Part 5 out of 12
personage, attired in the ultra extreme of the mode, and gracefully
waving a scented cambric handkerchief in his hand.
This personage had been exerting himself, with great alacrity,
in driving all the flock of domestics to the other end of
"Back! all of you. I am ashamed of you," he said, in a tone
of authority. "Would you intrude on Master's domestic relations,
in the first hour of his return?"
All looked abashed at this elegant speech, delivered with quite an
air, and stood huddled together at a respectful distance, except
two stout porters, who came up and began conveying away the baggage.
Owing to Mr. Adolph's systematic arrangements, when St. Clare
turned round from paying the hackman, there was nobody in
view but Mr. Adolph himself, conspicuous in satin vest, gold
guard-chain, and white pants, and bowing with inexpressible grace
"Ah, Adolph, is it you?" said his master, offering his hand
to him; "how are you, boy?" while Adolph poured forth, with great
fluency, an extemporary speech, which he had been preparing, with
great care, for a fortnight before.
"Well, well," said St. Clare, passing on, with his usual air of
negligent drollery, "that's very well got up, Adolph. See that
the baggage is well bestowed. I'll come to the people in a minute;"
and, so saying, he led Miss Ophelia to a large parlor that opened
on the verandah.
While this had been passing, Eva had flown like a bird, through
the porch and parlor, to a little boudoir opening likewise
on the verandah.
A tall, dark-eyed, sallow woman, half rose from a couch on
which she was reclining.
"Mamma!" said Eva, in a sort of a rapture, throwing herself
on her neck, and embracing her over and over again.
"That'll do,--take care, child,--don't, you make my head ache,"
said the mother, after she had languidly kissed her.
St. Clare came in, embraced his wife in true, orthodox, husbandly
fashion, and then presented to her his cousin. Marie lifted
her large eyes on her cousin with an air of some curiosity,
and received her with languid politeness. A crowd of servants now
pressed to the entry door, and among them a middle-aged mulatto
woman, of very respectable appearance, stood foremost, in a tremor
of expectation and joy, at the door.
"O, there's Mammy!" said Eva, as she flew across the room;
and, throwing herself into her arms, she kissed her repeatedly.
This woman did not tell her that she made her head ache, but,
on the contrary, she hugged her, and laughed, and cried, till
her sanity was a thing to be doubted of; and when released from
her, Eva flew from one to another, shaking hands and kissing, in
a way that Miss Ophelia afterwards declared fairly turned her stomach.
"Well!" said Miss Ophelia, "you southern children can do
something that _I_ couldn't."
"What, now, pray?" said St. Clare.
"Well, I want to be kind to everybody, and I wouldn't have
anything hurt; but as to kissing--"
"Niggers," said St. Clare, "that you're not up to,--hey?"
"Yes, that's it. How can she?"
St. Clare laughed, as he went into the passage. "Halloa, here,
what's to pay out here? Here, you all--Mammy, Jimmy, Polly,
Sukey--glad to see Mas'r?" he said, as he went shaking hands from
one to another. "Look out for the babies!" he added, as he stumbled
over a sooty little urchin, who was crawling upon all fours. "If I
step upon anybody, let 'em mention it."
There was an abundance of laughing and blessing Mas'r, as
St. Clare distributed small pieces of change among them.
"Come, now, take yourselves off, like good boys and girls,"
he said; and the whole assemblage, dark and light, disappeared
through a door into a large verandah, followed by Eva, who carried
a large satchel, which she had been filling with apples, nuts,
candy, ribbons, laces, and toys of every description, during her
whole homeward journey.
As St. Clare turned to go back his eye fell upon Tom, who was
standing uneasily, shifting from one foot to the other, while
Adolph stood negligently leaning against the banisters, examining
Tom through an opera-glass, with an air that would have done credit
to any dandy living.
"Puh! you puppy," said his master, striking down the opera glass;
"is that the way you treat your company? Seems to me, Dolph,"
he added, laying his finger on the elegant figured satin vest that
Adolph was sporting, "seems to me that's _my_ vest."
"O! Master, this vest all stained with wine; of course, a
gentleman in Master's standing never wears a vest like this.
I understood I was to take it. It does for a poor nigger-fellow,
And Adolph tossed his head, and passed his fingers through
his scented hair, with a grace.
"So, that's it, is it?" said St. Clare, carelessly. "Well, here,
I'm going to show this Tom to his mistress, and then you take him
to the kitchen; and mind you don't put on any of your airs to him.
He's worth two such puppies as you."
"Master always will have his joke," said Adolph, laughing.
"I'm delighted to see Master in such spirits."
"Here, Tom," said St. Clare, beckoning.
Tom entered the room. He looked wistfully on the velvet carpets,
and the before unimagined splendors of mirrors, pictures, statues,
and curtains, and, like the Queen of Sheba before Solomon, there
was no more spirit in him. He looked afraid even to set his
"See here, Marie," said St. Clare to his wife, "I've bought
you a coachman, at last, to order. I tell you, he's a regular
hearse for blackness and sobriety, and will drive you like a funeral,
if you want. Open your eyes, now, and look at him. Now, don't
say I never think about you when I'm gone."
Marie opened her eyes, and fixed them on Tom, without rising.
"I know he'll get drunk," she said.
"No, he's warranted a pious and sober article."
"Well, I hope he may turn out well," said the lady; "it's
more than I expect, though."
"Dolph," said St. Clare, "show Tom down stairs; and, mind
yourself," he added; "remember what I told you."
Adolph tripped gracefully forward, and Tom, with lumbering
tread, went after.
"He's a perfect behemoth!" said Marie.
"Come, now, Marie," said St. Clare, seating himself on a stool
beside her sofa, "be gracious, and say something pretty to
"You've been gone a fortnight beyond the time," said the
"Well, you know I wrote you the reason."
"Such a short, cold letter!" said the lady.
"Dear me! the mail was just going, and it had to be that
"That's just the way, always," said the lady; "always something
to make your journeys long, and letters short."
"See here, now," he added, drawing an elegant velvet case out
of his pocket, and opening it, "here's a present I got for you
in New York."
It was a daguerreotype, clear and soft as an engraving,
representing Eva and her father sitting hand in hand.
Marie looked at it with a dissatisfied air.
"What made you sit in such an awkward position?" she said.
"Well, the position may be a matter of opinion; but what
do you think of the likeness?"
"If you don't think anything of my opinion in one case, I
suppose you wouldn't in another," said the lady, shutting the
"Hang the woman!" said St. Clare, mentally; but aloud he added,
"Come, now, Marie, what do you think of the likeness? Don't be
"It's very inconsiderate of you, St. Clare," said the lady,
"to insist on my talking and looking at things. You know I've been
lying all day with the sick-headache; and there's been such a tumult
made ever since you came, I'm half dead."
"You're subject to the sick-headache, ma'am!" said Miss
Ophelia, suddenly rising from the depths of the large arm-chair,
where she had sat quietly, taking an inventory of the furniture,
and calculating its expense.
"Yes, I'm a perfect martyr to it," said the lady.
"Juniper-berry tea is good for sick-headache," said Miss
Ophelia; "at least, Auguste, Deacon Abraham Perry's wife, used to
say so; and she was a great nurse."
"I'll have the first juniper-berries that get ripe in our
garden by the lake brought in for that special purpose," said St.
Clare, gravely pulling the bell as he did so; "meanwhile, cousin,
you must be wanting to retire to your apartment, and refresh yourself
a little, after your journey. Dolph," he added, "tell Mammy to
come here." The decent mulatto woman whom Eva had caressed so
rapturously soon entered; she was dressed neatly, with a high red
and yellow turban on her head, the recent gift of Eva, and which
the child had been arranging on her head. "Mammy," said St. Clare,
"I put this lady under your care; she is tired, and wants rest;
take her to her chamber, and be sure she is made comfortable," and
Miss Ophelia disappeared in the rear of Mammy.
Tom's Mistress and Her Opinions
"And now, Marie," said St. Clare, "your golden days are dawning.
Here is our practical, business-like New England cousin, who will
take the whole budget of cares off your shoulders, and give you
time to refresh yourself, and grow young and handsome. The ceremony
of delivering the keys had better come off forthwith."
This remark was made at the breakfast-table, a few mornings
after Miss Ophelia had arrived.
"I'm sure she's welcome," said Marie, leaning her head
languidly on her hand. "I think she'll find one thing, if she
does, and that is, that it's we mistresses that are the slaves,
"O, certainly, she will discover that, and a world of
wholesome truths besides, no doubt," said St. Clare.
"Talk about our keeping slaves, as if we did it for our
_convenience_," said Marie. "I'm sure, if we consulted _that_, we
might let them all go at once."
Evangeline fixed her large, serious eyes on her mother's face,
with an earnest and perplexed expression, and said, simply,
"What do you keep them for, mamma?"
"I don't know, I'm sure, except for a plague; they are the
plague of my life. I believe that more of my ill health is caused
by them than by any one thing; and ours, I know, are the very
worst that ever anybody was plagued with."
"O, come, Marie, you've got the blues, this morning," said
St. Clare. "You know 't isn't so. There's Mammy, the best creature
living,--what could you do without her?"
"Mammy is the best I ever knew," said Marie; "and yet Mammy, now,
is selfish--dreadfully selfish; it's the fault of the whole race."
"Selfishness _is_ a dreadful fault," said St. Clare, gravely.
"Well, now, there's Mammy," said Marie, "I think it's selfish
of her to sleep so sound nights; she knows I need little
attentions almost every hour, when my worst turns are on, and yet
she's so hard to wake. I absolutely am worse, this very morning,
for the efforts I had to make to wake her last night."
"Hasn't she sat up with you a good many nights, lately,
mamma?" said Eva.
"How should you know that?" said Marie, sharply; "she's
been complaining, I suppose."
"She didn't complain; she only told me what bad nights
you'd had,--so many in succession."
"Why don't you let Jane or Rosa take her place, a night or
two," said St. Clare, "and let her rest?"
"How can you propose it?" said Marie. "St. Clare, you really
are inconsiderate. So nervous as I am, the least breath disturbs
me; and a strange hand about me would drive me absolutely frantic.
If Mammy felt the interest in me she ought to, she'd wake
easier,--of course, she would. I've heard of people who had such
devoted servants, but it never was _my_ luck;" and Marie sighed.
Miss Ophelia had listened to this conversation with an air
of shrewd, observant gravity; and she still kept her lips tightly
compressed, as if determined fully to ascertain her longitude and
position, before she committed herself.
"Now, Mammy has a _sort_ of goodness," said Marie; "she's
smooth and respectful, but she's selfish at heart. Now, she never
will be done fidgeting and worrying about that husband of hers.
You see, when I was married and came to live here, of course, I
had to bring her with me, and her husband my father couldn't spare.
He was a blacksmith, and, of course, very necessary; and I thought
and said, at the time, that Mammy and he had better give each other
up, as it wasn't likely to be convenient for them ever to live
together again. I wish, now, I'd insisted on it, and married Mammy
to somebody else; but I was foolish and indulgent, and didn't want
to insist. I told Mammy, at the time, that she mustn't ever expect
to see him more than once or twice in her life again, for the air
of father's place doesn't agree with my health, and I can't go
there; and I advised her to take up with somebody else; but no--
she wouldn't. Mammy has a kind of obstinacy about her, in spots,
that everybody don't see as I do."
"Has she children?" said Miss Ophelia.
"Yes; she has two."
"I suppose she feels the separation from them?"
"Well, of course, I couldn't bring them. They were little
dirty things--I couldn't have them about; and, besides, they took
up too much of her time; but I believe that Mammy has always kept
up a sort of sulkiness about this. She won't marry anybody else;
and I do believe, now, though she knows how necessary she is to
me, and how feeble my health is, she would go back to her husband
tomorrow, if she only could. I _do_, indeed," said Marie; "they
are just so selfish, now, the best of them."
"It's distressing to reflect upon," said St. Clare, dryly.
Miss Ophelia looked keenly at him, and saw the flush of
mortification and repressed vexation, and the sarcastic curl of
the lip, as he spoke.
"Now, Mammy has always been a pet with me," said Marie.
"I wish some of your northern servants could look at her
closets of dresses,--silks and muslins, and one real linen
cambric, she has hanging there. I've worked sometimes whole
afternoons, trimming her caps, and getting her ready to go to
a party. As to abuse, she don't know what it is. She never was
whipped more than once or twice in her whole life. She has her
strong coffee or her tea every day, with white sugar in it.
It's abominable, to be sure; but St. Clare will have high life
below-stairs, and they every one of them live just as they please.
The fact is, our servants are over-indulged. I suppose it is
partly our fault that they are selfish, and act like spoiled
children; but I've talked to St. Clare till I am tired."
"And I, too," said St. Clare, taking up the morning paper.
Eva, the beautiful Eva, had stood listening to her mother,
with that expression of deep and mystic earnestness which was
peculiar to her. She walked softly round to her mother's chair,
and put her arms round her neck.
"Well, Eva, what now?" said Marie.
"Mamma, couldn't I take care of you one night--just one?
I know I shouldn't make you nervous, and I shouldn't sleep.
I often lie awake nights, thinking--"
"O, nonsense, child--nonsense!" said Marie; "you are such
a strange child!"
"But may I, mamma? I think," she said, timidly, "that Mammy
isn't well. She told me her head ached all the time, lately."
"O, that's just one of Mammy's fidgets! Mammy is just like all
the rest of them--makes such a fuss about every little headache
or finger-ache; it'll never do to encourage it--never! I'm principled
about this matter," said she, turning to Miss Ophelia; "you'll find
the necessity of it. If you encourage servants in giving way to
every little disagreeable feeling, and complaining of every little
ailment, you'll have your hands full. I never complain myself--nobody
knows what I endure. I feel it a duty to bear it quietly, and I do."
Miss Ophelia's round eyes expressed an undisguised amazement at
this peroration, which struck St. Clare as so supremely ludicrous,
that he burst into a loud laugh.
"St. Clare always laughs when I make the least allusion to my
ill health," said Marie, with the voice of a suffering martyr.
"I only hope the day won't come when he'll remember it!" and Marie
put her handkerchief to her eyes.
Of course, there was rather a foolish silence. Finally, St. Clare
got up, looked at his watch, and said he had an engagement
down street. Eva tripped away after him, and Miss Ophelia and
Marie remained at the table alone.
"Now, that's just like St. Clare!" said the latter, withdrawing
her handkerchief with somewhat of a spirited flourish when the
criminal to be affected by it was no longer in sight. "He never
realizes, never can, never will, what I suffer, and have, for years.
If I was one of the complaining sort, or ever made any fuss about
my ailments, there would be some reason for it. Men do get tired,
naturally, of a complaining wife. But I've kept things to myself,
and borne, and borne, till St. Clare has got in the way of thinking
I can bear anything."
Miss Ophelia did not exactly know what she was expected to
answer to this.
While she was thinking what to say, Marie gradually wiped away
her tears, and smoothed her plumage in a general sort of way,
as a dove might be supposed to make toilet after a shower, and
began a housewifely chat with Miss Ophelia, concerning cupboards,
closets, linen-presses, store-rooms, and other matters, of which
the latter was, by common understanding, to assume the direction,
--giving her so many cautious directions and charges, that a head
less systematic and business-like than Miss Ophelia's would have
been utterly dizzied and confounded.
"And now," said Marie, "I believe I've told you everything;
so that, when my next sick turn comes on, you'll be able to go
forward entirely, without consulting me;--only about Eva,--she
"She seems to be a good child, very," said Miss Ophelia;
"I never saw a better child."
"Eva's peculiar," said her mother, "very. There are things
about her so singular; she isn't like me, now, a particle;" and
Marie sighed, as if this was a truly melancholy consideration.
Miss Ophelia in her own heart said, "I hope she isn't,"
but had prudence enough to keep it down.
"Eva always was disposed to be with servants; and I think
that well enough with some children. Now, I always played with
father's little negroes--it never did me any harm. But Eva somehow
always seems to put herself on an equality with every creature that
comes near her. It's a strange thing about the child. I never
have been able to break her of it. St. Clare, I believe, encourages
her in it. The fact is, St. Clare indulges every creature under
this roof but his own wife."
Again Miss Ophelia sat in blank silence.
"Now, there's no way with servants," said Marie, "but to _put
them down_, and keep them down. It was always natural to me,
from a child. Eva is enough to spoil a whole house-full.
What she will do when she comes to keep house herself, I'm sure
I don't know. I hold to being _kind_ to servants--I always am;
but you must make 'em _know their place_. Eva never does; there's
no getting into the child's head the first beginning of an idea what
a servant's place is! You heard her offering to take care of me
nights, to let Mammy sleep! That's just a specimen of the way the
child would be doing all the time, if she was left to herself."
"Why," said Miss Ophelia, bluntly, "I suppose you think your
servants are human creatures, and ought to have some rest
when they are tired."
"Certainly, of course. I'm very particular in letting them
have everything that comes convenient,--anything that doesn't put
one at all out of the way, you know. Mammy can make up her sleep,
some time or other; there's no difficulty about that. She's the
sleepiest concern that ever I saw; sewing, standing, or sitting,
that creature will go to sleep, and sleep anywhere and everywhere.
No danger but Mammy gets sleep enough. But this treating servants
as if they were exotic flowers, or china vases, is really ridiculous,"
said Marie, as she plunged languidly into the depths of a voluminous
and pillowy lounge, and drew towards her an elegant cut-glass
"You see," she continued, in a faint and lady-like voice,
like the last dying breath of an Arabian jessamine, or something
equally ethereal, "you see, Cousin Ophelia, I don't often speak
of myself. It isn't my _habit_; 't isn't agreeable to me. In fact,
I haven't strength to do it. But there are points where St. Clare
and I differ. St. Clare never understood me, never appreciated me.
I think it lies at the root of all my ill health. St. Clare
means well, I am bound to believe; but men are constitutionally
selfish and inconsiderate to woman. That, at least, is my impression."
Miss Ophelia, who had not a small share of the genuine New
England caution, and a very particular horror of being drawn into
family difficulties, now began to foresee something of this kind
impending; so, composing her face into a grim neutrality, and
drawing out of her pocket about a yard and a quarter of stocking,
which she kept as a specific against what Dr. Watts asserts to be
a personal habit of Satan when people have idle hands, she proceeded
to knit most energetically, shutting her lips together in a way that
said, as plain as words could, "You needn't try to make me speak.
I don't want anything to do with your affairs,"--in fact, she
looked about as sympathizing as a stone lion. But Marie didn't
care for that. She had got somebody to talk to, and she felt it
her duty to talk, and that was enough; and reinforcing herself by
smelling again at her vinaigrette, she went on.
"You see, I brought my own property and servants into the
connection, when I married St. Clare, and I am legally entitled to
manage them my own way. St. Clare had his fortune and his servants,
and I'm well enough content he should manage them his way; but St.
Clare will be interfering. He has wild, extravagant notions about
things, particularly about the treatment of servants. He really
does act as if he set his servants before me, and before himself,
too; for he lets them make him all sorts of trouble, and never
lifts a finger. Now, about some things, St. Clare is really
frightful--he frightens me--good-natured as he looks, in general.
Now, he has set down his foot that, come what will, there shall
not be a blow struck in this house, except what he or I strike;
and he does it in a way that I really dare not cross him.
Well, you may see what that leads to; for St. Clare wouldn't
raise his hand, if every one of them walked over him, and I--you
see how cruel it would be to require me to make the exertion.
Now, you know these servants are nothing but grown-up children."
"I don't know anything about it, and I thank the Lord that
I don't!" said Miss Ophelia, shortly.
"Well, but you will have to know something, and know it to
your cost, if you stay here. You don't know what a provoking,
stupid, careless, unreasonable, childish, ungrateful set of wretches
Marie seemed wonderfully supported, always, when she got upon
this topic; and she now opened her eyes, and seemed quite to
forget her languor.
"You don't know, and you can't, the daily, hourly trials
that beset a housekeeper from them, everywhere and every way.
But it's no use to complain to St. Clare. He talks the
strangest stuff. He says we have made them what they are,
and ought to bear with them. He says their faults are all
owing to us, and that it would be cruel to make the fault and
punish it too. He says we shouldn't do any better, in their
place; just as if one could reason from them to us, you know."
"Don't you believe that the Lord made them of one blood
with us?" said Miss Ophelia, shortly.
"No, indeed not I! A pretty story, truly! They are a degraded race."
"Don't you think they've got immortal souls?" said Miss
Ophelia, with increasing indignation.
"O, well," said Marie, yawning, "that, of course--nobody
doubts that. But as to putting them on any sort of equality with
us, you know, as if we could be compared, why, it's impossible!
Now, St. Clare really has talked to me as if keeping Mammy from
her husband was like keeping me from mine. There's no comparing
in this way. Mammy couldn't have the feelings that I should.
It's a different thing altogether,-- of course, it is,--and yet St.
Clare pretends not to see it. And just as if Mammy could love her
little dirty babies as I love Eva! Yet St. Clare once really and
soberly tried to persuade me that it was my duty, with my weak
health, and all I suffer, to let Mammy go back, and take somebody
else in her place. That was a little too much even for _me_ to bear.
I don't often show my feelings, I make it a principle to endure
everything in silence; it's a wife's hard lot, and I bear it.
But I did break out, that time; so that he has never alluded
to the subject since. But I know by his looks, and little things
that he says, that he thinks so as much as ever; and it's so trying,
Miss Ophelia looked very much as if she was afraid she should
say something; but she rattled away with her needles in a way
that had volumes of meaning in it, if Marie could only have
"So, you just see," she continued, "what you've got to manage.
A household without any rule; where servants have it all their
own way, do what they please, and have what they please, except
so far as I, with my feeble health, have kept up government.
I keep my cowhide about, and sometimes I do lay it on; but the
exertion is always too much for me. If St. Clare would only have
this thing done as others do--"
"And how's that?"
"Why, send them to the calaboose, or some of the other places
to be flogged. That's the only way. If I wasn't such a poor,
feeble piece, I believe I should manage with twice the energy
that St. Clare does."
"And how does St. Clare contrive to manage?" said Miss Ophelia.
"You say he never strikes a blow."
"Well, men have a more commanding way, you know; it is easier
for them; besides, if you ever looked full in his eye, it's
peculiar,--that eye,--and if he speaks decidedly, there's a kind
of flash. I'm afraid of it, myself; and the servants know they
must mind. I couldn't do as much by a regular storm and scolding
as St. Clare can by one turn of his eye, if once he is in earnest.
O, there's no trouble about St. Clare; that's the reason he's no
more feeling for me. But you'll find, when you come to manage,
that there's no getting along without severity,--they are so bad,
so deceitful, so lazy".
"The old tune," said St. Clare, sauntering in. "What an awful
account these wicked creatures will have to settle, at last,
especially for being lazy! You see, cousin," said he, as he stretched
himself at full length on a lounge opposite to Marie, "it's wholly
inexcusable in them, in the light of the example that Marie and I
set them,--this laziness."
"Come, now, St. Clare, you are too bad!" said Marie.
"Am I, now? Why, I thought I was talking good, quite
remarkably for me. I try to enforce your remarks, Marie, always."
"You know you meant no such thing, St. Clare," said Marie.
"O, I must have been mistaken, then. Thank you, my dear,
for setting me right."
"You do really try to be provoking," said Marie.
"O, come, Marie, the day is growing warm, and I have just
had a long quarrel with Dolph, which has fatigued me excessively;
so, pray be agreeable, now, and let a fellow repose in the light
of your smile."
"What's the matter about Dolph?" said Marie. "That fellow's
impudence has been growing to a point that is perfectly intolerable
to me. I only wish I had the undisputed management of him a while.
I'd bring him down!"
"What you say, my dear, is marked with your usual acuteness
and good sense," said St. Clare. "As to Dolph, the case is this:
that he has so long been engaged in imitating my graces and
perfections, that he has, at last, really mistaken himself for his
master; and I have been obliged to give him a little insight into
"How?" said Marie.
"Why, I was obliged to let him understand explicitly that I
preferred to keep _some_ of my clothes for my own personal wearing;
also, I put his magnificence upon an allowance of cologne-water,
and actually was so cruel as to restrict him to one dozen of my
cambric handkerchiefs. Dolph was particularly huffy about it, and
I had to talk to him like a father, to bring him round."
"O! St. Clare, when will you learn how to treat your servants?
It's abominable, the way you indulge them!" said Marie.
"Why, after all, what's the harm of the poor dog's wanting
to be like his master; and if I haven't brought him up any better
than to find his chief good in cologne and cambric handkerchiefs,
why shouldn't I give them to him?"
"And why haven't you brought him up better?" said Miss
Ophelia, with blunt determination.
"Too much trouble,--laziness, cousin, laziness,--which ruins
more souls than you can shake a stick at. If it weren't for
laziness, I should have been a perfect angel, myself. I'm inclined
to think that laziness is what your old Dr. Botherem, up in Vermont,
used to call the `essence of moral evil.' It's an awful
"I think you slaveholders have an awful responsibility upon
you," said Miss Ophelia. "I wouldn't have it, for a thousand
worlds. You ought to educate your slaves, and treat them like
reasonable creatures,--like immortal creatures, that you've got to
stand before the bar of God with. That's my mind," said the good
lady, breaking suddenly out with a tide of zeal that had been
gaining strength in her mind all the morning.
"O! come, come," said St. Clare, getting up quickly; "what
do you know about us?" And he sat down to the piano, and rattled
a lively piece of music. St. Clare had a decided genius for music.
His touch was brilliant and firm, and his fingers flew over the
keys with a rapid and bird-like motion, airy, and yet decided.
He played piece after piece, like a man who is trying to play himself
into a good humor. After pushing the music aside, he rose up, and
said, gayly, "Well, now, cousin, you've given us a good talk and
done your duty; on the whole, I think the better of you for it.
I make no manner of doubt that you threw a very diamond of truth
at me, though you see it hit me so directly in the face that it
wasn't exactly appreciated, at first."
"For my part, I don't see any use in such sort of talk,"
said Marie. "I'm sure, if anybody does more for servants than we
do, I'd like to know who; and it don't do 'em a bit good,--not a
particle,--they get worse and worse. As to talking to them, or
anything like that, I'm sure I have talked till I was tired and
hoarse, telling them their duty, and all that; and I'm sure they
can go to church when they like, though they don't understand a
word of the sermon, more than so many pigs,--so it isn't of any
great use for them to go, as I see; but they do go, and so they
have every chance; but, as I said before, they are a degraded race,
and always will be, and there isn't any help for them; you can't
make anything of them, if you try. You see, Cousin Ophelia,
I've tried, and you haven't; I was born and bred among them, and
Miss Ophelia thought she had said enough, and therefore
sat silent. St. Clare whistled a tune.
"St. Clare, I wish you wouldn't whistle," said Marie; "it
makes my head worse."
"I won't," said St. Clare. "Is there anything else you
wouldn't wish me to do?"
"I wish you _would_ have some kind of sympathy for my
trials; you never have any feeling for me."
"My dear accusing angel!" said St. Clare.
"It's provoking to be talked to in that way."
"Then, how will you be talked to? I'll talk to order,--any
way you'll mention,--only to give satisfaction."
A gay laugh from the court rang through the silken curtains
of the verandah. St. Clare stepped out, and lifting up the curtain,
"What is it?" said Miss Ophelia, coming to the railing.
There sat Tom, on a little mossy seat in the court, every one
of his button-holes stuck full of cape jessamines, and Eva,
gayly laughing, was hanging a wreath of roses round his neck; and
then she sat down on his knee, like a chip-sparrow, still laughing.
"O, Tom, you look so funny!"
Tom had a sober, benevolent smile, and seemed, in his quiet way,
to be enjoying the fun quite as much as his little mistress.
He lifted his eyes, when he saw his master, with a half-deprecating,
"How can you let her?" said Miss Ophelia.
"Why not?" said St. Clare.
"Why, I don't know, it seems so dreadful!"
"You would think no harm in a child's caressing a large dog,
even if he was black; but a creature that can think, and
reason, and feel, and is immortal, you shudder at; confess it,
cousin. I know the feeling among some of you northerners well
enough. Not that there is a particle of virtue in our not having
it; but custom with us does what Christianity ought to do,--obliterates
the feeling of personal prejudice. I have often noticed, in my
travels north, how much stronger this was with you than with us.
You loathe them as you would a snake or a toad, yet you are indignant
at their wrongs. You would not have them abused; but you don't
want to have anything to do with them yourselves. You would send
them to Africa, out of your sight and smell, and then send a
missionary or two to do up all the self-denial of elevating them
compendiously. Isn't that it?"
"Well, cousin," said Miss Ophelia, thoughtfully, "there
may be some truth in this."
"What would the poor and lowly do, without children?" said
St. Clare, leaning on the railing, and watching Eva, as she tripped
off, leading Tom with her. "Your little child is your only true
democrat. Tom, now is a hero to Eva; his stories are wonders in
her eyes, his songs and Methodist hymns are better than an opera,
and the traps and little bits of trash in his pocket a mine of
jewels, and he the most wonderful Tom that ever wore a black skin.
This is one of the roses of Eden that the Lord has dropped down
expressly for the poor and lowly, who get few enough of any other kind."
"It's strange, cousin," said Miss Ophelia, "one might almost
think you were a _professor_, to hear you talk."
"A professor?" said St. Clare.
"Yes; a professor of religion."
"Not at all; not a professor, as your town-folks have it;
and, what is worse, I'm afraid, not a _practiser_, either."
"What makes you talk so, then?"
"Nothing is easier than talking," said St. Clare. "I believe
Shakespeare makes somebody say, `I could sooner show twenty
what were good to be done, than be one of the twenty to follow my
own showing.' Nothing like division of labor. My forte lies in
talking, and yours, cousin, lies in doing."
 _The Merchant of Venice_, Act 1, scene 2, lines 17-18.
In Tom's external situation, at this time, there was, as the
world says, nothing to complain of Little Eva's fancy for
him--the instinctive gratitude and loveliness of a noble nature--had
led her to petition her father that he might be her especial
attendant, whenever she needed the escort of a servant, in her
walks or rides; and Tom had general orders to let everything else
go, and attend to Miss Eva whenever she wanted him,--orders which
our readers may fancy were far from disagreeable to him. He was
kept well dressed, for St. Clare was fastidiously particular on
this point. His stable services were merely a sinecure, and
consisted simply in a daily care and inspection, and directing an
under-servant in his duties; for Marie St. Clare declared that she
could not have any smell of the horses about him when he came near
her, and that he must positively not be put to any service that
would make him unpleasant to her, as her nervous system was entirely
inadequate to any trial of that nature; one snuff of anything
disagreeable being, according to her account, quite sufficient to
close the scene, and put an end to all her earthly trials at once.
Tom, therefore, in his well-brushed broadcloth suit, smooth beaver,
glossy boots, faultless wristbands and collar, with his grave,
good-natured black face, looked respectable enough to be a
Bishop of Carthage, as men of his color were, in other ages.
Then, too, he was in a beautiful place, a consideration to
which his sensitive race was never indifferent; and he did enjoy
with a quiet joy the birds, the flowers, the fountains, the perfume,
and light and beauty of the court, the silken hangings, and pictures,
and lustres, and statuettes, and gilding, that made the parlors
within a kind of Aladdin's palace to him.
If ever Africa shall show an elevated and cultivated race,--and
come it must, some time, her turn to figure in the great drama
of human improvement.--life will awake there with a gorgeousness
and splendor of which our cold western tribes faintly have conceived.
In that far-off mystic land of gold, and gems, and spices, and
waving palms, and wondrous flowers, and miraculous fertility, will
awake new forms of art, new styles of splendor; and the negro race,
no longer despised and trodden down, will, perhaps, show forth some
of the latest and most magnificent revelations of human life.
Certainly they will, in their gentleness, their lowly docility of
heart, their aptitude to repose on a superior mind and rest on a
higher power, their childlike simplicity of affection, and facility
of forgiveness. In all these they will exhibit the highest form
of the peculiarly _Christian life_, and, perhaps, as God chasteneth
whom he loveth, he hath chosen poor Africa in the furnace of
affliction, to make her the highest and noblest in that kingdom
which he will set up, when every other kingdom has been tried, and
failed; for the first shall be last, and the last first.
Was this what Marie St. Clare was thinking of, as she stood,
gorgeously dressed, on the verandah, on Sunday morning, clasping
a diamond bracelet on her slender wrist? Most likely it was.
Or, if it wasn't that, it was something else; for Marie patronized
good things, and she was going now, in full force,--diamonds, silk,
and lace, and jewels, and all,--to a fashionable church, to be
very religious. Marie always made a point to be very pious
on Sundays. There she stood, so slender, so elegant, so airy and
undulating in all her motions, her lace scarf enveloping her like
a mist. She looked a graceful creature, and she felt very good
and very elegant indeed. Miss Ophelia stood at her side, a perfect
contrast. It was not that she had not as handsome a silk dress
and shawl, and as fine a pocket-handkerchief; but stiffness and
squareness, and bolt-uprightness, enveloped her with as indefinite
yet appreciable a presence as did grace her elegant neighbor; not
the grace of God, however,--that is quite another thing!
"Where's Eva?" said Marie.
"The child stopped on the stairs, to say something to Mammy."
And what was Eva saying to Mammy on the stairs? Listen, reader,
and you will hear, though Marie does not.
"Dear Mammy, I know your head is aching dreadfully."
"Lord bless you, Miss Eva! my head allers aches lately.
You don't need to worry."
"Well, I'm glad you're going out; and here,"--and the little
girl threw her arms around her,--"Mammy, you shall take my
"What! your beautiful gold thing, thar, with them diamonds!
Lor, Miss, 't wouldn't be proper, no ways."
"Why not? You need it, and I don't. Mamma always uses it
for headache, and it'll make you feel better. No, you shall take
it, to please me, now."
"Do hear the darlin talk!" said Mammy, as Eva thrust it
into her bosom, and kissing her, ran down stairs to her mother.
"What were you stopping for?"
"I was just stopping to give Mammy my vinaigrette, to take
to church with her."
"Eva" said Marie, stamping impatiently,--"your gold vinaigrette
to _Mammy!_ When will you learn what's _proper_? Go right and
take it back this moment!"
Eva looked downcast and aggrieved, and turned slowly.
"I say, Marie, let the child alone; she shall do as she
pleases," said St. Clare.
"St. Clare, how will she ever get along in the world?" said Marie.
"The Lord knows," said St. Clare, "but she'll get along in
heaven better than you or I."
"O, papa, don't," said Eva, softly touching his elbow; "it
"Well, cousin, are you ready to go to meeting?" said Miss
Ophelia, turning square about on St. Clare.
"I'm not going, thank you."
"I do wish St. Clare ever would go to church," said Marie;
"but he hasn't a particle of religion about him. It really isn't
"I know it," said St. Clare. "You ladies go to church to learn
how to get along in the world, I suppose, and your piety sheds
respectability on us. If I did go at all, I would go where Mammy
goes; there's something to keep a fellow awake there, at least."
"What! those shouting Methodists? Horrible!" said Marie.
"Anything but the dead sea of your respectable churches, Marie.
Positively, it's too much to ask of a man. Eva, do you
like to go? Come, stay at home and play with me."
"Thank you, papa; but I'd rather go to church."
"Isn't it dreadful tiresome?" said St. Clare.
"I think it is tiresome, some," said Eva, "and I am sleepy,
too, but I try to keep awake."
"What do you go for, then?"
"Why, you know, papa," she said, in a whisper, "cousin told me
that God wants to have us; and he gives us everything, you know;
and it isn't much to do it, if he wants us to. It isn't so very
tiresome after all."
"You sweet, little obliging soul!" said St. Clare, kissing her;
"go along, that's a good girl, and pray for me."
"Certainly, I always do," said the child, as she sprang
after her mother into the carriage.
St. Clare stood on the steps and kissed his hand to her,
as the carriage drove away; large tears were in his eyes.
"O, Evangeline! rightly named," he said; "hath not God made
thee an evangel to me?"
So he felt a moment; and then he smoked a cigar, and read
the Picayune, and forgot his little gospel. Was he much unlike
"You see, Evangeline," said her mother, "it's always right
and proper to be kind to servants, but it isn't proper to treat
them _just_ as we would our relations, or people in our own class
of life. Now, if Mammy was sick, you wouldn't want to put her in
your own bed."
"I should feel just like it, mamma," said Eva, "because then
it would be handier to take care of her, and because, you
know, my bed is better than hers."
Marie was in utter despair at the entire want of moral
perception evinced in this reply.
"What can I do to make this child understand me?" she said.
"Nothing," said Miss Ophelia, significantly.
Eva looked sorry and disconcerted for a moment; but children,
luckily, do not keep to one impression long, and in a few moments
she was merrily laughing at various things which she saw from the
coach-windows, as it rattled along.
* * * * * *
"Well, ladies," said St. Clare, as they were comfortably seated
at the dinner-table, "and what was the bill of fare at church today?"
"O, Dr. G---- preached a splendid sermon," said Marie.
"It was just such a sermon as you ought to hear; it expressed all
my views exactly."
"It must have been very improving," said St. Clare. "The subject
must have been an extensive one."
"Well, I mean all my views about society, and such things,"
said Marie. "The text was, `He hath made everything beautiful in
its season;' and he showed how all the orders and distinctions in
society came from God; and that it was so appropriate, you know,
and beautiful, that some should be high and some low, and that some
were born to rule and some to serve, and all that, you know; and
he applied it so well to all this ridiculous fuss that is made
about slavery, and he proved distinctly that the Bible was on our
side, and supported all our institutions so convincingly. I only
wish you'd heard him."
"O, I didn't need it," said St. Clare. "I can learn what does
me as much good as that from the Picayune, any time, and smoke
a cigar besides; which I can't do, you know, in a church."
"Why," said Miss Ophelia, "don't you believe in these views?"
"Who,--I? You know I'm such a graceless dog that these
religious aspects of such subjects don't edify me much. If I was
to say anything on this slavery matter, I would say out, fair and
square, `We're in for it; we've got 'em, and mean to keep 'em,--it's
for our convenience and our interest;' for that's the long and
short of it,--that's just the whole of what all this sanctified
stuff amounts to, after all; and I think that it will be intelligible
to everybody, everywhere."
"I do think, Augustine, you are so irreverent!" said Marie.
"I think it's shocking to hear you talk."
"Shocking! it's the truth. This religious talk on such
matters,--why don't they carry it a little further, and show the
beauty, in its season, of a fellow's taking a glass too much,
and sitting a little too late over his cards, and various
providential arrangements of that sort, which are pretty
frequent among us young men;--we'd like to hear that those are
right and godly, too."
"Well," said Miss Ophelia, "do you think slavery right or wrong?"
I'm not going to have any of your horrid New England
directness, cousin," said St. Clare, gayly. "If I answer that
question, I know you'll be at me with half a dozen others, each
one harder than the last; and I'm not a going to define my position.
I am one of the sort that lives by throwing stones at other people's
glass houses, but I never mean to put up one for them to stone."
"That's just the way he's always talking," said Marie; "you can't
get any satisfaction out of him. I believe it's just because
he don't like religion, that he's always running out in this way
he's been doing."
"Religion!" said St. Clare, in a tone that made both ladies
look at him. "Religion! Is what you hear at church, religion?
Is that which can bend and turn, and descend and ascend, to fit every
crooked phase of selfish, worldly society, religion? Is that religion
which is less scrupulous, less generous, less just, less considerate
for man, than even my own ungodly, worldly, blinded nature? No!
When I look for a religion, I must look for something above me,
and not something beneath."
"Then you don't believe that the Bible justifies slavery,"
said Miss Ophelia.
"The Bible was my _mother's_ book," said St. Clare. "By it she
lived and died, and I would be very sorry to think it did.
I'd as soon desire to have it proved that my mother could drink
brandy, chew tobacco, and swear, by way of satisfying me that I
did right in doing the same. It wouldn't make me at all more
satisfied with these things in myself, and it would take from me
the comfort of respecting her; and it really is a comfort, in this
world, to have anything one can respect. In short, you see," said
he, suddenly resuming his gay tone, "all I want is that different
things be kept in different boxes. The whole frame-work of society,
both in Europe and America, is made up of various things which will
not stand the scrutiny of any very ideal standard of morality.
It's pretty generally understood that men don't aspire after the
absolute right, but only to do about as well as the rest of the
world. Now, when any one speaks up, like a man, and says slavery
is necessary to us, we can't get along without it, we should be
beggared if we give it up, and, of course, we mean to hold on to
it,--this is strong, clear, well-defined language; it has the
respectability of truth to it; and, if we may judge by their
practice, the majority of the world will bear us out in it.
But when he begins to put on a long face, and snuffle, and quote
Scripture, I incline to think he isn't much better than he should be."
"You are very uncharitable," said Marie.
"Well," said St. Clare, "suppose that something should bring
down the price of cotton once and forever, and make the whole
slave property a drug in the market, don't you think we should soon
have another version of the Scripture doctrine? What a flood of
light would pour into the church, all at once, and how immediately
it would be discovered that everything in the Bible and reason went
the other way!"
"Well, at any rate," said Marie, as she reclined herself
on a lounge, "I'm thankful I'm born where slavery exists; and I
believe it's right,--indeed, I feel it must be; and, at any rate,
I'm sure I couldn't get along without it."
"I say, what do you think, Pussy?" said her father to Eva,
who came in at this moment, with a flower in her hand.
"What about, papa?"
"Why, which do you like the best,--to live as they do at your
uncle's, up in Vermont, or to have a house-full of servants,
as we do?"
"O, of course, our way is the pleasantest," said Eva.
"Why so?" said St. Clare, stroking her head.
"Why, it makes so many more round you to love, you know,"
said Eva, looking up earnestly.
"Now, that's just like Eva," said Marie; "just one of her
"Is it an odd speech, papa?" said Eva, whisperingly, as
she got upon his knee.
"Rather, as this world goes, Pussy," said St. Clare. "But where
has my little Eva been, all dinner-time?"
"O, I've been up in Tom's room, hearing him sing, and Aunt
Dinah gave me my dinner."
"Hearing Tom sing, hey?"
"O, yes! he sings such beautiful things about the New
Jerusalem, and bright angels, and the land of Canaan."
"I dare say; it's better than the opera, isn't it?"
"Yes, and he's going to teach them to me."
"Singing lessons, hey?--you _are_ coming on."
"Yes, he sings for me, and I read to him in my Bible; and
he explains what it means, you know."
"On my word," said Marie, laughing, "that is the latest
joke of the season."
"Tom isn't a bad hand, now, at explaining Scripture, I'll dare
swear," said St. Clare. "Tom has a natural genius for religion.
I wanted the horses out early, this morning, and I stole up to
Tom's cubiculum there, over the stables, and there I heard him
holding a meeting by himself; and, in fact, I haven't heard anything
quite so savory as Tom's prayer, this some time. He put in for me,
with a zeal that was quite apostolic."
"Perhaps he guessed you were listening. I've heard of that
"If he did, he wasn't very polite; for he gave the Lord
his opinion of me, pretty freely. Tom seemed to think there
was decidedly room for improvement in me, and seemed very
earnest that I should be converted."
"I hope you'll lay it to heart," said Miss Ophelia.
"I suppose you are much of the same opinion," said St. Clare.
"Well, we shall see,--shan't we, Eva?"
The Freeman's Defence
There was a gentle bustle at the Quaker house, as the
afternoon drew to a close. Rachel Halliday moved quietly to and
fro, collecting from her household stores such needments as could
be arranged in the smallest compass, for the wanderers who were to
go forth that night. The afternoon shadows stretched eastward,
and the round red sun stood thoughtfully on the horizon, and his
beams shone yellow and calm into the little bed-room where George
and his wife were sitting. He was sitting with his child on his
knee, and his wife's hand in his. Both looked thoughtful and
serious and traces of tears were on their cheeks.
"Yes, Eliza," said George, "I know all you say is true.
You are a good child,--a great deal better than I am; and I will
try to do as you say. I'll try to act worthy of a free man.
I'll try to feel like a Christian. God Almighty knows that I've
meant to do well,--tried hard to do well,--when everything has been
against me; and now I'll forget all the past, and put away every hard
and bitter feeling, and read my Bible, and learn to be a good man."
"And when we get to Canada," said Eliza, "I can help you.
I can do dress-making very well; and I understand fine washing and
ironing; and between us we can find something to live on."
"Yes, Eliza, so long as we have each other and our boy. O! Eliza,
if these people only knew what a blessing it is for a man to feel
that his wife and child belong to _him_! I've often wondered to
see men that could call their wives and children _their own_
fretting and worrying about anything else. Why, I feel rich and
strong, though we have nothing but our bare hands. I feel
as if I could scarcely ask God for any more. Yes, though I've
worked hard every day, till I am twenty-five years old, and have
not a cent of money, nor a roof to cover me, nor a spot of land to
call my own, yet, if they will only let me alone now, I will be
satisfied,--thankful; I will work, and send back the money for you
and my boy. As to my old master, he has been paid five times over
for all he ever spent for me. I don't owe him anything."
"But yet we are not quite out of danger," said Eliza; "we
are not yet in Canada."
"True," said George, "but it seems as if I smelt the free
air, and it makes me strong."
At this moment, voices were heard in the outer apartment,
in earnest conversation, and very soon a rap was heard on the door.
Eliza started and opened it.
Simeon Halliday was there, and with him a Quaker brother, whom
he introduced as Phineas Fletcher. Phineas was tall and lathy,
red-haired, with an expression of great acuteness and shrewdness
in his face. He had not the placid, quiet, unworldly air of Simeon
Halliday; on the contrary, a particularly wide-awake and _au fait_
appearance, like a man who rather prides himself on knowing what
he is about, and keeping a bright lookout ahead; peculiarities
which sorted rather oddly with his broad brim and formal phraseology.
"Our friend Phineas hath discovered something of importance
to the interests of thee and thy party, George," said Simeon; "it
were well for thee to hear it."
"That I have," said Phineas, "and it shows the use of a
man's always sleeping with one ear open, in certain places,
as I've always said. Last night I stopped at a little lone
tavern, back on the road. Thee remembers the place, Simeon, where
we sold some apples, last year, to that fat woman, with the great
ear-rings. Well, I was tired with hard driving; and, after my
supper I stretched myself down on a pile of bags in the corner,
and pulled a buffalo over me, to wait till my bed was ready; and
what does I do, but get fast asleep."
"With one ear open, Phineas?" said Simeon, quietly.
"No; I slept, ears and all, for an hour or two, for I was pretty
well tired; but when I came to myself a little, I found that
there were some men in the room, sitting round a table, drinking
and talking; and I thought, before I made much muster, I'd just
see what they were up to, especially as I heard them say something
about the Quakers. `So,' says one, `they are up in the Quaker
settlement, no doubt,' says he. Then I listened with both ears,
and I found that they were talking about this very party. So I
lay and heard them lay off all their plans. This young man, they
said, was to be sent back to Kentucky, to his master, who was going
to make an example of him, to keep all niggers from running away;
and his wife two of them were going to run down to New Orleans to
sell, on their own account, and they calculated to get sixteen or
eighteen hundred dollars for her; and the child, they said, was
going to a trader, who had bought him; and then there was the boy,
Jim, and his mother, they were to go back to their masters in
Kentucky. They said that there were two constables, in a town a
little piece ahead, who would go in with 'em to get 'em taken up,
and the young woman was to be taken before a judge; and one of the
fellows, who is small and smooth-spoken, was to swear to her for
his property, and get her delivered over to him to take south.
They've got a right notion of the track we are going tonight; and
they'll be down after us, six or eight strong. So now, what's to
The group that stood in various attitudes, after this
communication, were worthy of a painter. Rachel Halliday, who had
taken her hands out of a batch of biscuit, to hear the news, stood
with them upraised and floury, and with a face of the deepest
concern. Simeon looked profoundly thoughtful; Eliza had thrown
her arms around her husband, and was looking up to him. George
stood with clenched hands and glowing eyes, and looking as any
other man might look, whose wife was to be sold at auction, and son
sent to a trader, all under the shelter of a Christian nation's laws.
"What _shall_ we do, George?" said Eliza faintly.
"I know what _I_ shall do," said George, as he stepped into
the little room, and began examining pistols.
"Ay, ay," said Phineas, nodding his head to Simeon; thou
seest, Simeon, how it will work."
"I see," said Simeon, sighing; "I pray it come not to that."
"I don't want to involve any one with or for me," said George.
"If you will lend me your vehicle and direct me, I will drive
alone to the next stand. Jim is a giant in strength, and
brave as death and despair, and so am I."
"Ah, well, friend," said Phineas, "but thee'll need a driver,
for all that. Thee's quite welcome to do all the fighting,
thee knows; but I know a thing or two about the road, that thee
"But I don't want to involve you," said George.
"Involve," said Phineas, with a curious and keen expression
of face, "When thee does involve me, please to let me know."
"Phineas is a wise and skilful man," said Simeon. "Thee does
well, George, to abide by his judgment; and," he added, laying
his hand kindly on George's shoulder, and pointing to the pistols,
"be not over hasty with these,--young blood is hot."
"I will attack no man," said George. "All I ask of this country
is to be let alone, and I will go out peaceably; but,"--he paused,
and his brow darkened and his face worked,--"I've had a sister
sold in that New Orleans market. I know what they are sold for;
and am I going to stand by and see them take my wife and sell her,
when God has given me a pair of strong arms to defend her? No; God
help me! I'll fight to the last breath, before they shall take my
wife and son. Can you blame me?"
"Mortal man cannot blame thee, George. Flesh and blood could
not do otherwise," said Simeon. "Woe unto the world because
of offences, but woe unto them through whom the offence cometh."
"Would not even you, sir, do the same, in my place?"
"I pray that I be not tried," said Simeon; "the flesh is weak."
"I think my flesh would be pretty tolerable strong, in such
a case," said Phineas, stretching out a pair of arms like the sails
of a windmill. "I an't sure, friend George, that I shouldn't hold
a fellow for thee, if thee had any accounts to settle with him."
"If man should _ever_ resist evil," said Simeon, "then George
should feel free to do it now: but the leaders of our people
taught a more excellent way; for the wrath of man worketh not the
righteousness of God; but it goes sorely against the corrupt will
of man, and none can receive it save they to whom it is given.
Let us pray the Lord that we be not tempted."
"And so _I_ do," said Phineas; "but if we are tempted too
much--why, let them look out, that's all."
"It's quite plain thee wasn't born a Friend," said Simeon, smiling.
"The old nature hath its way in thee pretty strong as yet."
To tell the truth, Phineas had been a hearty, two-fisted
backwoodsman, a vigorous hunter, and a dead shot at a buck; but,
having wooed a pretty Quakeress, had been moved by the power of
her charms to join the society in his neighborhood; and though he
was an honest, sober, and efficient member, and nothing particular
could be alleged against him, yet the more spiritual among them
could not but discern an exceeding lack of savor in his developments.
"Friend Phineas will ever have ways of his own," said Rachel
Halliday, smiling; "but we all think that his heart is in the right
place, after all."
"Well," said George, "isn't it best that we hasten our flight?"
"I got up at four o'clock, and came on with all speed, full
two or three hours ahead of them, if they start at the time they
planned. It isn't safe to start till dark, at any rate; for there
are some evil persons in the villages ahead, that might be disposed
to meddle with us, if they saw our wagon, and that would delay us
more than the waiting; but in two hours I think we may venture.
I will go over to Michael Cross, and engage him to come behind on
his swift nag, and keep a bright lookout on the road, and warn us
if any company of men come on. Michael keeps a horse that can soon
get ahead of most other horses; and he could shoot ahead and let
us know, if there were any danger. I am going out now to warn Jim
and the old woman to be in readiness, and to see about the horse.
We have a pretty fair start, and stand a good chance to get to the
stand before they can come up with us. So, have good courage,
friend George; this isn't the first ugly scrape that I've been in
with thy people," said Phineas, as he closed the door.
"Phineas is pretty shrewd," said Simeon. "He will do the
best that can be done for thee, George."
"All I am sorry for," said George, "is the risk to you."
"Thee'll much oblige us, friend George, to say no more about that.
What we do we are conscience bound to do; we can do no other way.
And now, mother," said he, turning to Rachel, "hurry thy preparations
for these friends, for we must not send them away fasting."
And while Rachel and her children were busy making corn-cake,
and cooking ham and chicken, and hurrying on the _et ceteras_ of
the evening meal, George and his wife sat in their little room,
with their arms folded about each other, in such talk as husband
and wife have when they know that a few hours may part them forever.
"Eliza," said George, "people that have friends, and houses,
and lands, and money, and all those things _can't_ love as we do,
who have nothing but each other. Till I knew you, Eliza, no creature
had loved me, but my poor, heart-broken mother and sister. I saw
poor Emily that morning the trader carried her off. She came to
the corner where I was lying asleep, and said, `Poor George, your
last friend is going. What will become of you, poor boy?' And I
got up and threw my arms round her, and cried and sobbed, and she
cried too; and those were the last kind words I got for ten long
years; and my heart all withered up, and felt as dry as ashes, till
I met you. And your loving me,--why, it was almost like raising
one from the dead! I've been a new man ever since! And now, Eliza,
I'll give my last drop of blood, but they _shall not_ take you from me.
Whoever gets you must walk over my dead body."
"O, Lord, have mercy!" said Eliza, sobbing. "If he will only
let us get out of this country together, that is all we ask."
"Is God on their side?" said George, speaking less to his wife
than pouring out his own bitter thoughts. "Does he see all
they do? Why does he let such things happen? And they tell us that
the Bible is on their side; certainly all the power is. They are
rich, and healthy, and happy; they are members of churches, expecting
to go to heaven; and they get along so easy in the world, and have
it all their own way; and poor, honest, faithful Christians,--Christians
as good or better than they,--are lying in the very dust under
their feet. They buy 'em and sell 'em, and make trade of their
heart's blood, and groans and tears,--and God _lets_ them."
"Friend George," said Simeon, from the kitchen, "listen to
this Psalm; it may do thee good."
George drew his seat near the door, and Eliza, wiping her
tears, came forward also to listen, while Simeon read as follows:
"But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had
well-nigh slipped. For I was envious of the foolish, when I saw
the prosperity of the wicked. They are not in trouble like other
men, neither are they plagued like other men. Therefore, pride
compasseth them as a chain; violence covereth them as a garment.
Their eyes stand out with fatness; they have more than heart
could wish. They are corrupt, and speak wickedly concerning
oppression; they speak loftily. Therefore his people return,
and the waters of a full cup are wrung out to them, and they say,
How doth God know? and is there knowledge in the Most High?"
"Is not that the way thee feels, George?"
"It is so indeed," said George,--"as well as I could have
written it myself."
"Then, hear," said Simeon: "When I thought to know this,
it was too painful for me until I went unto the sanctuary of God.
Then understood I their end. Surely thou didst set them in slippery
places, thou castedst them down to destruction. As a dream when
one awaketh, so, oh Lord, when thou awakest, thou shalt despise
their image. Nevertheless I am continually with thee; thou hast
holden me by my right hand. Thou shalt guide me by thy counsel,
and afterwards receive me to glory. It is good for me to draw near
unto God. I have put my trust in the Lord God."
 Ps. 73, "The End of the Wicked contrasted with that of
The words of holy trust, breathed by the friendly old man,
stole like sacred music over the harassed and chafed spirit
of George; and after he ceased, he sat with a gentle and
subdued expression on his fine features.
"If this world were all, George," said Simeon, "thee might,
indeed, ask where is the Lord? But it is often those who have least
of all in this life whom he chooseth for the kingdom. Put thy
trust in him and, no matter what befalls thee here, he will make
all right hereafter."
If these words had been spoken by some easy, self-indulgent
exhorter, from whose mouth they might have come merely as pious
and rhetorical flourish, proper to be used to people in distress,
perhaps they might not have had much effect; but coming from one
who daily and calmly risked fine and imprisonment for the cause of
God and man, they had a weight that could not but be felt, and both
the poor, desolate fugitives found calmness and strength breathing
into them from it.
And now Rachel took Eliza's hand kindly, and led the way to the
supper-table. As they were sitting down, a light tap sounded
at the door, and Ruth entered.
"I just ran in," she said, "with these little stockings for the
boy,--three pair, nice, warm woollen ones. It will be so cold,
thee knows, in Canada. Does thee keep up good courage, Eliza?"
she added, tripping round to Eliza's side of the table, and
shaking her warmly by the hand, and slipping a seed-cake into
Harry's hand. "I brought a little parcel of these for him," she
said, tugging at her pocket to get out the package. "Children,
thee knows, will always be eating."
"O, thank you; you are too kind," said Eliza.
"Come, Ruth, sit down to supper," said Rachel.
"I couldn't, any way. I left John with the baby, and some
biscuits in the oven; and I can't stay a moment, else John will
burn up all the biscuits, and give the baby all the sugar in
the bowl. That's the way he does," said the little Quakeress,
laughing. "So, good-by, Eliza; good-by, George; the Lord grant
thee a safe journey;" and, with a few tripping steps, Ruth was
out of the apartment.
A little while after supper, a large covered-wagon drew up
before the door; the night was clear starlight; and Phineas jumped
briskly down from his seat to arrange his passengers. George walked
out of the door, with his child on one arm and his wife on the other.
His step was firm, his face settled and resolute. Rachel and
Simeon came out after them.
"You get out, a moment," said Phineas to those inside, "and
let me fix the back of the wagon, there, for the women-folks and
"Here are the two buffaloes," said Rachel. "Make the seats
as comfortable as may be; it's hard riding all night."
Jim came out first, and carefully assisted out his old mother,
who clung to his arm, and looked anxiously about, as if she
expected the pursuer every moment.
"Jim, are your pistols all in order?" said George, in a
low, firm voice.
"Yes, indeed," said Jim.
"And you've no doubt what you shall do, if they come?"
"I rather think I haven't," said Jim, throwing open his
broad chest, and taking a deep breath. "Do you think I'll let
them get mother again?"
During this brief colloquy, Eliza had been taking her leave
of her kind friend, Rachel, and was handed into the carriage by
Simeon, and, creeping into the back part with her boy, sat down
among the buffalo-skins. The old woman was next handed in and
seated and George and Jim placed on a rough board seat front of
them, and Phineas mounted in front.
"Farewell, my friends," said Simeon, from without.
"God bless you!" answered all from within.
And the wagon drove off, rattling and jolting over the
There was no opportunity for conversation, on account of the
roughness of the way and the noise of the wheels. The vehicle,
therefore, rumbled on, through long, dark stretches of woodland,--over
wide dreary plains,--up hills, and down valleys,--and on, on, on
they jogged, hour after hour. The child soon fell asleep, and lay
heavily in his mother's lap. The poor, frightened old woman at
last forgot her fears; and, even Eliza, as the night waned, found
all her anxieties insufficient to keep her eyes from closing.
Phineas seemed, on the whole, the briskest of the company, and
beguiled his long drive with whistling certain very unquaker-like
songs, as he went on.
But about three o'clock George's ear caught the hasty and
decided click of a horse's hoof coming behind them at some distance
and jogged Phineas by the elbow. Phineas pulled up his horses,
"That must be Michael," he said; "I think I know the sound
of his gallop;" and he rose up and stretched his head anxiously
back over the road.
A man riding in hot haste was now dimly descried at the
top of a distant hill.
"There he is, I do believe!" said Phineas. George and Jim both
sprang out of the wagon before they knew what they were doing.
All stood intensely silent, with their faces turned towards the
expected messenger. On he came. Now he went down into a valley,
where they could not see him; but they heard the sharp, hasty tramp,
rising nearer and nearer; at last they saw him emerge on the top
of an eminence, within hail.
"Yes, that's Michael!" said Phineas; and, raising his voice,
"Halloa, there, Michael!"
"Phineas! is that thee?"
"Yes; what news--they coming?"
"Right on behind, eight or ten of them, hot with brandy,
swearing and foaming like so many wolves."
And, just as he spoke, a breeze brought the faint sound of
galloping horsemen towards them.
"In with you,--quick, boys, _in!_" said Phineas. "If you must
fight, wait till I get you a piece ahead." And, with the word,
both jumped in, and Phineas lashed the horses to a run, the horseman
keeping close beside them. The wagon rattled, jumped, almost flew,
over the frozen ground; but plainer, and still plainer, came the
noise of pursuing horsemen behind. The women heard it, and, looking
anxiously out, saw, far in the rear, on the brow of a distant hill,
a party of men looming up against the red-streaked sky of early dawn.
Another hill, and their pursuers had evidently caught sight of
their wagon, whose white cloth-covered top made it conspicuous
at some distance, and a loud yell of brutal triumph came forward
on the wind. Eliza sickened, and strained her child closer to her
bosom; the old woman prayed and groaned, and George and Jim clenched
their pistols with the grasp of despair. The pursuers gained on
them fast; the carriage made a sudden turn, and brought them near
a ledge of a steep overhanging rock, that rose in an isolated ridge
or clump in a large lot, which was, all around it, quite clear
and smooth. This isolated pile, or range of rocks, rose up black
and heavy against the brightening sky, and seemed to promise shelter
and concealment. It was a place well known to Phineas, who had
been familiar with the spot in his hunting days; and it was to gain
this point he had been racing his horses.
"Now for it!" said he, suddenly checking his horses, and
springing from his seat to the ground. "Out with you, in a twinkling,
every one, and up into these rocks with me. Michael, thee tie thy
horse to the wagon, and drive ahead to Amariah's and get him and
his boys to come back and talk to these fellows."
In a twinkling they were all out of the carriage.
"There," said Phineas, catching up Harry, "you, each of you,
see to the women; and run, _now_ if you ever _did_ run!"
They needed no exhortation. Quicker than we can say it, the
whole party were over the fence, making with all speed for the
rocks, while Michael, throwing himself from his horse, and fastening
the bridle to the wagon, began driving it rapidly away.
"Come ahead," said Phineas, as they reached the rocks, and
saw in the mingled starlight and dawn, the traces of a rude but
plainly marked foot-path leading up among them; "this is one of
our old hunting-dens. Come up!"
Phineas went before, springing up the rocks like a goat,
with the boy in his arms. Jim came second, bearing his trembling
old mother over his shoulder, and George and Eliza brought up the
rear. The party of horsemen came up to the fence, and, with mingled
shouts and oaths, were dismounting, to prepare to follow them.
A few moments' scrambling brought them to the top of the ledge; the
path then passed between a narrow defile, where only one could walk
at a time, till suddenly they came to a rift or chasm more than a
yard in breadth, and beyond which lay a pile of rocks, separate
from the rest of the ledge, standing full thirty feet high, with
its sides steep and perpendicular as those of a castle. Phineas
easily leaped the chasm, and sat down the boy on a smooth, flat
platform of crisp white moss, that covered the top of the rock.
"Over with you!" he called; "spring, now, once, for your
lives!" said he, as one after another sprang across. Several
fragments of loose stone formed a kind of breast-work, which
sheltered their position from the observation of those below.
"Well, here we all are," said Phineas, peeping over the stone
breast-work to watch the assailants, who were coming tumultuously
up under the rocks. "Let 'em get us, if they can. Whoever comes
here has to walk single file between those two rocks, in fair
range of your pistols, boys, d'ye see?"
"I do see," said George! "and now, as this matter is ours,
let us take all the risk, and do all the fighting."
"Thee's quite welcome to do the fighting, George," said Phineas,
chewing some checkerberry-leaves as he spoke; "but I may have
the fun of looking on, I suppose. But see, these fellows are
kinder debating down there, and looking up, like hens when they
are going to fly up on to the roost. Hadn't thee better give 'em
a word of advice, before they come up, just to tell 'em handsomely
they'll be shot if they do?"
The party beneath, now more apparent in the light of the dawn,
consisted of our old acquaintances, Tom Loker and Marks, with
two constables, and a posse consisting of such rowdies at the last
tavern as could be engaged by a little brandy to go and help the
fun of trapping a set of niggers.
"Well, Tom, yer coons are farly treed," said one.
"Yes, I see 'em go up right here," said Tom; "and here's
a path. I'm for going right up. They can't jump down in a hurry,
and it won't take long to ferret 'em out."
"But, Tom, they might fire at us from behind the rocks,"
said Marks. "That would be ugly, you know."
"Ugh!" said Tom, with a sneer. "Always for saving your
skin, Marks! No danger! niggers are too plaguy scared!"
"I don't know why I _shouldn't_ save my skin," said Marks.
"It's the best I've got; and niggers _do_ fight like the devil,
At this moment, George appeared on the top of a rock above
them, and, speaking in a calm, clear voice, said,
"Gentlemen, who are you, down there, and what do you want?"
"We want a party of runaway niggers," said Tom Loker.
"One George Harris, and Eliza Harris, and their son, and
Jim Selden, and an old woman. We've got the officers, here,
and a warrant to take 'em; and we're going to have 'em, too.
D'ye hear? An't you George Harris, that belongs to Mr. Harris,
of Shelby county, Kentucky?"
"I am George Harris. A Mr. Harris, of Kentucky, did call
me his property. But now I'm a free man, standing on God's free
soil; and my wife and my child I claim as mine. Jim and his mother
are here. We have arms to defend ourselves, and we mean to do it.
You can come up, if you like; but the first one of you that comes
within the range of our bullets is a dead man, and the next, and
the next; and so on till the last."
"O, come! come!" said a short, puffy man, stepping forward,
and blowing his nose as he did so. "Young man, this an't no kind
of talk at all for you. You see, we're officers of justice.
We've got the law on our side, and the power, and so forth; so
you'd better give up peaceably, you see; for you'll certainly have
to give up, at last."
"I know very well that you've got the law on your side, and the
power," said George, bitterly. "You mean to take my wife
to sell in New Orleans, and put my boy like a calf in a trader's
pen, and send Jim's old mother to the brute that whipped and abused
her before, because he couldn't abuse her son. You want to send
Jim and me back to be whipped and tortured, and ground down under
the heels of them that you call masters; and your laws _will_ bear
you out in it,--more shame for you and them! But you haven't got us.
We don't own your laws; we don't own your country; we stand
here as free, under God's sky, as you are; and, by the great God
that made us, we'll fight for our liberty till we die."
George stood out in fair sight, on the top of the rock, as
he made his declaration of independence; the glow of dawn gave
a flush to his swarthy cheek, and bitter indignation and despair
gave fire to his dark eye; and, as if appealing from man to the
justice of God, he raised his hand to heaven as he spoke.
If it had been only a Hungarian youth, now bravely defending
in some mountain fastness the retreat of fugitives escaping from
Austria into America, this would have been sublime heroism; but as
it was a youth of African descent, defending the retreat of fugitives
through America into Canada, of course we are too well instructed
and patriotic to see any heroism in it; and if any of our readers
do, they must do it on their own private responsibility. When
despairing Hungarian fugitives make their way, against all the
search-warrants and authorities of their lawful government, to
America, press and political cabinet ring with applause and welcome.
When despairing African fugitives do the same thing,--it is--what
Be it as it may, it is certain that the attitude, eye, voice,
manner, of the speaker for a moment struck the party below
to silence. There is something in boldness and determination that
for a time hushes even the rudest nature. Marks was the only one
who remained wholly untouched. He was deliberately cocking his
pistol, and, in the momentary silence that followed George's speech,
he fired at him.
"Ye see ye get jist as much for him dead as alive in Kentucky,"
he said coolly, as he wiped his pistol on his coat-sleeve.
George sprang backward,--Eliza uttered a shriek,--the ball
had passed close to his hair, had nearly grazed the cheek of his
wife, and struck in the tree above.
"It's nothing, Eliza," said George, quickly.
"Thee'd better keep out of sight, with thy speechifying,"
said Phineas; "they're mean scamps."
"Now, Jim," said George, "look that your pistols are all
right, and watch that pass with me. The first man that shows
himself I fire at; you take the second, and so on. It won't do,
you know, to waste two shots on one."
"But what if you don't hit?"
"I _shall_ hit," said George, coolly.
"Good! now, there's stuff in that fellow," muttered Phineas,
between his teeth.
The party below, after Marks had fired, stood, for a moment,
"I think you must have hit some on 'em," said one of the men.
"I heard a squeal!"
"I'm going right up for one," said Tom. "I never was afraid
of niggers, and I an't going to be now. Who goes after?" he said,
springing up the rocks.
George heard the words distinctly. He drew up his pistol,
examined it, pointed it towards that point in the defile where the
first man would appear.
One of the most courageous of the party followed Tom, and,
the way being thus made, the whole party began pushing up the
rock,--the hindermost pushing the front ones faster than they would
have gone of themselves. On they came, and in a moment the burly
form of Tom appeared in sight, almost at the verge of the chasm.
George fired,--the shot entered his side,--but, though wounded,
he would not retreat, but, with a yell like that of a mad bull,
he was leaping right across the chasm into the party.
"Friend," said Phineas, suddenly stepping to the front, and
meeting him with a push from his long arms, "thee isn't wanted here."
Down he fell into the chasm, crackling down among trees,
bushes, logs, loose stones, till he lay bruised and groaning thirty
feet below. The fall might have killed him, had it not been broken
and moderated by his clothes catching in the branches of a large
tree; but he came down with some force, however,--more than was at
all agreeable or convenient.
"Lord help us, they are perfect devils!" said Marks, heading
the retreat down the rocks with much more of a will than he had
joined the ascent, while all the party came tumbling precipitately
after him,--the fat constable, in particular, blowing and puffing
in a very energetic manner.
"I say, fellers," said Marks, "you jist go round and pick
up Tom, there, while I run and get on to my horse to go back for
help,--that's you;" and, without minding the hootings and jeers of
his company, Marks was as good as his word, and was soon seen
"Was ever such a sneaking varmint?" said one of the men; "to
come on his business, and he clear out and leave us this yer way!"
"Well, we must pick up that feller," said another. "Cuss me if
I much care whether he is dead or alive."
The men, led by the groans of Tom, scrambled and crackled
through stumps, logs and bushes, to where that hero lay groaning
and swearing with alternate vehemence.
"Ye keep it agoing pretty loud, Tom," said one. "Ye much hurt?"
"Don't know. Get me up, can't ye? Blast that infernal Quaker!
If it hadn't been for him, I'd a pitched some on 'em down here,
to see how they liked it."
With much labor and groaning, the fallen hero was assisted
to rise; and, with one holding him up under each shoulder, they
got him as far as the horses.
"If you could only get me a mile back to that ar tavern.
Give me a handkerchief or something, to stuff into this place,
and stop this infernal bleeding."
George looked over the rocks, and saw them trying to lift the
burly form of Tom into the saddle. After two or three ineffectual
attempts, he reeled, and fell heavily to the ground.
"O, I hope he isn't killed!" said Eliza, who, with all the
party, stood watching the proceeding.
"Why not?" said Phineas; "serves him right."
"Because after death comes the judgment," said Eliza.
"Yes," said the old woman, who had been groaning and praying,
in her Methodist fashion, during all the encounter, "it's an awful
case for the poor crittur's soul."
"On my word, they're leaving him, I do believe," said Phineas.
It was true; for after some appearance of irresolution and
consultation, the whole party got on their horses and rode away.
When they were quite out of sight, Phineas began to bestir himself.
"Well, we must go down and walk a piece," he said. "I told
Michael to go forward and bring help, and be along back here with
the wagon; but we shall have to walk a piece along the road, I
reckon, to meet them. The Lord grant he be along soon! It's early
in the day; there won't be much travel afoot yet a while; we an't
much more than two miles from our stopping-place. If the road
hadn't been so rough last night, we could have outrun 'em entirely."
As the party neared the fence, they discovered in the
distance, along the road, their own wagon coming back, accompanied
by some men on horseback.
"Well, now, there's Michael, and Stephen and Amariah,"
exclaimed Phineas, joyfully. "Now we _are_ made--as safe as if
we'd got there."
"Well, do stop, then," said Eliza, "and do something for
that poor man; he's groaning dreadfully."
"It would be no more than Christian," said George; "let's
take him up and carry him on."
"And doctor him up among the Quakers!" said Phineas; "pretty
well, that! Well, I don't care if we do. Here, let's have a look
at him;" and Phineas, who in the course of his hunting and backwoods
life had acquired some rude experience of surgery, kneeled down by
the wounded man, and began a careful examination of his condition.
"Marks," said Tom, feebly, "is that you, Marks?"
"No; I reckon 'tan't friend," said Phineas. "Much Marks
cares for thee, if his own skin's safe. He's off, long ago."
"I believe I'm done for," said Tom. "The cussed sneaking dog,
to leave me to die alone! My poor old mother always told me
't would be so."
"La sakes! jist hear the poor crittur. He's got a mammy,
now," said the old negress. "I can't help kinder pityin' on him."
"Softly, softly; don't thee snap and snarl, friend," said
Phineas, as Tom winced and pushed his hand away. "Thee has no
chance, unless I stop the bleeding." And Phineas busied himself
with making some off-hand surgical arrangements with his own
pocket-handkerchief, and such as could be mustered in the company.
"You pushed me down there," said Tom, faintly.
"Well if I hadn't thee would have pushed us down, thee sees,"
said Phineas, as he stooped to apply his bandage. "There,
there,--let me fix this bandage. We mean well to thee; we bear
no malice. Thee shall be taken to a house where they'll nurse
thee first rate, well as thy own mother could."
Tom groaned, and shut his eyes. In men of his class, vigor
and resolution are entirely a physical matter, and ooze out with
the flowing of the blood; and the gigantic fellow really looked
piteous in his helplessness.
The other party now came up. The seats were taken out of
the wagon. The buffalo-skins, doubled in fours, were spread all
along one side, and four men, with great difficulty, lifted the
heavy form of Tom into it. Before he was gotten in, he fainted
entirely. The old negress, in the abundance of her compassion,
sat down on the bottom, and took his head in her lap. Eliza, George
and Jim, bestowed themselves, as well as they could, in the remaining
space and the whole party set forward.
"What do you think of him?" said George, who sat by Phineas
"Well it's only a pretty deep flesh-wound; but, then, tumbling
and scratching down that place didn't help him much. It has
bled pretty freely,--pretty much dreaned him out, courage and
all,--but he'll get over it, and may be learn a thing or two by it."
"I'm glad to hear you say so," said George. "It would always
be a heavy thought to me, if I'd caused his death, even in
a just cause."
"Yes," said Phineas, "killing is an ugly operation, any way
they'll fix it,--man or beast. I've seen a buck that was shot
down and a dying, look that way on a feller with his eye, that it
reely most made a feller feel wicked for killing on him; and human
creatures is a more serious consideration yet, bein', as thy wife
says, that the judgment comes to 'em after death. So I don't know
as our people's notions on these matters is too strict; and,
considerin' how I was raised, I fell in with them pretty considerably."
"What shall you do with this poor fellow?" said George.
"O, carry him along to Amariah's. There's old Grandmam
Stephens there,--Dorcas, they call her,--she's most an amazin'
nurse. She takes to nursing real natural, and an't never better
suited than when she gets a sick body to tend. We may reckon on
turning him over to her for a fortnight or so."
A ride of about an hour more brought the party to a neat
farmhouse, where the weary travellers were received to an abundant
breakfast. Tom Loker was soon carefully deposited in a much cleaner
and softer bed than he had, ever been in the habit of occupying.
His wound was carefully dressed and bandaged, and he lay languidly
opening and shutting his eyes on the white window-curtains and
gently-gliding figures of his sick room, like a weary child. And here,
for the present, we shall take our leave of one party.
Miss Ophelia's Experiences and Opinions
Our friend Tom, in his own simple musings, often compared his
more fortunate lot, in the bondage into which he was cast, with
that of Joseph in Egypt; and, in fact, as time went on, and he
developed more and more under the eye of his master, the strength
of the parallel increased.
St. Clare was indolent and careless of money. Hitherto the
providing and marketing had been principally done by Adolph,
who was, to the full, as careless and extravagant as his master;
and, between them both, they had carried on the dispersing process
with great alacrity. Accustomed, for many years, to regard his
master's property as his own care, Tom saw, with an uneasiness he
could scarcely repress, the wasteful expenditure of the establishment;
and, in the quiet, indirect way which his class often acquire,
would sometimes make his own suggestions.
St. Clare at first employed him occasionally; but, struck with
his soundness of mind and good business capacity, he confided
in him more and more, till gradually all the marketing and providing
for the family were intrusted to him.
"No, no, Adolph," he said, one day, as Adolph was deprecating
the passing of power out of his hands; "let Tom alone. You only
understand what you want; Tom understands cost and come to; and
there may be some end to money, bye and bye if we don't let
somebody do that."
Trusted to an unlimited extent by a careless master, who
handed him a bill without looking at it, and pocketed the change
without counting it, Tom had every facility and temptation to
dishonesty; and nothing but an impregnable simplicity of nature,
strengthened by Christian faith, could have kept him from it.