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

Part 12 out of 12

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And now my reader will please to suppose these two years of
school-days passed-that nuptial ceremony in which so many mingled
their congratulations, and showered blandest smiles upon the fair
bride, celebrated in a princely mansion not far from the
aristocratic Union Square of New York-and our happy couple launched
upon that path of matrimony some facetious old gentlemen have been
pleased to describe as so crooked that others fear to journey upon
it. They were indeed a happy couple, with each future prospect
golden of fortune's sunshine. Did we describe in detail the reign of
happiness portended on the bright day of that nuptial ceremony, how
many would recognise the gay figures of those who enlivened the
scene-how deceptive would seem the fair face of events-how obscured
would be presented the life of a slave in this our world of
freedom-how false that democracy so boastful of its even-handed

Two years have rolled into the past, since Montague led the fair
Sylvia to the altar. Pringle Blowers has pocketed the loss of his
beauty, the happy couple have lost all thought of slavery, and a
little responsibility coming in due time adds to make their
happiness complete. Now the house to which Montague was connected in
New York had an agent in New Orleans; which agent was his brother.
In the course of time, then, and as the avenues of business
expanded, was it deemed necessary to establish a branch house at
Memphis, the affairs of which it was agreed should be conducted by
Montague. To this new scene of life my reader will please suppose
our happy couple, having journeyed by railroad to Cincinnatti, and
with hearts gladdened of hope for the future, now gliding down that
river of gorgeous banks, on board the good steamer bearing its name.
As our young mother again enters the atmosphere of slavery,
misgivings force themselves irresistibly upon her feelings. The very
face of nature wears a sluggish air; the fresh, bright offspring of
northern energy, so forcibly illustrated in the many cheerful
looking villages here and there dotting its free soil, is nowhere to
be seen,--society again puts forth its blighting distinctions: there
is the man-owner's iron deportment contrasting with the abjectness
of his slave: forcibly does the change recall scenes of the past.
But, with the certain satisfaction that no one will recognize the
slave in her, do those misgivings give way to the happier
contemplation of her new home affording the means of extending a
succouring hand to some poor mortal, suffering in that condition of
life through which she herself has passed.

After a pleasant passage, then, do we find them comfortably settled
in Memphis, that city of notorious character, where the venerable
Lynch presides judge over all state cases, and administers summary
justice according to the most independent of bar rules. Montague
pursues the ordinary routine of a flourishing business, and moves
among the very best society of the little fashionable world; with
which his Sylvia, being the fair belle of the place, is not only a
great favourite, but much sought after and caressed. Gentle as a
slave, so was she an affectionate mother and dutiful wife. Some
twelve months passed pleasantly at their new home, when there came
to the city a Jew of the name of Salamons Finch. This Finch, who was
"runner" to a commercial firm in the city of Charleston (he was lank
of person, with sallow, craven features), knew Annette when but a
child. Indeed, he was a clerk of Graspum when that gentleman sold
the fair slave to Gurdoin Choicewest; in addition to which he had
apartments at Lady Tuttlewell's most fashionable house, where the
little doll-like thing used to be so sprightly in waiting at table.
The quick eye of this harpy, as may readily be supposed, was not
long in detecting the person of Annette the slave in our fair
mother; which grand discovery he as soon communicated to Montague,
pluming himself a generous fellow for being first to disclose what
he supposed a valuable secret. Indeed, such was the force of
association on this fellow, that he could not bring his mind to
believe such a match possible, unless the fair fugitive (of the
circumstances of whose escape he was well posted) had, by the
exercise of strategy, imposed herself on the gentleman. The reader
may easily picture to himself the contempt in which Montague held
the fellow's generous expos‚; but he as readily became sensible of
the nature of the recognition, and of its placing him in a dangerous
position. At first he thought of sending his wife and child
immediately to her mother, in Nassau; but having intimations from
the fellow that the matter might be reconciled with golden eagles,
he chose rather to adopt that plan of procuring peace and quietness.
With a goodly number of these gold eagles, then, did he from time to
time purchase the knave's secrecy; but, with that singular
propensity so characteristic of the race, was he soon found making
improper advances to the wife of the man whose money he received for
keeping secret her early history. This so exasperated Montague, that
in addition to sealing the fellow's lips with the gold coin, he
threatened his back with stripes of the raw hide, in payment of his
insolence. Albeit, nothing but the fear of exposure, the
consequences of which must prove fatal, caused him to bear with pain
the insult while withholding payment of this well-merited debt. With
keen instincts, and a somewhat cultivated taste for the beautiful,
Finch might with becoming modesty have pleaded them in extenuation
of his conduct; but the truth was, he almost unconsciously found
himself deeply enamoured of the fair woman, without being able to
look upon her as a being elevated above that menial sphere his
vulgar mind conditioned for her when in slavery. Here, then, the
reader will more readily conceive than we can describe the grievous
annoyances our otherwise happy couple were subjected to; nor, if a
freeman's blood course in his veins, can he fail to picture the
punishment it so dearly merited. However, it came to pass that in
the course of a few months this fellow disappeared suddenly, and
nearly at the same time was Montague summoned to New Orleans to
direct some complicated affairs of his brother, who lay a victim to
that fearful scourge which so often devastates that city of balmy
breezes. After due preparations for an absence of some two months,
Montague set out on his journey; but had not been forty-eight hours
gone, when Finch again made his appearance, and taking advantage of
a husband's absence, pressed his advances with grossest insult,
threatening at the same time to convey information of the discovery
to Pringle Blowers. Successively did these importunities fail to
effect Mr. Finch's purpose; but he was of an indomitable temper, and
had strong faith in that maxim of his race, which may be transcribed
thus:--"If one effort fail you, try another." To carry out this
principle, then, did Finch draw from the cunning inventive of his
brain a plan which he could not doubt for a moment would be
successful. The reader may blush while we record the fact, of Finch,
deeming a partner necessary to the gaining his purpose, finding a
willing accomplice in one of Montague's clerks, to whom he disclosed
the secret of the fair woman being nothing more than a fugitive
slave, whose shame they would share if the plan proved successful.
This ingenious plan, so old that none but a fellow of this stamp
would have adopted it, was nothing more than the intercepting by the
aid of the clerk all Montague's letters to his wife. By this they
came in possession of the nature of his family affairs; and after
permitting the receipt of two letters by Sylvia, possessed
themselves of her answers that they might be the better able to
carry out the evil of their scheme. After sufficient time had
passed, did Sylvia receive a letter, duly posted at New Orleans,
purporting to have been written by a clerk in the employ of the
firm, and informing her, having acknowledged becomingly the receipt
of her letter, that Montague had been seized with the epidemic, and
now lay in a precarious state. Much concerned was she at the painful
intelligence; but she almost as soon found consolation in the
assurances of the clerk who brought her the letter, and, to
strengthen his own cause, told her he had seen a captain just
arrived up, who had met her husband a day after the date of the
letter, quite well. Indeed, this was necessary to that functionary's
next move, for he was the conspirator of Finch, and the author of
the letter which had caused so much sadness to the woman who now
sought his advice. In suspense did the anxious woman wait the coming
tidings of her affectionate husband: alas! in a few days was the sad
news of his death by the fatal scourge brought to her in an envelope
with broad black border and appropriate seal. Overwhelmed with
grief, the good woman read the letter, describing her Montague to
have died happy, as the conspirator looked on with indifference. The
confidential clerk of the firm had again performed a painful and
unexpected duty. The good man died, said he, invoking a blessing on
the head of his child, and asking heaven to protect his wife; to
which he would add, that the affairs of the house were in the worst
possible condition, there not being assets to pay a fraction of the
debts. And here we would beg the reader to use his imagination, and
save us the description of much that followed. Not all their threats
nor persuasions, however, could induce her to yield to their
designs; defiantly did she repulse the advances of the crawling
Finch; nobly did she spurn his persuasions; firmly did she, heedless
of his threat to acquaint Pringle Blowers of her whereabouts, bid
him be gone from her door. The fellow did go, grievously
disappointed; and, whether from malice or mercenary motives we will
not charge, sought and obtained from Pringle Blowers, in exchange
for his valuable discovery, a promise of the original reward.
Shudder not, reader, while we tell it! It was not many days ere the
notorious Blowers set out for Memphis, recovered his lost property,
who, like a lamb panting in the grasp of a pursuing wolf, was, with
her young child, dragged back, a wretch, into the melancholy waste
of slavery. Long and loudly was the grand discovery resounded
through the little world of Memphis; not in sympathy for the slave,
for many hearts were made glad with joy over what the fashionable
were pleased to term a fortunate disclosure and a happy removal.
Many very grave gentlemen said the miscreant who dared impose a
slave on society, well merited punishment at the hands of the
venerable Lynch,--a judge of that city whose celebrity is almost
world wide.



OF a bright morning, not many days after Pringle Blowers returned
with his fair slave to Charleston (which said slave he would not
sell for gold), there sat on a little bench at the entrance gate of
the "upper workhouse," the brusque figure of a man, whose coarse and
firmly knit frame, to which were added hard and weather-stained
features, indicated his having seen some fifty summers. But, if he
was brusque of figure and coarse of deportment, he had a good soft
heart in the right place; nor did he fail to exercise its virtues
while pursuing the duties of a repulsive profession; albeit, he was
keeper of the establishment, and superintended all punishments.
Leisurely he smoked of a black pipe; and with shirt sleeves rolled
up, a grey felt hat almost covering his dark, flashing eyes, and his
arms easily folded, did he seem contemplating the calm loveliness of
morning. Now he exhaled the curling fume, then scanned away over the
bright landscape to the east, and again cast curious glances up and
down the broad road stretching in front of his prison to the north
and south. It was not long before a carriage and pair appeared on
the hill to the south, advancing at a slow pace towards the city.
The keeper's keen eye rested upon it intently, as it neared, bearing
in a back seat what seemed to be a lady fine of figure and
deportment; while on the front drove a figure of great rotundity,
the broad, full face shining out like a ripe pumpkin in a sun
shower. "It's Pringle Blowers, I do believe in my soul! but it's
seeming strange how he's got a lady to ride with him," mused the
man, who, still watching the approach, had quite forgotten the
escape of the fair slave. The man was not mistaken, for as he
touched his hat, on the carriage arriving opposite the gate, it
halted, and there, sure enough, was our valiant democrat, who,
placing his whip in the socket, crooked his finger and beckoned the
keeper. "Broadman!" said he, (for that was the man's name) "I'ze a
bit of something in your way of business this morning." The honest
functionary, with seeming surprise, again touching his hat as he
approached the vehicle, replied: "Your servant, sir!" Blowers
motioned his hand to the woman, whose tears were now, to Broadman's
surprise, seen coursing down her pale cheeks. To use a vulgar
phrase, Broadman was entirely "taken aback" by the singularity of
Blowers' manner; for the woman, whose dress and deportment the
honest man conceived to be nothing less than that of a lady of one
of the "first families," obeying the motion, began to descend from
the carriage. "Now, Broadman," continued Blowers, arranging his
reins, and with clumsy air making his descent over the fore wheels,
"take that 'ar wench o' mine, and, by the State's custom, give her
the extent of the law, well laid on."

The author here writes the incident as given by the prison-keeper.
The man hesitated, as if doubting his senses; rather would he have
been courteous to what he still viewed as a lady, than extend his
rude hand to lead her away.

"Pardon me, Sir! but you cannot mean what you say," nervously spoke
the man, as in doubt he exchanged glances first with the fair woman
and then with Blowers. "I means just what I says," returned that
gentleman, peremptorily; "you'ze hearn o' that 'un afore. She's a
nigger o' mine, what runned away more nor six years ago; come, do
the job for her, and no fussing over't." "Nigger!" interrupted the
man, in surprise. "Yes!" rejoined Blowers, emphasising his assurance
with oaths, of which he had a never-failing supply, "that's the
cussed white nigger what's gin me all the bother. The whiter niggers
is, the more devil's in em; and that ar' one's got devil enough for
a whole plantation; 'tisn't the licks I cares about, but it's the
humblin' on her feelings by being punished in the workhouse!" The
man of duty was now brought to his senses, when, seeing Blowers was
inclined to relieve his anger on what he was pleased to consider the
stupidity of a keeper, he took the weeping but resolute woman by the
arm, and called a negro attendant, into whose charge he handed her,
with an order to "put her in the slings." Soon she disappeared
within the gate, following the mulatto man. And here we will again
spare the reader's feelings, by omitting much that followed. Blowers
and Broadman follow the hapless woman, as she proceeds through a
narrow passage leading to the punishment room, and when about half
way to that place of torture, a small, square door opens on the
right, into a dingy office, the keeper says is where he keeps his
accounts with the State, which derives a large revenue from the
punishments. Into this does the worthy man invite his patron, whom
he would have be seated while the criminal is got "all right" in the
slings. Fain would Blowers go and attend the business himself; but
Broadman saying "that cannot be," he draws from his pocket a small
flask, and, seemingly contented, invites him to join in "somethin"
he says is the very choicest. Broadman has no objection to
encouraging this evidence of good feeling, which he will take
advantage of to introduce the dialogue that follows. "Good sir,"
says he, "you will pardon what I am about to say, for indeed I feel
the weakness of my position when addressing you, fortune having made
a wide distinction between us; but judge me not because I am coarse
of flesh, nor have polished manners, for I have a heart that feels
for the unfortunate." Here Blowers interrupted the keeper by saying
he would hear no chicken-hearted interpositions. "Remember, keeper,"
he added, "you must not presume on the small familiarity I have
condescended to admit in drinking with you. I hold no controversies
with prison-keepers (again he gulps his brandy) or their subs; being
a servant of the state, I order you to give that wench the extent of
the law. She shall disclose the secret of her escape, or I'll have
her life; I'm a man what won't stand no nonsense, I am!" The keeper,
rejoining, hopes he will pardon the seeming presumption; but,
forsooth, notwithstanding necessity has driven him to seek a
livelihood in his repulsive occupation, there is a duty of the heart
he cannot betray, though the bread of his maintenance be taken from
him. Blowers again assumes his dignity, rises from his seat, scowls
significantly at the keeper, and says he will go put through the
business with his own hands. "Good friend," says Broadman, arresting
Blowers' progress, "by the state's ruling you are my patron;
nevertheless, within these walls I am master, and whatever you may
bring here for punishment shall have the benefit of my discretion. I
loathe the law that forces me to, in such cases, overrule the admo-
nitions of my heart. I, sir, am low of this world,--good! but, in
regret do I say it, I have by a slave mother two fair daughters, who
in the very core of my heart I love; nor would I, imitating the
baser examples of our aristocracy, sell them hapless outcasts for
life." Here Blowers again interrupted by allowing his passion to
manifest itself in a few very fashionable oaths; to which he added,
that he (pacing the room several times) would no longer give ear to
such nonsense from a man of Broadman's position,--which was neither
socially nor politically grand. "No doubt, good sir, my humble and
somewhat repulsive calling does not meet your distinguished
consideration; but I am, nevertheless, a man. And what I was about
to say-I hope you will grant me a hearing-was, that having these two
daughters-poverty only prevents my purchasing them-has made me
sensible of these slaves having delicate textures. The unhappy
possession of these daughters has caused me to reflect-to study
constitutions, and their capacity to endure punishments. The woman
it has pleased you to bring here for chastisement, I take it, is not
coarse of flesh; but is one of those unfortunates whom kindness
might reform, while the lash never fails to destroy. Why, then, not
consider her in the light of a friendless wretch, whom it were
better to save, than sink in shame? One word more and I am done"
(Blowers was about to cut short the conversation); "the extent of
the law being nothing less than twenty blows of the paddle, is most
severe punishment for a woman of fine flesh to withstand on her
naked loins. Nor, let me say-and here I speak from twelve years'
experience-can the lady-I beg pardon, the slave you bring me!-bear
these blows: no, my lips never spoke truer when I say she'll quiver
and sink in spasms ere the second blow is laid on." Here-some twenty
minutes having passed since the fair slave was led into the
punishment room-Blowers cut short the conversation which had failed
to thaw his resolution, by saying Broadman had bored his ears in
spinning out his long song, and if he were unwilling to fulfil the
duties of his office, such should be reported to the authorities,
who would not permit workhouse-keepers so to modify their ordnances
that black and white niggers have different punishments. "Nay, sir!"
says the honest man, with an air of earnestness, as he rises from
his seat; "follow me, and with the reality will I prove the truth of
my words." Here he proceeds to that place of torments, the
punishment-room, followed by Blowers; who says, with singular
indifference-"Can do the job in five minutes; then I'll leave her
with you for two, three, or four days or so. Then if she's civilly
humbled down, I'll send my nigger fellow, Joe, with an order for
her. Joe'll be the fellow's name; now, mind that: but you know my
Joe, I reckon?" The keeper led the way, but made no reply; for
indeed he knew nothing of his Joe, there being innumerable niggers
of that name. As the men left the little office, and were sauntering
up the passage, our worthy friend Rosebrook might be seen entering
in search of Broadman; when, discovering Blowers in his company, and
hearing the significant words, he shot into a niche, unobserved by
them, and calling a negro attendant, learned the nature of his
visit. And here it becomes necessary that we discover to the reader
the fact of Rosebrook having been apprised of the forlorn woman's
return, and her perilous position in the hands of Pringle Blowers;
and, further, that the communication was effected by the negro man
Pompe, who we have before described in connection with Montague at
the time of his landing from the witch-like schooner. This Pompe was
sold to Blowers but a few months before Annette's recovery, and
acting upon the force of that sympathy which exists among fellow
slaves of a plantation, soon renewed old acquaintance, gained her
confidence, and, cunningly eluding the owner's watchfulness,
conveyed for her a letter to the Rosebrooks. In truth, Pompe had an
inveterate hatred of Blowers, and under the incitement would not
have hesitated to stake his life in defence of the fair woman. Now,
the exacting reader may question Rosebrook's intrepidity in not
proceeding at once to the rescue of the victim; but when we say that
he was ignorant of the positive order given the keeper, and only
caught distinctly the words-"I'll send my nigger fellow, Joe, with
an order for her!" they may discover an excuse for his hastily
withdrawing from the establishment. Indeed, that my reader may
withhold his censure, it may be well to add that he did this in
order to devise more strategical means of effecting her escape.

And now, ye who have nerves-let them not be shaken; let not your
emotions rise, ye who have souls, and love the blessings of liberty;
let not mothers nor fathers weep over democracy's wrongs; nor let
man charge us with picturing the horrors of a black romance when we
introduce the spectacle in the room of punishments: such, be it
known, is not our business, nor would we trifle unjustly with the
errors of society; but, if chivalry have blushes, we do not object
to their being used here. The keeper, followed by Blowers, enters a
small room at the further end of the passage. It is some sixteen
feet long by twelve wide, and proportionately high of ceiling. The
pale light of a tallow candle, suspended from the ceiling by a wire,
and from which large flakes of the melted grease lay cone-like on
the pine floor, discloses the gloom, and discovers hanging from the
walls, grim with smoke, sundry curious caps, cords, leathern cats,
and the more improved paddles of wood, with flat blades. The very
gloom of the place might excite the timid; but the reflection of how
many tortures it has been the scene, and the mysterious stillness
pervading its singularly decorated walls, add still more to increase
apprehension. A plank, some two feet wide, and raised a few inches,
stretches across the floor, and is secured at each end with cleets.
About midway of this are ropes securing the victim's feet; and
through the dim light is disclosed the half nude body of our fair
girl, suspended by the wrists, which are clasped in bands of cord,
that, being further secured to a pulley block, is hauled taut by a
tackle. Suddenly the wretched woman gives vent to her feelings, and
in paroxysms of grief sways her poor body to and fro, imploring
mercy! "Nay, master! think that I am a woman-that I have a heart to
feel and bleed; that I am a mother and a wife, though a slave. Let
your deeds be done quickly, or end me and save me this shame!" she
supplicates, as the bitter, burning anguish of her goaded soul gives
out its flood of sorrow. Chivalry, forsooth, lies cold and
unmoved-Blowers has no relish for such inconsistency;--such whinings,
he says, will not serve southern principles. The mulatto attendant
has secured the fall, and stands a few feet behind Blowers and the
keeper, as that functionary says, laying his coarse hands on the
woman's loins, "How silky!" The mulatto man shakes his head,
revengefully, making a grimace, as Broadman, having selected the
smallest paddle (reminding us of the curious sympathy now budding
between the autocratic knout and democratic lash) again addresses
Blowers. "I doubt, sir," he says, "if the woman stand a blow.
Necessity 's a hard master, sir; and in this very act is the test
more trying than I have ever known it. I dissemble myself when I see
a wretch of fine flesh-a woman with tender senses, in distress, and
I am made the instrument of adding to her suffering. Indeed, sir,
when I contemplate the cause of such wretchedness, and the poverty
forcing me to remain in this situation, no imagination can represent
the horror of my feelings."

"We have no demand on your feelings, my man! we want your duty-what
the state put you here to perform," interrupted Blowers, placing his
thumbs in his vest, and making a step backward. Another second, and
the attendant lighted a hand-lamp,--a sharp, slapping blow was heard,
a death-like shriek followed; the flesh quivered and contracted into
a discoloured and inflamed pustule; the body writhed a few seconds
in convulsive spasms; a low moaning followed, and that fair form
hung swooning in the slings, as the keeper, in fright, cried out, at
the top of his voice, to the attendant--"Lower away the fall!" As if
the fiend had not yet gratified his passion, no sooner was the
seemingly lifeless body lowered clumsily to the floor, than he
grasped the weapon from Broadman's hand, and like a tiger seeking
its banquet of flesh, was about to administer a second blow. But
Broadman had a good heart, the admonitions of which soared high
above the state's mandate: seizing Blowers in his arms, he ejected
him from the door, ran back to the prostrate woman, released her
bruised limbs from the fastenings, gathered her to his arms; and
with nervous hands and anxious face did he draw from his pocket the
well-timed hartshorn, by the application of which he sought to
restore her, as the mulatto man stood by, bathing her temples with
cold water. "Ah! shame on the thing called a man who could abuse a
sweet creature of fine flesh, like thee! it's not many has such a
pretty sweet face," says Broadman, with an air of compassion,
resting her shoulder against his bended knee as he encircles it with
his left arm, and looks upon the pale features, tears glistening in
his honest eyes. We might say with Broadman--"It's not the finest,
nor the polished of flesh, that hath the softest hearts." But,
reader, having performed our duty, let us drop the curtain over this
sad but true scene; and when you have conjectured the third and
fourth acts of the drama, join with us in hoping the chivalry of our
State may yet awake to a sense of its position, that, when we again
raise it, a pleasanter prospect may be presented.



ST. PATRICK'S night closed the day on which the scenes of the
foregoing chapter were enacted; and that patron saint being of
aristocratic descent, which caused him to be held in high esteem by
our "very first families," than among whom better admirers could
nowhere be found, his anniversary was sure to be celebrated with
much feasting and drinking. But while this homage to the good saint
made glad the hearts of thousands-while the city seemed radiant of
joy, and reeling men from Hibernia's gorgeous hall found in him an
excuse for their revelries--there sat in the box of a caf‚, situated
on the west side of Meeting Street, two men who seemed to have a
deeper interest at heart than that of the Saint's joy on his road to
paradise. The one was a shortish man, coarse of figure, and whose
browned features and figured hands bespoke him a sailor; the other
was delicate of figure, with pale, careworn countenance and nervous
demeanour. Upon the marble slab, on which they rested their elbows,
sat a bottle of old Madeira, from which they sipped leisurely, now
and then modulating their conversation into whispers. Then the man
of brown features spoke out more at ease, as if they had concluded
the preliminaries of some important business.

"Well, well,--now isn't that strange?" said he, sighing as he spread
his brawny hands upon the white marble. "Natur's a curious mystery,
though" (he looked intently at the other): "why, more nor twenty
years have rolled over since I did that bit of a good turn, and here
I is the very same old Jack Hardweather, skipper of the Maggy Bell.
But for all that--and I'd have folks know it!--the Maggy's as trim a
little craft as ever lay to on a sou'-easter; and she can show as
clean a pair of heels as any other--barring her old top timbers
complain now and then--to the best cutter as ever shook Uncle Sam's
rags." His hard features softened, as in the earnest of his heart he
spoke. He extended his hand across the table, grasping firmly that
of his nervous friend, and continued--"And it was no other witch
than the taunt Maggy Bell that landed that good woman safe on the
free sands of old Bahama!" The Maggy, he tells the other, is now at
the wharf, where the good wife, Molly Hardweather, keeps ship while
the boys take a turn ashore.

"There's always a wise provision to relieve one's feelings when
sorrow comes unexpectedly," returns the nervous man, his hand
trembling as he draws forth the money to pay the waiter who answered
his call.

"Yes!" quickly rejoined the other, "but keep up a good heart, like a
sailor hard upon a lee shore, and all 'll be bright and sunny in a
day or two. And now we'll just make a tack down the bay-street-and
sight the Maggy. There's a small drop of somethin' in the locker,
that'll help to keep up yer spirits, I reckon--a body's spirits has
to be tautened now and then, as ye do a bobstay,--and the wife (she's
a good sort of a body, though I say it) will do the best she can in
her hard way to make ye less troubled at heart. Molly Hardweather
has had some hard ups and downs in life, knows well the cares of a
mother, and has had twins twice; yes"-adds the hardy seafarer-"we
arn't polished folks, nor high of blood, but we've got hearts, and
as every true heart hates slavery, so do we, though we are forced to
dissemble our real feelings for the sake of peace in the trade."
Here the delicate man took the sailor's arm, and sallied out to seek
the little Maggy Bell, the former saying the meeting was as strange
as grateful to his very soul. Down Market Street, shaded in
darkness, they wended their way, and after reaching the wharf,
passed along between long lines of cotton bales, piled eight and ten
feet high, to the end, where lay motionless the pretty Maggy Bell,
as clipper-like a craft as ever spread canvas. The light from the
cabin shed its faint gleams over the quarter-deck, as Hardweather
halted on the capsill, and with a sailor's pride run his quick black
eye along her pirate-like hull, then aloft along the rigging.
Exultingly, he says, "She is the sauciest witch that ever faced sea
or showed a clean pair of heels. The Maggy Bell!"-he pats his friend
on the shoulder-"why, sir, she has-just between ourselves now-slided
many a poor slave off into freedom; but folks here don't think it of
me. Now, if I reckon right"-he bites his tobacco, and extends it to
the stranger-"and I believe I do, it's twenty years since the Maggy,
of one dark night, skimmed it by that point, with Fort Pinkney on
it, yonder, that good creature on board." He points to the murky
mass, scarce visible in the distance, to the east. "And now she's
one of the noblest women that ever broke bread to the poor; and
she's right comfortable off, now,--alwa's has a smile, and a kind
word, and something good for old Jack Hardweather whenever she sees
him. Lord bless yer soul!"-here he shakes his head earnestly, and
says he never was a lubber-"Jack Hardweather didn't care about the
soft shot for his locker; it was my heart that felt the kindness.
Indeed, it always jumps and jerks like a bobstay in a head sea, when
I meets her. And then, when I thinks how 'twas me done the good
turn, and no thanks to nobody! You hearn of me 'afore, eh" (he turns
to his companion, who measuredly answers in the affirmative). "Well,
then, my name's Skipper Jack Hardweather, known all along the coast;
but, seeing how the world and navigation's got shortened down, they
call me old Jack Splitwater. I suppose it's by the way of
convenience, and so neither wife nor me have a bit of objection."
Here the conversation was interrupted by the good wife's round,
cheery face shooting suddenly from out the companion-way, and
enjoining our friend Jack to come away aboard, her high peaked cap
shining like snow on a dark surface. The truth was, that Splitwater,
as he was styled, had become so much absorbed in excitement as to
forget the length of his yarn. "Come away, now!" says the good wife,
"everybody's left the Maggy to-night; and ther's na knowin' what 'd
a' become 'un her if a'h hadn't looked right sharp, for ther' wer' a
muckle ship a'mast run her dune; an' if she just had, the Maggy wad
na mar bene seen!" The good wife shakes her head; her rich Scotch
tongue sounding on the still air, as with apprehension her chubby
face shines in the light of the candle she holds before it with her
right hand. Skipper Splitwater will see his friend on board, he
says, as they follow her down the companion-ladder. "Wife thinks as
much of the Maggy-and would, I believe in my soul, cry her life out
if anything happened till her: wife's a good body aboard a ship, and
can take a trick at the wheel just as well as Harry Span the mate."
Skipper Splitwater leads the way into a little dingy cabin, a
partition running athwart ships dividing it into two apartments; the
former being where Skipper Hardweather "sleeps his crew" and cooks
his mess, the sternmost where he receives his friends. This latter
place, into which he conducts the nervous man, is lumbered with
boxes, chests, charts, camp-seats, log lines, and rusty quadrants,
and sundry marine relics which only the inveterate coaster could
conceive a use for. But the good wife Molly, whose canny face bears
the wrinkles of some forty summers, and whose round, short figure is
so simply set off with bright plaid frock and apron of gingham
check, in taste well adapted to her humble position, is as clean and
tidy as ever was picture of mine Vrow Vardenstein. Nevertheless,--we
know the reader will join us in the sentiment-that which gave the
air of domestic happiness a completeness hitherto unnoticed, was a
wee responsibility, as seen sprawling and kicking goodnaturedly on
the white pillow of the starboard berth, where its two peering eyes
shone forth as bright as new-polished pearls. The little darling is
just a year old, Dame Hardweather tells us; it's a twin,--the other
died, and, she knows full well, has gone to heaven. Here she takes
the little cherub in her lap, and having made her best courtesy as
Hardweather introduces her to his nervous friend, seats herself on
the locker, and commences suckling it, while he points to the very
place on the larboard side where Clotilda-"Ah! I just caught the
name," he says,--used to sit and sorrow for her child. "And then,"
he continues, "on the quarter-deck she'd go and give such longing
looks back, like as if she wanted to see it; and when she couldn't,
she'd turn away and sigh so. And this, Molly," he continues, "is the
self-same child my friend here, who I am as happy to meet as a body
can be, wants me to carry off from these wolves of slavery; and if I
don't, then my name's not Jack Splitwater!" So saying, he bustles
about, tells the nervous man he must excuse the want of finery, that
he has been a hard coaster for God knows how many years, and the
little place is all he can afford; for indeed he is poor, but
expects a better place one of these days. Then he draws forth from a
little nook in the stern locker a bottle, which he says contains
pure stuff, and of which he invites his visitor to partake, that he
may keep up a good heart, still hoping for the best. The nervous man
declines his kind invitation,--he has too much at heart, and the
sight of the child so reminds him of his own now blighted in
slavery. The good woman now becoming deeply concerned, Hardweather
must needs recount the story, and explain the strange man's
troubles, which he does in simple language; but, as the yarn is
somewhat long, the reader must excuse our not transcribing it here.
With anxious face and listening ears did the woman absorb every
word; and when the earnest skipper concluded with grasping firmly
the man's hand, and saying-"Just you scheme the strategy, and if I
don't carry it out my name aint Jack Hardweather!" would she fain
have had him go on. "Lack a day, good man!" she rejoined, fondling
closer to her bosom the little suckling; "get ye the wee bairn and
bring it hither, and I'll mak it t'uther twin-na body'll kno't! and
da ye ken hoo ye may mak the bonny wife sik a body that nane but
foxes wad ken her. Just mak her a brae young sailor, and the Maggy
Bell 'll do the rest on't." Hardweather here interrupted Molly's
suggestion which was, indeed, most fortunate, and albeit supplied
the initiative to the strategy afterwards adopted-for slavery opens
wide the field of strategy-by reminding the stranger that she had a
long Scotch head. The night had now well advanced; the stranger
shook the woman's hand firmly, and bade her good night, as a tear
gushed into his eyes. The scene was indeed simple, but touching. The
hard mariner will accompany his friend to the wharf; and then as he
again turns on the capsill, he cannot bid him good night without
adding a few words more in praise of the little Maggy Bell, whose
name is inscribed in gilt letters upon the flash-board of her stern.
Holding his hand, he says: "Now, keep the heart up right! and in a
day or two we'll have all aboard, and be in the stream waiting for a
fair breeze-then the Maggy 'll play her part. Bless yer soul! the
little craft and me's coasted down the coast nobody knows how many
years; and she knows every nook, creek, reef, and point, just as
well as I does. Just give her a double-reefed mainsail, and the lug
of a standing jib, and in my soul I believe she'd make the passage
without compass, chart, or a hand aboard. By the word of an old
sailor, such a craft is the Maggy Bell. And when the Spanish and
English and French all got mixed up about who owned Florida, the
Maggy and me's coasted along them keys when, blowing a screecher,
them Ingins' balls flew so, a body had to hold the hair on his head;
but never a bit did the Maggy mind it." The stranger's heart was too
full of cares to respond to the generous man's simplicity; shaking
his hand fervently, he bid him good night, and disappeared up the

We apprehend little difficulty to the reader in discovering the
person of Montague in our nervous man, who, in the absence of
intelligence from his wife, was led to suspect some foul play. Nor
were his suspicions unfounded; for, on returning to Memphis, which
he did in great haste, he found his home desolate, his wife and
child borne back into slavery, and himself threatened with Lynch
law. The grief which threatened to overwhelm him at finding those he
so dearly loved hurled back into bondage, was not enough to appease
a community tenacious of its colour. No! he must leave his business,
until the arrival of some one from New York, to the clerk who so
perfidiously betrayed him. With sickened heart, then, does he-only
too glad to escape the fury of an unreasoning mob-seek that place of
bondage into which the captives have been carried; nay, more, he
left the excited little world (reporting his destination to be New
York) fully resolved to rescue them at the hazard of his life, and
for ever leave the country. Scarcely necessary then, will it be for
us to inform the reader, that, having sought out the Rosebrooks, he
has counselled their advice, and joined them in devising means of
relief. Blowers had declared, on his sacred honour, he would not
sell the captives for their weight in gold.

Rosebrook had no sooner received Annette's letter from the hand of
Pompe than he repaired to Blowers' plantation-as well to sound that
gentleman's disposition to sell his captives, as a necessary
precaution against the dangers he had incurred through his
participation in the fair girl's escape; for albeit the disclosure
might be extorted from her by cruelty. But Blowers was too much of a
gentleman to condescend to sell his captive; nor would he listen to
arguments in her behalf. Nevertheless, we will not underrate
Blowers' character, that the reader may suppose him devoid of
compassion; for-be it recorded to his fame-he did, on the morning
following that on which the punishment we have described in the
foregoing chapter took place, send the child, whose long and
piercing cries he could no longer endure, to the arms of its poor
disconsolate mother, whom he hoped would take good care of it.

Now, let not the reader restrain his fancy, but imagine, if he can,
Pringle Blowers' disappointment and state of perturbation, when,
three days after the punishment, he presented himself at Broadman's
establishment, and was informed by that functionary that the fair
mother was non est. With honest face did Broadman assert his
ignorance of wrong. That he had not betrayed his duty he would
satisfy the enraged man, by producing the very order on which he
delivered them to Joe! "Yes, Joe was his name!" continues the honest
man; "and he asserted his ownership, and told a straightforward
story, and didn't look roguish." He passes the order over to
Blowers, who, having examined it very cautiously, says: "Forgery,
forgery!-'tis, by the Eternal!" Turning his fat sides, he approaches
the window, and by the light reads each successive word. It is
written in a scrawl precisely like his own; but, forsooth, it cannot
be his. However, deeming it little becoming a man of his standing to
parley with Broadman, he quickly makes his exit, and, like a
locomotive at half speed, exhausting his perturbation the while,
does he seek his way into the city, where he discovers his loss to
the police. We have in another part of our history described Blowers
as something of a wag; indeed, waggery was not the least trait in
his curious character, nor was he at all cautious in the exercise of
it; and, upon the principle that those who give must take, did he
render himself a fit object for those who indulge in that sort of
pastime to level their wit upon. On this occasion, Blowers had not
spent many hours in the city ere he had all its convenient corners
very fantastically decorated with large blue placards, whereon was
inscribed the loss of his valuable woman, and the offer of the
increased sum of four hundred dollars for her apprehension. The
placards were wonderful curiosities, and very characteristic of
Blowers, who in this instance excited no small amount of merriment
among the city wags, each of whom cracked a joke at his expense. Now
it was not that those waggish spirits said of his placard things
exceedingly annoying to his sensitive feelings, but that every prig
made him the butt of his borrowed wit. One quizzed him with want of
gallantry,--another told him what the ladies said of his oss,--a third
pitied him, but hoped he might get back his property; and then, Tom
Span, the dandy lawyer, laconically told him that to love a fair
slave was a business he must learn over again; and Sprout, the
cotton-broker, said there was a law against ornamenting the city
with blue placards and type of such uncommon size. In this
interminable perplexity, and to avoid the last-named difficulty, did
he invoke the genius of the "bill-sticker," who obliterated the blue
placards by covering them over with brown ones, the performance of
which, Blowers himself superintended. This made the matter still
worse, for with jocose smile did every wag say he had hung the city
in mourning for his loss; which singular proceeding the ladies had
one and all solemnly protested against. Now, Blowers regard for the
ladies was proverbial; nor will it disparage his character to say
that no one was more sensitive of their opinions concerning himself.
In this unhappy position, then, which he might have avoided had he
exercised more calmly his philosophy, did his perturbation get the
better of him;--an object of ridicule for every wag, and in
ill-favour with the very first ladies, never was perplexed man's
temper so near the exploding point of high pressure. And here,
forsooth, disgusted within the whole city, nor at all pleased with
the result of his inventive genius, he sought relief in strong
drinks and a week of dissipation; in which sad condition we must
leave him to the reader's sympathy.

As some of our fair readers may be a little prudish, or exacting of
character, and as we are peculiarly sensitive of the reputation some
of the characters embodied in this history should bear to the very
end, we deem it prudent here not to disclose the nature of the
little forgery which was perpetrated at Blowers' expense, nor the
means by which it was so cleverly carried out, to the release of the
fair captives, who must now be got out of the city. Should we, in
the performance of this very desirable duty, fail to please the
reader's taste for hair-breadth escapes, unnatural heroism, and
sublime disinterestedness, an excuse may be found in our lack of
soul to appreciate those virtues of romance. We have no taste for
breathless suspenses, no love of terror: we deal not in tragedy, nor
traffic in dramatic effects. But as the simplest strategy is often
the most successful of results, so did it prove in this particular
case; for, be it known, that on the morning of the twenty-fourth of
March,--, was Molly Hardweather's suggestion adopted and
effectually carried out, to the gratification of sundry interested
persons. Calm and bright was that morning; Charleston harbour and
its pretty banks seemed radiant of loveliness: the phantom-like
Maggy Bell, with mainsail and jib spread motionless in the air,
swung gently at anchor midway the stream; and Dame Hardweather sat
in the dingy cabin, her little chubby face beaming contentment as
she nursed the "t'other twin." The brusque figure of old Jack,
immersed in watchfulness, paced to and fro the Maggy's deck; and in
the city as trim a young sailor as ever served signal halliards on
board man-o'-war, might be seen, his canvas bag slung over his
shoulder, carelessly plodding along through the busy street, for the
landing at the market slip. Soon the Maggy's flying jib was run up,
then the foresail followed and hung loose by the throat. Near the
wheel, as if in contemplation, sat Montague, while Hardweather
continued his pacing, now glancing aloft, then to seaward, as if
invoking Boreas' all-welcome aid, and again watching intently in the
direction of the slip. A few minutes more and a boat glided from the
wharf, and rowed away for the little craft, which it soon reached,
and on board of which the young sailor flung his bag, clambered over
the rail, and seemed happy, as old Jack put out his brawny hand,
saying: "Come youngster, bear a hand now, and set about brightening
up the coppers!" We need not here discover the hearts that leaped
with joy just then; we need not describe the anxiety that found
relief when the young sailor set foot on the Maggy's deck; nor need
we describe those eyes on shore that in tears watched the slender
form as it disappeared from sight. Just then a breeze wafted from
the north, the anchor was hove up, the sails trimmed home, and
slowly seaward moved the little bark. As she drifted rather than
sailed past Fort Pinkney, two burly officials, as is the custom,
boarded to search for hapless fugitives; but, having great
confidence in the honesty of Skipper Splitwater, who never failed to
give them of his best cheer, they drank a pleasant passage to him,
made a cursory search, a note of the names of all on board (Jack
saying Tom Bolt was the young sailor's), and left quite satisfied.
Indeed, there was nothing to excite their suspicions, for the good
dame sat nursing the "twa twins," nor left aught to discover the
discrepancy between their ages, if we except a pair of little red
feet that dangled out from beneath the fringe of a plaid shawl. And
the young sailor, who it is hardly necessary to inform the reader is
Annette, was busy with his cooking. And now the little craft, free
upon the wave, increased her speed as her topsails spread out, and
glided swiftly seaward, heaven tempering the winds to her well-worn
sails. God speed the Maggy Bell as she vaults over the sea; and may
she never want water under keel, slaves to carry into freedom, or a
good Dame Hardweather to make cheerful the little cabin! say we.

And now, reader, join us in taking a fond farewell of the
Rosebrooks, who have so nobly played their part, to the shame of
those who stubbornly refuse to profit by their example. They played
no inactive part in the final escape; but discretion forbids our
disclosing its minuti‘. They sought to give unto others that liquid
of life to which they owed their own prosperity and happiness; nor
did selfish motive incite them to action. No; they sought peace and
prosperity for the state; they would bind in lasting fellowship that
union so mighty of states, which the world with mingled admiration
and distrust watches; which in kindred compact must be mightier,
which divided must fall! And while taking leave of them, hoping
their future may be brightened with joys-and, too, though it may not
comport with the interests of our southern friends, that their
inventive genius may never want objects upon which to illustrate
itself so happily-let us not forget to shake old Jack Hardweather
warmly by the hand, invoking for him many fair winds and profitable
voyages. A big heart enamelled of "coarse flesh" is his; but with
his warm functions he has done much good; may he be rich in heaven's
rewards, for he is poor in earth's!



IT was seven days after the sailing of the Maggy Bell, as described
in the foregoing chapter, that Montague was seen sitting in the
comfortably furnished parlour of a neat cottage in the suburbs of
Nassau. The coal fire burned brightly in a polished grate; the
carpets and rugs, and lolling mats, indicated of care and comfort;
the tabbied furniture and chastely worked ottomans, and sofas, and
chairs, and inlaid workstands, seem bright of regularity and taste;
and the window curtains of lace and damask, and the scroll cornices
from which they flowingly hung, and the little landscape paintings
that hung upon the satin-papered walls, and the soft light that
issued from two girandoles on the mantel-piece of figured marble,
all lent their cheering aid to make complete the radiant picture of
a happy home. But Montague sat nervous with anxiety. "Mother won't
be a minute!" said a pert little fellow of some seven summers, who
played with his hands as he sat on the sofa, and asked questions his
emotions forbid answering. On an ottoman near the cheerful fire,
sat, with happy faces, the prettily dressed figures of a boy and
girl, older in age than the first; while by the side of Montague sat
Maxwell, whose manly countenance we transcribed in the early part of
our narrative, and to whom Montague had in part related the sad
events of the four months past, as he heaved a sigh, saying, "How
happy must he die who careth for the slave!" Ere the words had
escaped his lips, the door opened, and the graceful form of a
beautiful woman entered, her finely oval but pensive face made more
expressive by the olive that shaded it, and those deep soul-like
eyes that now sparkled in gentleness, and again flashed with
apprehension. Nervously she paused and set her eyes with intense
stare on Montague; then vaulted into his arms and embraced him,
crying, "Is not my Annette here?" as a tear stole down her cheeks.
Her quick eye detected trouble in his deportment; she grasped his
left hand firmly in her right, and with quivering frame besought him
to keep her no longer in the agony of suspense. "Why thus suddenly
have you come? ah!-you disclose a deep-rooted trouble in not
forewarning me! tell me all and relieve my feelings!" she
ejaculated, in broken accents. "I was driven from that country
because I loved nature and obeyed its laws. My very soul loved its
greatness, and would have done battle for its glories-yea, I loved
it for the many blessings it hath for the favoured; but one dark
stain on its bright escutcheon so betrayed justice, that no home was
there for me-none for the wife I had married in lawful wedlock."
Here the woman, in agonising throbs, interrupted him by enquiring
why he said there was no home for the wife he had married in lawful
wedlock-was not the land of the puritans free? "Nay!" he answered,
in a measured tone, shaking his head, "it is bestained not with
their crimes-for dearly do they love justice and regard the rights
of man-but with the dark deeds of the man-seller, who, heedless of
their feelings, and despising their moral rectitude, would make
solitary those happy homes that brighten in greatness over its
soil." Again, frantic of anxiety, did the woman interrupt him:
"Heavens!-she is not dragged back into slavery?" she enquired, her
emotions rising beyond her power of restraint, as she drew bitter
pangs from painful truths. With countenance bathed in trouble did
Montague return her solicitous glance, and speak. "Into slavery" he
muttered, in half choked accents "was she hurled back." He had not
finished the sentence ere anxiety burst its bounds, and the anxious
woman shrieked, and fell swooning in his arms. Even yet her olive
face was beautefully pale. The cheerful parlour now rung with
confusion, servants bustled about in fright, the youthful family
shrieked in fear, the father sought to restore the fond mother, as
Montague chafed her right hand in his. Let us leave to the reader's
conjecture a scene his fancy may depict better than we can describe,
and pass to one more pleasant of results. Some half an hour had
transpired, when, as if in strange bewilderment, Clotilda opened her
eyes and seemed conscious of her position. A deep crimson shaded her
olive cheeks, as in luxurious ease she lay upon the couch, her
flushed face and her thick wavy hair, so prettily parted over her
classic brow, curiously contrasting with the snow-white pillow on
which it rested. A pale and emaciated girl sat beside her, smoothing
her brow with her left hand, laying the right gently on the almost
motionless bosom, kissing the crimsoning cheek, and lisping rather
than speaking, "Mother, mother, oh mother!-it's only me." And then
the wet courses on her cheeks told how the fountain of her soul had
overflown. Calmly and vacantly the woman gazed on the fair girl,
with whom she had been left alone. Then she raised her left hand to
her brow, sighed, and seemed sinking into a tranquil sleep. "Mother!
mother! I am once more with my mother!" again ejaculates the fair
girl, sobbing audibly; "do you not know me, mother?" Clotilda
started as if suddenly surprised. "Do I dream?" she muttered,
raising herself on her elbow, as her great soft eyes wandered about
the room. She would know who called her mother. "'Tis me," said the
fair girl, returning her glances, "do you not know your Annette-your
slave child?" Indeed the fair girl was not of that bright
countenance she had anticipated meeting, for though the punishment
had little soiled her flesh the dagger of disgrace had cut deep into
her heart, and spread its poison over her soul. "This my Annette!"
exclaimed Clotilda, throwing her arms about the fair girl's neck,
drawing her frantically to her bosom, and bathing her cheeks with
her tears of joy. "Yes, yes, 'tis my long-lost child; 'tis she for
whom my soul has longed-God has been merciful, rescued her from the
yawning death of slavery, and given her back to her mother! Oh, no,
I do not dream-it is my child,--my Annette!" she continued. Long and
affectionately did they mingle their tears and kisses. And now a
fond mother's joy seemed complete, a child's sorrow ended, and a
happy family were made happier. Again the family gathered into the
room, where, as of one accord, they poured out their affectionate
congratulations. One after another were the children enjoined to
greet Annette, kiss her, and call her sister. To them the meeting
was as strange as to the parents it was radiant of joy. "Mother!"
said the little boy, as he took Annette by the hand and called her
sister, and kissed her as she kissed him, "was you married before
you was married to father?" The affectionate mother had no answer to
make; she might have found one in the ignominy of the slave world.
And now, when the measure of joy seemed full-when the bitterness of
the past dwindled away like a dream, and when the future like a
beacon hung out its light of promise,--Clotilda drew from a small
workstand a discoloured paper written over in Greek characters,
scarce intelligible. "Annette!" said she, "my mother gave me this
when last I saw her. The chains were then about her hands, and she
was about to be led away to the far south slave market: by it did I
discover my history." Here she unfolded its defaced pages, lifted
her eyes upwards invokingly, and continued--"To speak the crimes of
great men is to hazard an oblivion for yourself, to bring upon you
the indifference of the multitude; but great men are often greatest
in crime-for so it proved with those who completed my mother's
destruction. Give ear, then, ye grave senators, and if ye have
hearts of fathers, lend them! listen, ye queen mothers of my
country, whose sons and daughters are yet travelling the world's
uncertainties! listen, ye fathers, who have souls above Mammon's
golden grasp, and sons in whom ye put your trust! listen, ye
brothers, whose pride brightens in a sister's virtue! listen, ye
sisters, who enjoy paternal affections, and feel that one day you
may grace a country's social life! listen, ye philanthropists, ye
men of the world, who love your country, and whose hearts yearn for
its liberties-ye men sensitive of our great Republic's honour, nor
seek to traffic in the small gains of power when larger ones await
you; and, above all, lend your hearts, ye brothers of the clergy in
the slave church, and give ear while I tell who I am, and pray ye,
as ye love the soul of woman, to seek out those who, like unto what
I was, now wither in slavery. My grandfather's name was Iznard
Maldonard, a Minorcan, who in the year 1767 (some four years after
Florida was by the king of Spain ceded to Great Britain) emigrated
with one Dr. Turnbull-whose name has since shone on the pages of
history-to that land of sunshine and promise; for, indeed, Florida
is the Italy of America. In that year did numerous of the English
aristocracy conceive plans as various as inconsistent for the
population and improvement of the colony. With a worthy motive did
Lord Rolle draw from the purlieus of London [Footnote: See Williams'
History of Florida, page 188.] State Papers, three hundred wretched
females, whose condition he would better by reforming and making aid
in founding settlements. This his lordship found no easy task; but
the climate relieved him of the perplexity he had brought upon
himself, for to it did they all fall victims in a very short time.
But Turnbull, with motive less commendable, obtained a grant of his
government, and, for the sum of four hundred pounds, (being then in
the Peleponnesus) was the governor of Modon bribed into a permission
to convey sundry Greek families to Florida, for colonization.
Returning from Modon with a number of families, he touched at the
islands of Corsica and Minorca, added another vessel to his fleet,
and increased the number of his settlers to fifteen hundred. With
exciting promises did he decoy them to his land of Egypt, which
proved a bondage to his shame. He would give them lands, free
passages, good provisions and clothing; but none of these promises
did he keep. A long passage of four months found many victims to its
hardships, and those who arrived safe were emaciated by sickness.
Into the interior were these taken; and there they founded a
settlement called New Smyrna, the land for which-some sixty thousand
acres-was granted by the governor of Florida. Faithfully and
earnestly did they labour for the promised reward, and in less than
five years had more than three thousand acres of land in the highest
state of cultivation; but, as Turnbull's prosperity increased, so
did the demon avarice; and men, women, and children, were reduced to
the most abject slavery. Tasks greater than they could perform were
assigned them, and a few Italians and negroes made overseers and
drivers. For food the labourers were allotted seven quarts of corn
per week. Many who had lived in affluence in their own country were
compelled to wear osnaburgs, and go bare-foot through the year. More
than nine years were those valuable settlers kept in this state of
slavery, the cruelties inflicted upon them surpassing in enormity
those which so stigmatised the savage Spaniards of St. Domingo.
Drivers were compelled to beat and lacerate those who had not
performed their tasks; many were left naked, tied all night to
trees, that mosquitoes might suck their blood, and the suffering
wretches become swollen from torture. Some, to end their troubles,
wandered off, and died of starvation in the forest, and, including
the natural increase, less than six hundred souls were left at the
end of nine years. But, be it known to those whose hearts and ears I
have before invoked, that many children of these unfortunate parents
were fair and beautiful, which valuable charms singularly excited
the cupidity of the tyrant, who betook himself to selling them for
purposes most infamous. A child overhearing the conversation of
three English gentlemen who made an excursion to the settlement, and
being quick of ear, conveyed the purport of it to his mother, who,
in the night, summoned a council of her confidants to concoct the
means of gaining more intelligence. The boy heard the visitors, who
stood in the great mansion, which was of stone, say, "Did the
wretches know their rights they had not suffered such enormities of
slavery." It was resolved that three ask for long tasks, under the
pretext of gaining time to catch turtle on the coast; but having
gained the desired time, they set off for St. Augustine, which they
reached, after swimming rivers and delving almost impenetrable
morasses. They sought the attorney-general of the province, Mr.
Younge,--I speak his name with reverence-and with an earnest zeal
did he espouse the cause of this betrayed people. At that time,
Governor Grant-since strongly suspected of being concerned with
Turnbull in the slavery of the Greeks and Minorcans-had just been
superseded by Tonyn, who now had it in his power to rebuke a tyrant,
and render justice to a long-injured people. Again, on the return of
the envoys, who bore good tidings, did they meet in secret, and
choose one Pallicier, a Greek, their leader. This man had been
master mechanic of the mansion. With wooden spears were the men
armed and formed into two lines, the women, children, and old men in
the centre; and thus did they set off from the place of bondage to
seek freedom. In vain did the tyrant-whose name democracy has
enshrined with its glories-pursue them, and exhaust persuasion to
procure their return. For three days did they wander the woods,
delve morasses, and swim rivers, ere they reached the haven of St.
Augustine, where, being provided with provisions, their case was
tried, and, albeit, though Turnbull interposed all the perfidy
wealth could purchase, their fredeom established. But alas! not so
well was it with those fair daughters whom the tyrant sold slaves to
a life of infamy, and for whose offspring, now in the bitterness of
bondage, do we plead. Scores of these female children were sold by
the tyrant; but either the people were drunk of joy over their own
liberty, and forgot to demand the return of their children, or the
good Younge felt forcibly his weakness to bring to justice the rich
and great-for the law is weak where slavery makes men great-so as to
make him disgorge the ill-gotten treasure he might have concealed,
but the proof of which nothing was easier than to obliterate.

"Maldonard, then, was my grandfather; and, with my grandmother and
three children, was of those who suffered the cruelties I have
detailed. Two of his children were girls, fair and beautiful, whom
the tyrant, under the pretext of bettering their condition in
another colony, sold away into slavery. One was my dear mother."
Here tears coursed down the woman's cheeks. "And she, though I blush
to tell it, was sold to Rovero, who was indeed my father as well as
Franconia's. But I was years older than Franconia-I visit her grave
by day, and dream of her by night;--nor was it strange that she
should trace the cause of similarity in our features. Forsooth, it
was that singular discovery-of which I was long ignorant-coupled
with the virtues of a great soul, that incited her to effect my
escape. Rovero, ere he married Franconia's mother, sold Sylvia
Maldonard, who was my mother; and may angels bring glad tidings of
her spirit! Yes, true is it that my poor mother was sold to one
Silenus, of whom Marston bought my body while heaven guarded the
soul: but here would I drop the curtain over the scene, for
Maldonard is dead; and in the grave of his Italian wife, ere he
gained his freedom, was he buried." Here again the fond mother, as
she concluded, lifted her eyes invokingly, fondled her long-lost
child to her bosom,--smiled upon her, kissed her, and was happy.



WHILE the scenes which we have detailed in the foregoing chapter
were being enacted at Nassau, there stood in the portico of a
massive dwelling, fronting what in Charleston is called the "Battery
Promenade," the tall and stately figure of a man, wrapped in a
costly black cloak, the folds of which lay carelessly about his neck
and shoulders. For some minutes did he stand, hesitating, and
watching up and down the broad walk in front. The gas-light overhead
shed its glare upon the freestone walls-for the night was dark-and,
as he turned, discovered the fine features of a frank and open
countenance, to which the flashing of two great intelligent eyes, a
long silvery beard, and a flowing moustache, all shaded by the broad
brim of a black felt hat, lent their aid to make impressive. Closer
he muffled his face in the folds of his cloak, and spoke. "Time!"
said he, in a voice musical and clear, "hath worn little on his
great mansion; like his heart, it is of good stone." The mansion,
indeed, was of princely front, with chiselled fa‡ade and great doric
windows of deep fluted mouldings, grand in outline. Now a small hand
stole from beneath his cloak, rapped gently upon the carved door of
black walnut, and rang the bell. Soon the door swung open, and a
negro in a black coat, white vest, and handkerchief of great
stiffness, and nether garments of flashy stripes, politely bowed him
into a hall of great splendour. Rows of statuary stood in alcoves
along its sides; the walls dazzled with bright coloured paintings in
massive gilt frames; highly coloured and badly blended mythological
designs spread along the ceiling: the figure of a female, with
pearly tears gushing from her eyes, as on bended knee she besought
mercy of the winged angel perched above her, stood beside the broad
stairway at the further end of the hall-strangely emblematical of
the many thousand souls the man-seller had made weep in the
bitterness of slavery; the softest rugs and costly Turkey carpets,
with which its floor was spread, yielded lightly to the footfall, as
the jetting lights of a great chandelier shed refulgence over the
whole: indeed, what there lacked of taste was made up with air of
opulence. The negro exhibited some surprise at the stranger's dress
and manner, for he affected ease and indifference. "Is your master
at leisure?" said he. "Business, or a friend?" inquired the negro,
making one of his best bows, and drawing back his left foot. "Both,"
was the quick reply. "I, boy, am a gentleman!" "I sees dat, mas'r,"
rejoined the boy, accompanying his answer with another bow, and
requesting the stranger's name, as he motioned him into a spacious
drawing-room on the right, still more gorgeously furnished.

"My name is Major Blank: your master knows my name: I would see him
quickly!" again spoke the stranger, as the boy promptly disappeared
to make the announcement. The heavy satin-damask curtains, of finest
texture, that adorned the windows; the fresco-paintings of the
walls; the elaborate gilding that here and there in bad taste
relieved the cornices; the massive pictures that hung in
gauze-covered frames upon the walls; the chastely designed carpets,
and lolls, and rugs, with which the floor gave out its brilliancy;
the costly tapestry of the curiously carved furniture that stood
here and there about the room; and the soft light of a curiously
constructed chandelier, suspended from the left hand of an angel in
bronze, the said angel having its wings pinioned to the ceiling, its
body in the attitude of descending, and its right hand gracefully
raised above the globe, spreading its prismatic glows over the
whole, did indeed make the scene resplendent of luxury. The man
carelessly seated himself at a table that stood in the centre of the
room, threw the hat he had declined yielding to the negro on the
floor beside him, rested the elbow of his left arm on the table, and
his head in his hand, as with the fingers of his right hand did he
fret the long silvery beard that bedecked his chin, and contemplate
with eager gaze the scene around him. "Yea, the man-seller hath,
with his spoils of greed, gotten him a gorgeous mansion; even he
liveth like a prince, his head resteth more in peace, and because he
hath great wealth of crime men seek to honour him. The rich criminal
hath few to fear; but hard is the fate of him who hath not the
wherewith to be aught but a poor one!" he muttered to himself, as
the door opened, and the well-rounded figure of Graspum whisked into
the room. The negro bowed politely, and closed the door after him,
as the stranger's eye flashed upon his old acquaintance, who,
bedecked somewhat extravagantly, and with a forced smile on his
subtle countenance, advanced rubbing his hands one over the other,
making several methodical bows, to which the stranger rose, as he
said, "Most happy am I to see you, Major! Major Blake, I believe, I
have the pleasure of receiving?" Here the stranger interpolated by
saying his name was not Blake, but Blank: the other apologised, said
he was just entertaining a small but very select circle of friends;
nevertheless, always chose to follow the maxim of "business before
pleasure." Again he bustled about, worked his fingers with a
mechanical air, frisked them through his hair, with which he covered
the bald surface of his head, kept his little keen eyes leering
apprehensively on what he deemed a ripe customer, whom he bid keep
his seat. To an invitation to lay off his cloak the stranger replied
that it was of no consequence. "A planter just locating, if I may be
permitted to suggest?" enquired Graspum, taking his seat on the
opposite side of the table. "No!" returned the other, emphatically;
"but I have some special business in your line." The man of
business, his face reddening of anxiety, rose quickly from his seat,
advanced to what seemed a rosewood cabinet elaborately carved, but
which was in reality an iron safe encased with ornamental wood, and
from it drew forth a tin case, saying, as he returned and set it
upon the table, "Lots from one to five were sold yesterday at almost
fabulous prices-never was the demand for prime people better; but we
have Lots (here he began to disgorge invoices) six, seven, eight,
and nine left; all containing the primest of people! Yes, sir, let
me assure you, the very choicest of the market." He would have the
customer examine the invoices himself, and in the morning the live
stock may be seen at his yard. "You cherish no evil in your breast,
in opposition to the command of Him who reproved the wrong of
malice; but you still cling to the sale of men, which you conceive
no harm, eh, Graspum?" returned the stranger, knitting his brows, as
a curl of fierce hatred set upon his lip. With an air of surprise
did Graspum hesitate for a moment, and then, with a measured smile,
said, "Why, Lord bless you! it would be a dishonour for a man of my
celebrity in business to let a day escape without a sale; within the
last ten days I have sold a thousand people, or more,--provided you
throw in the old ones!" Here he again frisked his fingers, and
leaned back in his chair, as his face resumed an air of
satisfaction. The stranger interrupted as the man-seller was about
to enquire the number and texture of the people he desired.
"Graspum," said he, with significant firmness, setting his eyes upon
him with intense stare,--"I want neither your men, nor your women,
nor your little children; but, have you a record of souls you have
sunk in the bitterness of slavery in that box"-here the stranger
paused, and pointed at the box on the table-"keep it until you knock
for admittance at the gates of eternity." It was not until this
moment that he could bring his mind, which had been absorbed in the
mysteries of man-selling, to regard the stranger in any other light
than that of a customer. "Pardon me, sir!" said he, somewhat
nervously, "but you speak with great familiarity." The stranger
would not be considered intrusive. "Then you have forgotten me,
Graspum?" exclaimed the man, with an ominous laugh. As if deeply
offended at such familiarity, the man-seller shook his head
rebukingly, and replied by saying he had an advantage of him not
comprehensible. "Then have you sent my dearest relatives to an
untimely grave, driven me from the home of my childhood, and made a
hundred wretches swim a sea of sorrow; and yet you do not know me?"
Indeed, the charges here recounted would have least served to aid
the recognition, for they belonged only to one case among many
scores that might have been enumerated. He shook his head in reply.
For a minute did they,--the stranger scowling sarcastically upon his
adversary (for such he now was),--gaze upon each other, until
Graspum's eyes drooped and his face turned pale. "I have seen you;
but at this moment cannot place you," he replied, drawing back his
chair a pace. "It were well had you never known me!" was the
stranger's rejoinder, spoken in significant accents, as he
deliberately drew from beneath his cloak a revolver, which he laid
on the table, warning his adversary that it were well he move
cautiously. Graspum affects not to comprehend such importune
demeanor, or conjecture what has brought him hither. Trembling in
fright, and immersed in the sweat of his cowardice, he would
proclaim aloud his apprehension; to which medium of salvation he
makes an attempt to reach the door. But the stranger is too quick
for him: "Calm your fears, Graspum," he says; "act not the child,
but meet the consequences like a hero: strange is it, that you, who
have sold twenty thousand souls, should shrink at the yielding up of
one life!" concludes he, placing his back firmly against the door,
and commanding Graspum to resume his seat. Having locked the door
and placed the key in his pocket, he paced twice or thrice up and
down the floor, seemingly in deep contemplation, and heaved a sigh.
"Graspum!" he ejaculated, suddenly turning towards that terrified
gentleman; "in that same iron chest have you another box, the same
containing papers which are to me of more value than all your
invoices of souls. Go! bring it hither!" Tremblingly did the
man-seller obey the command, drew from the chest an antiquated box,
and placed it hesitatingly upon the table. "I will get the key, if
you will kindly permit me," he said, bowing, as the sweat fell from
his chin upon the carpet. The stranger says it wants no key; he
breaks it open with his hands. "You have long stored it with goodly
papers; let us see of what they are made," said he. Here Graspum
commenced drawing forth package after package of papers, the
inscriptions on which were eagerly observed by the stranger's keen
eye. At length there came out a package of letters, superscribed in
the stranger's own hand, and directed to Hugh Marston. "How came you
by these?" enquired the stranger, grasping them quickly: "Ah,
Graspum, I have heard all! Never mind,--continue!" he resumed.
Presently there came forth a package addressed to "Franconia
M'Carstrow," some of which the stranger recognised as superscribed
by his mother, others by Clotilda, for she could write when a slave.
Graspum would put this last aside; but in an angry tone did the
stranger demand it, as his passion had well nigh got the better of
his resolution. "How the deep and damning infamy discovers itself!
Ah, Graspum, for the dross of this world hast thou betrayed the
innocent. Through thine emissaries has thus intercepted these
letters, and felt safe in thy guilt. And still you know not who I
am?" Indeed, the man-seller was too much beside himself with terror
to have recognised even a near friend. "My name is Lorenzo,--he who
more than twenty years ago you beguiled into crime. There is
concealed beneath those papers a bond that bears on its face the
secret of the many sorrows brought upon my family." "Lorenzo!"
interrupted Graspum, as he let fall a package of papers, and sat
aghast and trembling. "Yes," replied the other, "you cannot mistake
me, though time hath laid a heavy hand upon my brow. Now is your
infamy complete!" Here the stranger drew forth the identical bond we
have described in the early part of our history, as being signed by
Marston, at his mansion, on the night previous to Lorenzo's
departure. Bidding the man-seller move not an inch, he spread the
document before him, and commanded him to read the contents. This he
had not resolution to do. "Graspum!" spoke Lorenzo, his countenance
flushed in passion; "you can see, if you cannot read; look ye upon
the words of that paper (here he traced the lines with the
forefinger of his right hand as he stood over the wretched
miscreant) and tell me if it be honourable to spare the life of one
who would commit so foul a deed. On the night you consummated my
shame, forced me to relieve you by procuring my uncle's signature to
a document not then filled up, or made complete, how little did I
conjecture the germs of villainy so deep in your heart as to betray
the confidence I reposed in you. You, in your avarice, changed the
tenor of that instrument, made the amount more than double that
which I had injudiciously become indebted to you, and transcribed it
in the instrument, in legal phraseology, which you made a
death-warrant to my nearest and dearest relatives. Read it,
miscreant! read it! Read on it sixty-two thousand dollars, the cause
of your anxiety to hurry me out of the city into a foreign land. I
returned to seek a sister, to relieve my uncle, to live an
honourable man on that home so dear in my boyhood, so bright of that
which was pleasant in the past, to make glad the hearts of my aged
parents, and to receive the sweet forgiveness of those who honoured
me when fortune smiled; but you have left me none of these
boons-nay, you would have me again wander an outcast upon the
world!" And now, as the miscreant fell tremblingly on his knees, and
beseeching that mercy which he had denied so many, Lorenzo's frenzy
surmounted all his resolution. With agitated hand he seized his
revolver, saying, "I will go hence stained with a miscreant's
blood." Another moment, and the loud shriek of the man-seller echoed
forth, the sharp report of a pistol rung ominously through the
mansion; and quivering to the ground fell dead a wretch who had
tortured ten thousand souls, as Lorenzo disappeared and was seen no

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