188 SLAVE LIFE IN GEORGIA.
for the women, and proportionately less for the
children; or a certain number of them are told off
to one man's or one woman's task, as the case
may be. It must not be supposed, however, that
the masters are very particular about keeping to
any average. It is not an uncommon thing, by any
means, for the task to be doubled, for it is always
" staving times " with them; they are always in
a hurry to get the crops in, and always in a
hurry to get them out.
The overseer or " nigger driver " is also ever
near by, with his long shot-gun to bring down a
run-away, and with his bunch of " chinkey-pen "
switches. These are roasted to make them tough,
and are from four to six feet long. They " lick "
the body very badly, scratching and tearing the
skin as they are drawn across it. More flogging,
perhaps, takes place in a rice-field than in any
other, on account of the hands leaving grass in
the " in-steps," the whole of which it is impossible
to root up.
The plant ripens its seed towards the latter part
of August, and through September. It is then
cut, and left to dry or " cure," and when dried,
it is stacked away in long ricks. During winter
the rice is thrashed out, then gathered up, and put