Part 3 out of 7
was able to watch that they got into no mischief. They were both great
favourites with the captain and steward, and, between the two, were so
stuffed and crammed with sweets as to place their health in considerable
It was a delightful morning when they sailed into the harbour of New York.
The waters were dancing and rippling in the morning sun, and the
gaily-painted ferry-boats were skimming swiftly across its surface in their
trips to and from the city, which was just awaking to its daily life of
"What an immense city it is!" said Mrs. Garie--"how full of life and
bustle! Why there are more ships at one pier here than there are in the
whole port of Savanah!"
"Yes, dear," rejoined her husband; "and what is more, there always will be.
Our folks in Georgia are not waked up yet; and when they do arouse
themselves from their slumber, it will be too late. But we don't see half
the shipping from here--this is only one side of the city--there is much
more on the other. Look over there," continued he, pointing to Jersey
city,--"that is where we take the cars for Philadelphia; and if we get up
to dock in three or four hours, we shall be in time for the mid-day train."
In less time than they anticipated they were alongside the wharf; the
trunks were brought up, and all things for present use were safely packed
together and despatched, under the steward's care, to the office of the
Mr. and Mrs. Garie, after bidding good-bye to the captain, followed with
the children, who were thrown into a great state of excitement by the noise
and bustle of the crowded thoroughfare.
"How this whirl and confusion distracts me," said Mrs. Garie, looking out
of the carriage-window. "I hope Philadelphia is not as noisy a place as
"Oh, no," replied Mr. Garie; "it is one of the most quiet and clean cities
in the world, whilst this is the noisiest and dirtiest. I always hurry out
of New York; it is to me such a disagreeable place, with its extortionate
hackmen and filthy streets."
On arriving at the little steamer in which they crossed the ferry, they
found it about to start, and therefore had to hurry on board with all
Under the circumstances, the hackman felt that it would be flying in the
face of Providence if he did not extort a large fare, and he therefore
charged an extravagant price. Mr. Garie paid him, as he had no time to
parley, and barely succeeded in slipping a _douceur_ into the steward's
hand, when the boat pushed off from the pier.
In a few moments they had crossed the river, and were soon comfortably
seated in the cars whirling over the track to Philadelphia.
As the conductor came through to examine the tickets, he paused for a
moment before Mrs. Garie and the children. As he passed on, his assistant
inquired, "Isn't that a nigger?"
"Yes, a half-white one," was the reply.
"Why don't you order her out, then?--she has no business to ride in here,"
continued the first speaker.
"I guess we had better let her alone," suggested the conductor,
"particularly as no one has complained; and there might be a row if she
turned out to be the nurse to those children. The whole party are
Southerners, that's clear; and these Southerners are mighty touchy about
their niggers sometimes, and kick and cut like the devil about them. I
guess we had better let her alone, unless some one complains about her
As they drove through the streets of Philadelphia on the way to their new
home, Mrs. Garie gave rent to many expressions of delight at the appearance
of the city. "Oh, what a sweet place! everything is so bright and
fresh-looking; why the pavement and doorsteps look as if they were cleaned
twice a day. Just look at that house, how spotless it is; I hope ours
resembles that. Ours is a new house, is it not?" she inquired. "Not
entirely; it has been occupied before, but only for a short time, I
believe," was her husband's reply.
It had grown quite dark by the time they arrived at Winter-street, where
Caddy had been anxiously holding watch and ward in company with the
servants who had been procured for them. A bright light was burning in the
entry as the coachman stopped at the door.
"This is No. 27," said he, opening the door of the carriage, "shall I
"Yes, do," replied Mr. Garie; but whilst he was endeavouring to open the
gate of the little garden in front, Caddy, who had heard the carriage stop,
bounded out to welcome them. "This is Mr. Garie, I suppose," said she, as
"Yes, I am; and you, I suppose, are the daughter of Mr. Ellis?"
"Yes, sir; I'm sorry mother is not here to welcome you; she was here until
very late last night expecting your arrival, and was here again this
morning," said Caddy, taking at the same time one of the little carpet
bags. "Give me the little girl, I can take care of her too," she continued;
and with little Em on one arm and the carpet bag on the other, she led the
way into the house.
"We did not make up any fire," said she, "the weather is very warm to us. I
don't know how it may feel to you, though."
"It is a little chilly," replied Mrs. Garie, as she sat down upon the sofa,
and looked round the room with a smile of pleasure, and added, "All this
place wants, to make it the most bewitching of rooms, is a little fire."
Caddy hurried the new servants from place to place remorselessly, and set
them to prepare the table and get the things ready for tea. She waylaid a
party of labourers, who chanced to be coming that way, and hired them to
carry all the luggage upstairs--had the desired fire made--mixed up some
corn-bread, and had tea on the table in a twinkling. They all ate very
heartily, and Caddy was greatly praised for her activity.
"You are quite a housekeeper," said Mrs. Garie to Caddy. "Do you like it?"
"Oh, yes," she replied. "I see to the house at home almost entirely; mother
and Esther are so much engaged in sewing, that they are glad enough to
leave it in my hands, and I'd much rather do that than sew."
"I hope," said Mrs. Garie, "that your mother will permit you to remain with
us until we get entirely settled."
"I know she will," confidently replied Caddy. "She will be up here in the
morning. She will know you have arrived by my not having gone home this
The children had now fallen asleep with their heads in close proximity to
their plates, and Mrs. Garie declared that she felt very much fatigued and
slightly indisposed, and thought the sooner she retired the better it would
be for her. She accordingly went up to the room, which she had already seen
and greatly admired, and was soon in the land of dreams.
As is always the case on such occasions, the children's night-dresses could
not be found. Clarence was put to bed in one of his father's shirts, in
which he was almost lost, and little Em was temporarily accommodated with a
calico short gown of Caddy's, and, in default of a nightcap, had her head
tied up in a Madras handkerchief, which gave her, when her back was turned,
very much the air of an old Creole who had been by some mysterious means
deprived of her due growth.
The next morning Mrs. Garie was so much indisposed at to be unable to rise,
and took her breakfast in bed. Her husband had finished his meal, and was
sitting in the parlour, when he observed a middle-aged coloured lady coming
into the garden.
"Look, Caddy," cried he, "isn't this your mother?"
"Oh, yes, that is she," replied Caddy, and ran and opened the door,
exclaiming, "Oh, mother, they're come;" and as she spoke, Mr. Garie came
into the entry and shook hands heartily with her. "I'm so much indebted
to you," said he, "for arranging everything so nicely for us--there is not
a thing we would wish to alter."
"I am very glad you are pleased; we did our best to make it comfortable,"
was her reply.
"And you succeeded beyond our expectation; but do come up," continued he,
"Emily will be delighted to see you. She is quite unwell this morning; has
not even got up yet;" and leading the way upstairs, he ushered Mrs. Ellis
into the bedroom.
"Why, can this be you?" said she, surveying Emily with surprise and
pleasure. "If I had met you anywhere, I should never have known you. How
you have altered! You were not so tall as my Caddy when I saw you last; and
here you are with two children--and pretty little things they are too!"
said she, kissing little Em, who was seated on the bed with her brother,
and sharing with him the remains of her mother's chocolate.
"And you look much younger that I expected to see you," replied Mrs. Garie.
"Draw a chair up to the bed, and let us have a talk about old times. You
must excuse my lying down; I don't intend to get up to-day; I feel quite
Mrs. Ellis took off her bonnet, and prepared for a long chat; whilst Mr.
Garie, looking at his watch, declared it was getting late, and started for
down town, where he had to transact some business.
"You can scarcely think, Ellen, how much I feel indebted to you for all you
have done for us; and we are so distressed to hear about Charlie's
accident. You must have had a great deal of trouble."
"Oh, no, none to speak of--and had it been ever so much, I should have been
just as pleased to have done it; I was so glad you were coming. What did
put it in your heads to come here to live?" continued Mrs. Ellis.
"Oh, cousin George Winston praised the place so highly, and you know how
disagreeable Georgia is to live in. My mind was never at rest there
respecting these," said she, pointing to the children; "so that I fairly
teased Garie into it. Did you recognize George?"
"No, I didn't remember much about him. I should never have taken him for a
coloured man; had I met him in the street, I should have supposed him to be
a wealthy white Southerner. What a gentleman he is in his appearance and
manners," said Mrs. Ellis.
"Yes, he is all that--my husband thinks there is no one like him. But we
won't talk about him now; I want you to tell me all about yourself and
family, and then I'll tell you everything respecting my own fortunes."
Hereupon ensued long narratives from both parties, which occupied the
greater part of the morning.
Mr. Garie, on leaving the house, slowly wended his way to the residence of
Mr. Walters. As he passed into the lower part of the city, his attention
was arrested by the number of coloured children he saw skipping merrily
along with their bags of books on their arms.
"This," said he to himself, "don't much resemble Georgia."[*]
[Footnote *: It is a penal offence in Georgia to teach coloured children to
After walking some distance he took out a card, and read, 257,
Easton-street; and on inquiry found himself in the very street. He
proceeded to inspect the numbers, and was quite perplexed by their
confusion and irregularity.
A coloured boy happening to pass at the time, he asked him: "Which way do
the numbers run, my little man?"
The boy looked up waggishly, and replied: "They don't run at all; they are
permanently affixed to each door."
"But," said Mr. Garie, half-provoked, yet compelled to smile at the boy's
pompous wit, "you know what I mean; I cannot find the number I wish; the
street is not correctly numbered."
"The street is not numbered at all," rejoined the boy, "but the houses
are," and he skipped lightly away.
Mr. Garie was finally set right about the numbers, and found himself at
length before the door of Mr. Walters's house. "Quite a handsome
residence," said he, as he surveyed the stately house, with its spotless
marble steps and shining silver door-plate.
On ringing, his summons was quickly answered by a well-dressed servant, who
informed him that Mr. Walters was at home, and ushered him into the
parlour. The elegance of the room took Mr. Garie completely by surprise, as
its furniture indicated not only great wealth, but cultivated taste and
refined habits. The richly-papered walls were adorned by paintings from the
hands of well-known foreign and native artists. Rich vases and
well-executed bronzes were placed in the most favourable situations in the
apartment; the elegantly-carved walnut table was covered with those
charming little bijoux which the French only are capable of conceiving, and
which are only at the command of such purchasers as are possessed of more
money than they otherwise can conveniently spend.
Mr. Garie threw himself into a luxuriously-cushioned chair, and was soon so
absorbed in contemplating the likeness of a negro officer which hung
opposite, that he did not hear the soft tread of Mr. Walters as he entered
the room. The latter, stepping slowly forward, caught the eye of Mr. Garie,
who started up, astonished at the commanding figure before him.
"Mr. Garie, I presume?" said Mr. Walters.
"Yes," he replied, and added, as he extended his hand; "I have the pleasure
of addressing Mr. Walters, I suppose?"
Mr. Walters bowed low as he accepted the proffered hand, and courteously
requested his visitor to be seated.
As Mr. Garie resumed his seat, he could not repress a look of surprise,
which Mr. Walters apparently perceived, for a smile slightly curled his lip
as he also took a seat opposite his visitor.
Mr. Walters was above six feet in height, and exceedingly
well-proportioned; of jet-black complexion, and smooth glossy skin. His
head was covered with a quantity of woolly hair, which was combed back from
a broad but not very high forehead. His eyes were small, black, and
piercing, and set deep in his head. His aquiline nose, thin lips, and broad
chin, were the very reverse of African in their shape, and gave his face a
very singular appearance. In repose, his countenance was severe in its
expression; but when engaged in agreeable conversation, the thin
sarcastic-looking lips would part, displaying a set of dazzlingly white
teeth, and the small black eyes would sparkle with animation. The neatness
and care with which he was dressed added to the attractiveness of his
appearance. His linen was the perfection of whiteness, and his snowy vest
lost nothing by its contact therewith. A long black frock coat, black
pants, and highly-polished boots, completed his attire.
"I hope," said he, "your house suits you; it is one of my own, and has
never been rented except for a short time to a careful tenant, who was
waiting for his own house to be finished. I think you will find it
"Oh, perfectly so, I am quite sure. I must thank you for the prompt manner
in which you have arranged everything for us. It seems more like coming to
an old home than to a new residence," replied Mr. Garie.
"I am delighted to hear you say so," said Mr. Walters. "I shall be most
happy to call and pay my respects to Mrs. Garie when agreeable to her.
Depend upon it, we will do all in our power to make our quiet city pleasant
to you both."
Mr. Garie thanked him, and after some further conversation, rose to depart.
As he was leaving the room, he stopped before the picture which had so
engaged his attention, when Mr. Walters entered.
"So you, too, are attracted by that picture," said Mr. Walters, with a
smile. "All white men look at it with interest. A black man in the uniform
of a general officer is something so unusual that they cannot pass it with
a glance." "It is, indeed, rather a novelty," replied Mr. Garie,
"particularly to a person from my part of the country. Who is it?"
"That is Toussaint l'Ouverture," replied Mr. Walters; "and I have every
reason to believe it to be a correct likeness. It was presented to an
American merchant by Toussaint himself--a present in return for some
kindness shown him. This merchant's son, not having the regard for the
picture that his father entertained for it, sold it to me. That," continued
Mr. Walters, "looks like a man of intelligence. It is entirely different
from any likeness I ever saw of him. The portraits generally represent him
as a monkey-faced person, with a handkerchief about his head."
"This," said Mr. Garie, "gives me an idea of the man that accords with his
Thus speaking, he continued looking at the picture for a short time, and
then took his departure, after requesting Mr. Walters to call upon him at
an early opportunity.
Mr. Garie's Neighbour.
We must now introduce our readers into the back parlour of the house
belonging to Mr. Garie's next-door neighbour, Mr. Thomas Stevens.
We find this gentleman standing at a window that overlooked his garden,
enjoying a fragrant Havannah. His appearance was not by any means
prepossessing; he was rather above than below the middle height, with round
shoulders, and long, thin arms, finished off by disagreeable-looking hands.
His head was bald on the top, and the thin greyish-red hair, that grew more
thickly about his ears, was coaxed up to that quarter, where an attempt had
been made to effect such a union between the cords of the hair from each
side as should cover the place in question.
The object, however, remained unaccomplished; as the hair was either very
obstinate and would not be induced to lie as desired, or from extreme
modesty objected to such an elevated position, and, in consequence, stopped
half-way, as if undecided whether to lie flat or remain erect, producing
the effect that would have been presented had he been decorated with a pair
of horns. His baldness might have given an air of benevolence to his face,
but for the shaggy eyebrows that over-shadowed his cunning-looking grey
eyes. His cheekbones were high, and the cadaverous skin was so tightly
drawn across them, as to give it a very parchment-like appearance. Around
his thin compressed lips there was a continual nervous twitching, that
added greatly to the sinister aspect of his face.
On the whole, he was a person from whom you would instinctively shrink;
and had he been president or director of a bank in which you had money
deposited, his general aspect would not have given you additional
confidence in the stable character or just administration of its affairs.
Mr. George Stevens was a pettifogging attorney, who derived a tolerable
income from a rather disreputable legal practice picked up among the courts
that held their sessions in the various halls of the State-house. He was
known in the profession as Slippery George, from the easy manner in which
he glided out of scrapes that would have been fatal to the reputation of
any other lawyer. Did a man break into a house, and escape without being
actually caught on the spot with the goods in his possession, Stevens was
always able to prove an alibi by a long array of witnesses. In fact, he was
considered by the swell gentry of the city as their especial friend and
protector, and by the members of the bar generally as anything but an
ornament to the profession.
He had had rather a fatiguing day's labour, and on the evening of which we
write, was indulging in his usual cigar, and amusing himself at the same
time by observing the gambols of Clarence and little Em, who were enjoying
a romp in their father's garden.
"Come here, Jule," said he, "and look at our new neighbour's
children--rather pretty, ain't they?"
He was joined by a diminutive red-faced woman, with hair and eyes very much
like his own, and a face that wore a peevish, pinched expression.
"Rather good-looking," she replied, after observing them for a few minutes,
and then added, "Have you seen their parents?"
"No, not yet," was the reply. "I met Walters in the street this morning,
who informed me they are from the South, and very rich; we must try and
cultivate them--ask the children in to play with ours, and strike up an
intimacy in that way, the rest will follow naturally, you know. By the way,
Jule," continued he, "how I hate that nigger Walters, with his grand airs.
I wanted some money of him the other day on rather ticklish securities for
a client of mine, and the black wretch kept me standing in his hall for at
least five minutes, and then refused me, with some not very complimentary
remarks upon my assurance in offering him such securities. It made me so
mad I could have choked him--it is bad enough to be treated with _hauteur_
by a white man, but contempt from a nigger is almost unendurable."
"Why didn't you resent it in some way? I never would have submitted to
anything of the kind from him," interrupted Mrs. Stevens.
"Oh, I don't dare to just now; I have to be as mild as milk with him. You
forget about the mortgage; don't you know he has me in a tight place there,
and I don't see how to get out of it either. If I am called Slippery
George, I tell you what, Jule, there's not a better man of business in the
whole of Philadelphia than that same Walters, nigger as he is; and no one
offends him without paying dear for it in some way or other. I'll tell you
something he did last week. He went up to Trenton on business, and at the
hotel they refused to give him dinner because of his colour, and told him
they did not permit niggers to eat at their tables. What does he do but buy
the house over the landlord's head. The lease had just expired, and the
landlord was anxious to negotiate another; he was also making some
arrangements with his creditors, which could not be effected unless he was
enabled to renew the lease of the premises he occupied. On learning that
the house had been sold, he came down to the city to negotiate with the new
owner, and to his astonishment found him to be the very man he had refused
a meal to the week before. Blunt happened to be in Walters's office at the
time the fellow called. Walters, he says, drew himself up to his full
height, and looked like an ebony statue.
"Sir," said he, "I came to your house and asked for a meal, for which I was
able to pay; you not only refused it to me, but heaped upon me words such
as fall only from the lips of blackguards. You refuse to have me in your
house--I object to have you in mine: you will, therefore, quit the
premises immediately." The fellow sneaked out quite crestfallen, and his
creditors have broken him up completely.
"I tell you what, Jule, if I was a black," continued he, "living in a
country like this, I'd sacrifice conscience and everything else to the
acquisition of wealth."
As he concluded, he turned from the window and sat down by a small table,
upon which a lighted lamp had been placed, and where a few law papers were
awaiting a perusal.
A little boy and girl were sitting opposite to him. The boy was playing
with a small fly-trap, wherein he had already imprisoned a vast number of
buzzing sufferers. In appearance he bore a close resemblance to his father;
he had the same red hair and sallow complexion, but his grey eyes had a
dull leaden hue.
"Do let them go, George, do!" said the little girl, in a pleading tone.
"You'll kill them, shut up there."
"I don't care if I do," replied he, doggedly; "I can catch more--look
here;" and as he spoke he permitted a few of the imprisoned insects to
creep partly out, and then brought the lid down upon them with a force that
completely demolished them.
The little girl shuddered at this wanton exhibition of cruelty, and offered
him a paper of candy if he would liberate his prisoners, which he did
rather reluctantly, but promising himself to replenish the box at the first
"Ah!" said he, in a tone of exultation, "father took me with him to the
jail to-day, and I saw all the people locked up. I mean to be a jailer some
of these days. Wouldn't you like to keep a jail, Liz?" continued he, his
leaden eyes receiving a slight accession of brightness at the idea.
"Oh, no!" replied she; "I would let all the people go, if I kept the jail."
A more complete contrast than this little girl presented to her parents and
brother, cannot be imagined. She had very dark chestnut hair, and mild blue
eyes, and a round, full face, which, in expression, was sweetness itself.
She was about six years old, and her brother's junior by an equal number
Her mother loved her, but thought her tame and spiritless in her
disposition; and her father cherished as much affection for her as he was
capable of feeling for any one but himself.
Mrs. Stevens, however, doted on their eldest hope, who was as disagreeable
as a thoroughly spoiled and naturally evil-disposed boy could be.
As the evenings had now become quite warm, Mr. Garie frequently took a
chair and enjoyed his evening cigar upon the door-step of his house; and as
Mr. Stevens thought his steps equally suited to this purpose, it was very
natural he should resort there with the same object.
Mr. Stevens found no difficulty in frequently bringing about short
neighbourly conversations with Mr. Garie. The little folk, taking their cue
from their parents, soon became intimate, and ran in and out of each
other's houses in the most familiar manner possible. Lizzy Stevens and
little Em joined hearts immediately, and their intimacy had already been
cemented by frequent consultations on the various ailments wherewith they
supposed their dolls afflicted.
Clarence got on only tolerably with George Stevens; he entertained for him
that deference that one boy always has for another who is his superior in
any boyish pastime; but there was little affection lost between them--they
cared very little for each other's society.
Mrs. Garie, since her arrival, had been much confined to her room, in
consequence of her protracted indisposition. Mrs. Stevens had several times
intimated to Mr. Garie her intention of paying his wife a visit; but never
having received any very decided encouragement, she had not pressed the
matter, though her curiosity was aroused, and she was desirous of seeing
what kind of person Mrs. Garie could be.
Her son George in his visits had never been permitted farther than the
front parlour; and all the information that could be drawn from little
Lizzy, who was frequently in Mrs. Garie's bedroom, was that "she was a
pretty lady, with great large eyes." One evening, when Mr. Garie was
occupying his accustomed seat, he was accosted from the other side by Mrs.
Stevens, who, as usual, was very particular in her inquiries after the
state of his wife's health; and on learning that she was so much improved
as to be down-stairs, suggested that, perhaps, she would be willing to
"No doubt she will," rejoined Mr. Garie; and he immediately entered the
house to announce the intended visit. The lamps were not lighted when Mrs.
Stevens was introduced, and faces could not, therefore, be clearly
"My dear," said Mr. Garie, "this is our neighbour, Mrs. Stevens."
"Will you excuse me for not rising?" said Mrs. Garie, extending her hand to
her visitor. "I have been quite ill, or I should have been most happy to
have received you before. My little folks are in your house a great deal--I
hope you do not find them troublesome."
"Oh, by no means! I quite dote on your little Emily, she is such a sweet
child--so very affectionate. It is a great comfort to have such a child
near for my own to associate with--they have got quite intimate, as I hope
we soon shall be."
Mrs. Garie thanked her for the kindness implied in the wish, and said she
trusted they should be so.
"And how do you like your house?" asked Mrs. Stevens; "it is on the same
plan as ours, and we find ours very convenient. They both formerly belonged
to Walters; my husband purchased of him. Do you intend to buy?"
"It is very probable we shall, if we continue to like Philadelphia,"
answered Mr. Garie.
"I'm delighted to hear that," rejoined she--"very glad, indeed. It quite
relieves my mind about one thing: ever since Mr. Stevens purchased our
house we have been tormented with the suspicion that Walters would put a
family of niggers in this; and if there is one thing in this world I detest
more than another, it is coloured people, I think."
Mr. Garie here interrupted her by making some remark quite foreign to the
subject, with the intention, no doubt, of drawing her off this topic. The
attempt was, however, an utter failure, for she continued--"I think all
those that are not slaves ought to be sent out of the country back to
Africa, where they belong: they are, without exception, the most ignorant,
idle, miserable set I ever saw."
"I think," said Mr. Garie, "I can show you at least one exception, and that
too without much trouble. Sarah," he cried, "bring me a light."
"Oh," said Mrs. Stevens, "I suppose you refer to Walters--it is true he is
an exception; but he is the only coloured person I ever saw that could make
the least pretension to anything like refinement or respectability.
"Let me show you another," said Mr. Garie, as he took the lamp from the
servant and placed it upon the table near his wife.
As the light fell on her face, their visitor saw that she belonged to the
very class that she had been abusing in such unmeasured terms and so
petrified was she with confusion at the _faux pas_ she had committed, that
she was entirely unable to improvise the slightest apology.
Mrs. Garie, who had been reclining on the lounge, partially raised herself
and gave Mrs. Stevens a withering look. "I presume, madam," said she, in a
hurried and agitated tone, "that you are very ignorant of the people upon
whom you have just been heaping such unmerited abuse, and therefore I shall
not think so hardly of you as I should, did I deem your language dictated
by pure hatred; but, be its origin what it may, it is quite evident that
our farther acquaintance could be productive of no pleasure to either of
us--you will, therefore, permit me," continued she, rising with great
dignity, "to wish you good evening;" and thus speaking, she left the room.
Mrs. Stevens was completely demolished by this unexpected _denouement_ of
her long-meditated visit, and could only feebly remark to Mr. Garie that it
was getting late, and she would go; and rising, she suffered herself to be
politely bowed out of the house. In her intense anxiety to relate to her
husband the scene which had just occurred, she could not take time to go
round and through the gate, but leaped lightly over the low fence that
divided the gardens, and rushed precipitately into the presence of her
"Good heavens! George, what do you think?" she exclaimed; "I've had such a
"I should think that you had, judging from appearances," replied he. "Why,
your eyes are almost starting out of your head! What on earth has
happened?" he asked, as he took the shade off the lamp to get a better view
of his amiable partner.
"You would not guess in a year," she rejoined; "I never would have dreamed
it--I never was so struck in my life!"
"Struck with what? Do talk sensibly, Jule, and say what all this is about,"
interrupted her husband, in an impatient manner. "Come, out with it--what
"Why, would you have thought it," said she; "Mrs. Garie is a nigger
woman--a real nigger--she would be known as such anywhere?"
It was now Mr. Stevens's turn to be surprised. "Why, Jule," he exclaimed,
"you astonish me! Come, now, you're joking--you don't mean a real black
"Oh, no, not jet black--but she's dark enough. She is as dark as that Sarah
we employed as cook some time ago."
"You don't say so! Wonders will never cease--and he such a gentleman, too!"
resumed her husband.
"Yes; and it's completely sickening," continued Mrs. Stevens, "to see them
together; he calls her my dear, and is as tender and affectionate to her as
if she was a Circassian--and she nothing but a nigger--faugh! it's
Little Clarence had been standing near, unnoticed by either of them during
this conversation, and they were therefore greatly surprised when he
exclaimed, with a burst of tears, "My mother is not a nigger any more than
you are! How dare you call her such a bad name? I'll tell my father!"
Mr. Stevens gave a low whistle, and looking at his wife, pointed to the
door. Mrs. Stevens laid her hand on the shoulder of Clarence, and led him
to the door, saying, as she did so, "Don't come in here any more--I don't
wish you to come into my house;" and then closing it, returned to her
"You know, George," said she, "that I went in to pay her a short visit. I
hadn't the remotest idea that she was a coloured woman, and I commenced
giving my opinion respecting niggers very freely, when suddenly her husband
called for a light, and I then saw to whom I had been talking. You may
imagine my astonishment--I was completely dumb--and it would have done you
good to have seen the air with which she left the room, after as good as
telling me to leave the house."
"Well," said Mr. Stevens, "this is what may be safely termed an unexpected
event. But, Jule," he continued, "you had better pack these young folks off
to bed, and then you can tell me the rest of it."
Clarence stood for some time on the steps of the house from which he had
been so unkindly ejected, with his little heart swelling with indignation.
He had often heard the term nigger used in its reproachful sense, but never
before had it been applied to him or his, at least in his presence. It was
the first blow the child received from the prejudice whose relentless hand
was destined to crush him in after-years.
It was his custom, when any little grief pressed upon his childish heart,
to go and pour out his troubles on the breast of his mother; but he
instinctively shrunk from confiding this to her; for, child as he was, he
knew it would make her very unhappy. He therefore gently stole into the
house, crept quietly up to his room, lay down, and sobbed himself to sleep.
To Emily Winston we have always accorded the title of Mrs. Garie; whilst,
in reality, she had no legal claim to it whatever.
Previous to their emigration from Georgia, Mr. Garie had, on one or two
occasions, attempted, but without success, to make her legally his wife.
He ascertained that, even if he could have found a clergyman willing to
expose himself to persecution by marrying them, the ceremony itself would
have no legal weight, as a marriage between a white and a mulatto was not
recognized as valid by the laws of the state; and he had, therefore, been
compelled to dismiss the matter from his mind, until an opportunity should
offer for the accomplishment of their wishes.
Now, however, that they had removed to the north, where they would have no
legal difficulties to encounter, he determined to put his former intention
into execution. Although Emily had always maintained a studied silence on
the subject, he knew that it was the darling wish of her heart to be
legally united to him; so he unhesitatingly proceeded to arrange matters
for the consummation of what he felt assured would promote the happiness of
both. He therefore wrote to Dr. Blackly, a distinguished clergyman of the
city, requesting him to perform the ceremony, and received from him an
assurance that he would be present at the appointed time.
Matters having progressed thus far, he thought it time to inform Emily of
what he had done. On the evening succeeding the receipt of an answer from
the Rev. Dr. Blackly--after the children had been sent to bed--he called
her to him, and, taking her hand, sat down beside her on the sofa.
"Emily," said he, as he drew her closer to him, "my dear, faithful Emily! I
am about to do you an act of justice--one, too, that I feel will increase
the happiness of us both. I am going to marry you, my darling! I am about
to give you a lawful claim to what you have already won by your
faithfulness and devotion. You know I tried, more than once, whilst in the
south, to accomplish this, but, owing to the cruel and unjust laws existing
there, I was unsuccessful. But now, love, no such difficulty exists; and
here," continued he, "is an answer to the note I have written to Dr.
Blackly, asking him to come next Wednesday night, and perform the
ceremony.--You are willing, are you not, Emily?" he asked.
"Willing!" she exclaimed, in a voice tremulous with emotion--"willing! Oh,
God! if you only knew how I have longed for it! It has been my earnest
desire for years!" and, bursting into tears, she leaned, sobbing, on his
After a few moments she raised her head, and, looking searchingly in his
face, she asked: "But do you do this after full reflection on the
consequences to ensue? Are you willing to sustain all the odium, to endure
all the contumely, to which your acknowledged union with one of my
unfortunate race will subject you? Clarence! it will be a severe trial--a
greater one than any you have yet endured for me--and one for which I fear
my love will prove but a poor recompense! I have thought more of these
things lately; I am older now in years and experience. There was a time
when I was vain enough to think that my affection was all that was
necessary for your happiness; but men, I know, require more to fill their
cup of content than the undivided affection of a woman, no matter how
fervently beloved. You have talents, and, I have sometimes thought,
ambition. Oh, Clarence! how it would grieve me, in after-years, to know
that you regretted that for me you had sacrificed all those views and
hopes that are cherished by the generality of your sex! Have you weighed
"Yes, Emily--well," replied Mr. Garie; "and you know the conclusion. My
past should be a guarantee for the future. I had the world before me, and
chose you--and with, you I am contented to share my lot; and feel that I
receive, in your affection, a full reward for any of the so-called
sacrifices I may make. So, dry your tears, my dear," concluded he, "and let
us hope for nothing but an increase of happiness as the result."
After a few moments of silence, he resumed: "It will be necessary, Emily,
to have a couple of witnesses. Now, whom would you prefer? I would suggest
Mrs. Ellis and her husband. They are old friends, and persons on whose
prudence we can rely. It would not do to have the matter talked about, as
it would expose us to disagreeable comments."
Mrs. Garie agreed perfectly with him as to the selection of Mr. and Mrs.
Ellis; and immediately despatched a note to Mrs. Ellis, asking her to call
at their house on the morrow.
When she came, Emily informed her, with some confusion of manner, of the
intended marriage, and asked her attendance as witness, at the same time
informing her of the high opinion her husband entertained of their prudence
in any future discussion of the matter.
"I am really glad he is going to marry you, Emily," replied Mrs. Ellis,
"and depend upon it we will do all in our power to aid it. Only yesterday,
that inquisitive Mrs. Tiddy was at our house, and, in conversation
respecting you, asked if I knew you to be married to Mr. Garie. I turned
the conversation somehow, without giving her a direct answer. Mr. Garie, I
must say, does act nobly towards you. He must love you, Emily, for not one
white man in a thousand would make such a sacrifice for a coloured woman.
You can't tell how we all like him--he is so amiable, so kind in his
manner, and makes everyone so much at ease in his company. It's real good
in him, I declare, and I shall begin to have some faith in white folks,
after all.--Wednesday night," continued she; "very well--we shall be here,
if the Lord spare us;" and, kissing Emily, she hurried off, to impart the
joyful intelligence to her husband.
The anxiously looked for Wednesday evening at last arrived, and Emily
arrayed herself in a plain white dress for the occasion. Her long black
hair had been arranged in ringlets by Mrs. Ellis, who stood by, gazing
admiringly at her.
"How sweet you look, Emily--you only want a wreath of orange blossoms to
complete your appearance. Don't you feel a little nervous?" asked her
"A little excited," she answered, and her hand shook as she put back one of
the curls that had fallen across her face. Just then a loud ringing at the
door announced the arrival of Dr. Blackly, who was shown into the front
Emily and Mrs. Ellis came down into the room where Mr. Garie was waiting
for them, whilst Mr. Ellis brought in Dr. Blackly. The reverend gentleman
gazed with some surprise at the party assembled. Mr. Garie was so
thoroughly Saxon in appearance, that no one could doubt to what race he
belonged, and it was equally evident that Emily, Mrs. Ellis, and her
husband, were coloured persons.
Dr. Blackly looked from one to the other with evident embarrassment, and
then said to Mr. Garie, in a low, hesitating tone:--
"I think there has been some mistake here--will you do me the favour to
step into another room?"
Mr. Garie mechanically complied, and stood waiting to learn the cause of
Dr. Blackly's strange conduct.
"You are a white man, I believe?" at last stammered forth the doctor.
"Yes, sir; I presume my appearance is a sufficient guarantee of that,"
answered Mr. Garie.
"Oh yes, I do not doubt it, and for that reason you must not be surprised
if I decline to proceed with the ceremony."
"I do not see how my being a white man can act as a barrier to its
performance," remarked Mr. Garie in reply. "It would not, sir, if all the
parties were of one complexion; but I do not believe in the propriety of
amalgamation, and on no consideration could I be induced to assist in the
union of a white man or woman with a person who has the slightest infusion
of African blood in their veins. I believe the negro race," he continued,
"to be marked out by the hand of God for servitude; and you must pardon me
if I express my surprise that a gentleman of your evident intelligence
should seek such a connection--you must be labouring under some horrible
"Enough, sir," replied Mr. Garie, proudly; "I only regret that I did not
know it was necessary to relate every circumstance of appearance,
complexion, &c. I wished to obtain a marriage certificate, not a passport.
I mistook you for a _Christian minister_, which mistake you will please to
consider as my apology for having troubled you;" and thus speaking, he
bowed Dr. Blackly out of the house. Mr. Garie stepped back to the door of
the parlour and called out Mr. Ellis.
"We are placed in a very difficult dilemma," said he, as he was joined by
the latter. "Would you believe it? that prejudiced old sinner has actually
refused to marry us."
"It is no more than you might have expected of him--he's a thorough
nigger-hater--keeps a pew behind the organ of his church for coloured
people, and will not permit them to receive the sacrament until all the
white members of his congregation are served. Why, I don't see what on
earth induced you to send for him."
"I knew nothing of his sentiments respecting coloured people. I did not for
a moment have an idea that he would hesitate to marry us. There is no law
here that forbids it. What can we do?" said Mr. Garie, despairingly.
"I know a minister who will marry you with pleasure, if I can only catch
him at home; he is so much engaged in visiting the sick and other pastoral
"Do go--hunt him up, Ellis. It will be a great favour to me, if you can
induce him to come. Poor Emily--what a disappointment this will be to
her," said he, as he entered the room where she was sitting.
"What is the matter, dear?" she asked, as she observed Garie's anxious
face. "I hope there is no new difficulty."
Mr. Garie briefly explained what had just occurred, and informed her, in
addition, of Mr. Ellis having gone to see if he could get Father Banks, as
the venerable old minister was called.
"It seems, dear," said she, despondingly, "as if Providence looked
unfavourably on our design; for every time you have attempted it, we have
been in some way thwarted;" and the tears chased one another down her face,
which had grown pale in the excitement of the moment.
"Oh, don't grieve about it, dear; it is only a temporary disappointment. I
can't think all the clergymen in the city are like Dr. Blackly. Some one
amongst them will certainly oblige us. We won't despair; at least not until
Ellis comes back."
They had not very long to wait; for soon after this conversation footsteps
were heard in the garden, and Mr. Ellis entered, followed by the clergyman.
In a very short space of time they were united by Father Banks, who seemed
much affected as he pronounced his blessing upon them.
"My children," he said, tremulously, "you are entering upon a path which,
to the most favoured, is full of disappointment, care, and anxieties; but
to you who have come together under such peculiar circumstances, in the
face of so many difficulties, and in direct opposition to the prejudices of
society, it will be fraught with more danger, and open to more annoyances,
than if you were both of one race. But if men revile you, revile not again;
bear it patiently for the sake of Him who has borne so much for you. God
bless you, my children," said he, and after shaking hands with them all, he
Mr. and Mrs. Ellis took their leave soon after, and then Mrs. Garie stole
upstairs alone into the room where the children were sleeping. It seemed
to her that night that they were more beautiful than ever, as they lay in
their little beds quietly slumbering. She knelt beside them, and earnestly
prayed their heavenly Father that the union which had just been consummated
in the face of so many difficulties might prove a boon to them all.
"Where have you been, you runaway?" exclaimed her husband as she re-entered
the parlour. "You stayed away so long, I began to have all sorts of
frightful ideas--I thought of the 'mistletoe hung in the castle hall,' and
of old oak chests, and all kind of terrible things. I've been sitting here
alone ever since the Ellises went: where have you been?"
"Oh, I've been upstairs looking at the children. Bless their young hearts!
they looked so sweet and happy--and how they grow! Clarence is getting to
be quite a little man; don't you think it time, dear, that he was sent to
school? I have so much more to occupy my mind here than I had in Georgia,
so many household duties to attend to, that I am unable to give that
attention to his lessons which I feel is requisite. Besides, being so much
at home, he has associated with that wretched boy of the Stevens's, and is
growing rude and noisy; don't you think he had better be sent to school?"
"Oh yes, Emily, if you wish it," was Mr. Garie's reply. "I will search out
a school to-morrow, or next day;" and taking out his watch, he continued,
"it is near twelve o'clock--how the night has flown away--we must be off to
bed. After the excitement of the evening, and your exertions of to-day, I
fear that you will be indisposed to-morrow."
Clarence, although over nine years old, was so backward in learning, that
they were obliged to send him to a small primary school which had recently
been opened in the neighbourhood; and as it was one for children of both
sexes, it was deemed advisable to send little Em with him.
"I do so dislike to have her go," said her mother, as her husband proposed
that she should accompany Clarence; "she seems so small to be sent to
school. I'm afraid she won't be happy."
"Oh! don't give yourself the least uneasiness about her not being happy
there, for a more cheerful set of little folks I never beheld. You would be
astonished to see how exceedingly young some of them are."
"What kind of a person is the teacher?" asked Mrs. Garie.
"Oh! she's a charming little creature; the very embodiment of cheerfulness
and good humour. She has sparkling black eyes, a round rosy face, and can't
be more than sixteen, if she is that old. Had I had such a teacher when a
boy, I should have got on charmingly; but mine was a cross old widow, who
wore spectacles and took an amazing quantity of snuff, and used to flog
upon the slightest pretence. I went into her presence with fear and
trembling. I could never learn anything from her, and that must be my
excuse for my present literary short-comings. But you need have no fear
respecting Em getting on with Miss Jordan: I don't believe she could be
unkind to any one, least of all to our little darling."
"Then you will take them down in the morning," suggested Mrs. Garie; "but
on no account leave Emily unless she wishes to stay."
Charlie at Warmouth.
After the departure of Mrs. Bird to visit her sick friend, Betsey turned to
Charlie and bid him follow her into the kitchen. "I suppose you haven't
been to breakfast," said she, in a patronizing manner; "if you haven't, you
are just in time, as we will be done ours in a little while, and then you
can have yours."
Charlie silently followed her down into the kitchen, where a man-servant
and the younger maid were already at breakfast; the latter arose, and was
placing another plate upon the table, when Betsey frowned and nodded
disapprovingly to her. "Let him wait," whispered she; "I'm not going to eat
"Oh! he's such a nice little fellow," replied Eliza, in an undertone; "let
him eat with us."
Betsey here suggested to Charlie that he had better go up to the maple
chamber, wash his face, and take his things out of his trunk, and that when
his breakfast was ready she would call him.
"What on earth can induce you to want to eat with a nigger?" asked Betsey,
as soon as Charlie was out of hearing. "I couldn't do it; my victuals would
turn on my stomach. I never ate at the same table with a nigger in my
"Nor I neither," rejoined Eliza; "but I see no reason why I should not. The
child appears to have good manners, he is neat and good-looking, and
because God has curled his hair more than he has ours, and made his skin a
little darker than yours or mine, that is no reason we should treat him as
if he was not a human being." Alfred, the gardener, had set down his
saucer and appeared very much astonished at this declaration of sentiment
on the part of Eliza, and sneeringly remarked, "You're an Abolitionist, I
"No, I am not," replied she, reddening; "but I've been taught that God made
all alike; one no better than the other. You know the Bible says God is no
respecter of persons."
"Well, if it does," rejoined Alfred, with a stolid-look, "it don't say that
man isn't to be either, does it? When I see anything in my Bible that tells
me I'm to eat and drink with niggers, I'll do it, and not before. I suppose
you think that all the slaves ought to be free, and all the rest of the
darned stuff these Abolitionists are preaching. Now if you want to eat with
the nigger, you can; nobody wants to hinder you. Perhaps he may marry you
when he grows up--don't you think you had better set your cap at him?"
Eliza made no reply to this low taunt, but ate her breakfast in silence.
"I don't see what Mrs. Bird brought him here for; she says he is sick,--had
a broken arm or something; I can't imagine what use she intends to make of
him," remarked Betsey.
"I don't think she intends him to be a servant here, at any rate," said
Eliza; "or why should she have him put in the maple chamber, when there are
empty rooms enough in the garret?"
"Well, I guess I know what she brought him for," interposed Alfred. "I
asked her before she went away to get a little boy to help me do odd jobs,
now that Reuben is about to leave; we shall want a boy to clean the boots,
run on errands, drive up the cows, and do other little chores.[*] I'm glad
he's a black boy; I can order him round more, you know, than if he was
white, and he won't get his back up half as often either. You may depend
upon it, that's what Mrs. Bird has brought him here for." The gardener,
having convinced himself that his view of the matter was the correct one,
went into the garden for his day's labour, and two or three things that he
had intended doing he left unfinished, with the benevolent intention of
setting Charlie at them the next morning.
[Footnote *: A Yankeeism, meaning little jobs about a farm.]
Charlie, after bathing his face and arranging his hair, looked from the
window at the wide expanse of country spread out before him, all bright and
glowing in the warm summer sunlight. Broad well-cultivated fields stretched
away from the foot of the garden to the river beyond, and the noise of the
waterfall, which was but a short distance off, was distinctly heard, and
the sparkling spray was clearly visible through the openings of the trees.
"What a beautiful place,--what grand fields to run in; an orchard, too,
full of blossoming fruit-trees! Well, this is nice," exclaimed Charlie, as
his eye ran over the prospect; but in the midst of his rapture came rushing
back upon him the remembrance of the cavalier treatment he had met with
below-stairs, and he said with a sigh, as the tears sprang to his eyes,
"But it is not home, after all." Just at this moment he heard his name
called by Betsey, and he hastily descended into the kitchen. At one end of
the partially-cleared table a clean plate and knife and fork had been
placed, and he was speedily helped to the remains of what the servants had
"You mustn't be long," said Betsey, "for to-day is ironing day, and we want
the table as soon as possible."
The food was plentiful and good, but Charlie could not eat; his heart was
full and heavy,--the child felt his degradation. "Even the servants refuse
to eat with me because I am coloured," thought he. "Oh! I wish I was at
"Why don't you eat?" asked Betsey.
"I don't think I want any breakfast; I'm not hungry," was the reply.
"I hope you are not sulky," she rejoined; "we don't like sulky boys here;
why don't you eat?" she repeated.
The sharp, cold tones of her voice struck a chill into the child's heart,
and his lip quivered as he stammered something farther about not being
hungry; and he hurried away into the garden, where he calmed his feelings
and allayed his home-sickness by a hearty burst of tears. After this was
over, he wandered through the garden and fields until dinner; then, by
reading his book and by another walk, he managed to get through the day.
The following morning, as he was coming down stairs, he was met by Alfred,
who accosted him with, "Oh! you're up, are you; I was just going to call
you." And looking at Charlie from head to foot, he inquired, "Is that your
"No, it's my worst," replied Charlie. "I have two suits better than this;"
and thinking that Mrs. Bird had arrived, he continued, "I'll put on my best
if Mrs. Bird wants me."
"No, she ain't home," was the reply; "it's me that wants you; come down
here; I've got a little job for you. Take this," said he, handing him a
dirty tow apron, "and tie it around your neck; it will keep the blacking
off your clothes, you know. Now," continued he, "I want you to clean these
boots; these two pairs are Mr. Tyndall's--them you need not be particular
with; but this pair is mine, and I want 'em polished up high,--now mind, I
tell you. I'm going to wear a new pair of pants to meetin' to-morrow, and I
expect to cut a dash, so you'll do 'em up slick, now won't you?"
"I'll do my best," said Charlie, who, although he did not dislike work,
could not relish the idea of cleaning the servants' boots. "I'm afraid I
shall find this a queer place," thought he. "I shall not like living here,
I know--wait for my meals until the servants have finished, and clean their
boots into the bargain. This is worse than being with Mrs. Thomas."
Charlie, however, went at it with a will, and was busily engaged in putting
the finishing touches on Alfred's boots, when he heard his name called, and
on looking up, saw Mrs. Bird upon the piazza above. "Why, bless me!
child, what are you about?--whose boots are those, and why are you cleaning
"Oh!" he replied, his face brightening up at the sight of Mrs. Bird, "I'm
so glad you're come; those are Mr. Tyndall's boots, and these," he
continued, holding up the boots on which he was engaged, "are the
"And who, pray, instructed you to clean them?"
"The gardener," replied Charlie.
"He did, did he?" said Mrs. Bird, indignantly. "Very well; now do you take
off that apron and come to me immediately; before you do, however, tell
Alfred I want him."
Charlie quickly divested himself of the tow apron, and after having
informed the gardener that Mrs. Bird desired his presence in the parlour,
he ran up there himself. Alfred came lumbering up stairs, after giving his
boots an unusual scraping and cleansing preparatory to entering upon that
part of the premises which to him was generally forbidden ground.
"By whose direction did you set the child at that dirty work?" asked Mrs.
Bird, after he had entered the room.
"I hadn't anybody's direction to set him to work, but I thought you brought
him here to do odd jobs. You know, ma'am, I asked you some time ago to get
a boy, and I thought this was the one."
"And if he had been, you would have taken a great liberty in assigning him
any duties without first consulting me. But he is not a servant here, nor
do I intend him to be such; and let me inform you, that instead of his
cleaning your boots, it will be your duty henceforth to clean his. Now,"
continued she, "you know his position here, let me see that you remember
yours. You can go." This was said in so peremptory a manner, as to leave no
room for discussion or rejoinder, and Alfred, with a chagrined look, went
muttering down stairs.
"Things have come to a pretty pass," grumbled he. "I'm to wait on niggers,
black their boots, and drive them out, too, I suppose. I'd leave at once if
it wasn't such a good situation. Drat the old picture--what has come over
her I wonder--she'll be asking old Aunt Charity, the black washerwoman to
dine with her next. She has either gone crazy or turned abolitionist, I
don't know which; something has happened to her, that's certain."
"Now, Charlie," said Mrs. Bird, as the door closed upon the crest-fallen
gardener, "go to your room and dress yourself nicely. After I've eaten my
breakfast, I am going to visit a friend, and I want you to accompany me;
don't be long."
"Can't I eat mine first, Mrs. Bird?" he asked, in reply.
"I thought you had had yours, long ago," rejoined she.
"The others hadn't finished theirs when you called me, and I don't get mine
until they have done," said Charlie.
"Until they have done; how happens that?" asked Mrs. Bird.
"I think they don't like to eat with me, because I'm coloured," was
Charlie's hesitating reply.
"That is too much," exclaimed Mrs. Bird; "if it were not so very
ridiculous, I should be angry. It remains for me, then," continued she, "to
set them an example. I've not eaten my breakfast yet--come, sit down with
me, and we'll have it together."
Charlie followed Mrs. Bird into the breakfast-room, and took the seat
pointed out by her. Eliza, when she entered with the tea-urn, opened her
eyes wide with astonishment at the singular spectacle she beheld. Her
mistress sitting down to breakfast _vis-a-vis_ to a little coloured boy!
Depositing the urn upon the table, she hastened back to the kitchen to
report upon the startling events that were occurring in the breakfast-room.
"Well, I never," said she; "that beats anything I ever did see; why, Mrs.
Bird must have turned abolitionist. Charlie is actually sitting at the same
table with her, eating his breakfast as natural and unconcerned as if he
was as white as snow! Wonders never will cease. You see I'm right though. I
said that child wasn't brought here for a servant--we've done it for
ourselves now--only think how mad she'll be when she finds he was made to
wait for his meals until we have done. I'm glad I wasn't the one who
refused to eat with him."
"I guess she has been giving Alfred a blowing up," said Betsy, "for setting
him at boot cleaning; for he looked like a thunder-cloud when he came down
stairs, and was muttering something about a consarned pet-nigger--he looked
anything but pleased."
Whilst the lower powers were discussing what they were pleased to regard as
an evidence of some mental derangement on the part of Mrs. Bird, that lady
was questioning Charlie respecting his studies, and inquired if he would
like to go to school in Warmouth.
"After a while, I think I should," he replied; "but for a week I'd like to
be free to run about the fields and go fishing, and do lots of things. This
is such a pretty place; and now that you have come I shall have nice
times--I know I shall."
"You seem to have great confidence in my ability to make you happy. How do
you know that I am as kind as you seem to suppose?" asked Mrs. Bird, with a
"I know you are," answered Charlie, confidently; "you speak so pleasantly
to me. And do you know, Mrs. Bird," continued he, "that I liked you from
the first day, when you praised me so kindly when I recited my lessons
before you. Did you ever have any little boys of your own?"
A change immediately came over the countenance of Mrs. Bird, as she
replied: "Oh, yes, Charlie; a sweet, good boy about your own age:" and the
tears stood in her eyes as she continued. "He accompanied his father to
England years ago--the ship in which they sailed was never heard of--his
name was Charlie too."
"I didn't know that, or I should not have asked," said Charlie, with some
embarrassment of manner caused by the pain he saw he had inflicted. "I am
very sorry," he continued.
Mrs. Bird motioned him to finish his breakfast, and left the table without
drinking the tea she had poured out for herself.
There were but one or two families of coloured people living in the small
town of Warmouth, and they of a very humble description; their faces were
familiar to all the inhabitants, and their appearance was in accordance
with their humble condition. Therefore, when Charlie made his debut, in
company with Mrs. Bird, his dress and manners differed so greatly from what
they were accustomed to associate with persons of his complexion, that he
created quite a sensation in the streets of the usually quiet and obscure
He was attired with great neatness; and not having an opportunity of
playing marbles in his new suit, it still maintained its spotless
appearance. The fine grey broadcloth coat and pants fitted him to a nicety,
the jaunty cap was set slightly on one side of his head giving him, a
somewhat saucy look, and the fresh colour now returning to his cheeks
imparted to his face a much healthier appearance than it had worn for
He and his kind friend walked on together for some time, chatting about the
various things that attracted their attention on the way, until they
reached a cottage in the garden of which a gentleman was busily engaged in
training a rosebush upon a new trellis.
So completely was he occupied with his pursuit that he did not observe the
entrance of visitors, and quite started when he was gently tapped upon the
shoulder by Mrs. Bird.
"How busy we are," said she, gaily, at the same time extending her
hand--"so deeply engaged, that we can scarcely notice old friends that we
have not seen for months."
"Indeed, this is a pleasant surprise," he remarked, when he saw by whom he
had been interrupted. "When did you arrive?"
"Only this morning; and, as usual, I have already found something with
which to bore you--you know, Mr. Whately, I always have something to
trouble you about."
"Don't say trouble, my dear Mrs. Bird; if you will say 'give me something
to occupy my time usefully and agreeably,' you will come much nearer the
mark. But who is this you have with you?"
"Oh, a little _protege_ of mine, poor little fellow--he met with a sad
accident recently--he broke his arm; and I have brought him down here to
recruit. Charlie, walk around and look at the garden--I have a little
matter of business to discuss with Mr. Whately, and when we shall have
finished I will call you."
Mr. Whately led the way into his library, and placing a seat for Mrs. Bird,
awaited her communication.
"You have great influence with the teacher of the academy, I believe," said
"A little," replied Mr. Whately, smiling.
"Not a little," rejoined Mrs. Bird, "but a great deal; and, my dear Mr.
Whately, I want you to exercise it in my behalf. I wish to enter as a
scholar that little boy I brought with me this morning."
"Impossible!" said Mr. Whately. "My good friend, the boy is coloured!"
"I am well aware of that," continued Mrs. Bird; "if he were not there would
not be the least trouble about his admission; nor am I sure there will be
as it is, if you espouse his cause. One who has been such a benefactor to
the academy as yourself, could, I suppose, accomplish anything."
"Yes; but that is stretching my influence unduly. I would be willing to
oblige you in almost anything else, but I hesitate to attempt this. Why not
send him to the public school?--they have a separate bench for black
children; he can be taught there all that is necessary for him to know."
"He is far in advance of any of the scholars there. I attended the
examination of the school to which he was attached," said Mrs. Bird, "and I
was very much surprised at the acquirements of the pupils; this lad was
distinguished above all the rest--he answered questions that would have
puzzled older heads, with the greatest facility. I am exceedingly anxious
to get him admitted to the academy, as I am confident he will do honour to
the interest I take in him."
"And a very warm interest it must be, my dear Mrs. Bird, to induce you to
attempt placing him in such an expensive and exclusive school. I am very
much afraid you will have to give it up: many of the scholars' parents, I
am sure, will object strenuously to the admission of a coloured boy as a
"Only tell me that you will propose him, and I will risk the refusal,"
replied Mrs. Bird--"it can be tried at all events; and if you will make the
effort I shall be under deep obligations to you."
"Well, Mrs. Bird, let us grant him admitted--what benefit can accrue to the
lad from an education beyond his station? He cannot enter into any of the
learned professions: both whilst he is there, and after his education is
finished, he will be like a fish out of water. You must pardon me if I say
I think, in this case, your benevolence misdirected. The boy's parents are
poor, I presume?"
"They certainly are not rich," rejoined Mrs. Bird; "and it is for that
reason I wish to do all that I can for him. If I can keep him with me, and
give him a good education, it may be greatly for his advantage; there may
be a great change in public sentiment before he is a man--we cannot say
what opening there may be for him in the future."
"Not unless it changes very much. I never knew prejudice more rampant than
it is at this hour. To get the boy admitted as a right is totally out of
the question: if he is received at all, it will be as a special favour, and
a favour which--I am sure it will require all my influence to obtain. I
will set about it immediately, and, rely upon it, I will do my best for
Satisfied with the promise, which was as much as Mrs. Bird had dared to
hope for, she called Charlie, then shook hands with Mr. Whately and
Mrs. Stevens gains a Triumph.
The Garies had now become thoroughly settled in Philadelphia, and, amongst
the people of colour, had obtained a very extensive and agreeable
At the South Mr. Garie had never borne the reputation of an active person.
Having an ample fortune and a thoroughly Southern distaste for labour, he
found it by no means inconvenient or unpleasant to have so much time at his
disposal. His newspaper in the morning, a good book, a stroll upon the
fashionable promenade, and a ride at dusk, enabled him to dispose of his
time without being oppressed with _ennui_.
It was far happier for him that such was his disposition, as his domestic
relations would have been the means of subjecting him to many unpleasant
circumstances, from which his comparative retirement in a great measure
Once or twice since his settlement in the North his feelings had been
ruffled, by the sneering remarks of some of his former friends upon the
singularity of his domestic position; but his irritation had all fled
before the smiles of content and happiness that beamed from the faces of
his wife and children.
Mrs. Garie had nothing left to wish for; she was surrounded by every
physical comfort and in the enjoyment of frequent intercourse with
intelligent and refined people, and had been greatly attracted toward
Esther Ellis with whom she had become very intimate.
One morning in November, these two were in the elegant little bed-room of
Mrs. Garie, where a fire had been kindled, as the weather was growing very
chilly and disagreeable. "It begins to look quite like autumn," said Mrs.
Garie, rising and looking out of the window. "The chrysanthemums are
drooping and withered, and the dry leaves are whirling and skimming through
the air. I wonder," she continued, "if the children were well wrapped up
"Oh, yes; I met them at the corner, on their way to school, looking as warm
and rosy as possible. What beautiful children they are! Little Em has
completely won my heart; it really seems a pity for her to be put on the
shelf, as she must be soon."
"How--what do you mean?" asked Mrs. Garie.
"Oh, this will explain," archly rejoined Esther, as she held up to view one
of the tiny lace trimmed frocks that she was making in anticipation of the
event that has been previously hinted.
Mrs. Garie laughed, and turned to look out of the window again.
"Do you know I found little Lizzy Stevens, your neighbour's daughter,
shivering upon the steps in a neighbouring street, fairly blue with cold?
She was waiting there for Clarence and Em. I endeavoured to persuade her to
go on without them, but she would not. From what I could understand, she
waits for them there every day."
"Her mother cannot be aware of it, then; for she has forbidden her children
to associate with mine," rejoined Mrs. Garie. "I wonder she permits her
little girl to go to the same school. I don't think she knows it, or it is
very likely she would take her away."
"Has she ever spoken to you since the night of her visit?" asked Esther.
"Never! I have seen her a great many times since; she never speaks, nor do
I. There she goes now. That," continued Mrs. Garie, with a smile, "is
another illustration of the truthfulness of the old adage, 'Talk of--well,
I won't say who,--'and he is sure to appear.'" And, thus speaking, she
turned from the window, and was soon deeply occupied in the important work
of preparing for the expected little stranger. Mrs. Garie was mistaken in
her supposition that Mrs. Stevens was unaware that Clarence and little Em
attended the same school to which her own little girl had been sent; for
the evening before the conversation we have just narrated, she had been
discussing the matter with her husband.
"Here," said she to him, "is Miss Jordan's bill for the last quarter. I
shall never pay her another; I am going to remove Lizzy from that school."
"Remove her! what for? I thought I heard you say, Jule, that the child got
on excellently well there,--that she improved very fast?"
"So she does, as far as learning is concerned; but she is sitting right
next to one of those Garie children, and that is an arrangement I don't at
all fancy. I don't relish the idea of my child attending the same school
that niggers do; so I've come to the determination to take her away."
"I should do no such thing," coolly remarked Mr. Stevens. "I should compel
the teacher to dismiss the Garies, or I should break up her school. Those
children have no right to be there whatever. I don't care a straw how light
their complexions are, they are niggers nevertheless, and ought to go to a
nigger school; they are no better than any other coloured children. I'll
tell you what you can do, Jule," continued he: "call on Mrs. Kinney, the
Roths, and one or two others, and induce them to say that if Miss Jordan
won't dismiss the Garies that they will withdraw their children; and you
know if they do, it will break up the school entirely. If it was any other
person's children but his, I would wink at it; but I want to give him a
fall for his confounded haughtiness. Just try that plan, Jule, and you will
be sure to succeed."
"I am not so certain about it, Stevens. Miss Jordan, I learn, is very fond
of their little Em. I must say I cannot wonder at it. She is the most
loveable little creature I ever saw. I will say that, if her mother is a
"Yes, Jule, all that may be; but I know the world well enough to judge
that, when she becomes fully assured that it will conflict with her
interests to keep them, she will give them up. She is too poor to be
philanthropic, and, I believe, has sufficient good sense to know it."
"Well, I'll try your plan," said Mrs. Stevens; "I will put matters in train
Early the next morning, Mrs. Stevens might have been seen directing her
steps to the house of Mrs. Kinney, with whom she was very intimate. She
reached it just as that lady was departing to preside at a meeting of a
female missionary society for evangelizing the Patagonians.
"I suppose you have come to accompany me to the meeting," said she to Mrs.
Stevens, as soon as they had exchanged the usual courtesies.
"Oh, dear, no; I wish I was," she replied. "I've got a troublesome little
matter on my hands; and last night my husband suggested my coming to ask
your advice respecting it. George has such a high opinion of your judgment,
that he would insist on my troubling you."
Mrs. Kinney smiled, and looked gratified at this tribute to her importance.
"And moreover," continued Mrs. Stevens, "it's a matter in which your
interest, as well as our own, is concerned."
Mrs. Kinney now began to look quite interested, and, untying the strings of
her bonnet, exclaimed, "Dear me, what can it be?"
"Knowing," said Mrs. Stevens, "that you entertain just the same sentiments
that we do relative to associating with coloured people, I thought I would
call and ask if you were aware that Miss Jordan receives coloured as well
as white children in her school."
"Why, no! My dear Mrs. Stevens, you astound me. I hadn't the remotest idea
of such a thing. It is very strange my children never mentioned it."
"Oh, children are so taken up with their play, they forget such things,"
rejoined Mrs. Stevens. "Now," continued she, "husband said he was quite
confident you would not permit your children to continue their attendance
after this knowledge came to your ears. We both thought it would be a pity
to break up the poor girl's school by withdrawing our children without
first ascertaining if she would expel the little darkies. I knew, if I
could persuade you to let me use your name as well as ours, and say that
you will not permit your children to continue at her school unless she
consents to our wishes, she, knowing the influence you possess, would, I am
sure, accede to our demands immediately."
"Oh, you are perfectly at liberty to use my name, Mrs. Stevens, and say all
that you think necessary to effect your object. But do excuse me for
hurrying off," she continued, looking at her watch: "I was to have been at
the meeting at ten o'clock, and it is now half-past. I hope you won't fail
to call, and let me know how you succeed;" and, with her heart overflowing
with tender care for the poor Patagonian, Mrs. Kinney hastily departed.
"That's settled," soliloquized Mrs. Stevens, with an air of intense
satisfaction, as she descended the steps--"her four children would make a
serious gap in the little school; and now, then," continued she, "for the
Mrs. Stevens found not the slightest difficulty in persuading Mrs. Roth to
allow her name to be used, in connection with Mrs. Kinney's, in the threat
to withdraw their children if the little Garies were not immediately
expelled. Mrs. Roth swore by Mrs. Kinney, and the mere mention of that
lady's name was sufficient to enlist her aid.
Thus armed, Mrs. Stevens lost no time in paying a visit to Miss Jordan's
school. As she entered, the busy hum of childish voices was somewhat
stilled; and Lizzy Stevens touched little Em, who sat next her, and
whispered, "There is my mother."
Mrs. Stevens was welcomed very cordially by Miss Jordan, who offered her
the seat of honour beside her.
"Your school seems quite flourishing," she remarked, after looking around
the room, "and I really regret being obliged to make a gap in your
"I hope you don't intend to deprive me of your little girl," inquired Miss
Jordan; "I should regret to part with her--not only because I am very fond
of her, but in consideration of her own interest--she is coming on so
"Oh, I haven't the slightest fault to find with her progress. _That_," said
she, "is not the reason. I have another, of much more weight. Of course,
every one is at liberty to do as they choose; and we have no right to
dictate to you what description of scholars you should receive; but, if
they are not such, as we think proper companions for our children, you
can't complain if we withdraw them."
"I really do not understand you, Mrs. Stevens," said the teacher, with an
astonished look: "I have none here but the children of the most respectable
persons--they are all as well behaved as school children generally are."
"I did not allude to behaviour; that, for all that I know to the contrary,
is irreproachable; it is not character that is in question, but colour. I
don't like my daughter to associate with coloured children."
"Coloured children!" repeated the now thoroughly bewildered
teacher--"coloured children! My dear madam," continued she, smiling, "some
one has been hoaxing you--I have no coloured pupils--I could not be induced
to receive one on any account."
"I am very glad to hear you say so," rejoined Mrs. Stevens, "for that
convinces me that my fears were groundless. I was under the impression you
had imbibed some of those pestilent abolition sentiments coming into vogue.
I see you are not aware of it, but you certainly have two coloured
scholars; and there," said she, pointing to Clarence, "is one of them."
Clarence, who, with his head bent over his book, was sitting so near as to
overhear a part of this conversation, now looked up, and found the cold,
malignant, grey eyes of Mrs. Stevens fastened on him. He looked at her for
a moment--then apparently resumed his studies.
The poor boy had, when she entered the room, an instinctive knowledge that
her visit boded no good to them. He was beginning to learn the anomalous
situation he was to fill in society. He had detested Mrs. Stevens ever
since the night she had ejected him so rudely from her house, and since
then had learned to some extent what was meant by the term _nigger woman_.
"You must certainly be misinformed," responded Miss Jordan. "I know their
father--he has frequently been here. He is a Southerner, a thorough
gentleman in his manners; and, if ever a man was white, I am sure he is."
"Have you seen their mother?" asked Mrs. Stevens, significantly.
"No, I never have," replied Miss Jordan; "she is in poor health; but she
must unquestionably be a white woman--a glance at the children ought to
convince you of that."
"It might, if I had not seen her, and did not know her to be a coloured
woman. You see, my dear Miss Jordan," continued she, in her blandest tone,
"I am their next-door neighbour and have seen their mother twenty times and
more; she is a coloured woman beyond all doubt."
"I never could have dreamed of such a thing!" exclaimed Miss Jordan, as an
anxious look overspread her face; then, after a pause, she continued: "I do
not see what I am to do--it is really too unfortunate--I don't know how to
act. It seems unjust and unchristian to eject two such children from my
school, because their mother has the misfortune to have a few drops of
African blood in her veins. I cannot make up my mind to do it. Why, you
yourself must admit that they are as white as any children in the room."
"I am willing to acknowledge they are; but they have nigger blood in them,
notwithstanding; and they are, therefore, as much niggers as the blackest,
and have no more right to associate with white children than if they were
black as ink. I have no more liking for white niggers than for black ones."
The teacher was perplexed, and, turning to Mrs. Stevens, said, imploringly:
"This matter seems only known to you; let me appeal to your generosity--say
nothing more about it. I will try to keep your daughter away from them, if
you wish--but pray do not urge me to the performance of an act that I am
conscious would be unjust."
Mrs. Stevens's face assumed a severe and disagreeable expression. "I hoped
you would look at this matter in a reasonable light, and not compel those
who would be your friends to appear in the light of enemies. If this matter
was known to me alone, I should remove my daughter and say nothing more
about it; but, unfortunately for you, I find that, by some means or other,
both Mrs. Kinney and Mrs. Roth have become informed of the circumstance,
and are determined to take their children away. I thought I would act a
friend's part by you, and try to prevail on you to dismiss these two
coloured children at once. I so far relied upon your right judgment as to
assure them that you would not hesitate for a moment to comply with their
wishes; and I candidly tell you, that it was only by my so doing that they
were prevented from keeping their children at home to-day."
Miss Jordan looked aghast at this startling intelligence; if Mrs. Roth and
Mrs. Kinney withdrew their patronage and influence, her little school (the
sole support of her mother and herself) would be well-nigh broken up.
She buried her face in her hands, and sat in silence for a few seconds;
then looking at Mrs. Stevens, with tearful eyes, exclaimed, "God forgive me
if it must be so; nothing but the utter ruin that stares me in the face if
I refuse induces me to accede to your request."
"I am sorry that you distress yourself so much about it. You know you are
your own mistress, and can do as you choose," said Mrs. Stevens; "but if
you will be advised by me, you will send them away at once."
"After school I will," hesitatingly replied Miss Jordan.
"I hate to appear so pressing," resumed Mrs. Stevens; "but I feel it my
duty to suggest that you had better do it at once, and before the rest of
the scholars. I did not wish, to inform you to what extent this thing had
gone; but it really has been talked of in many quarters, and it is
generally supposed that you are cognisant of the fact that the Garies are
coloured; therefore you see the necessity of doing something at once to
vindicate yourself from the reproach of abolitionism."
At the pronunciation of this then terrible word in such connection with
herself, Miss Jordan turned quite pale, and for a moment struggled to
acquire sufficient control of her feelings to enable her to do as Mrs.
Stevens suggested; at last, bursting into tears, she said, "Oh, I
cannot--will not--do it. I'll dismiss them, but not in that unfeeling
manner; that I cannot do."
The children were now entirely neglecting their lessons, and seemed much
affected by Miss Jordan's tears, of which they could not understand the
cause. She observing this, rang the bell, the usual signal for
Mrs. Stevens, satisfied with the triumph she had effected, took leave of
Miss Jordan, after commending her for the sensible conclusion at which she
had arrived, and promising to procure her two more pupils in the room of
those she was about to dismiss.
Miss Jordan was a long time writing the note that she intended sending to
Mr. Garie; and one of the elder girls returned to the school-room,
wondering at the unusually long time that had been given for recreation.
"Tell Clarence and his sister to come here," said she to the girl who had
just entered; and whilst they were on their way upstairs, she folded the
note, and was directing it when Clarence entered.
"Clarence," said she, in a soft voice, "put on your hat; I have a note of
some importance for you to take to your father--your father remember--don't
give it to any one else." Taking out her watch, she continued, "It is now
so late that you would scarcely get back before the time for dismissal, so
you had better take little Emily home with you."
"I hope, ma'am, I haven't done anything wrong?" asked Clarence.
"Oh, no!" quickly replied she; "you're a dear, good boy, and have never
given me a moment's pain since you came to the school." And she hurried out
into the hall to avoid farther questioning.
She could not restrain the tears as she dressed little Em, whose eyes were
large with astonishment at being sent home from school at so early an hour.
"Teacher, is school out?" asked she.
"No, dear, not quite; I wanted to send a note to your pa, and so I have let
Clary go home sooner than usual," replied Miss Jordan, kissing her
repeatedly, whilst the tears were trickling down her cheek.
"Don't cry, teacher, I love you," said the little blue-eyed angel, whose
lip began to quiver in sympathy; "don't cry, I'll come back again
This was too much for the poor teacher, who clasped the child in her arms,
and gave way to a burst of uncontrollable sorrow. At last, conquering
herself with an effort, she led the children down stairs, kissed them both
again, and then opening the door she turned them forth into the
street--turned away from her school these two little children, such as God
received into his arms and blessed, because they were the children of a
Mr. Stevens makes a Discovery.
"Well, Jule, old Aunt Tabitha is gone at last, and I am not at all sorry
for it, I assure you; she's been a complete tax upon me for the last eight
years. I suppose you won't lament much, nor yet go into mourning for her,"
continued Mr. Stevens, looking at her jocularly.
"I'm not sorry, that I admit," rejoined Mrs. Stevens; "the poor old soul is
better off, no doubt; but then there's no necessity to speak of the matter
in such an off-hand manner."
"Now, Jule, I beg you won't attempt to put on the sanctified; that's too
much from you, who have been wishing her dead almost every day for the last
eight years. Why, don't you remember you wished her gone when she had a
little money to leave; and when she lost that, you wished her off our hands
because she had none. Don't pretend to be in the least depressed; that
won't do with me."
"Well, never mind that," said Mrs. Stevens, a little confused; "what has
become of her things--her clothing, and furniture?"
"I've ordered the furniture to be sold; and all there is of it will not
realize sufficient to pay her funeral expenses. Brixton wrote me that she
has left a bundle of letters directed to me, and I desired him to send them
"I wonder what they can be," said Mrs. Stevens.
"Some trash, I suppose; an early love correspondence, of but little value
to any one but herself. I do not expect that they will prove of any
"Don't you think one or the other of us should go to the funeral?" asked
Mrs. Stevens. "Nonsense. No! I have no money to expend in that way--it is
as much as I can do to provide comfortably for the living, without spending
money to follow the dead," replied he; "and besides, I have a case coming
on in the Criminal Court next week that will absorb all my attention."
"What kind of a case is it?" she inquired.
"A murder case. Some Irishmen were engaged in a row, when one of the party
received a knock on his head that proved too much for him, and died in
consequence. My client was one of the contending parties; and has been
suspected, from some imprudent expressions of his, to have been the man who
struck the fatal blow. His preliminary examination comes off to-morrow or
next day, and I must be present as a matter of course."
At an early hour of the morning succeeding this conversation, Mr. Stevens
might have been seen in his dingy office, seated at a rickety desk which
was covered with various little bundles, carefully tied with red tape. The
room was gloomy and cheerless, and had a mouldy disagreeable atmosphere. A
fire burned in the coal stove, which, however, seemed only to warm, but did
not dry the apartment; and the windows were covered with a thin coating of
Mr. Stevens was busily engaged in writing, when hearing footsteps behind
him, he turned and saw Mr. Egan, a friend of his client, entering the room.
"Good morning, Mr. Egan," said he, extending his hand; "how is our friend
McCloskey this morning?"
"Oh, it's far down in the mouth he is, be jabers--the life a'most scared
out of him!"
"Tell him to keep up a good heart and not to be frightened at trifles,"
laughingly remarked Mr. Stevens.
"Can't your honour come and see him?" asked Egan.
"I can't do that; but I'll give you a note to Constable Berry, and he will
bring McCloskey in here as he takes him to court;" and Mr. Stevens
immediately wrote the note, which Egan received and departed.
After the lapse of a few hours, McCloskey was brought by the accommodating
constable to the office of Mr. Stevens. "He'll be safe with you, I
suppose, Stevens;" said the constable, "but then there is no harm in seeing
for one's self that all's secure;" and thus speaking, he raised the window
and looked into the yard below. The height was too great for his prisoner
to escape in that direction; then satisfying himself that the other door
only opened into a closet, he retired, locking Mr. Stevens and his client
in the room.
Mr. Stevens arose as soon as the door closed behind the constable, and
stuffed a piece of damp sponge into the keyhole; he then returned and took
a seat by his client.
"Now, McCloskey," said he, in a low tone, as he drew his chair closely in
front of the prisoner, and fixed his keen grey eyes on him--"I've seen
Whitticar. And I tell you what it is--you're in a very tight place. He's
prepared to swear that he saw you with a slung shot in your hand--that he
saw you drop it after the man fell; he picked it up, and whilst the man was
lying dead at his tavern, awaiting the coroner's inquest, he examined the
wound, and saw in the skull two little dents or holes, which were
undoubtedly made by the little prongs that are on the leaden ball of the
weapon, as they correspond in depth and distance apart; and, moreover, the
ball is attached to a twisted brace which proves to be the fellow to the
one found upon a pair of your trousers. What can you say to all this?"
McCloskey here gave a smothered groan, and his usually red face grew deadly
pale in contemplation of his danger.
"Now," said Mr. Stevens, after waiting long enough for his revelation to
have its due effect upon him, "there is but one thing to be done. We must
buy Whitticar off. Have you got any money? I don't mean fifty or a hundred
dollars--that would be of no more use than as many pennies. We must have
something of a lump--three or four hundred at the very least."
The prisoner drew his breath very hard at this, and remained silent.
"Come, speak out," continued Mr. Stevens, "circumstances won't admit of
our delaying--this man's friends will raise Heaven and earth to secure your
conviction; so you see, my good fellow, it's your money or your life. You
can decide between the two--you know which is of the most importance to
"God save us, squire! how am I to raise that much money? I haven't more nor
a hunther dollars in the world."
"You've got a house, and a good horse and dray," replied Mr. Stevens, who
was well posted in the man's pecuniary resources. "If you expect me to get
you out of this scrape, you must sell or mortgage your house, and dispose
of your horse and dray. Somehow or other four hundred dollars must be
raised, or you will be dangling at a rope's end in less than six months."
"I suppose it will have to go then," said McCloskey, reluctantly.
"Then give me authority," continued Mr. Stevens, "to arrange for the
disposal of the property, and I will have your affairs all set straight in
less than no time."
The constable here cut short any further colloquy by rapping impatiently on
the door, then opening it, and exclaiming, "Come, now it is ten
o'clock--time that you were in court;" and the two started out, followed by
After having, by some of those mysterious plans with which lawyers are
familiar, been enabled to put off the examination for a few days, Mr.
Stephens returned to his office, and found lying upon his table the packet
of letters he was expecting from New York.
Upon breaking the seal, and tearing off the outer covering, he discovered a
number of letters, time-worn and yellow with age; they were tied tightly
together with a piece of cord; cutting this, they fell scattered over the
Taking one of them up, he examined it attentively, turning it from side to
side to endeavour to decipher the half-effaced post-mark. "What a ninny I
am, to waste time in looking at the cover of this, when the contents will,
no doubt, explain the whole matter?" Thus soliloquising he opened the
letter, and was soon deeply absorbed in its contents. He perused and
re-perused it; then opened, one after another, the remainder that lay
scattered before him. Their contents seemed to agitate him exceedingly; as
he walked up and down the room with hasty strides, muttering angrily to
himself, and occasionally returning to the desk to re-peruse the letters
which had so strangely excited him.
Whilst thus engaged, the door was opened by no less a personage than Mr.
Morton, who walked in and seated himself in a familiar manner.
"Oh, how are you, Morton. You entered with such a ghostly tread, that I
scarcely heard you," said Mr. Stevens, with a start; "what has procured me
the honour of a visit from you this morning?"
"I was strolling by, and thought I would just step in and inquire how that
matter respecting the Tenth-street property has succeeded."
"Not at all--the old fellow is as obstinate as a mule; he won't sell except
on his own terms, which are entirely out of all reason. I am afraid you
will be compelled to abandon your building speculation in that quarter
until his demise--he is old and feeble, and can't last many years; in the
event of his death you may be able to effect some more favourable
arrangement with his heirs."
"And perhaps have ten or fifteen years to wait--no, that won't do. I'd
better sell out myself. What would you, advise me to do, Stevens?"
Mr. Stevens was silent for a few moments; then having opened the door and
looked into the entry, he closed it carefully, placed the piece of sponge
in the key-hole, and returned to his seat at the desk, saying:--
"We've transacted enough business together to know one another pretty well.
So I've no hesitation in confiding to you a little scheme I've conceived
for getting into our hands a large proportion of property in one of the
lower districts, at a very low figure; and 'tis probable, that the same
plan, if it answers, will assist you materially in carrying out your
designs. It will require the aid of two or three moneyed men like yourself;
and, if successful, will without doubt be highly remunerative."
"If successful," rejoined Mr. Morton; "yes, there is the rub. How are you
to guarantee success?"
"Hear my plan, and then you can decide. In the first place, you know as
well as I that a very strong feeling exists in the community against the
Abolitionists, and very properly too; this feeling requires to be guided
into some proper current, and I think we can give it that necessary
guidance, and at the same time render it subservient to our own purposes.
You are probably aware that a large amount of property in the lower part of
the city is owned by niggers; and if we can create a mob and direct it
against them, they will be glad to leave that quarter, and remove further
up into the city for security and protection. Once get the mob thoroughly
aroused, and have the leaders under our control, and we may direct its
energies against any parties we desire; and we can render the district so
unsafe, that property will be greatly lessened in value--the houses will
rent poorly, and many proprietors will be happy to sell at very reduced
prices. If you can furnish me the means to start with, I have men enough at
my command to effect the rest. We will so control the elections in the
district, through these men, as to place in office only such persons as
will wink at the disturbances. When, through their agency, we have brought
property down sufficiently low, we will purchase all that we can,
re-establish order and quiet, and sell again at an immense advantage."
"Your scheme is a good one, I must confess, and I am ready to join you at
any time. I will communicate with Carson, who, I think, will be interested,
as he desired to invest with me in those Tenth-street improvements. I will
call in to-morrow, and endeavour to persuade him to accompany me, and then
we can discuss the matter more fully."
"Well, do; but one word before you go. You appear to know everybody--who
is anybody--south of Mason and Dixon's line; can you give me any
information respecting a family by the name of Garie, who live or formerly
did live in the vicinity of Savannah?"
"Oh, yes--I know them, root and branch; although there is but little of the
latter left; they are one of the oldest families in Georgia--those of whom
I have heard the most are of the last two generations. There now remain of
the family but two persons--old John or Jack Garie as he is called, a
bachelor--and who I have recently learned is at the point of death; and a
crack-brained nephew of his, living in this city--said to be married to a
nigger woman--actually married to her. Dr. Blackly informed me last week,
that he sent for him to perform the ceremony, which he very properly
refused to do. I have no doubt, however, that he has been successful in
procuring the services of some one else. I am sorry to say, there are some
clergymen in our city who would willingly assist in such a disgraceful
proceeding. What ever could have induced a man with his prospects to throw
himself away in that manner, I am at loss to determine--he has an
independent fortune of about one hundred thousand dollars, besides
expectations from his uncle, who is worth a considerable sum of money. I
suppose these little darkies of his will inherit it," concluded Mr. Morton.
"Are there no other heirs?" asked Mr. Stevens, in a tone of deep interest.
"There may be. He had an aunt, who married an exceedingly low fellow from
the North, who treated her shamefully. The mercenary scoundrel no doubt
expected to have acquired a fortune with her, as it was generally
understood that she was sole heiress of her mother's property--but it
turned out to be an entire mistake. The circumstance made considerable stir
at the time. I remember having heard my elders discuss it some years after
its occurrence. But why do you take such an interest in it? You charged me
with coming upon you like a ghost. I could return the compliment. Why, man,
you look like a sheet. What ails you?" "Me!--I--oh, nothing--nothing! I'm
perfectly well--that is to say, I was up rather late last night, and am
rather fatigued to day--nothing more."
"You looked so strange, that I could not help being frightened--and you
seemed so interested. You must have some personal motive for inquiring."
"No more than a lawyer often has in the business of his clients. I have
been commissioned to obtain some information respecting these people--a
mere matter of business, nothing more, believe me. Call in again soon, and
endeavour to bring Carson; but pray be discreet--be very careful to whom
you mention the matter."
"Never fear," said Mr. Morton, as he closed the door behind him, and
sauntered lazily out of the house.
Mr. Morton speculated in stocks and town-lots in the same spirit that he
had formerly betted at the racecourse and cockpit in his dear Palmetto
State. It was a pleasant sort of excitement to him, and without excitement
of some kind, he would have found it impossible to exist. To have
frequented gaming hells and race courses in the North would have greatly
impaired his social position; and as he set a high value upon that he was
compelled to forego his favourite pursuits, and associate himself with a
set of men who conducted a system of gambling operations upon 'Change, of a
less questionable but equally exciting character.
Mr. Stevens sat musing at his desk for some time after the departure of his
visitor; then, taking up one of the letters that had so strongly excited
him, he read and re-read it; then crushing it in his hand, arose, stamped
his feet, and exclaimed, "I'll have it! if I--" here he stopped short, and,
looking round, caught a view of his face in the glass; he sank back into
the chair behind him, horrified at the lividness of his countenance.
"Good God!" he soliloquized, "I look like a murderer already," and he
covered his face with his hands, and turned away from the glass. "But I am
wrong to be excited thus; men who accomplish great things approach them
coolly, so must I. I must plot, watch, and wait;" and thus speaking, he
put on his hat and left the office.
As Mr. Stevens approached his house, a handsome carriage drove up to the
door of his neighbour, and Mr. Garie and his wife, who had been enjoying a
drive along the bank of the river, alighted and entered their residence.
The rustle of her rich silk dress grated harshly on his ear, and the soft
perfume that wafted toward him as she glided by, was the very reverse of
pleasant to him.
Mr. Garie bowed stiffly to him as they stood on the steps of their
respective residences, which were only divided by the low iron fence; but,
beyond the slight inclination of the head, took no further notice of him.
"The cursed haughty brute," muttered Mr. Stevens, as he jerked the bell
with violence; "how I hate him! I hated him before I knew--but now I----;"
as he spoke, the door was opened by a little servant that Mrs. Stevens had
recently obtained from a charity institution.
"You've kept me standing a pretty time," exclaimed he savagely, as he
seized her ear and gave it a spiteful twist; "can't you manage to open the
"I was up in the garret, and didn't hear the bell," she replied, timidly.
"Then I'll improve your hearing," he continued malignantly, as he pulled
her by the ear; "take that, now, and see if you'll keep me standing at the
door an hour again."
Striding forward into the back parlour, he found his wife holding a small
rattan elevated over little Lizzy in a threatening attitude.
"Will you never mind me? I've told you again and again not to go, and still
you persist in disobeying me. I'll cut you to pieces if you don't mind.
Will you ever go again?" she almost screamed in the ears of the terrified
"Oh, no, mother, never; please don't whip me, I'll mind you;" and as she
spoke, she shrank as far as possible into the corner of the room. "What's
all this--what's the matter, Jule? What on earth are you going to whip Liz
"Because she deserves it," was the sharp reply; "she don't mind a word I
say. I've forbid her again and again to go next door to visit those little
niggers, and she will do it in spite of me. She slipped off this afternoon,
and has been in their house over an hour; and it was only this morning I
detected her kissing their Clarence through the fence."
"Faugh," said Mr. Stevens, with a look of disgust; "you kissed a nigger!
I'm ashamed of you, you nasty little thing; your mother ought to have taken
a scrubbing-brush and cleaned your mouth, never do such a thing again; come
here to me."
As he spoke, he extended his hand and grasped the delicately rounded arm of
his little girl.