- Project Runeberg -  America of the Fifties: Letters of Fredrika Bremer /
150

(1924) [MARC] Author: Fredrika Bremer
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admonished to pray, the speaker added, “But make it
short, if you please!” This sister, however, did
not make it short but longer than even the first with
still more circumlocution and still more thumping
on the bench. A third sister, who was admonished
to pray, received the brief, definite injunction,
“But short.” And when she lost herself
in the long bewilderment of prayer, she was interrupted
without ceremony by the wordy preacher,
who could no longer keep silent, but must hear
himself talk on for another good hour. Nor was it until
the singing of one of the hymns composed by the
negroes themselves, such as they sing in their
canoes, and in which the name “Jerusalem” is
often repeated, that the congregation became
really alive. They sang so that it was a pleasure
to hear, with all their souls and with all their
bodies in unison; for their bodies rocked, their
heads nodded, their feet stamped, their knees
shook, their elbows and their hands beat time to
the tune and the words which they sang with
evident delight. One must see these people singing
if one is rightly to understand their life. I have
seen their imitators, the so-called “Sable Singers,”
who travel about the country painted up as negroes,
singing negro songs in the negro manner
and with negro gestures, as it is said; but nothing
can be more radically unlike, for the most

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