“We count the broken lyres that
Where the sweet wailing singers slumber;
But o’er the silent brother’s breast,
The wild flowers who will stoop to number.
“A few can touch the magic string,
And noisy fame is proud to win them;
Alas for those who never sing,
But die with all their music in them.
“Not where Leucadian breezes sweep
O’er Sappho’s memory-haunted billow;
But where the glistening night dews weep
O’er nameless sorrow’s churchyard pillow.
“If singing breath or echoing chord
To every hidden pang were given,
What endless melodies were poured,
As sad as earth, as sweet as heaven.”
We have done our best according to the light that has been given; we will continue to do so until the end, and we are soothed and sustained by the inspiring thought so sweetly expressed by one of our greatest poets.
“I know not where God’s islands
Their fronded palms in air,
I only know I cannot drift
Beyond His love and care.
“And so beside the silent sea,
I wait the muffled oar:
No harm from Him can come to me
On ocean or on shore.”
Only waiting till the angels
Open wide the mystic gate,
At whose feet I long have lingered,
Weary, sad, and desolate;
Even now I hear their footsteps,
And their voices far away—
When they call me, I am waiting,
Only waiting to obey.
THE FLORIDA CRACKERS.
When the previous thirty chapters were in press, the conviction was forced upon me that any book which touched upon Florida without a description of its poor whites called “Crackers,” would be like the play of “Hamlet” with the Prince of Denmark left out, and I gladly pay this tribute of grateful remembrance to the most unique, and the only truly contented people that I have ever met on earth.
So far forth as history enlightens us, the ancestors of these peculiar specimens of the human race were never born anywhere in particular, but like Topsy, they “simply growed.”
Why these usually long, lean, lank, saffron-hued, erst-while clay-eaters have received such an unromantic name has been variously accounted for. Some say the name was suggested by the fact that when not otherwise employed, they are constantly cracking the lice which swarm in their never-combed hair; others ascribe it to the frequent cracking of their rifles and long whip-lashes as they pursue their game or drive their cattle. An ex-slave of one of them tells me that they are called “Crackers,” because they are all “cracked as to their cocoanuts.”
Although the faces of many of these children of nature are usually as expressionless as a cast-iron cook-stove, they are far from being as stupid as they look; for even General Jackson, “the man of blood and iron,” would have won but few, if any, laurels in his campaigns against the Seminoles, had it not been for his advanced guard of the warlike “Crackers.”