donderdag 17 mei 2012

Mary Ames -- 18 mei 1865

MAY 18.
Mr. Blake made a blackboard for us, wasting several eggs and nearly all our ink before he succeeded.
Jim killed a snake, which he called a chicken snake, as they come where there are chickens. Our neighbors have many chickens so tame that they are in our house constantly. Last week a big rattlesnake was killed in our garden, and a huge black snake in our yard. We have seen only one, and that the children called a glass snake, for when struck it flew into many pieces all wriggling and alive. We see lizards everywhere.
Six new scholars. A woman came with a prayer-book, asking to be taught to read it. We told her we would teach her willingly, but it would be some time before she could read that. She was satisfied, and as she was leaving, put her hand under her apron and brought out two eggs--one she put in Emily's lap, the other in mine.
Our first rations came to-day, brought by the men from headquarters. A large box--a soap-box--with beans at the bottom, covered by a piece of dirty paper, then a layer of brown sugar, and on top of all a bar of soap and six candles. Some ground coffee in a paper, a smaller bag with fat bacon and salt pork, and a half barrel of flour.
Emily came down and viewed the lot, burst into tears and wished that the grave we had seen hoed out at the church was to lay her in. Poor Emily! I was disheartened, but knew we must make the best of it. We walked up to the sutler's, who said he would take all we did not want, and give us in exchange from his stores. We got condensed milk, butter, cornmeal, and other things, and Sarah cooked us a royal supper. We felt better after a decent meal, and Emily concluded to live a while longer.
Later a woman came in suffering severe pain. We administered cayenne tea sweetened with brown sugar, and she was relieved.
The evening was delightfully cool. We had our first evening school for men and women on our piazza. It was well attended, all sitting on the floor and steps. One woman, who was much bent with rheumatism, and seemed very old, said she was "Mighty anxious to know something."
Late in the evening Dr. Mason came to tell us that Jefferson Davis, Stevens, and Clay had been taken prisoners in Georgia and sent North.

Mary Ames (1831-1903) was onderwijzeres in een school voor voormalige slaven. In het eerste jaar daar hield ze een dagboek bij: From a New England Woman's Diary in Dixie in 1865.

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