Part 3 - Uncle Tom's Cabin Audiobook by Harriet Beecher Stowe (Chs 12-15)

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CHAPTER XII Select Incident of Lawful Trade
"In Ramah there was a voice heard,-- weeping, and lamentation, and great
mourning; Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted."
(NOTE: Jer. 31:15.)
Mr. Haley and Tom jogged onward in their wagon, each, for a time, absorbed in his
own reflections.
Now, the reflections of two men sitting side by side are a curious thing,--seated
on the same seat, having the same eyes, ears, hands and organs of all sorts, and
having pass before their eyes the same
objects,--it is wonderful what a variety we shall find in these same reflections!
As, for example, Mr. Haley: he thought first of Tom's length, and breadth, and
height, and what he would sell for, if he was kept fat and in good case till he got
him into market.
He thought of how he should make out his gang; he thought of the respective market
value of certain supposititious men and women and children who were to compose it,
and other kindred topics of the business;
then he thought of himself, and how humane he was, that whereas other men chained
their "niggers" hand and foot both, he only put fetters on the feet, and left Tom the
use of his hands, as long as he behaved
well; and he sighed to think how ungrateful human nature was, so that there was even
room to doubt whether Tom appreciated his mercies.
He had been taken in so by "niggers" whom he had favored; but still he was astonished
to consider how good-natured he yet remained!
As to Tom, he was thinking over some words of an unfashionable old book, which kept
running through his head, again and again, as follows: "We have here no continuing
city, but we seek one to come; wherefore
God himself is not ashamed to be called our God; for he hath prepared for us a city."
These words of an ancient volume, got up principally by "ignorant and unlearned
men," have, through all time, kept up, somehow, a strange sort of power over the
minds of poor, simple fellows, like Tom.
They stir up the soul from its depths, and rouse, as with trumpet call, courage,
energy, and enthusiasm, where before was only the blackness of despair.
Mr. Haley pulled out of his pocket sundry newspapers, and began looking over their
advertisements, with absorbed interest.
He was not a remarkably fluent reader, and was in the habit of reading in a sort of
recitative half-aloud, by way of calling in his ears to verify the deductions of his
In this tone he slowly recited the following paragraph:
"EXECUTOR'S SALE,--NEGROES!--Agreeably to order of court, will be sold, on Tuesday,
February 20, before the Court-house door, in the town of Washington, Kentucky, the
following negroes: Hagar, aged 60; John,
aged 30; Ben, aged 21; Saul, aged 25; Albert, aged 14.
Sold for the benefit of the creditors and heirs of the estate of Jesse Blutchford,
"This yer I must look at," said he to Tom, for want of somebody else to talk to.
"Ye see, I'm going to get up a prime gang to take down with ye, Tom; it'll make it
sociable and pleasant like,--good company will, ye know.
We must drive right to Washington first and foremost, and then I'll clap you into jail,
while I does the business."
Tom received this agreeable intelligence quite meekly; simply wondering, in his own
heart, how many of these doomed men had wives and children, and whether they would
feel as he did about leaving them.
It is to be confessed, too, that the naive, off-hand information that he was to be
thrown into jail by no means produced an agreeable impression on a poor fellow who
had always prided himself on a strictly honest and upright course of life.
Yes, Tom, we must confess it, was rather proud of his honesty, poor fellow,--not
having very much else to be proud of;--if he had belonged to some of the higher walks
of society, he, perhaps, would never have been reduced to such straits.
However, the day wore on, and the evening saw Haley and Tom comfortably accommodated
in Washington,--the one in a tavern, and the other in a jail.
About eleven o'clock the next day, a mixed throng was gathered around the court-house
steps,--smoking, chewing, spitting, swearing, and conversing, according to
their respective tastes and turns,--waiting for the auction to commence.
The men and women to be sold sat in a group apart, talking in a low tone to each other.
The woman who had been advertised by the name of Hagar was a regular African in
feature and figure.
She might have been sixty, but was older than that by hard work and disease, was
partially blind, and somewhat crippled with rheumatism.
By her side stood her only remaining son, Albert, a bright-looking little fellow of
fourteen years.
The boy was the only survivor of a large family, who had been successively sold away
from her to a southern market.
The mother held on to him with both her shaking hands, and eyed with intense
trepidation every one who walked up to examine him.
"Don't be feard, Aunt Hagar," said the oldest of the men, "I spoke to Mas'r Thomas
'bout it, and he thought he might manage to sell you in a lot both together."
"Dey needn't call me worn out yet," said she, lifting her shaking hands.
"I can cook yet, and scrub, and scour,--I'm wuth a buying, if I do come cheap;--tell em
dat ar,--you tell em," she added, earnestly.
Haley here forced his way into the group, walked up to the old man, pulled his mouth
open and looked in, felt of his teeth, made him stand and straighten himself, bend his
back, and perform various evolutions to
show his muscles; and then passed on to the next, and put him through the same trial.
Walking up last to the boy, he felt of his arms, straightened his hands, and looked at
his fingers, and made him jump, to show his agility.
"He an't gwine to be sold widout me!" said the old woman, with passionate eagerness;
"he and I goes in a lot together; I 's rail strong yet, Mas'r and can do heaps o'
work,--heaps on it, Mas'r."
"On plantation?" said Haley, with a contemptuous glance.
"Likely story!" and, as if satisfied with his examination, he walked out and looked,
and stood with his hands in his pocket, his cigar in his mouth, and his hat cocked on
one side, ready for action.
"What think of 'em?" said a man who had been following Haley's examination, as if
to make up his own mind from it.
"Wal," said Haley, spitting, "I shall put in, I think, for the youngerly ones and the
boy." "They want to sell the boy and the old
woman together," said the man.
"Find it a tight pull;--why, she's an old rack o' bones,--not worth her salt."
"You wouldn't then?" said the man. "Anybody 'd be a fool 't would.
She's half blind, crooked with rheumatis, and foolish to boot."
"Some buys up these yer old critturs, and ses there's a sight more wear in 'em than a
body 'd think," said the man, reflectively.
"No go, 't all," said Haley; "wouldn't take her for a present,--fact,--I've seen, now."
"Wal, 't is kinder pity, now, not to buy her with her son,--her heart seems so sot
on him,--s'pose they fling her in cheap."
"Them that's got money to spend that ar way, it's all well enough.
I shall bid off on that ar boy for a plantation-hand;--wouldn't be bothered with
her, no way, not if they'd give her to me," said Haley.
"She'll take on desp't," said the man.
"Nat'lly, she will," said the trader, coolly.
The conversation was here interrupted by a busy hum in the audience; and the
auctioneer, a short, bustling, important fellow, elbowed his way into the crowd.
The old woman drew in her breath, and caught instinctively at her son.
"Keep close to yer mammy, Albert,--close,-- dey'll put us up togedder," she said.
"O, mammy, I'm feard they won't," said the boy.
"Dey must, child; I can't live, no ways, if they don't" said the old creature,
The stentorian tones of the auctioneer, calling out to clear the way, now announced
that the sale was about to commence. A place was cleared, and the bidding began.
The different men on the list were soon knocked off at prices which showed a pretty
brisk demand in the market; two of them fell to Haley.
"Come, now, young un," said the auctioneer, giving the boy a touch with his hammer, "be
up and show your springs, now."
"Put us two up togedder, togedder,--do please, Mas'r," said the old woman, holding
fast to her boy. "Be off," said the man, gruffly, pushing
her hands away; "you come last.
Now, darkey, spring;" and, with the word, he pushed the boy toward the block, while a
deep, heavy groan rose behind him.
The boy paused, and looked back; but there was no time to stay, and, dashing the tears
from his large, bright eyes, he was up in a moment.
His fine figure, alert limbs, and bright face, raised an instant competition, and
half a dozen bids simultaneously met the ear of the auctioneer.
Anxious, half-frightened, he looked from side to side, as he heard the clatter of
contending bids,--now here, now there,-- till the hammer fell.
Haley had got him.
He was pushed from the block toward his new master, but stopped one moment, and looked
back, when his poor old mother, trembling in every limb, held out her shaking hands
toward him.
"Buy me too, Mas'r, for de dear Lord's sake!--buy me,--I shall die if you don't!"
"You'll die if I do, that's the kink of it," said Haley,--"no!"
And he turned on his heel.
The bidding for the poor old creature was summary.
The man who had addressed Haley, and who seemed not destitute of compassion, bought
her for a trifle, and the spectators began to disperse.
The poor victims of the sale, who had been brought up in one place together for years,
gathered round the despairing old mother, whose agony was pitiful to see.
"Couldn't dey leave me one?
Mas'r allers said I should have one,--he did," she repeated over and over, in heart-
broken tones. "Trust in the Lord, Aunt Hagar," said the
oldest of the men, sorrowfully.
"What good will it do?" said she, sobbing passionately.
"Mother, mother,--don't! don't!" said the boy.
"They say you 's got a good master."
"I don't care,--I don't care. O, Albert! oh, my boy! you 's my last baby.
Lord, how ken I?"
"Come, take her off, can't some of ye?" said Haley, dryly; "don't do no good for
her to go on that ar way."
The old men of the company, partly by persuasion and partly by force, loosed the
poor creature's last despairing hold, and, as they led her off to her new master's
wagon, strove to comfort her.
"Now!" said Haley, pushing his three purchases together, and producing a bundle
of handcuffs, which he proceeded to put on their wrists; and fastening each handcuff
to a long chain, he drove them before him to the jail.
A few days saw Haley, with his possessions, safely deposited on one of the Ohio boats.
It was the commencement of his gang, to be augmented, as the boat moved on, by various
other merchandise of the same kind, which he, or his agent, had stored for him in
various points along shore.
The La Belle Riviere, as brave and beautiful a boat as ever walked the waters
of her namesake river, was floating gayly down the stream, under a brilliant sky, the
stripes and stars of free America waving
and fluttering over head; the guards crowded with well-dressed ladies and
gentlemen walking and enjoying the delightful day.
All was full of life, buoyant and rejoicing;--all but Haley's gang, who were
stored, with other freight, on the lower deck, and who, somehow, did not seem to
appreciate their various privileges, as
they sat in a knot, talking to each other in low tones.
"Boys," said Haley, coming up, briskly, "I hope you keep up good heart, and are
Now, no sulks, ye see; keep stiff upper lip, boys; do well by me, and I'll do well
by you."
The boys addressed responded the invariable "Yes, Mas'r," for ages the watchword of
poor Africa; but it's to be owned they did not look particularly cheerful; they had
their various little prejudices in favor of
wives, mothers, sisters, and children, seen for the last time,--and though "they that
wasted them required of them mirth," it was not instantly forthcoming.
"I've got a wife," spoke out the article enumerated as "John, aged thirty," and he
laid his chained hand on Tom's knee,--"and she don't know a word about this, poor
"Where does she live?" said Tom. "In a tavern a piece down here," said John;
"I wish, now, I could see her once more in this world," he added.
Poor John!
It was rather natural; and the tears that fell, as he spoke, came as naturally as if
he had been a white man. Tom drew a long breath from a sore heart,
and tried, in his poor way, to comfort him.
And over head, in the cabin, sat fathers and mothers, husbands and wives; and merry,
dancing children moved round among them, like so many little butterflies, and
everything was going on quite easy and comfortable.
"O, mamma," said a boy, who had just come up from below, "there's a negro trader on
board, and he's brought four or five slaves down there."
"Poor creatures!" said the mother, in a tone between grief and indignation.
"What's that?" said another lady. "Some poor slaves below," said the mother.
"And they've got chains on," said the boy.
"What a shame to our country that such sights are to be seen!" said another lady.
"O, there's a great deal to be said on both sides of the subject," said a genteel
woman, who sat at her state-room door sewing, while her little girl and boy were
playing round her.
"I've been south, and I must say I think the negroes are better off than they would
be to be free."
"In some respects, some of them are well off, I grant," said the lady to whose
remark she had answered.
"The most dreadful part of slavery, to my mind, is its outrages on the feelings and
affections,--the separating of families, for example."
"That is a bad thing, certainly," said the other lady, holding up a baby's dress she
had just completed, and looking intently on its trimmings; "but then, I fancy, it don't
occur often."
"O, it does," said the first lady, eagerly; "I've lived many years in Kentucky and
Virginia both, and I've seen enough to make any one's heart sick.
Suppose, ma'am, your two children, there, should be taken from you, and sold?"
"We can't reason from our feelings to those of this class of persons," said the other
lady, sorting out some worsteds on her lap.
"Indeed, ma'am, you can know nothing of them, if you say so," 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."
(NOTE: 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.
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
"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
"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
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
"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 her baby.
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 you,--so, now!"
"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 agitation.
"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
"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
"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 the man.
"I shall sell him, first chance I find," said Haley, lighting another cigar.
"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
"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 cent more."
"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
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
"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
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
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 disliked
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 quite calm.
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
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 support of an
institution which an American divine...(NOTE: Dr. Joel Parker of
[Mrs. Stowe's note.] Presbyterian clergyman (1799-1873), a friend of the Beecher
Mrs. Stowe attempted unsuccessfully to have this identifying note removed from the
stereotype-plate of the first edition.)...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
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. 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
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, in
"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 on 't."
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 of losses!
"He's a shocking creature, isn't he,--this trader? so unfeeling!
It's dreadful, really!" "O, but nobody thinks anything of these
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
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
(NOTE: 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 in
1833.)...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!
CHAPTER XIII 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 lisse 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 not stop." "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," said Rachel.
"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 first."
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
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
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 Ruth, cheerily.
"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 at Eliza.
"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 Rachel out.
"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 fellow, too." "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
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 kissing him.
"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 and faint.
"Have courage, child," said Rachel, laying her hand on her head.
"He is among friends, who will bring him here tonight."
Eliza repeated, "tonight!" The words lost all meaning to her; her head
was dreamy and confused; all was mist for a moment.
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 she offered.
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,
"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
"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
CHAPTER XIV Evangeline
"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, (NOTE: In Atala; or the Love and Constantcy
of Two Savages in the Desert (1801) by
Francois Auguste Rene, Vicomte de Chateaubriand (1768-1848).) a river of
mighty, unbroken solitudes, rolling amid undreamed wonders of vegetable and animal
In Atala; or the Love and Constantcy of Two Savages in the Desert (1801) by Francois
Auguste Rene, Vicomte de Chateaubriand (1768-1848).
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 find him.
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 Kentucky farm.
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
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,
"Let--not--your--heart--be--troubled. In--my --Father's--house--are--many--
mansions. I--go--to--prepare--a--place--for--you."
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 future one.
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
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
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
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, now, re'ly."
"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 nat'lly enough."
"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
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
"I'm a thinkin that every man'll have to hang on his own hook, in them ar quarters."
"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,
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 emergency, Tom."
Tom looked surprised, and rather hurt, and said, "I never drink, Mas'r."
"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.
CHAPTER XV Of Tom's New Master, and Various Other
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
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
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 immediately:
"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 mind diseased.
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,
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
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
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, (NOTE: The
Ancient History, ten volumes (1730-1738),
by the French historian Charles Rollin (1661-1741).)
Milton's Paradise Lost, Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, and Scott's Family Bible, (NOTE:
Scott's Family Bible (1788-1792), edited with notes by the English Biblical
commentator, Thomas Scott (1747-
1821).)...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 into
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...
(NOTE: 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.)...out of the
book-case, and looked out the exact latitude and longitude; and read Flint's
Travels in the South and West, (NOTE: Recollections of the Last Ten Years (1826)
by Timothy Flint (1780-1840), missionary of
Presbyterianism to the trans-Allegheny West.) make up his own mind as to the
nature of the country.
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 talking about the
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
In her habits, she was a living impersonation of order, method, and
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
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 acquaintance.
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 you had."
"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
"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
"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
"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
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
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 white race.
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 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 the verandah.
"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
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 and suavity.
"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
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, like me."
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,
"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 feet down. "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,
"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 a
"You've been gone a fortnight beyond the time," said the lady, pouting.
"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 or nothing."
"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
"If you don't think anything of my opinion in one case, I suppose you wouldn't in
another," said the lady, shutting the daguerreotype.
"Hang the woman!" said St. Clare, mentally; but aloud he added, "Come, now, Marie, what
do you think of the likeness? Don't be nonsensical, now."
"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.