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Our World, or, The Slaveholders Daughter by F. Colburn Adams

Part 11 out of 12

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ship's blocks, and a bit of damaged fishing-tackle. This is Felsh's
repository of antique collections; what many of them have to do with
his rough pursuit of the learned profession we leave to the reader's
discrimination. It has been intimated by several waggishly-inclined
gentlemen, that a valuable record of all the disobedient "niggers"
Fetter had condemned to be hung might be found among this confused
collection of antiquities. A deal table, covered with a varnished
cloth, standing on the right side of the room, and beside which a
ponderous arm-chair is raised a few inches, forms Fetter's tribune.
Hanging from the wall, close behind this, is a powder-horn and
flask, several old swords, a military hat somewhat broken, and
sundry other indescribable things, enough to make one's head ache to

The office is become crowded to excess, the prisoner (his hands
unpinioned, but the heavy chain still about his neck!) is placed in
a wooden box fronting the squire's table, as a constable is ordered
to close the court. It is quite evident that Fetter has been taking
a little too much on the previous night; but, being a "first-rate
drinker," his friends find an apology in the arduousness of his
legal duties. In answer to a question from Felsh, who has been
looking at the prisoner somewhat compassionately, the serving
constable says two of the jury of "freeholders" he has summoned have
not yet made their appearance. Fetter, who was about to take his
seat in the great chair, and open court, politely draws forth his
watch, and after addressing a few words to the persons present, on
the necessity of keeping order in a court with such high functions,
whispers a few words in Felsh's ear, holding his hand to his mouth
the while.

"Maintain order in court!" says Fetter, nodding his head to the
official; "we will return in five minutes." Soon they are seen
passing into Von's crooked establishment, where, joined by a number
of very fashionable friends, they "take" of the "hardware" he keeps
in a sly place under the counter, in a special bottle for his
special customers. Having taken several special glasses, Fetter is
much annoyed at sundry remarks made by his friends, who press round
him, seeming anxious to instruct him on intricate points of the
"nigger statutes." One hopes he will not let the nigger off without
a jolly good hanging; another will bet his life Felsh takes care of
that small item, for then his claim on the state treasury will be
doubled. And now, Fetter finding that Felsh, having imbibed rather
freely of the liquid, hath somewhat diminished his brilliant
faculties, will take him by the arm and return into court. With all
the innate dignity of great jurists they enter their sanctum of
justice, as the usher exclaims, "Court! Court!-hats off and cigars

"Jury are present?" enquires Fetter, with great gravity, bowing to
one side and then to the other, as he resumes his seat on the

"Present, yer 'oner;" the officer answers in a deep, gruff voice, as
he steps forward and places a volume of the revised statutes before
that high jurist. Fetter moves the book to his left, where Felsh has
taken his seat. With placid countenance and softest accents, Fetter
orders the prisoner at the bar to stand up while our constable calls
the names of the jurymen.

Our victim of democracy's even-handed justice obeys the summons,
rising as his dark eyes flash angrily, and that hatred wrong which
lurks in his bosom seems kindling anew. "James M'Neilty! Terrance
M'Quade! Harry Johanna! Baldwin Dobson! Patrick Henessy! Be dad and
I have um all now, yer 'oner," ejaculates the official, exultingly,
as one by one the "nigger jurymen" respond to the call and take
their seats on a wooden slab at the right of his Honour, squire
Fetter. "You are, I may be sure, gentlemen, freeholders?" enquires
his honour, with a mechanical bow. They answer simultaneously in the
affirmative, and then, forming in a half circle, lay their hands on
a volume of Byron, which Fetter makes do for a Bible, and subscribe
to the sacred oath Felsh administers. By the Giver of all Good will
they return a verdict according to the evidence and the facts.
"Gentlemen will take their seats" (the officer must preserve order
in the court!) "the prisoner may also sit down," says Felsh, the
words falling from his lips with great gravity, as, opening the
revised statutes, he rises to address the jury.

"Gentlemen of the Jury!"-suddenly hesitates for a moment-"the solemn
duties which you are now called upon to perform" (at this moment
Terrance M'Quade draws a small bottle from his pocket, and after
helping himself to a portion of its contents passes it to his
fellows, much to the surprise of the learned Felsh, who hopes such
indecorum will cease) "and they are duties which you owe to the
safety of the state as well as to the protection of your own
families, are much enhanced by the superior mental condition of the
criminal before you." Here Mr. Felsh calls for a volume of Prince's
Digest, from which he instructs the jury upon several important
points of the law made and provided for making the striking a white
person by a slave or person of colour a capital offence. "Your
honour, too, will see the case to which I refer-'State and
Prudence!'" The learned gentleman extends the book, that his august
eyes may have a near view.

"Your word is quite sufficient, Mr. Felsh," returns Fetter, his eyes
half closed, as he waves his hand, adding that he is perfectly
posted on the case cited. "Page 499, I think you said?" he
continues, placing his thumbs in his waistcoat armlets, with an air
of indifference.

"Yes, your honour," rejoins Felsh, with a polite bow. His honour,
ordering a glass of water mixed with a little brandy, Mr. Felsh
continues:--"The case, gentlemen, before you, is that of the 'State
v. Nicholas.' This case, gentlemen, and the committal of the heinous
crime for which he stands arraigned before you, has excited no small
amount of interest in the city. It is one of those peculiar cases
where intelligence creeps into the property interest of our noble
institution-the institution of slavery-makes the property restless,
disobedient to the will and commands of the master, disaffected to
the slave population, and dangerous to the peace and the progress of
the community. Now, gentlemen" (his honour has dropped into a
moderate nap-Mr. Felsh pauses for a moment, and touches him gently
on the shoulder, as he suddenly resumes his wonted attention, much
to the amusement of those assembled) "you will be told by the
witnesses we shall here produce, that the culprit is an exceedingly
intelligent and valuable piece of property, and as such might, even
now, be made extremely valuable to his master"--Mr. Grabguy is in
court, watching his interests!-"who paid a large sum for him, and
was more than anxious to place him at the head of his manufacturing
establishment, which office he was fully capable of filling. Now,
gentlemen-his honour will please observe this point-much as I may
consider the heavy loss the master will suffer by the conviction of
the prisoner, and which will doubtless be felt severely by him, I
cannot help impressing upon you the necessity of overlooking the
individual loss to the master, maintaining the law, and preserving
the peace of the community and stability of our noble institution.
That the state will only allow the master two hundred dollars for
his valuable slave you have nothing to do with-you must sink that
from your minds, listen to the testimony, and form your verdict in
accordance with that and the law. That he is a dangerous slave, has
long maintained a disobedience towards his owner, set the
authorities at defiance, attempted to create an insurrection, and
made a dangerous assault on a white man-which constitutes a capital
offence-we shall now call witnesses to prove." The learned gentleman
having finished his opening for the prosecution, sits down. After a
moment's pause, he orders an attendant to bring something "to
take"-"Similar to the squire's!" he ejaculates, hoarsely.

"Gentlemen!" says his honour, as if seized with the recollection of
some important appointment, the time for which was close at hand,
drawing out his watch, "Call witnesses as fast as possible! The
evidence in this case, I reckon, is so direct and positive, that the
case can be very summarily despatched."

"I think so, too! yer 'oner," interrupts Terrance M'Quade, starting
from his seat among the five jurors. Terrance has had what in vulgar
parlance is termed a "tough time" with several of his own stubborn
negroes; and having already heard a deal about this very bad case,
is prepared to proclaim him fit only to be hanged. His honour
reminds Terrance that such remarks from a juror are neither strictly
legal nor in place.

The first witness called is Toby, a slave of Terrance M'Quade, who
has worked in the same shop with Nicholas. Toby heard him say he got
his larnin' when he was young,--that his heart burned for his
freedom-that he knew he was no slave by right-that some day would
see him a great man; that if all those poor wretches now in slavery
knew as much as he did, they would rise up, have their liberties,
and proclaim justice without appealing to heaven for it!-"

"I said all that, and more!" interrupted the criminal bondman,
rising quickly to his feet, and surveying those around him with a
frown of contempt.

"Silence! sit down!" resounds from the officer.

He will sit down, but they cannot quench the fires of his soul; they
may deny him the commonest right of his manhood, but they cannot
take from him the knowledge that God gave him those rights; they may
mock with derision the firm mien with which he disputes the power of
his oppressors, and their unjust laws, but they cannot make him less
than a man in his own feelings!

His honour, squire Fetter, reminds him that it were better he said
nothing, sit down,--or be punished instanter. Turning to Felsh, who
is sipping his quencher, he enquires what that gentleman means to
prove by the witness Toby?

"His intention to raise an insurrection, yer honour!" Felsh, setting
his glass aside, quickly responds, wiping his lips as he adds, "It
is essentially necessary, yer honour!"

His honour, leaning forward, places the fore-finger of his right
hand to his lip, and making a very learned gesture, says, "Toby has
said enough to establish that point."

The next witness is Mr. Brien Calligan, a criminal in the prison,
who for his good behaviour has been promoted to the honourable post
of under-warden. Mr. Brien Calligan testifies that the prisoner,
while in prison, confined in a cell under his supervision, admitted
that he intended to kill Mr. Monsel when he inflicted the wound. He
must qualify this statement, however, by saying that the prisoner
added he was altogether beside himself with rage.

Grabguy, who has been intently watching the proceedings, suddenly
springs to his feet. He would like to know if that admission was not
extorted from the culprit by cruelty!

Mr. Brien Calligan pauses a moment, looks innocently at the court,
as one of the jurors suggests that quite enough evidence has already
been put in to warrant a conviction. It's a pity to hang such
valuable property; but, being bent on disturbing the peace of the
community, what else can be done?

His honour listens with great concern to the juror's remarks, but
suggests that Mr. Grabguy had better not interrupt the court with
questions. That he has an indirect interest in the issue of the
suit, not a doubt exists, but if he be not satisfied with the
witness's statement, he has his remedy in the court of appeals,
where, upon the ground of testimony having been elicited by coercion
or cruelty, a new trial will probably be granted.

Mr. Grabguy would merely suggest to his honour that although
sentencing a negro to be hung may be a matter of small consequence
to him, yet his position in society gives him a right to be heard
with proper respect. Aware that he does not move in that exclusively
aristocratic sphere of society awarded to lawyers in general, he is
no less entitled to respect, and being a man of honour, and an
alderman as well, he shall always insist on that respect.

"Order, order!" demand a dozen voices. His honour's face flashing
with indignation, he seizes the statutes, and rising to his feet, is
about to throw them with unerring aim at the unhandsome head of the
municipal functionary. A commotion here ensues. Felsh is esteemed
not a bad fighting man; and rising almost simultaneously, his face
like a full moon peeping through a rain cloud, attempts to pacify
his colleague, Fetter. The court is foaming with excitement; Mr.
Felsh is excited, the jury are excited to take a little more drink,
the constables are excited, the audience are excited to amusement;
Messrs. Fetter and Felsh's court rocks with excitement: the only
unexcited person present is the criminal, who looks calmly on, as if
contemplating with horror the debased condition of those in whose
hands an unjust law has placed his life.

As the uproar and confusion die away, and the court resumes its
dignity, Mr. Grabguy, again asserting his position of a gentleman,
says he is not ashamed to declare his conviction to be, that his
honour is not in a fit state to try a "nigger" of his: in fact, the
truth must be told, he would not have him sit in judgment upon his

At this most unwarranted declaration Fetter rises from his judicial
chair, his feelings burning with rage, and bounds over the table at
Grabguy, prostrating his brother Felsh, tables, benches, chairs, and
everything else in his way,--making the confusion complete. Several
gentlemen interpose between Fetter; but before he can reach Grabguy,
who is no small man in physical strength--which he has developed by
fighting his way "through many a crowd" on election days-that
municipal dignitary is ejected, sans ceremonie, into the street.

"Justice to me! My honest rights, for which I laboured when he gave
me no bread, would have saved him his compunction of conscience: I
wanted nothing more," says Nicholas, raising the side of his coarse
jacket, and wiping the sweat from his brow.

"Silence there!" demands an official, pointing his tipstaff, and
punching him on the shoulder.

Grabguy goes to his home, considering and reconsidering his own
course. His heart repeats the admonition, "Thou art the wrong-doer,
Grabguy!" It haunts his very soul; it lays bare the sources from
whence the slave's troubles flow; places the seal of aggression on
the state. It is a question with him, whether the state, through its
laws, or Messrs. Fetter and Felsh, through the justice meted out at
their court, play the baser part.

A crowd of anxious persons have gathered about the door, making the
very air resound with their shouts of derision. Hans Von
Vickeinsteighner, his fat good-natured face shining like a pumpkin
on a puncheon, and his red cap dangling above the motley faces of
the crowd, moves glibly about, and says they are having a right
jolly good time at the law business within.

Fetter, again taking his seat, apologises to the jury, to the
persons present, and to his learned brother, Felsh. He is very sorry
for this ebullition of passion; but they may be assured it was
called forth by the gross insult offered to all present. "Continue
the witnesses as fast as possible," he concludes, with a methodical

Mr. Monsel steps forward: he relates the fierce attempt made upon
his life; has no doubt the prisoner meant to kill him, and raise an
insurrection. "It is quite enough; Mr. Monsel may stand down,"
interposes Felsh, with an air of dignity.

Paul Vampton, an intelligent negro, next bears testimony. The
criminal at the bar (Paul does not believe he has a drop of negro
blood in his veins) more than once told him his wife and children
were sold from him, his rights stripped from him, the hopes of
gaining his freedom for ever gone. Having nothing to live for, he
coveted death, because it was more honourable to die in defence of
justice, than live the crawling slave of a tyrant's rule.

"I feel constrained to stop the case, gentlemen of the jury,"
interposes his honour, rising from his seat. "The evidence already
adduced is more than sufficient to establish the conviction."

A juror at Terrance M'Quade's right, touches that gentleman on the
shoulder: he had just cooled away into a nice sleep: "I think so,
too, yer 'oner," rejoins Terrance, in half bewilderment, starting
nervously and rubbing his eyes.

A few mumbled words from his honour serve as a charge to the jury.
They know the law, and have the evidence before them. "I see not,
gentlemen, how you can render a verdict other than guilty; but that,
let me here say, I shall leave to your more mature deliberation."
With these concluding remarks his honour sips his mixture, and sits

Gentlemen of the jury rise from their seats, and form into a circle;
Mr. Felsh coolly turns over the leaves of the statutes; the audience
mutter to themselves; the prisoner stares vacantly over the scene,
as if heedless of the issue.

"Guilty! it's that we've made it; and the divil a thing else we
could make out of it," exclaims Terrance M'Quade, as they, after the
mature length of two minutes' consultation, turn and face his
honour. They pause for a reply.

"Stand up, prisoner!"

"Hats off during the sentence!" rejoins a constable.

"Guilty." His honour rises to his feet with ponderous dignity to
pronounce the awful sentence. "Gentlemen, I must needs compliment
your verdict; you could have come to no other." His honour bows
gracefully to the jury, reminds gentlemen present of the solemn
occasion, and will hear what the prisoner has to say for himself.

An angry frown pervades the prisoner's face. He has nothing to say.
Burning tears course down his cheeks; but they are not tears of
contrition,--Oh, no! he has no such tears to shed. Firmly and
resolutely he says, "Guilty! guilty! yes, I am guilty-guilty by the
guilty laws of a guilty land. You are powerful-I am weak; you have
might-I have right. Mine is not a chosen part. Guilty on earth, my
soul will be innocent in heaven; and before a just judge will my
cause be proclaimed, before a holy tribunal my verdict received, and
by angels my soul be enrolled among the righteous. Your earthly law
seals my lips; your black judgment-enough to make heaven frown and
earth tremble, fearing justice-crushes the man; but you cannot judge
the spirit. In fear and trembling your wrongs will travel broken
paths-give no man rest. I am guilty with you; I am innocent in
heaven. He who judgeth all things right, receives the innocent soul
into his bosom; and He will offer repentance to him who takes the
innocent life." He pauses, as his eye, with intense stare, rests
upon his honour.

"You are through?" enquires his honour, raising his eyebrows.

"In this court of justice," firmly replies the prisoner.

"Order in the court!" is echoed from several voices.

"Nicholas-Nicholas Grabguy! the offence for which you stand
convicted is one for which I might, according to the laws of the
land, pronounce a more awful sentence than the one now resolved
upon. But the advanced and enlightened spirit of the age calls for a
more humane manner of taking life and inflicting punishments. Never
before has it been my lot to pass sentence-although I have
pronounced the awful benediction on very many-on so valuable and
intelligent a slave. I regret your master's loss as much as I
sympathise with your condition; and yet I deplore the hardened and
defiant spirit you yet evince. And permit me here to say, that while
you manifest such an unyielding spirit there is no hope of pardon.
Nicholas! you have been tried before a tribunal of the land, by the
laws of your state, and found guilty by a tribunal of competent men.
Nothing is now left for me but to pass sentence upon you in
accordance with the law. The sentence of the court is, that you be
taken hence to the prison from whence you came, and on this day
week, at twelve o'clock, from thence to the gallows erected in the
yard thereof, and there and then be hanged by the neck until you are
dead; and may the Lord have mercy on your soul!"

His honour, concluding nervously, orders the jury to be dismissed,
and the court adjourned.

How burns the inward hate of the oppressed culprit, as mutely, his
hands pinioned, and the heavy chain about his neck, he is led away
to his prison-house, followed by a deriding crowd. "Come that happy
day, when men will cease to make their wrong fire my very blood!" he
says, firmly marching to the place of death.



TEN years have rolled into the past since the Rosebrook family-moved
by a sense of right to enquire into the errors of a bad system of
labour-resolved to try the working of a new scheme. There was to be
no cutting, nor lashing, nor abusing with overburdening tasks.
Education was to regulate the feelings, kindness to expand the
sympathies, and justice to bind the affections and stimulate
advancement. There were only some fifty negroes on the Rosebrook
plantation, but its fame for raising great crops had resounded far
and wide. Some planters said it "astonished everything," considering
how much the Rosebrooks indulged their slaves. With a third less in
number of hands, did they raise more and better cotton than their
neighbours; and then everything was so neat and bright about the
plantation, and everybody looked so cheerful and sprightly. When
Rosebrook's cotton was sent into the market, factors said it was
characteristic of his systemised negroes; and when his negroes
rolled into the city, as they did on holidays, all brightened up
with new clothes, everybody said-There were Rosebrook's dandy, fat,
and saucy "niggers." And then the wise prophets, who had all along
predicted that Rosebrook's project would never amount to much, said
it was all owing to his lady, who was worth her weight in gold at
managing negroes. And she did conceive the project, too; and her
helping hand was felt like a quickening spring, giving new life to
the physical being. That the influence might not be lost upon others
of her sex in the same sphere of life, she was ever reasoning upon
the result of female sympathy. She felt that, were it exercised
properly, it could raise up the menial slave, awaken his inert
energies, give him those moral guides which elevate his passive
nature, and regenerate that manhood which provides for its own good.

They had promised their people that all children born at and after a
given date should be free; that all those over sixty should be
nominally free, the only restriction being the conditions imposed by
the state law; that slaves under fifteen years of age, and able to
do plantation work, should, during the ten years prescribed, be
allowed for their extra labour at a given rate, and expected to have
the sum of two hundred and fifty dollars set to their credit; that
all prime people should be required to work a given number of hours,
as per task, for master, beyond which they would be allotted a
"patch" for cultivation, the products of which were entrusted to
Rosebrook for sale, and the proceeds placed in missus' savings bank
to their credit. The people had all fulfilled the required
conditions ere the ten years expired; and a good round sum for extra
earnings was found in the bank. The Rosebrooks kept faith with their
slaves; and the happy result is, that Rosebrook, in addition to the
moral security he has founded for the good of his people-and which
security is a boon of protection between master and slave-has been
doubly repaid by the difference in amount of product, the result of
encouragement incited by his enlightened system. The family were
bound in affection to their slaves; and the compact has given forth
its peaceful products for a good end. Each slave being paid for his
or her labour, there is no decline of energy, no disaffection, no
clashing of interests, no petulant disobedience. Rosebrook finds his
system the much better of the two. It has relieved him of a deal of
care; he gets more work for less money; he laughs at his neighbours,
who fail to raise as much cotton with double the number of negroes;
and he knows that his negroes love instead of fear him. And yet,
notwithstanding the proof he has produced, the whole district of
planters look upon him with suspicion, consider him rather a
dangerous innovator, and say, that while his foolish system cannot
be other than precarious to the welfare of the state, time will
prove it a monster fallacy.

A happy moment was it when the time rolled round, and the morning of
the day upon which Rosebrook would proclaim the freedom of his
people broke serenely forth. The cabins looked bright and airy, were
sanded and whitewashed, and, surrounded by their neatly attired
inhabitants, presented a picturesque appearance. It was to be a
great gala-day, and the bright morning atmosphere seemed propitious
of the event. Daddy Daniel had got a new set of shiny brass buttons
put on his long blue coat, and an extremely broad white cravat for
his neck. Daniel was a sort of lawgiver for the plantation, and sat
in judgment over all cases brought before him, with great gravity of
manner. As to his judgments, they were always pronounced with
wondrous solemnity, and in accordance with what he conceived to be
the most direct process of administering even-handed justice. Daddy
was neither a democrat nor an unjust judge. Believing that it were
better to forgive than inflict undue punishments, he would rather
shame the transgressor, dismiss him with a firm admonition to do
better, and bid him go, transgress no more!

Harry had prepared a new sermon for the eventful day; and with it he
was to make his happy flock remember the duty which they would
henceforth owe to those who had been their kind protectors, as well
as the promoters of that system which would result in happier days.
How vivid of happiness was that scene presented in the plantation
church, where master and missus, surrounded by their faithful old
slaves, who, with a patriarchal attachment, seemed to view them with
reverence, sat listening to the fervent discourse of that once
wretched slave, now, by kindness, made a man! Deep, soul-stirring,
and affecting to tears, were the words of prayer with which that
devout negro invoked the all-protecting hand of Almighty God, that
he would guide master and slave through the troubles of this earthly
stage, and receive them into his bosom. How in contrast with that
waging of passion, and every element of evil that has its source in
injustice, so rife of plantation life, was the picture here

The service ended, Rosebrook addresses a few remarks to his people;
after which they gather around him and pour forth their gratitude in
genial sentiments. Old and young have a "Heaven save master!" for
Rosebrook, and a "God bless missus!" for his noble-hearted lady, to
whom they cling, shaking her hand with warmest affection.

How enviable to her sex is the position of that woman who labours
for the fallen, and whose heart yields its kindred sympathy for the

After congratulations and tokens of affection had been exchanged,
master, missus, and the people-for such they now were-repaired to
the green in front of the plantation mansion, where a sumptuous
collation was spread out, to which all sat down in one harmonious
circle. Then the festivities of the day-a 4th of July in
miniature-ended with a gathering at Dad Daniel's cabin, where he
profoundly laid down a system of rules for the future observance of
the people.

Six months have passed under the new r‚gime; and Rosebrook, feeling
that to require labour of his people for a sum much beneath its
value must in time become a source from which evil results would
flow, awarded them a just and adequate remuneration, and finds it
work well. Harry had not been included among those who were enrolled
as candidates for the enjoyment offered by the new system; but
missus as well as master had confidentially promised him he should
be free before many years, and with his family, if he desired, sent
to Liberia, to work for the enlightenment of his fellow Africans.
Harry was not altogether satisfied that the greater amount of labour
to be done by him for the unfortunate of his race was beyond the
southern democratic states of America; and, with this doubt
instinctively before him, he was not restless for the consummation.

Some three months after the introduction of the new state of
affairs, Dad Daniel was observed to have something weighing heavily
on his mind. At times he was seen consulting seriously with Harry;
but of the purport of these consultations no one, except themselves,
was made acquainted. That very many venerable uncles and aunts were
curious to know Daddy's secret contemplations was equally evident.
At length Daniel called a meeting of his more aged and sagacious
brethren, and with sage face made known his cherished project.
Absalom and Uncle Cato listened with breathless suspense as the sage
sayings fell from his lips. His brethren had all felt the sweet
pleasures of justice, right, freedom, and kindness. "Well, den,
broderin, is't 'um right in de sight ob de Lord, dat ye forgets dat
broder what done so much fo'h ye body and ye soul too?"

"No, No! dat tisn't!" interrupted a dozen voices.

"Well, den!-I know'd, broderin, ye hab got da' bright spirit in ye,
and wouldn't say 'twas!" Daniel continues, making a gesture with his
left hand, as he raises the spectacles from his eyes with his right,
and in his fervency lets them speed across the room. Daniel is only
made conscious of his ecstasy when his broken eyes are returned to
him. Turning to his brethren, he makes one of his very best
apologies, and continues-"Dis ar poposition I'se gwine to put! And
dat is, dat all ye broderin ere present put up somefin ob he arnin,
and wid dat somefin, and what mas'r gib, too, we sarve dat geman
what preach the gospel dat do 'em good wid 'e freedom for sef and
family. Tain't right in de sight ob de Lor, nohow, to have preacher
slave and congration free: I tell ye dat, my broderin, tain't!" With
these sage remarks, Daddy Daniel concluded his proposition, leaned
his body forward, spread his hands, and, his wrinkled face filled
with comicality, waited the unanimous response which sounded forth
in rapturous medley. Each one was to put in his mite, the preacher
was to have a fund made up for him, which was to be placed in the
hands of missus, and when sufficiently large (master will add his
mite) be handed over for the freedom of the clergyman and his
family. But missus, ever generous and watchful of their interests,
had learned their intentions, and forestalled their kindness by
herself setting them free, and leaving it to their own discretion to
go where they will. There were many good men at the south-men whose
care of their slaves constituted a bond of good faith; but they
failed to carry out means for protecting the slave against the
mendacity of the tyrant. None more than Harry had felt how
implicated was the state for giving great power to tyrant
democracy-that democracy giving him no common right under the laws
of the land, unless, indeed, he could change his skin. Ardently as
he was attached to the plantation and its people-much as he loved
good master and missus, he would prefer a home in happy New England,
a peaceful life among its liberty-loving people. To this end the
Rosebrooks provided him with money, sent him to the land he had
longed to live in. In Connecticut he has a neat and comfortable
home, far from the cares of slave life; no bloodhounds seek him
there, no cruel slave-dealer haunts his dreams. An intelligent
family have grown up around him; their smiles make him happy; they
welcome him as a father who will no more be torn from them and sold
in a democratic slave mart. And, too, Harry is a hearty worker in
the cause of freedom, preaches the gospel, and is the inventor of a
system of education by which he hopes to elevate the fallen of his
race. He has visited foreign lands, been listened to by dukes and
nobles, and enlisted the sympathies of the lofty in the cause of the
lowly. And while his appeals on behalf of his race are fervent and
fiery, his expositions of the wrongs of slavery are equally fierce;
but he is not ungrateful to the good master, whom he would elevate
high above the cruel laws he is born and educated to observe. With
gratitude and affection does he recur to the generous Rosebrooks; he
would hold them forth as an example to the slave world, and emblazon
their works on the pages of history, as proof of what can be done.
Bright in his eventful life, was the day, when, about to take his
departure from the slave world, he bid the Rosebrooks a long, long
good by. He vividly remembers how hope seemed lighting up the
prospect before him-how good missus shook his hand so motherly-how
kindly she spoke to Jane, and how fondly she patted his little ones
on the head. "The Rosebrooks," says our restored clergyman, "have
nothing to fear save the laws of the state, which may one day make
tyrranny crumble beneath its own burden."



THE reader may remember that in a former chapter we left Annette and
Franconia, in company of the stranger, on board the steamer for
Wilmington, swiftly gliding on her course. Four bells struck as the
surging craft cleared the headlands and shaped her course. The
slender invalid, so neat of figure, and whose dress exhibited so
much good taste, has been suddenly transformed into a delicate girl
of some seventeen summers. As night spreads its shadows over the
briny scene, and the steaming craft surges onward over rolling
swells, this delicate girl may be seen emerging from her cabin
confines, leaning on Franconia's arm as she approaches the promenade
deck. Her fawn-coloured dress, setting as neatly as it is
chastefully cut, displays a rounded form nicely compact; and,
together with a drawn bonnet of green silk, simply arranged, and
adding to her fair oval face an air of peculiar delicacy, present
her with personal attractions of no ordinary character. And then her
soft blue eyes, and her almost golden hair, hanging in thick wavy
folds over her carnatic cheeks, add to the symmetry of her features
that sweetness which makes modesty more fascinating. And though she
has been but a slave, there is a glow of gentleness pervading her
countenance, over which a playful smile now sheds a glow of
vivacity, as if awakening within her bosom new hopes of the future.

The suddenness with which they embarked served to confuse and dispel
all traces of recognition; and even the stranger, as they advanced
toward him, hesitated ere he greeted Annette and extended his hand.
But they soon joined in conversation, promenaded and mingled with
the passengers. Cautious not to enter the main cabin, they remained,
supperless, on the upper deck, until near midnight. That social
prejudice which acts like a crushing weight upon the slave's mind
was no longer to deaden her faculties; no, she seemed like a new
being, as, with childish simplicity, her soul bounded forth in
rhapsody of praise and thankfulness. Holding Franconia by the hand,
she would kiss her, fondle her head on her bosom, and continue to
recount the pleasure she anticipated when meeting her long-lost
mother. "They'll sell me no more, Franconia, will they?" she would
exclaim, looking enquiringly in her face.

"No, my poor child; you won't be worth selling in a land of
freedom!" Franconia would answer, jocosely. After charging Maxwell
to be a father and a brother to the fugitive girl,--to remember that
a double duty was to be performed in his guardianship over the being
who had just escaped from slavery, they retired below, and on the
following morning found themselves safely landed at Wilmington,
where, after remaining about six hours, Franconia bid Annette and
Maxwell adieu! saw them on their way to New York, and returned to
Charleston by the same steamer.

On reaching her home, she was overjoyed at finding a letter from her
parents, who, as set forth, had many years resided on the west coast
of Mexico, and had amassed a considerable fortune through a
connection with some mining operations. Lorenzo, on the first
discovery of gold in California, having joined a marauding party who
were traversing that country, was amongst the earliest who enriched
themselves from its bountiful yield. They gave up their wild
pursuits, and with energy and prudence stored-up their diggings, and
resolved to lead a new life. With the result of one year's digging,
Lorenzo repaired to San Francisco, entered upon a lucrative
business, increased his fortune, and soon became a leading man of
the place. The hope that at some day he would have means wherewith
to return home, wipe away the stain which blotted his character, and
relieve his parents from the troubles into which his follies had
brought them, seemed like a guiding star ever before him. And then
there was his generous-hearted uncle in the hands of Graspum,--that
man who never lost an opportunity of enriching himself while
distressing others. And now, by one of those singularities of
fortune which give persons long separated a key to each other's
wayfaring, Lorenzo had found out the residence of his parents on the
west coast of Mexico. Yes; he was with them, enjoying the comforts
of their domicile, at the date of their letter. How happy they would
be to see their Franconia, to have her with them, and once more
enjoy their social re-unions so pleasantly given on brother
Marston's plantation! Numberless were the letters they had written
her, but not an answer to one had been received. This had been to
them a source of great misgiving; and as a last resource they had
sent this letter enclosed to a friend, through whose kindness it
reached her.

The happy intelligence brought by this letter so overjoyed Franconia
that she could with difficulty restrain her feelings. Tears of
gladness coursed down her cheeks, as she rested her head on Mrs.
Rosebrook's bosom, saying, "Oh, how happy I am! Sweet is the
forgiveness which awaits us,--strong is the hope that through
darkness carries us into brighter prospects of the future." Her
parents were yet alive-happy and prosperous; her brother, again an
honourable man, and regretting that error which cost him many a
tear, was with them. How inscrutable was the will of an all-wise
Providence: but how just! To be ever sanguine, and hope for the
best, is a passion none should be ashamed of, she thought. Thus
elated in spirits she could not resist the temptation of seeking
them out, and enjoying the comforts of their parental roof.

But we must here inform the reader that M'Carstrow no longer acted
the part of a husband towards Franconia. His conduct as a debauchee
had driven her to seek shelter under the roof of Rosebrook's
cottage, while he, a degraded libertine, having wasted his living
among cast-out gamblers, mingled only with their despicable society.
Stripped of all arts and disguises, and presented in its best form,
the result of Franconia's marriage with Colonel M'Carstrow was but
one of those very many unhappy connections so characteristic of
southern life.

Provided with funds which the generous Rosebrooks kindly furnished
her, a fortnight after the receipt of her father's letter found her
embarked on board a steamer bound for the Isthmus, from whence she
would seek her parents overland. With earnest resolution she had
taken a fond leave of the Rosebrooks, and bid adieu to that home and
its associations so dear to her childhood; and with God and happy
associations her guide and her protector, was bounding over the sea.
For three days the gallant ship sped swiftly onward, and the
passengers, among whom she made many friends, seemed to enjoy
themselves with one accord, mingling together for various
amusements, spreading their social influence for the good of all,
and, with elated spirits at the bright prospect, anticipating a
speedy voyage. All was bright, calm, and cheering-the monster
machines working smoothly, pressing the leviathan forward with
curling brine at her bows, until the afternoon of the fourth day,
when the wind in sharp gusts from the south-west, and the sudden
falling of the barometer, admonished the mariner of the approaching
heavy weather. At sunset a heavy bank in the west hung its
foreboding festoons along the horizon, while light, fleecy clouds
gathered over the heavens, and scudded swiftly into the east.
Steadily the wind increased, the sea became restless, and the sharp
chops thundering at the weather bow, veering the ship from her
course, rendering it necessary to keep her head a point nearer the
westward, betokened a gale. To leeward were the Bahamas, their
dangerous banks spreading awe among the passengers, and exciting the
fears of the more timid. On the starboard bow was Key West, with its
threatening and deceptive reefs, but far enough ahead to be out of
danger. At midnight, the wind, which had increased to a gale, howled
in threatening fierceness. Overhead, the leaden clouds hung low
their massive folds, and thick spray buried the decks and rigging;
beneath, the angry ocean spread out in resistless waves of
phosphorous light, and the gallant craft surged to and fro like a
thing of life on a plain of rolling fire. Now she yields to the
monster wave threatening her bow, over another she rides proudly,
and to a third her engines slowly rumble round, as with half-buried
deck she careens to its force. The man at the wheel, whose head we
see near a glimmering light at the stern, watches anxiously for the
word of command, and when received, executes it with quickness. An
intruding sea has driven the look-out from the knight-heads to a
post at the funnel, where, near the foremast, he clings with
tenacious grip. Near him is the first officer, a veteran seaman, who
has seen some twenty years' service, receiving orders from the
captain, who stands at the weather quarter. Noiselessly the men
proceed to execute their duties. There is not that bustle nor
display of seamanship, in preparing a steamer for encountering a
gale, so necessary in a sailing-ship; and all, save the angry
elements, move cautiously on. The engineer, in obedience to the
captain's orders, has slowed his engines. The ship can make but
little headway against the fierce sea; but still, obedient to her
command, it is thought better to maintain power just sufficient to
keep her head to the sea. The captain says it is necessary, as well
to ease her working as not to strain her machinery. He is supposed
the better judge, and to his counsel all give ear. Now and then a
more resolute passenger shoots from no one knows where, holds
struggling by the jerking shroud, and, wrapt in his storm cloak, his
amazed eyes, watching the scudding elements overhead, peer out upon
the raging sea: then he mutters, "What an awful sight! how madly
grand with briny light!" How sublimely terrific are the elements
here combined to wage war against the craft he thought safe from
their thunders! She is but a pigmy in their devouring sweep, a
feeble prey at their mercy. The starboard wheel rumbles as it turns
far out of water; the larboard is buried in a deep sea the ship
careens into. Through the fierce drear he sees the black funnel
vomiting its fiery vapour high aloft; he hears the chain braces
strain and creak in its support; he is jerked from his grasp,
becomes alarmed for his safety, and suddenly disappears. In the
cabin he tells his fellow voyagers how the storm rages fearfully:
but it needed not his word to confirm the fact: the sudden lurching,
creaking of panel-work, swinging to and fro of lamps, sliding from
larboard to starboard of furniture, the thumping of the sea against
the ship's sides, prostrate passengers made helpless by sea
sickness, uncouched and distributed about the floor, moaning
females, making those not ill sick with their wailings, timid
passengers in piteous accents making their lamentations in state
rooms, the half frightened waiter struggling timidly along, and the
wind's mournful music as it plays through the shrouds, tell the tale
but too forcibly. Hope, fear, and prayer, mingle in curious discord
on board this seemingly forlorn ship on an angry sea. Franconia lies
prostrate in her narrow berth, now bracing against the panels, then
startled by an angry sea striking at her pillow, like death with his
warning mallet announcing, "but sixteen inches separate us!"

Daylight dawns forth, much to the relief of mariners and passengers;
but neither the wind nor the sea have lessened their fierceness.
Slowly and steadily the engines work on; the good ship looks
defiantly at each threatening sea, as it sweeps along irresistibly;
the yards have been sent down, the topmasts are struck and housed;
everything that can render her easy in a sea has been stowed to the
snuggest compass; but the broad ocean is spread out a sheet of
raging foam. The drenched captain, his whiskers matted with saline,
and his face glowing and flushed (he has stood the deck all night),
may be seen in the main cabin, cheering and dispelling the fears of
his passengers. The storm cannot last-the wind will soon lull-the
sea at meridian will be as calm as any mill-pond-he has seen a
thousand worse gales; so says the mariner, who will pledge his
prophecy on his twenty years' experience. But in this one instance
his prophecy failed, for at noon the gale had increased to a
hurricane, the ship laboured fearfully, the engines strained and
worked unsteadily, while the sea at intervals made a breach of the
deck. At two o'clock a more gloomy spectacle presented itself; and
despondency seemed to have seized all on board, as a sharp,
cone-like sea boarded the ship abaft, carried away the quarter-boats
from the starboard davys, and started several stancheons. Scarcely
was the work of destruction complete, when the condenser of the
larboard engine gave out, rendering the machine useless, and
spreading dismay among the passengers. Thus, dragging the wheel in
so fearful a sea strained the ship more and more, and rendered her
almost unmanageable. Again a heavy, clanking noise was heard, the
steam rumbled from the funnel, thick vapour escaped from the
hatchways, the starboard engine stopped, and consternation reigned
triumphant, as a man in oily fustian approached the captain and
announced both engines disabled. The unmanageable monster now rolled
and surged at the sweep of each succeeding sea, which threatened to
engulph her in its sway. A piece of canvas is set in the main
rigging, and her helm put hard down, in the hope of keeping her head
to the wind. But she obeys not its direction. Suddenly she yaws off
into the trough of the sea, lurches broad on, and ere she regains
her way, a fierce sea sweeps the house from the decks, carrying
those within it into a watery grave. Shrieks and moans, for a
moment, mingle their painful discord with the murmuring wind, and
all is buried in the roar of the elements. By bracing the fore-yard
hard-a-starboard the unwieldy wreck is got before the wind; but the
smoke-funnel has followed the house, and so complete is the work of
demolition that it is with difficulty she can be kept afloat. Those
who were in the main, or lower cabin, startled at the sudden crash
which had removed the house above, and leaving the passages open,
exposing them to the rushing water that invaded their state-rooms,
seek the deck, where a more dismal sight is presented in the
fragments of wreck spread from knight-head to taffrail. The anxious
captain, having descended from the upper deck a few minutes before
the dire calamity, is saved to his passengers, with whom and his men
he labours to make safe what remains of his noble ship. Now more at
ease in the sea, with canvas brought from the store-rooms, are the
hatches and companions battened down, the splintered stancheons
cleared away, and extra pumps prepared for clearing the water fast
gaining in the lower hold. Lumbering moves the heavy mass over the
mounting surge; but a serious leak having sprung in the bow,
consternation and alarm seem on the point of adding to the sources
of danger. "Coolness is our safeguard," says the captain. Indeed,
the exercise of that all-important virtue when destruction threatens
would have saved thousands from watery graves.

His admonition was heeded,--all worked cheerfully, and for some time
the water was kept within bounds of subjection. As night approached
the sea became calmer, a bright streak gleamed along the western
horizon; hearts that had sorrowed gladdened with joy, as the murky
clouds overhead chased quickly into the east and dissolved, and the
blue arch of heaven-hung with pearly stars of hope-shed its peaceful
glows over the murmuring sea.

Again the night was passed in incessant labour of pumping and
clearing up the dismantled hull; but when daylight appeared, the
wind having veered and increased, the sea ran in short swells,
rocking the unwieldly hull, and fearfully straining every timber in
its frame. The leak now increased rapidly, as also did the water in
the hold, now beyond their exertions to clear. At ten o'clock all
hopes of keeping the wreck afloat had disappeared; and the last
alternative of a watery grave, or launching upon the broad ocean,
presented its stern terms for their acceptance. A council decided to
adopt the latter, when, as the hulk began to settle in the sea, and
with no little danger of swamping, boats were launched, supplied
with such stores as were at hand, the passengers and crew embarked,
and the frail barks sent away with their hapless freight to seek a
haven of safety. The leviathan hulk soon disappeared from sight.
Franconia, with twenty-five fellow unfortunates, five of whom were
females, had embarked in the mate's boat, which now shaped her
course for Nassau, the wind having veered into the north-west, and
that seeming the nearest and most available point. The clothing they
stood in was all they saved; but with that readiness to protect the
female, so characteristic and noble of the sailor, the mate and his
men lightened the sufferings of the women by giving them a portion
of their own: incasing them with their jackets and fearnoughts, they
would shield them from the night chill. For five days were
sufferings endured without a murmur that can only be appreciated by
those who have passed through shipwreck, or, tossed upon the ocean
in an open boat, been left to stare in the face grim hunger and
death. At noonday they sighted land ahead; and as each eager eye
strained for the welcome sight, it seemed rising from the ocean in a
dim line of haze. Slowly, as they neared, did it come bolder and
bolder to view, until it shone out a long belt of white panoramic
banks. Low, and to the unpractised eye deceptive of distance, the
mate pronounced it not many miles off, and, the wind freshening
fair, kept the little bark steadily on her course, hoping thereby to
gain it before night came on: but the sun sank in a heavy cloud when
yet some four miles intervened. Distinctly they saw a cluster of
houses on a projecting point nearly ahead; but not a sail was off
shore, to which the increasing wind was driving them with great

And now that object which had been sighted with so much welcome in
the morning-that had cheered many a drooping heart, and seemed a
haven of safety, threatened their destruction. The water shoaled;
the sea broke and surged in sharp cones; the little craft tippled
and yawed confusedly; the counter eddies twirled and whirled in
foaming concaves; and leaden clouds again hung their threatening
festoons over the awful sea. To lay her head to the sea was
impracticable-an attempt to "lay-to" under the little sail would be
madness; onward she rode, hurrying to an inevitable fate. Away she
swept through the white crests, as the wind murmured and the sea
roared, and the anxious countenance of the mate, still guiding the
craft with a steady hand, seemed masked in watchfulness. His hand
remained firm to the helm, his eyes peered into the black prospect
ahead: but not a word did he utter.

It was near ten o'clock, when a noise as of thunder rolling in the
distance, and re-echoing in booming accents, broke fearfully upon
their ears. The sea, every moment threatening to engulph the little
craft, to sweep its freight of human beings into eternity, and to
seal for ever all traces of their fate, was now the lesser enemy.
Not a word had escaped the lips of a being on board for several
minutes; all seemed resigned to whatever fate Providence awarded.

"The beach roars, Mr. Slade-"

The mate interrupted before the seaman in the sheets had time to
finish his sentence: "I have not been deaf to the breakers; but
there is no hope for us but upon the beach; and may heaven save us
there! Passengers, be calm! let me enjoin you to remain firm to your
places, and, if it be God's will that we strike, the curling surf
may be our deliverer. If it carry you to the sand in its sweep,
press quickly and resolutely forward, lest it drag you back in its
grasp, and bury you beneath its angry surge. Be firm, and hope for
the best!" he said, with great firmness. The man who first spoke sat
near Franconia, and during the five days they had been in the boat
exhibited great sympathy and kindness of heart. He had served her
with food, and, though a common sailor, displayed those traits of
tenderness for the suffering which it were well if those in higher
spheres of life did but imitate. As the mate ceased speaking, the
man took his pilot coat from his shoulder and placed it about
Franconia's, saying, "I will save this lady, or die with her in the
very same sea."

"That's well done, Mr. Higgins!" (for such was the man's name). "Let
the hardiest not forget the females who have shown so much fortitude
under trying circumstances; let the strong not forget the weak, but
all save who can," returned the mate, as he scanned through the
stormy elements ahead, in the hope of catching a glimpse of the

Drenched with the briny spray that swept over the little bark, never
did woman exhibit fortitude more resolute. Franconia thanked the man
for his solicitude, laid her hand nervously upon his arm, and,
through the dark, watched his countenance as if her fate was in its

The din and murmur of the surf now rose high above the wail of the
sea. Fearful and gloomy, a fretted shore stood out before them,
extending from a bold jut on the starboard hand away into the
darkness on the left. Beneath it the angry surf beat and lashed
against the beach in a sheet of white foam, roaring in dismal

"Hadn't you better put her broad on, Mr. Slade?" enquired the young
seaman, peering along the line of surf that bordered the shore with
its deluging bank.

"Ask no questions!" returned the mate, in a firm voice: "Act to the
moment, when she strikes-I will act until then." At the moment a
terrific rumbling broke forth; the din of elements seemed in battle
conflict; the little bark, as if by some unforeseen force, swept
through the lashing surge, over a high curling wave, and with a
fearful crash lay buried in the boiling sand. Agonising shrieks
sounded amid the rage of elements; and then fainter and fainter they
died away on the wind's murmurs. Another moment, and the young
sailor might have been seen, Franconia's slender form in his arms,
struggling against the devouring surf; but how vain against the
fierce monster were his noble efforts! The receding surge swept them
far from the shore, and buried them in its folds,--a watery grave
received the fair form of one whose life of love had been spotless,
just, and holy. The white wave was her winding-sheet,--the wind sang
a requiem over her watery grave,--and a just God received her spirit,
and enthroned it high among the angels.

Of the twenty-seven who embarked in the little craft, but two gained
the beach, where they stood drenched and forlorn, as if
contemplating the raging surf that had but a minute before swallowed
up their fellow voyagers. The boat had driven on a flat sandy beach
some two miles from the point on which stood the cluster of
dwellings before described; and from which two bright lights
glimmered, like beacons to guide the forlorn mariner. For them, the
escaped men-one a passenger, the other a seaman-shaped their course,
wet, and sad at heart.



THE mate did not mistake his position, for the jut of land we
described in the last chapter is but a few hours' ride from Nassau,
and the houses are inhabited by wreckers. With desponding hearts did
our unfortunates approach one of the rude cabins, from the window of
which a faint light glimmered, and hesitate at the door, as if
doubting the reception they were about to receive. The roaring of
the beach, and the sharp whistling of the wind, as in clouds it
scattered the sand through the air, drowned what sound might
otherwise be heard from within. "This cabin seems deserted," says
one, as he taps on the door a second time. "No, that cannot be!"
returns the other, peering through a small window into the
barrack-like room. It was from this window the light shone, and,
being a bleak November night, a wood fire blazed on the great
hearth, shedding its lurid glows over everything around. It is the
pale, saline light of wreckwood. A large binnacle lamp, of copper,
hung from the centre of the ceiling, its murky light mingling in
curious contrast to the pale shadows of the wreckwood fire. Rude
chains, and chests, and boxes, and ropes, and canvas, and broken
bolts of copper, and pieces of valuable wood, and various nautical
relics-all indicating the trade of shipwreck, lie or stand
promiscuously about the room; while in the centre is a table
surrounded by chairs, some of which are turned aside, as if the
occupants had just left. Again, there may be seen hanging from the
unplastered walls numerous teeth of fish, bones and jaws of sharks,
fins and flukes of curious species, heads of the Floridian
mamalukes, and preserved dolphins-all is interspersed here and there
with coloured prints, illustrative of Jack's leaving or returning to
his favourite Mary, with a lingering farewell or fond embrace.

Louder and louder, assured of some living being within they knock at
the door, until a hoarse voice rather roars than speaks-"Aye, aye!
hold hard a bit! I'se bearin' a hand!" The sound came as if from the
clouds, for not a living being was visible. A pause followed; then
suddenly a pair of dingy legs and feet descended from a small
opening above the window, which, until that moment, had escaped
their notice. The sight was, indeed, not the most encouraging to
weak nerves. Clumsily lowered the legs, the feet making a ladder of
cleets of wood nailed to the window, until the burly figure of the
wrecker, encased with red shirt and blue trousers, stood out full to
view. Over his head stood bristly hair in jagged tufts; and as he
drew his brawny hand over the broad disc of his sun-scorched face,
winking and twisting his eyes in the glare, there stood boldly
outlined on his features the index of his profession. He shrugged
his shoulders, gathered his nether garments quickly about him,
paused as if half confused and half overjoyed, then ran to the
fire-place, threw into a heap the charred wood with a long wooden
poker, and sought the door, saying--"Avast heavin a bit, Tom!" Having
removed a wooden bar, he stands in the opening, braving out the
storm. "A screachin nor'easter this, Tom--what'r ye sighted away,
eh!" he concludes. He is--to use a vulgar term--aghast with surprise.
It was Tom Dasher's watch to-night; but no Tom stands before him.
"Hallo!--From whence came you?" he enquires of the stranger, with an
air of anxious surprise. He bids them come in, for the wind carries
the sand rushing into his domicile.

"We are shipwrecked men in distress," says the passenger--the
wrecker, with an air of kindness, motioning them to sit down: "Our
party have been swallowed up in the surf a short distance below, and
we are the only survivors here seeking shelter."

"Zounds you say--God be merciful!" interrupts the hardy wrecker, ere
the stranger had time to finish his sentence. "It was Tom's look-out
to-night. Its ollers the way wi' him--he gits turned in, and sleeps
as niver a body see'd, and when time comes to unbunk himself, one
disn't know whether 'ts wind or Tom's snoarin cracks hardest. Well,
well,--God help us! Think ye now, if wife and I, didn't, in a half
sort of dream, fancy folks murmuring and crying on the beach about
twelve, say. But the wind and the surf kept up such a piping, and
Tom said ther war nought a sight at sundown." With a warm expression
of good intention did our hardy host set about the preparing
something to cheer their drooping spirits. "Be at home there wi'
me," says he; "and if things b'nt as fine as they might be, remember
we're poor folks, and have many a hard knock on the reefs for what
we drag out. Excuse the bits o' things ye may see about; and wife
'll be down in a fip and do the vary best she can fo'h ye." He had a
warm heart concealed beneath that rough exterior; he had long
followed the daring profession, seen much suffering, lightened many
a sorrowing heart. Bustling about among old boxes and bags, he soon
drew forth a lot of blankets and quilts, which he spread upon the
broad brick hearth, at the same time keeping up a series of
questions they found difficult to answer, so rapidly were they put.
They had indeed fallen into the hands of a good Samaritan, who would
dress their wounds with his best balms.

"An' now I tak it ye must be famished; so my old woman must get up
an' help mak ye comfortable," says he, bringing forth a black
tea-kettle, and filling it from a pail that stood on a shelf near
the fire-frame. He will hang it on the fire. He had no need of
calling the good dame; for as suddenly as mysteriously does the
chubby figure of a motherly-looking female of some forty years shoot
from the before described opening, and greeting the strangers with a
hearty welcome, set about preparing something to relieve their
exhaustion. A gentle smile pervades her little red face, so simply
expressive; her peaked cap shines so brightly in contrast with the
black ribbon with which she secures it under her mole-bedecked chin;
and her short homespun frock sets so comely, showing her thick knit
stockings, and her feet well protected in calfskin laces, with heels
a trooper might not despise; and then, she spreads her little table
with a heartiness that adds its value to simple goodness,--her
invitingly clean cups and saucers, and knives and forks, as she
spreads them, look so cheerful. The kettle begins to sing, and the
steam fumes from the spout, and the hardy wrecker brings his bottle
of old Jamaica, and his sugar; and such a bowl of hot punch was
never made before. "Come now," he says, "ye're in my little place;
the wrecker as don't make the distressed comfortable aneath his ruf
's a disgrace to the craft." And now he hands each a mug of steaming
punch, which they welcomely receive, a glow of satisfaction
bespreading his face, telling with what sincerity he gives it. Ere
they commenced sipping, the good dame brought pilot bread and set it
before them; and while she returned to preparing her supper the
wrecker draws his wooden seat by their side, and with ears attentive
listens to the passenger as he recites the disaster.

"Only two out of twenty-seven saved-a sorry place that gulf!" he
exclaims; "you bear away, wife. Ah, many a good body's bones, too,
have whitened the beach beside us; many 's the bold fellow has been
dashed upon it to die unknown," he continues, with serious face.
"And war ner onny wemen amang ye, good man?" interposes the good

"Seven; they have all passed into eternity!" rejoins the seaman,
who, till then, had been a mute looker-on.

"Poor souls! how they mun' 'ave suffered!" she sighs, shaking her
head, and leaning against the great fire frame, as her eyes fill
with tears. The wrecker must needs acquaint Tom Dasher, bring him to
his aid, and, though the storm yet rages, go search the beating surf
where roll the unfortunates. Nay, the good dame will herself execute
the errand of mercy, while he supplies the strangers with dry
clothes; she will bring Tom hither. She fears not the tempest while
her soul warms to do good; she will comfort the distressed who seek
shelter under her roof. With the best his rough wardrobe affords
does the wrecker clothe them, while his good wife, getting Tom up,
relates her story, and hastens back with him to her domicile. Tom is
an intrepid seafarer, has spent some seven years wrecking, saved
many a life from the grasp of the grand Bahama, and laid up a good
bit of money lest some stormy day may overtake him and make the wife
a widow.

"This is a hard case, Stores!" says Tom, addressing himself to our
wrecker, as with sharp, hairy face, and keen black eyes, his
countenance assumes great seriousness. Giving his sou'-wester a
cant back on his head, running his left hand deep into the pocket of
his pea-jacket, and supplying his mouth with tobacco from his right,
he stands his tall figure carelessly before the fire, and in a
contemplative mood remains silent for a few minutes.

"Aye, but somethin' mun' be done, Tom," says the first wrecker,
breaking silence.

"Yes; as my name is Tom Dasher, there must. We must go to the beach,
and see what it's turned up,--what there is to be seen, an' the like
o' that." Then, turning to the strangers, he continued, "Pity yer
skipper hadn't a headed her two points further suthard, rounded the
point just above here a bit, and made a lee under the bend. Our
craft lies there now,--as snug as Tompkins' wife in her chamber!"

"Yes, but, Tom! ye dinna think as the poor folks could know all
things," speaks up the woman, as Tom was about to add a few items
more, merely to give the strangers some evidence of his skill.

"Aye, aye,--all right; I didn't get the balance on't just then,"
returned Tom, nodding his head with an air of satisfaction.

A nice supper of broiled fish, and toast, and tea, and hot rum
punch-of which Tom helped himself without stint-was set out, the
strangers invited to draw up, and all partook of the plain but
cheering fare. As daylight was fast approaching, the two wreckers
dispatched their meal before the others, and sought the spot on the
beach described as where the fatal wreck took place, while the good
dame put the shipwrecked to sleep in the attic, and covered them
with her warmest rugs and blankets.

Not a vestige of the wreck was to be seen-not a fragment to mark the
spot where but a few hours before twenty-five souls were hurried
into eternity. They stood and stood, scanning over the angry ocean
into the gloom: nothing save the wail of the wind and the sea's roar
greeted their ears. Tom Dasher thinks either they have been borne
out into the fathomless caves, or the men are knaves with false
stories in their mouths.

Stores,--for such is our good man's name-turning from the spot, says
daylight will disclose a different scene; with the wind as it is the
bodies will be drawn into the eddy on the point, and thrown ashore
by the under-current, for burial. "Poor creatures! there's no help
for them now;" he adds, sighing, as they wend their way back to the
cabin, where the good dame waits their coming. Their search was in
vain; having no news to bring her, she must be contented until
morning. If the bodies wash ashore, the good woman of the Humane
Society will come down from the town, and see them decently buried.
Stores has several times spoken of this good woman; were she a
ministering angel he could not speak of her name with more
reverence. For years, he tells us, has she been a harbinger of good,
ever relieving the sick and needy, cheering the downcast, protecting
the unfortunate. Her name has become a symbol of compassion; she
mingles with the richest and the poorest, and none know her but to
love and esteem her. "And she, too, is an American lady!" Stores
says, exultingly. And to judge from his praise, we should say, if
her many noble deeds were recorded on fair marble, it would not add
one jot to that impression of her goodness made on the hearts of the
people among whom she lives.

"Ah, man! she's a good woman, and everybody loves and looks up to
her. And she's worth loving, too, because she's so kind," adds the
good dame, significantly canting her head.

Daylight was now breaking in the east, and as there seemed no chance
of making a search on the bank that day, such was the fierceness of
the wind, the two men drank again of the punch, spread their
blankets before the fire, lay their hardy figures down, and were
soon in a profound sleep. The woman, more watchful, coiled herself
in a corner of the room on some sail-cloth, but did not sleep.

At ten o'clock they were aroused by the neighbours, who, in great
anxiety, had come to inform them of an event they were already
conscious of,--adding, however, as an evidence of what had taken
place, that sixteen male and three female bodies, borne to the rips
at the point, had been thrown upon the shore. The denizens of the
point were indeed in a state of excitement; a messenger had been
sent into the town for the coroner, which said functionary soon
spread the news about, creating no little commotion among the
inhabitants, many of whom repaired to the scene of the disaster.

When it became known that two witnesses to the dire misfortune had
been spared to tell the tale, and were now at Stores' house, the
excitement calmed into sympathy. The wrecker's little village
resounded with curious enquiries, and few were they who would be
satisfied without a recital of the sad tale by the rescued men.

Carefully they brought the dead bodies from the shore, and laid them
in an untenanted house, to await the coroner's order. Among them was
the slender form of Franconia, the dark dress in which she was clad
but little torn, and the rings yet remaining on her fingers. "How
with fortitude she bore the suffering!" said the rescued passenger,
gazing on her blanched features as they laid her on the floor: the
wrecker's wife covered her with a white sheet, and spread a pillow
carefully beneath her head.

"Yes!" returns the unfortunate seaman, who stood by his side, "she
seemed of great goodness and gentleness. She said nothing, bore
everything without a murmur; she was Higgins' pet; and I'll lay he
died trying to save her, for never a braver fellow than Jack Higgins
stood trick at a wheel."

The coroner arrives as the last corpse is brought from the sand: he
holds his brief inquest, orders them buried, and retires. Soon,
three ladies-Stores' wife tells us they are of the Humane
Society-make their appearance in search of the deceased. They enter
Stores' house, greet his good dame familiarly, and remain seated
while she relates what has happened. One of the three is tall and
stately of figure, and dressed with that quiet taste so becoming a
lady. And while to the less observing eye no visible superiority
over the others is discernible, it is evident they view her in such
a light, always yielding to her counsels. Beneath a silk bonnet
trimmed with great neatness, is disclosed a finely oval face,
glowing with features of much regularity, large dark eyes of great
softness, and silky hair, laid in heavy wavy folds across a
beautifully arched brow-to which is added a sweet smile that ever
and anon plays over her slightly olive countenance. There, boldly
outlined, is the unmistakeable guide to a frank and gentle nature.
For several minutes does she listen to the honest woman's recital of
the sad event, which is suspended by the passenger making his
appearance. The wrecker's wife introduces him by motioning her hand,
and saying, "This is the kind lady of whose goodness I spoke so last
night." Anxiously does she gather from the stranger each and every
incident of the voyage: this done, she will go to the house where
lay the dead, our good Dame Stores leading the way, talking from the
very honesty of her heart the while. In a small dilapidated dwelling
on the bleak sands, the dead lay. Children and old men linger about
the door,--now they make strange mutterings, and walk away, as if in
fear. Our messengers of mercy have entered the abode of the dead.
The wrecker's wife says, "They are to be buried to-morrow, ma'am;"
while the lady, with singular firmness, glances her eye along the
row of male bodies, counting them one by one. She has brought
shrouds, in which to bury them like Christians.

"Them three females is here, ma'am," says Dame Stores, touching the
lady on the elbow, as she proceeds to uncover the bodies. The
passenger did, indeed, tell our Lady of Mercy there was one handsome
lady from Carolina. One by one she views their blanched and besanded

"A bonny figure that, mum; I lay she's bin a handsome in her day,"
with honest simplicity remarks Dame Stores, as, bent over the
lifeless body of Franconia, she turns back the sheet, carefully.
"Yes," is the quick reply: the philanthropic woman's keen eye scans
along the body from head to foot. Dame Stores will part the silken
hair from off that cold brow, and smooth it with her hand. Suddenly
our lady's eyes dart forth anxiety; she recognises some familiar
feature, and trembles. The rescued seaman had been quietly viewing
the bodies, as if to distinguish their different persons, when a
wrecker, who had assisted in removing the bodies, entered the room
and approached him, "Ah!" exclaims the seaman, suddenly, "yonder's
poor Jack Higgins." He points to a besanded body at the right, the
arms torn and bent partly over the breast, adding, "Jack had a good
heart, he had." Turning half round, the wrecker replies, "That 'un
had this 'un fast grappled in his arms; it was a time afore we got
'um apart."

"Was it this body?" enquires the lady, looking at the lifeless form
before her. He says, "That same, ma'am; an' it looked as if he had
tried to save the slender woman." He points to the body which Dame
Stores has just uncovered. The good lady kneels over the body: her
face suddenly becomes pale; her lips purple and quiver; she seems
sinking with nervous excitement, as tremulously she seizes the
blanched hand in her own. Cold and frigid, it will not yield to her
touch "That face-those brows, those pearly teeth, those lips so
delicate,--those hands,--those deathless emblems! how like Franconia
they seem," she ejaculates frantically, the bystanders looking on
with surprise. "And are they not my Franconia's-my dear
deliverer's?" she continues. She smooths the cold hands, and chafes
them in her own. The rings thereon were a present from Marston.
"Those features like unto chiselled marble are hers; I am not
deceived: no! oh no! it cannot be a dream" (in sorrow she shakes her
head as the tears begin to moisten her cheeks), "she received my
letter, and was on her way seeking me." Again she smooths and
smooths her left hand over those pallid cheeks, her right still
pressing the cold hand of the corpse, as her emotions burst forth in
agonising sobs.

The wrecker's wife loosens the dress from about deceased's
neck-bares that bosom once so fair and beautiful. A small locket,
attached to a plain black necklace, lies upon it, like a moat on a
snowy surface. Nervously does the good woman grasp it, and opening
it behold a miniature of Marston, a facsimile of which is in her own
possession. "Somethin' more 'ere, mum," says Dame Stores, drawing
from beneath a lace stomacher the lap of her chemise, on which is
written in indelible ink-"Franconia M'Carstrow." The doubt no longer
lent its aid to hope; the lady's sorrowing heart can no longer
withstand the shock. Weeping tears of anguish, she says, "May the
God of all goodness preserve her pure spirit, for it is my
Franconia! she who was my saviour; she it was who snatched me from
death, and put my feet on the dry land of freedom, and gave me-ah,
me!" she shrieked,--and fell swooning over the lifeless body, ere
Dame Stores had time to clasp her in her arms.

My reader can scarcely have failed to recognise in this messenger of
mercy,--this good woman who had so ennobled herself by seeking the
sufferer and relieving his wants, and who makes light the cares of
the lowly, the person of that slave-mother, Clotilda. Having drank
of the bitterness of slavery, she the more earnestly cheers the
desponding. That lifeless form, once so bright of beauty, so buoyant
of heart and joyous of spirit, is Franconia; she it was who
delivered the slave-mother from the yoke of bondage, set her feet on
freedom's heights, and on her head invoked its genial blessings. Her
soul had yearned for the slave's good; she had been a mother to
Annette, and dared snatch her from him who made the slave a
wretch,--democracy his boast! It was Franconia who placed the
miniature of Marston about Clotilda's neck on the night she effected
her escape,--bid her God speed into freedom. All that once so
abounded in goodness now lies cold in death. Eternity has closed her
lips with its strong seal,--no longer shall her soul be harassed with
the wrongs of a slave world: no! her pure spirit has ascended among
the angels.

We will not longer pain the reader's feelings with details of this
sad recognition, but inform him that the body was removed to
Clotilda's peaceful habitation, from whence, with becoming ceremony,
it was buried on the following day. A small marble tablet, standing
in a sequestered churchyard near the outskirts of Nassau, and on
which the traveller may read these simple words:--"Franconia, my
friend, lies here!" over which, in a circle, is chiseled the figure
of an angel descending, and beneath, "How happy in Heaven are the
Good!" marks the spot where her ashes rest in peace.



SHOULD the sagacious reader be disappointed in our hero Nicholas,
who, instead of being represented as a model of disinterestedness,
perilling his life to save others, sacrificing his own interests for
the cause of liberty, and wasting on hardened mankind all those
amiable qualities which belong only to angels, but with which heroes
are generally invested for the happy purpose of pleasing the lover
of romance, has evinced little else than an unbending will, he will
find a palliation in that condition of life to which his oppressors
have forced him to submit. Had Nicholas enjoyed his liberty, many
incidents of a purely disinterested character might have been
recorded to his fame, for indeed he had noble traits. That we have
not put fiery words into his mouth, with which to execrate the
tyrant, while invoking the vengeance of heaven-and, too, that we are
guilty of the crime of thus suddenly transferring him from boyhood
to manhood, nor have hanged him to please the envious and
vicious,--will find excuse with the indulgent reader, who will be
kind enough to consider that it is our business to relate facts as
they are, to the performance of which-unthankful though it may be-we
have drawn from the abundance of material placed in our hand by the
southern world. We may misname characters and transpose scenes, but
southern manners and customs we have transcribed from nature, to
which stern book we have religiously adhered. And, too (if the
reader will pardon the digression), though we never have agreed with
our very best admirers of the gallows, some of whom hold it a means
of correcting morals-nor, are yet ready to yield assent to the
opinions of the many, so popularly laid down in favour of what we
consider a medium of very unwholesome influence, we readily admit
the existence of many persons who have well merited a very good
hanging. But, were the same rules of evidence admissible in a court
of law when a thief is on trial, applied against the practice of
"publicly hanging," there would be little difficulty in convicting
it of inciting to crime. Not only does the problem of complex
philosophy-the reader may make the philosophy to suit his
taste-presented in the contrariety of scenes on and about the
gallows offer something irreconcileable to ordinary minds, but gives
to the humorous large means with which to feast their love of the
ludicrous. On the scaffold of destruction, our good brothers of the
clergy would, pointing to the "awful example," assure the motley
assembly gathered beneath, that he hath purified that soul, which
will surely be accepted in heaven; but, he can in no wise condescend
to let it, still directing the flesh, live on the less pure platform
of earth. With eager eyes, the mass beneath him, their morbid
appetites curiously distended, heed not the good admonition; nay,
the curious wait in breathless suspense the launching a human being
into eternity; the vicious are busy in crime the while; the heedless
make gay the holiday. Sum up the invention and perpetration of crime
beneath the gallows on one of those singular gala-days, and the
culprit expiating his guilt at the rope's end, as an "awful
warning," will indeed have disclosed a shallow mockery. Taking this
view of the hanging question, though we would deprive no man of his
enjoyment, we deem it highly improper that our hero should die by
any other means than that which the chivalrous sons of the south
declared "actually necessary."

But before proceeding further with Nicholas, it may be proper here
to state that Annette and the stranger, in whose hands we left her,
have arrived safe at New York. Maxwell-for such is his name-is with
his uncle engaged in a lucrative commercial business; while Annette,
for reasons we shall hereafter explain, instead of forthwith seeking
the arms of an affectionate mother, is being educated at a female
seminary in a village situated on the left bank of the Hudson River.

In returning to Nicholas, the reader will remember that Grabguy was
something of a philosopher, the all-important functions of which
medium he invoked on the occasion of his ejectment from Fetter's
court, for an interference which might at that moment have been
taken as evidence of repentance. The truth, however, was, that
Grabguy, in the exercise of his philosophy, found the cash value of
his slave about to be obliterated by the carrying out of Fetter's
awful sentence. Here there rose that strange complexity which the
physical action and mental force of slave property, acting in
contrariety, so often produce. The physical of the slave was very
valuable, and could be made to yield; but the mental being all
powerful to oppose, completely annulled the monetary worth. But by
allowing the lacerations to heal, sending him to New Orleans, and
making a positive sale, some thousand or twelve hundred dollars
might be saved; whereas, did Fetter's judgment take effect, Mr.
Grabguy must content himself with the state's more humble award of
two hundred dollars, less the trouble of getting. In this democratic
perplexity did our economical alderman find himself placed, when,
again invoking his philosophy-not in virtue of any sympathetic
admonition, for sympathy was not of Grabguy-he soon found means of
protecting his interests. To this end he sought and obtained an
order from the Court of Appeals, which grave judiciary, after duly
considering the evidence on which the criminal was convicted before
Fetter's tribunal, was of opinion that evidence had been improperly
extorted by cruelty; and, in accordance with that opinion, ordered a
new trial, which said trial would be dististinguished above that at
Fetter's court by being presided over by a judicial magistrate. This
distinguished functionary, the judicial magistrate, who generally
hears the appeals from Fetter's court, is a man of the name of
Fairweather Fuddle, a clever wag, whose great good-nature is only
equalled by the rotundity of his person, which is not a bad
portraiture of our much-abused Sir John Falstaff, as represented by
the heavy men of our country theatres. Now, to enter upon an
analysis of the vast difference between Fetter's court in ordinary,
and Fuddle's court in judiciary, would require the aid of more
philosophy than we are capable of summoning; nor would the sagacious
reader be enlightened thereby, inasmuch as the learned of our own
atmosphere have spent much study on the question without arriving at
any favourable result. Very low people, and intelligent negroes--
whose simple mode of solving difficult problems frequently produces
results nearest the truth--do say without fear or trembling that the
distinction between these great courts exists in the fact of Justice
Fuddle drinking the more perfect brandy. Now, whether the quality of
brandy has anything to do with the purity of ideas, the character of
the judiciary, or the tempering of the sentences, we will leave to
the reader's discrimination; but true it is, that, while Fetter's
judgments are always for the state, Fuddle leans to mercy and the
master's interests. Again, were Fuddle to evince that partiality for
the gallows which has become a trait of character with his legal
brother, it would avail him nothing, inasmuch as by confirming
Fetter's judgments the fees would alike remain that gentleman's. If,
then, the reader reason on the philosophy of self-interest, he may
find the fees, which are in no wise small, founding the great
distinction between the courts of Messrs. Fuddle and Fetter; for by
reversing Fetter's judgments fees accrue to Fuddle's own court, and
belong to his own well-lined pocket; whereas, did he confirm them,
not one cent of fees could he claim. The state should without delay
remedy this great wrong, and give its judicial gentlemen a fair
chance of proving their judgments well founded in contrariety. We
should not, forsooth, forget to mention that Fuddle, in his love of
decorum--though he scarce ever sat in judgment without absorbing his
punch the while--never permitted in his forum the use of those
knock-down arguments which were always a prelude to Fetter's

Before Fuddle's court, then, Grabguy has succeeded in getting a
hearing for his convicted property, still mentally obstinate. Not
the least doubt has he of procuring a judgment tempered by mercy;
for, having well drunk Fuddle on the previous night, and improved
the opportunity for completely winning his distinguished
consideration, he has not the slightest apprehension of being many
months deprived of his property merely to satisfy injured justice.
And, too, the evidence upon which Nicholas was convicted in Fetter's
court, of an attempt to create an insurrection--the most fatal
charge against him--was so imperfect that the means of overthrowing
it can be purchased of any of the attendant constables for a mere
trifle,--oaths with such fellows being worth about sixty-two and a
half cents each.

If the reader will be pleased to fancy the trial before Fetter's
tribunal--before described--with the knock-down arguments omitted, he
will have a pretty clear idea of that now proceeding before
Fuddle's; and having such will excuse our entering into details.
Having heard the case with most, learned patience, the virtue of
which has been well sustained by goodly potions of Paul and Brown's
perfect "London Dock," Fuddle, with grave deportment, receives from
the hands of the clerical-looking clerk-a broken-down gentleman of
great legal ability-the charge he is about to make the jury.
"Gentlemen," he says, "I might, without any detriment to perfect
impunity, place the very highest encomiums on the capabilities
displayed in the seriousness you have given to this all-important
case, in which the state has such deep and constitutional interests;
but that I need not do here. The state having placed in my
possession such responsible functions, no one more than me can feel
the importance of the position; and which position has always been
made the judicial medium of equity and mercy. I hold moderation to
be the essential part of the judiciary, gentlemen! And here I would
say" (Fuddle directs himself to his gentlemanly five) "and your
intelligence will bear me out in the statement, that the trial below
seems to have been in error from beginning to end. I say
this-understand, gentlemen!--with all deference to my learned
brother, Fetter, whose judgments, in the exercise of the powers in
me invested, and with that respect for legal equity by which this
court is distinguished, it has become me so often to reverse. On the
charge of creating an insurrection--rather an absurdity, by the
way--you must discharge the prisoner, there being no valid proof;
whereas the charge of maiming or raising his hand to a white man,
though clearly proved, and according to the statutes a capital
offence, could not in the spirit of mercy which now prevails in our
judiciary--and, here, let me say, which is emulated by that high
state of civilisation for which the people of this state are
distinguished--be carried rigidly into effect. There is only this one
point, then, of maiming a white gentleman, with intention--Ah! yes (a
pause) the intention the court thinks it as well not to mind! open
to you for a conviction. Upon this point you will render your
verdict, guilty; only adding a recommendation to the mercy of the
court." With this admonition, our august Mr. Fuddle, his face
glowing in importance, sits down to his mixture of Paul and Brown's
best. A few moments' pause--during which Fetter enters looking very
anxious--and the jury have made up their verdict, which they submit
on a slip of paper to the clerk, who in turn presents it to Fuddle.
That functionary being busily engaged with his punch, is made
conscious of the document waiting his pleasure by the audience
bursting into a roar of laughter at the comical picture presented in
the earnestness with which he regards his punch-some of which is
streaming into his bosom-and disregards the paper held for some
minutes in the clerk's hand, which is in close proximity with his
nasal organ. Starting suddenly, he lets the goblet fall to the
floor, his face flushing like a broad moon in harvest-time, takes
the paper in his fingers with a bow, making three of the same nature
to his audience, as Fetter looks over the circular railing in front
of the dock, his face wearing a facetious smile. "Nigger boy will
clear away the break,--prisoner at the bar will stand up for the
sentence, and the attending constable will reduce order!" speaks
Fuddle, relieving his pocket of a red kerchief with which he will
wipe his capacious mouth. These requests being complied with, he
continues-having adjusted his glasses most learnedly-making a
gesture with his right hand--"I hold in my hand the solemn verdict of
an intelligent jury, who, after worthy and most mature deliberation,
find the prisoner at the bar, Nicholas Grabguy, guilty of the
heinous offence of raising his hand to a white man, whom he severely
maimed with a sharp-edged tool; and the jury in their wisdom,
recognising the fact of their verdict involving capital punishment,
have, in the exercise of that enlightened spirit which is
inseparable from our age, recommended him to the mercy of this
court, and, in the discretion of that power in me invested, I shall
now pronounce sentence. Prepare, then, ye lovers of civilisation,
ye friends of humanity, ye who would temper the laws of our land of
freedom to the circumstance of offences--prepare, I say, to have your
ears and hearts made glad over the swelling sound of this most
enlightened sentence of a court, where judgments are tempered with
mercy." Our hero, a chain hanging loosely from his left arm, stands
forward in the dock, his manly deportment evincing a stern
resolution to meet his fate unsubdued. Fuddle continues:--"There is
no appeal from this court!" (he forgot the court of a brighter
world) "and a reversing the decision of the court below, I sentence
the prisoner to four years' imprisonment with hard labour, two
months' solitary confinement in each year, and thirty blows with the
paddle, on the first day of each month until the expiration of the
sentence." Such, reader, was Fuddle's merciful sentence upon one
whose only crime was a love of freedom and justice. Nicholas bowed
to the sentence; Mr. Grabguy expressed surprise, but no further
appeal on earth was open to him; Squire Fetter laughed immeasurably;
and the officer led his victim away to the place of durance vile.

To this prison, then, must we go with our hero. In this magnificent
establishment, its princely exterior seeming like a modern fort with
frowning bastions, are some four hundred souls for sale and
punishment. Among them Nicholas is initiated, having, for the time
being, received his first installment of blows, and takes his first
lesson in the act of breaking stone, which profession is exclusively
reserved for criminals of his class. Among the notable characters
connected with this establishment is Philip Fladge, the wily
superintendent, whose power over the criminals is next to absolute.
Nicholas has been under Philip's guardianship but a few months, when
it is found that he may be turned into an investment which will
require only the outlay of kindness and amelioration on his part to
become extremely profitable. Forthwith a convention is entered into,
the high contracting parties being Nicholas and himself. Mr. Fladge
stipulates on his part that the said Nicholas, condemned by
Fairweather Fuddle's court to such punishments as are set forth in
the calendar, shall be exempt from all such punishments, have the
free use of the yard, comfortable apartments to live in, and be
invested with a sort of foremanship over his fellow criminals; in
consideration of which it is stipulated on the part of Nicholas that
he do work at the more desirable profession of stucco-making,
together with the execution of orders for sculpture, the proceeds of
which were to be considered the property of Fladge, he allowing the
generous stipend of one shilling a week to the artist. Here, then,
Mr. Fladge becomes sensible of the fact that some good always come
of great evils, for indeed his criminal was so far roving a mine of
wealth that he only hoped it might be his fortune to receive many
more such enemies of the state: he cared not whether they came from
Fetter or Fuddle's court. With sense enough to keep his
heart-burnings well stored away in his own bosom, Nicholas soon
became a sort of privileged character. But if he said little, he
felt much; nor did he fail to occupy every leisure moment in
inciting his brother bondmen to a love of freedom. So far had he
gained complete control over their feelings, that scarce two months
of his sentence had expired ere they would have followed his lead to
death or freedom.

Among those human souls stored for sale was one Sal Stiles, an olive
wench of great beauty, and daughter of one of the very first
families. This Sal Stiles, who was indeed one of the most charming
creatures to look upon, had cousins whom the little world of
Charleston viewed as great belles; but these said belles were never
known to ring out a word in favour of poor Sal, who was, forsooth,
only what-in our vulgar parlance-is called a well-conditioned and
very marketable woman. Considering, then, that Nicholas had been
separated by Grabguy from his wife and children, the indulgent
reader, we feel assured, will excuse our hero for falling
passionately in love with this woman. That it was stipulated in the
convention between himself and Fladge, he should take her unto
himself, we are not justified in asserting; nevertheless, that that
functionary encouraged the passion rather than prevented their
meetings is a fact our little world will not pretend to deny.



A YEAR and two months have rolled by, since Nicholas, a convict,
took up his abode within the frowning walls of a prison: thus much
of Fuddle's merciful sentence has he served out. In the dreary hours
of night, fast secured in his granite cell, has he cherished, and
even in his dreams contemplated, the means of escaping into that
freedom for which his soul yearns. But, dearly does he love Sal
Stiles, to whose keeping he confides the secret of his ambition;
several times might he, having secured the confidence of Fladge,
have effected his own escape; but the admonitions of a faithful
heart bid him not leave her behind in slavery. To that admonition of
his bosom did he yield, and resolve never to leave her until he
secured her freedom. A few days after he had disclosed to her his
resolution, the tall figure of Guy Grantham, a broker of slaves by
profession, appeared in the prison yard, for the purpose of carrying
away the woman, whom he had sold for the Washington market, where
her charms would indeed be of much value during the session, when
congress-men most do riot. Already were the inseparable chains about
her hands, and the miserable woman, about to be led away, bathed in
grief. Nicholas, in his studies, had just finished a piece of
scroll-work for Mrs. Fladge, as a companion approached him in great
haste, and whispered the word of trouble-"they're taking her
away"-in his ear. Quick as lightning did the anger of his very soul
break forth like a tempest: he rushed from his place of labour,
vaulted as it were to the guard gate, seized the woman as she
stepped on the threshold in her exit, drew her back with great
force, and in a defiant attitude, drawing a long stiletto from his
belt, placed himself between her and her destroyer. "Foes of the
innocent, your chains were not made for this woman; never shall you
bear her from this; not, at least, while I have arm to defend her,
and a soul that cares not for your vengeance!" spake he, with
curling contempt on his lip, as his adversaries stood aghast with
fear and trembling. "Nay!-do not advance one step, or by the God of
justice I make ye feel the length of this steel!" he continued, as
Grantham nervously motioned an attempt to advance. Holding the woman
with his left hand pressed backward, he brandished his stiletto in
the faces of his opponents with his right. This was rebellion in its
most legal acceptation, and would have justified the summary process
Grantham was about adopting for the disposal of the instigator, at
whose head he levelled his revolver, and, without effect, snapped
two caps, as Nicholas bared his bosom with the taunt--"Coward,
shoot!" Mr. Fladge, who was now made sensible of the error his
indulgence had committed, could not permit Grantham the happy
display of his bravery; no, he has called to his aid some ten
subguardsmen, and addressing the resolute Grantham, bids him lay
aside his weapon. Albeit he confesses his surprise at such strange
insolence and interference; but, being responsible for the life,
thinks it well to hold a parley before taking it. Forsooth his words
fall useless on the ears of Nicholas, as defiantly he encircles the
woman's waist with his left arm, bears her away to the block, dashes
the chains from her hands, and, spurning the honied words of Fladge,
hurls them in the air, crying: "You have murdered the flesh;--would
you chain the soul?" As he spoke, the guard, having ascended the
watch tower, rings out the first alarm peal. "Dogs of savage might!
ring your alarms; I care not," he continued, casting a sardonic
glance at the tower as the sound died away on his ear. His pursuers
now made a rush upon him, but ere they had secured him he seized a
heavy bludgeon, and repelling their attack, found some hundred of
his companions, armed with stone hammers, rallying in his defence.
Seeing this formidable force thus suddenly come to his rescue, Mr.
Fladge and his force were compelled to fall back before the advance.
Gallantly did Nicholas lead on his sable band, as the woman sought
refuge in one of the cells, Mr. Fladge and his posse retreating into
the guard-house. Nicholas, now in full possession of the citadel,
and with consternation and confusion triumphant within the walls,
found it somewhat difficult to restrain his forces from taking
possession of the guardhouse, and putting to death those who had
sought shelter therein. Calmly but firmly did he appeal to them, and
beseech them not to commit an outrage against life. As he had placed
himself between the woman and her pursuers, so did he place himself
before a file of his sable companions, who, with battle hammers
extended, rushed for the great gates, as the second alarm rung out
its solemn peal. Counselling his compatriots to stand firm, he
gathered them together in the centre of the square, and addressed
them in a fervent tone, the purport of which was, that having thus
suddenly and unexpectedly become plunged into what would be viewed
by the laws of the land as insurrection, they must stand on the
defensive, and remember it were better to die in defence of right
than live under the ignorance and sorrow of slavery.

While our hero-whose singular exploit we have divested of that
dramatic effect presented in the original-addressed his forlorn band
in the area of the prison, strange indeed was the scene of confusion
presenting along the streets of the city. The alarm peals had not
died ineffectual on the air, for as a messenger was despatched to
warn the civil authorities of the sad dilemma at the prison, the
great bell of St. Michael's church answered the warning peal with
two loud rings; and simultaneously the city re-echoed the report of
a bloody insurrection. On the long line of wharfs half circling the
city, stood men aghast with fright; to the west all was quiet about
the battery; to the south, the long rampart of dark moving pines
that bordered on that side the calm surface of a harbour of
unsurpassed beauty, seemed sleeping in its wonted peacefulness; to
the east, as if rising from the sea to mar the beauty of the scene,
stood fort Sumpter's sombre bastions, still and quiet like a monster
reposing; while retracing along the north side of the harbour, no
sign of trouble flutters from Fort Moultrie or Castle Pinkney-no,
their savage embrasures are closed, and peace hangs in mists over
their dark walls. The feud is in the city of democrats, wherein
there are few who know not the nature of the warning peal; nor,
indeed, act on such occasions like a world in fear, waiting but the
tap of the watchman's baton ere it rushes to bloodshed.

In the busy portion of the city have men gathered at the corners of
the street to hold confused controversy; with anxious countenances
and most earnest gesticulations do they discuss the most certain
means of safety. Ladies, in fright, speedily seek their homes, now
asking questions of a passerby, whose intense excitement has carried
off his power of speech, then shunning every luckless negro who
chances in their way. The rumour of an insurrection, however falsely
founded, turns every negro (of skin there is no distinction) into an
enemy; whilst the second sound of the alarm peal makes him a bloody
votary, who it needs but the booming of the cannon ere he be put to
the sword. Guardsmen, with side-arms and cross-belts, are eager and
confused, moving to and fro with heavy tread; merchants and men of
more easy professions hasten from their labours, seek their homes,
prepare weapons for the conflict, and endeavour to soothe the fears
of their excited families, beseeching protection. That a deadly
struggle is near at hand no one doubts, for men have gathered on the
house-tops to watch the moving mass, bearing on its face the
unmistakeable evidence of fear and anxiety, as it sweeps along the
streets. Now the grotesque group is bespotted with forms half
dressed in military garb; then a dark platoon of savage faces and
ragged figures brings up the rear; and quickly catching the sound
"To the Workhouse!" onward it presses to the scene of tumult.
Firemen in curious habiliment, and half-accoutred artillerymen, at
the alarm peal's call are rallying to their stations, as if some
devouring element, about to break over the city, demanded their
strongest arm; while eager and confused heads, protruded from green,
masking shutters, and in terror, would know whither lies the scene
of the outbreak. Alarm has beset the little world, which now moves a
medley of fear and trembling.

The clock in St. Michael's tall spire has just struck two, as, in
the arena of the prison, Nicholas is seen, halted in front of his
little band, calmly awaiting the advance of his adversaries, who,
fearing to open the great gates, have scaled the long line of wall
on the north side. Suddenly the sound of an imploring voice breaks
upon his ear, and his left hand is firmly grasped, as starting with
surprise he turns and beholds the slave woman, her hair hanging
loosely over her shoulders, and her face bathed in tears. With
simple but earnest words does she admonish him against his fatal
resolution. Fast, and in the bitter anguish of her soul, fall her
implorings; she would have him yield and save his life, that she may
love him still. Her words would melt his resolution, had he not
taken the rash step. "In my soul do I love thee, woman!" he says,
raising her gently to her feet, and imprinting a kiss upon her olive
brow; "but rather would I die a hero than live a crawling slave:
nay, I will love thee in heaven!" The woman has drawn his attention
from his adversaries, when, in that which seems a propitious moment,
they rush down from the walls, and ere a cry from his band warn him
of the danger, have well nigh surprised and secured him. With two
shots of a revolver pierced through the fleshy part of his left arm,
does he bound from the grasp of his pursuers, rally his men, and
charge upon the miscreants with undaunted courage. Short but deadly
is the struggle that here ensues; far, indeed, shrieks and horrid
groans rend the very air; but the miscreants are driven back from
whence they came, leaving on the ground five dead bodies to atone
for treble the number dead of our hero's band. In the savage
conflict did the woman receive a fatal bullet, and now lies writhing
in the agonies of death (a victim of oppression in a land of
liberty) at our hero's feet. Not a moment is there to spare, that he
may soothe her dying agonies, for a thundering at the great gates is
heard, the bristling of fire-arms falls upon his ear, and the drums
of the military without beat to the charge. Simultaneously the great
gates swing back, a solid body of citizen soldiery, ready to rush
in, is disclosed, and our hero, as if by instinct moved to rashness,
cries aloud to his forces, who, following his lead, dash recklessly
into the soldiery, scatter it in amazement, and sweep triumphantly
into the street. The first line of soldiery did not yield to the
impetuous charge without effect, for seven dead bodies, strewn
between the portals of the gate, account for the sharp report of
their rifles. Wild with rage, and not knowing whither to go, or for
what object they have rushed from the bounds of their prison house,
our forlorn band, still flourishing their battle hammers, have
scarcely reached the second line of military, stationed, in war
order, a few squares from the prison, when our hero and nine of his
forlorn band fall pierced through the hearts with rifle bullets. Our
Nicholas has a sudden end; he dies, muttering, "My cause was only
justice!" as twenty democratic bayonets cut into shreds his
quivering body. Oh, Grabguy! thou wilt one day be made to atone for
this thy guilt. Justice to thy slave had saved the city its
foreboding of horror, and us the recital of a bloody tragedy we
would spare the feelings of our readers by ending here.

Having informed the reader that Ellen Juvarna was mother of
Nicholas, whom she bore unto Marston, we will now draw aside the
veil, that he may know her real origin and be the better prepared to
appreciate the fate of her child. This name, then, was a fictitious
one, which she had been compelled to take by Romescos, who stole her
from her father, Neamathla, a Creek Indian. In 1820, this brave
warrior ruled chief of the Mickasookees, a tribe of brave Indians
settled on the borders of the lake of that name, in Florida. Old in
deeds of valour, Neamathla sank into the grave in the happy belief
that his daughter, the long-lost Nasarge, had been carried into
captivity by chiefs of a hostile tribe, in whose chivalrous spirit
she would find protection, and religious respect for her caste.
Could that proud spirit have condescended to suppose her languishing
in the hands of mercenary slave-dealers, his tomahawk had been first
dipped in the blood of the miscreant, to avenge the foul deed. From
Romescos, Nasarge, who had scarce seen her twelve summers, passed
into the hands of one Silenus, who sold her to Marston, for that
purpose a fair slave seems born to in our democratic world.

And now again must we beg the indulgence of the reader, while we
turn to the counter-scene of this chapter. The influence of that
consternation which had spread throughout the city, was not long in
finding its way to the citadel, a massive fort commanding the city
from the east. On the plat in front are three brass field-pieces,
which a few artillery-men have wheeled out, loaded, and made ready
to belch forth that awful signal, which the initiated translate
thus:--"Proceed to the massacre! Dip deep your knives in the heart
of every negro!"

Certain alarm bells are rung in case of an insurrection of the
negroes, which, if accompanied by the firing of three guns at the
citadel, is the signal for an onslaught of the whites. The author,
on asking a gentleman why he exhibited so much fear, or why he
deemed it necessary to put to the sword his faithful servants,
answered,--"Slaves, no matter of what colour, sympathise with each
other in their general condition of slavery. I could not, then,
leave my family to the caprice of their feelings, while I sought the
scene of action to aid in suppressing the outbreak." At the
alarm-bell's first tap were the guns made ready-at the second peal
were matchlocks lighted-and nervous men waited in breathless
suspense the third and last signal peal from the Guard Tower. But,
in a moment that had nearly proved fatal to thousands, and as the
crash of musketry echoed in the air, a confused gunner applied the
match: two vivid flashes issued from the cannon, their peals booming
successively over the city. It was at that moment, citizens who had
sought in their domiciles the better protection of their families
might be seen in the tragic attitude of holding savage pistols and
glistening daggers at the breasts of their terrified but faithful
servants,--those, perhaps, whose only crime was sincerity, and an
earnest attachment to master's interests. The booming of a third
cannon, and they had fallen, victims of fear, at the feet of their
deluded victors. Happily, an act of heroism (which we would record
to the fame of the hero) saved the city that bloody climax we sicken
while contemplating. Ere the third gun belched its order of death, a
mounted officer, sensible of the result that gun would produce,
dashed before its angry mouth, and at the top of his voice cried
out-"In Heaven's name, lay your matchlock down: save the city!" Then
galloping to the trail, the gunner standing motionless at the
intrepid sight, he snatched the fiery torch from his hand, and
dismounting, quenched it on the ground. Thus did he save the city
that awful massacre the misdirected laws of a democratic state would
have been accountable for to civilisation and the world.



IN a former chapter of this narrative, have we described our fair
fugitive, Annette, as possessing charms of no ordinary kind; indeed,
she was fair and beautiful, and even in the slave world was by many
called the lovely blonde. In a word, to have been deeply enamoured
of her would have reflected the highest credit on the taste and
sentiment of any gallant gentleman. Seeming strange would it be,
then, if the stranger to whose care we confided her (and hereafter
to be called Montague, that being his Christian name) should render
himself liable to the charge of stupidity did these attractions not
make a deep impression on his heart. And here we would not have the
reader lay so grave a charge at his door; for, be it known, ye who
are not insensible to love's electric force, that scarce had they
reached New York, ere Montague began to look upon Annette with that
species of compassion which so often, in the workings of nature's
mystery, turns the sympathies of the heart into purest love. The
misery or happiness of this poor girl he viewed as dependent on
himself: this, forsooth, was strengthened by the sad recital of her
struggles, which caused his sympathies to flow in mutual fellowship
with her sorrows. As he esteemed her gentleness, so was he enamoured
of her charms; but her sorrows carried the captive arrow into his
bosom, where she fastened it with holding forth that wrist broken in
defence of her virtue: nay, more, he could not refrain a caress, as
in the simplicity of her heart she looked in his face smilingly, and
said she would he were the father of her future in this life. But,
when did not slavery interpose its barbarous obstacles?-when did it
not claim for itself the interests of federal power, and the
nation's indulgence?-when did it not regard with coldest
indifference the good or ill of all beyond its own limits? The slave
world loves itself; but, though self-love may now and then give out
a degree of virtue, slavery has none to lead those beyond its own
atmosphere. To avoid, then, the terrors to which, even on the free
soil of the north, a fugitive slave is constantly liable, as also
that serpent-like prejudice--for into the puritanic regions of New
England, forsooth, does slavery spread its more refined objections
to colour--which makes the manners of one class cold and icy, while
acting like a dagger in the hearts of the other, was it necessary to
change her name. How many of my fair readers, then, will recur to
and recognise in the lovely Sylvia De Lacy--whose vivacity made them
joyous in their school days, and whose charms all envied-the person
of Annette Mazatlin. Nothing could be more true than that the pretty
blonde, Sylvia De Lacy, who passed at school as the daughter of a
rich Bahamian, was but the humble slave of our worthy wag, Mr.
Pringle Blowers. But we beg the reader to remember that, as Sylvia
De Lacy, with her many gallant admirers, she is a far different
person from Annette the slave.

Clotilda is made acquainted with the steps Montague has taken in
behalf of his charge, as also of a further intention he will carry
out at the expiration of two years; which said intention is neither
more nor less than the making Sylvia De Lacy his bride ere her
school days have ended. In the earnestness of a heart teeming of
joy, does Clotilda respond to the disclosures she is pleased to term
glad tidings. Oft and fervently has she invoked the All-protecting
hand to save her child from the licentious snares of slavery; and
now that she is rescued, her soul can rest satisfied. How her heart
rejoices to learn that her slave child will hereafter be happy in
this life! ever will she pray that peace and prosperity reward their
virtues. Her own prospects brighten with the thought that she may,
ere long, see them under her own comfortable roof, and bestow a
mother's love on the head of her long-lost child.

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