WHEN Miss Theodosia Huntingdon, of Burlington, Vermont, concluded to come South in 1870, she was moved by three considerations. In the first place, her brother, John Huntingdon, had become a citizen of Georgia—having astonished his acquaintances by marrying a young lady, the male members of whose family had achieved considerable distinction in the Confederate army; in the second place, she was anxious to explore a region which she almost unconsciously pictured to herself as remote and semi-barbarous; and, in the third place, her friends had persuaded her that to some extent she was an invalid. It was in vain that she argued with herself as to the propriety of undertaking the journey alone and unprotected, and she finally put an end to inward and outward doubts by informing herself and her friends, including John Huntingdon, her brother, who was practicing law in Atlanta, that she had decided to visit the South.
When, therefore, on the 12th of October, 1870—the date is duly recorded in one of Miss Theodosia’s letters—she alighted from the cars in Atlanta, in the midst of a great crowd, she fully expected to find her brother waiting to receive her. The bells of several locomotives were ringing, a number of trains were moving in and out, and the porters and baggage-men were screaming and bawling to such an extent that for several moments Miss Huntingdon was considerably confused; so much so that she paused in the hope that her brother would suddenly appear and rescue her from the smoke, and dust, and din. At that moment some one touched her on the arm, and she heard a strong, half-confident, half-apologetic voice exclaim:
“Ain’t dish yer Miss Doshy?”
Turning, Miss Theodosia saw at her side a tall, gray-haired negro. Elaborating the incident afterward to her friends, she was pleased to say that the appearance of the old man was somewhat picturesque. He stood towering above her, his hat in one hand, a carriage-whip in the other, and an expectant smile lighting up his rugged face. She remembered a name her brother had often used in his letters, and, with a woman’s tact, she held out her hand, and said:
“Is this Uncle Remus?”
“Law, Miss Doshy! how you know de ole nigger? I know’d you by de faver; but how you know me?” And then, without waiting for a reply: “Miss Sally, she sick in bed, en Mars John, he bleedzd ter go in de country, en dey tuck’n sont me. I know’d you de minnit I laid eyes on you. Time I seed you, I say ter myse’f, ’I lay dar’s Miss Doshy,’ en, sho nuff, dar you wuz. You ain’t gun up yo’ checks, is you? Kaze I’ll git de trunk sont up by de ’spress waggin.”
The next moment Uncle Remus was elbowing his way unceremoniously through the crowd, and in a very short time, seated in the carriage driven by the old man, Miss Huntingdon was whirling through the streets of Atlanta in the direction of her brother’s home. She took advantage of the opportunity to study the old negro’s face closely, her natural curiosity considerably sharpened by a knowledge of the fact that Uncle Remus had played an important part in her brother’s history. The result of her observation must have been satisfactory, for presently she laughed, and said: