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Me know no law, me know no fin,
Me is just what ebba them make me ;
So God nor devil take me!
The virtue and chastity, as well as the lives and properties of the women, are at the command of the matters and overseers, they are perpetually exposed to the prostitution of them and their friends : it is pity that there is not some law to protect them from abuses so tyrannic, cruel and abominable. There was a law of the Lumbards, seccing forch, That if a master debauched his save, 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 island, they will meet on Saturday-nights, hundreds of them in gangs, and dance and sing till morning; nay, sometimes they continue their balls without intermission till Monday morning. I have often gone, out of curiosity, to such meetings, and was highly diverted: their music is composed of any thing that makes a tinkling found; a hollow cane, or bamboo, with holes in it, in imitation of a fifę; an herring-barrel, or tub, with sheep-skins substituted for the heads, in imitation of a drum, called a gumbay: but sometimes more “ grandy balls,” as they are called, are honoured with a tabret and
violin ; in which case, they are visited by the better sort of the neighbouring plantation negroes, and suppers and strong liquors are prepared by a few of the knowing ones. They prepare a number of pots, some of which are good and savory; chiefly their swine, poultry, salt beef, pork, herrings, and vegetables, with roasted, barbacued, and fricaseed rats, &c. &c.; all which they divide into small quantities, in ca. labalhes, (bicts and half-bitts worth) on which those who are able to purchase regale themselves. Their funerals and weddings are celebrated in this manner : indeed, I think I never saw any thing that fo nearly resembled the amusements, particularly the patrons held on Sundays, by the vulgar peasantry 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 sing, at once; and cry, pipe and play at once ; and where they gormandize and guide, fight and quarrel at once!
When dancing, they form themselves into a circular position, adjoining some of their huts, and continue all in motion, singing so loud, that of a calm night they may be heard at about two miles distance-chus :
Hipsaw ! my deaa! you no do like a-me!
Hipsaw! my deaa ! you no jig like a-me !
Or, thus :
Tajo, tajo, tajo! tajo, my mackey massa!
Thus they go on; so that it would be almost impossible for a stoic to look on without laughing. The droll capers, and wanton gestures and attitudes the languishing glances and grimaces, fo consequential and serious, of those fat-nosed damsels, timed to admiration by their jetty beau partners, are truly curious : It is very amazing to think with what agility they twist and move their joints :-( sometimes imagined they were on springs 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 chat you cannot possibly look on unmoved: they have too many alluring L3
tricks to reduce and lead men astray. Perseus 1 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 : whilft roses and lillies fade, true black, like the yew that never sheds its leaves, is ftill the same.
Of scorching toil regardless all the day, '
Where Flora, Phillis, Silvia, Sall and Nell,
When wanton Jiggo, with “ fide-long looks of love,"
Whilst others lily to their huts advance, And twin'd in love, repeat the charming dance.. On pork and pullets some do highly feast, Whilst others, hungry, can't procure a taste : Some gobble yams, or pepper-pot, or pease, Or, rats and fungee, dress’d their different ways. Others, fillid with grog, reel, fight and squabble, Whilft to the music fome obedient hobble.
If you for goddesses shou'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 consent that the amorous pair may be united as long as they like each other :-ten to one, not fo cere. monious, 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 ins trigues: fome will have a dozen women in keeping at once ; and the women, in return, can manage their's as Nily as a dutchess. Their compliments of respect and friendship, when speaking of or to each other, is Uncle, Aunty, Granny, Tatta, Momma, Sista, Boda. Though, a white man was to give a black or mungrel, 1000l. yearly, I don't think she could confine herself entirely to him only: their natural ig