherokee refused to give him up, and the deputy was obliged to return under safe-conduct of an escort furnished by Priber.

Five years after the inauguration of his work, however he was seized by some English traders while on his way to Fort Toulouse and brought as a prisoner to Frederica, in Georgia, where he soon afterward died while under confinement.  Although his enemies had represented him as a monster, inciting the Indians to the grossest immoralities,  he proved to be a gentleman of polished address, extensive learning. and rare courage as was~ shown later on the occasion of an explosion in the barracks magazine.  Besides Greek, Latin, French, German, Spanish, and fluent English, he spoke also the Cherokee and among his papers, which were seized was found a
manuscript dictionary of the language which he had prepared for publication-the first, and even yet, perhaps, the most important study of the language ever made.

 He claimed to be a Jesuit, acting under orders of his superior, to introduce habits of steady industry, civilized arts, and a regular form of government among the southern tribes, with a view to the ultimate founding of an independent Indian state.  From all that can be gathered of him, even though it comes from his enemies, there can be little doubt that he was a worthy
member of that illustrious order whose name has been a synonym for scholarship, devotion, and courage from the days of Jogues and Marquette down to De Smet and Mengarini."

 




ZANESVILLE SIGNAL
June 27, 1943
TELLICO PLAINS SCENE OF ILL STARRED
INDIAN PLOT TO WIN BACK AMERICA
By Russell Orr
Tellico Plains, the mountain village headquarters of Tennessee's big annual wild boar and bear hunt, and where the Outdoor Writers Association America are holding their summer meeting this week end is probably the scene of more glamorous and romantic history than any other spot in the Southern Highlands. It was the capital of the Cherokee Nations and was located in the center of the expansive Cherokee hunting grounds which included the great Smoky Mountains and the vast Cherokee National Forest where the hectic wild bear hunt is not held each autumn.

EMPIRE BUILDER
Probably the most spectacular chapter in the history of the Cherokees has to do with their all but forgotten attempt to establish an empire, including all the Indian people, for the purpose of driving all white men back to Europe and bringing about universal peace among red men.

The strange part of this fantastic plan is that it was conceived and almost carried out by Christian Priber, an Englishman, who made his way to Tellico Plains in 1735 and sold the tall Chief Moytoy on his bold scheme. One of Moytoy's descendants, Lloyd Matoy, is the state game warden of the area. He is one of the principal supervisors of the big autumn hunt and is one of the finest specimens of mountain men in East Tennessee.

The story of how Priber went from Charleston, S. C., to Tellico Plains and set up his empire is best told by Herbert Ravenel Sass in his book, "Hear Me, Chiefs." Sass relates: "He founded an empire, crowned an emperor, and made himself prime minister. He shook his fist at the Great Powers of Europe and told them to get out of America or he would throw them out. More than that, he began his great task of remaking the world." "In the heart of the American wilderness with red Indians as his helpers and with an Indian girl as his mate, he laid the foundations for that ideal state of which he had dreamed for 20 years , that happy republic where perfect liberty and equality would prevail and no man would be richer than his neighbor, that new and glorious commonwealth which would be a light and an example to all the nations of mankind. How Priber go to Great Tellico nobody knows. There was peace at the time between the Charleston English and the Cherokee Nations, but there were wandering war parties of other tribes to be reckoned with always, and at best, the lovely wilderness paths were beset with many perils." "More than five hundred miles of almost unbroken forest had to be traversed and the lofty mountain barrier of the Unakas and Smokies had to be climbed or circumvented.

LONE TRADER
"Possibly Priber went alone an down through by good luck; more likely, he attached himself during most of the journey to the pack-horse train of some trader bound for the Indian lands. All that is certain is that he reached Great Tellico, with his box of books, his bottle of ink, his smile and his dreams. And after a while strange things began to happen. The queer little man with a quick smile and bright , observant eyes and appeared defenseless and alone, among the warlike Cherokees beyond the Unaka mountains. How Priber had done it nobody knew, but somehow he had gained the favor of Moytoy of Tellico, most powerful of the chiefs. He had become as much of an Indian as the red men themselves. He had stripped of his European clothes and assumed the dress of an Indian' he had been adopted into the tribe as a great beloved man: and had married a warrior's daughter. Learning the Cherokees; language with marvelous ease, he had become their counselor and teacher.



TAUGHT INDIANS


Among other things he had taught them the proper use of weights and measure and especially, of steelyard to the great inconvenience of the English traders, many of whom were exceedingly canny business men. Worst of all, he was preaching among the Indians the most pernicious doctrine that could possibly be imagined-namely that they must cede no more of their lands to the white man but must hold on jealously to every foot of the soil that was rightfully theirs. Soon ran the stories brought down from te inner wilderness by the hunters and traders.

Then one day the English governor in Charleston received a letter which probably surprised him as much as any letter he had ever received in his life. It was an official communication dispatched from Great Tellico, capital of the Cherokee Nation and , in effect, it informed His Excellency the Governor, politely but firmly, that the sooner he and his English got out of American the better, because America belonged to the Indians and the Indians intended to keep it. the letter was signed "Christian Priber, Prime Minister."

"He had by them--through his good works among them and through his marriage to the Indians girl whose heart he had won---established himself firmly in the confidence of the Cherokees. "In deference in the redmen's taste for stately ceremonial he had devised an impressive new ritual for the crowning of the emperor and a variety of imposing titles for the other chiefs who constituted the nobles of the court, reserving for himself the title of secretary of state, or prime minister. "He planned to set up in America 200 years ago a civilization strikingly like that proposed for Soviet Russia--minus the bloodshed and terror. It would have been a Utopia if his government had been allowed to survive on this continent, but it would have spelled the end to the colonization dreams of England and the English have never allowed any one to stand in their way when bent on opening up a new country.

The English tried many tricks on Priber to get him out of the way and to put a stop to his empire building. It took them six years to lure him far enough away from his headquarters so that they could ambush him and kill him. That was the end of the republic of paradise.


Monday, September 30, 2019

Tiry and Tiry Gibson

This Cherokee application of Jeff Gibson shows his father as TIRAH Gibson and mother is SALLY Coker





Here is the ORPHAN JEFFERSON GIBSON living with his GRANDPARENTS BRYSON AND FANNIE IN FLOYD COUNTY 1850






 Here Jeff Gibson says his MOTHER DIED IN 1844 so she  CANNOT  be POLLY who is living after 1850 - he says he only had ONE SISTER and reports HIS GRANDPARENTS AS BRYSON AND FANNIE. Therefore the Tiry who married POLLY Coker is NOT son of Bryson and Fannie as Bryson surely would not have had TWO SONS NAMED TIRY.


  




 This is death certificate of HARRISON Gibson whose father was TIRY Gibson and mother POLLY Coker.  Note in the 1880 census below ALVIS  is the BROTHER OF HARRISON  --  since Alvis was born after Tiry died they are brothers by their MOTHER - POLLY Coker Gibson.






  
1840 Census  Note; John Rains - his father Henry Rains - John Turner and Henry Gibson and Tyre Gibson at the bottom. Tyre is apparently newly married to Polly Coker, no children.  These three made depositions to the pension application for Thomas Coker [see below] 




 1850 Census -  Note #273 is JOHN RAINS AND #276 IS  HENRY GIBSON the Mary is probably POLLY COKER widow of Henry’s son, TIRY GIBSON.

I believe the Harry H is Harrison, son of Polly, John is probably the brother to Harrison mentioned in news article as Henderson’s brother.



1860  Census - This is Widow Polly Coker Gibson with Green and  Henderson  - the last three, Sally, Nelson and Polly are RAINS, children of John Rains.  Green and Henderson are born after Tiry died, he is not on the 1850 census. 



The 1870 census shows that Polly Coker Gibson [Ranes] has married James Hazelwood.  It would seem someone in that household told the census taker that Green, Henderson and Alvis’ father was a RANES   and I believe that Alvis Gibson’s DNA does match the Ranes family.










And here in 1880 census we have HARRISON Gibson living with his BROTHER ALVIS and next door to his mother POLLY COKER GIBSON [RANES] HAZELWOOD [and Alvis]








AND LASTLY HERE IS THOMAS COKER PENSION APPLICATION WITH HENRY RAINS, FATHER OF JOHN RAINS, AND HENRY GIBSON AS WITNESS TO THE APPLICATION.



Thomas Coker Pension Application





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Monday, April 29, 2019

The Cherokee Collins





Calloway Collins - His grandad was a full blooded Cherokee
"Calloway himself is a king, a royal good fellow, who seated upon a great stump that marks the fate of a giant beech that grow precisely in the center of the site selected by the Indian lot his shed, or hallway, would entertain me by the hour with is songs and banjo pickings and stories of his grandfather. The man's very instincts are Indian." Will Allen Dromgoole 1890

From the best I can tell Calloway is the son of Millum and Ann Collins, grandson of Jordan and Abigail Collins and great grandson of 'Old' Benjamin Collins. 'Old' Benjamin appears to have came from the part of Orange County North Carolina that became Caswell County in 1778. He appears to be related to the Collins around Big Reed Island, Giles Co., Virginia, also from Caswell County.
There are several links below of some records I have found that may relate to this line of Cherokee Collins. 


THE LAST OF THE MALUNGEONS

By Will Allen Dromgoole

Stentorian voice was making merry with the echoes among the crags of the isolated old summit known as Newman's Ridge.
Isolated indeed is the Ridge; and perilous enough to the traveller who, by virtue of accident or duty, ventures upon the territory of the Ridgemanites, or Malungeons, that strange and lawless clan, the most unconquerable that ever infested the State of Tennessee. Ten years ago he would have been called a hero, or else a fool, who ventured into the "lawless destrict." The county conceded, without remonstrance, so much of Hancock County sans taxes sans interference in any way whatsoever, to the Malungeons.
But times are changing, changing; albeit slowly. There is a schoolhouse over in the Black Water Swamps, and a half-finished meetinghouse down on Big Sycamore Creek. The negroes, to be sure, built both houses, thinking to settle themselves permanently among the hills where life is easy and labor light. But they were driven away by the Malungeons before they had worshipped half a year in their house. Driven away because of the social - association that sprang up between the younger people of both colors. The older ones would not have it: the Malungeons were Indians, they claimed, descendants of those Cherokees who, refusing to follow the banished tribes to the reservation, still inhabit an isolated peak of the Great Smokies. This handful had sought the Ridge — and had lived alone, neither giving nor asking quarter, until the darker race of negroes settled on Black Water Creek, the treacherous stream that feeds the swamp at the base of the Ridge.
The negroes formed themselves into a settlement across the Virginia line. A few have wandered back of late years since the old bloods are gone, and worship Sunday afternoons in their old, still unfinished meeting-house with the Malungeons. Nobody offers resistance now, unless it be the owner of the stentorian voice, who having of late become a convert, as they said, to "ligyion," occupied the pulpit now and then, singing the same song, in the same clarion tones, that he sang as he trudged home in the dewy evening from the still under the echoing crags.
He was very tall and straight, with hawk-like eye, and long, coarse hair that fell about his well-shapen shoulders with that careless abandon which characterizes the free child of the forest. He wore neither shoes nor stockings, and his trousers were rolled back above the strong, well formed knee, showing the dusky skin which marked him of a race other than white or black.
Indian: the grandson of a chief, and the son of a full-blooded Cherokee. Such he claimed, and the most dubious would have yielded the point when, entering a small clearing near the bluffs edge, he mounted an overhanging rock and bent his sharp, penetrating gaze down upon the valley below, warm with the October sunset. No lynx-eyed warrior ever scanned the white man's country with more earnest thoroughness than did he that mist-mellowed, far-away valley of the Clinch.
Indeed he might have been a warrior, some exiled chief, so kingly was his bearing, watching from his isolated height the movements of his white foes. What is he Who is he? And what means it, that strange, Indian-like presence, in all its savage freedom of dress and manner, treading with fearless abandon the old Tennessee forest in this, the good year of our Lord, eighteen hundred and ninety! Study him a moment! His hawk-like eye sweeps the valley from mountain to mountain, the long, winding river, with slumbrous, sluggish flow, passes under the searching gaze. Empty, both field and flood. Wait! Ah, the Indian leaves no uninspected avenue. He drops upon his belly, lays his ear to the cooling earth, moist now with the caressing mist. A moment of absorbing silence, intense straining of the sensitive ear, then to his feet again; again he turns into the hidden trail, and takes up the song at precisely the point at which he left off singing a moment before—
"Some cruerl foe ha' laid me low,
On the col' groun' ter suffer,
Stay brother, stay, an' lay m' away,
An' write meh wife er letter."
The song comes to an abrupt stop; and again he puts his ear to the earth.
It was only his mother's voice he had heard; he was nearing the cabin upon the bluff; his voice had reached the little group gathered about the rude fireplace near the spring where they were preparing the evening meal.
"Hit air King," said his mother, when the song floated up to her from the crags. "He air singin' 's if ther' wanno still ter forty mile roun'. He ull git tuk yit ef he ain't mo' minful o' his music. Times ain't what they useter wuz."
"Shucks! ther' air n no dange' ter King. Folkes air all too busy long o' ter railroa' a-comin', ter be a-layin fur stills en' sech."
"Sin* I berlieve in Jesus Chris'
Meh sin air a* furgivin."
The singer drew nearer the group at the fire. There were his two brothers and their wives and their children, a goodly gang. And there was his mother, a toothless old crone with the same sharp eyes and raven hair that were common to the Malungeons. She, too, was barefoot, as were the others. And her short dress, hanging a trifle below the knee, allowing the firelight to play upon the strong old limbs, gave her a grotesque appearance thoroughly in keeping with her surroundings.
Leaning against a tree was a tall, lithe young man, a visitor, also barefoot, and bearing the unmistakable mark of the Malungeons.
The fireplace was simply a careful placing of rocks, convenient alike to the spring half-hidden in a jungle of sassafras and chinquapin bushes, and the cabin some hundred yards farther back.
The blaze from the fire leaped up right royally into the arms of the gray mists, waving a crimson banner of defiance to the sun almost ready to drop behind the farther peaks beyond the valley.
It illumined with real splendor the open space between the spring and cabin, over which stood an arbor of dry twigs, old leaves, and remnants of cast-aside garments. The ground underneath was sleek with wear, for the arbor was indeed a part of the house itself, and had been used as such for generations back.
Summer days the family gathered there to smoke and dream; dream away the long, purposeless hours. At night, indeed, it made as comfortable bed as the Malungeon cared to rest upon. Within the cabin, to be sure, there were heaps of sweet old leaves, long fallen, which made good sleeping, and filled, perhaps, this sleeper's dreams with the drowsy odors of the autumn forest. But for the strong-limbed distiller whom the women called King,— he chose the solid earth and his blanket, as his grandfather and his father had done before him, under the tottering old arbor.
Just now, a rude table stood in the midst of the clearing, and dusky forms were passing to and fro from fire to table as the old squaw dished up the smoking rabbit, and removed the corn-pones from the clay oven among the rocks. A coffee-pot set to boil on one of the red-hot stones was sending out delicious odors. All hands were busy with the supper, but all stopped at the approach of King, and one of the women addressed herself to the visitor leaning against the tree. She was answering some question he had put:
"I dunno," she said. "King hev got a heaps o' erligyion lately. I misdoubts but he ull gin up ther fiddle sholy. Hear that!"
"Sin' I berlieve in Jesus Chris'
Meh sin air all furgivin."

The singer passed through the midst of them into the cabin beyond. He had noted the presence of the visitor, but had not thought it necessary to extend further greeting than a welcoming nod.
When he emerged from the cabin he carried a piggin, a cedarn piggin, which he proceeded to arrange beneath the bung of a large barrel, ostensibly a water-barrel, only half-concealed in an angle of rocks about the spring. He slowly drew forth the stopper of red corn-cob, and the yellow liquid bounded with a kind of jubilant gurgle into the cedarn vessel. When it was full, brimful, he replaced the stopper and deposited the piggin in the centre of the table.
It was then the old woman announced that supper was "a-coolin'," and invited the assembly to " draw up."' "Come on, King," she called, "come on, Clydie," the other son's wife, and " come on, Calloway."
"Come on, Calloway," said King, "an' give us ther news from Black Water Swamps. How's ole Mam Mullins, an' the res'?"
"Po'ly, po'ly," said the visitor. "Mam Mullins sey she cayrn stay here long nohow, 'case she sey all the charmer folks air dead, 'septin them ets got erligyion. She sey erligyion an' charm don't go tergether."
The dark face of the Malungeon grew stern. He had felt some pride in being "a charmer" for the afflicted and the bewitched — but his religion — well, he was not prepared to give that up; he had only just begun to learn to feel at home in it. Still, it was good to be a healer; his grandfather, old Jordan Collins, had been a healer too, — a healer and a chief; a full-blooded Cherokee chief. No doubt about that: it was on the records.
He sighed; he was given to melancholy, this strange, silent, eagleeyed, soft-voiced man, who was neither white nor black, and against whom the heel of the law was forever set.
He sighed.
"Air she much po'ly?" he asked, slowly.
"Right much. But I wair not come fur her. I wair come fur ther gals. They-uns wants ter come ter yore house ternight fur ter dance. They allows it air a long time sin' they had a frolic 'case ther ain' nobody ter play ther fiddle, sin' Jording died, an' yer own pappy wair tuk, an' you-uns got erligyion." .
"Erligyion!"
The dusky faces about the table were full of interest; they were always interested when King spoke: "Der ligyion hender pleasure? Didn' David play an' Sauler sing? Tell ther gals ter come on. King ull play fur 'em. King ull coax a chune out'n er ther ole chief's fiddle. Tell 'em ter come. Tell 'em erligyion don't stop ther fiddle. King air a fiddler, ez ole Jording wair afore him."
He half rose from his seat, and waved his large, strong hand toward the upper heights, dark with the purplish forests in whose mysterious depths the old Cherokee — Jordan — had been sleeping for fifty years. A Cherokee! Such he claimed, and none have yet successfully denied the claim; which seemed, indeed, to have descended to those dusky representatives seated about the rude board with the glaring firelight playing upon their faces and bare, brown limbs. But to King, more than to any, did the resemblance cling. A king indeed he might have been, as he stood before his people and proclaimed his royal independence — calling upon the ancient dead, long ago a part of the ancient forest — to attest his royalty.
The visitor smiled.
"Thankee, King," he said. "I'll go er tell 'em, King."
"Wait!"
The moonshiner reached for the gourd swung to a sharp stub driven into a convenient tree.
"Dring somethin' erfore yer go."
He plunged the gourd into the brimming piggin; the amber liquor bubbled and gurgled and ran over the brim of the pail in a stream of dazzling richness, which seemed to have caught the sparkle of the Malungeon's dark eyes and danced for very jubilance.
The guest drained the gourd to the last fiery drop.
"Thankee, King." He laid the gourd back upon the table. "I'll go fur ther gals, King. Goo'-bye, King."
The Malungeon waved his hand, but his lips were closed. The frown had not left his brow. When his guest had departed, he turned from his untasted supper and strode off toward the clinging, shadowy cedars under whose drooping boughs his Cherokee ancestors were sleeping.
With the coming of night upon the mountain the air grew chill, so that when the table had been cleared away to make room for the dancers, the old Malungeon woman left the coffee-pot, freshly filled, to simmer upon the hot rocks of the fireplace. Coffee is no stranger to the Malungeons, but is, next to the,ir illicit brandy, the most dearly prized of all luxuries. So the old woman set the pot " ter keep" for the revellers, who might drink it from the same gourd which did service for the stronger beverage.
King, occupying a chair that had been elevated to the table, was industriously screwing up the old fiddle. There were but two strings, and it boasted neither bow nor bridge. A bow was a small matter to the sober-faced Malungeon. His strong index-finger was quite enough bow for him. As for bridge, an old piece of cob kept the strings pretty fairly in place. He was somewhat out of practice, and as he played softly, as if tuning his soul, fingers and fiddle to harmony before the arrival of the revellers, he presented, indeed, a strangely melancholy and majestic picture. His long, dark hair sprinkled with gray, hung about his face, solemn and sombre, yet more sad than sombre, and lay in glossy masses upon his breast. His body drooped forward, as if weary, and even the brownish-red hands hunting among the strings of the dead chief's fiddle for the chords of the dead chief's music, had a kind of indolent listlessness in their movements.
Yet the keen eyes never once lost fire, and were seldom removed from that dark cedar forest towering behind the cabin where the old Cherokee patriots were buried.
All was in readiness; the women had replenished the fire; the long, gaunt flame-arms reached upward toward the purple plumes of cedar that waved triumphantly, forever, beyond their searing touch. Beyond the mountain, the mist-mellowed harvest-moon was tenderly flooding the slumbrous valley below, as she sailed westward in a mantle of amber, fringed with roseate kisses of madder and pale pink.
The musician ceased playing: the fiddle lay across his knee. Now and then his hand strayed among the mellow old strings, but only to , caress them. His thoughts were far away among the days when old Jordan Collins had fiddled for the young people on Newman's Ridge and Black Water Swamp. Old Jordan was an Indian, "Soft Soul" they called him, and he had been respected by the whites. No man had ever dared call old Jordan a negro: he was a Cherokee, feared and respected as a Cherokee.
But the present generation, the handful left to fight revenue and railroads, — the Malungeon's face darkened; a heavy scowl contracted his brow.
"They air some mixed," he admitted in an unspoken whisper. "They hadn't orter er done it, but who wair ther' ter hender? Ther chiefs air all dead. Ther white man's door wair shut: ther Malungeon knocked ter ther door a' ther black man. It wair opened. They-uns mixed some, an' it wair the las' o' ther Malungeon. He wair then ther nigger. 'The nigger,' ther white man allowed. Jording druv 'em off once, then weuns druv 'em. But it wair too late: they-uns mixed some, then Malungeon an' then nigger. Ther nigger wair ther curse ter ther Malungeon."
He frowned heavily: his proud old heart was sore, sore because of the fatal blood-taint which must forever cling to the handful who still called themselves descendants of the Cherokees.
"They wair lonesome," he continued his melancholy musings, "an' they knocked ter ther' black man's door. It ruint 'em; mint 'em. I nev' knocked. Jording Collins' gran'son hev knocked ter no man's door. He air at home in his blanket und' ther stars."
Dusky forms were flitting here and there in the firelight. Each one paid his or her respects with scrupulous nicety to the figure upon the table. He arose and stood, his full magnificent height, the old fiddle held against his breast, and received their greetings.
"Howdye, King?"
"How air yer, King?"
"How do, King?"
He waved his hand; it spoke enough of welcome to the hurrying throng bent more upon a frolic than a welcome. All save one: a small, frail young negress, clearly not one of the red-brown tribe gathered under the arbor. Yet she seemed at home among them, and none spoke her unkindly, as she pressed forward to give her host greeting. Unconsciously she waited until the restless eagle-eye should fall upon her.
"How air ye, King?" she asked lingeringly, while her dark eyes,soft with a great tenderness, rested upon the Malungeon's calm, melancholy face.
""How air ye, King?"
"Howdye; howdye all. Yer's all welcome." The Malungeon's dark eye had caught the girl's loitering look and had quickly passed on over the assembling dancers. "All air welcome, an' all he'p yese'ves ter coffee. The pot air down 'fc ther fi'e, set ter het. Ther liquor air in ther piggin onter ther water-she'f. Ther water air in ther sprin'-branch yon side er ther fireplace. He'p yerse'ves — he'p yerse'ves, all."
He dropped back upon the chair, and the revellers understood they were welcome to all that Malungeon hospitality could offer.
"We will, King."
"A' right, King."
"Thankee, King."
The responses were many and musical; for no voice is sweeter than the bell-tones of the Malungeon woman, and none more quaintly melodious than the soft, lazy drawl of the men.
It was late when the dance began, for they had come one, two, and three miles, those dark-skinned women with their sparkling eyes and glossy locks, and their short, bare feet that sped over the hidden trails with the swiftness indeed of the Cherokee, the ancient son of the forest.
In spite of the long walk they had taken, the little brown feet were soon impatiently beating the hard earth in a quaint, half-dance, half swing time to the fiddle.
"Play louder, King."
The musician's eye followed the dancers a moment as they moved here and there in what they called the "six-hand reel," — only a moment, — and his gaze fell back upon old Jordan's fiddle. He had caught the eye of the young negress fixed upon him, as her lithe, nimble figure moved among the dancers. It was a pleading, melancholy look, yet full of a mute, unspoken passion. He merely glanced at her, swinging gracefully in and out the complicated "six-hander," twisting her little body as a pretty serpent might, swinging, swaying to and fro> this side and that, to the music; in exquisite time, as totally unlike the half-savage leaping of the untrained Malungeon as melancholy to madness. Lightly! lightly! the dark eyes closed dreamily, as if the dancer were drinking in delicious melody. Suddenly she began to croon a kind of accompaniment to the twanging melody —
"Um-m-m! Oom, oo-m!"
One by one the others fell back to listen and admire, until only the light form of the negress was left, still keeping that exquisite time —
"Um-m-m! Oom-oo-m!"
Simultaneously the assembly burst into applause. Only upon the melancholy face of the musician was there no show of approval. A dark scowl furrowed his brow.
"She'd ortent be here," he whispered to himself. "In the time o' Jording she udn't a dared. An' this air Jording's fiddle. She'd ortent. They'd ortent ter mix. They ull all be niggers alike bimeby, ef they mixes. They ortent. She'd ortent be here."
"Play louder, King." —" Stan' up, King." — " Fetch er taller cheer fur King." — " Fetch er barr'l fur King." — " Ther't air." — " Lif him up." — " Git up, King." — " Shove him up. Now, King, play loud, so's we kin heear."
And very like a king he looked, upon his rude, improvised throne. A king: the last of the kings indeed; the last full-blooded male representative of that strange, unclaimed clan — the MalungeonsA chief! such he felt himself for one brief, transitory moment. And these were his people, this handful, which the wanton vagaries of fancy multiplied to myriad millions. His eye kindled, his full chest rose and fell, while the old sparkle danced in his eye, and the proud flush sprang to his dusky cheek.
"Play louder, King."
The form of the young black woman danced to his throne, and mistaking his rapt interest for applause, lifted her dark face upward to his and smiled. The light, the rapture, the triumph vanished instantly from the strong features; the old melancholy indifference returned. An angry pang shot through his heart. The negress — the curse, the downfall of the Malungeons. Here and there among the revellers his quick eye could single out with exact certainty the traces of the blood of his black brother. And was he to play for herWhere was old Jordan's blood that had thus stooped to make music for the negress' • "Sing, King! Sing Jording's song."

"Yes, King. Sing yer gran'dad's song — Ole Jording's song."
 We ull hear mo' better ef yer ull sing, King."
The fiddle did not trouble itself to follow the voice. With his hand he still twanged the old dance-melody, while the strong, stern, quiverless voice broke into the quaint, rhymeless hymn that he sung at the meeting-house, at the graveyard above the newly-dead, or in the echoing forest as he tramped home at noon or at midnight from the still.
"Stay, brother Green, do come ter me,
Fur I nir shot en bleeding,
An' I mus' die, no mo' ter see
Meh wife en meh deah chilring."
The dance began again with new vigor, as the odd, wrangling discord gained strength. Only the young negress, after vainly endeavoring to time her step to one air, either that of the voice or the fiddle, quietly stepped aside from the dancers, and stood leaning against a leafless wahoo-tree, watching with puzzled expression the flying figures under the arbor. After a while she leaned her head back against the tree, and a dreamy smile parted her lips, as with half-closed eyes she watched the grave, handsome face of the fiddler.
King's brow cleared when he saw the girl leave the dancers. He bent his face nearer the old fiddle — Jordan's fiddle — as if to catch the very spirit that had thrilled the proud heart of his Indian ancestor. When he lifted his head, a smile played about the stern, thin lips, and he kept his eye fixed upon the forest — the cedar-girdled forest where " Jording" was sleeping.
"Meh lillul chilring I loves 'em so." —
His mother, smoking and nodding on the cabin doorstep, began to
rock to and fro, and finally joined her shrill, cracked voice with King's
in song:
"0 cud I once mo' see 'em,
An' gi' thum ther las' fai'well word,
Tell we shall meet in Heavin."
One by one the dancers caught up the refrain:
"Tell we shall meet in Heavin."
Over and over again the fiddler sang the favored stanza, and again the dusky dancers chimed in on the last line. The dance was at its height: only the young negress, growing weary'with looking on, was nodding, after the manner of her race, over the fire down by the spring among the chinquapin-bushes.
Suddenly a wild shriek rang out above the creaking of the fiddle and the wailing music of the singers. The festivities came to a sudden stop, as the negress, bounding into the midst of the throng and shoving the dancers aside with her arms, sprang upon the table where King sat upon his throne.
"Something in ther brush," she panted, pointing with her left hand to the chinquapin-thicket, while with her right she seized the fiddle as if to wrench it from his hold. "Somethin's ther' — it laffed; in a whisperit did laff. It air a— ghost."
There was a moment's startled silence — then the musician pushed aside the dark hand clasping his proud old ancestor's riddle. But repeated visits to the piggin had tended to excite unusual courage in the breast of the dancers.
"Yer wair dreamin', Mandy," said one of them. "I see yer nod meh own se'f."
"I wair wake, I tell ye,"' she insisted, earnestly. "An' it laffed. Oh, it did! it did, King. It laffed ever' time yer sung. It laffed a ghost laff. An'it air come fur you, King — God A'mighty! it air come ter fetch you erway, King."
She reeled forward like a drunken women; dropped upon her knees and clasped his bare, brown limbs — encircled them with her arms — her strong, protecting arms, and tried to draw him down from his elevated place in full range of the "ghost" skulking in the chinquapin thicket. All the superstition of her race was upon her while she pleaded with him to "come down — out o' the light — the firelight — and the witch light of the new moon."
He became angry under her clasp and the smiling faces turned upon him, where the dancers, with good-humored indifference, were watching and listening until the music should begin again.
"Ger long 'ith yer," he said, " ther air no moon; it air gone long go. Ger long, an' don't bender Jording's fiddle."
He dropped his chin again upon the beloved old instrument; and then when the chorus rose again, led by him, so cruelly contemptuous of her warning, the girl threw her arms above her head — that old, old gesture of helpless agony, and springing from the table, plunged into the forest, down the narrow, shadow-girt trail leading to her cabin —
"Tell we shall meet in Heavin."
The song followed her as she ran, like a dusky spirit, through the echoing gloom. King's voice rose above all the rest —
"Tell we shall meet in Heavin."
It had a farewell ring in it somehow, and she stuffed her fingers into her ears and ran on — on — until she stood at her mother's door. Softly she lifted the latch.
"Tell we shall meet in Heavin."
She crept to her pallet and drew the covers over her head to shut out the sound of the chorus, floating down the mountain in the arms of the midnight wind. But she could not shut out the nameless fear, the uncomprehended awe that possessed her.
At last she fell asleep, to awake again with a start. It was near daybreak and she sat up, cold and breathless, to listen —
"Tell we shall meet in Heavin."
It was a man's voice; those beloved tones could belong to but one throat. She listened, holding her heart —
"Tell we shall meet " —
Suddenly, silence ; unconsciously she finished the strain: "in Heavin." Then with a low cry she dropped back among the bed-clothes with that stifled agony of superstitious despair tearing at heart and lip.
"O, King, King!' Tell we shall meet in Heavin.'"
The dancers wearied at last. The fiddler's throat was husky beyond the power of the piggin to relieve. The king was forced to ask surcease.
"Goo'-night, King."
"Hit air a goo' chune, King."
"An' yer sings it like yer gran'dad, King; yer sings like .lording."
"Goo'-night, King."
"Goo'-bye."
"Goo'-bye! Goo'-bye, King. Goo'-bye, goo'-bye, goo'-bye."
And as the last dusky dancer disappeared, the double refrain came back to him, seated alone upon his throne.
"Goo'-bye, King " —
"Tell we shall meet in Heavin.''
They seemed to jingle somehow and form one refrain, so perfectly were the ideas connected.
"Goo'-bye, King, tell we shall meet in Heavin."
He came down from his throne and went into the cabin and hung the precious fiddle in its place above the low door. His mother and sisters were asleep in their bed of leaves. His brothers were stretched full length upon the earth floor; all were sleeping heavily, heavily. He felt for his blanket swung across the drooping rafters, and went outside again. As he stepped again into the fading fire-glow, something dark flitted before him for an instant. A loitering Malungeon perhaps, was his thought, who had fallen asleep and been left behind. Or else he was sneaking back for a last pull at the cedarn piggin. Or perhaps it was only a cedar branch, waved by the gentle night-wind, nodding goodnight to the stars. And then, it might have been — ghost.
"I 'ud like ter know what it wair et skairt ther n*** ," he said, remembering for the first time her warning. "I allowed et I see er spark o' fire in ther graveyard once, afore they-uns all kem. But it went out, an' I allowed it wair unly witch-fire," meaning the phosphorescent light which appears upon decaying vegetation. Suddenly it occurred to him that he was thirsty, and he resolved to have a cup of hot, sugarless coffee before rolling into his blanket for the little night that remained. He went down to the fire by the spring and taking the pot from the warm stones shook it, and lifting the lid peeped in. Only grounds. He went over to the spring and poured three gourds-full of water upon the smoking grounds and set the pot back upon a bed of trembling red coals.
His pipe ought to be somewhere near about, for the family lived at the spring even more than in the leaky old cabin. Ah! there it was, swung in the hollow of a dead wahoo-tree. His rifle was there, too. There was another up at the cabin, and still another at the still. And all loaded, in case of danger to the Malungeon distiller. He filled his pipe and seated himself over against a stone to wait for his coffee. He made a noble picture, sitting there between the gray gloom of the new day and the melancholy shades of the fleeing night. His red limbs were crossed with careless grace ; his strong neck, from which he had thrown back the light shirt when the heat of exertion became too great, showed large and magnificent in the half-glow of the dying fire. His red bosom, bare and broad, might have shamed the gladiator trained for the arena. A noble picture! A picture of splendid strength and unspent power. A picture of loyal devotion, and right royal determination which refused to abandon the old habits, customs, and lore of his people. He had helped to keep the while law-makers at bay; he had helped to push all forms of trespassing "progress" back when it had attempted to invade the Ridge. He would always do so. He had lived like an Indian, he would die like one. And all he asked was to be buried like one at last.
The coffee hummed and sputtered a merry accompaniment to his thoughts. Suddenly he started, and bent his ear, his quick ear ever on the alert. Something was coming up the trail — softly, rapidly. He reached for his rifle, then calmly laid it back again against the wahoo. The approaching feet were bare — the comer was a Malungeon. A woman, he knew by the soft, slight patter.
A moment, and she emerged from the shadows of the wood — a lissome young creature, panting and breathless.
"Mam Mullins wancher, King," she said. "Wancher quick. She air er dyin', King."
He arose, and threw his blanket across his shoulder. He was accustomed to those midnight summons, and never thought of refusal. Still, ke must have his coffee. While lie prepared to pour it into the gourd, the girl talked on.
"She air charmed," she said. "Mam Mullins air charmed. Firs' she air col', then hot, hurnin'. Ole Ria air ther' with her hlood-beads. And Calloway air ther' with his conjure-thread. But Mam Mullins air er dyin'."
King paused in the process of pouring the coffee. He lifted the lid and turned the contents of the gourd back into the pot. He understood that form of "conjure " thoroughly.
"Ger long," he said to the girl. And a moment more he was following in her wake down the trail, the warm coffee-pot concealed in the folds of his blanket.
When he approached the cabin where the sick woman waited his coming, the sound of mourning came to him. The Malungeons were performing their customary service of respect for the dying.
He pushed the door back, and entered. The room was filled with women, sitting about upon the earth-floor with heads covered, slowly rocking to and fro and crooning a kind of half-hymn in time with their swaying bodies. Upon a bed of leaves lay an old copper-skinned crone battling with the " charm" that was upon her. Close to the foot of the bed, or pallet, an old Malungeon "conjure-man," or "witch," was sitting, slowly winding a ball of greasy yarn. Near him, a shrivelled old crone was stringing a handful of dingy beads — " blood-beads " — of green and yellow glass, whose healing power was well established among the Malungeons.
When King entered, the conjurer moved aside to make room.
"Howdye, King? The charm air failed, King. An'ole Kia's beadsair failed, too. Come in, an' try yer han\ King."
"Yeas, come in, King."
The sick woman caught the name.
"Howdye, King? I'm er dyin' now, King."
He offered no consolation, attempted no cheering words of hope. He merely stepped to the bed-side, and felt the sufferer's pulse. It was bounding with the fever that sent the hot blood coursing through all her veins. Then he turned to the mourners, still wailing their funeral hymn.
"Heish !" he commanded, and they were instantly silent. His commands were numerous: to one he handed the coffee-pot with instructions to "het it red-hot."
"A' right, King." They recognized a master in the strong, able presence. He took a flask from his bosom, and, pouring the contents into the water-gourd near by, put it to the woman's lips.
"Dring," he said.
A' right, King."
The coffee, hot and penetrating, was then offered, and another swallow from the flask.
"Dring it," he said; "dring ull o' it."
"Yeas, King. A'right."'
When the hot stuff began to penetrate the old limbs, and the warm moisture stood upon the wrinkled brow, he gave the patient still more of the wild-cat liquor, and watched to see the eyes begin to droop.
"Sing, King. Sing yer gran'dad's song," said the sick woman, sleepily.
As she dozed off into a quiet stupor, the Malungeon's voice slowly closed the refrain with which old Jordan before him had exorcised the demons of unrest:
"Tell we shall meet in Heavin."
Day was breaking when he set out again through the forest toward his own cabin. He still wore his blanket, and his face wore the old melancholy pain which had grown a part of him since he had begun to see the end of his people.
His great heart was full — full of their misery: the misery of annihilation, which they alas! were blind to. The mists were drifting, leaving free and clear the bold brow of the Ridge. His spirits seemed suddenly to bound upward too, clear of the mists and clouds. His soul's eye saw beyond the dusky depths and rested upon the heights, the fairer heights of faith. He broke into song, the old song of Jordan and his father:
"O end I once mo' see 'em —
An' gi' thum ther Ins' fai'well word,
Tell we shall meet —"
There was a sharp crack of a rifle in the thicket, a sudden break in the music, and the song passed on to a cabin in the gulch where a woman, a negress, finished the strain —
"In Heavin."
And she, too, passed it on, a farewell anthem, to the portals of eternity.
Wrapped in his blanket, his dead face turned to meet the rising sun, one hand holding his gray winding-sheet, his lips still parted with the broken song: so she found him in the early morning; so she found him lying there across the path. Into her dark face had crept a wild fear, as with a shriek of agony she threw herself upon his breast:
"King! Oh, King!"
And the proud heart offered no resistance now. As if, in death, it matters aught whether the arms that clasp be white or black!





Traders and Paradise

     THE TRADERS & PARADISE  NOTES ON CHRISTIAN GOTTLIEB PRIBER Christian Gottlieb Priber studied law at the University of ...