“To de sea! Frow it in de sea! You’ll nebber hole obbe” [us] “no mo’! You’ll be drownded in de sea-watah!” Their victims were the whipping-post and the thumbscrews.
Tom returned to say: “Dem done to’e up de cote-house and de Jedge’s house, an’ now dem goin’ Bay Street too tear up de sto’es.”
Gilbert came up from the fort telling what he had seen. The blacks had tried to scale the ramparts, on one another’s shoulders, howling for freedom and defying the garrison to fire. But the commander had not dared without orders from the governor, and his courier had not returned. A leading merchant standing on the fort wall was less discreet: “Take the responsibility! Fire! Every white man on the island will sustain you, and you’ll end the whole thing here!”
Upon that word off again up-town had gone the whole black swarm, had sacked the bold merchant’s store, and seemed now, by the noises they made, to be sacking others. “I come,” Gilbert said, “with an offer of the ship-captains to take the white people aboard the ships.”
As he turned away groups of negroes began to dash by laden with all sorts of “prog” [booty] from the wrecked stores. Grandmamma had lain down, my aunts were trying to make up some sort of midday meal, and I was standing alone behind the jalousies, when a ferocious-looking negro rattled them with his bill.
“Lidde gal, gi’ me some watah.”
“Wait a minute,” I said, and left the room. If I hid he might burst in and murder us. So I brought a bowl of water.
“Tankee, lidde missee,” he said, returned the bowl, and went away. Tom was thereupon set to guard the gate, which he did poorly. Another negro slipped in and sat down on our steps. He looked around the pretty enclosure, gave a tired grunt, and said:
“Please, missee, lemme res’; I done bruk up.” He held in his hands the works of a clock, fell to studying them, and became wholly absorbed.
Rachel asked him who had broken it. He replied:
“Obbe” [our] “Ca’lina. She no like de way it talkin’. She say: ’W’at mek you say, night und day, night und day?’ Un’ she tuk her bill un’ bruk it up. Un’ Georgina chop’ up de pianneh, ‘caze it wouldn’ talk foo her like it talk too buckra. Da shame!”
But now came yells and cheers in the street, the rush and trample of hundreds, and the cry:
“De gub’nor! de gub’nor a-comin’!”
(FREEDOM AND CONFLAGRATION)
We ran to the windows. In an open carriage, with two official attendants, surrounded by a mounted guard and clad in the uniform of a Danish general, the aged governor came. On his breast were the insignia of the order of Dannebrog. His cavalcade could hardly make its way, and when one of the crowd made bold to seize the horses’ reins the equipage, just before our house, stopped. The governor sat still, very pale.