Part 4 out of 12
answered the first lady, warmly. "I was born and brought up
among them. I know they _do_ feel, just as keenly,--even more so,
perhaps,--as we do."
The lady said "Indeed!" yawned, and looked out the cabin
window, and finally repeated, for a finale, the remark with which
she had begun,--"After all, I think they are better off than they
would be to be free."
"It's undoubtedly the intention of Providence that the
African race should be servants,--kept in a low condition," said
a grave-looking gentleman in black, a clergyman, seated by the
cabin door. "`Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he
be,' the scripture says."
 Gen. 9:25. This is what Noah says when he wakes out of
drunkenness and realizes that his youngest son, Ham, father of
Canaan, has seen him naked.
"I say, stranger, is that ar what that text means?" said
a tall man, standing by.
"Undoubtedly. It pleased Providence, for some inscrutable
reason, to doom the race to bondage, ages ago; and we must not set
up our opinion against that."
"Well, then, we'll all go ahead and buy up niggers," said the man,
"if that's the way of Providence,--won't we, Squire?" said he,
turning to Haley, who had been standing, with his hands in his
pockets, by the stove and intently listening to the conversation.
"Yes," continued the tall man, "we must all be resigned to the
decrees of Providence. Niggers must be sold, and trucked round,
and kept under; it's what they's made for. 'Pears like this yer
view 's quite refreshing, an't it, stranger?" said he to Haley.
"I never thought on 't," said Haley, "I couldn't have said
as much, myself; I ha'nt no larning. I took up the trade just to
make a living; if 'tan't right, I calculated to 'pent on 't in
time, ye know."
"And now you'll save yerself the trouble, won't ye?" said the
tall man. "See what 't is, now, to know scripture. If ye'd
only studied yer Bible, like this yer good man, ye might have know'd
it before, and saved ye a heap o' trouble. Ye could jist have
said, `Cussed be'--what's his name?--`and 't would all have come
right.'" And the stranger, who was no other than the honest drover
whom we introduced to our readers in the Kentucky tavern, sat down,
and began smoking, with a curious smile on his long, dry face.
A tall, slender young man, with a face expressive of great
feeling and intelligence, here broke in, and repeated the words,
"`All things whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, do
ye even so unto them.' I suppose," he added, "_that_ is scripture,
as much as `Cursed be Canaan.'"
"Wal, it seems quite _as_ plain a text, stranger," said
John the drover, "to poor fellows like us, now;" and John smoked
on like a volcano.
The young man paused, looked as if he was going to say
more, when suddenly the boat stopped, and the company made the
usual steamboat rush, to see where they were landing.
"Both them ar chaps parsons?" said John to one of the men,
as they were going out.
The man nodded.
As the boat stopped, a black woman came running wildly up the
plank, darted into the crowd, flew up to where the slave gang
sat, and threw her arms round that unfortunate piece of merchandise
before enumerate--"John, aged thirty," and with sobs and tears
bemoaned him as her husband.
But what needs tell the story, told too oft,--every day told,--of
heart-strings rent and broken,--the weak broken and torn for
the profit and convenience of the strong! It needs not to be
told;--every day is telling it,--telling it, too, in the ear of
One who is not deaf, though he be long silent.
The young man who had spoken for the cause of humanity and God
before stood with folded arms, looking on this scene. He turned,
and Haley was standing at his side. "My friend," he said,
speaking with thick utterance, "how can you, how dare you, carry
on a trade like this? Look at those poor creatures! Here I am,
rejoicing in my heart that I am going home to my wife and child;
and the same bell which is a signal to carry me onward towards them
will part this poor man and his wife forever. Depend upon it, God
will bring you into judgment for this."
The trader turned away in silence.
"I say, now," said the drover, touching his elbow, "there's
differences in parsons, an't there? `Cussed be Canaan' don't seem
to go down with this 'un, does it?"
Haley gave an uneasy growl.
"And that ar an't the worst on 't," said John; "mabbee it
won't go down with the Lord, neither, when ye come to settle with
Him, one o' these days, as all on us must, I reckon."
Haley walked reflectively to the other end of the boat.
"If I make pretty handsomely on one or two next gangs," he thought,
"I reckon I'll stop off this yer; it's really getting dangerous."
And he took out his pocket-book, and began adding over his
accounts,--a process which many gentlemen besides Mr. Haley have
found a specific for an uneasy conscience.
The boat swept proudly away from the shore, and all went on
merrily, as before. Men talked, and loafed, and read, and smoked.
Women sewed, and children played, and the boat passed on her way.
One day, when she lay to for a while at a small town in Kentucky,
Haley went up into the place on a little matter of business.
Tom, whose fetters did not prevent his taking a moderate
circuit, had drawn near the side of the boat, and stood listlessly
gazing over the railing. After a time, he saw the trader returning,
with an alert step, in company with a colored woman, bearing in
her arms a young child. She was dressed quite respectably, and a
colored man followed her, bringing along a small trunk. The woman
came cheerfully onward, talking, as she came, with the man who bore
her trunk, and so passed up the plank into the boat. The bell
rung, the steamer whizzed, the engine groaned and coughed, and away
swept the boat down the river.
The woman walked forward among the boxes and bales of the
lower deck, and, sitting down, busied herself with chirruping to
Haley made a turn or two about the boat, and then, coming up,
seated himself near her, and began saying something to her in
an indifferent undertone.
Tom soon noticed a heavy cloud passing over the woman's
brow; and that she answered rapidly, and with great vehemence.
"I don't believe it,--I won't believe it!" he heard her say.
"You're jist a foolin with me."
"If you won't believe it, look here!" said the man, drawing
out a paper; "this yer's the bill of sale, and there's your master's
name to it; and I paid down good solid cash for it, too, I can tell
"I don't believe Mas'r would cheat me so; it can't be true!"
said the woman, with increasing agitation.
"You can ask any of these men here, that can read writing.
Here!" he said, to a man that was passing by, "jist read this yer,
won't you! This yer gal won't believe me, when I tell her what 't is."
"Why, it's a bill of sale, signed by John Fosdick," said
the man, "making over to you the girl Lucy and her child.
It's all straight enough, for aught I see."
The woman's passionate exclamations collected a crowd around
her, and the trader briefly explained to them the cause of the
"He told me that I was going down to Louisville, to hire out
as cook to the same tavern where my husband works,--that's what
Mas'r told me, his own self; and I can't believe he'd lie to me,"
said the woman.
"But he has sold you, my poor woman, there's no doubt about it,"
said a good-natured looking man, who had been examining the
papers; "he has done it, and no mistake."
"Then it's no account talking," said the woman, suddenly
growing quite calm; and, clasping her child tighter in her arms,
she sat down on her box, turned her back round, and gazed listlessly
into the river.
"Going to take it easy, after all!" said the trader. "Gal's got
grit, I see."
The woman looked calm, as the boat went on; and a beautiful
soft summer breeze passed like a compassionate spirit over her
head,--the gentle breeze, that never inquires whether the brow is
dusky or fair that it fans. And she saw sunshine sparkling on the
water, in golden ripples, and heard gay voices, full of ease and
pleasure, talking around her everywhere; but her heart lay as if
a great stone had fallen on it. Her baby raised himself up against
her, and stroked her cheeks with his little hands; and, springing
up and down, crowing and chatting, seemed determined to arouse her.
She strained him suddenly and tightly in her arms, and slowly one
tear after another fell on his wondering, unconscious face; and
gradually she seemed, and little by little, to grow calmer,
and busied herself with tending and nursing him.
The child, a boy of ten months, was uncommonly large and
strong of his age, and very vigorous in his limbs. Never, for a
moment, still, he kept his mother constantly busy in holding him,
and guarding his springing activity.
"That's a fine chap!" said a man, suddenly stopping opposite
to him, with his hands in his pockets. "How old is he?"
"Ten months and a half," said the mother.
The man whistled to the boy, and offered him part of a stick
of candy, which he eagerly grabbed at, and very soon had it
in a baby's general depository, to wit, his mouth.
"Rum fellow!" said the man "Knows what's what!" and he whistled,
and walked on. When he had got to the other side of the boat,
he came across Haley, who was smoking on top of a pile of boxes.
The stranger produced a match, and lighted a cigar, saying,
as he did so,
"Decentish kind o' wench you've got round there, stranger."
"Why, I reckon she _is_ tol'able fair," said Haley, blowing
the smoke out of his mouth.
"Taking her down south?" said the man.
Haley nodded, and smoked on.
"Plantation hand?" said the man.
"Wal," said Haley, "I'm fillin' out an order for a plantation,
and I think I shall put her in. They telled me she was a good
cook; and they can use her for that, or set her at the cotton-picking.
She's got the right fingers for that; I looked at 'em. Sell well,
either way;" and Haley resumed his cigar.
"They won't want the young 'un on the plantation," said
"I shall sell him, first chance I find," said Haley, lighting
"S'pose you'd be selling him tol'able cheap," said the
stranger, mounting the pile of boxes, and sitting down comfortably.
"Don't know 'bout that," said Haley; "he's a pretty smart
young 'un, straight, fat, strong; flesh as hard as a brick!"
"Very true, but then there's the bother and expense of raisin'."
"Nonsense!" said Haley; "they is raised as easy as any kind
of critter there is going; they an't a bit more trouble than pups.
This yer chap will be running all around, in a month."
"I've got a good place for raisin', and I thought of takin'
in a little more stock," said the man. "One cook lost a young 'un
last week,--got drownded in a washtub, while she was a hangin' out
the clothes,--and I reckon it would be well enough to set her to
raisin' this yer."
Haley and the stranger smoked a while in silence, neither
seeming willing to broach the test question of the interview.
At last the man resumed:
"You wouldn't think of wantin' more than ten dollars for
that ar chap, seeing you _must_ get him off yer hand, any how?"
Haley shook his head, and spit impressively.
"That won't do, no ways," he said, and began his smoking again.
"Well, stranger, what will you take?"
"Well, now," said Haley, "I _could_ raise that ar chap myself,
or get him raised; he's oncommon likely and healthy, and
he'd fetch a hundred dollars, six months hence; and, in a year or
two, he'd bring two hundred, if I had him in the right spot; I
shan't take a cent less nor fifty for him now."
"O, stranger! that's rediculous, altogether," said the man.
"Fact!" said Haley, with a decisive nod of his head.
"I'll give thirty for him," said the stranger, "but not a
"Now, I'll tell ye what I will do," said Haley, spitting
again, with renewed decision. "I'll split the difference, and
say forty-five; and that's the most I will do."
"Well, agreed!" said the man, after an interval.
"Done!" said Haley. "Where do you land?"
"At Louisville," said the man.
"Louisville," said Haley. "Very fair, we get there about dusk.
Chap will be asleep,--all fair,--get him off quietly, and no
screaming,--happens beautiful,--I like to do everything quietly,--I
hates all kind of agitation and fluster." And so, after a transfer
of certain bills had passed from the man's pocket-book to the
trader's, he resumed his cigar.
It was a bright, tranquil evening when the boat stopped at the
wharf at Louisville. The woman had been sitting with her baby
in her arms, now wrapped in a heavy sleep. When she heard the name
of the place called out, she hastily laid the child down in a little
cradle formed by the hollow among the boxes, first carefully
spreading under it her cloak; and then she sprung to the side of
the boat, in hopes that, among the various hotel-waiters who thronged
the wharf, she might see her husband. In this hope, she pressed
forward to the front rails, and, stretching far over them, strained
her eyes intently on the moving heads on the shore, and the crowd
pressed in between her and the child.
"Now's your time," said Haley, taking the sleeping child up,
and handing him to the stranger. "Don't wake him up, and set
him to crying, now; it would make a devil of a fuss with the gal."
The man took the bundle carefully, and was soon lost in the crowd
that went up the wharf.
When the boat, creaking, and groaning, and puffing, had
loosed from the wharf, and was beginning slowly to strain
herself along, the woman returned to her old seat.
The trader was sitting there,--the child was gone!
"Why, why,--where?" she began, in bewildered surprise.
"Lucy," said the trader, "your child's gone; you may as well
know it first as last. You see, I know'd you couldn't take
him down south; and I got a chance to sell him to a first-rate
family, that'll raise him better than you can."
The trader had arrived at that stage of Christian and
political perfection which has been recommended by some preachers
and politicians of the north, lately, in which he had completely
overcome every humane weakness and prejudice. His heart was exactly
where yours, sir, and mine could be brought, with proper effort
and cultivation. The wild look of anguish and utter despair that
the woman cast on him might have disturbed one less practised; but
he was used to it. He had seen that same look hundreds of times.
You can get used to such things, too, my friend; and it is the
great object of recent efforts to make our whole northern community
used to them, for the glory of the Union. So the trader only
regarded the mortal anguish which he saw working in those dark
features, those clenched hands, and suffocating breathings, as
necessary incidents of the trade, and merely calculated whether
she was going to scream, and get up a commotion on the boat; for,
like other supporters of our peculiar institution, he decidedly
But the woman did not scream. The shot had passed too
straight and direct through the heart, for cry or tear.
Dizzily she sat down. Her slack hands fell lifeless by
her side. Her eyes looked straight forward, but she saw nothing.
All the noise and hum of the boat, the groaning of the machinery,
mingled dreamily to her bewildered ear; and the poor, dumb-stricken
heart had neither cry not tear to show for its utter misery. She was
The trader, who, considering his advantages, was almost as
humane as some of our politicians, seemed to feel called on to
administer such consolation as the case admitted of.
"I know this yer comes kinder hard, at first, Lucy," said he;
"but such a smart, sensible gal as you are, won't give way to it.
You see it's _necessary_, and can't be helped!"
"O! don't, Mas'r, don't!" said the woman, with a voice like
one that is smothering.
"You're a smart wench, Lucy," he persisted; "I mean to do
well by ye, and get ye a nice place down river; and you'll soon
get another husband,--such a likely gal as you--"
"O! Mas'r, if you _only_ won't talk to me now," said the woman,
in a voice of such quick and living anguish that the trader
felt that there was something at present in the case beyond his
style of operation. He got up, and the woman turned away, and
buried her head in her cloak.
The trader walked up and down for a time, and occasionally
stopped and looked at her.
"Takes it hard, rather," he soliloquized, "but quiet,
tho';--let her sweat a while; she'll come right, by and by!"
Tom had watched the whole transaction from first to last,
and had a perfect understanding of its results. To him, it looked
like something unutterably horrible and cruel, because, poor,
ignorant black soul! he had not learned to generalize, and to take
enlarged views. If he had only been instructed by certain ministers
of Christianity, he might have thought better of it, and seen in
it an every-day incident of a lawful trade; a trade which is the
vital suport of an institution which an American divine tells us
has _"no evils but such as are inseparable from any other relations
in social and domestic life_." But Tom, as we see, being a poor,
ignorant fellow, whose reading had been confined entirely to the
New Testament, could not comfort and solace himself with views
like these. His very soul bled within him for what seemed to him
the _wrongs_ of the poor suffering thing that lay like a crushed
reed on the boxes; the feeling, living, bleeding, yet immortal
_thing_, which American state law coolly classes with the bundles,
and bales, and boxes, among which she is lying.
 Dr. Joel Parker of Philadelphia. [Mrs. Stowe's note.]
Presbyterian clergyman (1799-1873), a friend of the Beecher family.
Mrs. Stowe attempted unsuccessfully to have this identifying note
removed from the stereotype-plate of the first edition.
Tom drew near, and tried to say something; but she only groaned.
Honestly, and with tears running down his own cheeks, he spoke
of a heart of love in the skies, of a pitying Jesus, and an
eternal home; but the ear was deaf with anguish, and the palsied
heart could not feel.
Night came on,--night calm, unmoved, and glorious, shining down
with her innumerable and solemn angel eyes, twinkling, beautiful,
but silent. There was no speech nor language, no pitying voice or
helping hand, from that distant sky. One after another, the voices
of business or pleasure died away; all on the boat were sleeping,
and the ripples at the prow were plainly heard. Tom stretched
himself out on a box, and there, as he lay, he heard, ever and
anon, a smothered sob or cry from the prostrate creature,--"O! what
shall I do? O Lord! O good Lord, do help me!" and so, ever and
anon, until the murmur died away in silence.
At midnight, Tom waked, with a sudden start. Something black
passed quickly by him to the side of the boat, and he heard
a splash in the water. No one else saw or heard anything.
He raised his head,--the woman's place was vacant! He got up,
and sought about him in vain. The poor bleeding heart was still,
at last, and the river rippled and dimpled just as brightly as if
it had not closed above it.
Patience! patience! ye whose hearts swell indignant at wrongs
like these. Not one throb of anguish, not one tear of the
oppressed, is forgotten by the Man of Sorrows, the Lord of Glory.
In his patient, generous bosom he bears the anguish of a world.
Bear thou, like him, in patience, and labor in love; for sure as
he is God, "the year of his redeemed _shall_ come."
The trader waked up bright and early, and came out to see to his
live stock. It was now his turn to look about in perplexity.
"Where alive is that gal?" he said to Tom.
Tom, who had learned the wisdom of keeping counsel, did not
feel called upon to state his observations and suspicions, but
said he did not know.
"She surely couldn't have got off in the night at any of
the landings, for I was awake, and on the lookout, whenever the
boat stopped. I never trust these yer things to other folks."
This speech was addressed to Tom quite confidentially, as if
it was something that would be specially interesting to him.
Tom made no answer.
The trader searched the boat from stem to stern, among boxes,
bales and barrels, around the machinery, by the chimneys,
"Now, I say, Tom, be fair about this yer," he said, when, after
a fruitless search, he came where Tom was standing. "You know
something about it, now. Don't tell me,--I know you do. I saw
the gal stretched out here about ten o'clock, and ag'in at
twelve, and ag'in between one and two; and then at four she was
gone, and you was a sleeping right there all the time. Now, you
know something,--you can't help it."
"Well, Mas'r," said Tom, "towards morning something brushed
by me, and I kinder half woke; and then I hearn a great splash,
and then I clare woke up, and the gal was gone. That's all I know
The trader was not shocked nor amazed; because, as we said before,
he was used to a great many things that you are not used to.
Even the awful presence of Death struck no solemn chill upon him.
He had seen Death many times,--met him in the way of trade, and
got acquainted with him,--and he only thought of him as a hard
customer, that embarrassed his property operations very unfairly;
and so he only swore that the gal was a baggage, and that he was
devilish unlucky, and that, if things went on in this way, he should
not make a cent on the trip. In short, he seemed to consider
himself an ill-used man, decidedly; but there was no help for it,
as the woman had escaped into a state which _never will_ give up
a fugitive,--not even at the demand of the whole glorious Union.
The trader, therefore, sat discontentedly down, with his little
account-book, and put down the missing body and soul under the head
"He's a shocking creature, isn't he,--this trader? so unfeeling!
It's dreadful, really!"
"O, but nobody thinks anything of these traders! They are
universally despised,--never received into any decent society."
But who, sir, makes the trader? Who is most to blame?
The enlightened, cultivated, intelligent man, who supports the
system of which the trader is the inevitable result, or the poor
trader himself? You make the public statement that calls for
his trade, that debauches and depraves him, till he feels no
shame in it; and in what are you better than he?
Are you educated and he ignorant, you high and he low, you
refined and he coarse, you talented and he simple?
In the day of a future judgment, these very considerations
may make it more tolerable for him than for you.
In concluding these little incidents of lawful trade, we
must beg the world not to think that American legislators
are entirely destitute of humanity, as might, perhaps, be
unfairly inferred from the great efforts made in our national
body to protect and perpetuate this species of traffic.
Who does not know how our great men are outdoing themselves,
in declaiming against the _foreign_ slave-trade. There are a
perfect host of Clarksons and Wilberforces risen up among us on
that subject, most edifying to hear and behold. Trading negroes
from Africa, dear reader, is so horrid! It is not to be thought of!
But trading them from Kentucky,--that's quite another thing!
 Thomas Clarkson (1760-1846) and William Wilberforce
(1759-1833), English philanthropists and anti-slavery agitators
who helped to secure passage of the Emancipation Bill by Parliament
The Quaker Settlement
A quiet scene now rises before us. A large, roomy,
neatly-painted kitchen, its yellow floor glossy and smooth, and
without a particle of dust; a neat, well-blacked cooking-stove;
rows of shining tin, suggestive of unmentionable good things to
the appetite; glossy green wood chairs, old and firm; a small
flag-bottomed rocking-chair, with a patch-work cushion in it, neatly
contrived out of small pieces of different colored woollen goods,
and a larger sized one, motherly and old, whose wide arms breathed
hospitable invitation, seconded by the solicitation of its feather
cushions,--a real comfortable, persuasive old chair, and worth, in
the way of honest, homely enjoyment, a dozen of your plush or
brochetelle drawing-room gentry; and in the chair, gently swaying
back and forward, her eyes bent on some fine sewing, sat our fine
old friend Eliza. Yes, there she is, paler and thinner than in
her Kentucky home, with a world of quiet sorrow lying under the
shadow of her long eyelashes, and marking the outline of her
gentle mouth! It was plain to see how old and firm the girlish heart
was grown under the discipline of heavy sorrow; and when, anon, her
large dark eye was raised to follow the gambols of her little Harry,
who was sporting, like some tropical butterfly, hither and thither
over the floor, she showed a depth of firmness and steady resolve
that was never there in her earlier and happier days.
By her side sat a woman with a bright tin pan in her lap, into
which she was carefully sorting some dried peaches. She might
be fifty-five or sixty; but hers was one of those faces that time
seems to touch only to brighten and adorn. The snowy fisse crape
cap, made after the strait Quaker pattern,--the plain white muslin
handkerchief, lying in placid folds across her bosom,--the drab
shawl and dress,--showed at once the community to which she belonged.
Her face was round and rosy, with a healthful downy softness,
suggestive of a ripe peach. Her hair, partially silvered by age,
was parted smoothly back from a high placid forehead, on which time
had written no inscription, except peace on earth, good will to
men, and beneath shone a large pair of clear, honest, loving brown
eyes; you only needed to look straight into them, to feel that you
saw to the bottom of a heart as good and true as ever throbbed in
woman's bosom. So much has been said and sung of beautiful young
girls, why don't somebody wake up to the beauty of old women?
If any want to get up an inspiration under this head, we refer them
to our good friend Rachel Halliday, just as she sits there in her
little rocking-chair. It had a turn for quacking and squeaking,--that
chair had,--either from having taken cold in early life, or from
some asthmatic affection, or perhaps from nervous derangement; but,
as she gently swung backward and forward, the chair kept up a kind
of subdued "creechy crawchy," that would have been intolerable in
any other chair. But old Simeon Halliday often declared it was as
good as any music to him, and the children all avowed that they
wouldn't miss of hearing mother's chair for anything in the world.
For why? for twenty years or more, nothing but loving words, and
gentle moralities, and motherly loving kindness, had come from that
chair;--head-aches and heart-aches innumerable had been cured
there,--difficulties spiritual and temporal solved there,--all by
one good, loving woman, God bless her!
"And so thee still thinks of going to Canada, Eliza?" she said,
as she was quietly looking over her peaches.
"Yes, ma'am," said Eliza, firmly. "I must go onward. I dare
"And what'll thee do, when thee gets there? Thee must think
about that, my daughter."
"My daughter" came naturally from the lips of Rachel
Halliday; for hers was just the face and form that made "mother"
seem the most natural word in the world.
Eliza's hands trembled, and some tears fell on her fine
work; but she answered, firmly,
"I shall do--anything I can find. I hope I can find something."
"Thee knows thee can stay here, as long as thee pleases,"
"O, thank you," said Eliza, "but"--she pointed to Harry--"I
can't sleep nights; I can't rest. Last night I dreamed I saw that
man coming into the yard," she said, shuddering.
"Poor child!" said Rachel, wiping her eyes; "but thee
mustn't feel so. The Lord hath ordered it so that never hath a
fugitive been stolen from our village. I trust thine will not be
The door here opened, and a little short, round, pin-cushiony
woman stood at the door, with a cheery, blooming face, like a
ripe apple. She was dressed, like Rachel, in sober gray, with
the muslin folded neatly across her round, plump little chest.
"Ruth Stedman," said Rachel, coming joyfully forward; "how
is thee, Ruth? she said, heartily taking both her hands.
"Nicely," said Ruth, taking off her little drab bonnet, and
dusting it with her handkerchief, displaying, as she did so,
a round little head, on which the Quaker cap sat with a sort
of jaunty air, despite all the stroking and patting of the
small fat hands, which were busily applied to arranging it.
Certain stray locks of decidedly curly hair, too, had escaped
here and there, and had to be coaxed and cajoled into their
place again; and then the new comer, who might have been
five-and-twenty, turned from the small looking-glass, before
which she had been making these arrangements, and looked well
pleased,--as most people who looked at her might have been,--for
she was decidedly a wholesome, whole-hearted, chirruping little
woman, as ever gladdened man's heart withal.
"Ruth, this friend is Eliza Harris; and this is the little
boy I told thee of."
"I am glad to see thee, Eliza,--very," said Ruth, shaking
hands, as if Eliza were an old friend she had long been expecting;
"and this is thy dear boy,--I brought a cake for him," she said,
holding out a little heart to the boy, who came up, gazing through
his curls, and accepted it shyly.
"Where's thy baby, Ruth?" said Rachel.
"O, he's coming; but thy Mary caught him as I came in, and
ran off with him to the barn, to show him to the children."
At this moment, the door opened, and Mary, an honest,
rosy-looking girl, with large brown eyes, like her mother's,
came in with the baby.
"Ah! ha!" said Rachel, coming up, and taking the great, white,
fat fellow in her arms, "how good he looks, and how he does grow!"
"To be sure, he does," said little bustling Ruth, as she took
the child, and began taking off a little blue silk hood, and
various layers and wrappers of outer garments; and having given a
twitch here, and a pull there, and variously adjusted and arranged
him, and kissed him heartily, she set him on the floor to collect
his thoughts. Baby seemed quite used to this mode of proceeding,
for he put his thumb in his mouth (as if it were quite a thing of
course), and seemed soon absorbed in his own reflections, while
the mother seated herself, and taking out a long stocking of
mixed blue and white yarn, began to knit with briskness.
"Mary, thee'd better fill the kettle, hadn't thee?" gently
suggested the mother.
Mary took the kettle to the well, and soon reappearing,
placed it over the stove, where it was soon purring and steaming,
a sort of censer of hospitality and good cheer. The peaches,
moreover, in obedience to a few gentle whispers from Rachel, were
soon deposited, by the same hand, in a stew-pan over the fire.
Rachel now took down a snowy moulding-board, and, tying on
an apron, proceeded quietly to making up some biscuits, first saying
to Mary,--"Mary, hadn't thee better tell John to get a chicken
ready?" and Mary disappeared accordingly.
"And how is Abigail Peters?" said Rachel, as she went on
with her biscuits.
"O, she's better," said Ruth; "I was in, this morning; made
the bed, tidied up the house. Leah Hills went in, this afternoon,
and baked bread and pies enough to last some days; and I engaged
to go back to get her up, this evening."
"I will go in tomorrow, and do any cleaning there may be,
and look over the mending," said Rachel.
"Ah! that is well," said Ruth. "I've heard," she added,
"that Hannah Stanwood is sick. John was up there, last night,--I
must go there tomorrow."
"John can come in here to his meals, if thee needs to stay
all day," suggested Rachel.
"Thank thee, Rachel; will see, tomorrow; but, here comes Simeon."
Simeon Halliday, a tall, straight, muscular man, in drab
coat and pantaloons, and broad-brimmed hat, now entered.
"How is thee, Ruth?" he said, warmly, as he spread his
broad open hand for her little fat palm; "and how is John?"
"O! John is well, and all the rest of our folks," said
"Any news, father?" said Rachel, as she was putting her
biscuits into the oven.
"Peter Stebbins told me that they should be along tonight,
with _friends_," said Simeon, significantly, as he was washing his
hands at a neat sink, in a little back porch.
"Indeed!" said Rachel, looking thoughtfully, and glancing
"Did thee say thy name was Harris?" said Simeon to Eliza,
as he reentered.
Rachel glanced quickly at her husband, as Eliza tremulously
answered "yes;" her fears, ever uppermost, suggesting that possibly
there might be advertisements out for her.
"Mother!" said Simeon, standing in the porch, and calling
"What does thee want, father?" said Rachel, rubbing her
floury hands, as she went into the porch.
"This child's husband is in the settlement, and will be
here tonight," said Simeon.
"Now, thee doesn't say that, father?" said Rachel, all her
face radiant with joy.
"It's really true. Peter was down yesterday, with the wagon,
to the other stand, and there he found an old woman and two men;
and one said his name was George Harris; and from what he told
of his history, I am certain who he is. He is a bright, likely
"Shall we tell her now?" said Simeon.
"Let's tell Ruth," said Rachel. "Here, Ruth,--come here."
Ruth laid down her knitting-work, and was in the back porch
in a moment.
"Ruth, what does thee think?" said Rachel. "Father says Eliza's
husband is in the last company, and will be here tonight."
A burst of joy from the little Quakeress interrupted the speech.
She gave such a bound from the floor, as she clapped her little
hands, that two stray curls fell from under her Quaker cap,
and lay brightly on her white neckerchief.
"Hush thee, dear!" said Rachel, gently; "hush, Ruth! Tell us,
shall we tell her now?"
"Now! to be sure,--this very minute. Why, now, suppose 't
was my John, how should I feel? Do tell her, right off."
"Thee uses thyself only to learn how to love thy neighbor,
Ruth," said Simeon, looking, with a beaming face, on Ruth.
"To be sure. Isn't it what we are made for? If I didn't
love John and the baby, I should not know how to feel for her.
Come, now do tell her,--do!" and she laid her hands persuasively
on Rachel's arm. "Take her into thy bed-room, there, and let me
fry the chicken while thee does it."
Rachel came out into the kitchen, where Eliza was sewing,
and opening the door of a small bed-room, said, gently, "Come in
here with me, my daughter; I have news to tell thee."
The blood flushed in Eliza's pale face; she rose, trembling
with nervous anxiety, and looked towards her boy.
"No, no," said little Ruth, darting up, and seizing her hands.
"Never thee fear; it's good news, Eliza,--go in, go in!"
And she gently pushed her to the door which closed after her; and
then, turning round, she caught little Harry in her arms, and began
"Thee'll see thy father, little one. Does thee know it?
Thy father is coming," she said, over and over again, as the boy
looked wonderingly at her.
Meanwhile, within the door, another scene was going on.
Rachel Halliday drew Eliza toward her, and said, "The Lord
hath had mercy on thee, daughter; thy husband hath escaped
from the house of bondage."
The blood flushed to Eliza's cheek in a sudden glow, and
went back to her heart with as sudden a rush. She sat down, pale
"Have courage, child," said Rachel, laying her hand on her head.
"He is among friends, who will bring him here tonight."
"Tonight!" Eliza repeated, "tonight!" The words lost all
meaning to her; her head was dreamy and confused; all was mist for
When she awoke, she found herself snugly tucked up on the bed,
with a blanket over her, and little Ruth rubbing her hands
with camphor. She opened her eyes in a state of dreamy, delicious
languor, such as one who has long been bearing a heavy load, and
now feels it gone, and would rest. The tension of the nerves,
which had never ceased a moment since the first hour of her flight,
had given way, and a strange feeling of security and rest came over
her; and as she lay, with her large, dark eyes open, she followed,
as in a quiet dream, the motions of those about her. She saw the
door open into the other room; saw the supper-table, with its snowy
cloth; heard the dreamy murmur of the singing tea-kettle; saw Ruth
tripping backward and forward, with plates of cake and saucers of
preserves, and ever and anon stopping to put a cake into Harry's
hand, or pat his head, or twine his long curls round her snowy
fingers. She saw the ample, motherly form of Rachel, as she ever
and anon came to the bedside, and smoothed and arranged something
about the bedclothes, and gave a tuck here and there, by way of
expressing her good-will; and was conscious of a kind of sunshine
beaming down upon her from her large, clear, brown eyes. She saw
Ruth's husband come in,--saw her fly up to him, and commence
whispering very earnestly, ever and anon, with impressive gesture,
pointing her little finger toward the room. She saw her, with the
baby in her arms, sitting down to tea; she saw them all at table,
and little Harry in a high chair, under the shadow of Rachel's ample
wing; there were low murmurs of talk, gentle tinkling of tea-spoons,
and musical clatter of cups and saucers, and all mingled in a delightful
dream of rest; and Eliza slept, as she had not slept before, since
the fearful midnight hour when she had taken her child and fled
through the frosty starlight.
She dreamed of a beautiful country,--a land, it seemed to her,
of rest,--green shores, pleasant islands, and beautifully
glittering water; and there, in a house which kind voices told
her was a home, she saw her boy playing, free and happy child.
She heard her husband's footsteps; she felt him coming nearer;
his arms were around her, his tears falling on her face, and
she awoke! It was no dream. The daylight had long faded; her
child lay calmly sleeping by her side; a candle was burning dimly
on the stand, and her husband was sobbing by her pillow.
The next morning was a cheerful one at the Quaker house.
"Mother" was up betimes, and surrounded by busy girls and boys,
whom we had scarce time to introduce to our readers yesterday, and
who all moved obediently to Rachel's gentle "Thee had better," or
more gentle "Hadn't thee better?" in the work of getting breakfast;
for a breakfast in the luxurious valleys of Indiana is a thing
complicated and multiform, and, like picking up the rose-leaves
and trimming the bushes in Paradise, asking other hands than those
of the original mother. While, therefore, John ran to the spring
for fresh water, and Simeon the second sifted meal for corn-cakes,
and Mary ground coffee, Rachel moved gently, and quietly about,
making biscuits, cutting up chicken, and diffusing a sort of sunny
radiance over the whole proceeding generally. If there was any
danger of friction or collision from the ill-regulated zeal of so
many young operators, her gentle "Come! come!" or "I wouldn't, now,"
was quite sufficient to allay the difficulty. Bards have written
of the cestus of Venus, that turned the heads of all the world in
successive generations. We had rather, for our part, have the
cestus of Rachel Halliday, that kept heads from being turned, and
made everything go on harmoniously. We think it is more suited to
our modern days, decidedly.
While all other preparations were going on, Simeon the elder
stood in his shirt-sleeves before a little looking-glass in
the corner, engaged in the anti-patriarchal operation of shaving.
Everything went on so sociably, so quietly, so harmoniously, in
the great kitchen,--it seemed so pleasant to every one to do just
what they were doing, there was such an atmosphere of mutual
confidence and good fellowship everywhere,--even the knives and
forks had a social clatter as they went on to the table; and the
chicken and ham had a cheerful and joyous fizzle in the pan, as if
they rather enjoyed being cooked than otherwise;--and when George
and Eliza and little Harry came out, they met such a hearty,
rejoicing welcome, no wonder it seemed to them like a dream.
At last, they were all seated at breakfast, while Mary stood
at the stove, baking griddle-cakes, which, as they gained the
true exact golden-brown tint of perfection, were transferred
quite handily to the table.
Rachel never looked so truly and benignly happy as at the head
of her table. There was so much motherliness and full-heartedness
even in the way she passed a plate of cakes or poured a cup of
coffee, that it seemed to put a spirit into the food and drink
It was the first time that ever George had sat down on equal terms
at any white man's table; and he sat down, at first, with some
constraint and awkwardness; but they all exhaled and went off like
fog, in the genial morning rays of this simple, overflowing kindness.
This, indeed, was a home,--_home_,--a word that George had
never yet known a meaning for; and a belief in God, and trust in
his providence, began to encircle his heart, as, with a golden
cloud of protection and confidence, dark, misanthropic, pining
atheistic doubts, and fierce despair, melted away before the light
of a living Gospel, breathed in living faces, preached by a thousand
unconscious acts of love and good will, which, like the cup of cold
water given in the name of a disciple, shall never lose their reward.
"Father, what if thee should get found out again?" said
Simeon second, as he buttered his cake.
"I should pay my fine," said Simeon, quietly.
"But what if they put thee in prison?"
"Couldn't thee and mother manage the farm?" said Simeon, smiling.
"Mother can do almost everything," said the boy. "But isn't
it a shame to make such laws?"
"Thee mustn't speak evil of thy rulers, Simeon," said his
father, gravely. "The Lord only gives us our worldly goods that
we may do justice and mercy; if our rulers require a price of us
for it, we must deliver it up.
"Well, I hate those old slaveholders!" said the boy, who
felt as unchristian as became any modern reformer.
"I am surprised at thee, son," said Simeon; "thy mother never
taught thee so. I would do even the same for the slaveholder
as for the slave, if the Lord brought him to my door in affliction."
Simeon second blushed scarlet; but his mother only smiled,
and said, "Simeon is my good boy; he will grow older, by and by,
and then he will be like his father."
"I hope, my good sir, that you are not exposed to any
difficulty on our account," said George, anxiously.
"Fear nothing, George, for therefore are we sent into the world.
If we would not meet trouble for a good cause, we were not
worthy of our name."
"But, for _me_," said George, "I could not bear it."
"Fear not, then, friend George; it is not for thee, but for God
and man, we do it," said Simeon. "And now thou must lie by
quietly this day, and tonight, at ten o'clock, Phineas Fletcher
will carry thee onward to the next stand,--thee and the rest of
they company. The pursuers are hard after thee; we must not delay."
"If that is the case, why wait till evening?" said George.
"Thou art safe here by daylight, for every one in the
settlement is a Friend, and all are watching. It has been found
safer to travel by night."
"A young star! which shone
O'er life--too sweet an image, for such glass!
A lovely being, scarcely formed or moulded;
A rose with all its sweetest leaves yet folded."
The Mississippi! How, as by an enchanted wand, have its
scenes been changed, since Chateaubriand wrote his prose-poetic
description of it, as a river of mighty, unbroken solitudes,
rolling amid undreamed wonders of vegetable and animal existence.
 _In Atala; or the Love and Constantcy of Two Savages in
the Desert_ (1801) by Francois Auguste Rene, Vicomte de Chateaubriand
But as in an hour, this river of dreams and wild romance
has emerged to a reality scarcely less visionary and splendid.
What other river of the world bears on its bosom to the ocean the
wealth and enterprise of such another country?--a country whose
products embrace all between the tropics and the poles! Those turbid
waters, hurrying, foaming, tearing along, an apt resemblance of
that headlong tide of business which is poured along its wave by
a race more vehement and energetic than any the old world ever saw.
Ah! would that they did not also bear along a more fearful
freight,--the tears of the oppressed, the sighs of the helpless,
the bitter prayers of poor, ignorant hearts to an unknown
God--unknown, unseen and silent, but who will yet "come out of his
place to save all the poor of the earth!"
The slanting light of the setting sun quivers on the sea-like
expanse of the river; the shivery canes, and the tall, dark cypress,
hung with wreaths of dark, funereal moss, glow in the golden ray,
as the heavily-laden steamboat marches onward.
Piled with cotton-bales, from many a plantation, up over
deck and sides, till she seems in the distance a square, massive
block of gray, she moves heavily onward to the nearing mart.
We must look some time among its crowded decks before we shall find
again our humble friend Tom. High on the upper deck, in a little
nook among the everywhere predominant cotton-bales, at last we may
Partly from confidence inspired by Mr. Shelby's representations,
and partly from the remarkably inoffensive and quiet character of
the man, Tom had insensibly won his way far into the confidence
even of such a man as Haley.
At first he had watched him narrowly through the day, and never
allowed him to sleep at night unfettered; but the uncomplaining
patience and apparent contentment of Tom's manner led him gradually
to discontinue these restraints, and for some time Tom had enjoyed
a sort of parole of honor, being permitted to come and go freely
where he pleased on the boat.
Ever quiet and obliging, and more than ready to lend a hand
in every emergency which occurred among the workmen below, he had
won the good opinion of all the hands, and spent many hours in
helping them with as hearty a good will as ever he worked on a
When there seemed to be nothing for him to do, he would
climb to a nook among the cotton-bales of the upper deck,
and busy himself in studying over his Bible,--and it
is there we see him now.
For a hundred or more miles above New Orleans, the river
is higher than the surrounding country, and rolls its tremendous
volume between massive levees twenty feet in height. The traveller
from the deck of the steamer, as from some floating castle top,
overlooks the whole country for miles and miles around. Tom,
therefore, had spread out full before him, in plantation after
plantation, a map of the life to which he was approaching.
He saw the distant slaves at their toil; he saw afar their
villages of huts gleaming out in long rows on many a plantation,
distant from the stately mansions and pleasure-grounds of the
master;--and as the moving picture passed on, his poor, foolish
heart would be turning backward to the Kentucky farm, with its old
shadowy beeches,--to the master's house, with its wide, cool halls,
and, near by, the little cabin overgrown with the multiflora and
bignonia. There he seemed to see familiar faces of comrades who
had grown up with him from infancy; he saw his busy wife, bustling
in her preparations for his evening meals; he heard the merry laugh
of his boys at their play, and the chirrup of the baby at his knee;
and then, with a start, all faded, and he saw again the canebrakes
and cypresses and gliding plantations, and heard again the creaking
and groaning of the machinery, all telling him too plainly that
all that phase of life had gone by forever.
In such a case, you write to your wife, and send messages
to your children; but Tom could not write,--the mail for him had
no existence, and the gulf of separation was unbridged by even a
friendly word or signal.
Is it strange, then, that some tears fall on the pages of
his Bible, as he lays it on the cotton-bale, and, with patient
finger, threading his slow way from word to word, traces out
its promises? Having learned late in life, Tom was but a slow
reader, and passed on laboriously from verse to verse.
Fortunate for him was it that the book he was intent on
was one which slow reading cannot injure,--nay, one whose words,
like ingots of gold, seem often to need to be weighed separately,
that the mind may take in their priceless value. Let us follow
him a moment, as, pointing to each word, and pronouncing each half
aloud, he reads,
Cicero, when he buried his darling and only daughter, had
a heart as full of honest grief as poor Tom's,--perhaps no fuller,
for both were only men;--but Cicero could pause over no such sublime
words of hope, and look to no such future reunion; and if he _had_
seen them, ten to one he would not have believed,--he must fill
his head first with a thousand questions of authenticity of
manuscript, and correctness of translation. But, to poor Tom,
there it lay, just what he needed, so evidently true and divine
that the possibility of a question never entered his simple head.
It must be true; for, if not true, how could he live?
As for Tom's Bible, though it had no annotations and helps
in margin from learned commentators, still it had been embellished
with certain way-marks and guide-boards of Tom's own invention,
and which helped him more than the most learned expositions could
have done. It had been his custom to get the Bible read to him by
his master's children, in particular by young Master George; and,
as they read, he would designate, by bold, strong marks and dashes,
with pen and ink, the passages which more particularly gratified
his ear or affected his heart. His Bible was thus marked through,
from one end to the other, with a variety of styles and designations;
so he could in a moment seize upon his favorite passages, without
the labor of spelling out what lay between them;--and while it
lay there before him, every passage breathing of some old home
scene, and recalling some past enjoyment, his Bible seemed to
him all of this life that remained, as well as the promise of a
Among the passengers on the boat was a young gentleman of
fortune and family, resident in New Orleans, who bore the name of
St. Clare. He had with him a daughter between five and six years
of age, together with a lady who seemed to claim relationship to
both, and to have the little one especially under her charge.
Tom had often caught glimpses of this little girl,--for
she was one of those busy, tripping creatures, that can be no more
contained in one place than a sunbeam or a summer breeze,--nor was
she one that, once seen, could be easily forgotten.
Her form was the perfection of childish beauty, without
its usual chubbiness and squareness of outline. There was about
it an undulating and aerial grace, such as one might dream of for
some mythic and allegorical being. Her face was remarkable less
for its perfect beauty of feature than for a singular and dreamy
earnestness of expression, which made the ideal start when they
looked at her, and by which the dullest and most literal were
impressed, without exactly knowing why. The shape of her head and
the turn of her neck and bust was peculiarly noble, and the long
golden-brown hair that floated like a cloud around it, the deep
spiritual gravity of her violet blue eyes, shaded by heavy fringes
of golden brown,--all marked her out from other children, and made
every one turn and look after her, as she glided hither and thither
on the boat. Nevertheless, the little one was not what you would
have called either a grave child or a sad one. On the contrary,
an airy and innocent playfulness seemed to flicker like the shadow
of summer leaves over her childish face, and around her buoyant
figure. She was always in motion, always with a half smile on her
rosy mouth, flying hither and thither, with an undulating and
cloud-like tread, singing to herself as she moved as in a happy dream.
Her father and female guardian were incessantly busy in pursuit of
her,--but, when caught, she melted from them again like a summer
cloud; and as no word of chiding or reproof ever fell on her ear
for whatever she chose to do, she pursued her own way all over the
boat. Always dressed in white, she seemed to move like a shadow
through all sorts of places, without contracting spot or stain;
and there was not a corner or nook, above or below, where those
fairy footsteps had not glided, and that visionary golden head,
with its deep blue eyes, fleeted along.
The fireman, as he looked up from his sweaty toil, sometimes
found those eyes looking wonderingly into the raging depths of the
furnace, and fearfully and pityingly at him, as if she thought him
in some dreadful danger. Anon the steersman at the wheel paused
and smiled, as the picture-like head gleamed through the window of
the round house, and in a moment was gone again. A thousand times
a day rough voices blessed her, and smiles of unwonted softness
stole over hard faces, as she passed; and when she tripped fearlessly
over dangerous places, rough, sooty hands were stretched involuntarily
out to save her, and smooth her path.
Tom, who had the soft, impressible nature of his kindly race,
ever yearning toward the simple and childlike, watched the
little creature with daily increasing interest. To him she seemed
something almost divine; and whenever her golden head and deep blue
eyes peered out upon him from behind some dusky cotton-bale, or
looked down upon him over some ridge of packages, he half believed
that he saw one of the angels stepped out of his New Testament.
Often and often she walked mournfully round the place where
Haley's gang of men and women sat in their chains. She would glide
in among them, and look at them with an air of perplexed and
sorrowful earnestness; and sometimes she would lift their chains
with her slender hands, and then sigh wofully, as she glided away.
Several times she appeared suddenly among them, with her hands full
of candy, nuts, and oranges, which she would distribute joyfully
to them, and then be gone again.
Tom watched the little lady a great deal, before he ventured
on any overtures towards acquaintanceship. He knew an abundance
of simple acts to propitiate and invite the approaches of the little
people, and he resolved to play his part right skilfully. He could
cut cunning little baskets out of cherry-stones, could make grotesque
faces on hickory-nuts, or odd-jumping figures out of elder-pith,
and he was a very Pan in the manufacture of whistles of all sizes
and sorts. His pockets were full of miscellaneous articles of
attraction, which he had hoarded in days of old for his master's
children, and which he now produced, with commendable prudence and
economy, one by one, as overtures for acquaintance and friendship.
The little one was shy, for all her busy interest in everything
going on, and it was not easy to tame her. For a while, she
would perch like a canary-bird on some box or package near Tom,
while busy in the little arts afore-named, and take from him,
with a kind of grave bashfulness, the little articles he offered.
But at last they got on quite confidential terms.
"What's little missy's name?" said Tom, at last, when he
thought matters were ripe to push such an inquiry.
"Evangeline St. Clare," said the little one, "though papa
and everybody else call me Eva. Now, what's your name?"
"My name's Tom; the little chil'en used to call me Uncle
Tom, way back thar in Kentuck."
"Then I mean to call you Uncle Tom, because, you see,
I like you," said Eva. "So, Uncle Tom, where are you going?"
"I don't know, Miss Eva."
"Don't know?" said Eva.
"No, I am going to be sold to somebody. I don't know who."
"My papa can buy you," said Eva, quickly; "and if he buys you,
you will have good times. I mean to ask him, this very day."
"Thank you, my little lady," said Tom.
The boat here stopped at a small landing to take in wood,
and Eva, hearing her father's voice, bounded nimbly away. Tom rose
up, and went forward to offer his service in wooding, and soon was
busy among the hands.
Eva and her father were standing together by the railings
to see the boat start from the landing-place, the wheel had made
two or three revolutions in the water, when, by some sudden movement,
the little one suddenly lost her balance and fell sheer over the
side of the boat into the water. Her father, scarce knowing what
he did, was plunging in after her, but was held back by some behind
him, who saw that more efficient aid had followed his child.
Tom was standing just under her on the lower deck, as she fell.
He saw her strike the water, and sink, and was after her in
a moment. A broad-chested, strong-armed fellow, it was nothing
for him to keep afloat in the water, till, in a moment or two the
child rose to the surface, and he caught her in his arms, and,
swimming with her to the boat-side, handed her up, all dripping,
to the grasp of hundreds of hands, which, as if they had all belonged
to one man, were stretched eagerly out to receive her. A few
moments more, and her father bore her, dripping and senseless, to
the ladies' cabin, where, as is usual in cases of the kind, there
ensued a very well-meaning and kind-hearted strife among the female
occupants generally, as to who should do the most things to make
a disturbance, and to hinder her recovery in every way possible.
It was a sultry, close day, the next day, as the steamer
drew near to New Orleans. A general bustle of expectation and
preparation was spread through the boat; in the cabin, one and
another were gathering their things together, and arranging them,
preparatory to going ashore. The steward and chambermaid, and all,
were busily engaged in cleaning, furbishing, and arranging the
splendid boat, preparatory to a grand entree.
On the lower deck sat our friend Tom, with his arms folded,
and anxiously, from time to time, turning his eyes towards a group
on the other side of the boat.
There stood the fair Evangeline, a little paler than the
day before, but otherwise exhibiting no traces of the accident
which had befallen her. A graceful, elegantly-formed young man
stood by her, carelessly leaning one elbow on a bale of cotton.
while a large pocket-book lay open before him. It was quite evident,
at a glance, that the gentleman was Eva's father. There was the
same noble cast of head, the same large blue eyes, the same
golden-brown hair; yet the expression was wholly different.
In the large, clear blue eyes, though in form and color exactly
similar, there was wanting that misty, dreamy depth of expression;
all was clear, bold, and bright, but with a light wholly of this
world: the beautifully cut mouth had a proud and somewhat sarcastic
expression, while an air of free-and-easy superiority sat not
ungracefully in every turn and movement of his fine form. He was
listening, with a good-humored, negligent air, half comic, half
contemptuous, to Haley, who was very volubly expatiating on the
quality of the article for which they were bargaining.
"All the moral and Christian virtues bound in black Morocco,
complete!" he said, when Haley had finished. "Well, now,
my good fellow, what's the damage, as they say in Kentucky; in
short, what's to be paid out for this business? How much are you
going to cheat me, now? Out with it!"
"Wal," said Haley, "if I should say thirteen hundred dollars
for that ar fellow, I shouldn't but just save myself; I shouldn't,
"Poor fellow!" said the young man, fixing his keen, mocking
blue eye on him; "but I suppose you'd let me have him for that,
out of a particular regard for me."
"Well, the young lady here seems to be sot on him, and
"O! certainly, there's a call on your benevolence, my friend.
Now, as a matter of Christian charity, how cheap could you
afford to let him go, to oblige a young lady that's particular
sot on him?"
"Wal, now, just think on 't," said the trader; "just look
at them limbs,--broad-chested, strong as a horse. Look at his
head; them high forrads allays shows calculatin niggers, that'll
do any kind o' thing. I've, marked that ar. Now, a nigger of that
ar heft and build is worth considerable, just as you may say, for
his body, supposin he's stupid; but come to put in his calculatin
faculties, and them which I can show he has oncommon, why, of
course, it makes him come higher. Why, that ar fellow managed his
master's whole farm. He has a strornary talent for business."
"Bad, bad, very bad; knows altogether too much!" said the
young man, with the same mocking smile playing about his mouth.
"Never will do, in the world. Your smart fellows are always running
off, stealing horses, and raising the devil generally. I think
you'll have to take off a couple of hundred for his smartness."
"Wal, there might be something in that ar, if it warnt for
his character; but I can show recommends from his master and others,
to prove he is one of your real pious,--the most humble, prayin,
pious crittur ye ever did see. Why, he's been called a preacher
in them parts he came from."
"And I might use him for a family chaplain, possibly," added
the young man, dryly. "That's quite an idea. Religion is
a remarkably scarce article at our house."
"You're joking, now."
"How do you know I am? Didn't you just warrant him for a preacher?
Has he been examined by any synod or council? Come, hand
over your papers."
If the trader had not been sure, by a certain good-humored
twinkle in the large eye, that all this banter was sure, in the
long run, to turn out a cash concern, he might have been somewhat
out of patience; as it was, he laid down a greasy pocket-book on
the cotton-bales, and began anxiously studying over certain papers
in it, the young man standing by, the while, looking down on him
with an air of careless, easy drollery.
"Papa, do buy him! it's no matter what you pay," whispered Eva,
softly, getting up on a package, and putting her arm around
her father's neck. "You have money enough, I know. I want him."
"What for, pussy? Are you going to use him for a rattle-box,
or a rocking-horse, or what?
"I want to make him happy."
"An original reason, certainly."
Here the trader handed up a certificate, signed by Mr. Shelby,
which the young man took with the tips of his long fingers,
and glanced over carelessly.
"A gentlemanly hand," he said, "and well spelt, too. Well, now,
but I'm not sure, after all, about this religion," said he,
the old wicked expression returning to his eye; "the country is
almost ruined with pious white people; such pious politicians as
we have just before elections,--such pious goings on in all
departments of church and state, that a fellow does not know who'll
cheat him next. I don't know, either, about religion's being up
in the market, just now. I have not looked in the papers lately,
to see how it sells. How many hundred dollars, now, do you put on
for this religion?"
"You like to be jokin, now," said the trader; "but, then,
there's _sense_ under all that ar. I know there's differences
in religion. Some kinds is mis'rable: there's your meetin pious;
there's your singin, roarin pious; them ar an't no account, in
black or white;--but these rayly is; and I've seen it in niggers
as often as any, your rail softly, quiet, stiddy, honest, pious,
that the hull world couldn't tempt 'em to do nothing that they
thinks is wrong; and ye see in this letter what Tom's old master
says about him."
"Now," said the young man, stooping gravely over his book
of bills, "if you can assure me that I really can buy _this_ kind
of pious, and that it will be set down to my account in the book
up above, as something belonging to me, I wouldn't care if I did
go a little extra for it. How d'ye say?"
"Wal, raily, I can't do that," said the trader. "I'm a
thinkin that every man'll have to hang on his own hook, in them
"Rather hard on a fellow that pays extra on religion, and
can't trade with it in the state where he wants it most, an't it,
now?" said the young man, who had been making out a roll of bills
while he was speaking. "There, count your money, old boy!" he
added, as he handed the roll to the trader.
"All right," said Haley, his face beaming with delight; and
pulling out an old inkhorn, he proceeded to fill out a bill of
sale, which, in a few moments, he handed to the young man.
"I wonder, now, if I was divided up and inventoried," said the
latter as he ran over the paper, "how much I might bring. Say so
much for the shape of my head, so much for a high forehead, so
much for arms, and hands, and legs, and then so much for education,
learning, talent, honesty, religion! Bless me! there would be small
charge on that last, I'm thinking. But come, Eva," he said; and
taking the hand of his daughter, he stepped across the boat, and
carelessly putting the tip of his finger under Tom's chin, said,
good-humoredly, "Look-up, Tom, and see how you like your new master."
Tom looked up. It was not in nature to look into that gay, young,
handsome face, without a feeling of pleasure; and Tom felt the
tears start in his eyes as he said, heartily, "God bless you, Mas'r!"
"Well, I hope he will. What's your name? Tom? Quite as likely
to do it for your asking as mine, from all accounts. Can you
drive horses, Tom?"
"I've been allays used to horses," said Tom. "Mas'r Shelby
raised heaps of 'em."
"Well, I think I shall put you in coachy, on condition that
you won't be drunk more than once a week, unless in cases of
Tom looked surprised, and rather hurt, and said, "I never
"I've heard that story before, Tom; but then we'll see.
It will be a special accommodation to all concerned, if you don't.
Never mind, my boy," he added, good-humoredly, seeing Tom still
looked grave; "I don't doubt you mean to do well."
"I sartin do, Mas'r," said Tom.
"And you shall have good times," said Eva. "Papa is very
good to everybody, only he always will laugh at them."
"Papa is much obliged to you for his recommendation," said
St. Clare, laughing, as he turned on his heel and walked away.
Of Tom's New Master, and Various Other Matters
Since the thread of our humble hero's life has now become
interwoven with that of higher ones, it is necessary to give some
brief introduction to them.
Augustine St. Clare was the son of a wealthy planter of Louisiana.
The family had its origin in Canada. Of two brothers, very
similar in temperament and character, one had settled on a
flourishing farm in Vermont, and the other became an opulent planter
in Louisiana. The mother of Augustine was a Huguenot French lady,
whose family had emigrated to Louisiana during the days of its
early settlement. Augustine and another brother were the only
children of their parents. Having inherited from his mother an
exceeding delicacy of constitution, he was, at the instance of
physicians, during many years of his boyhood, sent to the care of
his uncle in Vermont, in order that his constitution might, be
strengthened by the cold of a more bracing climate.
In childhood, he was remarkable for an extreme and marked
sensitiveness of character, more akin to the softness of woman than
the ordinary hardness of his own sex. Time, however, overgrew this
softness with the rough bark of manhood, and but few knew how living
and fresh it still lay at the core. His talents were of the very
first order, although his mind showed a preference always for the
ideal and the aesthetic, and there was about him that repugnance
to the actual business of life which is the common result of this
balance of the faculties. Soon after the completion of his college
course, his whole nature was kindled into one intense and passionate
effervescence of romantic passion. His hour came,--the hour that
comes only once; his star rose in the horizon,--that star that rises
so often in vain, to be remembered only as a thing of dreams; and it
rose for him in vain. To drop the figure,--he saw and won the
love of a high-minded and beautiful woman, in one of the northern
states, and they were affianced. He returned south to make
arrangements for their marriage, when, most unexpectedly, his
letters were returned to him by mail, with a short note from her
guardian, stating to him that ere this reached him the lady would
be the wife of another. Stung to madness, he vainly hoped, as
many another has done, to fling the whole thing from his heart
by one desperate effort. Too proud to supplicate or seek
explanation, he threw himself at once into a whirl of fashionable
society, and in a fortnight from the time of the fatal letter was
the accepted lover of the reigning belle of the season; and as
soon as arrangements could be made, he became the husband of a
fine figure, a pair of bright dark eyes, and a hundred thousand
dollars; and, of course, everybody thought him a happy fellow.
The married couple were enjoying their honeymoon, and
entertaining a brilliant circle of friends in their splendid villa,
near Lake Pontchartrain, when, one day, a letter was brought to
him in _that_ well-remembered writing. It was handed to him while
he was in full tide of gay and successful conversation, in a whole
room-full of company. He turned deadly pale when he saw the writing,
but still preserved his composure, and finished the playful warfare
of badinage which he was at the moment carrying on with a lady
opposite; and, a short time after, was missed from the circle.
In his room, alone, he opened and read the letter, now worse
than idle and useless to be read. It was from her, giving
a long account of a persecution to which she had been exposed by
her guardian's family, to lead her to unite herself with their son:
and she related how, for a long time, his letters had ceased to
arrive; how she had written time and again, till she became weary
and doubtful; how her health had failed under her anxieties, and
how, at last, she had discovered the whole fraud which had been
practised on them both. The letter ended with expressions of hope
and thankfulness, and professions of undying affection, which were
more bitter than death to the unhappy young man. He wrote to her
"I have received yours,--but too late. I believed all I heard.
I was desperate. _I am married_, and all is over. Only forget,--it
is all that remains for either of us."
And thus ended the whole romance and ideal of life for
Augustine St. Clare. But the _real_ remained,--the _real_, like
the flat, bare, oozy tide-mud, when the blue sparkling wave, with
all its company of gliding boats and white-winged ships, its music
of oars and chiming waters, has gone down, and there it lies, flat,
slimy, bare,--exceedingly real.
Of course, in a novel, people's hearts break, and they die,
and that is the end of it; and in a story this is very convenient.
But in real life we do not die when all that makes life bright dies
to us. There is a most busy and important round of eating, drinking,
dressing, walking, visiting, buying, selling, talking, reading,
and all that makes up what is commonly called _living_, yet to be
gone through; and this yet remained to Augustine. Had his wife
been a whole woman, she might yet have done something--as woman
can--to mend the broken threads of life, and weave again into a
tissue of brightness. But Marie St. Clare could not even see that
they had been broken. As before stated, she consisted of a fine
figure, a pair of splendid eyes, and a hundred thousand dollars;
and none of these items were precisely the ones to minister to a
When Augustine, pale as death, was found lying on the sofa,
and pleaded sudden sick-headache as the cause of his distress, she
recommended to him to smell of hartshorn; and when the paleness
and headache came on week after week, she only said that she never
thought Mr. St. Clare was sickly; but it seems he was very liable
to sick-headaches, and that it was a very unfortunate thing for
her, because he didn't enjoy going into company with her, and it
seemed odd to go so much alone, when they were just married.
Augustine was glad in his heart that he had married so undiscerning
a woman; but as the glosses and civilities of the honeymoon wore
away, he discovered that a beautiful young woman, who has lived
all her life to be caressed and waited on, might prove quite a hard
mistress in domestic life. Marie never had possessed much capability
of affection, or much sensibility, and the little that she had,
had been merged into a most intense and unconscious selfishness;
a selfishness the more hopeless, from its quiet obtuseness, its
utter ignorance of any claims but her own. From her infancy, she
had been surrounded with servants, who lived only to study her
caprices; the idea that they had either feelings or rights had
never dawned upon her, even in distant perspective. Her father,
whose only child she had been, had never denied her anything that
lay within the compass of human possibility; and when she entered
life, beautiful, accomplished, and an heiress, she had, of course,
all the eligibles and non-eligibles of the other sex sighing at
her feet, and she had no doubt that Augustine was a most fortunate
man in having obtained her. It is a great mistake to suppose that
a woman with no heart will be an easy creditor in the exchange of
affection. There is not on earth a more merciless exactor of love
from others than a thoroughly selfish woman; and the more
unlovely she grows, the more jealously and scrupulously she exacts
love, to the uttermost farthing. When, therefore, St. Clare began
to drop off those gallantries and small attentions which flowed at
first through the habitude of courtship, he found his sultana no
way ready to resign her slave; there were abundance of tears,
poutings, and small tempests, there were discontents, pinings,
upbraidings. St. Clare was good-natured and self-indulgent, and
sought to buy off with presents and flatteries; and when Marie
became mother to a beautiful daughter, he really felt awakened,
for a time, to something like tenderness.
St. Clare's mother had been a woman of uncommon elevation
and purity of character, and he gave to his child his mother's
name, fondly fancying that she would prove a reproduction of her
image. The thing had been remarked with petulant jealousy by his
wife, and she regarded her husband's absorbing devotion to the
child with suspicion and dislike; all that was given to her seemed
so much taken from herself. From the time of the birth of this
child, her health gradually sunk. A life of constant inaction,
bodily and mental,--the friction of ceaseless ennui and discontent,
united to the ordinary weakness which attended the period of
maternity,--in course of a few years changed the blooming young
belle into a yellow faded, sickly woman, whose time was divided
among a variety of fanciful diseases, and who considered herself,
in every sense, the most ill-used and suffering person in existence.
There was no end of her various complaints; but her principal
forte appeared to lie in sick-headache, which sometimes would
confine her to her room three days out of six. As, of course, all
family arrangements fell into the hands of servants, St. Clare
found his menage anything but comfortable. His only daughter was
exceedingly delicate, and he feared that, with no one to look after
her and attend to her, her health and life might yet fall a sacrifice
to her mother's inefficiency. He had taken her with him on a tour
to Vermont, and had persuaded his cousin, Miss Ophelia St. Clare,
to return with him to his southern residence; and they are now
returning on this boat, where we have introduced them to our readers.
And now, while the distant domes and spires of New Orleans rise to
our view, there is yet time for an introduction to Miss Ophelia.
Whoever has travelled in the New England States will remember,
in some cool village, the large farmhouse, with its clean-swept
grassy yard, shaded by the dense and massive foliage of the
sugar maple; and remember the air of order and stillness, of
perpetuity and unchanging repose, that seemed to breathe over
the whole place. Nothing lost, or out of order; not a picket loose
in the fence, not a particle of litter in the turfy yard, with its
clumps of lilac bushes growing up under the windows. Within, he
will remember wide, clean rooms, where nothing ever seems to be
doing or going to be done, where everything is once and forever
rigidly in place, and where all household arrangements move with
the punctual exactness of the old clock in the corner. In the
family "keeping-room," as it is termed, he will remember the staid,
respectable old book-case, with its glass doors, where Rollin's
History, Milton's Paradise Lost, Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, and
Scott's Family Bible, stand side by side in decorous order, with
multitudes of other books, equally solemn and respectable. There
are no servants in the house, but the lady in the snowy cap, with
the spectacles, who sits sewing every afternoon among her daughters,
as if nothing ever had been done, or were to be done,--she and her
girls, in some long-forgotten fore part of the day, "_did up the work_,"
and for the rest of the time, probably, at all hours when you would
see them, it is "_done up_." The old kitchen floor never seems
stained or spotted; the tables, the chairs, and the various cooking
utensils, never seem deranged or disordered; though three and
sometimes four meals a day are got there, though the family washing
and ironing is there performed, and though pounds of butter and
cheese are in some silent and mysterious manner there brought
 _The Ancient History_, ten volumes (1730-1738), by the
French historian Charles Rollin (1661-1741).
 _Scott's Family Bible_ (1788-1792), edited with notes by
the English Biblical commentator, Thomas Scott (1747-1821).
On such a farm, in such a house and family, Miss Ophelia had
spent a quiet existence of some forty-five years, when her
cousin invited her to visit his southern mansion. The eldest of
a large family, she was still considered by her father and mother
as one of "the children," and the proposal that she should go to
_Orleans_ was a most momentous one to the family circle. The old
gray-headed father took down Morse's Atlas out of the book-case,
and looked out the exact latitude and longitude; and read Flint's
Travels in the South and West, to make up his own mind as to the
nature of the country.
 _The Cerographic Atlas of the United States_ (1842-1845),
by Sidney Edwards Morse (1794-1871), son of the geographer, Jedidiah
Morse, and brother of the painter-inventor, Samuel F. B. Morse.
 _Recollections of the Last Ten Years_ (1826) by Timothy Flint
(1780-1840), missionary of Presbyterianism to the trans-Allegheny West.
The good mother inquired, anxiously, "if Orleans wasn't an
awful wicked place," saying, "that it seemed to her most equal to
going to the Sandwich Islands, or anywhere among the heathen."
It was known at the minister's and at the doctor's, and at
Miss Peabody's milliner shop, that Ophelia St. Clare was "talking
about" going away down to Orleans with her cousin; and of course
the whole village could do no less than help this very important
process of _taking about_ the matter. The minister, who inclined
strongly to abolitionist views, was quite doubtful whether such a
step might not tend somewhat to encourage the southerners in
holding on to their slaves; while the doctor, who was a stanch
colonizationist, inclined to the opinion that Miss Ophelia ought
to go, to show the Orleans people that we don't think hardly of
them, after all. He was of opinion, in fact, that southern people
needed encouraging. When however, the fact that she had resolved
to go was fully before the public mind, she was solemnly invited
out to tea by all her friends and neighbors for the space of a
fortnight, and her prospects and plans duly canvassed and inquired into.
Miss Moseley, who came into the house to help to do the dress-making,
acquired daily accessions of importance from the developments
with regard to Miss Ophelia's wardrobe which she had been enabled
to make. It was credibly ascertained that Squire Sinclare, as his
name was commonly contracted in the neighborhood, had counted
out fifty dollars, and given them to Miss Ophelia, and told her
to buy any clothes she thought best; and that two new silk dresses,
and a bonnet, had been sent for from Boston. As to the propriety
of this extraordinary outlay, the public mind was divided,--some
affirming that it was well enough, all things considered, for once
in one's life, and others stoutly affirming that the money had
better have been sent to the missionaries; but all parties agreed
that there had been no such parasol seen in those parts as had been
sent on from New York, and that she had one silk dress that might
fairly be trusted to stand alone, whatever might be said of
its mistress. There were credible rumors, also, of a hemstitched
pocket-handkerchief; and report even went so far as to state that
Miss Ophelia had one pocket-handkerchief with lace all around it,--it
was even added that it was worked in the corners; but this latter
point was never satisfactorily ascertained, and remains, in fact,
unsettled to this day.
Miss Ophelia, as you now behold her, stands before you, in
a very shining brown linen travelling-dress, tall, square-formed,
and angular. Her face was thin, and rather sharp in its outlines;
the lips compressed, like those of a person who is in the habit of
making up her mind definitely on all subjects; while the keen, dark
eyes had a peculiarly searching, advised movement, and travelled over
everything, as if they were looking for something to take care of.
All her movements were sharp, decided, and energetic; and,
though she was never much of a talker, her words were remarkably
direct, and to the purpose, when she did speak.
In her habits, she was a living impersonation of order, method,
and exactness. In punctuality, she was as inevitable as a clock,
and as inexorable as a railroad engine; and she held in most
decided contempt and abomination anything of a contrary character.
The great sin of sins, in her eyes,--the sum of all
evils,--was expressed by one very common and important word in her
vocabulary--"shiftlessness." Her finale and ultimatum of contempt
consisted in a very emphatic pronunciation of the word "shiftless;"
and by this she characterized all modes of procedure which had not
a direct and inevitable relation to accomplishment of some purpose
then definitely had in mind. People who did nothing, or who did
not know exactly what they were going to do, or who did not take
the most direct way to accomplish what they set their hands to,
were objects of her entire contempt,--a contempt shown less frequently
by anything she said, than by a kind of stony grimness, as if she
scorned to say anything about the matter.
As to mental cultivation,--she had a clear, strong, active mind,
was well and thoroughly read in history and the older English
classics, and thought with great strength within certain
narrow limits. Her theological tenets were all made up,
labelled in most positive and distinct forms, and put by, like
the bundles in her patch trunk; there were just so many of them,
and there were never to be any more. So, also, were her ideas
with regard to most matters of practical life,--such as
housekeeping in all its branches, and the various political
relations of her native village. And, underlying all, deeper
than anything else, higher and broader, lay the strongest
principle of her being--conscientiousness. Nowhere is conscience
so dominant and all-absorbing as with New England women. It is
the granite formation, which lies deepest, and rises out, even to
the tops of the highest mountains.
Miss Ophelia was the absolute bond-slave of the "_ought_."
Once make her certain that the "path of duty," as she commonly
phrased it, lay in any given direction, and fire and water could
not keep her from it. She would walk straight down into a well,
or up to a loaded cannon's mouth, if she were only quite sure that
there the path lay. Her standard of right was so high, so
all-embracing, so minute, and making so few concessions to human
frailty, that, though she strove with heroic ardor to reach it,
she never actually did so, and of course was burdened with a constant
and often harassing sense of deficiency;--this gave a severe and
somewhat gloomy cast to her religious character.
But, how in the world can Miss Ophelia get along with Augustine
St. Clare,--gay, easy, unpunctual, unpractical, sceptical,--in
short,--walking with impudent and nonchalant freedom over every
one of her most cherished habits and opinions?
To tell the truth, then, Miss Ophelia loved him. When a boy,
it had been hers to teach him his catechism, mend his clothes,
comb his hair, and bring him up generally in the way he should go;
and her heart having a warm side to it, Augustine had, as he usually
did with most people, monopolized a large share of it for himself,
and therefore it was that he succeeded very easily in persuading
her that the "path of duty" lay in the direction of New Orleans,
and that she must go with him to take care of Eva, and keep
everything from going to wreck and ruin during the frequent
illnesses of his wife. The idea of a house without anybody to take
care of it went to her heart; then she loved the lovely little
girl, as few could help doing; and though she regarded Augustine
as very much of a heathen, yet she loved him, laughed at his jokes,
and forbore with his failings, to an extent which those who knew
him thought perfectly incredible. But what more or other is to be
known of Miss Ophelia our reader must discover by a personal
There she is, sitting now in her state-room, surrounded by
a mixed multitude of little and big carpet-bags, boxes, baskets,
each containing some separate responsibility which she is tying,
binding up, packing, or fastening, with a face of great earnestness.
"Now, Eva, have you kept count of your things? Of course
you haven't,--children never do: there's the spotted carpet-bag
and the little blue band-box with your best bonnet,--that's two;
then the India rubber satchel is three; and my tape and needle box
is four; and my band-box, five; and my collar-box; and that little
hair trunk, seven. What have you done with your sunshade? Give it
to me, and let me put a paper round it, and tie it to my umbrella
with my shade;--there, now."
"Why, aunty, we are only going up home;--what is the use?"
"To keep it nice, child; people must take care of their things,
if they ever mean to have anything; and now, Eva, is your
thimble put up?"
"Really, aunty, I don't know."
"Well, never mind; I'll look your box over,--thimble, wax, two
spools, scissors, knife, tape-needle; all right,--put it in here.
What did you ever do, child, when you were coming on with
only your papa. I should have thought you'd a lost everything
"Well, aunty, I did lose a great many; and then, when we stopped
anywhere, papa would buy some more of whatever it was."
"Mercy on us, child,--what a way!"
"It was a very easy way, aunty," said Eva.
"It's a dreadful shiftless one," said aunty.
"Why, aunty, what'll you do now?" said Eva; "that trunk is
too full to be shut down."
"It _must_ shut down," said aunty, with the air of a general,
as she squeezed the things in, and sprung upon the lid;--still a
little gap remained about the mouth of the trunk.
"Get up here, Eva!" said Miss Ophelia, courageously; "what
has been done can be done again. This trunk has _got to be_ shut
and locked--there are no two ways about it."
And the trunk, intimidated, doubtless, by this resolute
statement, gave in. The hasp snapped sharply in its hole, and Miss
Ophelia turned the key, and pocketed it in triumph.
"Now we're ready. Where's your papa? I think it time this baggage
was set out. Do look out, Eva, and see if you see your papa."
"O, yes, he's down the other end of the gentlemen's cabin,
eating an orange."
"He can't know how near we are coming," said aunty; "hadn't
you better run and speak to him?"
"Papa never is in a hurry about anything," said Eva, "and
we haven't come to the landing. Do step on the guards, aunty.
Look! there's our house, up that street!"
The boat now began, with heavy groans, like some vast, tired
monster, to prepare to push up among the multiplied steamers
at the levee. Eva joyously pointed out the various spires, domes,
and way-marks, by which she recognized her native city.
"Yes, yes, dear; very fine," said Miss Ophelia. "But mercy
on us! the boat has stopped! where is your father?"
And now ensued the usual turmoil of landing--waiters running
twenty ways at once--men tugging trunks, carpet-bags, boxes--women
anxiously calling to their children, and everybody crowding in a
dense mass to the plank towards the landing.
Miss Ophelia seated herself resolutely on the lately
vanquished trunk, and marshalling all her goods and chattels in
fine military order, seemed resolved to defend them to the last.
"Shall I take your trunk, ma'am?" "Shall I take your baggage?"
"Let me 'tend to your baggage, Missis?" "Shan't I carry out
these yer, Missis?" rained down upon her unheeded. She sat
with grim determination, upright as a darning-needle stuck in a
board, holding on her bundle of umbrella and parasols, and replying
with a determination that was enough to strike dismay even into a
hackman, wondering to Eva, in each interval, "what upon earth her
papa could be thinking of; he couldn't have fallen over, now,--but
something must have happened;"--and just as she had begun to work
herself into a real distress, he came up, with his usually careless
motion, and giving Eva a quarter of the orange he was eating, said,
"Well, Cousin Vermont, I suppose you are all ready."
"I've been ready, waiting, nearly an hour," said Miss
Ophelia; "I began to be really concerned about you.
"That's a clever fellow, now," said he. "Well, the carriage
is waiting, and the crowd are now off, so that one can walk out in
a decent and Christian manner, and not be pushed and shoved.
Here," he added to a driver who stood behind him, "take these things."
"I'll go and see to his putting them in," said Miss Ophelia.
"O, pshaw, cousin, what's the use?" said St. Clare.
"Well, at any rate, I'll carry this, and this, and this," said Miss
Ophelia, singling out three boxes and a small carpet-bag.
"My dear Miss Vermont, positively you mustn't come the Green
Mountains over us that way. You must adopt at least a piece
of a southern principle, and not walk out under all that load.
They'll take you for a waiting-maid; give them to this fellow;
he'll put them down as if they were eggs, now."
Miss Ophelia looked despairingly as her cousin took all her
treasures from her, and rejoiced to find herself once more in
the carriage with them, in a state of preservation.
"Where's Tom?" said Eva.
"O, he's on the outside, Pussy. I'm going to take Tom up to
mother for a peace-offering, to make up for that drunken fellow
that upset the carriage."
"O, Tom will make a splendid driver, I know," said Eva;
"he'll never get drunk."
The carriage stopped in front of an ancient mansion, built
in that odd mixture of Spanish and French style, of which there
are specimens in some parts of New Orleans. It was built in the
Moorish fashion,--a square building enclosing a court-yard, into
which the carriage drove through an arched gateway. The court, in
the inside, had evidently been arranged to gratify a picturesque
and voluptuous ideality. Wide galleries ran all around the four
sides, whose Moorish arches, slender pillars, and arabesque ornaments,
carried the mind back, as in a dream, to the reign of oriental
romance in Spain. In the middle of the court, a fountain threw
high its silvery water, falling in a never-ceasing spray into a
marble basin, fringed with a deep border of fragrant violets.
The water in the fountain, pellucid as crystal, was alive with myriads
of gold and silver fishes, twinkling and darting through it like
so many living jewels. Around the fountain ran a walk, paved with
a mosaic of pebbles, laid in various fanciful patterns; and this,
again, was surrounded by turf, smooth as green velvet, while a
carriage-drive enclosed the whole. Two large orange-trees, now
fragrant with blossoms, threw a delicious shade; and, ranged in a
circle round upon the turf, were marble vases of arabesque sculpture,
containing the choicest flowering plants of the tropics.
Huge pomegranate trees, with their glossy leaves and flame-colored
flowers, dark-leaved Arabian jessamines, with their silvery stars,
geraniums, luxuriant roses bending beneath their heavy abundance
of flowers, golden jessamines, lemon-scented verbenum, all united
their bloom and fragrance, while here and there a mystic old aloe,
with its strange, massive leaves, sat looking like some old enchanter,
sitting in weird grandeur among the more perishable bloom and
fragrance around it.
The galleries that surrounded the court were festooned with a
curtain of some kind of Moorish stuff, and could be drawn down
at pleasure, to exclude the beams of the sun. On the whole, the
appearance of the place was luxurious and romantic.
As the carriage drove in, Eva seemed like a bird ready to
burst from a cage, with the wild eagerness of her delight.
"O, isn't it beautiful, lovely! my own dear, darling home!"
she said to Miss Ophelia. "Isn't it beautiful?"
"'T is a pretty place," said Miss Ophelia, as she alighted;
"though it looks rather old and heathenish to me."
Tom got down from the carriage, and looked about with an air
of calm, still enjoyment. The negro, it must be remembered,
is an exotic of the most gorgeous and superb countries of the world,
and he has, deep in his heart, a passion for all that is splendid,
rich, and fanciful; a passion which, rudely indulged by an untrained
taste, draws on them the ridicule of the colder and more correct
St. Clare, who was in heart a poetical voluptuary, smiled as
Miss Ophelia made her remark on his premises, and, turning
to Tom, who was standing looking round, his beaming black face
perfectly radiant with admiration, he said,
"Tom, my boy, this seems to suit you."
"Yes, Mas'r, it looks about the right thing," said Tom.
All this passed in a moment, while trunks were being hustled
off, hackman paid, and while a crowd, of all ages and sizes,--men,
women, and children,--came running through the galleries, both
above and below to see Mas'r come in. Foremost among them was a
highly-dressed young mulatto man, evidently a very _distingue_