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Title: Clotelle; Or, The Colored Heroine, a tale of the Southern States; Or, The President's Daughter
Author: Brown, William Wells
Language: English
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CLOTELLE; OR, THE COLORED HEROINE.

A TALE OF THE SOUTHERN STATES.


By William Wells Brown



CLOTELLE



CHAPTER I. THE SOUTHERN SOCIAL CIRCLE


FOR many years the South has been noted for its beautiful Quadroon
women. Bottles of ink, and reams of paper, have been used to portray the
“finely-cut and well-moulded features,” the “silken curls,” the “dark
and brilliant eyes,” the “splendid forms,” the “fascinating smiles,” and
“accomplished manners” of these impassioned and voluptuous daughters of
the two races,--the unlawful product of the crime of human bondage. When
we take into consideration the fact that no safeguard was ever thrown
around virtue, and no inducement held out to slave-women to be pure and
chaste, we will not be surprised when told that immorality pervades
the domestic circle in the cities and towns of the South to an extent
unknown in the Northern States. Many a planter’s wife has dragged out
a miserable existence, with an aching heart, at seeing her place in the
husband’s affections usurped by the unadorned beauty and captivating
smiles of her waiting-maid. Indeed, the greater portion of the colored
women, in the days of slavery, had no greater aspiration than that of
becoming the finely-dressed mistress of some white man. At the negro
balls and parties, that used to be so frequently given, this class of
women generally made the most splendid appearance.

A few years ago, among the many slave-women of Richmond, Va., who hired
their time of their masters, was Agnes, a mulatto owned by John Graves,
Esq., and who might be heard boasting that she was the daughter of an
American Senator. Although nearly forty years of age at the time of
which we write, Agnes was still exceedingly handsome. More than half
white, with long black hair and deep blue eyes, no one felt like
disputing with her when she urged her claim to her relationship with
the Anglo-Saxon. In her younger days, Agnes had been a housekeeper for
a young slave-holder, and in sustaining this relation had become the
mother of two daughters. After being cast aside by this young man,
the slave-woman betook herself to the business of a laundress, and was
considered to be the most tasteful woman in Richmond at her vocation.

Isabella and Marion, the two daughters of Agnes, resided with their
mother, and gave her what aid they could in her business. The mother,
however, was very choice of her daughters, and would allow them to
perform no labor that would militate against their lady-like appearance.
Agnes early resolved to bring up her daughters as ladies, as she termed
it.

As the girls grew older, the mother had to pay a stipulated price for
them per month. Her notoriety as a laundress of the first class enabled
her to put an extra charge upon the linen that passed through her hands;
and although she imposed little or no work upon her daughters, she was
enabled to live in comparative luxury and have her daughters dressed to
attract attention, especially at the negro balls and parties.

Although the term “negro ball” is applied to these gatherings, yet a
large portion of the men who attend them are whites. Negro balls and
parties in the Southern States, especially in the cities and towns, are
usually made up of quadroon women, a few negro men, and any number of
white gentlemen. These are gatherings of the most democratic character.
Bankers, merchants, lawyers, doctors, and their clerks and students, all
take part in these social assemblies upon terms of perfect equality. The
father and son not unfrequently meet and dance _vis a vis_ at a negro
ball.

It was at one of these parties that Henry Linwood, the son of a wealthy
and retired gentleman of Richmond, was first introduced to Isabella, the
oldest daughter of Agnes. The young man had just returned from Harvard
College, where he had spent the previous five years. Isabella was in
her eighteenth year, and was admitted by all who knew her to be the
handsomest girl, colored or white, in the city. On this occasion, she
was attired in a sky-blue silk dress, with deep black lace flounces,
and bertha of the same. On her well-moulded arms she wore massive gold
bracelets, while her rich black hair was arranged at the back in broad
basket plaits, ornamented with pearls, and the front in the French style
(_a la Imperatrice_), which suited her classic face to perfection.

Marion was scarcely less richly dressed than her sister.

Henry Linwood paid great attention to Isabella, which was looked
upon with gratification by her mother, and became a matter of general
conversation with all present. Of course, the young man escorted the
beautiful quadroon home that evening, and became the favorite visitor at
the house of Agnes.

It was on a beautiful moonlight night in the month of August, when all
who reside in tropical climates are eagerly gasping for a breath of
fresh air, that Henry Linwood was in the garden which surrounded Agnes’
cottage, with the young quadroon at his side. He drew from his pocket a
newspaper wet from the press, and read the following advertisement:--

     NOTICE.--Seventy-nine negroes will be offered for sale
     on Monday, September 10, at 12 o’clock, being the entire
     stock of the late John Graves.  The negroes are in excellent
     condition, and all warranted against the common vices.
     Among them are several mechanics, able-bodied field-hands,
     plough-boys, and women with children, some of them very prolific,
     affording a rare opportunity for any one who wishes to raise
     a strong and healthy lot of servants for their own use.
     Also several mulatto girls of rare personal qualities,--
     two of these very superior.

Among the above slaves advertised for sale were Agnes and her two
daughters. Ere young Linwood left the quadroon that evening, he promised
her that he would become her purchaser, and make her free and her own
mistress.

Mr. Graves had long been considered not only an excellent and upright
citizen of the first standing among the whites, but even the slaves
regarded him as one of the kindest of masters. Having inherited his
slaves with the rest of his property, he became possessed of them
without any consultation or wish of his own. He would neither buy nor
sell slaves, and was exceedingly careful, in letting them out, that they
did not find oppressive and tyrannical masters. No slave speculator ever
dared to cross the threshold of this planter of the Old Dominion. He
was a constant attendant upon religious worship, and was noted for his
general benevolence. The American Bible Society, the American Tract
Society, and the cause of the Foreign Missions, found in him a liberal
friend. He was always anxious that his slaves should appear well on the
Sabbath, and have an opportunity of hearing the word of God.



CHAPTER II. THE NEGRO SALE


AS might have been expected, the day of sale brought an unusually large
number together to compete for the property to be sold. Farmers, who
make a business of raising slaves for the market, were there, and
slave-traders, who make a business of buying human beings in the
slave-raising States and taking them to the far South, were also in
attendance. Men and women, too, who wished to purchase for their own
use, had found their way to the slave sale.

In the midst of the throng was one who felt a deeper interest in the
result of the sale than any other of the bystanders. This was young
Linwood. True to his promise, he was there with a blank bank-check in
his pocket, awaiting with impatience to enter the list as a bidder for
the beautiful slave.

It was indeed a heart-rending scene to witness the lamentations of these
slaves, all of whom had grown up together on the old homestead of Mr.
Graves, and who had been treated with great kindness by that gentleman,
during his life. Now they were to be separated, and form new relations
and companions. Such is the precarious condition of the slave. Even
when with a good master, there is not certainty of his happiness in the
future.

The less valuable slaves were first placed upon the auction-block, one
after another, and sold to the highest bidder. Husbands and wives were
separated with a degree of indifference that is unknown in any other
relation in life. Brothers and sisters were torn from each other, and
mothers saw their children for the last time on earth.

It was late in the day, and when the greatest number of persons were
thought to be present, when Agnes and her daughters were brought out to
the place of sale. The mother was first put upon the auction-block, and
sold to a noted negro trader named Jennings. Marion was next ordered to
ascend the stand, which she did with a trembling step, and was sold for
$1200.

All eyes were now turned on Isabella, as she was led forward by the
auctioneer. The appearance of the handsome quadroon caused a deep
sensation among the crowd. There she stood, with a skin as fair as most
white women, her features as beautifully regular as any of her sex
of pure Anglo-Saxon blood, her long black hair done up in the neatest
manner, her form tall and graceful, and her whole appearance indicating
one superior to her condition.

The auctioneer commenced by saying that Miss Isabella was fit to deck
the drawing-room of the finest mansion in Virginia.

“How much, gentlemen, for this real Albino!--fit fancy-girl for any one!
She enjoys good health, and has a sweet temper. How much do you say?”

“Five hundred dollars.”

“Only five hundred for such a girl as this? Gentlemen, she is worth
a deal more than that sum. You certainly do not know the value of the
article you are bidding on. Here, gentlemen, I hold in my hand a paper
certifying that she has a good moral character.”

“Seven hundred.”

“Ah, gentlemen, that is something life. This paper also states that she
is very intelligent.”

“Eight hundred.”

“She was first sprinkled, then immersed, and is now warranted to be a
devoted Christian, and perfectly trustworthy.”

“Nine hundred dollars.”

“Nine hundred and fifty.”

“One thousand.”

“Eleven hundred.”

Here the bidding came to a dead stand. The auctioneer stopped, looked
around, and began in a rough manner to relate some anecdote connected
with the sale of slaves, which he said had come under his own
observation.

At this juncture the scene was indeed a most striking one. The laughing,
joking, swearing, smoking, spitting, and talking, kept up a continual
hum and confusion among the crowd, while the slave-girl stood with
tearful eyes, looking alternately at her mother and sister and toward
the young man whom she hoped would become her purchaser.

“The chastity of this girl,” now continued the auctioneer, “is pure.
She has never been from under her mother’s care. She is virtuous, and as
gentle as a dove.”

The bids here took a fresh start, and went on until $1800 was reached.
The auctioneer once more resorted to his jokes, and concluded by
assuring the company that Isabella was not only pious, but that she
could make an excellent prayer.

“Nineteen hundred dollars.”

“Two thousand.”

This was the last bid, and the quadroon girl was struck off, and became
the property of Henry Linwood.

This was a Virginia slave-auction, at which the bones, sinews, blood,
and nerves of a young girl of eighteen were sold for $500; her moral
character for $200; her superior intellect for $100; the benefits
supposed to accrue from her having been sprinkled and immersed, together
with a warranty of her devoted Christianity, for $300; her ability to
make a good prayer for $200; and her chastity for $700 more. This, too,
in a city thronged with churches, whose tall spires look like so many
signals pointing to heaven, but whose ministers preach that slavery is a
God-ordained institution!

The slaves were speedily separated, and taken along by their respective
masters. Jennings, the slave-speculator, who had purchased Agnes and
her daughter Marion, with several of the other slaves, took them to the
county prison, where he usually kept his human cattle after purchasing
them, previous to starting for the New Orleans market.

Linwood had already provided a place for Isabella, to which she was
taken. The most trying moment for her was when she took leave of her
mother and sister. The “Good-by” of the slave is unlike that of any
other class in the community. It is indeed a farewell forever. With
tears streaming down their cheeks, they embraced and commended each
other to God, who is no respecter of persons, and before whom master and
slave must one day appear.



CHAPTER III. THE SLAVE-SPECULATOR


DICK JENNINGS the slave-speculator, was one of the few Northern men, who
go to the South and throw aside their honest mode of obtaining a living
and resort to trading in human beings. A more repulsive-looking person
could scarcely be found in any community of bad looking men. Tall, lean
and lank, with high cheek-bones, face much pitted with the small-pox,
gray eyes with red eyebrows, and sandy whiskers, he indeed stood alone
without mate or fellow in looks. Jennings prided himself upon what he
called his goodness of heat, and was always speaking of his humanity. As
many of the slaves whom he intended taking to the New Orleans market had
been raised in Richmond, and had relations there, he determined to leave
the city early in the morning, so as not to witness any of the scenes
so common on the departure of a slave-gang to the far South. In this, he
was most successful; for not even Isabella, who had called at the prison
several times to see her mother and sister, was aware of the time that
they were to leave.

The slave-trader started at early dawn, and was beyond the confines of
the city long before the citizens were out of their beds. As a slave
regards a life on the sugar, cotton, or rice plantation as even worse
than death, they are ever on the watch for an opportunity to escape. The
trader, aware of this, secures his victims in chains before he sets out
on his journey. On this occasion, Jennings had the men chained in pairs,
while the women were allowed to go unfastened, but were closely watched.

After a march of eight days, the company arrived on the banks of
the Ohio River, where they took a steamer for the place of their
destination. Jennings had already advertised in the New Orleans papers,
that he would be there with a prime lot of able-bodied slaves, men
and women, fit for field-service, with a few extra ones calculated for
house-servants,--all between the ages of fifteen and twenty-five years;
but like most men who make a business of speculating in human beings, he
often bought many who were far advanced in years, and would try to pass
them off for five or six years younger than they were. Few persons
can arrive at anything approaching the real age of the negro, by mere
observation, unless they are well acquainted with the race. Therefore,
the slave-trader frequently carried out the deception with perfect
impunity.

After the steamer had left the wharf and was fairly out on the bosom of
the broad Mississippi, the speculator called his servant Pompey to him;
and instructed him as to getting the negroes ready for market. Among
the forty slaves that the trader had on this occasion, were some whose
appearance indicated that they had seen some years and had gone through
considerable service. Their gray hair and whiskers at once pronounced
them to be above the ages set down in the trader’s advertisement. Pompey
had long been with Jennings, and understood his business well, and if
he did not take delight in the discharge of his duty, he did it at least
with a degree of alacrity, so that he might receive the approbation of
his master.

Pomp, as he was usually called by the trader, was of real negro blood,
and would often say, when alluding to himself, “Dis nigger am no
counterfeit, he is de ginuine artikle. Dis chile is none of your
haf-and-haf, dere is no bogus about him.”

Pompey was of low stature, round face, and, like most of his race, had
a set of teeth, which, for whiteness and beauty, could not be surpassed;
his eyes were large, lips thick, and hair short and woolly. Pompey had
been with Jennings so long, and had seen so much of buying and selling
of his fellow-creatures, that he appeared perfectly indifferent to the
heart-rending scenes which daily occurred in his presence. Such is the
force of habit:--

      “Vice is a monster of such frightful mien,
      That to be hated, needs but to be seen;
      But seen too oft, familiar with its face,
      We first endure, then pity, then embrace.”

It was on the second day of the steamer’s voyage, that Pompey selected
five of the oldest slaves, took them into a room by themselves, and
commenced preparing them for the market.

“Now,” said he, addressing himself to the company, “I is de chap dat is
to get you ready for de Orleans market, so dat you will bring marser a
good price. How old is you?” addressing himself to a man not less than
forty.

“If I live to see next sweet-potato-digging time, I shall be either
forty or forty-five, I don’t know which.”

“Dat may be,” replied Pompey; “but now you is only thirty years
old,--dat’s what marser says you is to be.”

“I know I is more den dat,” responded the man.

“I can’t help nuffin’ about dat,” returned Pompey; “but when you get
into de market and any one ax you how old you is, and you tell um you is
forty or forty-five, marser will tie you up and cut you all to pieces.
But if you tell um dat you is only thirty, den he won’t. Now remember
dat you is thirty years old and no more.”

“Well den, I guess I will only be thirty when dey ax me.”

“What’s your name?” said Pompey, addressing himself to another.

“Jeems.”

“Oh! Uncle Jim, is it?” “Yes.”

“Den you must have all them gray whiskers shaved off, and all dem gray
hairs plucked out of your head.” This was all said by Pompey in a manner
which showed that he knew what he was about.

“How old is you?” asked Pompey of a tall, strong-looking man. “What’s
your name?”

“I am twenty-nine years old, and my name is Tobias, but they calls me
Toby.”

“Well, Toby, or Mr. Tobias, if dat will suit you better, you are now
twenty-three years old; dat’s all,--do you understand dat?”

“Yes,” replied Toby.

Pompey now gave them all to understand how old they were to be when
asked by persons who were likely to purchase, and then went and reported
to his master that the old boys were all right.

“Be sure,” said Jennings, “that the niggers don’t forget what you have
taught them, for our luck this time in the market depends upon their
appearance. If any of them have so many gray hairs that you cannot pluck
them out, take the blacking and brush, and go at them.”



CHAPTER IV. THE BOAT-RACE


AT eight o’clock, on the evening of the third day of the passage, the
lights of another steamer were seen in the distance, and apparently
coming up very fast. This was the signal for a general commotion on
board the Patriot, and everything indicated that a steamboat-race was
at hand. Nothing can exceed the excitement attendant upon the racing of
steamers on the Mississippi.

By the time the boats had reached Memphis they were side by side, and
each exerting itself to get in advance of the other. The night was
clear, the moon shining brightly, and the boats so near to each other
that the passengers were within speaking distance. On board the Patriot
the firemen were using oil, lard, butter, and even bacon, with wood, for
the purpose of raising the steam to its highest pitch. The blaze mingled
with the black smoke that issued from the pipes of the other boat, which
showed that she also was burning something more combustible than wood.

The firemen of both boats, who were slaves, were singing songs such
as can only be heard on board a Southern steamer. The boats now came
abreast of each other, and nearer and nearer, until they were locked
so that men could pass from one to the other. The wildest excitement
prevailed among the men employed on the steamers, in which the
passengers freely participated.

The Patriot now stopped to take in passengers, but still no steam was
permitted to escape. On the starting of the boat again, cold water
was forced into the boilers by the feed-pumps, and, as might have been
expected, one of the boilers exploded with terrific force, carrying away
the boiler-deck and tearing to pieces much of the machinery. One dense
fog of steam filled every part of the vessel, while shrieks, groans,
and cries were heard on every side. Men were running hither and thither
looking for their wives, and women were flying about in the wildest
confusion seeking for their husbands. Dismay appeared on every
countenance.

The saloons and cabins soon looked more like hospitals than anything
else; but by this time the Patriot had drifted to the shore, and the
other steamer had come alongside to render assistance to the disabled
boat. The killed and wounded (nineteen in number) were put on shore,
and the Patriot, taken in tow by the Washington, was once more on her
journey.

It was half-past twelve, and the passengers, instead of retiring to
their berths, once more assembled at the gambling-tables. The practice
of gambling on the western waters has long been a source of annoyance
to the more moral persons who travel on our great rivers. Thousands
of dollars often change owners during a passage from St. Louis or
Louisville to New Orleans, on a Mississippi steamer. Many men
are completely ruined on such occasions, and duels are often the
consequence.

“Go call my boy, steward,” said Mr. Jones, as he took his cards one by
one from the table.

In a few minutes a fine-looking, bright-eyed mulatto boy, apparently
about sixteen years of age, was standing by his master’s side at the
table.

“I am broke, all but my boy,” said Jones, as he ran his fingers through
his cards; “but he is worth a thousand dollars, and I will bet the half
of him.”

“I will call you,” said Thompson, as he laid five hundred dollars at
the feet of the boy, who was standing on the table, and at the same time
throwing down his cards before his adversary.

“You have beaten me,” said Jones; and a roar of laughter followed from
the other gentleman as poor Joe stepped down from the table.

“Well, I suppose I owe you half the nigger,” said Thompson, as he took
hold of Joe and began examining his limbs.

“Yes,” replied Jones, “he is half yours. Let me have five hundred
dollars, and I will give you a bill of sale of the boy.”

“Go back to your bed,” said Thompson to his chattel, “and remember that
you now belong to me.”

The poor slave wiped the tears from his eyes, as, in obedience, he
turned to leave the table.

“My father gave me that boy,” said Jones, as he took the money, “and I
hope, Mr. Thompson, that you will allow me to redeem him.”

“Most certainly, sir,” replied Thompson. “Whenever you hand over the
cool thousand the negro is yours.”

Next morning, as the passengers were assembling in the cabin and on
deck, and while the slaves were running about waiting on or looking for
their masters, poor Joe was seen entering his new master’s stateroom,
boots in hand.

“Who do you belong to?” inquired a gentleman of an old negro, who passed
along leading a fine Newfoundland dog which he had been feeding.

“When I went to sleep las’ night,” replied the slave, “I ‘longed to
Massa Carr; but he bin gamblin’ all night, an’ I don’t know who I ‘longs
to dis mornin’.”

Such is the uncertainty of a slave’s life. He goes to bed at night
the pampered servant of his young master, with whom he has played
in childhood, and who would not see his slave abused under any
consideration, and gets up in the morning the property of a man whom he
has never before seen.

To behold five or six tables in the saloon of a steamer, with half a
dozen men playing cards at each, with money, pistols, and bowie-knives
spread in splendid confusion before them, is an ordinary thing on the
Mississippi River.



CHAPTER V. THE YOUNG MOTHER


ON the fourth morning, the Patriot landed at Grand Gulf, a beautiful
town on the left bank of the Mississippi. Among the numerous passengers
who came on board at Rodney was another slave-trader, with nine human
chattels which he was conveying to the Southern market. The passengers,
both ladies and gentlemen, were startled at seeing among the new lot
of slaves a woman so white as not to be distinguishable from the other
white women on board. She had in her arms a child so white that no one
would suppose a drop of African blood flowed through its blue veins.

No one could behold that mother with her helpless babe, without feeling
that God would punish the oppressor. There she sat, with an expressive
and intellectual forehead, and a countenance full of dignity and
heroism, her dark golden locks rolled back from her almost snow-white
forehead and floating over her swelling bosom. The tears that stood in
her mild blue eyes showed that she was brooding over sorrows and wrongs
that filled her bleeding heart.

The hearts of the passers-by grew softer, while gazing upon that young
mother as she pressed sweet kisses on the sad, smiling lips of the
infant that lay in her lap. The small, dimpled hands of the innocent
creature were slyly hid in the warm bosom on which the little one
nestled. The blood of some proud Southerner, no doubt, flowed through
the veins of that child.

When the boat arrived at Natches, a rather good-looking,
genteel-appearing man came on board to purchase a servant. This
individual introduced himself to Jennings as the Rev. James Wilson. The
slave-trader conducted the preacher to the deck-cabin, where he kept
his slaves, and the man of God, after having some questions answered,
selected Agnes as the one best suited to his service.

It seemed as if poor Marion’s heart would break when she found that she
was to be separated from her mother. The preacher, however, appeared to
be but little moved by their sorrow, and took his newly-purchased victim
on shore. Agnes begged him to buy her daughter, but he refused, on the
ground that he had no use for her.

During the remainder of the passage, Marion wept bitterly.

After a run of a few hours, the boat stopped at Baton Rouge, where an
additional number of passengers were taken on board, among whom were
a number of persons who had been attending the races at that place.
Gambling and drinking were now the order of the day.

The next morning, at ten o’clock, the boat arrived at new Orleans, where
the passengers went to their hotels and homes, and the negroes to the
slave-pens.

Lizzie, the white slave-mother, of whom we have already spoken, created
as much of a sensation by the fairness of her complexion and the
alabaster whiteness of her child, when being conveyed on shore at New
Orleans, as she had done when brought on board at Grand Gulf. Every one
that saw her felt that slavery in the Southern States was not confined
to the negro. Many had been taught to think that slavery was a benefit
rather than an injury, and those who were not opposed to the institution
before, now felt that if whites were to become its victims, it was time
at least that some security should be thrown around the Anglo-Saxon to
save him from this servile and degraded position.



CHAPTER VI. THE SLAVE-MARKET.

NOT far from Canal Street, in the city of New Orleans, stands a large
two-story, flat building, surrounded by a stone wall some twelve feet
high, the top of which is covered with bits of glass, and so constructed
as to prevent even the possibility of any one’s passing over it without
sustaining great injury. Many of the rooms in this building resemble the
cells of a prison, and in a small apartment near the “office” are to
be seen any number of iron collars, hobbles, handcuffs, thumbscrews,
cowhides, chains, gags, and yokes.

A back-yard, enclosed by a high wall, looks something like the
playground attached to one of our large New England schools, in which
are rows of benches and swings. Attached to the back premises is a
good-sized kitchen, where, at the time of which we write, two old
negresses were at work, stewing, boiling, and baking, and occasionally
wiping the perspiration from their furrowed and swarthy brows.

The slave-trader, Jennings, on his arrival at New Orleans, took up his
quarters here with his gang of human cattle, and the morning after,
at 10 o’clock, they were exhibited for sale. First of all came the
beautiful Marion, whose pale countenance and dejected look told how
many sad hours she had passed since parting with her mother at Natchez.
There, too, was a poor woman who had been separated from her husband;
and another woman, whose looks and manners were expressive of deep
anguish, sat by her side. There was “Uncle Jeems,” with his whiskers
off, his face shaven clean, and the gray hairs plucked out, ready to be
sold for ten years younger than he was. Toby was also there, with his
face shaven and greased, ready for inspection.

The examination commenced, and was carried on in such a manner as to
shock the feelings of any one not entirely devoid of the milk of human
kindness.

“What are you wiping your eyes for?” inquired a far, red-faced man, with
a white hat set on one side of his head and a cigar in his mouth, of a
woman who sat on one of the benches.

“Because I left my man behind.”

“Oh, if I buy you, I will furnish you with a better man than you left.
I’ve got lots of young bucks on my farm.”

“I don’t want and never will have another man,” replied the woman.

“What’s you name?” asked a man in a straw hat of a tall negro who stood
with his arms folded across his breast, leaning against the wall.

“My name is Aaron, sar.”

“How old are you?”

“Twenty-five.”

“Where were you raised?”

“In old Virginny, sar.”

“How many men have owned you?”

“Four.”

“Do you enjoy good health?”

“Yes, sar.”

“How long did you live with your first owner?”

“Twenty years.”

“Did you ever run away?”

“No, sar.”

“Did you ever strike your master?”

“No, sar.”

“Were you ever whipped much?”

“No, sar; I s’pose I didn’t desarve it, sar.”

“How long did you live with your second master?”

“Ten years, sar.”

“Have you a good appetite?”

“Yes, sar.”

“Can you eat your allowance?”

“Yes, sar,--when I can get it.”

“Where were you employed in Virginia?”

“I worked de tobacker fiel’.”

“In the tobacco field, eh?”

“Yes, sar.”

“How old did you say you was?”

“Twenty-five, sar, nex’ sweet-’tater-diggin’ time.”

“I am a cotton-planter, and if I buy you, you will have to work in the
cotton-field. My men pick one hundred and fifty pounds a day, and the
women one hundred and forty pounds; and those who fail to perform their
task receive five stripes for each pound that is wanting. Now, do you
think you could keep up with the rest of the hands?”

“I don’t know, sar, but I ‘specs I’d have to.”

“How long did you live with your third master?”

“Three years, sar.”

“Why, that makes you thirty-three. I thought you told me you were only
twenty-five?”

Aaron now looked first at the planter, then at the trader, and seemed
perfectly bewildered. He had forgotten the lesson given him by Pompey
relative to his age; and the planter’s circuitous questions--doubtless
to find out the slave’s real age--had thrown the negro off his guard.

“I must see you back, so as to know how much you have been whipped,
before I think of buying.”

Pompey, who had been standing by during the examination, thought that
his services were now required, and, stepping forth with a degree of
officiousness, said to Aaron,--

“Don’t you hear de gemman tell you he wants to ‘zamin you. Cum,
unharness yo’seff, ole boy, and don’t be standin’ dar.”

Aaron was soon examined, and pronounced “sound;” yet the conflicting
statement about his age was not satisfactory.

Fortunately for Marion, she was spared the pain of undergoing such an
examination. Mr. Cardney, a teller in one of the banks, had just been
married, and wanted a maid-servant for his wife, and, passing through
the market in the early part of the day, was pleased with the young
slave’s appearance, and his dwelling the quadroon found a much better
home than often falls to the lot of a slave sold in the New Orleans
market.



CHAPTER VII. THE SLAVE-HOLDING PARSON


THE Rev. James Wilson was a native of the State of Connecticut, where
he was educated for the ministry in the Methodist persuasion. His father
was a strict follower of John Wesley, and spared no pains in his son’s
education, with the hope that he would one day be as renowned as the
leader of his sect. James had scarcely finished his education at New
Haven, when he was invited by an uncle, then on a visit to his father,
to spend a few months at Natchez in Mississippi. Young Wilson accepted
his uncle’s invitation, and accompanied him to the South. Few young men,
and especially clergymen, going fresh from college to the South, but are
looked upon as geniuses in a small way, and who are not invited to all
the parties in the neighborhood. Mr. Wilson was not an exception to this
rule. The society into which he was thrown, on his arrival at Natchez,
was too brilliant for him not to be captivated by it, and, as might have
been expected, he succeeded in captivating a plantation with seventy
slaves if not the heart of the lady to whom it belonged.

Added to this, he became a popular preacher, and had a large
congregation with a snug salary. Like other planters, Mr. Wilson
confided the care of his farm to Ned Huckelby, an overseer of high
reputation in his way.

The Poplar Farm, as it was called, was situated in a beautiful valley,
nine miles from Natchez, and near the Mississippi River. The once
unshorn face of nature had given way, and the farm now blossomed with
a splendid harvest. The neat cottage stood in a grove, where Lombardy
poplars lift their tops almost to prop the skies, where the willow,
locust, and horse-chestnut trees spread forth their branches, and
flowers never ceased to blossom.

This was the parson’s country residence, where the family spent only two
months during the year. His town residence was a fine villa, seated on
the brow of a hill, at the edge of the city.

It was in the kitchen of this house that Agnes found her new home. Mr.
Wilson was every inch a democrat, and early resolved that “his people,”
 as he called his slaves, should be well-fed and not over-worked, and
therefore laid down the law and gospel to the overseer as well as to the
slaves. “It is my wish,” said he to Mr. Carlingham, an old school-fellow
who was spending a few days with him,--“It is my wish that a new system
be adopted on the plantations in this State. I believe that the sons of
Ham should have the gospel, and I intend that mine shall have it. The
gospel is calculated to make mankind better and none should be without
it.”

“What say you,” said Carlingham, “about the right of man to his
liberty?”

“Now, Carlingham, you have begun to harp again about men’s rights. I
really wish that you could see this matter as I do.”

“I regret that I cannot see eye to eye with you,” said Carlingham. “I
am a disciple of Rousseau, and have for years made the rights of man my
study, and I must confess to you that I see no difference between white
and black, as it regards liberty.”

“Now, my dear Carlingham, would you really have the negroes enjoy the
same rights as ourselves?”

“I would most certainly. Look at our great Declaration of Independence!
look even at the Constitution of our own Connecticut, and see what is
said in these about liberty.” “I regard all this talk about rights as
mere humbug. The Bible is older than the Declaration of Independence,
and there I take my stand.”

A long discussion followed, in which both gentlemen put forth their
peculiar ideas with much warmth of feeling.

During this conversation, there was another person in the room, seated
by the window, who, although at work, embroidering a fine collar, paid
minute attention to what was said. This was Georgiana, the only daughter
of the parson, who had but just returned from Connecticut, where she had
finished her education. She had had the opportunity of contrasting the
spirit of Christianity and liberty in New England with that of slavery
in her native State, and had learned to feel deeply for the injured
negro.

Georgiana was in her nineteenth year, and had been much benefited by her
residence of five years at the North. Her form was tall and graceful,
her features regular and well-defined, and her complexion was
illuminated by the freshness of youth, beauty, and health.

The daughter differed from both the father and visitor upon the subject
which they had been discussing; and as soon as an opportunity offered,
she gave it as her opinion that the Bible was both the bulwark of
Christianity and of liberty. With a smile she said,--

“Of course, papa will overlook my difference with him, for although I am
a native of the South, I am by education and sympathy a Northerner.”

Mr. Wilson laughed, appearing rather pleased than otherwise at the
manner in which his daughter had expressed herself. From this Georgiana
took courage and continued,--

“‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.’ This single passage of
Scripture should cause us to have respect for the rights of the slave.
True Christian love is of an enlarged and disinterested nature. It loves
all who love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity, without regard to color
or condition.”

“Georgiana, my dear, you are an abolitionist,--your talk is fanaticism!”
 said Mr. Wilson, in rather a sharp tone; but the subdued look of the
girl and the presence of Carlingham caused him to soften his language.

Mr. Wilson having lost his wife by consumption, and Georgiana being
his only child, he loved her too dearly to say more, even if he felt
disposed. A silence followed this exhortation from the young Christian,
but her remarks had done a noble work. The father’s heart was touched,
and the sceptic, for the first time, was viewing Christianity in its
true light.



CHAPTER VIII. A NIGHT IN THE PARSON’S KITCHEN


BESIDES Agnes, whom Mr. Wilson had purchased from the slave-trader,
Jennings, he kept a number of house-servants. The chief one of these
was Sam, who must be regarded as second only to the parson himself. If
a dinner-party was in contemplation, or any company was to be invited,
after all the arrangements had been talked over by the minister and his
daughter, Sam was sure to be consulted on the subject by “Miss Georgy,”
 as Miss Wilson was called by all the servants. If furniture, crockery,
or anything was to be purchased, Sam felt that he had been slighted if
his opinion was not asked. As to the marketing, he did it all. He sat
at the head of the servants’ table in the kitchen, and was master of
the ceremonies. A single look from him was enough to silence any
conversation or noise among the servants in the kitchen or in any other
part of the premises.

There is in the Southern States a great amount of prejudice in regard
to color, even among the negroes themselves. The nearer the negro
or mulatto approaches to the white, the more he seems to feel his
superiority over those of a darker hue. This is no doubt the result of
the prejudice that exists on the part of the whites against both the
mulattoes and the blacks.

Sam was originally from Kentucky, and through the instrumentality of one
of his young masters, whom he had to take to school, he had learned
to read so as to be well understood, and, owing to that fact, was
considered a prodigy, not only among his own master’s slaves, but also
among those of the town who knew him. Sam had a great wish to follow in
the footsteps of his master and be a poet, and was therefore often heard
singing doggerels of his own composition.

But there was one drawback to Sam, and that was his color. He was one
of the blackest of his race. This he evidently regarded as a great
misfortune; but he endeavored to make up for it in dress. Mr. Wilson
kept his house-servants well dressed, and as for Sam, he was seldom seen
except in a ruffled shirt. Indeed, the washerwoman feared him more than
any one else in the house.

Agnes had been inaugurated chief of the kitchen department, and had
a general supervision of the household affairs. Alfred, the coachman,
Peter, and Hetty made up the remainder of the house-servants. Besides
these, Mr. Wilson owned eight slaves who were masons. These worked in
the city. Being mechanics, they were let out to greater advantage than
to keep them on the farm.

Every Sunday evening, Mr. Wilson’s servants, including the brick-layers,
assembled in the kitchen, where the events of the week were fully
discussed and commented upon. It was on a Sunday evening, in the month
of June, that there was a party at Mr. Wilson’s house, and, according to
custom in the Southern States, the ladies had their maid-servants with
them. Tea had been served in “the house,” and the servants, including
the strangers, had taken their seats at the table in the kitchen. Sam,
being a “single gentleman,” was unusually attentive to the “ladies” on
this occasion. He seldom let a day pass without spending an hour or two
in combing and brushing his “har.” He had an idea that fresh butter
was better for his hair than any other kind of grease, and therefore on
churning days half a pound of butter had always to be taken out before
it was salted. When he wished to appear to great advantage, he would
grease his face to make it “shiny.” Therefore, on the evening of the
party, when all the servants were at the table, Sam cut a big figure.
There he sat, with his wool well combed and buttered, face nicely
greased, and his ruffles extending five or six inches from his bosom.
The parson in his drawing-room did not make a more imposing appearance
than did his servant on this occasion.

“I jis bin had my fortune tole last Sunday night,” said Sam, while
helping one of the girls.

“Indeed!” cried half a dozen voices.

“Yes,” continued he; “Aunt Winny tole me I’s to hab de prettiest yallah
gal in de town, and dat I’s to be free!”

All eyes were immediately turned toward Sally Johnson, who was seated
near Sam.

“I ‘specs I see somebody blush at dat remark,” said Alfred.

“Pass dem pancakes an’ ‘lasses up dis way, Mr. Alf., and none ob your
‘sinuwashuns here,” rejoined Sam.

“Dat reminds me,” said Agnes, “dat Dorcas Simpson is gwine to git
married.”

“Who to, I want to know?” inquired Peter.

“To one of Mr. Darby’s field-hands,” answered Agnes.

“I should tink dat gal wouldn’t frow herseff away in dat ar way,” said
Sally. “She’s good lookin’ ‘nough to git a house-servant, and not hab to
put up wid a field-nigger.

“Yes,” said Sam, “dat’s a werry unsensible remark ob yourn, Miss Sally.
I admires your judgment werry much, I ‘sures you. Dar’s plenty ob
susceptible an’ well-dressed house-serbants dat a gal ob her looks can
git widout takin’ up wid dem common darkies.”

The evening’s entertainment concluded by Sam’s relating a little of his
own experience while with his first master, in old Kentucky. This master
was a doctor, and had a large practice among his neighbors, doctoring
both masters and slaves. When Sam was about fifteen years old, his
master set him to grinding up ointment and making pills. As the young
student grew older and became more practised in his profession, his
services were of more importance to the doctor. The physician having
a good business, and a large number of his patients being slaves,--the
most of whom had to call on the doctor when ill,--he put Sam to
bleeding, pulling teeth, and administering medicine to the slaves. Sam
soon acquired the name among the slaves of the “Black Doctor.” With this
appellation he was delighted; and no regular physician could have put on
more airs than did the black doctor when his services were required. In
bleeding, he must have more bandages, and would rub and smack the arm
more than the doctor would have thought of.

Sam was once seen taking out a tooth for one of his patients, and
nothing appeared more amusing. He got the poor fellow down on his back,
and then getting astride of his chest, he applied the turnkeys and
pulled away for dear life. Unfortunately, he had got hold of the wrong
tooth, and the poor man screamed as loud as he could; but it was to no
purpose, for Sam had him fast, and after a pretty severe tussle out came
the sound grinder. The young doctor now saw his mistake, but consoled
himself with the thought that as the wrong tooth was out of the way,
there was more room to get at the right one.

Bleeding and a dose of calomel were always considered indispensable
by the “old boss,” and as a matter of course, Sam followed in his
footsteps.

On one occasion the old doctor was ill himself, so as to be unable to
attend to his patients. A slave, with pass in hand, called to receive
medical advice, and the master told Sam to examine him and see what
he wanted. This delighted him beyond measure, for although he had been
acting his part in the way of giving out medicine as the master ordered
it, he had never been called upon by the latter to examine a patient,
and this seemed to convince him after all that he was no sham doctor. As
might have been expected, he cut a rare figure in his first examination.
Placing himself directly opposite his patient, and folding his arms
across his breast, looking very knowingly, he began,--

“What’s de matter wid you?”

“I is sick.”

“Where is you sick?”

“Here,” replied the man, putting his hand upon his stomach.

“Put out your tongue,” continued the doctor.

The man ran out his tongue at full length.

“Let me feel your pulse;” at the same time taking his patient’s hand in
his, and placing his fingers upon his pulse, he said,--

“Ah! your case is a bad one; ef I don’t do something for you, and dat
pretty quick, you’ll be a gone coon, and dat’s sartin.” At this the
man appeared frightened, and inquired what was the matter with him, in
answer to which Sam said,--

“I done told dat your case is a bad one, and dat’s enuff.”

On Sam’s returning to his master’s bedside, the latter said,--

“Well, Sam, what do you think is the matter with him?”

“His stomach is out ob order, sar,” he replied.

“What do you think had better be done for him?”

“I tink I’d better bleed him and gib him a dose ob calomel,” returned
Sam.

So, to the latter’s gratification, the master let him have his own way.

On one occasion, when making pills and ointment, Sam made a great
mistake. He got the preparations for both mixed together, so that he
could not legitimately make either. But fearing that if he threw the
stuff away, his master would flog him, and being afraid to inform his
superior of the mistake, he resolved to make the whole batch of pill and
ointment stuff into pills. He well knew that the powder over the pills
would hide the inside, and the fact that most persons shut their eyes
when taking such medicine led the young doctor to feel that all would
be right in the end. Therefore Sam made his pills, boxed them up, put
on the labels, and placed them in a conspicuous position on one of the
shelves.

Sam felt a degree of anxiety about his pills, however. It was a strange
mixture, and he was not certain whether it would kill or cure; but he
was willing that it should be tried. At last the young doctor had his
vanity gratified. Col. Tallen, one of Dr. Saxondale’s patients, drove up
one morning, and Sam as usual ran out to the gate to hold the colonel’s
horse.

“Call your master,” said the colonel; “I will not get out.”

The doctor was soon beside the carriage, and inquired about the health
of his patient. After a little consultation, the doctor returned to
his office, took down a box of Sam’s new pills, and returned to the
carriage.

“Take two of these every morning and night,” said the doctor, “and if
you don’t feel relieved, double the dose.”

“Good gracious,” exclaimed Sam in an undertone, when he heard his master
tell the colonel how to take the pills.

It was several days before Sam could learn the result of his new
medicine. One afternoon, about a fortnight after the colonel’s visit,
Sam saw his master’s patient riding up to the gate on horseback. The
doctor happened to be in the yard, and met the colonel and said,--

“How are you now?”

“I am entirely recovered,” replied the patient. “Those pills of yours
put me on my feet the next day.”

“I knew they would,” rejoined the doctor.

Sam was near enough to hear the conversation, and was delighted beyond
description. The negro immediately ran into the kitchen, amongst his
companions, and commenced dancing.

“What de matter wid you?” inquired the cook.

“I is de greatest doctor in his country,” replied Sam. “Ef you ever get
sick, call on me. No matter what ails you, I is de man dat can cure you
in no time. If you do hab de backache, de rheumatics, de headache, de
coller morbus, fits, er any ting else, Sam is de gentleman dat can put
you on your feet wid his pills.”

For a long time after, Sam did little else than boast of his skill as a
doctor.

We have said that the “black doctor” was full of wit and good sense.
Indeed, in that respect, he had scarcely an equal in the neighborhood.
Although his master resided some little distance out of the city, Sam
was always the first man in all the negro balls and parties in town.
When his master could give him a pass, he went, and when he did not give
him one, he would steal away after his master had retired, and run the
risk of being taken up by the night-watch. Of course, the master never
knew anything of the absence of the servant at night without permission.
As the negroes at these parties tried to excel each other in the way of
dress, Sam was often at a loss to make that appearance that his heart
desired, but his ready wit ever helped him in this. When his master had
retired to bed at night, it was the duty of Sam to put out the lights,
and take out with him his master’s clothes and boots, and leave them in
the office until morning, and then black the boots, brush the clothes,
and return them to his master’s room.

Having resolved to attend a dress-ball one night, without his master’s
permission, and being perplexed for suitable garments, Sam determined to
take his master’s. So, dressing himself in the doctor’s clothes, even
to his boots and hat, off the negro started for the city. Being well
acquainted with the usual walk of the patrols he found no difficulty in
keeping out of their way. As might have been expected, Sam was the great
gun with the ladies that night.

The next morning, Sam was back home long before his master’s time for
rising, and the clothes were put in their accustomed place. For a long
time Sam had no difficulty in attiring himself for parties; but the old
proverb that “It is a long lane that has no turning,” was verified in
the negro’s case. One stormy night, when the rain was descending in
torrents, the doctor heard a rap at his door. It was customary with him,
when called up at night to visit a patient, to ring for Sam. But this
time, the servant was nowhere to be found. The doctor struck a light and
looked for clothes; they, too, were gone. It was twelve o’clock, and
the doctor’s clothes, hat, boots, and even his watch, were nowhere to be
found. Here was a pretty dilemma for a doctor to be in. It was some time
before the physician could fit himself out so as to make the visit. At
last, however, he started with one of the farm-horses, for Sam had taken
the doctor’s best saddle-horse. The doctor felt sure that the negro had
robbed him, and was on his way to Canada; but in this he was mistaken.
Sam had gone to the city to attend a ball, and had decked himself out in
his master’s best suit. The physician returned before morning, and again
retired to bed but with little hope of sleep, for his thoughts were with
his servant and horse. At six o’clock, in walked Sam with his master’s
clothes, and the boots neatly blacked. The watch was placed on the
shelf, and the hat in its place. Sam had not met any of the servants,
and was therefore entirely ignorant of what had occurred during his
absence.

“What have you been about, sir, and where was you last night when I was
called?” asked the doctor.

“I don’t know, sir. I ‘spose I was asleep,” replied Sam.

But the doctor was not to be so easily satisfied, after having been put
to so much trouble in hunting up another suit without the aid of Sam.
After breakfast, Sam was taken into the barn, tied up, and severely
flogged with the cat, which brought from him the truth concerning
his absence the previous night. This forever put an end to his fine
appearance at the negro parties. Had not the doctor been one of the most
indulgent of masters, he would not have escaped with merely a severe
whipping.

As a matter of course, Sam had to relate to his companions that evening
in Mr. Wilson’s kitchen all his adventures as a physician while with his
old master.



CHAPTER IX. THE MAN OF HONOR


AUGUSTINE CARDINAY, the purchaser of Marion, was from the Green
Mountains of Vermont, and his feelings were opposed to the holding of
slaves; but his young wife persuaded him into the idea that it was no
worse to own a slave than to hire one and pay the money to another.
Hence it was that he had been induced to purchase Marion.

Adolphus Morton, a young physician from the same State, and who had just
commenced the practice of his profession in New Orleans, was boarding
with Cardinay when Marion was brought home. The young physician had been
in New Orleans but a very few weeks, and had seen but little of slavery.
In his own mountain-home, he had been taught that the slaves of the
Southern States were negroes, and if not from the coast of Africa, the
descendants of those who had been imported. He was unprepared to
behold with composure a beautiful white girl of sixteen in the degraded
position of a chattel slave.

The blood chilled in his young heart as he heard Cardinay tell how, by
bantering with the trader, he had bought her two hundred dollars less
than he first asked. His very looks showed that she had the deepest
sympathies of his heart.

Marion had been brought up by her mother to look after the domestic
concerns of her cottage in Virginia, and well knew how to perform the
duties imposed upon her. Mrs. Cardinay was much pleased with her new
servant, and often mentioned her good qualities in the presence of Mr.
Morton.

After eight months acquaintance with Marion, Morton’s sympathies ripened
into love, which was most cordially reciprocated by the friendless and
injured child of sorrow. There was but one course which the young man
could honorably pursue, and that was to purchase Marion and make her
his lawful wife; and this he did immediately, for he found Mr. and Mrs.
Cardinay willing to second his liberal intentions.

The young man, after purchasing Marion from Cardinay, and marrying her,
took lodgings in another part of the city. A private teacher was called
in, and the young wife was taught some of those accomplishments so
necessary for one taking a high position in good society.

Dr. Morton soon obtained a large and influential practice in his
profession, and with it increased in wealth; but with all his wealth he
never owned a slave. Probably the fact that he had raised his wife from
that condition kept the hydra-headed system continually before him.
To the credit of Marion be it said, she used every means to obtain the
freedom of her mother, who had been sold to Parson Wilson, at Natchez.
Her efforts, however, had come too late; for Agnes had died of a fever
before the arrival of Dr. Morton’s agent.

Marion found in Adolphus Morton a kind and affectionate husband; and his
wish to purchase her mother, although unsuccessful, had doubly endeared
him to her. Ere a year had elapsed from the time of their marriage, Mrs.
Morton presented her husband with a lovely daughter, who seemed to knit
their hearts still closer together. This child they named Jane; and
before the expiration of the second year, they were blessed with another
daughter, whom they named Adrika.

These children grew up to the ages of ten and eleven, and were then
sent to the North to finish their education, and receive that refinement
which young ladies cannot obtain in the Slave States.



CHAPTER X. THE QUADROON’S HOME


A FEW miles out of Richmond is a pleasant place, with here and there a
beautiful cottage surrounded by trees so as scarcely to be seen. Among
these was one far retired from the public roads, and almost hidden
among the trees. This was the spot that Henry Linwood had selected for
Isabella, the eldest daughter of Agnes. The young man hired the house,
furnished it, and placed his mistress there, and for many months no one
in his father’s family knew where he spent his leisure hours.

When Henry was not with her, Isabella employed herself in looking after
her little garden and the flowers that grew in front of her cottage. The
passion-flower, peony, dahlia, laburnum, and other plants, so abundant
in warm climates, under the tasteful hand of Isabella, lavished their
beauty upon this retired spot, and miniature paradise.

Although Isabella had been assured by Henry that she should be free and
that he would always consider her as his wife, she nevertheless felt
that she ought to be married and acknowledged by him. But this was an
impossibility under the State laws, even had the young man been disposed
to do what was right in the matter. Related as he was, however, to one
of the first families in Virginia, he would not have dared to marry a
woman of so low an origin, even had the laws been favorable.

Here, in this secluded grove, unvisited by any other except her
lover, Isabella lived for years. She had become the mother of a lovely
daughter, which its father named Clotelle. The complexion of the child
was still fairer than that of its mother. Indeed, she was not darker
than other white children, and as she grew older she more and more
resembled her father.

As time passed away, Henry became negligent of Isabella and his child,
so much so, that days and even weeks passed without their seeing him,
or knowing where he was. Becoming more acquainted with the world, and
moving continually in the society of young women of his own station,
the young man felt that Isabella was a burden to him, and having as
some would say, “outgrown his love,” he longed to free himself of the
responsibility; yet every time he saw the child, he felt that he owed it
his fatherly care.

Henry had now entered into political life, and been elected to a seat
in the legislature of his native State; and in his intercourse with his
friends had become acquainted with Gertrude Miller, the daughter of a
wealthy gentleman living near Richmond. Both Henry and Gertrude were
very good-looking, and a mutual attachment sprang up between them.

Instead of finding fault with the unfrequent visits of Henry, Isabella
always met him with a smile, and tried to make both him and herself
believe that business was the cause of his negligence. When he was with
her, she devoted every moment of her time to him, and never failed to
speak of the growth and increasing intelligence of Clotelle.

The child had grown so large as to be able to follow its father on his
departure out to the road. But the impression made on Henry’s feelings
by the devoted woman and her child was momentary. His heart had grown
hard, and his acts were guided by no fixed principle. Henry and Gertrude
had been married nearly two years before Isabella knew anything of the
event, and it was merely by accident that she became acquainted with the
facts.

One beautiful afternoon, when Isabella and Clotelle were picking wild
strawberries some two miles from their home, and near the road-side,
they observed a one-horse chaise driving past. The mother turned her
face from the carriage not wishing to be seen by strangers, little
dreaming that the chaise contained Henry and his wife. The child,
however, watched the chaise, and startled her mother by screaming out
at the top of her voice, “Papa! papa!” and clapped her little hands for
joy. The mother turned in haste to look at the strangers, and her eyes
encountered those of Henry’s pale and dejected countenance. Gertrude’s
eyes were on the child. The swiftness with which Henry drove by could
not hide from his wife the striking resemblance of the child to himself.
The young wife had heard the child exclaim “Papa! papa!” and she
immediately saw by the quivering of his lips and the agitation depicted
in his countenance, that all was not right.

“Who is that woman? and why did that child call you papa?” she inquired,
with a trembling voice.

Henry was silent; he knew not what to say, and without another word
passing between them, they drove home.

On reaching her room, Gertrude buried her face in her handkerchief
and wept. She loved Henry, and when she had heard from the lips of her
companions how their husbands had proved false, she felt that he was an
exception, and fervently thanked God that she had been so blessed.

When Gertrude retired to her bed that night, the sad scene of the day
followed her. The beauty of Isabella, with her flowing curls, and the
look of the child, so much resembling the man whom she so dearly loved,
could not be forgotten; and little Clotelle’s exclamation of “Papa!
papa!” rang in her ears during the whole night.

The return of Henry at twelve o’clock did not increase her happiness.
Feeling his guilt, he had absented himself from the house since his
return from the ride.



CHAPTER XI. TO-DAY A MISTRESS, TO-MORROW A SLAVE


THE night was dark, the rain descended in torrents from the black and
overhanging clouds, and the thunder, accompanied with vivid flashes of
lightning, resounded fearfully, as Henry Linwood stepped from his chaise
and entered Isabella’s cottage.

More than a fortnight had elapsed since the accidental meeting, and
Isabella was in doubt as to who the lady was that Henry was with in the
carriage. Little, however, did she think that it was his wife. With a
smile, Isabella met the young man as he entered her little dwelling.
Clotelle had already gone to bed, but her father’s voice aroused her
from her sleep, and she was soon sitting on his knee.

The pale and agitated countenance of Henry betrayed his uneasiness, but
Isabella’s mild and laughing allusion to the incident of their meeting
him on the day of his pleasure-drive, and her saying, “I presume, dear
Henry, that the lady was one of your relatives,” led him to believe that
she was still in ignorance of his marriage. She was, in fact, ignorant
who the lady was who accompanied the man she loved on that eventful day.
He, aware of this, now acted more like himself, and passed the thing off
as a joke. At heart, however, Isabella felt uneasy, and this uneasiness
would at times show itself to the young man. At last, and with a great
effort, she said,--

“Now, hear Henry, if I am in the way of your future happiness, say so,
and I will release you from any promises that you have made me. I know
there is no law by which I can hold you, and if there was, I would
not resort to it. You are as dear to me as ever, and my thoughts shall
always be devoted to you. It would be a great sacrifice for me to give
you up to another, but if it be your desire, as great as the sacrifice
is, I will make it. Send me and your child into a Free State if we are
in your way.”

Again and again Linwood assured her that no woman possessed his love
but her. Oh, what falsehood and deceit man can put on when dealing with
woman’s love!

The unabated storm kept Henry from returning home until after the
clock had struck two, and as he drew near his residence he saw his wife
standing at the window. Giving his horse in charge of the servant who
was waiting, he entered the house, and found his wife in tears. Although
he had never satisfied Gertrude as to who the quadroon woman and child
were, he had kept her comparatively easy by his close attention to
her, and by telling her that she was mistaken in regard to the child’s
calling him “papa.” His absence that night, however, without any
apparent cause, had again aroused the jealousy of Gertrude; but Henry
told her that he had been caught in the rain while out, which prevented
his sooner returning, and she, anxious to believe him, received the
story as satisfactory.

Somewhat heated with brandy, and wearied with much loss of sleep,
Linwood fell into a sound slumber as soon as he retired. Not so with
Gertrude. That faithfulness which has ever distinguished her sex, and
the anxiety with which she watched all his movements, kept the wife
awake while the husband slept. His sleep, though apparently sound, was
nevertheless uneasy. Again and again she heard him pronounce the name
of Isabella, and more than once she heard him say, “I am not married;
I will never marry while you live.” Then he would speak the name of
Clotelle and say, “My dear child, how I love you!”

After a sleepless night, Gertrude arose from her couch, resolved that
she would reveal the whole matter to her mother. Mrs. Miller was a woman
of little or no feeling, proud, peevish, and passionate, thus making
everybody miserable that came near her; and when she disliked any
one, her hatred knew no bounds. This Gertrude knew; and had she not
considered it her duty, she would have kept the secret locked in her own
heart.

During the day, Mrs. Linwood visited her mother and told her all that
had happened. The mother scolded the daughter for not having informed
her sooner, and immediately determined to find out who the woman and
child were that Gertrude had met on the day of her ride. Three days were
spent by Mrs. Miller in this endeavor, but without success.

Four weeks had elapsed, and the storm of the old lady’s temper had
somewhat subsided, when, one evening, as she was approaching her
daughter’s residence, she saw Henry walking in the direction of where
the quadroon was supposed to reside. Being satisfied that the young
man had not seen her, the old woman at once resolved to follow him.
Linwood’s boots squeaked so loudly that Mrs. Miller had no difficulty in
following him without being herself observed.

After a walk of about two miles, the young man turned into a narrow and
unfrequented road, and soon entered the cottage occupied by Isabella. It
was a fine starlight night, and the moon was just rising when they got
to their journey’s end. As usual, Isabella met Henry with a smile, and
expressed her fears regarding his health.

Hours passed, and still old Mrs. Miller remained near the house,
determined to know who lived there. When she undertook to ferret out
anything, she bent her whole energies to it. As Michael Angelo, who
subjected all things to his pursuit and the idea he had formed of it,
painted the crucifixion by the side of a writhing slave and would have
broken up the true cross for pencils, so Mrs. Miller would have entered
the sepulchre, if she could have done it, in search of an object she
wished to find.

The full moon had risen, and was pouring its beams upon surrounding
objects as Henry stepped from Isabella’s door, and looking at his watch,
said,--

“I must go, dear; it is now half-past ten.”

Had little Clotelle been awake, she too would have been at the door. As
Henry walked to the gate, Isabella followed with her left hand locked in
his. Again he looked at his watch, and said,--

“I must go.”

“It is more than a year since you staid all night,” murmured Isabella,
as he folded her convulsively in his arms, and pressed upon her
beautiful lips a parting kiss.

He was nearly out of sight when, with bitter sobs, the quadroon retraced
her steps to the door of the cottage. Clotelle had in the mean time
awoke, and now inquired of her mother how long her father had been gone.
At that instant, a knock was heard at the door, and supposing that it
was Henry returning for something he had forgotten, as he frequently
did, Isabella flew to let him in. To her amazement, however, a strange
woman stood in the door.

“Who are you that comes here at this late hour?” demanded the
half-frightened Isabella.

Without making any reply, Mrs. Miller pushed the quadroon aside, and
entered the house.

“What do you want here?” again demanded Isabella.

“I am in search of you,” thundered the maddened Mrs. Miller; but
thinking that her object would be better served by seeming to be kind,
she assumed a different tone of voice, and began talking in a pleasing
manner.

In this way, she succeeded in finding out that connection existing
between Linwood and Isabella, and after getting all she could out of the
unsuspecting woman, she informed her that the man she so fondly loved
had been married for more than two years. Seized with dizziness, the
poor, heart-broken woman fainted and fell upon the floor. How long
she remained there she could not tell; but when she returned to
consciousness, the strange woman was gone, and her child was standing by
her side. When she was so far recovered as to regain her feet, Isabella
went to the door, and even into the yard, to see if the old woman was no
somewhere about.

As she stood there, the full moon cast its bright rays over her whole
person, giving her an angelic appearance and imparting to her flowing
hair a still more golden hue. Suddenly another change came over her
features, and her full red kips trembled as with suppressed emotion.
The muscles around her faultless mouth became convulsed, she gasped for
breath, and exclaiming, “Is it possible that man can be so false!” again
fainted.

Clotelle stood and bathed her mother’s temples with cold water until she
once more revived.

Although the laws of Virginia forbid the education of slaves, Agnes had
nevertheless employed an old free negro to teach her two daughters
to read and write. After being separated from her mother and sister,
Isabella turned her attention to the subject of Christianity, and
received that consolation from the Bible which is never denied to the
children of God. This was now her last hope, for her heart was torn with
grief and filled with all the bitterness of disappointment.

The night passed away, but without sleep to poor Isabella. At the dawn
of day, she tried to make herself believe that the whole of the past
night was a dream, and determined to be satisfied with the explanation
which Henry should give on his next visit.



CHAPTER XII. THE MOTHER-IN-LAW


WHEN Harry returned home, he found his wife seated at the window,
awaiting his approach. Secret grief was gnawing at her heart. Her sad,
pale cheeks and swollen eyes showed too well that agony, far deeper than
her speech portrayed, filled her heart. A dull and death-like silence
prevailed on his entrance. His pale face and brow, dishevelled hair, and
the feeling that he manifested on finding Gertrude still up, told Henry
in plainer words than she could have used that his wife was aware that
her love had never been held sacred by him. The window-blinds were still
unclosed, and the full-orbed moon shed her soft refulgence over the
unrivalled scene, and gave it a silvery lustre which sweetly harmonized
with the silence of the night. The clock’s iron tongue, in a neighboring
belfry, proclaimed the hour of twelve, as the truant and unfaithful
husband seated himself by the side of his devoted and loving wife, and
inquired if she was not well.

“I am, dear Henry,” replied Gertrude; “but I feat _you_ are not. If well
in body, I fear you are not at peace in mind.”

“Why?” inquired he.

“Because,” she replied, “you are so pale and have such a wild look in
your eyes.”

Again he protested his innocence, and vowed she was the only woman
who had any claim upon his heart. To behold one thus playing upon the
feelings of two lovely women is enough to make us feel that evil must at
last bring its own punishment.

Henry and Gertrude had scarcely risen from the breakfast-table next
morning ere old Mrs. Miller made her appearance. She immediately took
her daughter aside, and informed her of her previous night’s experience,
telling her how she had followed Henry to Isabella’s cottage, detailing
the interview with the quadroon, and her late return home alone. The old
woman urged her daughter to demand that the quadroon and her child be at
once sold to the negro speculators and taken out of the State, or that
Gertrude herself should separate from Henry.

“Assert your rights, my dear. Let no one share a heart that justly
belongs to you,” said Mrs. Miller, with her eyes flashing fire. “Don’t
sleep this night, my child, until that wench has been removed from that
cottage; and as for the child, hand that over to me,--I saw at once that
it was Henry’s.”

During these remarks, the old lady was walking up and down the room
like a caged lioness. She had learned from Isabella that she had been
purchased by Henry, and the innocence of the injured quadroon caused her
to acknowledge that he was the father of her child. Few women could
have taken such a matter in hand and carried it through with more
determination and success than old Mrs. Miller. Completely inured in all
the crimes and atrocities connected with the institution of slavery, she
was also aware that, to a greater or less extent, the slave women shared
with their mistress the affections of their master. This caused her to
look with a suspicious eye on every good-looking negro woman that she
saw.

While the old woman was thus lecturing her daughter upon her rights and
duties, Henry, unaware of what was transpiring, had left the house and
gone to his office. As soon as the old woman found that he was gone, she
said,--

“I will venture anything that he is on his way to see that wench again.
I’ll lay my life on it.”

The entrance, however, of little Marcus, or Mark, as he was familiarly
called, asking for Massa Linwood’s blue bag, satisfied her that her
son-in-law was at his office. Before the old lady returned home, it was
agreed that Gertrude should come to her mother’s to tea that evening,
and Henry with her, and that Mrs. Miller should there charge the young
husband with inconstancy to her daughter, and demand the removal of
Isabella.

With this understanding, the old woman retraced her steps to her own
dwelling.

Had Mrs. Miller been of a different character and not surrounded by
slavery, she could scarcely have been unhappy in such a home as hers.
Just at the edge of the city, and sheltered by large poplar-trees was
the old homestead in which she resided. There was a splendid orchard
in the rear of the house, and the old weather-beaten sweep, with “the
moss-covered bucket” at its end, swung majestically over the deep well.
The garden was scarcely to be equalled. Its grounds were laid out in
excellent taste, and rare exotics in the greenhouse made it still more
lovely.

It was a sweet autumn evening, when the air breathed through the
fragrant sheaves of grain, and the setting sun, with his golden kisses,
burnished the rich clusters of purple grapes, that Henry and Gertrude
were seen approaching the house on foot; it was nothing more than a
pleasant walk. Oh, how Gertrude’s heart beat as she seated herself, on
their arrival!

The beautiful parlor, surrounded on all sides with luxury and taste,
with the sun creeping through the damask curtains, added a charm to the
scene. It was in this room that Gertrude had been introduced to Henry,
and the pleasant hours that she had spent there with him rushed
unbidden on her memory. It was here that, in former days, her beautiful
countenance had made her appearance as fascinating and as lovely as that
of Cleopatra’s. Her sweet, musical voice might have been heard in every
part of the house, occasionally thrilling you with an unexpected touch.
How changed the scene! Her pale and wasted features could not be lighted
up by any thoughts of the past, and she was sorrowful at heart.

As usual, the servants in the kitchen were in ecstasies at the
announcement that “Miss Gerty,” as they called their young mistress, was
in the house, for they loved her sincerely. Gertrude had saved them from
many a flogging, by interceding for them, when her mother was in one of
her uncontrollable passions. Dinah, the cook, always expected Miss
Gerty to visit the kitchen as soon as she came, and was not a little
displeased, on this occasion, at what she considered her young
mistress’s neglect. Uncle Tony, too, looked regularly for Miss Gerty
to visit the green house, and congratulate him on his superiority as a
gardener.

When tea was over, Mrs. Miller dismissed the servants from the room,
then told her son-in-law what she had witnessed the previous night, and
demanded for her daughter that Isabella should be immediately sent out
of the State, and to be sure that the thing would be done, she wanted
him to give her the power to make such disposition of the woman and
child as she should think best. Gertrude was Mrs. Miller’s only child,
and Henry felt little like displeasing a family upon whose friendship
he so much depended, and, no doubt, long wishing to free himself from
Isabella, he at once yielded to the demands of his mother-in-law. Mr.
Miller was a mere cipher about his premises. If any one came on business
connected with the farm, he would invariably say, “Wait till I see my
wife,” and the wife’s opinion was sure to be law in every case. Bankrupt
in character, and debauched in body and mind, with seven mulatto
children who claimed him as their father, he was badly prepared to find
fault with his son-in-law. It was settled that Mrs. Miller should use
her own discretion in removing Isabella from her little cottage, and her
future disposition. With this understanding Henry and Gertrude returned
home. In the deep recesses of his heart the young man felt that he would
like to see his child and its mother once more; but fearing the wrath
of his mother-in-law, he did not dare to gratify his inclination. He had
not the slightest idea of what would become of them; but he well knew
that the old woman would have no mercy on them.



CHAPTER XIII. A HARD-HEARTED WOMAN


WITH no one but her dear little Clotelle, Isabella passed her weary
hours without partaking of either food or drink, hoping that Henry would
soon return, and that the strange meeting with the old woman would be
cleared up.

While seated in her neat little bedroom with her fevered face buried in
her handkerchief, the child ran in and told its mother that a carriage
had stopped in front of the house. With a palpitating heart she arose
from her seat and went to the door, hoping that it was Henry; but,
to her great consternation, the old lady who had paid her such an
unceremonious visit on the evening that she had last seen Henry, stepped
out of the carriage, accompanied by the slave-trader, Jennings.

Isabella had seen the trader when he purchased her mother and sister,
and immediately recognized him. What could these persons want there?
thought she. Without any parleying or word of explanation, the two
entered the house, leaving the carriage in charge of a servant.

Clotelle ran to her mother, and clung to her dress as if frightened by
the strangers.

“She’s a fine-looking wench,” said the speculator, as he seated himself,
unasked, in the rocking-chair; “yet I don’t think she is worth the money
you ask for her.”

“What do you want here?” inquired Isabella, with a quivering voice.

“None of your insolence to me,” bawled out the old woman, at the top
of her voice; “if you do, I will give you what you deserve so much, my
lady,--a good whipping.”

In an agony of grief, pale, trembling, and ready to sink to the floor,
Isabella was only sustained by the hope that she would be able to save
her child. At last, regaining her self-possession, she ordered them both
to leave the house. Feeling herself insulted, the old woman seized
the tongs that stood by the fire-place, and raised them to strike the
quadroon down; but the slave-trader immediately jumped between the
women, exclaiming,--

“I won’t buy her, Mrs. Miller, if you injure her.”

Poor little Clotelle screamed as she saw the strange woman raise the
tongs at her mother. With the exception of old Aunt Nancy, a free
colored woman, whom Isabella sometimes employed to work for her, the
child had never before seen a strange face in her mother’s dwelling.
Fearing that Isabella would offer some resistance, Mrs. Miller had
ordered the overseer of her own farm to follow her; and, just as
Jennings had stepped between the two women, Mull, the negro-driver,
walked into the room.

“Seize that impudent hussy,” said Mrs. Miller to the overseer, “and tie
her up this minute, that I may teach her a lesson she won’t forget in a
hurry.”

As she spoke, the old woman’s eyes rolled, her lips quivered, and she
looked like a very fury.

“I will have nothing to do with her, if you whip her, Mrs. Miller,” said
the slave-trader. “Niggers ain’t worth half so much in the market with
their backs newly scarred,” continued he, as the overseer commenced his
preparations for executing Mrs. Miller’s orders.

Clotelle here took her father’s walking-stick, which was lying on the
back of the sofa where he had left it, and, raising it, said,--

“If you bad people touch my mother, I will strike you.”

They looked at the child with astonishment; and her extreme you,
wonderful beauty, and uncommon courage, seemed for a moment to shake
their purpose. The manner and language of this child were alike beyond
her years, and under other circumstances would have gained for her the
approbation of those present.

“Oh, Henry, Henry!” exclaimed Isabella, wringing her hands.

“You need not call on him, hussy; you will never see him again,” said
Mrs. Miller.

“What! is he dead?” inquired the heart-stricken woman.

It was then that she forgot her own situation, thinking only of the
man she loved. Never having been called to endure any kind of abusive
treatment, Isabella was not fitted to sustain herself against the
brutality of Mrs. Miller, much less the combined ferociousness of the
old woman and the overseer too. Suffice it to say, that instead of
whipping Isabella, Mrs. Miller transferred her to the negro-speculator,
who took her immediately to his slave-pen. The unfeeling old woman would
not permit Isabella to take more than a single change of her clothing,
remarking to Jennings,--

“I sold you the wench, you know,--not her clothes.”

The injured, friendless, and unprotected Isabella fainted as she saw her
child struggling to release herself from the arms of old Mrs. Miller,
and as the wretch boxed the poor child’s ears.

After leaving directions as to how Isabella’s furniture and other
effects should be disposed of, Mrs. Miller took Clotelle into her
carriage and drove home. There was not even color enough about the child
to make it appear that a single drop of African blood flowed through its
blue veins.

Considerable sensation was created in the kitchen among the servants
when the carriage drove up, and Clotelle entered the house.

“Jes’ like Massa Henry fur all de worl’,” said Dinah, as she caught a
glimpse of the child through the window.

“Wondah whose brat dat ar’ dat missis bringin’ home wid her?” said Jane,
as she put the ice in the pitchers for dinner. “I warrant it’s some poor
white nigger somebody bin givin’ her.”

The child was white. What should be done to make it look like other
negroes, was the question which Mrs. Miller asked herself. The
callous-hearted old woman bit her nether lip, as she viewed that child,
standing before her, with her long, dark ringlets clustering over her
alabaster brow and neck.

“Take this little nigger and cut her hair close to her head,” said the
mistress to Jane, as the latter answered the bell.

Clotelle screamed, as she felt the scissors grating over her head, and
saw those curls that her mother thought so much of falling upon the
floor.

A roar of laughter burst from the servants, as Jane led the child
through the kitchen, with the hair cut so short that the naked scalp
could be plainly seen.

“‘Gins to look like nigger, now,” said Dinah, with her mouth upon a
grin.

The mistress smiled, as the shorn child reentered the room; but there
was something more needed. The child was white, and that was a great
objection. However, she hit upon a plan to remedy this which seemed
feasible. The day was excessively warm. Not a single cloud floated over
the blue vault of heaven; not a breath of wind seemed moving, and
the earth was parched by the broiling sun. Even the bees had stopped
humming, and the butterflies had hid themselves under the broad leaves
of the burdock. Without a morsel of dinner, the poor child was put in
the garden, and set to weeding it, her arms, neck, and head completely
bare. Unaccustomed to toil, Clotelle wept as she exerted herself in
pulling up the weeds. Old Dinah, the cook, was a unfeeling as her
mistress, and she was pleased to see the child made to work in the hot
sun.

“Dat white nigger’ll soon be brack enuff if missis keeps her workin’ out
dar,” she said, as she wiped the perspiration from her sooty brow.

Dinah was the mother of thirteen children, all of whom bad been
taken from her when young; and this, no doubt, did much to harden her
feelings, and make her hate all white persons.

The burning sun poured its rays on the face of the friendless child
until she sank down in the corner of the garden, and was actually
broiled to sleep.

“Dat little nigger ain’t workin’ a bit, missus,” said Dinah to Mrs.
Miller, as the latter entered the kitchen.

“She’s lying in the sun seasoning; she will work the better by and by,”
 replied the mistress.

“Dese white niggers always tink dey seff good as white folks,” said the
cook.

“Yes; but we will teach them better, won’t we, Dinah?” rejoined Mrs.
Miller.

“Yes, missus,” replied Dinah; “I don’t like dese merlatter niggers,
no how. Dey always want to set dey seff up for sumfin’ big.” With
this remark the old cook gave one of her coarse laughs, and continued:
“Missis understands human nature, don’t she? Ah! if she ain’t a whole
team and de ole gray mare to boot, den Dinah don’t know nuffin’.”

Of course, the mistress was out of the kitchen before these last remarks
were made.

It was with the deepest humiliation that Henry learned from one of his
own slaves the treatment which his child was receiving at the hands of
his relentless mother-in-law.

The scorching sun had the desired effect; for in less than a fortnight,
Clotelle could scarcely have been recognized as the same child. Often
was she seen to weep, and heard to call on her mother.

Mrs. Miller, when at church on Sabbath, usually, on warm days, took
Nancy, one of her servants, in her pew, and this girl had to fan her
mistress during service. Unaccustomed to such a soft and pleasant seat,
the servant would very soon become sleepy and begin to nod. Sometimes
she would go fast asleep, which annoyed the mistress exceedingly. But
Mrs. Miller had nimble fingers, and on them sharp nails, and, with an
energetic pinch upon the bare arms of the poor girl, she would arouse
the daughter of Africa from her pleasant dreams. But there was no one
of Mrs. Miller’s servants who received so much punishment as old Uncle
Tony.

Fond of her greenhouse, and often in the garden, she was ever at the
old gardener’s heels. Uncle Tony was very religious, and, whenever his
mistress flogged him, he invariably gave her a religious exhortation.
Although unable to read, he, nevertheless, had on his tongue’s end
portions of Scripture which he could use at any moment. In one end of
the greenhouse was Uncle Tony’s sleeping room, and those who happened
in that vicinity, between nine and ten at night, could hear the old man
offering up his thanksgiving to God for his protection during the day.
Uncle Tony, however, took great pride, when he thought that any of the
whites were within hearing, to dwell, in his prayer, on his own goodness
and the unfitness of others to die. Often was he heard to say, “O Lord,
thou knowest that the white folks are not Christians, but the black
people are God’s own children.” But if Tony thought that his old
mistress was within the sound of his voice, he launched out into deeper
water.

It was, therefore, on a sweet night, when the bright stars were looking
out with a joyous sheen, that Mark and two of the other boys passed the
greenhouse, and heard Uncle Tony in his devotions.

“Let’s have a little fun,” said the mischievous Marcus to his young
companions. “I will make Uncle Tony believe that I am old mistress, and
he’ll give us an extra touch in his prayer.” Mark immediately commenced
talking in a strain of voice resembling, as well as he could, Mrs.
Miller, and at once Tony was heard to say in a loud voice, “O Lord, thou
knowest that the white people are not fit to die; but, as for old Tony,
whenever the angel of the Lord comes, he’s ready.” At that moment, Mark
tapped lightly on the door. “Who’s dar?” thundered old Tony. Mark made
no reply. The old man commenced and went through with the same remarks
addressed to the Lord, when Mark again knocked at the door. “Who
dat dar?” asked Uncle Tony, with a somewhat agitated countenance and
trembling voice. Still Mark would not reply. Again Tony took up the
thread of his discourse, and said, “O Lord, thou knowest as well as I
do that dese white folks are not prepared to die, but here is old Tony,
when de angel of de Lord comes, he’s ready to go to heaven.” Mark once
more knocked on the door. “Who dat dar?” thundered Tony at the top of
his voice.

“De angel of de Lord,” replied Mark, in a somewhat suppressed and
sepulchral voice.

“What de angel of de Lord want here?” inquired Tony, as if much
frightened.

“He’s come for poor old Tony, to take him out of the world,” replied
Mark, in the same strange voice.

“Dat nigger ain’t here; he die tree weeks ago,” responded Tony, in a
still more agitated and frightened tone. Mark and his companions made
the welkin ring with their shouts at the old man’s answer. Uncle Tony
hearing them, and finding that he had been imposed upon, opened his
door, came out with stick in hand, and said, “Is dat you, Mr. Mark?
you imp, if I can get to you I’ll larn you how to come here wid your
nonsense.”

Mark and his companions left the garden, feeling satisfied that Uncle
Tony was not as ready to go with “de angel of de Lord” as he would have
others believe.



CHAPTER XIV. THE PRISON


WHILE poor little Clotelle was being kicked about by Mrs. Miller, on
account of her relationship to her son-in-law, Isabella was passing
lonely hours in the county jail, the place to which Jennings had
removed her for safe-keeping, after purchasing her from Mrs. Miller.
Incarcerated in one of the iron-barred rooms of that dismal place, those
dark, glowing eyes, lofty brow, and graceful form wilted down like a
plucked rose under a noonday sun, while deep in her heart’s ambrosial
cells was the most anguishing distress.

Vulgar curiosity is always in search of its victims, and Jennings’
boast that he had such a ladylike and beautiful woman in his possession
brought numbers to the prison who begged of the jailer the privilege of
seeing the slave-trader’s prize. Many who saw her were melted to
tears at the pitiful sight, and were struck with admiration at her
intelligence; and, when she spoke of her child, they must have been
convinced that a mother’s sorrow can be conceived by none but a mother’s
heart. The warbling of birds in the green bowers of bliss, which she
occasionally heard, brought no tidings of gladness to her. Their joy
fell cold upon her heart, and seemed like bitter mockery. They reminded
her of her own cottage, where, with her beloved child, she had spent so
many happy days.

The speculator had kept close watch over his valuable piece of property,
for fear that it might damage itself. This, however, there was no danger
of, for Isabella still hoped and believed that Henry would come to her
rescue. She could not bring herself to believe that he would allow her
to be sent away without at least seeing her, and the trader did all he
could to keep this idea alive in her.

While Isabella, with a weary heart, was passing sleepless nights
thinking only of her daughter and Henry, the latter was seeking relief
in that insidious enemy of the human race, the intoxicating cup. His
wife did all in her power to make his life a pleasant and a happy one,
for Gertrude was devotedly attached to him; but a weary heart gets no
gladness out of sunshine. The secret remorse that rankled in his bosom
caused him to see all the world blood-shot. He had not visited his
mother-in-law since the evening he had given her liberty to use her own
discretion as to how Isabella and her child should be disposed of. He
feared even to go near the house, for he did not wish to see his child.
Gertrude felt this every time he declined accompanying her to her
mother’s. Possessed of a tender and confiding heart, entirely unlike her
mother, she sympathized deeply with her husband. She well knew that all
young men in the South, to a greater or less extent, became enamored of
the slave-women, and she fancied that his case was only one of the many,
and if he had now forsaken all others for her she did not wish to be
punished; but she dared not let her mother know that such were her
feelings. Again and again had she noticed the great resemblance between
Clotelle and Henry, and she wished the child in better hands than those
of her cruel mother.

At last Gertrude determined to mention the matter to her husband.
Consequently, the next morning, when they were seated on the back
piazza, and the sun was pouring its splendid rays upon everything
around, changing the red tints on the lofty hills in the distance into
streaks of purest gold, and nature seeming by her smiles to favor the
object, she said,--

“What, dear Henry, do you intend to do with Clotelle?” A paleness that
overspread his countenance, the tears that trickled down his cheeks,
the deep emotion that was visible in his face, and the trembling of his
voice, showed at once that she had touched a tender chord. Without a
single word, he buried his face in his handkerchief, and burst into
tears.

This made Gertrude still more unhappy, for she feared that he had
misunderstood her; and she immediately expressed her regret that she
had mentioned the subject. Becoming satisfied from this that his wife
sympathized with him in his unhappy situation, Henry told her of the
agony that filled his soul, and Gertrude agreed to intercede for him
with her mother for the removal of the child to a boarding-school in one
of the Free States.

In the afternoon, when Henry returned from his office, his wife met him
with tearful eyes, and informed him that her mother was filled with rage
at the mention of the removal of Clotelle from her premises.

In the mean time, the slave-trader, Jennings, had started for the South
with his gang of human cattle, of whom Isabella was one. Most quadroon
women who are taken to the South are either sold to gentlemen for their
own use or disposed of as house-servants or waiting-maids. Fortunately
for Isabella, she was sold for the latter purpose. Jennings found a
purchaser for her in the person of Mr. James French.

Mrs. French was a severe mistress. All who lived with her, though
well-dressed, were scantily fed and over-worked. Isabella found her
new situation far different from her Virginia cottage-life. She had
frequently heard Vicksburg spoken of as a cruel place for slaves, and
now she was in a position to test the truthfulness of the assertion.

A few weeks after her arrival, Mrs. French began to show to Isabella
that she was anything but a pleasant and agreeable mistress. What
social virtues are possible in a society of which injustice is a primary
characteristic,--in a society which is divided into two classes, masters
and slaves? Every married woman at the South looks upon her husband as
unfaithful, and regards every negro woman as a rival.

Isabella had been with her new mistress but a short time when she was
ordered to cut off her long and beautiful hair. The negro is naturally
fond of dress and outward display. He who has short woolly hair combs
and oils it to death; he who has long hair would sooner have his teeth
drawn than to part with it. But, however painful it was to Isabella,
she was soon seen with her hair cut short, and the sleeves of her dress
altered to fit tight to her arms. Even with her hair short and with
her ill-looking dress, Isabella was still handsome. Her life had been a
secluded one, and though now twenty-eight years of age, her beauty
had only assumed a quieter tone. The other servants only laughed at
Isabella’s misfortune in losing her beautiful hair.

“Miss ‘Bell needn’t strut so big; she got short nappy har’s well’s I,”
 said Nell, with a broad grin that showed her teeth.

“She tink she white when she cum here, wid dat long har ob hers,”
 replied Mill.

“Yes,” continued Nell, “missus make her take down her wool, so she no
put it up to-day.”

The fairness of Isabella’s complexion was regarded with envy by the
servants as well as by the mistress herself. This is one of the hard
features of slavery. To-day a woman is mistress of her own cottage;
tomorrow she is sold to one who aims to make her life as intolerable as
possible. And let it be remembered that the house-servant has the best
situation a slave can occupy.

But the degradation and harsh treatment Isabella experienced in her new
home was nothing compared to the grief she underwent at being separated
from her dear child. Taken from her with scarcely a moment’s warning,
she knew not what had become of her.

This deep and heartfelt grief of Isabella was soon perceived by her
owners, and fearing that her refusal to take proper food would cause
her death, they resolved to sell her. Mr. French found no difficulty in
securing a purchaser for the quadroon woman, for such are usually the
most marketable kind of property. Isabella was sold at private sale to a
young man for a housekeeper; but even he had missed his aim.

Mr. Gordon, the new master, was a man of pleasure. He was the owner of
a large sugar plantation, which he had left under the charge of an
overseer, and was now giving himself up to the pleasures of a city
life. At first Mr. Gordon sought to win Isabella’s favor by flattery
and presents, knowing that whatever he gave her he could take from her
again. The poor innocent creature dreaded every moment lest the scene
should change. At every interview with Gordon she stoutly maintained
that she had left a husband in Virginia, and could never think of taking
another. In this she considered that she was truthful, for she had
ever regarded Henry as her husband. The gold watch and chain and other
glittering presents which Gordon gave to her were all kept unused.

In the same house with Isabella was a man-servant who had from time to
time hired himself from his master. His name was William. He could feel
for Isabella, for he, like her, had been separated from near and
dear relatives, and he often tried to console the poor woman. One day
Isabella observed to him that her hair was growing out again.

“Yes,” replied William; “you look a good deal like a man with your short
hair.”

“Oh,” rejoined she, “I have often been told that I would make a better
looking man than woman, and if I had the money I might avail myself of
it to big farewell to this place.”

In a moment afterwards, Isabella feared that she had said too much, and
laughingly observed, “I am always talking some nonsense; you must not
heed me.”

William was a tall, full-blooded African, whose countenance beamed with
intelligence. Being a mechanic, he had by industry earned more money
than he had paid to his owner for his time, and this he had laid aside,
with the hope that he might some day get enough to purchase his freedom.
He had in his chest about a hundred and fifty dollars. His was a heart
that felt for others, and he had again and again wiped the tears from
his eyes while listening to Isabella’s story.

“If she can get free with a little money, why not give her what I have?”
 thought he, and then resolved to do it.

An hour after, he entered the quadroon’s room, and, laying the money in
her lap, said,--

“There, Miss Isabella, you said just now that if you had the means you
would leave this place. There is money enough to take you to England,
where you will be free. You are much fairer than many of the white women
of the South, and can easily pass for a free white woman.”

At first Isabella thought it was a plan by which the negro wished to try
her fidelity to her owner; but she was soon convinced, by his earnest
manner and the deep feeling he manifested, that he was entirely sincere.

“I will take the money,” said she, “only on one condition, and that is
that I effect your escape, as well as my own.”

“How can that be done?” he inquired, eagerly.

“I will assume the disguise of a gentleman, and you that of a servant,
and we will thus take passage in a steamer to Cincinnati, and from
thence to Canada.”

With full confidence in Isabella’s judgment, William consented at once
to the proposition. The clothes were purchased; everything was arranged,
and the next night, while Mr. Gordon was on one of his sprees, Isabella,
under the assumed name of Mr. Smith, with William in attendance as a
servant, took passage for Cincinnati in the steamer Heroine.

With a pair of green glasses over her eyes, in addition to her other
disguise, Isabella made quite a gentlemanly appearance. To avoid
conversation, however, she kept closely to her state-room, under the
plea of illness.

Meanwhile, William was playing his part well with the servants. He was
loudly talking of his master’s wealth, and nothing on the boat appeared
so good as in his master’s fine mansion.

“I don’t like dese steamboats, no how,” said he; “I hope when massa goes
on anoder journey, he take de carriage and de hosses.”

After a nine-days’ passage, the Heroine landed at Cincinnati, and Mr.
Smith and his servant walked on shore.

“William, you are now a free man, and can go on to Canada,” said
Isabella; “I shall go to Virginia, in search of my daughter.”

This sudden announcement fell heavily upon William’s ears, and with
tears he besought her not to jeopardize her liberty in such a manner;
but Isabella had made up her mind to rescue her child if possible.

Taking a boat for Wheeling, Isabella was soon on her way to her native
State. Several months had elapsed since she left Richmond, and all her
thoughts were centred on the fate of her dear Clotelle. It was with a
palpitating heart that this injured woman entered the stage-coach at
Wheeling and set out for Richmond.



CHAPTER XV. THE ARREST


IT was late in the evening when the coach arrived at Richmond, and
Isabella once more alighted in her native city. She had intended to seek
lodgings somewhere in the outskirts of the town, but the lateness of the
hour compelled her to stop at one of the principal hotels for the
night. She had scarcely entered the inn before she recognized among the
numerous black servants one to whom she was well known, and her only
hope was that her disguise would keep her from being discovered. The
imperturbable calm and entire forgetfulness of self which induced
Isabella to visit a place from which she could scarcely hope to
escape, to attempt the rescue of a beloved child, demonstrate that
over-willingness of woman to carry out the promptings of the finer
feelings of the heart. True to woman’s nature, she had risked her own
liberty for another’s. She remained in the hotel during the night, and
the next morning, under the plea of illness, took her breakfast alone.

That day the fugitive slave paid a visit to the suburbs of the town, and
once more beheld the cottage in which she had spent so many happy hours.
It was winter, and the clematis and passion-flower were not there; but
there were the same walks her feet had so often pressed, and the same
trees which had so often shaded her as she passed through the garden
at the back of the house. Old remembrances rushed upon her memory and
caused her to shed tears freely. Isabella was now in her native town,
and near her daughter; but how could she communicate with her? how could
she see her? To have made herself known would have been a suicidal act;
betrayal would have followed, and she arrested. Three days passed away,
and still she remained in the hotel at which she had first put up, and
yet she got no tidings of her child.

Unfortunately for Isabella, a disturbance had just broken out among
the slave population in the State of Virginia, and all strangers were
treated with suspicion.

The insurrection to which we now refer was headed by a full-blooded
negro, who had been born and brought up a slave. He had heard the crack
of the driver’s whip, and seen the warm blood streaming from the negro’s
body. He had witnessed the separation of parents from children, and was
made aware, by too many proofs, that the slave could expect no justice
from the hands of the slave-owner. The name of this man was Nat Turner.
He was a preacher amongst the negroes, distinguished for his eloquence,
respected by the whites, loved and venerated by the negroes. On the
discovery of the plan for the outbreak, Turner fled to the swamps,
followed by those who had joined in the insurrection.

Here the revolted negroes numbered some hundreds, and for a time bade
defiance to their oppressors. The Dismal Swamps cover many thousand
acres of wild land, and a dense forest, with wild animals and insects
such as are unknown in any other part of Virginia. Here runaway negroes
usually seek a hiding-place, and some have been known to reside here for
years. The revolters were joined by one of these. He was a large, tall,
full-blooded negro, with a stern and savage countenance; the marks on
his face showed that he was from one of the barbarous tribes in Africa,
and claimed that country as his native land. His only covering was
a girdle around his loins, made of skins of wild beasts which he had
killed. His only token of authority among those that he led was a pair
of epaulettes, made of the tail of a fox, and tied to his shoulder by a
cord. Brought from the coast of Africa, when only fifteen years of age,
to the island of Cuba, he was smuggled from thence into Virginia. He had
been two years in the swamps, and considered it his future home. He had
met a negro woman, who was also a runaway, and, after the fashion of his
native land, had gone through the process of oiling her, as the marriage
ceremony. They had built a cave on a rising mound in the swamp, and
this was their home. This man’s name was Picquilo. His only weapon was
a sword made from a scythe which he had stolen from a neighboring
plantation. His dress, his character, his manners, and his mode of
fighting were all in keeping with the early training he had received in
the land of his birth. He moved about with the activity of a cat, and
neither the thickness of the trees nor the depth of the water could stop
him. He was a bold, turbulent spirit; and, from motives of revenge, he
imbrued his hands in the blood of all the whites he could meet.
Hunger, thirst, and loss of sleep, he seemed made to endure, as if by
peculiarity of constitution. His air was fierce, his step oblique, his
look sanguinary.

Such was the character of one of the negroes in the Southampton
Insurrection. All negroes were arrested who were found beyond their
master’s threshold, and all white strangers were looked upon with
suspicion.

Such was the position in which Isabella found affairs when she returned
to Virginia in search of her child. Had not the slave-owners been
watchful of strangers, owing to the outbreak, the fugitive could not
have escaped the vigilance of the police; for advertisements announcing
her escape, and offering a large reward for her arrest, had been
received in the city previous to her arrival, and officers were
therefore on the lookout for her.

It was on the third day after her arrival in Richmond, as the quadroon
was seated in her room at the hotel, still in the disguise of a
gentleman, that two of the city officers entered the apartment and
informed her that they were authorized to examine all strangers, to
assure the authorities that they were not in league with the revolted
negroes.

With trembling heart the fugitive handed the key of her trunk to the
officers. To their surprise they found nothing but female apparel in the
trunk, which raised their curiosity, and caused a further investigation
that resulted in the arrest of Isabella as a fugitive slave. She was
immediately conveyed to prison, there to await the orders of her master.

For many days, uncheered by the voice of kindness, alone, hopeless,
desolate, she waited for the time to arrive when the chains should
be placed on her limbs, and she returned to her inhuman and unfeeling
owner.

The arrest of the fugitive was announced in all the newspapers, but
created little or no sensation. The inhabitants were too much engaged
in putting down the revolt among the slaves; and, although all the odds
were against the insurgents, the whites found it no easy matter, with
all their caution. Every day brought news of fresh outbreaks. Without
scruple and without pity, the whites massacred all blacks found beyond
the limits of their owners’ plantations. The negroes, in return, set
fire to houses, and put to death those who attempted to escape from the
flames. Thus carnage was added to carnage, and the blood of the whites
flowed to avenge the blood of the blacks.

These were the ravages of slavery. No graves were dug for the negroes,
but their bodies became food for dogs and vultures; and their bones,
partly calcined by the sun, remained scattered about, as if to mark
the mournful fury of servitude and lust of power. When the slaves were
subdued, except a few in the swamps, bloodhounds were employed to hunt
out the remaining revolters.



CHAPTER XVI. DEATH IS FREEDOM


ON receiving intelligence of the arrest of Isabella, Mr. Gordon
authorized the sheriff to sell her to the highest bidder. She was,
therefore, sold; the purchaser being the noted negro-trader, Hope H.
Slater, who at once placed her in prison. Here the fugitive saw none but
slaves like herself, brought in and taken out to be placed in ships, and
sent away to some part of the country to which she herself would soon be
compelled to go. She had seen or heard nothing of her daughter while in
Richmond, and all hopes of seeing her had now fled.

At the dusk of the evening previous to the day when she was to be sent
off, as the old prison was being closed for the night, Isabella suddenly
dated past the keeper, and ran for her life. It was not a great distance
from the prison to the long bridge which passes from the lower part of
the city across the Potomac to the extensive forests and woodlands of
the celebrated Arlington Heights, then occupied by that distinguished
relative and descendant of the immortal Washington, Mr. Geo. W. Custis.
Thither the poor fugitive directed her flight. So unexpected was her
escape that she had gained several rods the start before the keeper had
secured the other prisoners, and rallied his assistants to aid in the
pursuit. It was at an hour, and in a part of the city where horses could
not easily be obtained for the chase; no bloodhounds were at hand to run
down the flying woman, and for once it seemed as if there was to be
a fair trial of speed and endurance between the slave and the
slave-catchers.

The keeper and his force raised the hue-and-cry on her path as they
followed close behind; but so rapid was the flight along the wide avenue
that the astonished citizens, as they poured forth from their dwellings
to learn the cause of alarm, were only able to comprehend the nature of
the case in time to fall in with the motley throng in pursuit, or raise
an anxious prayer to heaven as they refused to join in the chase (as
many a one did that night) that the panting fugitive might escape, and
the merciless soul-dealer for once be disappointed of his prey. And now,
with the speed of an arrow, having passed the avenue, with the distance
between her and her pursuers constantly increasing, this poor, hunted
female gained the “Long Bridge,” as it is called, where interruption
seemed improbably. Already her heart began to beat high with the hope
of success. She had only to pass three-quarters of a mile across the
bridge, when she could bury herself in a vast forest, just as the time
when the curtain of night would close around her, and protect her from
the pursuit of her enemies.

But God, by his providence, had otherwise determined. He had ordained
that an appalling tragedy should be enacted that night within plain
sight of the President’s house, and the Capitol of the Union, which
would be an evidence wherever it should be known of the unconquerable
love of liberty which the human heart may inherit, as well as a fresh
admonition to the slave-dealer of the cruelty and enormity of his
crimes.

Just as the pursuers passed the high draw, soon after entering upon the
bridge, they beheld three men slowly approaching from the Virginia side.
They immediately called to them to arrest the fugitive, proclaiming her
a runaway slave. True to their Virginia instincts, as she came near,
they formed a line across the narrow bridge to intercept her. Seeing the
escape was impossible in that quarter, she stopped suddenly, and turned
upon her pursuers.

On came the profane and ribald crew faster than ever, already exulting
in her capture, and threatening punishment for her flight. For a moment
she looked wildly and anxiously around to see if there was no hope of
escape. On either hand, far down below, rolled the deep, foaming waters
of the Potomac, and before and behind were the rapidly approaching steps
and noisy voices of her pursuers. Seeing how vain would be any further
effort to escape, her resolution was instantly taken. She clasped her
hands convulsively together, raised her tearful and imploring eyes
toward heaven, and begged for the mercy and compassion there which was
unjustly denied her on earth; then, exclaiming, “Henry, Clotelle, I die
for thee!” with a single bound, vaulted over the railing of the bridge,
and sank forever beneath the angry and foaming waters of the river!

Such was the life, and such the death, of a woman whose virtues and
goodness of heart would have done honor to one in a higher station of
life, and who, had she been born in any other land but that of slavery,
would have been respected and beloved. What would have been her
feelings if she could have known that the child for whose rescue she had
sacrificed herself would one day be free, honored, and loved in another
land?



CHAPTER XVII. CLOTELLE


THE curtain rises seven years after the death of Isabella. During that
interval, Henry, finding that nothing could induce his mother-in-law to
relinquish her hold on poor little Clotelle, and not liking to contend
with one on whom a future fortune depended, gradually lost all interest
in the child, and left her to her fate.

Although Mrs. Miller treated Clotelle with a degree of harshness
scarcely equalled, when applied to one so tender in years, still the
child grew every day more beautiful, and her hair, though kept closely
cut, seemed to have improved in its soft, silk-like appearance. Now
twelve years of age, and more than usually well-developed, her harsh old
mistress began to view her with a jealous eye.

Henry and Gertrude had just returned from Washington, where the husband
had been on his duties as a member of Congress, and where he had
remained during the preceding three years without returning home. It
was on a beautiful evening, just at twilight, while seated at his parlor
window, that Henry saw a young woman pass by and go into the kitchen.
Not aware of ever having seen the person before, he made an errand into
the cook’s department to see who the girl was. He, however, met her in
the hall, as she was about going out.

“Whom did you wish to see?” he inquired.

“Miss Gertrude,” was the reply.

“What did you want to see her for?” he again asked.

“My mistress told me to give her and Master Henry her compliments, and
ask them to come over and spend the evening.”

“Who is your mistress?” he eagerly inquired.

“Mrs. Miller, sir,” responded the girl.

“And what’s your name?” asked Henry, with a trembling voice.

“Clotelle, sir,” was the reply.

The astonished father stood completely amazed, looking at the now
womanly form of her who, in his happier days, he had taken on his knee
with so much fondness and alacrity. It was then that he saw his own
and Isabella’s features combined in the beautiful face that he was then
beholding. It was then that he was carried back to the days when with
a woman’s devotion, poor Isabella hung about his neck and told him how
lonely were the hours in his absence. He could stand it no longer. Tears
rushed to his eyes, and turning upon his heel, he went back to his own
room. It was then that Isabella was revenged; and she no doubt looked
smilingly down from her home in the spirit-land on the scene below.

On Gertrude’s return from her shopping tour, she found Henry in a
melancholy mood, and soon learned its cause. As Gertrude had borne
him no children, it was but natural, that he should now feel his
love centering in Clotelle, and he now intimated to his wife
his determination to remove his daughter from the hands of his
mother-in-law.

When this news reached Mrs. Miller, through her daughter, she became
furious with rage, and calling Clotelle into her room, stripped her
shoulders bare and flogged her in the presence of Gertrude.

It was nearly a week after the poor girl had been so severely whipped
and for no cause whatever, that her father learned on the circumstance
through one of the servants. With a degree of boldness unusual for him,
he immediately went to his mother-in-law and demanded his child. But
it was too late,--she was gone. To what place she had been sent no one
could tell, and Mrs. Miller refused to give any information whatever
relative to the girl.

It was then that Linwood felt deepest the evil of the institution under
which he was living; for he knew that his daughter would be exposed to
all the vices prevalent in that part of the country where marriage is
not recognized in connection with that class.



CHAPTER XVIII. A SLAVE-HUNTING PARSON


IT was a delightful evening after a cloudless day, with the setting sun
reflecting his golden rays on the surrounding hills which were covered
with a beautiful greensward, and the luxuriant verdure that forms the
constant garb of the tropics, that the steamer Columbia ran into the
dock at Natchez, and began unloading the cargo, taking in passengers
and making ready to proceed on her voyage to New Orleans. The plank
connecting the boat with the shore had scarcely been secured in its
place, when a good-looking man about fifty years of age, with a white
neck-tie, and a pair of gold-rimmed glasses on, was seen hurrying on
board the vessel. Just at that moment could be seen a stout man with his
face fitted with the small-pox, making his way up to the above-mentioned
gentleman.

“How do you do, my dear sir? this is Mr. Wilson, I believe,” said
the short man, at the same time taking from his mouth a large chew of
tobacco, and throwing it down on the ship’s deck.

“You have the advantage of me, sir,” replied the tall man.

“Why, don’t you know me? My name is Jennings; I sold you a splendid
negro woman some years ago.”

“Yes, yes,” answered the Natchez man. “I remember you now, for the woman
died in a few months, and I never got the worth of my money out of her.”

“I could not help that,” returned the slave-trader; “she was as sound as
a roach when I sold her to you.”

“Oh, yes,” replied the parson, “I know she was; but now I want a young
girl, fit for house use,--one that will do to wait on a lady.”

“I am your man,” said Jennings, “just follow me,” continued he, “and
I will show you the fairest little critter you ever saw.” And the two
passed to the stern of the boat to where the trader had between fifty
and sixty slaves, the greater portion being women.

“There,” said Jennings, as a beautiful young woman shrunk back with
modesty. “There, sir, is the very gal that was made for you. If she had
been made to your order, she could not have suited you better.”

“Indeed, sir, is not that young woman white?” inquired the parson.

“Oh, no, sir; she is no whiter than you see!”

“But is she a slave?” asked the preacher.

“Yes,” said the trader, “I bought her in Richmond, and she comes from an
excellent family. She was raised by Squire Miller, and her mistress was
one of the most pious ladies in that city, I may say; she was the salt
of the earth, as the ministers say.”

“But she resembles in some respect Agnes, the woman I bought from you,”
 said Mr. Wilson. As he said the name of Agnes, the young woman started
as if she had been struck. Her pulse seemed to quicken, but her face
alternately flushed and turned pale, and tears trembled upon her
eyelids. It was a name she had heard her mother mention, and it brought
to her memory those days,--those happy days, when she was so loved and
caressed. This young woman was Clotelle, the granddaughter of Agnes.
The preacher, on learning the fact, purchased her, and took her home,
feeling that his daughter Georgiana would prize her very highly.
Clotelle found in Georgiana more a sister than a mistress, who, unknown
to her father, taught the slave-girl how to read, and did much toward
improving and refining Clotelle’s manners, for her own sake. Like
her mother fond of flowers, the “Virginia Maid,” as she was sometimes
called, spent many of her leisure hours in the garden. Beside the
flowers which sprang up from the fertility of soil unplanted and
unattended, there was the heliotrope, sweet-pea, and cup-rose,
transplanted from the island of Cuba. In her new home Clotelle found
herself saluted on all sides by the fragrance of the magnolia. When she
went with her young mistress to the Poplar Farm, as she sometimes did,
nature’s wild luxuriance greeted her, wherever she cast her eyes.

The rustling citron, lime, and orange, shady mango with its fruits of
gold, and the palmetto’s umbrageous beauty, all welcomed the child
of sorrow. When at the farm, Huckelby, the overseer, kept his eye on
Clotelle if within sight of her, for he knew she was a slave, and no
doubt hoped that she might some day fall into his hands. But she shrank
from his looks as she would have done from the charm of the rattlesnake.
The negro-driver always tried to insinuate himself into the good opinion
of Georgiana and the company that she brought. Knowing that Miss Wilson
at heart hated slavery, he was ever trying to show that the slaves under
his charge were happy and contented. One day, when Georgiana and some of
her Connecticut friends were there, the overseer called all the slaves
up to the “great house,” and set some of the young ones to dancing.
After awhile whiskey was brought in and a dram given to each slave, in
return for which they were expected to give a toast, or sing a short
piece of his own composition; when it came to Jack’s turn he said,--

“The big bee flies high, the little bee makes the honey: the black folks
make the cotton, and the white folks gets the money.”

Of course, the overseer was not at all elated with the sentiment
contained in Jack’s toast. Mr. Wilson had lately purchased a young man
to assist about the house and to act as coachman. This slave, whose
name was Jerome, was of pure African origin, was perfectly black, very
fine-looking, tall, slim, and erect as any one could possibly be. His
features were not bad, lips thin, nose prominent, hands and feet small.
His brilliant black eyes lighted up his whole countenance. His hair,
which was nearly straight, hung in curls upon his lofty brow. George
Combe or Fowler would have selected his head for a model. He was brave
and daring, strong in person, fiery in spirit, yet kind and true in his
affections, earnest in his doctrines. Clotelle had been at the parson’s
but a few weeks when it was observed that a mutual feeling had grown
up between her and Jerome. As time rolled on, they became more and more
attached to each other. After satisfying herself that these two really
loved, Georgiana advised their marriage. But Jerome contemplated his
escape at some future day, and therefore feared that if married it might
militate against it. He hoped, also, to be able to get Clotelle away
too, and it was this hope that kept him from trying to escape by
himself. Dante did not more love his Beatrice, Swift his Stella, Waller
his Saccharissa, Goldsmith his Jessamy bride, or Burns his Mary, than
did Jerome his Clotelle. Unknown to her father, Miss Wilson could
permit these two slaves to enjoy more privileges than any of the other
servants. The young mistress taught Clotelle, and the latter imparted
her instructions to her lover, until both could read so as to be well
understood. Jerome felt his superiority, and always declared that no
master should ever flog him. Aware of his high spirit and determination,
Clotelle was in constant fear lest some difficulty might arise between
her lover and his master.

One day Mr. Wilson, being somewhat out of temper and irritated at what
he was pleased to call Jerome’s insolence, ordered him to follow him to
the barn to be flogged. The young slave obeyed his master, but those who
saw him at the moment felt that he would not submit to be whipped.

“No, sir,” replied Jerome, as his master told him to take off his coat:
“I will serve you, Master Wilson, I will labor for you day and night, if
you demand it, but I will not be whipped.”

This was too much for a white man to stand from a negro, and the
preacher seized his slave by the throat, intending to choke him. But
for once he found his match. Jerome knocked him down, and then escaped
through the back-yard to the street, and from thence to the woods.

Recovering somewhat from the effect of his fall, the parson regained his
feet and started in pursuit of the fugitive. Finding, however, that the
slave was beyond his reach, he at once resolved to put the dogs on his
track. Tabor, the negro-catcher, was sent for, and in less than an hour,
eight or ten men, including the parson, were in the woods with hounds,
trying the trails. These dogs will attack a negro at their master’s
bidding; and cling to him as the bull-dog will cling to a beast. Many
are the speculations as to whether the negro will be secured alive or
dead, when these dogs once get on his track. Whenever there is to be a
negro hunt, there is no lack of participants. Many go to enjoy the fun
which it is said they derive from these scenes.

The company had been in the woods but a short time ere they go on the
track of two fugitives, once of whom was Jerome. The slaves immediately
bent their steps toward the swamp, with the hope that the dogs, when put
upon their scent would be unable to follow them through the water.

The slaves then took a straight course for the Baton Rouge and Bayou
Sara road, about four miles distant. Nearer and nearer the whimpering
pack pressed; their delusion begins to dispel. All at once the truth
flashes upon the minds of the fugitives like a glare of light,--‘tis
Tabor with his dogs!

The scent becomes warmer and warmer, and what was at first an irregular
cry now deepens into one ceaseless roar, as the relentless pack presses
on after its human prey.

They at last reach the river, and in the negroes plunge, followed by the
catch-dog. Jerome is caught and is once more in the hands of his master,
while the other poor fellow finds a watery grave. They return, and the
preacher sends his slave to jail.



CHAPTER XIX. THE TRUE HEROINE


IN vain did Georgiana try to console Clotelle, when the latter heard,
through one of the other slaves, that Mr. Wilson had started with the
dogs in pursuit of Jerome. The poor girl well knew that he would be
caught, and that severe punishment, if not death, would be the result of
his capture. It was therefore with a heart filled with the deepest grief
that the slave-girl heard the footsteps of her master on his return from
the chase. The dogged and stern manner of the preacher forbade even his
daughter inquiring as to the success of his pursuit. Georgiana secretly
hoped that the fugitive had not bee caught; she wished it for the
sake of the slave, and more especially for her maid-servant, whom she
regarded more as a companion than a menial. But the news of the capture
of Jerome soon spread through the parson’s household, and found its way
to the ears of the weeping and heart-stricken Clotelle.

The reverend gentleman had not been home more than an hour ere some of
his parishioners called to know if they should not take the negro from
the prison and execute _Lynch law_ upon him.

“No negro should be permitted to live after striking a white man; let us
take him and hang him at once,” remarked an elderly-looking man, whose
gray hairs thinly covered the crown of his head.

“I think the deacon is right,” said another of the company; “if our
slaves are allowed to set the will of their masters at defiance, there
will be no getting along with them,--an insurrection will be the next
thing we hear of.”

“No, no,” said the preacher; “I am willing to let the law take its
course, as it provides for the punishment of a slave with death if he
strikes his master. We had better let the court decide the question.
Moreover, as a Christian and God-fearing people, we ought to submit to
the dictates of justice. Should we take this man’s life by force, an
Allwise Providence would hold us responsible for the act.”

The company then quietly withdrew, showing that the preacher had some
influence with his people.

“This,” said Mr. Wilson, when left alone with his daughter,--“this, my
dear Georgiana, is the result of your kindness to the negroes. You have
spoiled every one about the house. I can’t whip one of them, without
being in danger of having my life taken.”

“I am sure, papa,” replied the young lady,--“I am sure I never did
any thing intentionally to induce any of the servants to disobey your
orders.”

“No, my dear,” said Mr. Wilson, “but you are too kind to them. Now,
there is Clotelle,--that girl is completely spoiled. She walks about the
house with as dignified an air as if she was mistress of the premises.
By and by you will be sorry for this foolishness of yours.”

“But,” answered Georgiana, “Clotelle has a superior mind, and God
intended her to hold a higher position in life than that of a servant.”

“Yes, my dear, and it was your letting her know that she was intended
for a better station in society that is spoiling her. Always keep a
negro in ignorance of what you conceive to be his abilities,” returned
the parson.

It was late on the Saturday afternoon, following the capture of Jerome
that, while Mr. Wilson was seated in his study preparing his sermon for
the next day, Georgiana entered the room and asked in an excited tone if
it were true that Jerome was to hanged on the following Thursday.

The minister informed her that such was the decision of the court.

“Then,” said she, “Clotelle will die of grief.”

“What business has she to die of grief?” returned the father, his eyes
at the moment flashing fire.

“She has neither eaten nor slept since he was captured,” replied
Georgiana; “and I am certain that she will not live through this.”

“I cannot be disturbed now,” said the parson; “I must get my sermon
ready for to-morrow. I expect to have some strangers to preach to, and
must, therefore, prepare a sermon that will do me credit.”

While the man of God spoke, he seemed to say to himself,--

     “With devotion’s visage, and pious actions,
      We do sugar over the devil himself.”

Georgiana did all in her power to soothe the feelings of Clotelle,
and to induce her to put her trust in God. Unknown to her father, she
allowed the poor girl to go every evening to the jail to see Jerome,
and during these visits, despite her own grief, Clotelle would try to
comfort her lover with the hope that justice would be meted out to him
in the spirit-land.

Thus the time passed on, and the day was fast approaching when the slave
was to die. Having heard that some secret meeting had been held by the
negroes, previous to the attempt of Mr. Wilson to flog his slave,
it occurred to a magistrate that Jerome might know something of the
intended revolt. He accordingly visited the prison to see if he could
learn anything from him, but all to no purpose. Having given up all
hopes of escape, Jerome had resolved to die like a brave man. When
questioned as to whether he knew anything of a conspiracy among the
slaves against their masters, he replied,--

“Do you suppose that I would tell you if I did?”

“But if you know anything,” remarked the magistrate, “and will tell us,
you may possibly have your life spared.”

“Life,” answered the doomed man, “is worth nought to a slave. What
right has a slave to himself, his wife, or his children? We are kept in
heathenish darkness, by laws especially enacted to make our instruction
a criminal offence; and our bones, sinews, blood, and nerves are exposed
in the market for sale.

“My liberty is of as much consequence to me as Mr. Wilson’s is to him.
I am as sensitive to feeling as he. If I mistake not, the day will come
when the negro will learn that he can get his freedom by fighting for
it; and should that time arrive, the whites will be sorry that they have
hated us so shamefully. I am free to say that, could I live my life over
again, I would use all the energies which God has given me to get up an
insurrection.”

Every one present seemed startled and amazed at the intelligence with
which this descendant of Africa spoke.

“He’s a very dangerous man,” remarked one.

“Yes,” said another, “he got some book-learning somewhere, and that has
spoiled him.”

An effort was then made to learn from Jerome where he had learned to
read, but the black refused to give any information on the subject.

The sun was just going down behind the trees as Clotelle entered the
prison to see Jerome for the last time. He was to die on the next day.
Her face was bent upon her hands, and the gushing tears were forcing
their way through her fingers. With beating heart and trembling hands,
evincing the deepest emotion, she threw her arms around her lover’s neck
and embraced him. But, prompted by her heart’s unchanging love, she had
in her own mind a plan by which she hoped to effect the escape of him
to whom she had pledged her heart and hand. While the overcharged clouds
which had hung over the city during the day broke, and the rain fell
in torrents, amid the most terrific thunder and lightning, Clotelle
revealed to Jerome her plan for his escape.

“Dress yourself in my clothes,” said she, “and you can easily pass the
jailer.”

This Jerome at first declined doing. He did not wish to place a
confiding girl in a position where, in all probability, she would have
to suffer; but being assured by the young girl that her life would not
be in danger, he resolved to make the attempt. Clotelle being very tall,
it was not probably that the jailer would discover any difference in
them.

At this moment, she took from her pocket a bunch of keys and unfastened
the padlock, and freed him from the floor.

“Come, girl, it is time for you to go,” said the jailer, as Jerome was
holding the almost fainting girl by the hand.

Being already attired in Clotelle’s clothes, the disguised man embraced
the weeping girl, put his handkerchief to his face, and passed out of
the jail, without the keeper’s knowing that his prisoner was escaping in
a disguise and under cover of the night.



CHAPTER XX. THE HERO OF MANY ADVENTURES


JEROME had scarcely passed the prison-gates, ere he reproached himself
for having taken such a step. There seemed to him no hope of escape out
of the State, and what was a few hours or days at most, of life to him,
when, by obtaining it, another had been sacrificed. He was on the eve
of returning, when he thought of the last words uttered by Clotelle.
“Be brave and determined, and you will still be free.” The words sounded
like a charm in his ears and he went boldly forward.

Clotelle had provided a suit of men’s clothes and had placed them where
her lover could get them, if he should succeed in getting out.

Returning to Mr. Wilson’s barn, the fugitive changed his apparel, and
again retraced his steps into the street. To reach the Free States by
travelling by night and lying by during the day, from a State so far
south as Mississippi, no one would think for a moment of attempting to
escape. To remain in the city would be a suicidal step. The deep sound
of the escape of steam from a boat, which was at that moment ascending
the river, broke upon the ears of the slave. “If that boat is going
up the river,” said he, “why not I conceal myself on board, and try to
escape?” He went at once to the steamboat landing, where the boat was
just coming in. “Bound for Louisville,” said the captain, to one who
was making inquiries. As the passengers were rushing on board, Jerome
followed them, and proceeding to where some of the hands were stowing
away bales of goods, he took hold and aided them.

“Jump down into the hold, there, and help the men,” said the mate to the
fugitive, supposing that, like many persons, he was working his way
up the river. Once in the hull among the boxes, the slave concealed
himself. Weary hours, and at last days, passed without either water or
food with the hidden slave. More than once did he resolve to let his
case be known; but the knowledge that he would be sent back to Natchez
kept him from doing so. At last, with lips parched and fevered to
a crisp, the poor man crawled out into the freight-room, and began
wandering about. The hatches were on, and the room dark. There happened
to be on board a wedding party, and a box, containing some of the bridal
cake, with several bottles of port wine, was near Jerome. He found the
box, opened it, and helped himself. In eight days, the boat tied up at
the wharf at the place of her destination. It was late at night; the
boat’s crew, with the single exception of the man on watch, were on
shore. The hatches were off, and the fugitive quietly made his way on
deck and jumped on shore. The man saw the fugitive, but too late to
seize him.

Still in a Slave State, Jerome was at a loss to know how he should
proceed. He had with him a few dollars, enough to pay his way to Canada,
if he could find a conveyance. The fugitive procured such food as he
wanted from one of the many eating-houses, and then, following the
direction of the North Star, he passed out of the city, and took the
road leading to Covington. Keeping near the Ohio River, Jerome soon
found an opportunity to cross over into the State of Indiana. But
liberty was a mere name in the latter State, and the fugitive learned,
from some colored persons that he met, that it was not safe to travel by
daylight. While making his way one night, with nothing to cheer him but
the prospect of freedom in the future, he was pounced upon by three men
who were lying in wait for another fugitive, an advertisement of whom
they had received through the mail. In vain did Jerome tell them that he
was not a slave. True, they had not caught the man they expected; but,
if they could make this slave tell from what place he had escaped, they
knew that a good price would be paid them for the negro’s arrest.

Tortured by the slave-catchers, to make him reveal the name of his
master and the place from whence he had escaped, Jerome gave them a
fictitious name in Virginia, and said that his master would give a large
reward, and manifested a willingness to return to his “old boss.” By
this misrepresentation, the fugitive hoped to have another chance of
getting away. Allured with the prospect of a large sum of the needful,
the slave-catchers started back with their victim. Stopping on the
second night at an inn, on the banks of the Ohio River, the kidnappers,
in lieu of a suitable place in which to confine their prize during the
night, chained him to the bed-post of their sleeping-chamber. The white
men were late in retiring to rest, after an evening spent in drinking.
At dead of night, when all was still, the slave arose from the floor,
upon which he had been lying, looked around and saw that Morpheus had
possession of his captors. For once, thought he, the brandy bottle has
done a noble work. With palpitating heart and trembling limbs, he viewed
his position. The door was fast, but the warm weather had compelled them
to leave the window open. If he could but get his chains off, he might
escape through the window to the piazza. The sleepers’ clothes hung upon
chairs by the bedside. The slave thought of the padlock-key, examined
the pockets, and found it. The chains were soon off, and the negro
stealthily making his way to the window. He stopped, and said to
himself, “These men are villains; they are enemies to all who, like
me, are trying to be free. Then why not I teach them a lesson?” He then
dressed himself in the best suit, hung his own worn-out and tattered
garments on the same chair, and silently passed through the window to
the piazza, and let himself down by one of the pillars, and started once
more for the North.

Daylight came upon the fugitive before he had selected a hiding-place
for the day, and he was walking at a rapid rate, in hopes of soon
reaching some woodland or forest. The sun had just begun to show itself,
when the fugitive was astounded at seeing behind him, in the distance,
two men upon horseback. Taking a road to the right, the slave saw before
him a farmhouse, and so near was he to it that he observed two men in
front of it looking at him. It was too late to turn back. The kidnappers
were behind him--strange men before him. Those in the rear he knew to be
enemies, while he had no idea of what principles were the farmers. The
latter also saw the white men coming, and called to the fugitive to come
that way. The broad-brimmed hats that the farmers wore told the slave
that they were Quakers.

Jerome had seen some of these people passing up and down the river, when
employed on a steamer between Natchez and New Orleans, and had
heard that they disliked slavery. He, therefore, hastened toward the
drab-coated men, who, on his approach, opened the barn-door, and told
him to “run in.”

When Jerome entered the barn, the two farmers closed the door, remaining
outside themselves, to confront the slave-catchers, who now came up and
demanded admission, feeling that they had their prey secure.

“The can’t enter my premises,” said one of the Friends, in rather a
musical voice.

The negro-catchers urged their claim to the slave, and intimated that,
unless they were allowed to secure him, they would force their way in.
By this time, several other Quakers had gathered around the barn-door.
Unfortunately for the kidnappers, and most fortunately for the
fugitive, the Friends had just been holding a quarterly meeting in the
neighborhood, and a number of them had not yet returned to their homes.
After some talk, the men in drab promised to admit the hunters, provided
they procured an officer and a search-warrant from a justice of the
peace. One of the slave-catchers was left to see that the fugitive did
not get away, while the others went in pursuit of an officer. In the
mean time, the owner of the barn sent for a hammer and nails, and began
nailing up the barn-door.

After an hour in search of the man of the law, they returned with an
officer and a warrant. The Quaker demanded to see the paper, and, after
looking at it for some time, called to his son to go into the house for
his glasses. It was a long time before Aunt Ruth found the leather case,
and when she did, the glasses wanted wiping before they could be used.
After comfortably adjusting them on his nose, he read the warrant over
leisurely.

“Come, Mr. Dugdale, we can’t wait all day,” said the officer.

“Well, will thee read it for me?” returned the Quaker.

The officer complied, and the man in drab said,--

“Yes, thee may go in, now. I am inclined to throw no obstacles in the
way of the execution of the law of the land.”

On approaching the door, the men found some forty or fifty nails in it,
in the way of their progress.

“Lend me your hammer and a chisel, if you please, Mr. Dugdale,” said the
officer.

“Please read that paper over again, will thee?” asked the Quaker.

The officer once more read the warrant.

“I see nothing there which says I must furnish thee with tools to open
my door. If thee wants a hammer, thee must go elsewhere for it; I tell
thee plainly, thee can’t have mine.”

The implements for opening the door are at length obtained, and, after
another half-hour, the slave-catchers are in the barn. Three hours is a
long time for a slave to be in the hands of Quakers. The hay is turned
over, and the barn is visited in every part; but still the runaway is
not found. Uncle Joseph has a glow upon his countenance; Ephraim shakes
his head knowingly; little Elijah is a perfect know-nothing, and, if you
look toward the house, you will see Aunt Ruth’s smiling face, ready to
announce that breakfast is ready.

“The nigger is not in this barn,” said the officer.

“I know he is not,” quietly answered the Quaker.

“What were you nailing up your door for, then, as if you were afraid we
would enter?” inquired one of the kidnappers.

“I can do what I please with my own door, can’t I,” said the Quaker.

The secret was out; the fugitive had gone in at the front door and out
at the back; and the reading of the warrant, nailing up of the door,
and other preliminaries of the Quaker, was to give the fugitive time and
opportunity to escape.

It was now late in the morning, and the slave-catchers were a long way
from home, and the horses were jaded by the rapid manner in which they
had travelled. The Friends, in high glee, returned to the house for
breakfast; the man of the law, after taking his fee, went home, and the
kidnappers turned back, muttering, “Better luck next time.”



CHAPTER XXI. SELF-SACRIFICE


NOW in her seventeenth year, Clotelle’s personal appearance presented a
great contrast to the time when she lived with old Mrs. Miller. Her tall
and well-developed figure; her long, silky black hair, falling in
curls down her swan-like neck; her bright, black eyes lighting up her
olive-tinted face, and a set of teeth that a Tuscarora might envy, she
was a picture of tropical-ripened beauty. At times, there was a heavenly
smile upon her countenance, which would have warmed the heart of an
anchorite. Such was the personal appearance of the girl who was now in
prison by her own act to save the life of another. Would she be hanged
in his stead, or would she receive a different kind of punishment? These
questions Clotelle did not ask herself. Open, frank, free, and generous
to a fault, she always thought of others, never of her own welfare.

The long stay of Clotelle caused some uneasiness to Miss Wilson; yet she
dared not tell her father, for he had forbidden the slave-girl’s going
to the prison to see her lover. While the clock on the church near by
was striking eleven, Georgiana called Sam, and sent him to the prison in
search of Clotelle.

“The girl went away from here at eight o’clock,” was the jailer’s answer
to the servant’s inquiries.

The return of Sam without having found the girl saddened the heart of
the young mistress. “Sure, then,” said she, “the poor, heartbroken thing
has made way with herself.”

Still, she waited till morning before breaking the news of Clotelle’s
absence to her father.

The jailer discovered, the next morning, to his utter astonishment, that
his prisoner was white instead of black, and his first impression was
that the change of complexion had taken place during the night, through
fear of death. But this conjecture was soon dissipated; for the dark,
glowing eyes, the sable curls upon the lofty brow, and the mild, sweet
voice that answered his questions, informed him that the prisoner before
him was another being.

On learning, in the morning, that Clotelle was in jail dressed in male
attire, Miss Wilson immediately sent clothes to her to make a change in
her attire. News of the heroic and daring act of the slave-girl spread
through the city with electric speed.

“I will sell every nigger on the place,” said the parson, at the
breakfast-table,--“I will sell them all, and get a new lot, and whip
them every day.”

Poor Georgiana wept for the safety of Clotelle, while she felt glad that
Jerome had escaped. In vain did they try to extort from the girl the
whereabouts of the man whose escape she had effected. She was not aware
that he had fled on a steamer, and when questioned, she replied,--

“I don’t know; and if I did I would not tell you. I care not what you do
with me, if Jerome but escapes.”

The smile with which she uttered these words finely illustrated the
poet’s meaning, when he says,--

     “A fearful gift upon they heart is laid,
      Woman--the power to suffer and to love.”

Her sweet simplicity seemed to dare them to lay their rough hands amid
her trembling curls.

Three days did the heroic young woman remain in prison, to be gazed at
by an unfeeling crowd, drawn there out of curiosity. The intelligence
came to her at last that the court had decided to spare her life, on
condition that she should be whipped, sold, and sent out of the State
within twenty-four hours.

This order of the court she would have cared but little for, had she not
been sincerely attached to her young mistress.

“Do try and sell her to some one who will use her well,” said Georgiana
to her father, as he was about taking his hat to leave the house.

“I shall not trouble myself to do any such thing,” replied the
hard-hearted parson. “I leave the finding of a master for her with the
slave-dealer.”

Bathed in tears, Miss Wilson paced her room in the absence of her
father. For many months Georgiana had been in a decline, and any little
trouble would lay her on a sick bed for days. She was, therefore, poorly
able to bear the loss of this companion, whom she so dearly loved.

Mr. Wilson had informed his daughter that Clotelle was to be flogged;
and when Felice came in and informed her mistress that the poor girl had
just received fifty lashes on her bare person, the young lady fainted
and fell on the floor. The servants placed their mistress on the sofa,
and went in pursuit of their master. Little did the preacher think, on
returning to his daughter, that he should soon be bereft of her; yet
such was to be his lot. A blood-vessel had been ruptured, and the three
physicians who were called in told the father that he must prepare to
lose his child. That moral courage and calmness, which was her great
characteristic, did not forsake Georgiana in her hour of death. She
had ever been kind to the slaves under her charge, and they loved and
respected her. At her request, the servants were all brought into her
room, and took a last farewell of their mistress. Seldom, if ever, was
there witnessed a more touching scene than this. There lay the young
woman, pale and feeble, with death stamped upon her countenance,
surrounded by the sons and daughters of Africa, some of whom had been
separated from every earthly tie, and the most of whose persons had been
torn and gashed by the negro-whip. Some were upon their knees at the
bedside, others standing around, and all weeping.

Death is a leveler; and neither age, sex, wealth, nor condition, can
avert when he is permitted to strike. The most beautiful flowers
must soon fade and droop and die. So, also, with man; his days are as
uncertain as the passing breeze. This hour he glows in the blush of
health and vigor, but the next, he may be counted with the number no
more known on earth. Oh, what a silence pervaded the house when this
young flower was gone! In the midst of the buoyancy of youth, this
cherished one had dropped and died. Deep were the sounds of grief and
mourning heard in that stately dwelling when the stricken friends, whose
office it had been to nurse and soothe the weary sufferer, beheld her
pale and motionless in the sleep of death.

Who can imagine the feeling with which poor Clotelle received the
intelligence of her kind friend’s death? The deep gashes of the cruel
whip had prostrated the lovely form of the quadroon, and she lay upon
her bed of straw in the dark cell. The speculator had brought her, but
had postponed her removal till she should recover. Her benefactress was
dead, and--

     “Hope withering fled, and mercy sighed farewell.”

“Is Jerome safe?” she would ask herself continually. If her lover could
have but known of the sufferings of that sweet flower,--that polyanthus
over which he had so often been in his dreams,--he would then have
learned that she was worthy of his love.

It was more than a fortnight before the slave-trader could take his
prize to more comfortable quarters. Like Alcibiades, who defaced
the images of the gods and expected to be pardoned on the ground of
eccentricity, so men who abuse God’s image hope to escape the vengeance
of his wrath under the plea that the law sanctions their atrocious
deeds.



CHAPTER XXII. LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT AND WHAT FOLLOWED


IT was a beautiful Sunday in September, with a cloudless sky, and the
rays of the sun parching the already thirsty earth, that Clotelle stood
at an upper window in Slater’s slave-pen in New Orleans, gasping for
a breath of fresh air. The bells of thirty churches were calling the
people to the different places of worship. Crowds were seen wending
their way to the houses of God; one followed by a negro boy carrying
his master’s Bible; another followed by her maid-servant holding the
mistress’ fan; a third supporting an umbrella over his master’s head
to shield him from the burning sun. Baptists immersed, Presbyterians
sprinkled, Methodists shouted, and Episcopalians read their prayers,
while ministers of the various sects preached that Christ died for all.
The chiming of the bells seemed to mock the sighs and deep groans of the
forty human beings then incarcerated in the slave-pen. These imprisoned
children of God were many of them Methodists, some Baptists, and others
claiming to believe in the faith of the Presbyterians and Episcopalians.

Oh, with what anxiety did these creatures await the close of that
Sabbath, and the dawn of another day, that should deliver them from
those dismal and close cells. Slowly the day passed away, and once
more the evening breeze found its way through the barred windows of the
prison that contained these injured sons and daughters of America.

The clock on the calaboose had just struck nine on Monday morning,
when hundreds of persons were seen threading the gates and doors of the
negro-pen. It was the same gang that had the day previous been stepping
to the tune and keeping time with the musical church bells. Their Bibles
were not with them, their prayer-books were left at home, and even their
long and solemn faces had been laid aside for the week. They had come
to the man-market to make their purchases. Methodists were in search of
their brethren. Baptists were looking for those that had been immersed,
while Presbyterians were willing to buy fellow-Christians, whether
sprinkled or not. The crowd was soon gazing at and feasting their eyes
upon the lovely features of Clotelle.

“She is handsomer,” muttered one to himself, “than the lady that sat in
the pew next to me yesterday.”

“I would that my daughter was half so pretty,” thinks a second.

Groups are seen talking in every part of the vast building, and the
topic on ‘Change, is the “beautiful quadroon.” By and by, a tall young
man with a foreign face, the curling mustache protruding from under a
finely-chiseled nose, and having the air of a gentleman, passes by. His
dark hazel eye is fastened on the maid, and he stops for a moment; the
stranger walks away, but soon returns--he looks, he sees the young woman
wipe away the silent tear that steals down her alabaster cheek; he
feels ashamed that he should gaze so unmanly on the blushing face of the
woman. As he turns upon his heel he takes out his white handkerchief and
wipes his eyes. It may be that he has lost a sister, a mother, or some
dear one to whom he was betrothed. Again he comes, and the quadroon
hides her face. She has heard that foreigners make bad masters, and she
shuns his piercing gaze. Again he goes away and then returns. He takes a
last look and then walks hurriedly off.

The day wears away, but long before the time of closing the sale
the tall young man once more enters the slave-pen. He looks in every
direction for the beautiful slave, but she is not there--she has been
sold! He goes to the trader and inquires, but he is too late, and he
therefore returns to his hotel.

Having entered a military school in Paris when quite young, and soon
after been sent with the French army to India, Antoine Devenant had
never dabbled in matters of love. He viewed all women from the same
stand-point--respected them for their virtues, and often spoke of the
goodness of heart of the sex, but never dreamed of taking to himself a
wife. The unequalled beauty of Clotelle had dazzled his eyes, and
every look that she gave was a dagger that went to his heart. He felt a
shortness of breath, his heart palpitated, his head grew dizzy, and his
limbs trembled; but he knew not its cause. This was the first stage of
“love at first sight.”

He who bows to the shrine of beauty when beckoned by this mysterious
agent seldom regrets it. Devenant reproached himself for not having made
inquiries concerning the girl before he left the market in the morning.
His stay in the city was to be short, and the yellow fever was raging,
which caused him to feel like making a still earlier departure. The
disease appeared in a form unusually severe and repulsive. It seized
its victims from amongst the most healthy of the citizens. The disorder
began in the brain by oppressive pain accompanied or followed by fever.
Fiery veins streaked the eye, the face was inflamed and dyed of a dark
dull red color; the ears from time to time rang painfully. Now mucous
secretions surcharged the tongue and took away the power of speech; now
the sick one spoke, but in speaking had foresight of death. When the
violence of the disease approached the heart, the gums were blackened.
The sleep broken, troubled by convulsions, or by frightful visions, was
worse than the waking hours; and when the reason sank under a delirium
which had its seat in the brain, repose utterly forsook the patient’s
couch. The progress of the fever within was marked by yellowish spots,
which spread over the surface of the body. If then, a happy crisis came
not, all hope was gone. Soon the breath infected the air with a fetid
odor, the lips were glazed, despair painted itself in the eyes, and
sobs, with long intervals of silence, formed the only language. From
each side of the mouth, spread foam tinged with black and burnt blood.
Blue streaks mingled with the yellow all over the frame. All remedies
were useless. This was the yellow fever. The disorder spread alarm and
confusion throughout the city. On an average more than four hundred died
daily. In the midst of disorder and confusion, death heaped victims
on victims. Friend followed friend in quick succession. The sick were
avoided from the fear of contagion, and for the same reason the dead
were left unburied. Nearly two thousand dead bodies lay uncovered in the
burial-ground, with only here and there a little lime thrown over them,
to prevent the air becoming infected. The negro, whose home is in a
hot climate, was not proof against the disease. Many plantations had to
suspend their work for want of slaves to take the places of those who
had been taken off by the fever.



CHAPTER XXIII. MEETING OF THE COUSINS


THE clock in the hall had scarcely finished striking three when Mr.
Taylor entered his own dwelling, a fine residence in Camp Street, New
Orleans, followed by the slave-girl whom he had just purchased at the
negro-pen. Clotelle looked around wildly as she passed through the hall
into the presence of her new mistress. Mrs. Taylor was much pleased with
her servant’s appearance, and congratulated her husband on his judicious
choice.

“But,” said Mrs. Taylor, after Clotelle had gone into the kitchen, “how
much she looks like Miss Jane Morton.”

“Indeed,” replied the husband, “I thought, the moment I saw her that she
looked like the Mortons.”

“I am sure I never saw two faces more alike in my life, than that girl’s
and Jane Morton’s,” continued Mrs. Taylor.

Dr. Morton, the purchaser of Marion, the youngest daughter of Agnes, and
sister to Isabella, had resided in Camp Street, near the Taylors, for
more than eight years, and the families were on very intimate terms,
and visited each other frequently. Every one spoke of Clotelle’s close
resemblance to the Mortons, and especially to the eldest daughter.
Indeed, two sisters could hardly have been more alike. The large, dark
eyes, black, silk-like hair, tall, graceful figure, and mould of the
face, were the same.

The morning following Clotelle’s arrival in her new home, Mrs. Taylor
was conversing in a low tone with her husband, and both with their eyes
following Clotelle as she passed through the room.

“She is far above the station of a slave,” remarked the lady. “I saw
her, last night, when removing some books, open on and stand over it a
moment as if she was reading; and she is as white as I am. I am almost
sorry you bought her.”

At this juncture the front door-bell rang, and Clotelle hurried through
the room to answer it.

“Miss Morton,” said the servant as she returned to the mistress’ room.

“Ask her to walk in,” responded the mistress.

“Now, my dear,” said Mrs. Taylor to her husband, “just look and see if
you do not notice a marked resemblance between the countenances of Jane
and Clotelle.”

Miss Morton entered the room just as Mrs. Taylor ceased speaking.

“Have you heard that the Jamisons are down with the fever?” inquired the
young lady, after asking about the health of the Taylors.

“No, I had not; I was in hopes it would not get into our street,”
 replied Mrs. Taylor.

    All this while Mr. and Mrs. Taylor were keenly scrutinizing
their visitor and Clotelle and even the two young women seemed to be
conscious that they were in some way the objects of more than usual
attention.

Miss Morton had scarcely departed before Mrs. Taylor began questioning
Clotelle concerning her early childhood, and became more than ever
satisfied that the slave-girl was in some way connected with the
Mortons.

Every hour brought fresh news of the ravages of the fever, and the
Taylors commenced preparing to leave town. As Mr. Taylor could not go
at once, it was determined that his wife should leave without him,
accompanied by her new maid-servant. Just as Mrs. Taylor and Clotelle
were stepping into the carriage, they were informed that Dr. Morton was
down with the epidemic.

It was a beautiful day, with a fine breeze for the time of year,
that Mrs. Taylor and her servant found themselves in the cabin of the
splendid new steamer “Walk-in-the-Water,” bound from New Orleans to
Mobile. Every berth in the boat was occupied by persons fleeing from the
fearful contagion that was carrying off its hundreds daily.

Late in the day, as Clotelle was standing at one of the windows of the
ladies’ saloon, she was astonished to see near her, and with eyes fixed
intently upon her, the tall young stranger whom she had observed in the
slave-market a few days before. She turned hastily away, but the heated
cabin and the want of fresh air soon drove her again to the window. The
young gentleman again appeared, and coming to the end of the saloon,
spoke to the slave-girl in broken English. This confirmed her in her
previous opinion that he was a foreigner, and she rejoiced that she had
not fallen into his hands.

“I want to talk with you,” said the stranger.

“What do you want with me?” she inquired. “I am your friend,” he
answered. “I saw you in the slave-market last week, and regretted that I
did not speak to you then. I returned in the evening, but you was gone.”

Clotelle looked indignantly at the stranger, and was about leaving the
window again when the quivering of his lips and the trembling of his
voice struck her attention and caused her to remain.

“I intended to buy you and make you free and happy, but I was too late,”
 continued he.

“Why do you wish to make me free?” inquired the girl.

“Because I once had an only and lovely sister, who died three years
ago in France, and you are so much like her that had I not known of her
death I should certainly have taken you for her.”

“However much I may resemble your sister, you are aware that I am not
she; why, then, take so much interest in one whom you have never seen
before and may never see again?”

“The love,” said he, “which I had for my sister is transferred to you.”

Clotelle had all along suspected that the man was a knave, and this
profession of love at once confirmed her in that belief. She therefore
immediately turned away and left him.

Hours elapsed. Twilight was just “letting down her curtain and pinning
it with a star,” as the slave-girl seated herself on a sofa by the
window, and began meditating upon her eventful history, meanwhile
watching the white waves as they seemed to sport with each other in the
wake of the noble vessel, with the rising moon reflecting its silver
rays upon the splendid scene, when the foreigner once more appeared
near the window. Although agitated for fear her mistress would see her
talking to a stranger, and be angry, Clotelle still thought she saw
something in the countenance of the young man that told her he was
sincere, and she did not wish to hurt his feelings.

“Why persist in your wish to talk with me?” she said, as he again
advanced and spoke to her.

“I wish to purchase you and make you happy,” returned he.

“But I am not for sale now,” she replied. “My present mistress will not
sell me, and if you wished to do so ever so much you could not.”

“Then,” said he, “if I cannot buy you, when the steamer reaches Mobile,
fly with me, and you shall be free.”

“I cannot do it,” said Clotelle; and she was just leaving the stranger
when he took from his pocket a piece of paper and thrust it into her
hand.

After returning to her room, she unfolded the paper, and found, to her
utter astonishment that it contained a one hundred dollar note on the
Bank of the United States. The first impulse of the girl was to return
the paper and its contents immediately to the giver, but examining the
paper more closely, she saw in faint pencil-marks, “Remember this is
from one who loves you.” Another thought was to give it to her mistress,
and she returned to the saloon for that purpose; but on finding Mrs.
Taylor engaged in conversation with some ladies, she did not deem it
proper to interrupt her.

Again, therefore, Clotelle seated herself by the window, and again the
stranger presented himself. She immediately took the paper from her
pocket, and handed it to him; but he declined taking it, saying,--

“No, keep it; it may be of some service to you when I am far away.”

“Would that I could understand you,” said the slave.

“Believe that I am sincere, and then you will understand me,” returned
the young man. “Would you rather be a slave than be free?” inquired he,
with tears that glistened in the rays of the moon.

“No,” said she, “I want my freedom, but I must live a virtuous life.”

“Then, if you would be free and happy, go with me. We shall be in Mobile
in two hours, and when the passengers are going on shore, you take my
arm. Have your face covered with a veil, and you will not be observed.
We will take passage immediately for France; you can pass as my sister,
and I pledge you my honor that I will marry you as soon as we arrive in
France.”

This solemn promise, coupled with what had previously been said, gave
Clotelle confidence in the man, and she instantly determined to go with
him. “But then,” thought she, “what if I should be detected? I would be
forever ruined, for I would be sold, and in all probability have to end
my days on a cotton, rice, or sugar plantation.” However, the thought of
freedom in the future outweighed this danger, and her resolve was taken.

Dressing herself in some of her best clothes, and placing her veiled
bonnet where she could get it without the knowledge of her mistress,
Clotelle awaited with a heart filled with the deepest emotions and
anxiety the moment when she was to take a step which seemed so rash, and
which would either make or ruin her forever.

The ships which Mobile for Europe lie about thirty miles down the
bay, and passengers are taken down from the city in small vessels. The
“Walk-in-the-Water” had just made her lines fast, and the passengers
were hurrying on shore, when a tall gentleman with a lady at his side
descended the stage-plank, and stepped on the wharf. This was Antoine
Devenant and Clotelle.



CHAPTER XXIV. THE LAW AND ITS VICTIM


THE death of Dr. Morton, on the third day of his illness, came like
a shock upon his wife and daughters. The corpse had scarcely been
committed to its mother earth before new and unforeseen difficulties
appeared to them. By the laws of the Slave States, the children follow
the condition of their mother. If the mother is free, the children are
free; if a slave, the children are slaves. Being unacquainted with the
Southern code, and no one presuming that Marion had any negro blood in
her veins, Dr. Morton had not given the subject a single thought. The
woman whom he loved and regarded as his wife was, after all, nothing
more than a slave by the laws of the State. What would have been his
feelings had he known that at his death his wife and children would
be considered as his property? Yet such was the case. Like most men of
means at that time, Dr. Morton was deeply engaged in speculation, and
though generally considered wealthy, was very much involved in his
business affairs.

After the disease with which Dr. Morton had so suddenly died had to some
extent subsided, Mr. James Morton, a brother of the deceased, went
to New Orleans to settle up the estate. On his arrival there, he was
pleased with and felt proud of his nieces, and invited them to return
with him to Vermont, little dreaming that his brother had married a
slave, and that his widow and daughters would be claimed as such. The
girls themselves had never heard that their mother had been a slave, and
therefore knew nothing of the danger hanging over their heads.

An inventory of the property of the deceased was made out by Mr. Morton,
and placed in the hands of the creditors. These preliminaries being
arranged, the ladies, with their relative, concluded to leave the city
and reside for a few days on the banks of Lake Ponchartrain, where they
could enjoy a fresh air that the city did not afford. As they were
about taking the cars, however, an officer arrested the whole party--the
ladies as slaves, and the gentleman upon the charge of attempting to
conceal the property of his deceased brother. Mr. Morton was overwhelmed
with horror at the idea of his nieces being claimed as slaves, and asked
for time, that he might save them from such a fate. He even offered
to mortgage his little farm in Vermont for the amount which young
slave-women of their ages would fetch. But the creditors pleaded that
they were an “extra article,” and would sell for more than common
slaves, and must therefore be sold at auction.

The uncle was therefore compelled to give them up to the officers of the
law, and they were separated from him. Jane, the oldest of the girls, as
we have before mentioned, was very handsome, bearing a close resemblance
to her cousin Clotelle. Alreka, though not as handsome as her sister,
was nevertheless a beautiful girl, and both had all the accomplishments
that wealth and station could procure.

Though only in her fifteen year, Alreka had become strongly attached to
Volney Lapie, a young Frenchman, a student in her father’s office. This
attachment was reciprocated, although the poverty of the young man and
the extreme youth of the girl had caused their feelings to be kept from
the young lady’s parents.

The day of sale came, and Mr. Morton attended, with the hope that either
the magnanimity of the creditors or his own little farm in Vermont might
save his nieces from the fate that awaited them. His hope, however, was
in vain. The feelings of all present seemed to be lost in the general
wish to become the possessor of the young ladies, who stood trembling,
blushing, and weeping as the numerous throng gazed at them, or as the
intended purchaser examined the graceful proportions of their fair and
beautiful frames. Neither the presence of the uncle nor young Lapie
could at all lessen the gross language of the officers, or stay the rude
hands of those who wishes to examine the property thus offered for sale.
After a fierce contest between the bidders, the girls were sold, one for
two thousand three hundred, and the other for two thousand three hundred
and fifty dollars. Had these girls been bought for servants only, they
would in all probability have brought not more than nine hundred or a
thousand dollars each. Here were two beautiful young girls, accustomed
to the fondest indulgence, surrounded by all the refinements of life,
and with the timidity and gentleness which such a life would naturally
produce, bartered away like cattle in the markets of Smithfield or New
York.

The mother, who was also to have been sold, happily followed her husband
to the grave, and was spared the pangs of a broken heart.

The purchaser of the young ladies left the market in triumph, and the
uncle, with a heavy heart, started for his New England home, with no
earthly prospect of ever beholding his nieces again.

The seizure of the young ladies as slaves was the result of the
administrator’s having found among Dr. Morton’s papers the bill-of-sale
of Marion which he had taken when he purchased her. He had doubtless
intended to liberate her when he married her, but had neglected from
time to time to have the proper papers made out. Sad was the result of
this negligence.



CHAPTER XXV. THE FLIGHT


ON once gaining the wharf, Devenant and Clotelle found no difficulty in
securing an immediate passage to France. The fine packet-ship Utica lay
down the bay, and only awaited the return of the lighter that night to
complete her cargo and list of passengers, ere she departed. The young
Frenchman therefore took his prize on board, and started for the ship.

Daylight was just making its appearance the next morning when the Utica
weighed anchor and turned her prow toward the sea. In the course of
three hours, the vessel, with outspread sails, was rapidly flying from
land. Everything appeared to be auspicious. The skies were beautifully
clear, and the sea calm, with a sun that dazzled the whole scene. But
clouds soon began to chase each other through the heavens, and the sea
became rough. It was then that Clotelle felt that there was hoped of
escaping. She had hitherto kept in the cabin, but now she expressed a
wish to come on deck. The hanging clouds were narrowing the horizon to
a span, and gloomily mingling with the rising surges. The old and
grave-looking seamen shook their weather-wise heads as if foretelling a
storm.

As Clotelle came on deck, she strained her eyes in vain to catch a
farewell view of her native land. With a smile on her countenance, but
with her eyes filled with tears, she said,--

“Farewell, farewell to the land of my birth, and welcome, welcome, ye
dark blue waves. I care not where I go, so it is

     ‘Where a tyrant never trod,
       Where a slave was never known,
      But where nature worships God,
       If in the wilderness alone.’”

Devenant stood by her side, seeming proud of his future wife, with his
face in a glow at his success, while over his noble brow clustering
locks of glossy black hair were hanging in careless ringlets. His
finely-cut, classic features wore the aspect of one possessed with a
large and noble heart.

Once more the beautiful Clotelle whispered in the ear of her lover,--

     “Away, away, o’er land and sea,
      America is now no home for me.”

The winds increased with nightfall, and impenetrable gloom surrounded
the ship. The prospect was too uncheering, even to persons in love.
The attention which Devenant paid to Clotelle, although she had been
registered on the ship’s passenger list as his sister, caused more than
one to look upon his as an agreeable travelling companion. His tall,
slender figure and fine countenance bespoke for him at first sight one’s
confidence. That he was sincerely and deeply enamored of Clotelle all
could see.

The weather became still more squally. The wind rushed through the
white, foaming waves, and the ship groaned with its own wild and
ungovernable labors, while nothing could be seen but the wild waste of
waters. The scene was indeed one of fearful sublimity.

Day came and went without any abatement of the storm. Despair was now on
every countenance. Occasionally a vivid flash of lightning would break
forth and illuminate the black and boiling surges that surrounded the
vessel, which was now scudding before the blast under bare poles.

After five days of most intensely stormy weather, the sea settled down
into a dead calm, and the passengers flocked on deck. During the last
three days of the storm, Clotelle had been so unwell as to be unable to
raise her head. Her pale face and quivering lips and languid appearance
made her look as if every pulsation had ceased. Her magnificent large
and soft eyes, fringed with lashes as dark as night, gave her an angelic
appearance. The unreserved attention of Devenant, even when sea-sick
himself, did much to increase the little love that the at first
distrustful girl had placed in him. The heart must always have some
object on which to centre its affections, and Clotelle having lost all
hope of ever again seeing Jerome, it was but natural that she should now
transfer her love to one who was so greatly befriending her. At first
she respected Devenant for the love he manifested for her, and for his
apparent willingness to make any sacrifice for her welfare. True, this
was an adventure upon which she had risked her all, and should her heart
be foiled in this search for hidden treasures, her affections would be
shipwrecked forever. She felt under great obligations to the man who had
thus effected her escape, and that noble act alone would entitle him to
her love.

Each day became more pleasant as the noble ship sped onward amid the
rippled spray. The whistling of the breeze through the rigging was music
to the ear, and brought gladness to the heart of every one on board. At
last, the long suspense was broken by the appearance of land, at which
all hearts leaped for joy. It was a beautiful morning in October. The
sun had just risen, and sky and earth were still bathed in his soft,
rosy glow, when the Utica hauled into the dock at Bordeaux. The
splendid streets, beautiful bridges, glittering equipages, and smiling
countenances of the people, gave everything a happy appearance, after a
voyage of twenty-nine days on the deep, deep sea.

After getting their baggage cleared from the custom-house and going to a
hotel, Devenant made immediate arrangements for the marriage. Clotelle,
on arriving at the church where the ceremony was to take place, was
completely overwhelmed at the spectacle. She had never beheld a scene so
gorgeous as this. The magnificent dresses of the priests and choristers,
the deep and solemn voices, the elevated crucifix, the burning tapers,
the splendidly decorated altar, the sweet-smelling incense, made the
occasion truly an imposing one. At the conclusion of the ceremony, the
loud and solemn peals of the organ’s swelling anthem were lost to all in
the contemplation of the interesting scene.

The happy couple set out at once for Dunkirk, the residence of the
bridegroom’s parents. But their stay there was short, for they had
scarcely commenced visiting the numerous friends of the husband ere
orders came for him to proceed to India to join that portion of the
French army then stationed there.

In due course of time they left for India, passing through Paris and
Lyons, taking ship at Marseilles. In the metropolis of France, they
spent a week, where the husband took delight in introducing his wife
to his brother officers in the French army, and where the newly-married
couple were introduced to Louis Philippe, then King of France. In all of
these positions, Clotelle sustained herself in a most ladylike manner.

At Lyons, they visited the vast factories and other public works, and
all was pleasure with them. The voyage from Marseilles to Calcutta
was very pleasant, as the weather was exceedingly fine. On arriving in
India, Captain Devenant and lady were received with honors--the former
for his heroic bravery in more than one battle, and the latter for
her fascinating beauty and pleasing manners, and the fact that she
was connected with one who was a general favorite with all who had his
acquaintance. This was indeed a great change for Clotelle. Six months
had not elapsed since her exposure in the slave-market of New Orleans.
This life is a stage, and we are indeed all actors.



CHAPTER XXVI. THE HERO OF A NIGHT


MOUNTED on a fast horse, with the Quaker’s son for a guide, Jerome
pressed forward while Uncle Joseph was detaining the slave-catchers at
the barn-door, through which the fugitive had just escaped. When out of
present danger, fearing that suspicion might be aroused if he continued
on the road in open day, Jerome buried himself in a thick, dark forest
until nightfall. With a yearning heart, he saw the splendor of the
setting sun lingering on the hills, as if loath to fade away and be lost
in the more sombre hues of twilight, which, rising from the east, was
slowly stealing over the expanse of heaven, bearing silence and repose,
which should cover his flight from a neighborhood to him so full of
dangers.

Wearily and alone, with nothing but the hope of safety before him to
cheer him on his way, the poor fugitive urged his tired and trembling
limbs forward for several nights. The new suit of clothes with which he
had provided himself when he made his escape from his captors, and the
twenty dollars which the young Quaker had slipped into his hand, when
bidding him “Fare thee well,” would enable him to appear genteelly as
soon as he dared to travel by daylight, and would thus facilitate his
progress toward freedom.

It was late in the evening when the fugitive slave arrived at a small
town on the banks of Lake Erie, where he was to remain over night. How
strange were his feelings! While his heart throbbed for that freedom and
safety which Canada alone could furnish to the whip-scarred slave, on
the American continent, his thoughts were with Clotelle. Was she still
in prison, and if so, what would be her punishment for aiding him to
escape from prison? Would he ever behold her again? These were the
thoughts that followed him to his pillow, haunted him in his dreams, and
awakened him from his slumbers.

The alarm of fire aroused the inmates of the hotel in which Jerome had
sought shelter for the night from the deep sleep into which they had
fallen. The whole village was buried in slumber, and the building was
half consumed before the frightened inhabitants had reached the scene of
the conflagration. The wind was high, and the burning embers were wafted
like so many rockets through the sky. The whole town was lighted up, and
the cries of women and children in the streets made the scene a terrific
one. Jerome heard the alarm, and hastily dressing himself, he went forth
and hastened toward the burning building.

“There,--there in that room in the second story, is my child!” exclaimed
a woman, wringing her hands, and imploring some one to go to the rescue
of her little one.

The broad sheets of fire were flying in the direction of the chamber
in which the child was sleeping, and all hope of its being saved seemed
gone. Occasionally the wind would life the pall of smoke, and show that
the work of destruction was not yet complete. At last a long ladder was
brought, and one end placed under the window of the room. A moment more
and a bystander mounted the ladder and ascended in haste to the window.
The smoke met him as he raised the sash, and he cried out, “All is
lost!” and returned to the ground without entering the room.

Another sweep of the wind showed that the destroying element had not yet
made its final visit to that part of the doomed building. The mother,
seeing that all hope of again meeting her child in this world was gone,
wrung her hands and seemed inconsolable with grief.

At this juncture, a man was seen to mount the ladder, and ascend with
great rapidity. All eyes were instantly turned to the figure of this
unknown individual as it disappeared in the cloud of smoke escaping from
the window. Those who a moment before had been removing furniture, as
well as the idlers who had congregated at the ringing of the bells,
assembled at the foot of the ladder, and awaited with breathless silence
the reappearance of the stranger, who, regardless of his own safety, had
thus risked his life to save another’s. Three cheers broke the stillness
that had fallen on the company, as the brave man was seen coming through
the window and slowly descending to the ground holding under one arm the
inanimate form of the child. Another cheer and then another, made the
welkin ring, as the stranger, with hair burned and eyebrows closely
singed, fainted at the foot of the ladder. But the child was saved.

The stranger was Jerome. As soon as he revived, he shrunk from every
eye, as if he feared they would take from him the freedom which he had
gone through so much to obtain.

The next day, the fugitive took a vessel, and the following morning
found himself standing on the free soil of Canada. As his foot pressed
the shore, he threw himself upon his face, kissed the earth, and
exclaimed, “O God! I thank thee that I am a free man.”



CHAPTER XXVII. TRUE FREEDOM

THE history of the African race is God’s illuminated clock, set in the
dark steeple of time. The negro has been made the hewer of wood and the
drawer of water for nearly all other nations. The people of the United
States, however, will have an account to settle with God, owing to their
treatment of the negro, which will far surpass the rest of mankind.

Jerome, on reaching Canada, felt for the first time that personal
freedom which God intended that all who bore his image should enjoy.
That same forgetfulness of self which had always characterized him now
caused him to think of others. The thoughts of dear ones in slavery were
continually in his mind, and above all others, Clotelle occupied his
thoughts. Now that he was free, he could better appreciate her condition
as a slave. Although Jerome met, on his arrival in Canada, numbers who
had escaped from the Southern States, he nevertheless shrank from all
society, particularly that of females. The soft, silver-gray tints on
the leaves of the trees, with their snow-spotted trunks, and a biting
air, warned the new-born freeman that he was in another climate. Jerome
sought work, and soon found it; and arranged with his employer that the
latter should go to Natchez in search of Clotelle. The good Scotchman,
for whom the fugitive was laboring, freely offered to go down and
purchase the girl, if she could be bought, and let Jerome pay him in
work. With such a prospect of future happiness in view, this injured
descendent of outraged and bleeding Africa went daily to his toil with
an energy hitherto unknown to him. But oh, how vain are the hopes of
man!



CHAPTER XXVIII. FAREWELL TO AMERICA


THREE months had elapsed, from the time the fugitive commenced work for
Mr. Streeter, when that gentleman returned from his Southern research,
and informed Jerome that Parson Wilson had sold Clotelle, and that she
had been sent to the New Orleans slave-market.

This intelligence fell with crushing weight upon the heart of Jerome,
and he now felt that the last chain which bound him to his native land
was severed. He therefore determined to leave America forever. His
nearest and dearest friends had often been flogged in his very presence,
and he had seen his mother sold to the negro-trader. An only sister
had been torn from him by the soul-driver; he had himself been sold
and resold, and been compelled to submit to the most degrading and
humiliating insults; and now that the woman upon whom his heart doted,
and without whom life was a burden, had been taken away forever, he felt
it a duty to hate all mankind.

If there is one thing more than another calculated to make one hate and
detest American slavery, it is to witness the meetings between fugitives
and their friends in Canada. Jerome had beheld some of these scenes. The
wife who, after years of separation, had escaped from her prison-house
and followed her husband had told her story to him. He had seen the
newly-arrived wife rush into the arms of the husband, whose dark face
she had not looked upon for long, weary years. Some told of how a sister
had been ill-used by the overseer; others of a husband’s being whipped
to death for having attempted to protect his wife. He had sat in the
little log-hut, by the fireside, and heard tales that caused his heart
to bleed; and his bosom swelled with just indignation when he though
that there was no remedy for such atrocious acts. It was with such
feelings that he informed his employer that he should leave him at the
expiration of a month.

In vain did Mr. Streeter try to persuade Jerome to remain with him; and
late in the month of February, the latter found himself on board a small
vessel loaded with pine-lumber, descending the St. Lawrence, bound for
Liverpool. The bark, though an old one, was, nevertheless, considered
seaworthy, and the fugitive was working his way out. As the vessel left
the river and gained the open sea, the black man appeared to rejoice at
the prospect of leaving a country in which his right to manhood had been
denied him, and his happiness destroyed.

The wind was proudly swelling the white sails, and the little craft
plunging into the foaming waves, with the land fast receding in the
distance, when Jerome mounted a pile of lumber to take a last farewell
of his native land. With tears glistening in his eyes, and with
quivering lips, he turned his gaze toward the shores that were fast
fading in the dim distance, and said,--

“Though forced from my native land by the tyrants of the South, I hope I
shall some day be able to return. With all her faults, I love my country
still.”



CHAPTER XXIX. A STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND


THE rain was falling on the dirty pavements of Liverpool as Jerome left
the vessel after her arrival. Passing the custom-house, he took a cab,
and proceeded to Brown’s Hotel, Clayton Square.

Finding no employment in Liverpool, Jerome determined to go into the
interior and seek for work. He, therefore, called for his bill, and made
ready for his departure. Although but four days at the Albion, he found
the hotel charges larger than he expected; but a stranger generally
counts on being “fleeced” in travelling through the Old World, and
especially in Great Britain. After paying his bill, he was about leaving
the room, when one of the servants presented himself with a low bow, and
said,--

“Something for the waiter, sir?”

“I thought I had paid my bill,” replied the man, somewhat surprised at
this polite dun.

“I am the waiter, sir, and gets only what strangers see fit to give me.”

Taking from his pocket his nearly empty purse, Jerome handed the man a
half-crown; but he had hardly restored it to his pocket, before his eye
fell on another man in the waiting costume.

“What do you want?” he asked.

“Whatever your honor sees fit to give me, sir. I am the tother waiter.”

The purse was again taken from the pocket, and another half-crown handed
out. Stepping out into the hall, he saw standing there a good-looking
woman, in a white apron, who made a very pretty courtesy.

“What’s your business?” he inquired.

“I am the chambermaid, sir, and looks after the gentlemen’s beds.”

Out came the purse again, and was relieved of another half-crown;
whereupon another girl, with a fascinating smile, took the place of the
one who had just received her fee.

“What do you want?” demanded the now half-angry Jerome.

“Please, sir, I am the tother chambermaid.”

Finding it easier to give shillings than half-crowns, Jerome handed the
woman a shilling, and again restored his purse to his pocket, glad that
another woman was not to be seen.

Scarcely had he commenced congratulating himself, however, before three
men made their appearance, one after another.

“What have _you_ done for me?” he asked of the first.

“I am the boots, sir.”

The purse came out once more, and a shilling was deposited in the
servant’s hand.

“What do I owe you?” he inquired of the second.

“I took your honor’s letter to the post, yesterday, sir.”

Another shilling left the purse.

“In the name of the Lord, what am I indebted to you for?” demanded
Jerome, now entirely out of patience, turning to the last of the trio.

“I told yer vership vot time it vas, this morning.”

“Well!” exclaimed the indignant man, “ask here who o’clock it is, and
you have got to pay for it.”

He paid this last demand with a sixpence, regretting that he had not
commenced with sixpences instead of half-crowns.

Having cleared off all demands in the house, he started for the railway
station; but had scarcely reached the street, before he was accosted by
an old man with a broom in his hand, who, with an exceedingly low bow,
said,--

“I is here, yer lordship.”

“I did not send for you; what is your business?” demanded Jerome.

“I is the man what opened your lordship’s cab-door, when your lordship
came to the house on Monday last, and I know your honor won’t allow a
poor man to starve.”

Putting a sixpence in the old man’s hand, Jerome once more started
for the depot. Having obtained letters of introduction to persons in
Manchester, he found no difficulty in getting a situation in a large
manufacturing house there. Although the salary was small, yet the
situation was a much better one than he had hoped to obtain. His
compensation as out-door clerk enabled him to employ a man to teach him
at night, and, by continued study and attention to business, he was soon
promoted.

After three years in his new home, Jerome was placed in a still higher
position, where his salary amounted to fifteen hundred dollars a year.
The drinking, smoking, and other expensive habits, which the clerks
usually indulged in, he carefully avoided.

Being fond of poetry, he turned his attention to literature. Johnson’s
“Lives of the Poets,” the writings of Dryden, Addison, Pope, Clarendon,
and other authors of celebrity, he read with attention. The knowledge
which he thus picked up during his leisure hours gave him a great
advantage over the other clerks, and caused his employers to respect
him far more than any other in their establishment. So eager was he to
improve the time that he determined to see how much he could read during
the unemployed time of night and morning, and his success was beyond his
expectations.



CHAPTER XXX. NEW FRIENDS


BROKEN down in health, after ten years of close confinement in his
situation, Jerome resolved to give it up, and thereby release himself
from an employment which seemed calculated to send him to a premature
grave.

It was on a beautiful morning in summer that he started for Scotland,
having made up his mind to travel for his health. After visiting
Edinburgh and Glasgow, he concluded to spend a few days in the old town
of Perth, with a friend whose acquaintance he had made in Manchester.
During the second day of his stay in Perth, while crossing the main
street, Jerome saw a pony-chaise coming toward him with great speed. A
lady, who appeared to be the only occupant of the vehicle, was using
her utmost strength to stop the frightened horses. The footman, in his
fright, had leaped from behind the carriage, and was following with
the crowd. With that self-forgetfulness which was one of his chief
characteristics, Jerome threw himself before the horses to stop them;
and, seizing the high-spirited animals by the bit, as they dashed by
him, he was dragged several rods before their speed was checked, which
was not accomplished until one of the horses had fallen to the ground,
with the heroic man struggling beneath him.

All present were satisfied that this daring act alone had saved the
lady’s life, for the chaise must inevitably have been dashed in pieces,
had the horses not been thus suddenly checked in their mad career.

On the morning following this perilous adventure, Col. G--called at
Jerome’s temporary residence, and, after expressing his admiration for
his noble daring, and thanking him for having saved his daughter’s life,
invited him to visit him at his country residence. This invitation was
promptly accepted in the spirit in which it was given; and three days
after, Jerome found himself at the princely residence of the father
of the lady for whose safety he had risked his own life. The house was
surrounded by fine trees, and a sweet little stream ran murmuring at the
foot, while beds of flowers on every hand shed their odors on the summer
air. It was, indeed, a pleasant place to spend the warm weather, and
the colonel and his family gave Jerome a most cordial welcome. Miss G.
showed especial attention to the stranger. He had not intended remaining
longer than the following day: but the family insisted on his taking
part in a fox-hunt that was to come off on the morning of the third day.
Wishing to witness a scene as interesting as the chase usually proves to
be, he decided to remain.

Fifteen persons, five of whom were ladies, were on the ground at the
appointed hour. Miss G. was, of course, one of the party. In vain Jerome
endeavored to excuse himself from joining in the chase. His plea of
ill-health was only met by smiles from the young ladies, and the reply
that a ride would effect a cure.

Dressed in a scarlet coat and high boots, with the low, round cap worn
in the chase, Jerome mounted a high-spirited horse, whip in hand, and
made himself one of the party. In America, riding is a necessity; in
England, it is a pleasure. Young men and women attend riding-school in
our fatherland, and consider that they are studying a science. Jerome
was no rider. He had not been on horseback for more than ten years, and
as soon as he mounted, every one saw that he was a novice, and a smile
was on the countenance of each member of the company.

The blowing of the horn, and assembling of the hounds, and finally the
release of the fox from his close prison, were the signals for the chase
to commence. The first half-mile the little animal took his course over
a beautiful field where there was neither hedge nor ditch. Thus far the
chase was enjoyed by all, even by the American rider, who was better
fitted to witness the scene than to take part in it.

We left Jerome in our last reluctantly engaged in the chase; and though
the first mile or so of the pursuit, which was over smooth meadow-land,
had had an exhilarating effect upon his mind, and tended somewhat
to relieve him of the embarrassment consequent upon his position,
he nevertheless still felt that he was far from being in his proper
element. Besides, the fox had now made for a dense forest which lay
before, and he saw difficulties in that direction which to him appeared
insurmountable.

Away went the huntsmen, over stone walls, high fences, and deep ditches.
Jerome saw the ladies even leading the gentlemen, but this could not
inspire him. They cleared the fences, four and five feet high with
perfect ease, showing they were quite at home in the saddle. But alas
for the poor American! As his fine steed came up to the first fence, and
was about to make the leap, Jerome pulled at the bridle, and cried at
the top of his voice, “Whoa! whoa! whoa!” the horse at the same time
capering about, and appearing determined to keep up with the other
animals.

Away dashed the huntsmen, following the hounds, and all were soon lost
to the view of their colored companion. Jerome rode up and down the
field looking for a gate or bars, that he might get through without
risking his neck. Finding, however, that all hope of again catching up
with the party was out of the question, he determined to return to the
house, under a plea of sudden illness, and back he accordingly went.

“I hope no accident has happened to your honor,” said the groom, as he
met our hero at the gate.

“A slight dizziness,” was the answer.

One of the servants, without being ordered, went at once for the family
physician. Ashamed to own that his return was owing to his inability
to ride, Jerome resolved to feign sickness. The doctor came, felt
his pulse, examined his tongue, and pronounced him a sick man. He
immediately ordered a tepid bath, and sent for a couple of leeches.

Seeing things taking such a serious turn, the American began to regret
the part he was playing; for there was no fun in being rubbed and
leeched when one was in perfect health. He had gone too far to recede,
however, and so submitted quietly to the directions of the doctor; and,
after following the injunctions given by that learned Esculapius, was
put to bed.

Shortly after, the sound of the horns and the yelp of the hounds
announced that the poor fox had taken the back track, and was repassing
near the house. Even the pleasure of witnessing the beautiful sight from
the window was denied our hero; for the physician had ordered that he
must be kept in perfect quiet.

The chase was at last over, and the huntsmen all in, sympathizing with
their lost companion. After nine days of sweating, blistering, and
leeching, Jerome left his bed convalescent, but much reduced in flesh
and strength. This was his first and last attempt to follow the fox and
hounds.

During his fortnight’s stay at Colonel G.’, Jerome spent most of his
time in the magnificent library. Claude did not watch with more interest
every color of the skies, the trees, the grass, and the water, to learn
from nature, than did this son of a despised race search books to obtain
that knowledge which his early life as a slave had denied him.



CHAPTER XXXI. THE MYSTERIOUS MEETING


AFTER more than a fortnight spent in the highlands of Scotland, Jerome
passed hastily through London on his way to the continent.

It was toward sunset, on a warm day in October, shortly after his
arrival in France, that, after strolling some distance from the Hotel
de Leon, in the old and picturesque town of Dunkirk, he entered a
burial-ground--such places being always favorite walks with him--and
wandered around among the silent dead. All nature around was hushed in
silence, and seemed to partake of the general melancholy that hung over
the quiet resting-place of the departed. Even the birds seemed imbued
with the spirit of the place, for they were silent, either flying
noiselessly over the graves, or jumping about in the tall grass. After
tracing the various inscriptions that told the characters and conditions
of the deceased, and viewing the mounds beneath which the dust of
mortality slumbered, he arrived at a secluded spot near where an aged
weeping willow bowed its thick foliage to the ground, as though anxious
to hide from the scrutinizing gaze of curiosity the grave beneath it.
Jerome seated himself on a marble tombstone, and commenced reading from
a book which he had carried under his arm. It was now twilight, and
he had read but a few minutes when he observed a lady, attired in deep
black, and leading a boy, apparently some five or six years old, coming
up one of the beautiful, winding paths. As the lady’s veil was drawn
closely over her face, he felt somewhat at liberty to eye her more
closely. While thus engaged, the lady gave a slight scream, and seemed
suddenly to have fallen into a fainting condition. Jerome sprang from
his seat, and caught her in time to save her from falling to the ground.

At this moment an elderly gentleman, also dressed in black, was seen
approaching with a hurried step, which seemed to indicate that he was in
some way connected with the lady. The old man came up, and in rather a
confused manner inquired what had happened, and Jerome explained matters
as well as he was able to do so. After taking up the vinaigrette, which
had fallen from her hand, and holding the bottle a short time to her
face, the lady began to revive. During all this time, the veil had still
partly covered the face of the fair one, so that Jerome had scarcely
seen it. When she had so far recovered as to be able to look around her,
she raised herself slightly, and again screamed and swooned. The old man
now feeling satisfied that Jerome’s dark complexion was the immediate
cause of the catastrophe, said in a somewhat petulant tone,--

“I will be glad, sir, if you will leave us alone.”

The little boy at this juncture set up a loud cry, and amid the general
confusion, Jerome left the ground and returned to his hotel.

While seated at the window of his room looking out upon the crowded
street, with every now and then the strange scene in the graveyard
vividly before him, Jerome suddenly thought of the book he had been
reading, and, remembering that he had left it on the tombstone, where he
dropped it when called to the lady’s assistance, he determined to return
for it at once.

After a walk of some twenty minutes, he found himself again in the
burial-ground and on the spot where he had been an hour before. The
pensive moon was already up, and its soft light was sleeping on the
little pond at the back of the grounds, while the stars seemed smiling
at their own sparkling rays gleaming up from the beautiful sheet of
water.

Jerome searched in vain for his book; it was nowhere to be found.
Nothing, save the bouquet that the lady had dropped, and which lay
half-buried in the grass, from having been trodden upon, indicated that
any one had been there that evening. The stillness of death reigned over
the place; even the little birds, that had before been twittering and
flying about, had retired for the night.

Taking up the bunch of flowers, Jerome returned to his hotel. “What can
this mean?” he would ask himself; “and why should they take my book?”
 These questions he put to himself again and again during his walk. His
sleep was broken more than once that night, and he welcomed the early
dawn as it made its appearance.



CHAPTER XXXII. THE HAPPY MEETING


AFTER passing a sleepless night, and hearing the clock strike six,
Jerome took from his table a book, and thus endeavored to pass away the
hours before breakfast-time. While thus engaged, a servant entered and
handed him a note. Hastily tearing it open, Jerome read as follows:--


  “SIR,--I owe you an apology for the abrupt manner in which I addressed
  you last evening, and the inconvenience to which you were subjected
  by some of my household.  If you will honor us with your presence to-day
  at four o’clock, I will be most happy to give you due satisfaction.
  My servant will be waiting with the carriage at half-past three.

  “I am, sir, yours, &c.,

  “J. DEVENANT”


  “JEROME FLETCHER, Esq.”


Who this gentleman was, and how he had found out his name and the hotel
at which he was stopping, were alike mysteries to Jerome. And this note
seemed to his puzzled brain like a challenge. “Satisfaction?” He had not
asked for satisfaction. However, he resolved to accept the invitation,
and, if need be, meet the worst. At any rate, this most mysterious and
complicated affair would be explained.

The clock on a neighboring church had scarcely finished striking three
when a servant announced to Jerome that a carriage had called for him.
In a few minutes, he was seated in a sumptuous barouche, drawn by a
pair of beautiful iron-grays, and rolling over a splendid gravel road
entirely shaded by trees, which appeared to have been the accumulated
growth of many centuries. The carriage soon stopped at a low villa,
which was completely embowered in trees.

Jerome alighted, and was shown into a superb room, with the walls finely
decorated with splendid tapestry, and the ceilings exquisitely frescoed.
The walls were hung with fine specimens from the hands of the great
Italian masters, and one by a German artist, representing a beautiful
monkish legend connected with the “Holy Catharine,” an illustrious lady
of Alexandria. High-backed chairs stood around the room, rich curtains
of crimson damask hung in folds on either side of the window, and a
beautiful, rick, Turkey carpet covered the floor. In the centre of the
room stood a table covered with books, in the midst of which was a
vase of fresh flowers, loading the atmosphere with their odors. A
faint light, together with the quiet of the hour, gave beauty beyond
description to the whole scene. A half-open door showed a fine marble
floor to an adjoining room, with pictures, statues, and antiquated
sofas, and flower-pots filled with rare plants of every kind and
description.

Jerome had scarcely run his eyes over the beauties of the room when
the elderly gentleman whom he had met on the previous evening made his
appearance, followed by the little boy, and introduced himself as Mr.
Devenant. A moment more and a lady, a beautiful brunette, dressed in
black, with long black curls hanging over her shoulders, entered the
room. Her dark, bright eyes flashed as she caught the first sight of
Jerome. The gentleman immediately arose on the entrance of the lady, and
Mr. Devenant was in the act of introducing the stranger when he observed
that Jerome had sunk back upon the sofa, in a faint voice exclaiming,--

“It is she!”

After this, all was dark and dreary. How long he remained in this
condition, it was for others to tell. The lady knelt by his side and
wept; and when he came to, he found himself stretched upon the sofa with
his boots off and his head resting upon a pillow. By his side sat the
old man, with the smelling-bottle in one hand and a glass of water in
the other, while the little boy stood at the foot of the sofa. As soon
as Jerome had so far recovered as to be able to speak, he said,--

“Where am I, and what does all this mean?”

“Wait awhile,” replied the old man, “and I will tell you all.”

After the lapse of some ten minutes, Jerome arose from the sofa,
adjusted his apparel, and said,--

“I am now ready to hear anything you have to say.”

“You were born in America?” said the old man.

“I was,” he replied.

“And you knew a girl named Clotelle,” continued the old man.

“Yes, and I loved her as I can love none other.”

“The lady whom you met so mysteriously last evening was she,” said Mr.
Devenant.

Jerome was silent, but the fountain of mingled grief and joy stole out
from beneath his eyelashes, and glistened like pearls upon his ebony
cheeks.

At this juncture, the lady again entered the room. With an enthusiasm
that can be better imagined than described, Jerome sprang from the sofa,
and they rushed into each other’s arms, to the great surprise of the old
gentleman and little Antoine, and to the amusement of the servants who
had crept up, one by one and were hid behind the doors or loitering in
the hall. When they had given vent to their feelings and sufficiently
recovered their presence of mind, they resumed their seats.

“How did you find out my name and address?” inquired Jerome.

“After you had left the grave-yard,” replied Clotelle, “our little boy
said, ‘Oh, mamma! if there ain’t a book!’ I opened the book, and saw
your name written in it, and also found a card of the Hotel de Leon.
Papa wished to leave the book, and said it was only a fancy of mine that
I had ever seen you before; but I was perfectly convinced that you were
my own dear Jerome.”

As she uttered the last words, tears--the sweet bright tears that love
alone can bring forth--bedewed her cheeks.

“Are you married?” now inquired Clotelle, with a palpitating heart and
trembling voice.

“No, I am not, and never have been,” was Jerome’s reply.

“Then, thank God!” she exclaimed, in broken accents.

It was then that hope gleamed up amid the crushed and broken flowers of
her heart, and a bright flash darted forth like a sunbeam.

“Are you single now?” asked Jerome.

“Yes, I am,” was the answer.

“Then you will be mine after all?” said he with a smile.

Her dark, rich hair had partly come down, and hung still more loosely
over her shoulders than when she first appeared; and her eyes, now full
of animation and vivacity, and her sweet, harmonious, and well-modulated
voice, together with her modesty, self-possession, and engaging manners,
made Clotelle appear lovely beyond description. Although past the age
when men ought to think of matrimony, yet the scene before Mr. Devenant
brought vividly to his mind the time when he was young and had a loving
bosom companion living, and tears were wiped from the old man’s eyes. A
new world seemed to unfold itself before the eyes of the happy lovers,
and they were completely absorbed in contemplating the future. Furnished
by nature with a disposition to study, and a memory so retentive that
all who knew her were surprised at the ease with which she acquired her
education and general information, Clotelle might now be termed a
most accomplished lady. After her marriage with young Devenant, they
proceeded to India, where the husband’s regiment was stationed. Soomn
after their arrival, however, a battle was fought with the natives, in
which several officers fell, among whom was Captain Devenant. The father
of the young captain being there at the time, took his daughter-in-law
and brought her back to France, where they took up their abode at the
old homestead. Old Mr. Devenant was possessed of a large fortune, all of
which he intended for his daughter-in-law and her only child.

Although Clotelle had married young Devenant, she had not forgotten her
first love, and her father-in-law now willingly gave his consent to her
marriage with Jerome. Jerome felt that to possess the woman of his love,
even at that late hour, was compensation enough for the years that he
had been separated from her, and Clotelle wanted no better evidence of
his love for her than the fact of his having remained so long unmarried.
It was indeed a rare instance of devotion and constancy in a man, and
the young widow gratefully appreciated it.

It was late in the evening when Jerome led his intended bride to the
window, and the magnificent moonlight illuminated the countenance of the
lovely Clotelle, while inward sunshine, emanating from a mind at ease,
and her own virtuous thoughts, gave brightness to her eyes and made her
appear a very angel. This was the first evening that Jerome had been in
her company since the night when, to effect his escape from prison,
she disguised herself in male attire. How different the scene now. Free
instead of slaves, wealthy instead of poor, and on the eve of an event
that seemed likely to result in a life of happiness to both.



CHAPTER XXXIII. THE HAPPY DAY


IT was a bright day in the latter part of October that Jerome and
Clotelle set out for the church, where the marriage ceremony was to be
performed. The clear, bracing air added buoyancy to every movement, and
the sun poured its brilliant rays through the deeply-stained windows,
as the happy couple entered the sanctuary, followed by old Mr. Devenant,
whose form, bowed down with age, attracted almost as much attention from
the assembly as did the couple more particularly interested.

As the ceremonies were finished and the priest pronounced the
benediction on the newly-married pair, Clotelle whispered in the ear of
Jerome,--

     “‘No power in death shall tear our names apart,
       As none in life could rend thee from my heart.’”

A smile beamed on every face as the wedding-party left the church and
entered their carriage. What a happy day, after ten years’ separation,
when, both hearts having been blighted for a time, they are brought
together by the hand of a beneficent and kind Providence, and united in
holy wedlock.

Everything being arranged for a wedding tour extending up the Rhine, the
party set out the same day for Antwerp. There are many rivers of greater
length and width than the Rhine. Our Mississippi would swallow up half
a dozen Rhines. The Hudson is grander, the Tiber, the Po, and the
Mincio more classic; the Thames and Seine bear upon their waters greater
amounts of wealth and commerce; the Nile and the Euphrates have a
greater antiquity; but for a combination of interesting historical
incidents and natural scenery, the Rhine surpasses them all. Nature has
so ordained it that those who travel in the valley of the Rhine shall
see the river, for there never will be a railroad upon its banks. So
mountainous is the land that it would have to be one series of tunnels.
Every three or four miles from the time you enter this glorious river,
hills, dales, castles, and crags present themselves as the steamer
glides onward.

Their first resting-place for any length of time was at Coblentz, at the
mouth of the “Blue Moselle,” the most interesting place on the river.
From Coblentz they went to Brussels, where they had the greatest
attention paid them. Besides being provided with letters of
introduction, Jerome’s complexion secured for him more deference than is
usually awarded to travellers.

Having letters of introduction to M. Deceptiax, the great lace
manufacturer, that gentleman received them with distinguished honors,
and gave them a splendid [soiree,] at which the [elite] of the city were
assembled. The sumptuously-furnished mansion was lavishly decorated for
the occasion, and every preparation made that could add to the novelty
or interest of the event.

Jerome, with his beautiful bride, next visited Cologne, the largest and
wealthiest city on the banks of the Rhine. The Cathedral of Cologne
is the most splendid structure of the kind in Europe, and Jerome and
Clotelle viewed with interest the beautiful arches and columns of this
stupendous building, which strikes with awe the beholder, as he gazes at
its unequalled splendor, surrounded, as it is, by villas, cottages,
and palace-like mansions, with the enchanting Rhine winding through the
vine-covered hills.

After strolling over miles and miles of classic ground, and visiting
castles, whose legends and traditions have given them an enduring fame,
our delighted travellers started for Geneva, bidding the picturesque
banks of the Rhine a regretful farewell. Being much interested in
literature, and aware that Geneva was noted for having been the city
of refuge to the victims of religious and political persecution, Jerome
arranged to stay here for some days. He was provided with a letter
of introduction to M. de Stee, who had been a fellow-soldier of Mr.
Devenant in the East India wars, and they were invited to make his house
their home during their sojourn. On the side of a noble mountain, whose
base is kissed by the waves of Lake Geneva, and whose slopes are decked
with verdure to the utmost peak of its rocky crown, is situated the
delightful country-residence of this wealthy, retired French officer. A
winding road, with frequent climbs and brakes, leads from the valley to
this enchanting spot, the air and scenery of which cannot be surpassed
in the world.



CHAPTER XXXIV. CLOTELLE MEETS HER FATHER.


THE clouds that had skirted the sky during the day broke at last, and
the rain fell in torrents, as Jerome and Clotelle retired for the night,
in the little town of Ferney, on the borders of Lake Leman. The peals
of thunder, and flashes of vivid lightening, which seemed to leap from
mountain to mountain and from crag to crag, reverberating among the
surrounding hills, foretold a heavy storm.

“I would we were back at Geneva,” said Clotelle, as she heard groans
issuing from an adjoining room. The sounds, at first faint, grew louder
and louder, plainly indicating that some person was suffering extreme
pain.

“I did not like this hotel, much, when we came in,” said Jerome,
relighting the lamp, which had been accidentally extinguished.

“Nor I,” returned Clotelle.

The shrieks increased, and an occasional “she’s dead!” “I killed her!”
 “No, she is not dead!” and such-like expressions, would be heard from
the person, who seemed to be deranged.

The thunder grew louder, and the flashes of lightening more vivid, while
the noise from the sick-room seemed to increase.

As Jerome opened the door, to learn, if possible, the cause of the cries
and groans, he could distinguish the words, “She’s dead! yes, she’s
dead! but I did not kill her. She was my child! my own daughter. I loved
her, and yet I did not protect her.”

“Whoever he is,” said Jerome, “he’s crack-brained; some robber,
probably, from the mountains.”

The storm continued to rage, and the loud peals of thunder and sharp
flashes of lightening, together with the shrieks and moans of the maniac
in the adjoining room, made the night a fearful one. The long hours wore
slowly away, but neither Jerome nor his wife could sleep, and they arose
at an early hour in the morning, ordered breakfast, and resolved to
return to Geneva.

“I am sorry, sir, that you were so much disturbed by the sick man last
night,” said the landlord, as he handed Jerome his bill. “I should be
glad if he would get able to go away, or die, for he’s a deal of trouble
to me. Several persons have left my house on his account.”

“Where is he from?” inquired Jerome. “He’s from the United States, and
has been here a week to-day, and has been crazy ever since.”

“Has he no friends with him?” asked the guest.

“No, he is alone,” was the reply.

Jerome related to his wife what he had learned from the landlord,
respecting the sick man, and the intelligence impressed her so strongly,
that she requested him to make further inquiries concerning the
stranger.

He therefore consulted the book in which guests usually register their
names, and, to his great surprise, found that the American’s name was
Henry Linwood, and that he was from Richmond, Va.

It was with feelings of trepidation that Clotelle heard these
particulars from the lips of her husband.

“We must see this poor man, whoever he is,” said she, as Jerome finished
the sentence.

The landlord was glad to hear that his guests felt some interest in the
sick man, and promised that the invalid’s room should be got ready for
their reception.

The clock in the hall was just striking ten, as Jerome passed through
and entered the sick man’s chamber. Stretched upon a mattress, with both
hands tightly bound to the bedstead, the friendless stranger was indeed
a pitiful sight. His dark, dishevelled hair prematurely gray, his long,
unshaven beard, and the wildness of the eyes which glanced upon them
as they opened the door and entered, caused the faint hope which had so
suddenly risen in Clotelle’s heart, to sink, and she felt that this man
could claim no kindred with her. Certainly, he bore no resemblance to
the man whom she had called her father, and who had fondly dandled her
on his knee in those happy days of childhood.

“Help!” cried the poor man, as Jerome and his wife walked into the room.
His eyes glared, and shriek after shriek broke forth from his parched
and fevered lips.

“No, I did not kill my daughter!--I did not! she is not dead! Yes, she
is dead! but I did not kill her--poor girl! Look! that is she! No, it
cannot be! she cannot come here! it cannot be my poor Clotelle.”

At the sound of her own name, coming from the maniac’s lips, Clotelle
gasped for breath, and her husband saw that she had grown deadly pale.
It seemed evident to him that the man was either guilty of some terrible
act, or imagined himself to be. His eyeballs rolled in their sockets,
and his features showed that he was undergoing “the tortures of that
inward hell,” which seemed to set his whole brain on fire. After
recovering her self-possession and strength, Clotelle approached the
bedside, and laid her soft hand upon the stranger’s hot and fevered
brow.

One long, loud shriek rang out on the air, and a piercing cry, “It is
she!--Yes, it is she! I see, I see! Ah! no, it is not my daughter! She
would not come to me if she could!” broke forth from him.

“I am your daughter,” said Clotelle, as she pressed her handkerchief to
her face, and sobbed aloud.

Like balls of fire, the poor man’s eyes rolled and glared upon the
company, while large drops of perspiration ran down his pale and
emaciated face. Strange as the scene appeared, all present saw that it
was indeed a meeting between a father and his long-lost daughter. Jerome
now ordered all present to leave the room, except the nurse, and every
effort was at once made to quiet the sufferer. When calm, a joyous smile
would illuminate the sick man’s face, and a strange light beam in his
eyes, as he seemed to realize that she who stood before him was indeed
his child.

For two long days and nights did Clotelle watch at the bedside of her
father before he could speak to her intelligently. Sometimes, in his
insane fits, he would rave in the most frightful manner, and then, in a
few moments, would be as easily governed as a child. At last, however,
after a long and apparently refreshing sleep, he awoke suddenly to a
full consciousness that it was indeed his daughter who was watching so
patiently by his side.

The presence of his long absent child had a soothing effect upon Mr.
Linwood, and he now recovered rapidly from the sad and almost hopeless
condition in which she had found him. When able to converse, without
danger of a relapse, he told Clotelle of his fruitless efforts to obtain
a clew to her whereabouts after old Mrs. Miller had sold her to the
slave-trader. In answer to his daughter’s inquiries about his family
affairs up to the time that he left America, he said,--

“I blamed my wife for your being sold and sent away, for I thought she
and her mother were acting in collusion; But I afterwards found that
I had blamed her wrongfully. Poor woman! she knew that I loved your
mother, and feeling herself forsaken, she grew melancholy and died in a
decline three years ago.”

Here both father and daughter wept at the thought of other days. When
they had recovered their composure, Mr. Linwood went on again:

“Old Mrs. Miller,” said he, “after the death of Gertrude, aware that
she had contributed much toward her unhappiness, took to the free use
of intoxicating drinks, and became the most brutal creature that ever
lived. She whipped her slaves without the slightest provocation, and
seemed to take delight in inventing new tortures with which to punish
them. One night last winter, after having flogged one of her slaves
nearly to death, she returned to her room, and by some means the bedding
took fire, and the house was in flames before any one was awakened.
There was no one in the building at the time but the old woman and the
slaves, and although the latter might have saved their mistress, they
made no attempt to do so. Thus, after a frightful career of many years,
this hard-hearted woman died a most miserable death, unlamented by a
single person.”

Clotelle wiped the tears from her eyes, as her father finished this
story, for, although Mrs. Miller had been her greatest enemy, she
regretted to learn that her end had been such a sad one.

“My peace of mind destroyed,” resumed the father, “and broken down in
health, my physician advised me to travel, with the hope of recruiting
myself, and I sailed from New York two months ago.”

Being brought up in America, and having all the prejudice against color
which characterizes his white fellow-countrymen, Mr. Linwood very much
regretted that his daughter, although herself tinctured with African
blood, should have married a black man, and he did not fail to express
to her his dislike of her husband’s complexion.

“I married him,” said Clotelle, “because I loved him. Why should the
white man be esteemed as better than the black? I find no difference in
men on account of their complexion. One of the cardinal principles of
Christianity and freedom is the equality and brotherhood of man.”

Every day Mr. Linwood became more and more familiar with Jerome, and
eventually they were on the most intimate terms.

Fifteen days from the time that Clotelle was introduced into her
father’s room, they left Ferney for Geneva. Many were the excursions
Clotelle made under the shadows of Mont Blanc, and with her husband
and father for companions; she was now in the enjoyment of pleasures
hitherto unknown.



CHAPTER XXXV. THE FATHER’S RESOLVE


AWARE that her father was still a slave-owner, Clotelle determined to
use all her persuasive power to induce him to set them free, and in this
effort she found a substantial supporter in her husband.

“I have always treated my slaves well,” said Mr. Linwood to Jerome, as
the latter expressed his abhorrence of the system; “and my neighbors,
too, are generally good men; for slavery in Virginia is not like slavery
in the other States,” continued the proud son of the Old Dominion.
“Their right to be free, Mr. Linwood,” said Jerome, “is taken from
them, and they have no security for their comfort, but the humanity and
generosity of men, who have been trained to regard them not as brethren,
but as mere property. Humanity and generosity are, at best, but poor
guaranties for the protection of those who cannot assert their rights,
and over whom law throws no protection.”

It was with pleasure that Clotelle obtained from her father a promise
that he would liberate all his slaves on his return to Richmond. In a
beautiful little villa, situated in a pleasant spot, fringed with hoary
rocks and thick dark woods, within sight of the deep blue waters of
Lake Leman, Mr. Linwood, his daughter, and her husband, took up their
residence for a short time. For more than three weeks, this little party
spent their time in visiting the birth-place of Rousseau, and the former
abodes of Byron, Gibbon, Voltaire, De Stael, Shelley, and other literary
characters.

We can scarcely contemplate a visit to a more historic and interesting
place than Geneva and its vicinity. Here, Calvin, that great luminary
in the Church, lived and ruled for years; here, Voltaire, the mighty
genius, who laid the foundation of the French Revolution, and who
boasted, “When I shake my wig, I powder the whole republic,” governed in
the higher walks of life.

Fame is generally the recompense, not of the living, but of the
dead,--not always do they reap and gather in the harvest who sow the
seed; the flame of its altar is too often kindled from the ashes of the
great. A distinguished critic has beautifully said, “The sound which
the stream of high thought, carried down to future ages, makes, as it
flows--deep, distant, murmuring ever more, like the waters of the mighty
ocean.” No reputation can be called great that will no endure this test.
The distinguished men who had lived in Geneva transfused their spirit,
by their writings, into the spirit of other lovers of literature and
everything that treated of great authors. Jerome and Clotelle lingered
long in and about the haunts of Geneva and Lake Leman.

An autumn sun sent down her bright rays, and bathed every object in her
glorious light, as Clotelle, accompanied by her husband and father set
out one fine morning on her return home to France. Throughout the whole
route, Mr. Linwood saw by the deference paid to Jerome, whose black
complexion excited astonishment in those who met him, that there was
no hatred to the man in Europe, on account of his color; that what is
called prejudice against color is the offspring of the institution of
slavery; and he felt ashamed of his own countrymen, when he thought of
the complexion as distinctions, made in the United States, and resolved
to dedicate the remainder of his life to the eradication of this
unrepublican and unchristian feeling from the land of his birth, on his
return home.

After a stay of four weeks at Dunkirk, the home of the Fletchers, Mr.
Linwood set out for America, with the full determination of freeing his
slaves, and settling them in one of the Northern States, and then to
return to France to end his days in the society of his beloved daughter.



CHAPTER XXXVI. THE RETURN HOME


THE first gun fired at the American Flag, on the 12th of April, 1861,
at Fort Sumter, reverberated all over Europe, and was hailed with joy by
the crowned heads of the Old World, who hated republican institutions,
and who thought they saw, in this act of treason, the downfall of the
great American experiment. Most citizens, however, of the United States,
who were then sojourning abroad, hastened home to take part in the
struggle,--some to side with the rebels, others to take their stand with
the friends of liberty. Among the latter, none came with swifter steps
or more zeal than Jerome and Clotelle Fletcher. They arrived in New
Orleans a week after the capture of that city by the expedition under
the command of Major-Gen. B. F. Butler. But how changed was society
since Clotelle had last set feet in the Crescent City! Twenty-two
years had passed; her own chequered life had been through many shifting
scenes; her old acquaintances in New Orleans had all disappeared; and
with the exception of the black faces which she beheld at every turn,
and which in her younger days were her associates, she felt herself in
the midst of strangers; and these were arrayed against each other in
mortal combat. Possessed with ample means, Mr. and Mrs. Fletcher set
about the work of assisting those whom the rebellion had placed in a
state of starvation and sickness.

With a heart overflowing with the milk of human kindness, and a tear for
every sufferer, no matter of what color or sect, Clotelle was soon known
as the “Angel of Mercy.”

The “General Order No. 63,” issued on the 22nd of August, 1862, by
Gen. Butler, recognizing, and calling into the service of the Federal
Government, the battalion of colored men known as the “Native Guard,” at
once gave full scope to Jerome’s military enthusiasm; and he made haste
to enlist in the organization.

The “Native Guard” did good service in New Orleans and vicinity, till
ordered to take part in the siege of Port Hudson, where they appeared
under the name of the “First Louisiana,” and under the immediate command
of Lieut.-Col. Bassett. The heroic attack of this regiment, made on the
27th of May, 1863, its unsurpassed “charge,” its great loss, and its
severe endurance on the field of battle, are incidents which have passed
into history. The noble daring of the First Louisiana gained for
the black soldiers in our army the praise of all Americans who value
Republican institutions.

There was, however, one scene, the closing one in the first day’s attack
on Port Hudson, which, while it reflects undying credit upon the bravery
of the negro, pays but a sorry tribute to the humanity of the white
general who brought the scene into existence. The field was strewn with
the dead, the dying, and the wounded; and as the jaded regiments were
leaving the ground, after their unsuccessful attack, it was found that
Capt. Payne, of the Third Louisiana, had been killed; and his body,
which was easily distinguished by the uniform, was still on the
battle-field. The colonel of the regiment, pointing to where the body
lay, asked, “Are there four men here who will fetch the body of Capt.
Payne from the field?” Four men stepped out, and at once started. But,
as the body lay directly under the range of the rebel batteries, they
were all swept down by the grape, canister, and shell which were let
loose by the enemy. The question was again repeated, “Are there four men
who will go for the body?” The required number came forth, and started
upon a run; but, ere they could reach the spot, they were cut down.
“Are there four more who will try?” The third call was answered in the
affirmative, and the men started upon the double-quick. They, however,
fell before getting as far as the preceding four. Twelve men had been
killed in the effort to obtain the body of the brave Payne, but to no
purpose. Humanity forbade another trial, and yet it was made. “Are there
four more men in the regiment who will volunteer to go for Capt. Payne’s
body?” shouted the officer. Four men sprang forward, as if fearful that
they would miss the opportunity of these last: one was Jerome Fletcher,
the hero of our story. They started upon the run; and, strange to tell,
all of them reached the body, and had nearly borne it from the field,
when two of the number were cut down. Of these, one was Jerome. His
head was entirely torn off by a shell. The body of the deceased officer
having been rescued, an end was put t the human sacrifice.



CHAPTER XXXVII. THE ANGEL OF MERCY


The sad intelligence of Jerome’s death was brought to Clotelle while she
was giving her personal attention to the sick and wounded that filled
the hospitals of New Orleans. For a time she withdrew from the gaze of
mankind, and gave herself up to grief. Few unions had been productive of
more harmonious feelings than hers. And this blow, so unexpected and at
a time when she was experiencing such a degree of excitement caused by
the rebellion, made her, indeed, feel the affliction severely.

But the newspaper accounts of the intense suffering of the Union
prisoners in the rebel States aroused her, and caused her to leave her
retirement. In the month of October, 1863, Clotelle resolved to visit
Andersonville, Ga., for the purpose of alleviating the hardships of our
sick and imprisoned soldiers, and at once put her resolution into effect
by going immediately to that place. After crossing the lines, she passed
as a rebel lady, to enable her the more successfully to carry out her
object. On her arrival at Andersonville, Clotelle took up her abode
with a private family, of Union proclivities, and commenced her work
of mercy. She first visited the hospitals, the buildings of which were
merest excuses for hospitals.

It was the beginning of November; and, even in that southern latitude,
the cold made these miserable abodes uncomfortable nights and mornings.
The dirty, unventilated rooms, with nothing but straw upon the cold,
damp floor, for beds, upon which lay the ragged, emaciated Union
prisoners, worn down to skin and bone with disease and starvation,
with their sunken eyes and wild looks, made them appear hideous in the
extreme. The repulsive scenes, that showed the suffering, neglect, and
cruelty which these poor creatures had experienced, made her heart sink
within her.

Having paid considerable attention to hospital life in Europe, and so
recently from amongst the sick at New Orleans, Clotelle’s experience,
suggestions, and liberal expenditure of money, would have added greatly
to the comfort of these helpless men, if the rebel authorities had been
so disposed. But their hatred to Union prisoners was so apparent, that
the interest which this angel of humanity took in the condition of the
rebel sick could not shield her from the indignation of the secession
officials for her good feeling for the Union men. However, with a
determination to do all in her power for the needy, she labored in
season and out.

The brutal treatment and daily murders committed upon our soldiers in
the Andersonville prisons caused Clotelle to secretly aid prisoners
in their escape. In the latter work, she brought to her assistance the
services of a negro man named Pete. This individual was employed about
the prison, and, having the entire confidence of the commandant, was in
a position to do much good without being suspected. Pete was an
original character, of a jovial nature, and, when intending some serious
adventure, would appear very solemn, and usually singing a doleful
ditty, often the following, which was a favorite with him:--

      “Come listen, all you darkies, come listen to my song:
       It am about old Massa, who use me bery wrong.
       In de cole, frosty mornin’, it an’t so bery nice,
       Wid de water to de middle, to hoe among de rice;

          When I neber hab forgotten
          How I used to hoe de cotton,
          How I used to hoe de cotton,
               On de old Virginny shore;
          But I’ll neber hoe de cotton,
          Oh! neber hoe de cotton
               Any more.

     “If I feel de drefful hunger, he tink it am a vice,
       And he gib me for my dinner a little broken rice,--
       A little broken rice and a bery little fat,
       And he grumble like de debbil if I eat too much of dat;

          When I neber hab forgotten, etc.

     “He tore me from my Dinah; I tought my heart would burst:
       He made me lub anoder when my lub was wid de first;
       He sole my picanninnies becase he got dar price,
       And shut me in de marsh-field to hoe among de rice;

          When I neber hab forgotten, etc.

     “And all de day I hoe dar, in all de heat and rain;
       And, as I hoe away dar, my heart go back again,--
       Back to de little cabin dat stood among de corn,
       And to de ole plantation where she and I war born!

          Oh! I wish I had forgotten, etc.

     “Den Dinah am beside me, de chil’ren on my knee,
       And dough I am a slave dar, it ‘pears to me I’m free,
       Till I wake up from my dreaming, and wife and chil’ren gone,
       I hoe away and weep dar, and weep dar all alone!

          Oh! I wish I had forgotten, etc.

     “But soon a day am comin’, a day I long to see,
       When dis darky in de cole ground, foreber will be free,
       When wife and chil’ren wid me, I’ll sing in Paradise,
       How He, de blessed Jesus, hab bought me wid a price;

          How de Lord hab not forgotten
          How well I hoed de cotton,
          How well I hoed de cotton
               On de old Virginny shore;
          Dar I’ll neber hoe de cotton,
          Oh! I’ll neber hoe de cotton
               Any more.”

When away from the whites, and among his own class, Pete could often be
heard in the following strains:--

     “A storm am brewin’ in de Souf,
       A storm am brewin’ now.
     Oh! hearken den, and shut your mouf,
       And I will tell you how:
     And I will tell you how, ole boy,
       De storm of fire will pour,
     And make de darkies dance for joy,
       As dey neber danced afore;
     So shut your mouf as close as deafh,
     And all you niggas hole your breafh,
       And I will tell you how.

     “De darkies at de Norf am ris,
       And dey am comin’ down--
     Am comin’ down, I know dey is,
       To do de white folks brown!
     Dey’ll turn ole Massa out to grass,
       And set de niggas free,
     And when dat day am come to pass
       We’ll all be dar to see!
     So shut your mouf as close as deafh,
     And all you niggas hole your breafh,
       And do de white folks brown!

     “Den all de week will be as gay
       As am de Chris’mas time;
     We’ll dance all night and all de day,
       And make de banjo chime--
     And make de banjo chime, I tink,
       And pass de time away,
     Wid ‘nuf to eat and nuf to drink,
       And not a bit to pay!
     So shut your mouf as close as deafh,
     And all you niggas hole your breafh,
       And make de banjo chime.”

How to escape from prison was ever the thoughts by day and dreams
by night of the incarcerated. Plans were concocted, partly put into
execution, and then proved failures. Some of these caused increased
suffering to the prisoners after their discovery; for, where the real
parties could not be found, the whole were ill-treated as a punishment
to the guilty. Tunnelling was generally the mode for escape; and
tunnelling became the order of the day, or, rather, the work for the
night. In the latter part of November, 1863, the unusual gaiety of the
prisoners showed that some plan of exit from the prison was soon to be
exhibited.



CHAPTER XXXVIII. THE GREAT TUNNEL AND THE MISTAKE


FOR several weeks, some ten or fifteen of the most able-bodied of the
prisoners had been nightly at work; and the great tunnel, the [largest]
ever projected by men for their escape from prison, was thought to be
finished, with the exception of the tapping outside of the prison wall.
The digging of a tunnel is not an easy job, and, consequently, is of
slow progress. The Andersonville prisoners had to dig ten feet down into
the earth, after cutting through the floor, and then went a distance of
fifty feet to get beyond the wall. The digging was done in the following
way: As soon as the operator was below the surface, and had a place
large enough to admit the body, he laid down upon his face, at full
length, and with his knife, spoon, piece of earthenware, or old iron,
dug away with all his energies, throwing the dirt behind him, which
was gathered up by a confederate, carried off, and hi. This mode of
operating was carried on night after night, and the flooring replaced
during the day, to prevent suspicion. The want of fresh air in the
tunnel, as it progressed to completion, often drove the men from their
work, and caused a delay, which proved fatal to their successful escape.

The long-looked for day arrived. More than three hundred had prepared
to leave this hated abode, by the tunnel. All they waited for was the
tapping and the signal. The time came, the place of egress was tapped,
and the leader had scarcely put his head out of the hole, ere he was
fired upon by the sentinels, which soon alarmed and drew the entire
guard to the spot. Great was the commotion throughout the prison, and
all who were caught in the tunnel were severely punished.

This failure seemed to depress the spirits of the men more than any
previous attempt. Heavy irons were placed upon the limbs of many of
the prisoners, and their lot was made otherwise harder by the keepers.
Clotelle, though often permitted to see the prisoners and contribute to
their wants, and, though knowing much of their designs, knew nothing of
the intended escape, and therefore was more bold in her intercessions in
their behalf when failure came upon them.

The cruelty which followed this mishap, induced Clotelle to interest
herself in another mode of escape for the men thus so heavily ironed.

Pete, the man of all work, whose sympathies were with the Union
prisoners, was easily gained over to a promise of securing the keys of
the prison and letting the men escape, especially when Clotelle offered
him money to enable him to make good his own way to the North.

The night of the exodus came. It was favored with darkness; and it so
happened that the officials were on a spree, owing to the arrival of
Confederate officers with news of a rebel victory.

Before getting the keys, Pete supplied the sentinels on duty with enough
whiskey, which he had stolen from the keepers’ store-room, to make them
all drunk. At the chosen moment, the keys were obtained by Pete, the
doors and gates were opened, and ninety-three prisoners, including the
tunnel workers, whose irons were taken off, made their escape, allowing
the faithful negro to accompany them. Nothing was known of the exit of
the men till breakfast hour on the next morning. On examination of the
store-room, it was found, that, in addition to the whiskey Pete had
taken a large supply of stores for the accommodation of the party. Added
to this, a good number of arms with ammunition had been furnished the
men by the African.

The rebels were not prepared to successfully pursue the fleeing
prisoners, although armed men were sent in different directions.
Nothing, however, was heard of them till they reached the Union lines.
Long suspected of too freely aiding Union prisoners, Clotelle was now
openly charged with a knowledge of the escape of these men, and was
compelled to leave Andersonville.



CHAPTER XXXIX. CONCLUSION


THE fiendish and heartless conduct of a large number of the people
of the South towards Union men during the war, and especially the
unlady-like demeanor of rebel women at New Orleans and other points, is
a matter that has passed into history. In few places were the women more
abusive to those of Union proclivities than the female portion of the
inhabitants of Greenville, Alabama. While passing through this town, on
her return from Andersonville to New Orleans, Clotelle had to encounter
the fierce ill-treatment of these chivalrous daughters of the South.
There were, during the rebellion, many brave and generous women, who, in
the mountains and lowlands of Alabama, gave aid to Federals,--soldiers
and civilians,--in their wanderings and escape from the cruelties of the
traitors. One of these patriotic women was arrested while on a visit to
Greenville for the purpose of procuring medicine and other necessaries
for sick Union men then hid away in the woods. This large-hearted
woman--Eunice Hastings--had her horse taken from her, robbed of the
goods she had purchased, and, after experiencing almost death at the
hands of the rebel women, was released and turned out penniless, and
without the means of reaching her home in the country; when Clotelle,
who had just arrived at the dilapidated and poorly kept hotel, met her,
and, learning the particulars of her case, offered assistance to the
injured woman, which brought down upon her own head the condemnation of
the secesh population of the place. However, Clotelle purchased a fine
horse from the landlord, gave it to Miss Hastings, who, after securing
some articles for which she had come to Greenville, left town under
cover of night, and escaped further molestation. This act of kindness to
a helpless sister at once stirred up the vilest feelings of the people.

“The worst of slaves is he whom passion rules.”

As has already been said, there was nothing in the appearance of
Clotelle to indicate that a drop of African blood coursed through her
veins, except, perhaps, the slight wave in the hair, and the scarcely
perceptible brunettish tinge upon the countenance. She passed as a rebel
lady; yet the inhabitants of Greenville could not permit sympathy with,
and aid to, a Union woman to pass unnoticed, and therefore resolved on
revenge.

“Revenge, at first though sweet, Bitter ere long, back on itself
recoils.”

Clotelle’s person, trunks, and letters were all searched with the hope
and expectation of finding evidences of a spy. Nothing of the kind being
found, she was then rigorously interrogated as to her sympathies
with the two contending armies. With no wish whatever to conceal her
opinions, she openly avowed that she was a Union woman. This was enough.
After being persecuted during the day, she was put in charge of a
committee of rebel women for the night, with a promise of more violent
treatment on the morrow. The loyalty of the negroes of the South, during
the severest hours of the rebellion, reflects the greatest possible
credit on the race. Through their assistance, hundreds of Union men
were enabled to make their escape from prisons, and thousands kept from
starvation when on their way to the Federal lines, or while keeping out
of the way of rebel recruiting gangs. They seldom, if ever, hesitated to
do the white Unionists a service, at the risk even of life, and, under
the most trying circumstances, revealed a devotion and a spirit of
self-sacrifice that were heroic. No one ever made an appeal to them they
did not answer. They were degraded and ignorant, which was attributable
to the cruel laws and equally unchristian practices of the people of the
South; but their hearts were always open, and the slightest demand upon
their sympathies brought forth their tears. They never shunned a man or
woman who sought food or shelter on their way to freedom. The goodness
of heart and the guileless spirit of the blacks was not better
understood by any one than Clotelle; and she felt a secret joy at seeing
all the servants in the Greenville hotel negroes. She saw from their
very looks that she had their undivided sympathies. One of the servants
overheard the rebels in a conversation, in which it was determined to
send Clotelle to the county town, for safe keeping in the jail, the
following day; and this fact was communicated to the unfortunate woman.
The slave woman who gave the information told her that she could escape
if she desired.

Having already been robbed of every thing except the apparel upon her
person and some money she had concealed about her, she at once signified
to the black woman her wish to get out of the reach of her persecutors.
The old worn-out clock in the narrow dining hall had struck one; a
cold rain was patting upon the roof, and the women watchers, one after
another, had fallen asleep; and even the snuff-dippers, whose dirty
practice creates a nervousness that keeps them awake longer than any
other class, had yielded to the demands of Morpheus, when Aggy, the
colored servant, stealthily entered the room, beckoned to Clotelle, and
both left in silence.

Cautiously and softly the black woman led the way, followed by the
“Angel of Mercy,” till, after passing down through the cellar with the
water covering the floor, they emerged into the back yard. Two horses
had been provided. Clotelle mounted one, and a black man the other;
the latter leading the way. Both dashed off at a rapid pace, through a
drenching storm, with such a pall-like darkness that they could not see
each other. After an hour’s ride the negro halted, and informed Clotelle
that he must leave her, and return with the horses, but that she was
with friends. He then gave a whistle, and for a moment held his breath.
Just as the faithful black was about to repeat the signal, he heard the
response; and in a moment the lady alighted, and with dripping garments,
limbs chilled to numbness, followed her new guide to a place of
concealment, near the village of Taitsville.

“You is jes as wet as a drownded rat,” said the mulatto woman, who met
Clotelle as she entered the negro’s cabin.

“Yes,” replied the latter, “this is a stormy night for one to be out.”

“Yes mam, dese is hard times for eberybody dat ‘bleves in de Union. I
‘spose deys cotched your husband, an’ put him in de army, ain’t dey?”

“No: my husband died at Port Hudson, fighting for the Union,” said
Clotelle.

“Oh, mam, dats de place whar de black people fight de rebels so, wasn’t
it?” remarked Dinah, for such was her name.

“Yes, that was the place,” replied the former. “I see that your husband
has lost one of his hands: did he lose it in the war?”

“Oh no, missus,” said Dinah. “When dey was taken all de men, black an
white, to put in de army, dey cotched my ole man too, and took him long
wid ‘em. So you see, he said he’d die afore he’d shoot at de Yanks. So
you see, missus, Jimmy jes took and lay his left han’ on a log, and chop
it off wid de hatchet. Den, you see, dey let him go, an’ he come home.
You see, missus, my Jimmy is a free man: he was born free, an’ he bought
me, an’ pay fifteen hundred dollars for me.”

It was true that Jim had purchased his wife; nor had he forgotten the
fact, as was shown a day or two after, while in conversation with her.
The woman, like many of her sex, was an inveterate scold, and Jim had
but one way to govern her tongue. “Shet your mouf, madam, an’ hole your
tongue,” said Jim, after his wife had scolded and sputtered away for
some minutes. “Shet your mouf dis minit, I say: you shan’t stan’ dar,
an’ talk ter me in dat way. I bought you, an’ paid my money fer you,
an’ I ain’t a gwine ter let you sase me in dat way. Shet your mouf dis
minit: ef you don’t I’ll sell you; ‘fore God I will. Shet up, I say, or
I’ll sell you.” This had the desired effect, and settled Dinah for the
day.

After a week spent in this place of concealment, Jim conveyed Clotelle
to Leaksville, Mississippi, through the Federal lines, and from thence
she proceeded to New Orleans.

The Rebellion was now drawing to a close. The valley of the Mississippi
was in full possession of the Federal government. Sherman was on his
raid, and Grant was hemming in Lee. Everywhere the condition of the
freedmen attracted the attention of the friends of humanity, and no one
felt more keenly their wants than Clotelle; and to their education and
welfare she resolved to devote the remainder of her life, and for this
purpose went to the State of Mississippi, and opened a school for the
freedmen; hired teachers, paying them out of her own purse. In the
summer of 1866, the Poplar Farm, on which she had once lived as a slave,
was confiscated and sold by Government authority, and was purchased by
Clotelle, upon which she established a Freedmen’s School, and where at
this writing,--now June, 1867,--resides the “Angel of Mercy.”





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