« السابقةمتابعة »
Me know no law, me know no fin,
This is the way dem bring me in;
The virtue and chastity, as well as the lives and properties of the women, are at the command of the masters 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 Lombards, setting forth, That if a master debauched his stave, stie was to be restored to her freedom t 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 fing 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 sound; a hollow cane, or bamboo, with holes in. it, in imitation of a fife.; 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 arc called, are honoured with a tabret and L 2 viclini 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 favory; chiefly their swine, poultry, falt beef, pork, herrings, and vegetables, with roasted, barbacued, and fricasced rats, &c. &c.» all which they divide into small quantities, in calabashes, (bitts and half-bitts worth) on which those who are able to purchase regale themselves. Their sunerals and weddings are celebrated in this manner: indeed, 1 think I never faw any thing that so 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 sing, at once; and cry, pipe and play at once; and where they gormandize and gutrie, 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—thus:
Hipfaw! my deaa! you no do like a-mc!
Hipfaw! my deaa! you no jig like a-me!
Or, thus i
Tajo, tajo, tajo! tajo, my mackey massa!
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, so consequential and serious, of those flat-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 :—I 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 beautisul young creatures; so that you cannot possibly look on unmoved: they have too many alluring L 3 tricks
tricks to seduce and lead men astray. Perseuj 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 roses and lillies fade, true black, like the yew that never sheds its leaves, is still the fame.
Of scorching toil regardless all the day,
Where Flora, Phillis, Silvia, Sail and Nell,
In beauty's pomp their fable sex excell:
With shifts ami gowns, white hats, and trinckets too,
Skins, foft as silk, engaging glossy hue!
And cock-up bubbics, ripe for foft delight,
Twist, wind and turn, and turn and wind all night.
When wanton Jiggo, with "fide-long looks of love,"
To mutual rapture do each other move;
With kind compliance, and with warm desire,
In melting pairs, they privately retire
To lonely shades, to fences or old walls,
To dance more. pleasing jigs than at their balls r
Whilst others flily to their huts advance,
If you for goddesses 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 consent that the amorous pair may be united as long a» they like each other :—ten to one, not so 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: some will have a dozen women in keeping at once and the women, in return, can manage their's as flily 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, 1000I. yearly, I don't think she could confine herself entirely to him only: their natural ig
L 4 norance