« السابقةمتابعة »
Me know no law, me know no fin,
The virtue and chastity, as well as the lives and properties of the women, are at the command of the mafters and overfeers; they are perpetually exposed to the proftitution of them and their friends: it is pity that there is not fome law to protect them from abuses so tyrannic, cruel and abominable. There was a law of the Lumbards, fetting forth, That if a mafter debauched his flave, she was to be restored to her freedom ; and, if she had a husband, him also.
Notwithstanding all their hardships, they are fond of plays and merriment; and if not prevented by whites, according to a law of the ifland, they will meet on Saturday-nights, hundreds of them in gangs, and dance and fing till morning; nay, fometimes they continue their balls without intermiffion till Monday morning. I have often gone, out of curiofity, to fuch meetings, and was highly diverted: their mufic is composed of any thing that makes a tinkling found; a hollow cane, or bamboo, with holes in it, in imitation of a fife; an herring-barrel, or tub, with fheep-fkins fubftituted for the heads, in imitation of a drum, called a gumbay but fometimes more "grandy balls," as they are called, are honoured with a tabret and
violin; in which cafe, they are vifited by the better fort of the neighbouring plantation negroes, and fuppers and strong liquors are prepared by a few of the knowing-ones. They prepare a number of pots, fome of which are good and favory; chiefly their fwine, poultry, falt beef, pork, herrings, and vegetables, with roafted, barbacued, and fricafeed rats, &c. &c.; all which they divide into fmall quantities, in calabafhes, (bitts and half-bitts worth) on which those who are able to purchase regale themfelves. Their funerals and weddings are celebrated in this manner: indeed, I think I never faw any thing that fo nearly resembled the amusements, particularly the patrons held on Sundays, by the vulgar peafantry on the mountains in Ireland; where, to the music of a rotten bagpipe, or crazy fiddle, they dance to " tire each other down;" where they court, laugh, and fing, at once; and cry, pipe and play at once; and where they gormandize and guttle, fight and quarrel at once!
When dancing, they form themfelves into a circular pofition, adjoining fome of their huts, and continue all in motion, finging fo loud, that of a calm night they may be heard at about two miles distance-thus:
Hipfaw! my deaa! you no do like a-me!
You no jig like a-me! you no twist like a-ame!
Hipfaw! my deaa! you no jig like a-me!
Thus they go on; fo that it would be almost impoffible for a ftoic to look on without laughing. The droll capers, and wanton geftures and attitudes-the languifhing glances and grimaces, fo confequential and serious, of thofe flat-nofed damfels, timed to admiration by their jetty beau partners, are truly curious: It is very amazing to think with what agility they twift and move their joints :-I fometimes imagined they were on fprings or hinges, from the hips downwards; whoever is most active and expert at wriggling, is reputed the best dancer. You will find amongst them many beautiful young creatures; fo that you cannot poffibly look on unmoved: they have too many alluring L 3 tricks
tricks to feduce and lead men aftray. Perfeus I was moved to war by the beauty of a black woman: the great Mark Antony, once lord of the empire, could not withstand Cleopatra's jetty charms whilst rofes and lillies fade, true black, like the yew that never sheds its leaves, is ftill the fame.
Of fcorching toil regardless all the day,
Where Flora, Phillis, Silvia, Sall and Nell,
With fhifts and gowns, white hats, and trinckets too,
And cock-up bubbies, ripe for soft delight,
Twift, wind and turn, and turn and wind all night.
When wanton Jiggo, with "fide-long looks of love,"
To lonely fhades, to fences or old walls,
To dance more pleafing jigs than at their balls:
Whilft others flily to their huts advance,
you for goddeffes fhou'd be inclin'd,
Their form of marriage is nothing more than that the parents or friends of both parties meet on these festival nights, and give confent that the amorous pair may be united as long as they like each other :-ten to one, not fo ceremonious, make matches without any public parade. Poor creatures! they have no idea of virtue or fidelity; the men are as fashionablywicked as white noblemen, in carrying on intrigues: fome will have a dozen women in keeping at once; and the women, in return, can manage their's as flily as a dutchefs. Their compliments of refpect and friendship, when fpeaking of or to each other, is Uncle, Aunty, Granny, Tatta, Momma, Sifta, Boda. Though, a white man was to give a black or mungrel, 1000l. yearly, I don't think he could confine herself entirely to him only: their natural igL4