- Project Runeberg -  America of the Fifties: Letters of Fredrika Bremer /
262

(1924) [MARC] Author: Fredrika Bremer
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a row; they are like yawning fiery throats, and
beside each throat stood a negro naked to his middle,
who flung in fire-wood. Pieces of wood were passed
onward to these feeders by other negroes, who
stood up aloft on a large open place between them
and a negro, who, standing on a lofty stack of
firewood, threw down with vigorous arms food for
the monsters on deck. Mr. Harrison encouraged
the negroes to sing; and the negro up aloft on the
pile of fire-wood began immediately an improvised
song in stanzas, and at the close of each the
negroes down below joined in vigorous chorus. It
was a fantastic and grand sight to see these
energetic black athletes lit up by the wildly flashing
flames from the fiery throats, while they, amid their
equally fantastic song, keeping time most exquisitely,
hurled one piece of fire-wood after another
into the yawning fiery gulf. Everything went on
with so much life and so methodically, and the
whole scene was so accordant and well arranged,
that it would have produced a fine effect upon any
theater whatever. The improvisation was brought
finally to a close with a hint that the singing would
become doubly merry, and the singers would sing
twice as well, if they could have a little brandy
when they reached Louisville, and that they could
buy brandy if they could have a little money, and
so on.

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