Part 5 out of 7
An Anxious Day.
Esther Ellis, devoured with anxiety respecting the safety of her father and
the Garies, paced with impatient step up and down the drawing-room. Opening
the window, she looked to see if she could discover any signs of day. "It's
pitchy dark," she exclaimed, "and yet almost five o'clock. Father has run a
fearful risk. I hope nothing has happened to him."
"I trust not. I think he's safe enough somewhere," said Mr. Walters. "He's
no doubt been very cautious, and avoided meeting any one--don't worry
yourself, my child, 'tis most likely he remained with them wherever they
went; probably they are at the house of some of their neighbours."
"I can't help feeling dreadfully oppressed and anxious," continued she. "I
wish he would come."
Whilst she was speaking, her mother entered the room. "Any news of your
father?" she asked, in a tone of anxiety.
Esther endeavoured to conceal her own apprehensions, and rejoined, in as
cheerful tone as she could assume--"Not yet, mother--it's too dark for us
to expect him yet--he'll remain most likely until daylight."
"He shouldn't have gone had I been here--he's no business to expose himself
in this way."
"But, mother," interrupted Esther, "only think of it--the safety of Emily
and the children were depending on it--we mustn't be selfish."
"I know we oughtn't to be, my child," rejoined her mother, "but it's
natural to the best of us--sometimes we can't help it." Five--six--seven
o'clock came and passed, and still there were no tidings of Mr. Ellis.
"I can bear this suspense no longer," exclaimed Esther. "If father don't
come soon, I shall go and look for him. I've tried to flatter myself that
he's safe; but I'm almost convinced now that something has happened to him,
or he'd have come back long before this--he knows how anxious we would all
be about him. I've tried to quiet mother and Caddy by suggesting various
reasons for his delay, but, at the same time, I cannot but cherish the most
dismal forebodings. I must go and look for him."
"No, no, Esther--stay where you are at present--leave that to me. I'll
order a carriage and go up to Garie's immediately."
"Well, do, Mr. Walters, and hurry back: won't you?" she rejoined, as he
left the apartment.
In a few moments he returned, prepared to start, and was speedily driven to
Winter-street. He found a group of people gathered before the gate, gazing
into the house. "The place has been attacked," said he, as he walked
towards the front door--picking his way amidst fragments of furniture,
straw, and broken glass. At the entrance of the house he was met by Mr.
Balch, Mr. Garie's lawyer.
"This is a shocking affair, Walters," said he, extending his hand--he was
an old friend of Mr. Walters.
"Very shocking, indeed," he replied, looking around. "But where is Garie?
We sent to warn them of this. I hope they are all safe."
"Safe!" repeated Mr. Balch, with an air of astonishment. "Why, man, haven't
"Heard what?" asked Mr. Walters, looking alarmed.
"That Mr. and Mrs. Garie are dead--both were killed last night."
The shock of this sudden and totally unexpected disclosure was such that
Mr. Walters leaned against the doorway for support. "It can't be possible,"
he exclaimed at last, "not dead!" "Yes, _dead_, I regret to say--he was
shot through the head--and she died in the wood-house, of premature
confinement, brought on by fright and exposure."
"And the children?" gasped Walters.
"They are safe, with some neighbours--it's heart-breaking to hear them
weeping for their mother." Here a tear glistened in the eye of Mr. Balch,
and ran down his cheek. Brushing it off, he continued: "The coroner has
just held an inquest, and they gave a most truthless verdict: nothing
whatever is said of the cause of the murder, or of the murderers; they
simply rendered a verdict--death caused by a wound from a pistol-shot, and
hers--death from exposure. There seemed the greatest anxiety on the part of
the coroner to get the matter over as quickly as possible, and few or no
witnesses were examined. But I'm determined to sift the matter to the
bottom; if the perpetrators of the murder can be discovered, I'll leave no
means untried to find them."
"Do you know any one who sat on the inquest?" asked Walters.
"Yes, one," was the reply, "Slippery George, the lawyer; you are acquainted
with him--George Stevens. I find he resides next door."
"Do you know," here interrupted Mr. Walters, "that I've my suspicions that
that villain is at the bottom of these disturbances or at least has a large
share in them. I have a paper in my possession, in his handwriting--it is
in fact a list of the places destroyed by the mob last night--it fell into
the hands of a friend of mine by accident--he gave it to me--it put me on
my guard; and when the villains attacked my house last night they got
rather a warmer reception than they bargained for."
"You astonish me! Is it possible your place was assaulted also?" asked Mr.
"Indeed, it was--and a hot battle we had of it for a short space of time.
But how did you hear of this affair?"
"I was sent for by I can't tell whom. When I came and saw what had
happened, I immediately set about searching for a will that I made for Mr.
Garie a few weeks since; it was witnessed and signed at my office, and he
brought it away with him. I can't discover it anywhere. I've ransacked
every cranny. It must have been carried off by some one. You are named in
it conjointly with myself as executor. All the property is left to her,
poor thing, and his children. We must endeavour to find it somewhere--at
any rate the children are secure; they are the only heirs--he had not, to
my knowledge, a single white relative. But let us go in and see the
They walked together into the back room where the bodies were lying. Mrs.
Garie was stretched upon the sofa, covered with a piano cloth; and her
husband was laid upon a long table, with a silk window-curtain thrown
across his face.
The two gazed in silence on the face of Mr. Garie--the brow was still knit,
the eyes staring vacantly, and the marble whiteness of the face unbroken,
save by a few gouts of blood near a small blue spot over the eye where the
bullet had entered.
"He was the best-hearted creature in the world," said Walters, as he
re-covered the face.
"Won't you look at her?" asked Mr. Balch.
"No, no--I can't," continued Walters; "I've seen horrors enough for one
morning. I've another thing on my mind! A friend who assisted in the
defence of my house started up here last night, to warn them of their
danger, and when I left home he had not returned: it's evident he hasn't
been here, and I greatly fear some misfortune has befallen him. Where are
the children? Poor little orphans, I must see them before I go."
Accompanied by Mr. Balch, he called at the house where Clarence and Em had
found temporary shelter. The children ran to him as soon as he entered the
room. "Oh! Mr. Walters," sobbed Clarence, "my mother's dead--my mother's
"Hush, dears--hush!" he replied, endeavouring to restrain his own tears, as
he took little Em in his arms. "Don't cry, my darling," said he, as she
gave rent to a fresh outburst of tears.
"Oh, Mr. Walters!" said she, still sobbing, "she was all the mother I had."
Mr. Balch here endeavoured to assist in pacifying the two little mourners.
"Why don't father come?" asked Clarence. "Have you seen him, Mr. Walters?"
Mr. Walters was quite taken aback by this inquiry, which clearly showed
that the children were still unaware of the extent of their misfortunes.
"I've seen him, my child," said he, evasively; "you'll see him before
long." And fearful of further questioning, he left the house, promising
soon to return.
Unable longer to endure her anxiety respecting her father, Esther
determined not to await the return of Mr. Walters, which had already been
greatly delayed, but to go herself in search of him. It had occurred to her
that, instead of returning from the Garies direct to them, he had probably
gone to his own home to see if it had been disturbed during the night.
Encouraged by this idea, without consulting any one, she hastily put on her
cloak and bonnet, and took the direction of her home. Numbers of people
were wending their way to the lower part of the city, to gratify their
curiosity by gazing upon the havoc made by the rioters during the past
Esther found her home a heap of smoking ruins; some of the neighbours who
recognized her gathered round, expressing their sympathy and regret. But
she seemed comparatively careless respecting the loss of their property;
and in answer to their kind expressions, could only ask, "Have you seen my
father?--do you know where my father is?"
None, however, had seen him; and after gazing for a short time upon the
ruins of what was once a happy home, she turned mournfully away, and walked
back to Mr. Walters's.
"Has father come?" she inquired, as soon as the door was opened. "Not
yet!" was the discouraging reply: "and Mr. Walters, he hasn't come back,
Esther stood for some moments hesitating whether to go in, or to proceed in
her search. The voice of her mother calling her from the stairway decided
her, and she went in.
Mrs. Ellis and Caddy wept freely on learning from Esther the destruction of
their home. This cause of grief, added to the anxiety produced by the
prolonged absence of Mr. Ellis, rendered them truly miserable.
Whilst they were condoling with one another, Mr. Walters returned. He was
unable to conceal his fears that something had happened to Mr. Ellis, and
frankly told them so; he also gave a detailed account of what had befallen
the Garies, to the great horror and grief of all.
As soon as arrangements could be made, Mr. Walters and Esther set out in
search of her father. All day long they went from place to place, but
gained no tidings of him; and weary and disheartened they returned at
night, bringing with them the distressing intelligence of their utter
failure to procure any information respecting him.
The Lost One Found.
On the day succeeding the events described in our last chapter, Mr. Walters
called upon Mr. Balch, for the purpose of making the necessary preparations
for the interment of Mr. and Mrs. Garie.
"I think," said Mr. Balch, "we had better bury them in the Ash-grove
cemetery; it's a lovely spot--all my people are buried there."
"The place is fine enough, I acknowledge," rejoined Mr. Walters; "but I
much doubt if you can procure the necessary ground."
"Oh, yes, you can!" said Mr. Balch; "there are a number of lots still
"That may very likely be so; but are you sure we can get one if we apply?"
"Of course we can--what is to prevent?" asked Mr. Balch.
"You forget," replied Mr. Walters, "that Mrs. Garie was a coloured woman."
"If it wasn't such a solemn subject I really should be obliged to laugh at
you, Walters," rejoined Mr. Balch, with a smile--"you talk ridiculously.
What can her complexion have to do with her being buried there, I should
like to know?"
"It has everything to do with it! Can it be possible you are not aware that
they won't even permit a coloured person to walk through the ground, much
less to be buried there!"
"You astonish me, Walters! Are you sure of it?"
"I give you my word of honour it is so! But why should you be astonished at
such treatment of the dead, when you see how they conduct themselves
towards the living? I have a friend," continued Mr. Walters, "who
purchased a pew for himself and family in a white-church, and the deacons
actually removed the floor from under it, to prevent his sitting there.
They refuse us permission to kneel by the side of the white communicants at
the Lord's Supper, and give us separate pews in obscure corners of their
churches. All this you know--why, then, be surprised that they carry their
prejudices into their graveyards?--the conduct is all of a piece."
"Well, Walters, I know the way things are conducted in our churches is
exceedingly reprehensible; but I really did not know they stretched their
prejudices to such an extent."
"I assure you they do, then," resumed Mr. Walters; "and in this very matter
you'll find I'm correct. Ask Stormley, the undertaker, and hear what he'll
tell you. Oh! a case in point.--About six months ago, one of our wealthiest
citizens lost by death an old family servant, a coloured woman, a sort of
half-housekeeper--half-friend. She resembled him so much, that it was
generally believed she was his sister. Well, he tried to have her laid in
their family vault, and it was refused; the directors thought it would be
creating a bad precedent--they said, as they would not sell lots to
coloured persons, they couldn't consistently permit them to be buried in
those of the whites."
"Then Ash-grove must be abandoned; and in lieu of that what can you
propose?" asked Mr. Balch.
"I should say we can't do better than lay them in the graveyard of the
coloured Episcopal church."
"Let it be there, then. You will see to the arrangements, Walters. I shall
have enough on my hands for the present, searching for that will: I have
already offered a large reward for it--I trust it may turn up yet."
"Perhaps it may," rejoined Mr. Walters; "we must hope so, at least. I've
brought the children to my house, where they are under the care of a young
lady who was a great friend of their mother's; though it seems like putting
too much upon the poor young creature, to throw them upon her for
consolation, when she is almost distracted with her own griefs. I think I
mentioned to you yesterday, that her father is missing; and, to add to
their anxieties, their property has been all destroyed by the rioters. They
have a home with me for the present, and may remain there as long as they
"Oh! I remember you told me something of them yesterday; and now I come to
think of it, I saw in the Journal this morning, that a coloured man was
lying at the hospital very much injured, whose name they could not
ascertain. Can it be possible that he is the man you are in search of?"
"Let me see the article," asked Mr. Walters. Mr. Balch handed him the
paper, and pointed out the paragraph in question.
"I'll go immediately to the hospital," said he, as he finished reading,
"and see if it is my poor friend; I have great fears that it is. You'll
excuse my leaving so abruptly--I must be off immediately."
On hastening to the hospital, Mr. Walters arrived just in time to be
admitted to the wards; and on being shown the person whose name they had
been unable to discover, he immediately recognized his friend.
"Ellis, my poor fellow," he exclaimed, springing forward.
"Stop, stop," cried the attendant, laying his hand upon Mr. Walters's
shoulder; "he is hovering between life and death, the least agitation might
be fatal to him. The doctor says, if he survives the night, he may probably
get better; but he has small chance of life. I hardly think he will last
twelve hours more, he's been dreadfully beaten; there are two or three
gashes on his head, his leg is broken, and his hands have been so much cut,
that the surgeon thinks they'll never be of any use to him, even if he
"What awful intelligence for his family," said Mr. Walters; "they are
already half distracted about him."
Mr. Ellis lay perfectly unconscious of what was passing around him, and his
moans were deeply affecting to hear, unable to move but one limb--he was
the picture of helplessness and misery.
"It's time to close; we don't permit visitors to remain after this hour,"
said the attendant; "come to-morrow, you can see your friend, and remain
longer with him;" and bidding Mr. Walters good morning, he ushered him from
"How shall I ever find means to break this to the girls and their mother?"
said he, as he left the gates of the hospital; "it will almost kill them;
really I don't know what I shall say to them."
He walked homeward with hesitating steps, and on arriving at his house, he
paused awhile before the door, mustering up courage to enter; at last he
opened it with the air of a man who had a disagreeable duty to perform, and
had made up his mind to go through with it. "Tell Miss Ellis to come to the
drawing-room," said he to the servant; "merely say she's wanted--don't say
He waited but a few moments before Esther made her appearance, looking sad
and anxious. "Oh, it's you," she said, with some surprise. "You have news
"Yes, Esther, I have news; but I am sorry to say not of a pleasant
"Oh, Mr. Walters, nothing serious I hope has happened to him?" she asked,
in an agitated tone.
"I'm sorry to say there has, Esther; he has met with an accident--a sad and
severe one--he's been badly wounded." Esther turned deadly pale at this
announcement, and leaned upon the table for support.
"I sent for you, Esther," continued Mr. Walters, "in preference to your
mother, because I knew you to be courageous in danger, and I trusted you
would be equally so in misfortune. Your father's case is a very critical
one--very. It appears that after leaving here, he fell into the hands of
the rioters, by whom he was shockingly beaten. He was taken to the
hospital, where he now remains."
"Oh, let me go to him at once, do, Mr. Walters!
"My dear child, it is impossible for you to see him to-day, it is long past
the visiting hour; moreover, I don't think him in a state that would permit
the least agitation. To-morrow you can go with me." Esther did not weep,
her heart was too full for tears. With a pale face, and trembling lips, she
said to Mr. Walters, "God give us strength to bear up under these
misfortunes; we are homeless--almost beggars--our friends have been
murdered, and my father is now trembling on the brink of the grave; such
troubles as these," said she, sinking into a chair, "are enough to crush
"I know it, Esther; I know it, my child. I sympathize with you deeply. All
that I have is at your disposal. You may command me in anything. Give
yourself no uneasiness respecting the future of your mother and family, let
the result to your father be what it may: always bear in mind that, next to
God, I am your best friend. I speak thus frankly to you, Esther, because I
would not have you cherish any hopes of your father's recovery; from his
appearance, I should say there is but little, if any. I leave to you, my
good girl, the task of breaking this sad news to your mother and sister; I
would tell them, but I must confess, Esther, I'm not equal to it, the
events of the last day or two have almost overpowered me."
Esther's lips quivered again, as she repeated the words, "Little hope; did
the doctor say that?" she asked.
"I did not see the doctor," replied he; "perhaps there may be a favourable
change during the night. I'd have you prepare for the worst, whilst you
hope for the best. Go now and try to break it as gently as possible to your
Esther left the room with heavy step, and walked to the chamber where her
mother was sitting. Caddy also was there, rocking backwards and forwards in
a chair, in an earnest endeavour to soothe to sleep little Em, who was
sitting in her lap.
"Who was it, Esther?" asked, her mother.
"Mr. Walters," she hesitatingly answered.
"Was it? Well, has he heard anything of your father?" she asked, anxiously.
Esther turned away her head, and remained silent.
"Why don't you answer?" asked her mother, with an alarmed look; "if you
know anything of him, for God's sake tell me. Whatever it may be, it can't
be worse than I expect; is he dead?" she asked.
"No--no, mother, he's not dead; but he's sick, very sick, mother. Mr.
Walters found him in the hospital."
"In the hospital! how came he there? Don't deceive me, Esther, there's
something behind all this; are you telling me the truth? is he still
"Mother, believe me, he is still alive, but how long he may remain so, God
only knows." Mrs. Ellis, at this communication, leant her head upon the
table, and wept uncontrollably. Caddy put down her little charge, and stood
beside her mother, endeavouring to soothe her, whilst unable to restrain
her own grief.
"Let us go to him, Esther," said her mother, rising; "I must see him--let
us go at once."
"We can't, mother; Mr. Walters says it's impossible for us to see him
to-day; they don't admit visitors after a certain hour in the morning."
"They _must_ admit me: I'll tell them I'm his wife; when they know that,
they _can't_ refuse me." Quickly dressing themselves, Esther, Caddy, and
their mother were about to start for the hospital, when Mr. Walters
"Where are you all going?" he asked.
"To the hospital," answered Mrs. Ellis; "I must see my husband."
"I have just sent there, Ellen, to make arrangements to hear of him every
hour. You will only have the grief of being refused admission if you go;
they're exceedingly strict--no one is admitted to visit a patient after a
certain hour; try and compose yourselves; sit down, I want to talk to you
for a little while."
Mrs. Ellis mechanically obeyed; and on sitting down, little Em crept into
her lap, and nestled in her arms.
"Ellen," said Mr. Walters, taking a seat by her; "it's useless to disguise
the fact that Ellis is in a precarious situation--how long he may be sick
it is impossible to say; as soon as it is practicable, should he get
better, we will bring him here. You remember, Ellen, that years ago, when I
was young and poor, Ellis often befriended me--now 'tis my turn. You must
all make up your minds to remain with me--for ever, if you like--for the
present, whether you like it or not. I'm going to be dreadfully obstinate,
and have my own way completely about the matter. Here I've a large house,
furnished from top to bottom with every comfort. Often I've wandered
through it, and thought myself a selfish old fellow to be surrounded with
so much luxury, and keep it entirely to myself. God has blessed me with
abundance, and to what better use can it be appropriated than the relief of
my friends? Now, Ellen, you shall superintend the whole of the
establishment, Esther shall nurse her father, Caddy shall stir up the
servants, and I'll look on and find my happiness in seeing you all happy.
Now, what objection can you urge against that arrangement?" concluded he,
"Why, we shall put you to great inconvenience, and place ourselves under an
obligation we can never repay," answered Mrs. Ellis.
"Don't despair of that--never mind the obligation; try and be as cheerful
as you can; to-morrow we shall see Ellis, and perhaps find him better; let
us at least hope for the best."
Esther looked with grateful admiration at Mr. Walters, as he left the room.
"What a good heart he has, mother," said she, as he closed the door behind
him; "just such a great tender heart as one should expect to find in so
fine a form."
Mrs. Ellis and her daughters were the first who were found next day, at the
office of the doorkeeper of the hospital waiting an opportunity to see
their sick friends.
"You're early, ma'am," said a little bald-headed official, who sat at his
desk fronting the door; "take a chair near the fire--it's dreadful cold
"Very cold," replied Esther, taking a seat beside her mother; "how long
will it be before we can go in?"
"Oh, you've good an hour to wait--the doctor hasn't come yet," replied the
door-keeper. "How is my husband?" tremblingly inquired Mrs. Ellis.
"Who is your husband?--you don't know his number, do you? Never know names
here--go by numbers."
"We don't know the number," rejoined Esther; "my father's name is Ellis; he
was brought here two or three nights since--he was beaten by the mob."
"Oh, yes; I know now who you mean--number sixty--bad case that, shocking
bad case--hands chopped--head smashed--leg broke; he'll have to cross over,
I guess--make a die of it, I'm afraid."
Mrs. Ellis shuddered, and turned pale, as the man coolly discussed her
husband's injuries, and their probable fatal termination. Caddy, observing
her agitation, said, "Please, sir, don't talk of it; mother can't bear it."
The man looked at them compassionately for a few moments--then continued:
"You mustn't think me hard-hearted--I see so much of these things, that I
can't feel them as others do. This is a dreadful thing to you, no doubt,
but it's an every-day song to me--people are always coming here mangled in
all sorts of ways--so, you see, I've got used to it--in fact, I'd rather
miss 'em now if they didn't come. I've sat in this seat every day for
almost twenty years;" and he looked on the girls and their mother as he
gave them this piece of information as if he thought they ought to regard
him henceforth with great reverence.
Not finding them disposed to converse, the doorkeeper resumed the newspaper
he was reading when they entered, and was soon deeply engrossed in a
horrible steam-boat accident.
The sound of wheels in the courtyard attracting his attention, he looked
up, and remarked: "Here's the doctor--as soon as he has walked the wards
you'll be admitted."
Mrs. Ellis and her daughters turned round as the door opened, and, to their
great joy, recognized Doctor Burdett.
"How d'ye do?" said he, extending his hand to Mrs. Ellis--"what's the
matter? Crying!" he continued, looking at their tearful faces; "what has
"Oh, doctor," said Esther, "father's lying here, very much injured; and
they think he'll die," said she, giving way to a fresh burst of grief.
"Very much injured--die--how is this?--I knew nothing of it--I haven't been
here before this week."
Esther hereupon briefly related the misfortunes that had befallen her
"Dear me--dear me," repeated the kind old doctor.
"There, my dear; don't fret--he'll get better, my child--I'll take him in
hand at once. My dear Mrs. Ellis, weeping won't do the least good, and only
make you sick yourself. Stop, do now--I'll go and see him immediately, and
as soon as possible you shall be admitted."
They had not long to wait before a message came from Doctor Burdett,
informing them that they could now be permitted to see the sufferer.
"You must control yourselves," said the doctor to the sobbing women, as he
met them at the door; "you mustn't do anything to agitate him--his
situation is extremely critical."
The girls and their mother followed him to the bedside of Mr. Ellis, who,
ghastly pale, lay before them, apparently unconscious.
Mrs. Ellis gave but one look at her husband, and, with a faint cry, sank
fainting upon the floor. The noise partially aroused him; he turned his
head, and, after an apparent effort, recognized his daughters standing
beside him: he made a feeble attempt to raise his mutilated hands, and
murmured faintly, "You've come at last!" then closing his eyes, he dropped
his arms, as if exhausted by the effort.
Esther knelt beside him, and pressed a kiss on his pale face.
"Father!--father!" said she, softly. He opened his eyes again, and a smile
of pleasure broke over his wan face, and lighted up his eyes, as he feebly
said, "God bless you, darlings! I thought you'd never come. Where's mother
"Here," answered Esther, "here, by me; your looks frightened her so, that
she's fainted." Doctor Burdett here interposed, and said: "You must all
go now; he's too weak to bear more at present."
"Let me stay with him a little longer," pleaded Esther.
"No, my child, it's impossible," he continued; "besides, your mother will
need your attention;" and, whilst he spoke, he led her into an adjoining
room, where the others had preceded her.
Charlie Distinguishes Himself.
Charlie had now been many weeks under the hospitable roof of Mrs. Bird,
improving in health and appearance. Indeed, it would have been a wonder if
he had not, as the kind mistress of the mansion seemed to do nought else,
from day to day, but study plans for his comfort and pleasure. There was
one sad drawback upon the contentment of the dear old lady, and that was
her inability to procure Charlie's admission to the academy.
One morning Mr. Whately called upon her, and, throwing himself into a
chair, exclaimed: "It's all to no purpose; their laws are as unalterable as
those of the Medes and Persians--arguments and entreaty are equally thrown
away upon them; I've been closeted at least half a dozen times with each
director; and as all I can say won't make your _protege_ a shade whiter,
I'm afraid his admission to the academy must be given up."
"It's too bad," rejoined Mrs. Bird. "And who, may I ask, were the principal
"They all opposed it, except Mr. Weeks and Mr. Bentham."
"Indeed!--why they are the very ones that I anticipated would go against it
tooth and nail. And Mr. Glentworth--surely he was on our side?"
"He!--why, my dear madam, he was the most rabid of the lot. With his
sanctified face and canting tongue!"
"I'm almost ashamed to own it--but it's the truth, and I shouldn't hesitate
to tell it--I found the most pious of the directors the least accessible;
as to old Glentworth, he actually talked to me as if I was recommending the
committal of some horrid sin. I'm afraid I shall be set down by him as a
rabid Abolitionist, I got so warm on the subject. I've cherished as strong
prejudices against coloured people as any one; but I tell you, seeing how
contemptible it makes others appear, has gone a great way towards
eradicating it in me. I found myself obliged to use the same arguments
against it that are used by the Abolitionists, and in endeavouring to
convince others of the absurdity of their prejudices, I convinced myself."
"I'd set my heart upon it," said Mrs. Bird, in a tone of regret; "but I
suppose I'll have to give it up. Charlie don't know I've made application
for his admission, and has been asking me to let him go. A great many of
the boys who attend there have become acquainted with him, and it was only
yesterday that Mr. Glentworth's sons were teasing me to consent to his
beginning there the next term. The boys," concluded she, "have better
hearts than their parents."
"Oh, I begin to believe it's all sham, this prejudice; I'm getting quite
disgusted with myself for having had it--or rather thinking I had it. As
for saying it is innate, or that there is any natural antipathy to that
class, it's all perfect folly; children are not born with it, or why
shouldn't they shrink from a black nurse or playmate? It's all bosh,"
concluded he, indignantly, as he brought his cane down with a rap.
"Charlie's been quite a means of grace to you," laughingly rejoined Mrs.
Bird, amused at his vehemence of manner. "Well, I'm going to send him to
Sabbath-school next Sunday; and, if there is a rebellion against his
admission there, I shall be quite in despair."
It is frequently the case, that we are urged by circumstances to the
advocacy of a measure in which we take but little interest, and of the
propriety of which we are often very sceptical; but so surely as it is just
in itself, in our endeavours to convert others we convince ourselves; and,
from lukewarm apologists, we become earnest advocates. This was just Mr.
Whately's case: he had begun to canvass for the admission of Charlie with
a doubtful sense of its propriety, and in attempting to overcome the
groundless prejudices of others, he was convicted of his own.
Happily, in his case, conviction was followed by conversion, and as he
walked home from Mrs. Bird's, he made up his mind that, if they attempted
to exclude Charlie from the Sabbath-school, he would give them a piece of
his mind, and then resign his superintendency of it.
On arriving at home, he found waiting for him a young lady, who was
formerly a member of his class in the Sabbath-school. "I've come," said
she, "to consult you about forming an adult class in our school for
coloured persons. We have a girl living with us, who would be very glad to
attend, and she knows two or three others. I'll willingly take the class
myself. I've consulted the pastor and several others, and no one seems to
anticipate any objections from the scholars, if we keep them on a separate
bench, and do not mix them up with the white children."
"I'm delighted to hear you propose it," answered Mr. Whately, quite
overjoyed at the opening it presented, "the plan meets my warmest approval.
I decidedly agree with you in the propriety of our making some effort for
the elevation and instruction of this hitherto neglected class--any aid I
"You astonish me," interrupted Miss Cass, "though I must say very
agreeably. You were the last person from whom I thought of obtaining any
countenance. I did not come to you until armed with the consent of almost
all the parties interested, because from you I anticipated considerable
opposition," and in her delight, the young girl grasped Mr. Whately's hand,
and shook it very heartily.
"Oh, my opinions relative to coloured people have lately undergone
considerable modification; in fact," said he, with some little confusion,
"quite a thorough revolution. I don't, think we have quite done our duty by
these people. Well, well, we must make the future atone for the past."
Miss Cass had entered upon her project with all the enthusiasm of youth,
and being anxious that her class, "in point of numbers," should make a
presentable appearance, had drafted into it no less a person than Aunt
Aunt Comfort was a personage of great importance in the little village of
Warmouth, and one whose services were called into requisition on almost
every great domestic occasion.
At births she frequently officiated, and few young mothers thought
themselves entirely safe if the black good-humoured face of Aunt Comfort
was not to be seen at their bedside. She had a hand in the compounding of
almost every bridecake, and had been known to often leave houses of
feasting, to prepare weary earth-worn travellers for their final place of
rest. Every one knew, and all liked her, and no one was more welcome at the
houses of the good people of Warmouth than Aunt Comfort.
But whilst rendering her all due praise for her domestic acquirements,
justice compels us to remark that Aunt Comfort was not a literary
character. She could get up a shirt to perfection, and made irreproachable
chowder, but she was not a woman of letters. In fact, she had arrived at
maturity at a time when negroes and books seldom came in familiar contact;
and if the truth must be told, she cared very little about the latter. "But
jist to 'blege Miss Cass," she consented to attend her class, averring as
she did so, "that she didn't 'spect she was gwine to larn nothin' when she
Miss Cass, however, was of the contrary opinion, and anticipated that after
a few Sabbaths, Aunt Comfort would prove to be quite a literary phenomenon.
The first time their class assembled the white children well-nigh
dislocated their necks, in their endeavours to catch glimpses of the
coloured scholars, who were seated on a backless bench, in an obscure
corner of the room.
Prominent amongst them shone Aunt Comfort, who in honour of this
extraordinary occasion, had retrimmed her cap, which was resplendent with
bows of red ribbon as large as peonies. She had a Sunday-school primer in
her hand, and was repeating the letters with the utmost regularity, as
Miss Cass pronounced them. They got on charmingly until after crossing over
the letter O, as a matter of course they came to P and Q.
"Look here," said Aunt Comfort, with a look of profound erudition, "here's
anoder O. What's de use of having two of 'em?"
"No, no, Aunt Comfort--that's Q--the letter Q."
"Umph," grunted the old woman, incredulously, "what's de use of saying
dat's a Q, when you jest said not a minute ago 'twas O?"
"This is not the same," rejoined the teacher, "don't you see the little
tail at the bottom of it?"
Aunt Comfort took off her silver spectacles, and gave the glasses of them a
furious rub, then after essaying another look, exclaimed, "What, you don't
mean dat 'ere little speck down at the bottom of it, does yer?"
"Yes, Aunt Comfort, that little speck, as you call it, makes all the
difference--it makes O into Q."
"Oh, go 'way, child," said she, indignantly, "you isn't gwine to fool me
dat ar way. I knows you of old, honey--you's up to dese 'ere things--you
know you allus was mighty 'chevious, and I isn't gwine to b'lieve dat dat
ar little speck makes all the difference--no such thing, case it
don't--deys either both O's or both Q's. I'm clar o' dat--deys either one
Knowing by long experience the utter futility of attempting to convince
Aunt Comfort that she was in the wrong, by anything short of a miracle, the
teacher wisely skipped over the obnoxious letter, then all went smoothly on
to the conclusion of the alphabet.
The lesson having terminated, Miss Cass looked up and discovered standing
near her a coloured boy, who she correctly surmised was sent as an addition
to her class. "Come here, and sit down," said she, pointing to a seat next
Aunt Comfort. "What is your name?"
Charlie gave his name and residence, which were entered in due form on the
teacher's book. "Now, Charles," she continued, "do you know your letters?"
"Yes, ma'am," was the answer.
"Can you spell?" she inquired. To this also Charlie gave an affirmative,
highly amused at the same time at being asked such a question.
Miss Cass inquired no further into the extent of his acquirements, it never
having entered her head that he could do more than spell. So handing him
one of the primers, she pointed out a line on which to begin. The spirit of
mischief entered our little friend, and he stumbled through b-l-a
bla--b-l-i bli--b-l-o blo--b-l-u blu, with great gravity and slowness.
"You spell quite nicely, particularly for a little coloured boy," said Miss
Cass, encouragingly, as he concluded the line; "take this next," she
continued, pointing to another, "and when you have learned it, I will hear
It was the custom of the superintendent to question the scholars upon a
portion of Bible history, given out the Sabbath previous for study during
the week. It chanced that upon the day of which we write, the subject for
examination was one with which Charlie was quite familiar.
Accordingly, when the questions were put to the school, he answered boldly
and quickly to many of them, and with an accuracy that astonished his
"How did you learn the answers to those questions--you can't read?" said
"Yes, but I can read," answered Charlie, with a merry twinkle in his eye.
"Why didn't you tell me so before?" she asked.
"Because you didn't ask me," he replied, suppressing a grin.
This was true enough, so Miss Cass, having nothing farther to say, sat and
listened, whilst he answered the numerous and sometimes difficult questions
addressed to the scholars.
Not so, Aunt Comfort. She could not restrain her admiration of this display
of talent on the part of one of her despised race; she was continually
breaking out with expressions of wonder and applause. "Jis' hear
dat--massy on us--only jis' listen to de chile," said she, "talks jis' de
same as if he was white. Why, boy, where you learn all dat?"
"Across the Red Sea," cried Charlie, in answer to a question from the desk
of the superintendent.
"'Cross de Red Sea! Umph, chile, you been dere?" asked Aunt Comfort, with a
face full of wonder.
"What did you say?" asked Charlie, whose attention had been arrested by the
"Why I asked where you learned all dat 'bout de children of Israel."
"Oh, I learned that at Philadelphia," was his reply; "I learned it at
school with the rest of the boys."
"You did!" exclaimed she, raising her hands with astonishment. "Is dere
many more of 'em like you?"
Charlie did not hear this last question of Aunt Comfort's, therefore she
was rather startled by his replying in a loud tone, "_Immense hosts_."
"Did I ever--jis' hear dat, dere's ''mense hostes' of 'em jest like him!
only think of it. Is dey all dere yet, honey?"
"They were all drowned."
"Oh, Lordy, Lordy," rejoined she, aghast with horror; for Charlie's reply
to a question regarding the fate of Pharaoh's army, had been by her
interpreted as an answer to her question respecting his coloured
schoolmates at Philadelphia.
"And how did you 'scape, honey," continued she, "from drowning 'long wid
the rest of 'em?"
"Why I wasn't there, it was thousands of years ago."
"Look here. What do you mean?" she whispered; "didn't you say jest now dat
you went to school wid 'em?"
This was too much for Charlie, who shook all over with suppressed laughter;
nor was Miss Cass proof against the contagion--she was obliged to almost
suffocate herself with her handkerchief to avoid a serious explosion.
"Aunt Comfort, you are mistaking him," said she, as soon as she could
recover her composure; "he is answering the questions of the
superintendent--not yours, and very well he has answered them, too,"
continued she. "I like to see little boys aspiring: I am glad to see you so
intelligent--you must persevere, Charlie."
"Yes, you must, honey," chimed in Aunt Comfort. "I'se very much like Miss
Cass; I likes to see children--'specially children of colour--have
Charlie went quite off at this, and it was only by repeated hush--hushes,
from Miss Cass, and a pinch in the back from Aunt Comfort, that he was
restored to a proper sense of his position.
The questioning being now finished, Mr. Whately came to Charlie, praised
him highly for his aptness, and made some inquiries respecting his
knowledge of the catechism; also whether he would be willing to join the
class that was to be catechised in the church during the afternoon. To
this, Charlie readily assented, and, at the close of the school, was placed
at the foot of the class, preparatory to going into the Church.
The public catechizing of the scholars was always an event in the village;
but now a novelty was given it, by the addition of a black lamb to the
flock, and, as a matter of course, a much greater interest was manifested.
Had a lion entered the doors of St. Stephen's church, he might have created
greater consternation, but he could not have attracted more attention than
did our little friend on passing beneath its sacred portals. The length of
the aisle seemed interminable to him, and on his way to the altar he felt
oppressed by the scrutiny of eyes through which he was compelled to pass.
Mr. Dural, the pastor, looked kindly at him, as he stood in front of the
chancel, and Charlie took heart from his cheering smile.
Now, to Aunt Comfort (who was the only coloured person who regularly
attended the church) a seat had been assigned beside the organ; which
elevated position had been given her that the congregation might indulge in
their devotions without having their prejudices shocked by a too close
contemplation of her ebony countenance.
But Aunt Comfort, on this occasion, determined to get near enough to hear
all that passed, and, leaving her accustomed seat, she planted herself in
one of the aisles of the gallery overlooking the altar, where she remained
almost speechless with wonder and astonishment at the unprecedented sight
of a woolly head at the foot of the altar.
Charlie got on very successfully until called upon to repeat the Lord's
Prayer; and, strange to say, at this critical juncture, his memory forsook
him, and he was unable to utter a word of it: for the life of him he could
not think of anything but "Now I lay me down to sleep"--and confused and
annoyed he stood unable to proceed. At this stage of affairs, Aunt
Comfort's interest in Charlie's success had reached such a pitch that her
customary awe of the place she was in entirely departed, and she exclaimed,
"I'll give yer a start--'Our Farrer,'"--then overwhelmed by the
consciousness that she had spoken out in meeting, she sank down behind a
pew-door, completely extinguished. At this there was an audible titter,
that was immediately suppressed; after which, Charlie recovered his memory,
and, started by the opportune prompting of Aunt Comfort, he recited it
correctly. A few questions more terminated the examination, and the
children sat down in front of the altar until the conclusion of the
Mrs. Bird, highly delighted with the _debut_ of her _protege_, bestowed no
end of praises upon him, and even made the coachman walk home, that Charlie
might have a seat in the carriage, as she alleged she was sure he must be
much fatigued and overcome with the excitement of the day; then taking the
reins into her own hands, she drove them safely home.
We must now return to Philadelphia, and pay a visit to the office of Mr.
Balch. We shall find that gentleman in company with Mr. Walters: both look
anxious, and are poring over a letter which is outspread before them.
"It was like a thunder-clap to me," said Mr. Balch: "the idea of there
being another heir never entered my brain--I didn't even know he had a
"When did you get the letter?" asked Walters.
"Only this morning, and I sent for you immediately! Let us read it
again--we'll make another attempt to decipher this incomprehensible name.
Confound the fellow! why couldn't he write so that some one besides himself
could read it! We must stumble through it," said he, as he again began the
letter as follows:--
"Dear Sir,--Immediately on receipt of your favour, I called upon Mr.
Thurston, to take the necessary steps for securing the property of your
late client. To my great surprise, I found that another claimant had
started up, and already taken the preliminary measures to entering upon
possession. This gentleman, Mr.----
"Now, what would you call that name, Walters?--to me it looks like
Stimmens, or Stunners, or something of the kind!"
"Never mind the name," exclaimed Walters--"skip that--let me hear the rest
of the letter; we shall find out who he is soon enough, in all conscience."
"Well, then," resumed Mr. Balch--"This gentleman, Mr.----, is a resident in
your city; and he will, no doubt, take an early opportunity of calling on
you, in reference to the matter. It is my opinion, that without a will in
their favour, these children cannot oppose his claim successfully, if he
can prove his consanguinity to Mr. Garie. His lawyer here showed me a copy
of the letters and papers which are to be used as evidence, and, I must
say, they _are entirely_ without flaw. He proves himself, undoubtedly, to
be the first cousin of Mr. Garie. You are, no doubt, aware that these
children being the offspring of a slave-woman, cannot inherit, in this
State (except under certain circumstances), the property of a white father.
I am, therefore, very much afraid that they are entirely at his mercy."
"Well, then," said Walters, when Mr. Balch finished reading the letter, "it
is clear there is an heir, and his claim _must_ be well sustained, if such
a man as Beckley, the first lawyer in the State, does not hesitate to
endorse it; and as all the property (with the exception of a few thousands
in my hands) lies in Georgia, I'm afraid the poor children will come off
badly, unless this new heir prove to be a man of generosity--at all events,
it seems we are completely at his mercy."
"We must hope for the best," rejoined Mr. Balch. "If he has any heart, he
certainly will make some provision for them. The disappearance of that will
is to me most unaccountable! I am confident it was at his house. It seemed
so singular that none of his papers should be missing, except that--there
were a great many others, deeds, mortgages, &c. scattered over the floor,
but no will!"
The gentlemen were thus conversing, when they heard a tap at the door.
"Come in!" cried Mr. Balch; and, in answer to the request, in walked Mr.
Mr. Walters and Mr. Balch bowed very stiffly, and the latter inquired what
had procured him the honour of a visit.
"I have called upon you in reference to the property of the late Mr.
Garie." "Oh! you are acting in behalf of this new claimant, I suppose?"
rejoined Mr. Balch.
"Sir!" said Mr. Stevens, looking as though he did not thoroughly understand
"I said," repeated Mr. Balch, "that I presumed you called in behalf of this
new-found heir to Mr. Garie's property."
Mr. Stevens looked at him for a moment, then drawing himself up, exclaimed,
"I AM THE HEIR!"
"You!--_you_ the heir!" cried both the gentlemen, almost simultaneously.
"Yes, I am the heir!" coolly repeated Mr. Stevens, with an assured look. "I
am the first cousin of Mr. Garie!"
"You his first cousin?--it is impossible!" said Walters.
"You'll discover it is not only possible, but true--I am, as I said, Mr.
Garie's first cousin!"
"If you are that, you are more," said Walters, fiercely--"you're his
murderer!" At this charge Mr. Stevens turned deathly pale. "Yes," continued
Walters; "you either murdered him, or instigated others to do so! It was
you who directed the rioters against both him and me--I have proof of what
I say and can produce it. Now your motive is clear as day--you wanted his
money, and destroyed him to obtain it! His blood is on your hands!" hissed
Walters through his clenched teeth.
In the excitement consequent upon such a charge, Mr. Stevens, unnoticed by
himself, had overturned a bottle of red ink, and its contents had slightly
stained his hands. When Walters charged him with having Mr. Garie's blood
upon them, he involuntarily looked down and saw his hands stained with red.
An expression of intense horror flitted over his face when he observed it;
but quickly regaining his composure, he replied, "It's only a little ink."
"Yes, I know _that_ is ink," rejoined Walters, scornfully; "look at him,
Balch," he continued, "he doesn't dare to look either of us in the face."
"It's false," exclaimed Stevens, with an effort to appear courageous;
"it's as false as hell, and any man that charges me with it is a liar."
The words had scarcely passed his lips, when Walters sprang upon him with
the ferocity of a tiger, and seizing him by the throat, shook and whirled
him about as though he were a plaything.
"Stop, stop! Walters," cried Mr. Balch, endeavouring to loose his hold upon
the throat of Mr. Stevens, who was already purple in the face; "let him go,
this violence can benefit neither party. Loose your hold." At this
remonstrance, Walters dashed Stevens from him into the farthest corner of
the room, exclaiming, "Now, go and prosecute me if you dare, and I'll tell
for what I chastised you; prosecute me for an assault, if you think you can
risk the consequences."
Mr. Balch assisted him from the floor and placed him in a chair, where he
sat holding his side, and panting for breath. When he was able to speak, he
exclaimed, with a look of concentrated malignity, "Remember, we'll be even
some day; I never received a blow and forgot it afterwards, bear that in
"This will never do, gentlemen," said Mr. Balch, soothingly: "this conduct
is unworthy of you. You are unreasonable both of you. When you have cooled
down we will discuss the matter as we should."
"You'll discuss it alone then," said Stevens, rising, and walking to the
door: "and when you have any further communication to make, you must come
"Stop, stop, don't go," cried Mr. Balch, following him out at the door,
which they closed behind them; "don't go away in a passion, Mr. Stevens.
You and Walters are both too hasty. Come in here and sit down," said he,
opening the door of a small adjoining room, "wait here one moment, I'll
come back to you."
"This will never do, Walters," said he, as he re-entered his office; "the
fellow has the upper hand of us, and we must humour him; we should suppress
our own feelings for the children's sake. You are as well aware as I am of
the necessity of some compromise--we are in his power for the present, and
must act as circumstances compel us to."
"I can't discuss the matter with him," interrupted Walters, "he's an
unmitigated scoundrel. I couldn't command my temper in his presence for
five minutes. If you can arrange anything with him at all advantageous to
the children, I shall be satisfied, it will be more than I expect; only
bear in mind, that what I have in my hands belonging to Garie we must
retain, he knows nothing of that."
"Very well," rejoined Mr. Balch, "depend upon it I'll do my best;" and
closing the door, he went back to Mr. Stevens.
"Now, Mr. Stevens," said he, drawing up a chair, "we will talk over this
matter dispassionately, and try and arrive at some amicable arrangement: be
kind enough to inform me what your claims are."
"Mr. Balch, _you_ are a gentleman," began Mr. Stevens, "and therefore I'm
willing to discuss the matter thoroughly with you. You'll find me disposed
to do a great deal for these children: but I wish it distinctly understood
at the beginning, that whatever I may give them, I bestow as a favour. I
concede nothing to them as a right, legally they have not the slightest
claim upon me; of that you, who are an excellent lawyer, must be well
"We won't discuss that point at present, Mr. Stevens. I believe you
intimated you would be kind enough to say upon what evidence you purposed
sustaining your claims?"
"Well, to come to the point, then," said Stevens; "the deceased Mr. Garie
was, as I before said, my first cousin. His father and my mother were
brother and sister. My mother married in opposition to her parents'
desires; they cut her off from the family, and for years there was no
communication between them. At my father's death, my mother made overtures
for a reconciliation, which were contemptuously rejected, at length she
died. I was brought up in ignorance of who my grandparents were; and only a
few months since, on the death of my father's sister, did I make the
discovery. Here," said he, extending the packet of letters which, the
reader will remember once agitated, him so strangely, "here are the letters
that passed between my mother and her father."
Mr. Balch took up one and read:--
"MADAM,--Permit me to return this letter (wherein you
declare yourself the loving and repentant daughter of Bernard
Garie) and at the same time inform you, that by your own.
acts you have deprived yourself of all claim to that relation.
In opposition to my wishes, and in open defiance of my
express commands, you chose to unite your fortune
with one in every respect your inferior. If that union has
not resulted as happily as you expected, you must sustain
yourself by the reflection that you are the author of your own
misfortunes and alone to blame for your present miserable
Mr. Balch read, one after another, letters of a similar purport--in fact, a
long correspondence between Bernard Garie and the mother of Mr. Stevens.
When he had finished, the latter remarked, "In addition to those, I can
produce my mother's certificate of baptism, her marriage certificate, and
every necessary proof of my being her son. If that does not suffice to make
a strong case, I am at a loss to imagine what will."
Mr. Balch pondered a few moments, and then inquired, looking steadily at
Mr. Stevens, "How long have you known of this relationship?"
"Oh, I've known it these three years."
"Three years! why, my dear sir, only a few moments ago you said a few
"Oh, did I?" said Mr. Stevens, very much confused; "I meant, or should have
said, three years."
"Then, of course you were aware that Mr. Garie was your cousin when he
took the house beside you?"
"Oh, yes--that is--yes--yes; I _was_ aware of it."
"And did you make any overtures of a social character?" asked Mr. Balch.
"Well, yes--that is to say, my wife did."
"_Where were you the night of the murder?_"
Mr. Stevens turned pale at this question, and replied, hesitatingly, "Why,
at home, of course."
"You were at home, and saw the house of your cousins assaulted, and made no
effort to succour them or their children. The next morning you are one of
the coroner's inquest, and hurry through the proceedings, never once saying
a word of your relationship to them, nor yet making any inquiry respecting
the fate of the children. _It is very singular_."
"I don't see what this cross-questioning is to amount to; it has nothing to
do with my claim as heir."
"We are coming to that," rejoined Mr. Balch. "This, as I said, is very
singular; and when I couple it with some other circumstances that have come
to my knowledge, it is more than singular--_it is suspicious_. Here are a
number of houses assaulted by a mob. Two or three days before the assault
takes place, a list in your handwriting, and which is headed, '_Places to
be attacked_,' is found, under circumstances that leave no doubt that it
came directly from you. Well, the same mob that attacks these
places--_marked out by you_--traverse a long distance to reach the house of
your next-door neighbour. They break into it, and kill him; and you, who
are aware at the time that he is your own cousin, do not attempt to
interpose to prevent it, although it can be proved that you were
all-powerful with the marauders. No! you allow him to be destroyed without
an effort to save him, and immediately claim his property. Now, Mr.
Stevens, people disposed to be suspicions--seeing how much you were to be
the gainer by his removal, and knowing you had some connection with this
mob--might not scruple to say that _you_ instigated the attack by which he
lost his life; and I put it to you--now don't you think that, if it was any
one else, you would say that the thing looked suspicious?"
Mr. Stevens winced at this, but made no effort to reply.
Mr. Balch continued, "What I was going to remark is simply this. As we are
in possession of these facts, and able to prove them by competent
witnesses, we should not be willing to remain perfectly silent respecting
it, unless you made what _we_ regarded as a suitable provision for the
"I'm willing, as I said before, to do something; but don't flatter yourself
I'll do any more than I originally intended from any fear of disclosures
from you. I'm not to be frightened," said Mr. Stevens.
"I'm not at all disposed to attempt to frighten you: however, you know how
far a mere statement of these facts would go towards rendering your
position in society more agreeable. A person who has been arrested on
suspicion of murder is apt to be shunned and distrusted. It can't be
helped; people are so very squeamish--they _will_ draw back, you know,
under such circumstances."
"I don't see how such a suspicion can attach itself to me," rejoined
"Oh, well, we won't discuss that any further: let me hear what you will do
for the children."
Mr. Balch saw, from the nervous and embarrassed manner of Mr. Stevens, that
the indirect threat of exposing him had had considerable effect; and his
downcast looks and agitation rather strengthened in his mind the suspicions
that had been excited by the disclosures of Mr. Walters.
After a few moments' silence, Mr. Stevens said, "I'll settle three thousand
dollars on each of the children. Now I think that is treating them
"Liberally!" exclaimed Balch, in a tone of contempt--"liberally! You
acquire by the death of their father property worth one hundred and fifty
thousand dollars, and you offer these children, who are the rightful heirs,
three thousand dollars! That, sir, won't suffice." "I think it should,
then," rejoined Stevens. "By the laws of Georgia these children, instead of
being his heirs, are my slaves. Their mother was a slave before them, and
they were born slaves; and if they were in Savannah, I could sell them both
to-morrow. On the whole, I think I've made you a very fair offer, and I'd
advise you to think of it."
"No, Mr. Stevens; I shall accept no such paltry sum. If you wish a quick
and peaceful possession of what you are pleased to regard as your rights,
you must tender something more advantageous, or I shall feel compelled to
bring this thing into court, even at the risk of loss; and there, you know,
we should be obliged to make a clear statement of _everything_ connected
with this business. It might be advantageous to _us_ to bring the thing
fully before the court and public--but I'm exceedingly doubtful whether it
would advance _your_ interest."
Stevens winced at this, and asked, "What would you consider a fair offer?"
"I should consider _all_ a just offer, half a fair one, and a quarter as
little as you could have the conscience to expect us to take."
"I don't see any use in this chaffering, Mr. Balch," said Stephens; "you
can't expect me to give you any such sums as you propose. Name a sum that
you can reasonably expect to get."
"Well," said Mr. Balch, rising, "you must give us fifteen thousand dollars,
and you should think yourself well off then. We could commence a suit, and
put you to nearly that expense to defend it; to say nothing of the
notoriety that the circumstance would occasion you. Both Walters and I are
willing to spend both money and time in defence of these children's rights;
I assure you they are not friendless."
"I'll give twelve thousand, and not a cent more, if I'm hung for it," said
Mr. Stevens, almost involuntarily.
"Who spoke of hanging?" asked Mr. Balch.
"Oh!" rejoined Stevens, "that is only my emphatic way of speaking." "Of
course, you meant figuratively," said Mr. Balch, in a tone of irony;
mentally adding, "as I hope you may be one day literally."
Mr. Stevens looked flushed and angry, but Mr. Balch continued, without
appearing to notice him, and said: "I'll speak to Walters. Should he
acquiesce in your proposal, I am willing to accept it; however, I cannot
definitely decide without consulting him. To-morrow I will inform you of
To Charlie the summer had been an exceedingly short one--time had flown so
pleasantly away. Everything that could be done to make the place agreeable
Mrs. Bird had effected. Amongst the number of her acquaintances who had
conceived a regard for her young _protege_ was a promising artist to whom
she had been a friend and patroness. Charlie paid him frequent visits, and
would sit hour after hour in his studio, watching the progress of his work.
Having nothing else at the time to amuse him, he one day asked the artist's
permission to try his hand at a sketch. Being supplied with the necessary
materials, he commenced a copy of a small drawing, and was working
assiduously, when the artist came and looked over his shoulder.
"Did you ever draw before?" he asked, with a start of surprise.
"Never," replied Charlie, "except on my slate at school. I sometimes used
to sketch the boys' faces."
"And you have never received any instructions?"
"Never--not even a hint," was the answer.
"And this is the first time you have attempted a sketch upon paper?"
"Yes; the very first."
"Then you are a little prodigy," said the artist, slapping him upon the
shoulder. "I must take you in hand. You have nothing else to do; come here
regularly every day, and I'll teach you. Will you come?"
"Certainly, if you wish it. But now, tell me, do you really think that
drawing good?" "Well, Charlie, if I had done it, it would be pronounced
very bad for me; but, coming from your hands, it's something astonishing."
"Really, now--you're not joking me?"
"No, Charlie, I'm in earnest--I assure you I am; it is drawn with great
spirit, and the boy that you have put in by the pump is exceedingly well
This praise served as a great incentive to our little friend, who, day
after day thenceforth, was found at the studio busily engaged with his
crayons, and making rapid progress in his new art.
He had been thus occupied some weeks, and one morning was hurrying to the
breakfast-table, to get through his meal, that he might be early at the
studio, when he found Mrs. Bird in her accustomed seat looking very sad.
"Why, what is the matter?" he asked, on observing the unusually grave face
of his friend.
"Oh, Charlie, my dear! I've received very distressing intelligence from
Philadelphia. Your father is quite ill."
"My father ill!" cried he, with a look of alarm.
"Yes, my dear! quite sick--so says my letter. Here are two for you."
Charlie hastily broke the seal of one, and read as follows:--
"MY DEAR LITTLE BROTHER,--We are all in deep distress in
consequence of the misfortunes brought upon us by the mob.
Our home has been destroyed; and, worse than all, our poor
father was caught, and so severely beaten by the rioters that
for some days his life was entirely despaired of. Thank God!
he is now improving, and we have every reasonable hope of
his ultimate recovery. Mother, Caddy, and I, as you may
well suppose, are almost prostrated by this accumulation of
misfortunes, and but for the kindness of Mr. Walters, with
whom we are living, I do not know what would have become
of us. Dear Mr. and Mrs. Garie--[Here followed a passage
that was so scored and crossed as to be illegible. After a
short endeavour to decipher it, he continued:] We would
like to see you very much, and mother grows every day more
anxious for your return. I forgot to add, in connection with
the mob, that Mr. Walters's house was also attacked, but
unsuccessfully, the rioters having met a signal repulse.
Mother and Caddy send a world of love to you. So does
Kinch, who comes every day to see us and is, often extremely
useful. Give our united kind regards to Mrs. Bird, and thank
her in our behalf for her great kindness to you.--Ever yours,
"P.S.--Do try and manage to come home soon."
The tears trickled down Charlie's cheek as he perused the letter, which,
when he had finished reading, he handed to Mrs. Bird, and then commenced
the other. This proved to be from Kinch, who had spent all the spare time
at his disposal since the occurrence of the mob in preparing it.
"To MR. CHARLES ELLIS, ESQ., at MRS. BIRD'S.
"DEAR SIR AND HONNORED FRIEND.--I take This chance To
Write To you To tell You that I am Well, And that we are
all well Except Your father, who Is sick; and I hope you are
Enjoying the same Blessin. We had An Awful fight, And I
was There, and I was One of The Captings. I had a sord
on; and the next Mornin we had a grate Brekfast. But
nobody Eat anything but me, And I was obliged to eat, Or
the Wittles would have spoiled. The Mob had Guns as Big as
Cannun; And they Shot them Off, and the holes Are in The
Shutter yet; And when You come Back, I will show them
to You. Your Father is very bad; And I Have gone back
to school, And I am Licked every day because I don't
Know my Lesson. A great big boy, with white woolly hair
and Pinkish Grey eyes, has got Your seat. I Put a Pin
under him one Day, And he told On me; and We Are to
Have a fight tomorrow. The boys Call Him 'Short and
Dirty,' because he ain't tall, and never washes His Face.
We Have got a new Teacher for the 5th Division. He's a
Scorcher, And believes in Rat Tan. I am to Wear My new
Cloths Next Sunday. Excuse This long letter. Your Friend
"KINCH SANDERS DE YOUNGE.
[Illustration: skull and cross bones]
"P.S. This it the best Skull and Cross-bones That
I can make. Come home soon, Yours &c.,
"K. S. DE YOUNGE, ESQ."
Charlie could not but smile through his tears, as he read this curious
epistle, which was not more remarkable for its graceful composition than
its wonderful chirography. Some of the lines were written in blue ink, some
in red, and others in that pale muddy black which is the peculiar colour of
ink after passing through the various experiments of school-boys, who
generally entertain the belief that all foreign substances, from
molasses-candy to bread-crumbs, necessarily improve the colour and quality
of that important liquid.
"Why every other word almost is commenced with a capital; and I declare
he's even made some in German text," cried Charlie, running his finger
mirthfully along the lines, until he came to "Your father is very bad."
Here the tears came welling up again--the shower had returned almost before
the sun had departed; and, hiding his face in his hands, he leant sobbing
on the table.
"Cheer up, Charlie!--cheer up, my little man! all may go well yet."
"Mrs. Bird," he sobbed, "you've been very kind to me; yet I want to go
home. I must see mother and father. You see what Esther writes,--they want
me to come home; do let me go."
"Of course you shall go, if you wish. Yet I should like you to remain with
me, if you will."
"No, no, Mrs. Bird, I mustn't stay; it wouldn't be right for me to remain
here, idle and enjoying myself, and they so poor and unhappy at home. I
couldn't stay," said he, rising from the table,--"I must go."
"Well, my dear, you can't go now. Sit down and finish your breakfast, or
you will have a head-ache."
"I'm not hungry--I can't eat," he replied; "my appetite has all gone." And
stealing away from the room, he went up into his chamber, threw himself on
the bed, and wept bitterly.
Mrs. Bird was greatly distressed at the idea of losing her little
favourite. He had been so much with her that she had become strongly
attached to him, and therefore looked forward to his departure with
unfeigned regret. But Charlie could not be persuaded to stay; and
reluctantly Mrs. Bird made arrangements for his journey home. Even the
servants looked a little sorry when they heard of his intended departure;
and Reuben the coachman actually presented him with a jack-knife as a token
of his regard.
Mrs. Bird accompanied him to the steamer, and placed him under the special
care of the captain; so that he was most comfortably provided for until his
arrival in New York, where he took the cars direct for home.
Not having written to inform them on what day he might be expected, he
anticipated giving them a joyful surprise, and, with this end in view,
hastened in the direction of Mr. Walters's. As he passed along, his eye was
attracted by a figure before him which he thought he recognized, and on
closer inspection it proved to be his sister Caddy.
Full of boyish fun, he crept up behind her, and clasped his hands over her
eyes, exclaiming, in an assumed voice, "Now, who am I?"
"Go away, you impudent, nasty thing!" cried Caddy, plunging violently.
Charlie loosed his hold; she turned, and beheld her brother.
"Oh! Charlie, Charlie! is it you? Why, bless you, you naughty fellow, how
you frightened me!" said she, throwing her arms round his neck, and kissing
him again and again. "When did you come? Oh, how delighted mother and Ess
will be!" "I only arrived about half an hour ago. How are mother and
father and Esther?"
"Mother and Ess are well, and father better. But I'm so glad to see you,"
she cried, with a fresh burst of tears and additional embraces.
"Why, Cad," said he, endeavouring to suppress some watery sensations of his
own, "I'm afraid you're not a bit pleased at my return--you're actually
crying about it."
"Oh, I'm so glad to see you that I can't help it," she replied, as she fell
to crying and kissing him more furiously than before.
Charlie became much confused at these repeated demonstrations of joyful
affection in the crowded street, and, gently disengaging her, remarked,
"See, Caddy, everybody is looking at us; let us walk on."
"I had almost forgot I was sent on an errand--however, it's not of much
consequence--I'll go home again with you;" and taking his hand, they
trudged on together.
"How did you say father was?" he asked again.
"Oh, he's better bodily; that is, he has some appetite, sits up every day,
and is gradually getting stronger; but he's all wrong here," said she,
tapping her forehead. "Sometimes he don't know any of us--and it makes us
all feel so bad." Here the tears came trickling down again, as she
continued: "Oh, Charlie! what those white devils will have to answer for!
When I think of how much injury they have done us, I _hate_ them! I know
it's wrong to hate anybody--but I can't help it; and I believe God hates
them as much as I do!"
Charlie looked gloomy; and, as he made no rejoinder, she continued, "We
didn't save a thing, not even a change of clothes; they broke and burnt up
everything; and then the way they beat poor father was horrible--horrible!
Just think--they chopped his fingers nearly all off, so that he has only
the stumps left. Charlie, Charlie!" she cried, wringing her hands, "it's
heart-rending to see him--he can't even feed himself, and he'll never be
able to work again!"
"Don't grieve, Cad," said Charlie, with an effort to suppress his own
tears; "I'm almost a man now," continued he, drawing himself up--"don't be
afraid, I'll take care of you all!"
Thus conversing, they reached Mr. Walters's. Caddy wanted Charlie to stop
and look at the damage effected by the mob upon the outside of the house,
but he was anxious to go in, and ran up the steps and gave the bell a very
sharp pull. The servant who opened the door was about to make some
exclamation of surprise, and was only restrained by a warning look from
Charlie. Hurrying past them, Caddy led the way to the room where her mother
and Esther were sitting. With a cry of joy Mrs. Ellis caught him in her
arms, and, before he was aware of their presence, he found himself half
smothered by her and Esther.
They had never been separated before his trip to Warmouth; and their
reunion, under such circumstances, was particularly affecting. None of them
could speak for a few moments, and Charlie clung round his mother's neck as
though he would never loose his hold. "Mother, mother!" was all he could
utter; yet in that word was comprised a world of joy and affection.
Esther soon came in for her share of caresses; then Charlie inquired,
"In here," said Mrs. Ellis, leading the way to an adjoining room. "I don't
think he will know you--perhaps he may."
In one corner of the apartment, propped up in a large easy chair by a
number of pillows, sat poor Mr. Ellis, gazing vacantly about the room and
muttering to himself. His hair had grown quite white, and his form was
emaciated in the extreme; there was a broad scar across his forehead, and
his dull, lustreless eyes were deeply sunken in his head. He took no notice
of them as they approached, but continued muttering and looking at his
Charlie was almost petrified at the change wrought in his father. A few
months before he had left him in the prime of healthful manhood; now he was
bent and spectrelike, and old in appearance as if the frosts of eighty
winters had suddenly fallen on him. Mrs. Ellis laid her hand gently upon
his shoulder, and said, "Husband, here's Charlie." He made no reply, but
continued muttering and examining his mutilated hands. "It's Charlie," she
"Oh, ay! nice little boy!" he replied, vacantly; "whose son is he?"
Mrs. Ellis's voice quivered as she reiterated, "It's Charlie--our
Charlie!--don't you know him?"
"Oh, yes! nice little boy--nice little boy. Oh!" he continued, in a
suppressed and hurried tone, as a look of alarm crossed his face; "run home
quick, little boy! and tell your mother they're coming, thousands of them;
they've guns, and swords, and clubs. Hush! There they come--there they
come!" And he buried his face in the shawl, and trembled in an agony of
"Oh, mother, this is dreadful!" exclaimed Charlie. "Don't he know any of
"Yes; sometimes his mind comes back--very seldom, though--only for a very
little while. Come away: talking to him sometimes makes him worse." And
slowly and sorrowfully the two left the apartment.
That evening, after Mr. Ellis had been safely bestowed in bed, the family
gathered round the fire in the room of Mrs. Ellis, where Charlie
entertained them with a description of Warmouth and of the manner in which
he had passed the time whilst there. He was enthusiastic respecting Mrs.
Bird and her kindness. "Mother, she is such a _dear_ old lady: if I'd been
as white as snow, and her own son, she couldn't have been kinder to me. She
didn't want me to come away, and cried ever so much. Let me show you what
she gave me!" Charlie thrust his hand into his pocket, and drew out a small
wallet, from which he counted out four ten-dollar bills, two fives, and a
two dollar and a half gold piece, "Ain't I rich!" said he, as, with the air
of a millionaire, he tossed the money upon a table. "Now," he continued,
"do you know what I'm about to do?" Not receiving any answer from his
wondering sisters or mother, he added, "Why, just this!--here, mother,
this is yours," said he, placing the four ten-dollar bills before her; "and
here are five apiece for Esther and Cad; the balance is for your humble
servant. Now, then," he concluded, "what do you think of that?"
Mrs. Ellis looked fondly at him, and, stroking his head, told him that he
was a good son; and Esther and Caddy declared him to be the best brother in
"Now, girls," said he, with the air of a patriarch, "what do you intend to
do with your money?"
"Mine will go towards buying me a dress, and Esther will save hers for a
particular purpose," said Caddy. "I'll tell you something about her and Mr.
Walters," continued she, with a mischievous look at her sister.
"Oh, Caddy--don't! Ain't you ashamed to plague me so?" asked Esther,
blushing to the roots of her hair. "Mother, pray stop her," cried she,
"Hush, Caddy!" interposed her mother, authoritatively; "you shall do no
"Well," resumed Caddy, "mother says I mustn't tell; but I can say this
Esther here put her hand over her sister's mouth and effectually prevented
any communication she was disposed to make.
"Never mind her, Ess!" cried Charlie; "you'll tell me all in good time,
especially if it's anything worth knowing."
Esther made no reply, but, releasing her sister, hurried out of the room,
and went upstairs to Charlie's chamber, where he found her on retiring for
"I'm glad you're here, Ess," said he, "you'll indulge me. Here is the
key--open my trunk and get me out a nightcap; I'm too tired, or too lazy,
to get it for myself." Esther stooped down, opened the trunk, and commenced
searching for the article of head-gear in question. "Come, Ess," said
Charles, coaxingly, "tell me what this is about you and Mr. Walters."
She made no reply at first, but fumbled about in the bottom of the trunk,
professedly in search of the nightcap which she at that moment held in her
hand. "Can't you tell me?" he again asked.
"Oh, there's nothing to tell, Charlie!" she answered.
"There must be something, Ess, or you wouldn't have blushed up so when Cad
was about to speak of it. Do," said he, approaching her, and putting his
arm round her neck--"do tell me all about it--I am sure there is some
"Oh, no, Charlie--there is no secret; it's only this----" Here she stopped,
and, blushing, turned her head away.
"Ess, this is nonsense," said Charlie, impatiently: "if it's anything worth
knowing, why can't you tell a fellow? Come," said he, kissing her, "tell
me, now, like a dear old Ess as you are."
"Well, Charlie," said she, jerking the words out with an effort, "Mr.--Mr.
Walters has asked me to marry him!"
"Phew--gemini! that is news!" exclaimed Charlie. "And are you going to
accept him Ess?"
"I don't know," she answered.
"Don't know!" repeated Charlie, in a tone of surprise. "Why, Ess, I'm
astonished at you--such a capital fellow as he is! Half the girls of our
acquaintance would give an eye for the chance."
"But he is so rich!" responded Esther.
"Well, now, that's a great objection, ain't it! I should say, all the
better on that account," rejoined Charlie.
"The money is the great stumbling-block," continued she; "everybody would
say I married him for that."
"Then _everybody_ would lie, _as_ everybody very often does! If I was you,
Ess, and loved him, I shouldn't let his fortune stand in the way. I wish,"
continued he, pulling up his shirt-collar, "that some amiable young girl
with a fortune of a hundred thousand dollars, would make me an offer--I'd
like to catch myself refusing her!"
The idea of a youth of his tender years marrying any one, seemed so
ludicrous to Esther, that she burst into a hearty fit of laughter, to the
great chagrin of our hero, who seemed decidedly of the opinion that his
sister had not a proper appreciation of his years and inches.
"Don't laugh, Ess; but tell me--do you really intend to refuse him?"
"I can't decide yet, Charlie," answered she seriously; "if we were situated
as we were before--were not such absolute paupers--I wouldn't hesitate to
accept him; but to bring a family of comparative beggars upon him--I can't
make up my mind to do that."
Charlie looked grave as Esther made this last objection; boy as he was, he
felt its weight and justice. "Well, Ess," rejoined he, "I don't know what
to say about it--of course I can't advise. What does mother say?"
"She leaves it entirely to me," she answered. "She says I must act just as
I feel is right."
"I certainly wouldn't have him at all, Ess, if I didn't love him; and if I
did, I shouldn't let the money stand in the way--so, good night!"
Charlie slept very late the next morning, and was scarcely dressed when
Esther knocked at his door, with the cheerful tidings that her father had a
lucid interval and was waiting to see him.
Dressing himself hastily, he followed her into their father's room. When he
entered, the feeble sufferer stretched out his mutilated arms towards him
and clasped him round the neck, "They tell me," said he, "that you came
yesterday, and that I didn't recognize you. I thought, when I awoke this
morning, that I had a dim recollection of having seen some dear face; but
my head aches so, that I often forget--yes, often forget. My boy," he
continued, "you are all your mother and sisters have to depend upon now;
I'm--I'm----" here his voice faltered, as he elevated his stumps of
hands--"I'm helpless; but you must take care of them. I'm an old man now,"
said he despondingly.
"I will, father; I'll try _so_ hard" replied Charlie.
"It was cruel in them, wasn't it, son," he resumed. "See, they've made me
helpless for ever!" Charlie restrained the tears that were forcing
themselves up, and rejoined, "Never fear, father! I'll do my best; I trust
I shall soon be able to take care of you."
His father did not understand him--his mind was gone again, and he was
staring vacantly about him. Charlie endeavoured to recall his attention,
but failed, for he began muttering about the mob and his hands; they were
compelled to quit the room, and leave him to himself, as he always became
quiet sooner by being left alone.
We must now admit our readers to a consultation that is progressing between
Mr. Balch and Mr. Walters, respecting the future of the two Garie children.
They no doubt entered upon the conference with the warmest and most earnest
desire of promoting the children's happiness; but, unfortunately, their
decision failed to produce the wished-for result.
"I scarcely thought you would have succeeded so well with him," said
Walters, "he is such an inveterate scoundrel; depend upon it nothing but
the fear of the exposure resulting from a legal investigation would ever
have induced that scamp to let twelve thousand dollars escape from his
clutches. I am glad you have secured that much; when we add it to the eight
thousand already in my possession it will place them in very comfortable
circumstances, even if they never get any more."
"I think we have done very well," rejoined Mr. Balch; "we were as much in
his power as he was in ours--not in the same way, however; a legal
investigation, no matter how damaging it might have been to his reputation,
would not have placed us in possession of the property, or invalidated his
claim as heir. I think, on the whole, we may as well be satisfied, and
trust in Providence for the future. So now, then, we will resume our
discussion of that matter we had under consideration the other day. I
cannot but think that my plan is best adapted to secure the boy's
"I'm sorry I cannot agree with you, Mr. Balch. I have tried to view your
plan in the most favourable light, yet I cannot rid myself of a
presentiment that it will result in the ultimate discovery of his peculiar
position, and that most probably at some time when his happiness is
dependent upon its concealment. An undetected forger, who is in constant
fear of being apprehended, is happy in comparison with that coloured man
who attempts, in this country, to hold a place in the society of whites by
concealing his origin. He must live in constant fear of exposure; this
dread will embitter every enjoyment, and make him the most miserable of
"You must admit," rejoined Mr. Balch, "that I have their welfare at heart.
I have thought the matter over and over, and cannot, for the life of me,
feel the weight of your objections. The children are peculiarly situated;
everything seems to favour my views. Their mother (the only relative they
had whose African origin was distinguishable) is dead, and both of them are
so exceedingly fair that it would never enter the brain of any one that
they were connected with coloured people by ties of blood. Clarence is old
enough to know the importance of concealing the fact, and Emily might be
kept with us until her prudence also might be relied upon. You must
acknowledge that as white persons they will be better off."
"I admit," answered Mr. Walters, "that in our land of liberty it is of
incalculable advantage to be white; that is beyond dispute, and no one is
more painfully aware of it than I. Often I have heard men of colour say
they would not be white if they could--had no desire to change their
complexions; I've written some down fools; others, liars. Why," continued
he, with a sneering expression of countenance, "it is everything to be
white; one feels that at every turn in our boasted free country, where all
men are upon an equality. When I look around me, and see what I have made
myself in spite of circumstances, and think what I might have been with the
same heart and brain beneath a fairer skin, I am almost tempted to curse
the destiny that made me what I am. Time after time, when scraping,
toiling, saving, I have asked myself. To what purpose is it all?--perhaps
that in the future white men may point at and call me, sneeringly, 'a
nigger millionaire,' or condescend to borrow money of me. Ah! often, when
some negro-hating white man has been forced to ask a loan at my hands, I've
thought of Shylock and his pound of flesh, and ceased to wonder at him.
There's no doubt, my dear sir, but what I fully appreciate the advantage of
being white. Yet, with all I have endured, and yet endure from day to day,
I esteem myself happy in comparison with that man, who, mingling in the
society of whites, is at the same time aware that he has African blood in
his veins, and is liable at any moment to be ignominiously hurled from his
position by the discovery of his origin. He is never safe. I have known
instances where parties have gone on for years and years undetected; but
some untoward circumstance brings them out at last, and down they fall for
"Walters, my dear fellow, you will persist in looking upon his being
discovered as a thing of course: I see no reason for the anticipation of
any such result. I don't see how he is to be detected--it may never occur.
And do you feel justified in consigning them to a position which you know
by painful experience to be one of the most disagreeable that can be
endured. Ought we not to aid their escape from it if we can?"
Mr. Walters stood reflectively for some moments, and then exclaimed, "I'll
make no farther objection; I would not have the boy say to me hereafter,
'But for your persisting in identifying me with a degraded people, I might
have been better and happier than I am.' However, I cannot but feel that
concealments of this kind are productive of more misery than comfort."
"We will agree to differ about that, Walters; and now, having your consent,
I shall not hesitate to proceed in the matter, with full reliance that the
future will amply justify my choice."
"Well, well! as I said before, I will offer no further objection. Now let
me hear the details of your plan."
"I have written," answered Mr. Balch, "to Mr. Eustis, a friend of mine
living at Sudbury, where there is a large preparatory school for boys. At
his house I purpose placing Clarence. Mr. Eustis is a most discreet man,
and a person of liberal sentiments. I feel that I can confide everything to
him without the least fear of his ever divulging a breath of it. He is a
gentleman in the fullest sense of the term, and at his house the boy will
have the advantage of good society, and will associate with the best people
of the place."
"Has he a family?" asked Mr. Walters.
"He is a widower," answered Mr. Balch; "a maiden sister of his wife's
presides over his establishment; she will be kind to Clarence, I am
confident; she has a motherly soft heart, and is remarkably fond of
children. I have not the least doubt but that he will be very happy and
comfortable there. I think it very fortunate, Walters," he continued, "that
he has so few coloured acquaintances--no boyish intimacies to break up; and
it will be as well to send him away before he has an opportunity of forming
them. Besides, being here, where everything will be so constantly reviving
the remembrance of his recent loss, he may grow melancholy and stupid. I
have several times noticed his reserve, so unusual in a child. His dreadful
loss and the horrors that attended it have made, a deep
impression--stupified him, to a certain extent, I think. Well, well! we
will get him off, and once away at school, and surrounded by lively boys,
this dulness will soon wear off."
The gentlemen having fully determined upon his being sent, it was proposed
to bring him in immediately and talk to him relative to it. He was
accordingly sent for, and came into the room, placing himself beside the
chair of Mr. Walters.
Clarence had altered very much since the death of his parents. His face had
grown thin and pale, and he was much taller than when he came to
Philadelphia: a shade of melancholy had overspread his face; there was now
in his eyes that expression of intense sadness that characterized his
mother's. "You sent for me?" he remarked, inquiringly, to Mr. Walters.
"Yes, my boy," he rejoined, "we sent for you to have a little talk about
school. Would you like to go to school again?"
"Oh, yes!" answered Clarence, his face lighting up with pleasure; "I should
like it of all things; it would be much better than staying at home all
day, doing nothing; the days are so long," concluded he, with a sigh.
"Ah! we will soon remedy that," rejoined Mr. Balch, "when you go to
"Sudbury!" repeated Clarence, with surprise; "where is that? I thought you
meant, to go to school here."
"Oh, no, my dear," said Mr. Balch, "I don't know of any good school here,
such as you would like; we wish to send you to a place where you will enjoy
yourself finely,--where you will have a number of boys for companions in
your studies and pleasures."
"And is Em going with me?" he asked.
"Oh, no, that is not possible; it is a school for boys exclusively; you
can't take your sister there," rejoined Mr. Walters.
"Then I don't want to go," said Clarence, decidedly; "I don't want to go
where I can't take Em with me."
Mr. Balch exchanged glances with Mr. Walters, and looked quite perplexed at
this new opposition to his scheme. Nothing daunted, however, by this
difficulty, he, by dint of much talking and persuasion, brought Clarence to
look upon the plan with favour, and to consent reluctantly to go without
But the most delicate part of the whole business was yet to come--they must
impress upon the child the necessity of concealing the fact that he was of
African origin. Neither seemed to know how to approach the subject.
Clarence, however, involuntarily made an opening for them by inquiring if
Emily was to go to Miss Jordan's school again.
"No, my dear," answered Mr. Balch, "Miss Jordan won't permit her to attend
"Why?" asked Clarence.
"Because she is a coloured child," rejoined Mr. Balch. "Now, Clarence,"
he continued, "you are old enough, I presume, to know the difference that
exists between the privileges and advantages enjoyed by the whites, and
those that are at the command of the coloured people. White boys can go to
better schools, and they can enter college and become professional men,
lawyers, doctors, &c, or they may be merchants--in fact, they can be
anything they please. Coloured people can enjoy none of these advantages;
they are shut out from them entirely. Now which of the two would you rather
be--coloured or white?"
"I should much rather be white, of course," answered Clarence; "but I am
coloured, and can't help myself," said he, innocently.
"But, my child, we are going to send you where it is not known that you are
coloured; and you must _never, never_ tell it, because if it became known,
you would be expelled from the school, as you were from Miss Jordan's."
"I didn't know we were expelled," rejoined Clarence. "I know she sent us
home, but I could not understand what it was for. I'm afraid they will send
me from the other school. Won't they know I am coloured?"
"No, my child, I don't think they will discover it unless you should be
foolish enough to tell it yourself, in which case both Mr. Walters and
myself would be very much grieved."
"But suppose some one should ask me," suggested Clarence.
"No one will ever ask you such a question," said Mr. Balch, impatiently;
"all you have to do is to be silent yourself on the subject. Should any of
your schoolmates ever make inquiries respecting your parents, all you have
to answer is, they were from Georgia, and you are an orphan."
Clarence's eyes began to moisten as Mr. Balch spoke of his parents, and
after a few moments he asked, with some hesitation, "Am I never to speak of
mother? I love to talk of mother."
"Yes, my dear, of course you can talk of your mother," answered Mr. Balch,
with great embarrassment; "only, you know, my child, you need not enter
into particulars as regards her appearance; that is, you--ah!--need not
say she was a coloured woman. You _must not_ say that; you understand?"
"Yes, sir," answered Clarence.
"Very well, then; bear that in mind. You must know, Clarence," continued
he, "that this concealment is necessary for your welfare, or we would not
require it; and you must let me impress it upon you, that it is requisite
that you attend strictly to our directions."
Mr. Walters remained silent during most of this conversation. He felt a
repugnance to force upon the child a concealment the beneficial results of
which were the reverse of obvious, so he merely gave Clarence some useful
advice respecting his general conduct, and then permitted him to leave the
The morning fixed upon for their departure for Sudbury turned out to be
cold and cheerless; and Clarence felt very gloomy as he sat beside his
sister at their early breakfast, of which he was not able to eat a morsel.
"Do eat something, Clary," said she, coaxingly; "only look what nice
buckwheat cakes these are; cook got up ever so early on purpose to bake
them for you."
"No, sis," he replied, "I can't eat. I feel so miserable, everything chokes
"Well, eat a biscuit, then," she continued, as she buttered it and laid it
on his plate; "do eat it, now."
More to please her than from a desire to eat, he forced down a few
mouthfuls of it, and drank a little tea; then, laying his arm round her
neck, he said, "Em, you must try hard to learn to write soon, so that I may
hear from you at least once a week."
"Oh! I shall soon know how, I'm in g's and h's now. Aunt Esther--she says I
may call her Aunt Esther--teaches me every day. Ain't I getting on nicely?"
"Oh, yes, you learn very fast," said Esther, encouragingly, as she
completed the pile of sandwiches she was preparing for the young traveller;
then, turning to look at the timepiece on the mantel, she exclaimed,
"Quarter to seven--how time flies! Mr. Balch will soon be here. You must
be all ready, Clarence, so as not to keep him waiting a moment."
Clarence arose from his scarcely tasted meal, began slowly to put on his
overcoat, and make himself ready for the journey. Em tied on the warm
woollen neck-comforter, kissing him on each cheek as she did so, and whilst
they were thus engaged, Mr. Balch drove up to the door.
Charlie, who had come down to see him off, tried (with his mouth full of
buckwheat cake) to say something consolatory, and gave it as his
experience, "that a fellow soon got over that sort of thing; that
separations must occur sometimes," &c.--and, on the whole, endeavoured to
talk in a very manly and philosophical strain; but his precepts and
practice proved to be at utter variance, for when the moment of separation
really came and he saw the tearful embrace of Em and her brother, he caught
the infection of grief, and cried as heartily as the best of them. There
was but little time, however, to spare for leave-takings, and the young
traveller and his guardian were soon whirling over the road towards New
By a singular chance, Clarence found himself in the same car in which he
had formerly rode when they were on their way to Philadelphia: he
recognized it by some peculiar paintings on the panel of the door, and the
ornamental border of the ceiling. This brought back a tide of memories, and
he began contrasting that journey with the present. Opposite was the seat
on which his parents had sat, in the bloom of health, and elate with;
joyous anticipations; he remembered--oh! so well--his father's pleasant
smile, his mother's soft and gentle voice. Both now were gone. Death had