A topsy turvy view of plantation life led to servant’s distress

June 7, 1834.

June 7, 1834.

The plantation negroes, who in their present state of mental infancy may with truth be regarded as children of a larger growth, are naturally very inquisitive, and the females evince a degree of curiosity for which their sex is so particularly remarkable.

A whimsical illustration of the fact came to our knowledge in this island:

A poor girl who had been a house servant, and who for ill conduct had been turned into the field to work with the gang, suddenly exhibited the most singular gesticulations, by dropping her hoe, assuming a stooping posture, gathering her clothes round her legs, fixing her eyes on one spot, and screaming vociferously, “Oh, me massa, me massa.”

Her master perceived her in this situation through his telescope from the house, with her eyes fixed on the focus and her frantic gestures induced him to go to the field to ascertain the cause. Poor Beneba was by this time quiet enough, although still panting with fatigue.

It turned out that the spy-glass had been the cause of her fright, her curiosity when in the house having induced her to take a peep through it, after her master had been using it as a night glass with the day lens out. Everything appeared to her topsy-turvy; the girl was petrified with astonishment, and when she afterwards beheld the bewitching instrument, which she called the ‘Jumbegun’, levelled at herself, she at once imagined that her head was placed where her heels should be.