186 SLAVE LIFE IN GEORGIA.
plant peeps up. There is a kind of grass, called
bull-grass, which is very troublesome in rice-
fields, as it springs up amongst the rice; and
between the row7s or " in-steps," and being of
singularly rapid growth, would soon choke the
rice. This grass has to be hoed out of the in¬
steps, and pulled up as it springs amongst the rice.
Should any be left, the slaves are most severely
flogged. When the plant is about half leg high,
the land is flooded to the depth of from six to eight
inches. The growing crop remains under water
three or four days, during which time the slaves
are obliged to go into these swamps, grubbing up
the grass between the rows. It is awful work.
Men, women, and children are all employed
incessantly, for it is a busy time. They work
naked, or nearly so, and contract all sorts of
maladies. There is the muddy soil into which
you sink knee-deep, and which sends up the foul¬
est smell and vapour, causing fever and sickness.
The heat, too, from the sun over-head, re¬
flected back into your face from the water, is
intolerably painful, frequently bringing on giddi¬
ness and sun-stroke. Then the feet get water-
poisoned, or you take the toe or ground-itch,
when the flesh cracks and cankers. You also