fashion in those good old states, where the negroes are as free of constraint as were the slaves of Rome on their Saturnalia.
The Texian prisoners thus simplified this mode of racing: they drew a charcoal circle upon a plank, in the centre of which the racers are turned loose at a given signal, and the one that "first crosses the black ring is winner."
Soon after pay-days, when each man is flush with his forty-seven cents in cash, I have known a whole "medio" bet upon a race; but the most usual bet was an old soldier. An "old soldier" in this sense is not the absolute war-worn veteran, covered with honourable scars and long years of service, but a chew of tobacco, which has from time to time undergone mastication from friend to friend, with the same kindness which one would loan another his knife or comb. These "old soldiers," after losing all the virtues of the "weed" from long grinding, are dried and smoked in a pipe; the latter operation coming as near the idea of the destructibility of matter as philosophical analysis will allow.
There is much skill to be exercised in the selection of your racers. At the same time that you would avoid the selection of an epicurean-built animal as you would an overly fat horse, it is not always that the most Cassius-looking fellow will win. Those who had watched more closely the natural history of the animal, soon discovered that they have as much love for their young as animals of a larger size. Thus those of our countrymen most skilled in the zoology of this troublesome little creature won the most "old soldiers." They would select a mother, which had lately deposited her young, around which she would hover with the devotion of a hen over her brood. When the mother of the young family was turned loose, her philoprogenitiveness impelled her forth, and doubtless she  felt all the keen, though instinctive anxiety for her offspring which wiser animals feel. Whether her organ of locality could safely direct her back to her household after such abduction is more than was ascertained. This is certain, that she usually reached the goal first. Had Pindar been an inmate of a Mexican prison, he would have enriched his "Lousiad" with a more accurate knowledge of his subject.6 And might not Mr. Combe, or some other phrenologist, strengthen their theory by subjecting the head of a mother louse to microscopic inspection?7 Or, would it be a strong argument in favour of this fascinating science should the bump of philoprogenitiveness be larger in a louse than in a flea? for the latter deposits her young and hops off with all the ballroom gayety of a coquette, leaving the "little ones" to make the best of their way into the world.
The lamented General Austin once told me, that when he, by order of Santa Anna, was so long incarcerated in the Accordada in solitary confinement, a mouse was his only companion; and that it became so very gentle as to feed from his hands.8 Until I witnessed the interest which prisoners take in smaller things, I could not realize that interest which, he assured me, in the absence