“Oh, monahs, you may stan’ dar er weepin’,
Fur de brooms uv de Lord is er sweepin’,
An’ all de trash dey’s er heapin’
Outside er de golden gate.”
“So, sinners, yer’d better be er tu’nin’,
Er climbin’ an’ er scramblin’ an’ er runnin’,
Fur ter ‘scape dat drefful burnin’
In de awful jedgment day.”
And while the hymn was being sung, Uncle Daniel had his wish of “monahs ’pun top er monahs,” for the benches and aisles immediately around the altar were soon crowded with the weeping negroes. Some were crying, some shouting Glory! some praying aloud, some exhorting the sinners, some comforting the mourners, some shrieking and screaming, and, above all the din and confusion, Uncle Daniel could be heard halloing, at the top of his voice, “Dem s’ords an’ dem famines!” After nearly an hour of this intense excitement, the congregation was dismissed, one of them, at least, more dead than alive; for “Aunt Ceely,” who had long been known as “er pow’ful sinful ooman,” had fallen into a trance, whether real or assumed must be determined by wiser heads than mine; for it was no uncommon occurrence for those “seekin’ ’ligion” to lie in a state of unconsciousness for several hours, and, on their return to consciousness, to relate the most wonderful experiences of what had happened to them while in the trance. Aunt Ceely lay as if she were dead, and two of the Christian men (for no sinner must touch her at this critical period) bore her to her cabin, followed by the “chu’ch membahs,” who would continue their singing and praying until she “come thu,” even if the trance should last all night. The children returned to the house without Mammy, for she was with the procession which had followed Aunt Ceely; and as they reached the yard, they met their father returning from the lot.
“Papa,” called Dumps, “we’re goin’ ter have awful troubles hyear.”
“How, my little daughter?” asked her father.
“The Lord’s goin’ ter sen’ s’ords an’ famines, an’ they’ll eat up all the young men, an’ ev’ybody’s sons an’ daughters,” she replied, earnestly. “Uncle Dan’l said so in meetin’; an’ all the folks was screamin’ an’ shoutin’, an’ Aunt Ceely is in a trance ‘bout it, an’ she ain’t come thu yet.”
[Illustration: “MONAH’S ’PUN TOP ER MONAHS.”]
Major Waldron was annoyed that his children should have witnessed any such scene, for they were all very much excited and frightened at the fearful fate that they felt was approaching them; so he took them into his library, and explained the meaning of the terms “swords and famines,” and read to them the whole chapter, explaining how the prophet referred only to the calamities that should befall the Hebrews; but, notwithstanding all that, the children were uneasy, and made Aunt Milly sit by the bedside until they went to sleep, to keep the “swords and the famines” from getting them.