Music Of The Waters - online book

Sailors' Chanties, Songs Of The Sea, Boatmen's, Fishermen's,
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Music of the' Waters.                 185
on catching sight of me, instantly shouted, " Missie! missie ! " and, evidently thinking all difficulties removed by this recognition, marched in, followed by two dreadful specimens of the most swarthy, oily, evil-looking men I ever saw—rings through their noses, as well as in their ears, adding an unnecessary touch of barbarism to their already horrible appearance. As far as I could learn from the excited manner and disjointed English of the Italian, I gathered that they were Mexicans, but why he had brought them, or where he had found them, I could not make out. They could not speak a word of any language that I ever remember having heard before ; I conclude it must have been some sort of low Spanish. I tried by every means in my power to induce the Italian to sing, but with no avail, he utterly refused, without money were first given him. I, of course, refused this, and told him he should certainly have money after his singing. This did not please him, and he, in his turn, tried coaxing,—
" Missie, give me just ten shilling, and me sing long time ! "
"Just ten shillings, and you'll be off like a shot," was my thought. " No, no," I said. " Missie give you no ten shillings, and if you won't sing now, you may go ; I have no time to wait for you to make up your mind any longer."
Just at this moment I became aware of the two Mexi­cans nodding sagaciously at each other and touching their heads, whilst they stared fixedly at mine, and then shouted something in their alarming language at the Italian ; he in his turn looked at my head, then laughed. I could stand it no longer, and, truth to tell, I was beginning to be rather afraid of my visitors, and feeling that I should hail their departure with relief. I turned to ask him what all these signs and laughing meant, and he told me it was only astonishment at my hair not being black. " They only arrived this day," he added, " and have always been amongst the darkest people in the world."

E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III