COLD indeed they found little Cath-
arine, and loosed the rope that
bound her. She was laid upon her
bed at the schoolmaster's house, and Dr.
Mottet bled her finely, as was then the
practice of physicians.
In spite of this she quivered faintly
back to life, under the brisk rubbing ad-
ministered by Maum Judy from the par-
sonage, and the choking drops of wine
which Mr. Harleston, against the doctor's
orders, coaxed into her mouth. But she
spoke not, nor opened her eyes.
And so, in the early freshness of that
Sunday morning, she was propped about
with the cushions of the coach from Com-
ing T, and slowly borne homeward to her
mother. There were outriders before to
bear the tidings.
When they turned into the avenue at
Kensington, lo! who was this that came
flying down from Kensington House,
with her frilled sacque of flowered muslin
ballooning out behind above her satin pet-
48 LITTLE MISTRESS CHICIKEN.
ticoat, her brown hair all unpowdered and
uncurled, and her sweet face white with
Who was it before whom all made way,
stopping the coach and standing back, un-
covered, silent and sorrowful? Who was
it that tore open the coach door before
any could aid her, and unmindful of
those standing by, caught her first-born to
her heart, and sobbed aloud at that most
piteous spectacle? Who was it that, all
at once, regained her dignity and bade
them drive on to the house, and sat and
clasped her child, and whispered:
"0 my baby! 0 my Catharine!" over
and over, in a voice of keenest self-re-
proach? Who could it be but Mistress
As they lifted her from the coach,
Catharine opened her eyes with a fright-
ened look, and murmured in a thick and
curious voice, "Dear M'sieu' Dutarque!"
in a way that brought a lump to every
throat. Then she spoke no more.
There was much excitement in the
faces of the worshippers at Strawberry
Chapel that morning. The gentlemen
oft laid their hands to their short-swords
with a muttered imprecation. Each was
armed, according to law, with either a gun
LITTLE MISTRESS CHICKEN. 49
or a pair of horse-pistols, and young Mr.
Garden had much ado to hold the atten-
tion of his congregation through the six-
teen heads of his most excellent discourse.
The women were all flushed and rest-
less; the men could hardly keep their
seats, and the children stole awestruck
glances through the windows toward the
graveyard. It was just as when the Ye-
massees had been on the warpath, or when
the pirates had lain off Charles Town bar.
But the young clergyman knew what it
was all about. He had ministered often
in times of alarm, and he shared now the
swelling indignation in the hearts of those
After service there was quite a martial
gathering outside the church, strangely
different from the usual social assembling
which made each coach a little reception-
room and filled the shady spaces beneath
the live-oaks with the soft, piquant gossip
of the beaux and belles of St. John's.
To-day the women huddled together, and
the men stood apart in earnest groups
with stern and angry looks.
They had dragged the wretched Du-
tarques from their hiding-place, and con-
fined them in the schoolmaster's house,
with James Macnamara keeping watch
50 LITTLE MISTRESS CHICKEN.
before the door, cutlass in hand. Some
hotheads counselled hanging the "preecep-
tor," as they called schoolmasters then, by
the very rope with which he had bound the
There did seem a sort of poetical jus-
tice about this proposition; but the people
of Carolina were law-abiding and faithful
subjects of his sacred Majesty, King
George the Second, and they decided to
await results, and let the law take its
The master of the free school at
Charles Town might not be displaced
save by Act of Assembly, but the com-
missioners of Childbury school had full
power to act promptly in such a case as
this, and they would not be long assem-
bling. In the meantime, the men of St.
John's would care for Monsieur Du-
tarque after their own fashion while
waiting the formal action of the commis-
So it came to pass that when the fair
began at sunrising on the following Tues-
day, the third Tuesday in May, accord
ing to long-established custom, it was
whispered about that little Catharine
Chicken might live, after all. But it was
also whispered that she was palsied and
LITTLE MISTRESS CHICKEN. 51
speechless. The brows of men grew omi-
nously dark as the whispers grew and
Monsieur Dutarque watched the great
gathering on Market Square from an
upper window. There was the wide,
striped booth where the Court of Piepow-
der was held, to deal justice to the dusty-
foot trader-pieds poudreux. There were
the well-bred horses led to and fro to
show off their fine points; there were the
groups of noble black cattle that throve
so wondrously in the woods of Carolina;
there were the poultry-venders and the
venders of game and furs, much as on any
ordinary market day.
In addition Monsieur Dutarque could
see the stalls of those who sold gloves,
handkerchiefs, stockings, ribands and
other fallals, the peddlers of pewter, cop-
per or brass household utensils, of corks
and grindstones, drugs, snuff, painters'
colors and gunpowder. These only vis-
ited Childbury once in six months.
The toll-gatherer sat in his accustomed
spot under a great pecan nut tree, with
his clerk beside him, inscribing in a book
the names of all buyers and sellers, and
a description of all animals or slaves
brought here for sale, while the directors
52 LITTLE MISTRESS CHICKEN.
of the fair, in their gold lace and cocked
hats, rode hither and thither amid the
The schoolmaster could see also the
preparations for the sports of the day, the
vaulting, dancing and bear-baiting, the
archery and ball-playing; and he could
hear the bells of the Morrice dancers jin-
gling in the distance, as they made ready
for their merry doings.
He heard also the voice of the crier,
-calling aloud the notice of the time the
fair should endure, which every one knew
quite as well as he did, to be until the fol-
Suspicious-looking characters were al-
ready offering from the large packs they
carried fine silks, gold and silver lace,
French cambrics, chintz, Hyson tea,
Dutch linens, fine Flanders lace, and
other foreign goods-chiefly Spanish, at
astonishingly low prices. The coaches of
the neighboring gentry, with liveried
coachmen driving the fine horses, and
with crests painted on the side panels.
thronged the narrow streets; and Mon-
sieur Dutarque turned a ghastly yellow
as he noted the threatening glances lifted
toward his window.
It had been at the close of just such a
LITTLE MISTRESS CHICKEN. 53
fair as this, in another part of the Prov-
ince, that Monsieur Dutarque had once
been arrested for calling a neighbor, who
had just served with him upon the jury,
by the contemptuous epithet of "Daffy-
down-dilly" - an actionable offence in
Carolina. But that had been child's play
compared to the fate he read in the low-
ering eyes of these determined men.
Meanwhile, what of Catharine?
That very day she opened her eyes wide
and tried to smile at the new baby, but
her mouth twisted in a piteous way that
half-broke Mistress Lydia's heart. This
Catharine did not know, for to her it
seemed that she had entered Paradise.
From the moment she had looked up
into that beloved face, that she had never
thought to see again, she never more could
doubt her mother's love. As for the new
baby-surely it was the most wondrous
Even Mr. Ball, so grand and tall, of
whom she had been jealous and of whom
she had also stood in awe, seeemed bent on
being as kind to her as her own never-to-
be-forgotten father. She felt very weak,
as though she had been through a long
illness, but it was very delightful to lie
still and listen to her mother singing.
54 LITTLE MISTRESS CHICKEN.
This was what Mistress Lydia sang, in
a voice like a mocking-bird:
You pretty birds that sit and sing
Amidst the shady valleys,
Go see how sweetly Phyllis walks
Within her guarded alleys.
Often she would change the tune to
Send back my long-strayed eyes to me
Which oh! too long have dwelt on thee!
So Catharine lay still and was happy,
feeling herself wrapped about with lov-
ing-kindness. They all tried to make her
forget the terrible ordeal through which
she had passed; but happy as she was,
they could not cure the fixed look of
fright in those bonny eyes of hers. To-
ward noon she frowned a little, made a
great effort, and said in that new, thick,
"Don't let them hurt poor M'sieu' Du-
Then they knew that she had overheard
some of the muttered threats of venge-
ance that had been made by all who came
to look upon her.
By and by she whispered: "I want my
Thus it chanced that a boy rode post-
haste to Childbury with a note for Mr.
LITTLE MISTRESS CHICKEN. 55
Ball. When he returned, having with-
stood all the fascinations of the fair, and
hastened back as fast as horse's feet could
bring him, he had in his pocket a cooter,
which, if not Flying Childers was, as
Maum Amy promptly remarked, "He
ve'y spit'n image!."
This was not long after midday. Be-
fore sunset, when the fair should close for
the day, old Mr. Elias Ball, in the red
velvet cap he always wore, rode into
Childbury, having driven out from
Charles Town the day before.
He was there joined by all the gentle-
men for miles around. They all looked
very imposing and dignified, mounted on
Then seven of these gentlemen sepa-
rated from the rest, and went into the
schoolhouse, where they shut themselves
up. In the short interval of their retire-
ment, Monsieur Dutarque was formally
deposed, and Childbury school was with-
out a master.
As they emerged once more, Monsieur
Dutarque slunk, trembling, from the win-
dow, for he knew that his hour had come.
Presently Madame Dutarque, sobbing
and crying, was led forth by the usher.
The gentlemen took off their hats to her
56 LITTLE MISTRESS CHICKEN.
very politely, and she was led down to
the ferry and put aboard the flat.
Then it was Monsieur Dutarque's turn.
What sombre eyes met his!
He cowered abjectly, and pleaded with
them miserably, in an agony of fright, for
he was sure they meant to do him to
death. An overseer stood by with a cow-
skin whip held ready in his hand. Money,
who had escaped punishment this time,
waited, with a beaming face, which yet
had something fierce about it, to bare the
schoolmaster's back to the blow his own
hand had so often inflicted in days
A motley crowd gathered round. All
the idlers of the fair were there-the in-
solvent debtors who, secure in immunity
from arrest, so long as the fair should en-
dure, crept from their hiding-places at
these times of merrymaking; the roving
vagrants who had no settled abiding
place, but roamed through the wilder-
ness, seeking the settlement where laws
should be least burdensome, and food
most easily obtained.
Free persons of color were also there,
having come out from Charles Town to
buy and sell on their own account, and
the liveried servants of the gentry, proud
LITTLE MISTRESS CHICKEN. 57
and lazy like the pampered menials of an
older aristocracy, yet withal full of the
wit and the love of humorous excitement
that belongs to the negro temperament.
The peddlers from afar were full of
curiosity, and even the Indians with their
fanner baskets and their peltry drew near
with impassive faces to witness the dis-
grace of the preceptor.
What was the hitch in the proceedings?
Why was the sport so long delayed? The
crowd was growing impatient, while, for
the schoolmaster, an eternity of suspense
was dragging its slow length along.
Money glared at him like a wild beast
waiting, and to the frightened French-
man the proportions of the overseer
seemed truly gigantic.
A horrible recollection sickened him. It
was of a slave who had died under just
such a lash-yet the man who had held it
had been small, and not possessed of un-
usual bodily strength
There was a universal groan of disap-
pointment when young Mr. Ball pushed
to the front and said a few words gently
to the crowd. Then he read from a note
"Catharine hath spoken, to pray the
gentlemen not to harm Monsieur Du-
58 LITTLE MISTRESS CHICKEN.
Even the schoolmaster looked up with
a working face, while they who knew and
loved Catharine looked upon each other,
nodding their heads and saying, with
"Then she can speak again!"
To Mr. Ball himself, who, by some
oversight, had only now received the note
from the clerk with whom it had been
left, at first this seemed a fact so great as
to swallow up all remembrance of what
they had meant to inflict upon the cruel
master. But with the rabble it was a dif-
ferent thing. There was a pause which,
to the waiting victim, seemed like the
pause the panther makes before he
In that pause, those among the crowd
who were capable of fine perceptions were
moved by the sweetness of that message
from the injured child. But for the rest,
they were simply beasts balked of their
They began to hoot and hiss. Then
they saw that the gentlemen were holding
an earnest consultation, and that at the
end of it Mr. Ball whispered an order
in the ear of Money, who thereupon
hastened off grinning with delight. The
crowd took heart of grace, realizing that
LITTLE MISTRESS CHICKEN. 59
something might yet be in store to gratify
their love of sport.
It was all managed very swiftly, but
Childbury has never witnessed such a
scene, before or since. The schoolmaster
was seized by rough hands, stripped of his
tie-wig and of his long-skirted black coat,
and tied, face tailwards, on a mule, with
the very rope with which he had tied the
child. And here came the drummer-boys
of the militia companies!
A wild rabble followed, throwing
stones or worse, in spite of the efforts of
the gentlemen to keep some kind of order.
Through all the streets of the little town
rushed the excited mob, shouting derisive
epithets, while the drummer-boys beat
their best, and the mule caught the full
spirit of the occasion, and lashed out with
his hind-legs, to the great delight of all
who came behind.
Proud Mistress Austin - Catharine's
Aunt Ann-leaned from her coach-win-
dow and waved her kerchief with a face
of complacent disdain, while her younger
sister Elizabeth shrank back in terror
from the rude and exciting scene.
So down the steep bluff, until the ferry-
boat was reached, over the river, across
60 LITTLE MISTRESS CHICKEN.
the narrow causeway, and on to the great
pine woods went Monsieur Dutarque.
Afar there followed him the booming of
the drum, the shrill shouts of derision.
The schoolmaster knew that never again
could he hold up his head in the Province
A fair-haired child, who is still old-
fashioned in her tastes, and likes the final
"And they married and lived happily
ever after" of the old tales, has asked me
what became of Catharine. As this is a
true story, and not fiction, I may perhaps
be pardoned if I quote from an old rec-
ord before me.
"March 10, 1763. - Mrs. Catharine
Chicken and Elias and Isaac Ball went
down in Mr. Benjm. Bonneau's Conno,
and he went himself with them to their
Uncle Laurens to be anockalated for ye
So Catharine lived to grow up, and she
not only grew up, but shortly after the
date of this old record, she was married to
young Mr. Benjamin Simons, of Middleburg
Plantation, Cooper River. Her picture
hangs to-day in the house of one of
her descendants, in Christ Church parish.
It may be known by the eyes, and by
the pathetic twist in the sensitive mouth.
LITTLE MISTRESS CHICKEN. 61
For Catharine bore with her to the grave
the mark of Monsieur Dutarque's cruelty.
But then, you see, this marred only her
mortal face which long ago was dust.
You will not find Childbury town upon
your map, and should you visit to-day the
place where it stood, you will see only two
tall chimneys, which belonged to the tav-
ern, a pile of bricks where stood "ye
schoole," many time-stained tombstones,
and Strawberry chapel, old and quaint
and tree-begirt, where on winter Sundays
you may still find assembled many direct
descendants of the determined men who
on that bright May-day, so long ago,
drummed Monsieur Dutarque out of
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