Frances Ellen Watkins Harper
Part 1 out of 2
Produced by Juliet Sutherland, Andrea Ball and the Online Distributed
Transcriber's Note: This document is the text of Minnie's Sacrifice. Any
bracketed notations such as [Text missing], [?], and
those inserting letters or other comments are from
the original text.
Transcriber's Note About the Author:
Francis Ellen Watkins Harper (1825-1911) was born to free parents in
Baltimore, Maryland. Orphaned at three, she was raised by her uncle, a
teacher and radical advocate for civil rights. She attended the Academy
for Negro Youth and was educated as a teacher. She became a professional
lecturer, activist, suffragette, poet, essayist, novelist, and the author
of the first published short story written by an African-American. Her
work spanned more than sixty years.
A Rediscovered Novel by
Frances E.W. Harper
Edited By Frances Smith Foster
Miriam sat in her lowly cabin, painfully rocking her body to and fro;
for a great sorrow had fallen upon her life. She had been the mother of
three children, two had died in their infancy, and now her last, her
loved and only child was gone, but not like the rest, who had passed
away almost as soon as their little feet had touched the threshold of
existence. She had been entangled in the mazes of sin and sorrow; and
her sun had gone down in darkness. It was the old story. Agnes, fair,
young and beautiful, had been a slave, with no power to protect herself
from the highest insults that brutality could offer to innocence. Bound
hand and foot by that system, which has since gone down in wrath, and
blood, and tears, she had fallen a victim to the wiles and power of her
master; and the result was the introduction of a child of shame into a
world of sin and suffering; for herself an early grave; and for her
mother a desolate and breaking heart.
While Miriam was sitting down hopelessly beneath the shadow of her
mighty grief, gazing ever and anon on the pale dead face, which seemed
to bear in its sad but gentle expression, an appeal from earth to
heaven, some of the slaves would hurry in, and looking upon the fair
young face, would drop a word of pity for the weeping mother, and then
hurry on to their appointed tasks. All day long Miriam sat alone with
her dead, except when these kindly interruptions broke upon the monotony
of her sorrow.
In the afternoon, Camilla, the only daughter of her master, entered her
cabin, and throwing her arms around her neck exclaimed, "Oh! Mammy, I am
so sorry I didn't know Agnes was dead. I've been on a visit to Mr. Le
Grange's plantation, and I've just got back this afternoon, and as soon
as I heard that Agnes was dead I hurried to see you. I would not even
wait for my dinner. Oh! how sweet she looks," said Camilla, bending over
the corpse, "just as natural as life. When did she die?"
"This morning, my poor, dear darling!" And another burst of anguish
relieved the overcharged heart.
"Oh! Mammy, don't cry, I am so sorry; but what is this?" said she, as
the little bundle of flannel began to stir.
"That is poor Agnes' baby."
"Agnes' baby? Why, I didn't know that Agnes had a baby. Do let me see
Tenderly the grandmother unfolded the wrappings, and presented the
little stranger. He was a beautiful babe, whose golden hair, bright blue
eyes and fair complexion showed no trace of the outcast blood in his
"Oh, how beautiful!" said Camilla; "surely this can't be Agnes' baby. He
is just as white as I am, and his eyes--what a beautiful blue--and his
hair, why it is really lovely."
"He is very pretty, Miss, but after all he is only a slave."
A slave. She had heard that word before; but somehow, when applied to
that fair child, it grated harshly on her ear; and she said, "Well, I
think it is a shame for him to be a slave, when he is just as white as
anybody. Now, Mammy," said she, throwing off her hat, and looking
soberly into the fire, "if I had my way, he should never be a slave."
"And why can't you have your way? I'm sure master humors you in
"I know that; Pa does everything I wish him to do; but I don't know how
I could manage about this. If his mother were living, I would beg Pa to
set them both free, and send them North; but his mother is gone; and,
Mammy, we couldn't spare you. And besides, it is so cold in the North,
you would freeze to death, and yet, I can't bear the thought of his
being a slave. I wonder," said she, musing to herself, "I wonder if I
couldn't save him from being a slave. Now I have it," she said, rising
hastily, her face aglow with pleasurable excitement. "I was reading
yesterday a beautiful story in the Bible about a wicked king, who wanted
to kill all the little boys of a people who were enslaved in his land,
and how his mother hid her child by the side of a river, and that the
king's daughter found him and saved his life. It was a fine story; and I
read it till I cried. Now I mean to do something like that good
princess. I am going to ask Pa, to let me take him to the house, and
have a nurse for him, and bring him up like a white child, and never let
him know that he is colored."
Miriam shook her head doubtfully; and Camilla, looking disappointed,
said, "Don't you like my plan?"
"Laws, honey, it would be fustrate, but your Pa wouldn't hear to it."
"Yes, he would, Mammy, because I'll tell him I've set my heart upon it,
and won't be satisfied if he don't consent. I know if I set my heart
upon it, he won't refuse me, because he always said he hates to see me
fret. Why, Mammy, he bought me two thousand dollars worth of jewelry
when we were in New York, just because I took a fancy to a diamond set
which I saw at Tiffany's. Anyhow, I am going to ask him." Eager and
anxious to carry out her plan, Camilla left the cabin to find her
father. He was seated in his library, reading Homer. He looked up, as
her light step fell upon the threshold, and said playfully, "What is
your wish, my princess? Tell me, if it is the half of my kingdom."
Encouraged by his manner, she drew near, perched upon his knee, and
said; "Now, you must keep your word, Pa. I have a request to make, but
you must first promise me that you will grant it."
"But I don't know what it is. I can't tell. You might want me to put my
head in the fire."
"Oh no, Pa, you know I don't!"
"Well, you might wish me to run for Congress."
"Oh no, Pa, I know that you hate politics."
"Well, darling, what is your request?"
"No; tell me first that you will grant it. Now, don't tease me, Pa; say
yes, and I will tell you."
"Well, yes; if it is anything in reason."
"Well, it is in reason, let me tell you, Pa. To-day, after I came home,
I asked Annette where was Agnes, and she told me she was dead. Oh I was
so sorry; and so before I got my dinner I hastened to Mammy's cabin, and
found poor Mammy almost heart-broken, and Agnes lying dead, but looking
just as natural as life."
"She was dead, but had left one of the dearest little babies I ever saw.
Why, Pa, he is just as white as we are; and I told Mammy so, but she
said it didn't matter; 'he is a poor slave, just like the rest of us.'
Now, Pa, I don't want Agnes' baby to be a slave. Can't you keep him from
growing up a slave?"
"How am I to do that, my little Abolitionist?"
"No, Pa, I am not an Abolitionist. I heard some of them talk when I was
in New York, and I think they are horrid creatures; but, Pa, this child
is so white, nobody would ever know that he had one drop of Negro blood
in his veins. Couldn't we take him out of that cabin, and make all the
servants promise that they would never breathe a word about his being
colored, and let me bring him up as a white child?"
"Well," said Mr. Le Croix, bursting into a hearty laugh, "that is a
capital joke; my little dewdrop talk of bringing up a child! Why,
darling, you would tire of him in a week."
"Oh no, Pa, I wouldn't! Just try me; if it is only for a week."
"Why, Sunbeam, it is impossible. Who ever heard of such a thing as a
Negro being palmed upon society as a white person?"
"Negro! Pa, he is just as white as you are, and his eyes are as blue as
"Still he belongs to the Negro race; and one drop of that blood in his
veins curses all the rest. I would grant you anything in reason, but
this is not to be thought of. Were I to do so I would immediately lose
caste among all the planters in the neighborhood; I would be set down as
an Abolitionist, and singled out for insult and injury. Ask me anything,
Camilla, but that."
"Oh, Pa, what do you care about social position? You never hunt, nor
entertain company, nor take any part in politics. You shut yourself up
in your library, year after year, and pore over your musty books, and
hardly any one knows whether you are dead or alive. And I am sure that
we could hide the secret of his birth, and pass him off as the orphan
child of one of our friends, and that will be the truth; for Agnes was
our friend; at least I know she was mine."
"Well, I'll see about it; now, get down, and let me finish reading this
The next day Camilla went again to the cabin of Miriam; but the overseer
had set her to a task in the field, and Agnes' baby was left to the care
of an aged woman who was too old to work in the fields, but not being
entirely past service, she was appointed as one of the nurses for the
babies and young children, while their mothers were working in the
Camilla, feeling an unusual interest in the child, went to the
overseer, and demanded that Miriam should be released from her tasks,
and permitted to attend the child.
In vain the overseer plead the pressure for hands, and the busy season.
Camilla said it did not matter, she wanted Miriam, and she would have
her; and he, feeling that it was to his interest to please the little
lady, had Miriam sent from the field to Camilla.
"Mammy, I want you to come to the house. I want you to come and be my
Mammy. Agnes is dead; your husband is gone, and I want you to come and
bring the baby to the house, and I am going to get him some beautiful
dresses, and some lovely coral I saw in New Orleans, and I am going to
dress him so handsomely, that I believe Pa will feel just as I do, and
think it a shame that such a beautiful child should be a slave."
Camilla went home, and told her father what she had done. And he,
willing to compromise with her, readily consented; and in a day or two
the child and his grandmother were comfortably ensconced in their new
The winter passed; the weeks ripened into months, and the months into
years, and the child under the pleasant dispensations of love and
kindness grew to be a fine, healthy, and handsome boy.
One day, when Mr. Le Croix was in one of his most genial moods, Camilla
again introduced the subject which she had concealed, but not abandoned.
"Now, father, I do think it is a shame for this child to be a slave,
when he is just as white as anybody; I am sure we could move away from
here to France, and you could adopt him as your son, and no one would
know anything of his birth and parentage. He is so beautiful, I would
like him for my brother; and he looks like us anyhow."
Le Croix flushed deep at these words, and he looked keenly into his
daughter's face; but her gaze was so open, her expression so frank and
artless, he could not think that her words had any covert meaning in
reference to the paternity of the child; but to save that child from
being a slave, and to hide his origin was with her a pet scheme; and, to
use her own words, "she had set her heart upon it."
Mr. Bernard Le Croix was the only son of a Spanish lady, and a French
gentleman, who were married in Hayti a few months before the revolution,
which gave freedom to the Island, and made Hayti an independent nation.
His father, foreseeing the storm which was overshadowing the land,
contrived to escape, bringing with him a large amount of personal
property; and preferring a climate similar to his own, he bought a
plantation on Red river, and largely stocked it with slaves. Only one
child blessed their union; Bernard Le Croix, who grew up sensitive, shy
and retiring, with a taste for solitude and literary pursuits.
During the troubles in Hayti, his uncle and only daughter escaped from
the Island, leaving every thing behind except the clothing upon their
persons, and a few jewels they had hastily collected. Broken in spirits,
feeble in health, Louis Le Croix reached Louisiana, only to die in his
brother's arms and to leave his orphan daughter to his care. She was
about ten years old and Bernard was twelve, and in their childhood was
commenced a friendship which ripened into love and marriage. Bernard's
father and mother lived long enough to see their first and only
grandchild, and then died, leaving their son a large baronial estate,
500 slaves, and a vast amount of money.
Passionately fond of literature, aesthetic in his tastes, he devoted
himself to poetry and the ancient classics; filled his home with the
finest paintings and the most beautiful statuary, and had his gardens
laid out in the most exquisite manner. And into that beautiful home he
brought his young and lovely bride; but in that fair house where velvet
carpets hushed her tread, and magnificence surrounded her path, she
drooped and faded. Day by day her cheek grew paler, her footsteps
slower, until she passed away like a thing of love and light, and left
her heart-broken husband and a child of six summers to mourn her loss.
Bernard, ever shy and sensitive, grew more so after the death of his
wife. He sought no society; seemed to lose all interest in politics; and
secluded himself in his library till he had almost passed from the
recollection of his nearest neighbors. He superintended the education of
his daughter, because he could not bear the thought of being separated
from her. And she, seeing very little of society, and reading only from
the best authors, both ancient and modern, was growing up with very
little knowledge of the world, except what she learned from books.
Without any female relatives to guide her, she had no other associates
than the servants of her household, and the family of Mr. Le Grange. Her
mother's nurse and favorite servant had taken the charge of her after
her death, and Agnes had been her nurse and companion.
Camilla, although [adored?] and petted by every one, and knowing no law
but her own will, was still a very lovely child. Her father, wrapped in
his literary pursuits, had left the entire control of his plantation to
overseers, in whom he trusted almost implicitly. And many a tale of
wrong and sorrow came to the ear of Camilla; for these simple-minded
people had learned to love her, and to trust in her as an angel of
mercy. Often would she interfere in their behalf, and tell the story of
their wrongs to her father. And at her instance, more than one overseer
had been turned away; which, coming to the ears of others, made them
cautious how they offended the little lady, for young as she was they
soon learned that she had great influence with her ease-loving father,
who would comply with almost any fancy or request rather than see her
unhappy or fretting.
And Camilla, knowing her power, insisted that Agnes' child should be
raised as a white child, and the secret of his birth effectually
concealed. At first, Mr. Le Croix thought it was a passing whim that she
would soon forget; that the child would amuse and interest her for
awhile; and then she would tire of him as she had of other things; such
as her birds, her squirrel, and even her Shetland pony. But when he
found that instead of her intention being a passing whim it was a
settled purpose, he made up his mind to accede to her wishes.
His plan was to take the child North, to have him educated, and then
adopt him as his son. And in fact the plan rather suited him; for then
he could care for him as a son, without acknowledging the relationship.
And being a member of two nations having a Latin basis, he did not feel
the same pride of race and contempt and repulsion for weaker races which
characterizes the proud and imperious Anglo-Saxon.
The next Summer Mr. Le Croix took a journey to the North, taking Louis
and Camilla with him. He found a very pleasant family school in New
England; and having made suitable arrangements, he left Louis in the
care of the matron, whose kindness and attentions soon won the child's
heart; and before he left the North, Louis seemed perfectly contented
with his new home.
Camilla was delighted with her tour; the constant companion of her
father, she visited with him every place of amusement or interest they
could find. She was much pleased with the factories; and watched with
curious eyes the intelligent faces of the operatives, as they plied with
ready fingers their daily tasks. Sometimes she would contrast their
appearance with the laborers she had seen wending their way into their
lowly huts; and then her face would grow sober even to sadness. A
puzzled expression would flit over her countenance, as if she were
trying to solve a problem which was inexplicable to her.
One day on the hunt for some new excitement, her father passed down
Tremont St., and saw advertised, in large letters, on the entrance to
Tremont Temple, "Anti Slavery Meeting;" and never having been in such a
place before he entered, impelled by a natural curiosity to hear what
could be said against a system in which he had been involved from his
earliest recollections, without taking the pains to examine it.
The first speaker was a colored man. This rather surprised him. He had
been accustomed to colored men all the days of his life; and as such, he
had known some of them to be intelligent, shrewd, and wide awake; but
this was a new experience. The man had been a slave, and recounted in
burning words the wrongs which had been heaped upon him. He told that he
had been a husband and a father: that his wife had possessed (for a
slave) the "fatal gift of beauty;" that a trader, from whose presence
her soul had recoiled with loathing, had marked her as his prey. Then he
told how he had knelt at his master's feet, and implored him not to sell
her, but it was all in vain. The trader was rich in sin-cursed gold; and
he was poor and weak. He next attempted to describe his feelings when he
saw his wife and children standing on the auction block; and heard the
coarse jests of the spectators, and the fierce competition of the
The speaker made a deep impression upon the minds of the audience; and
even Le Croix, who had been accustomed to slavery all his life, felt a
sense of guilt passing over him for his complicity in the system; whilst
Camilla grew red and pale by turns, and clutching her little hands
nervously together, said, "Father, let us go home."
Le Croix saw the deep emotion on his daughter's face, and the nervous
twitchings of her lips, and regretted that he had introduced her to such
an exciting scene.
When they were seated in their private parlor, Le Croix said: "Birdie,
I am sorry that we attended that meeting this morning. I didn't believe
a word that nigger said; and yet these people all drank it down as if
every word were gospel truth. They are a set of fanatics, calculated to
keep the nation in hot water. I hope that you will never enter such a
place again. Did you believe one word that negro said?"
"Why, yes, Pa, I did, because our Isaac used to tell me just such a
story as that. If I had shut my eyes, I could have imagined that it was
Isaac telling his story."
"Isaac! What business had Isaac telling you any such stories?"
"Oh, Pa, don't get angry with Isaac. It wasn't his fault; it was mine.
"You know when you brought him home to drive the carriage, he used to
look so sorrowful, and I said to him one day, Isaac, what makes you so
sad? Why don't you laugh and talk, like Jerry and Sam?
"And he said, 'Oh Missus, I can't! Ise got a mighty heap of trouble on
my mind.' And he looked so down-hearted when he said this, I wanted to
know what was the matter; but he said, 'It won't do, for a little lady
like you to know the troubles of we poor creatures,' but one day, when
Sam came home from New Orleans he brought him a letter from his wife,
and he really seemed to be overjoyed, and he kissed the letter, and put
it in his bosom, and I never saw him look half so happy before. So the
next day when I asked him to get the pony ready, he asked me if I
wouldn't read it for him. He said he had been trying to make it out, but
somehow he could not get the hang of the words, and so I sat down and
read it to him. Then he told me about his wife, how beautiful she was;
and how a trader, a real mean man, wanted to buy her, and that he had
begged his master not to sell her; but it was no use. She had to go; but
he was glad of one thing; the trader was dead, and his wife had got a
place in the city with a very nice lady, and he hoped to see her when
he went to New Orleans. Pa, I wonder how slavery came to be. I should
hate to belong to anybody, wouldn't you, Pa?"
"Why, yes, darling, but then the negroes are contented, and wouldn't
take their freedom, if you would give it to them."
"I don't know about that, Pa; there was Mr. Le Grange's Peter. Mr. Le
Grange used to dress him so fine and treat him so well that he thought
no one would ever tempt Peter to leave him; and he came North with him
every year for three or four summers, and he always made out that he was
afraid of the abolitionists--bobolitionists he used to call them--and
Mr. Le Grange just believed that Peter was in earnest, and somehow he
got Mrs. Le Grange to bring his wife North to wait on her. And when they
both got here, they both left; and Mrs. Le Grange had to wait on
herself, until she got another servant. She told me she had got enough
of the North, and never wanted to see it again so long as she lived;
that she wouldn't have taken three thousand dollars for them."
"Well, darling, they would have never left, if these meddlesome
abolitionists hadn't put it in their heads; but, darling, don't bother
your brain about such matters. See what I have bought you this morning,"
said he, handing her a necklace of the purest pearls; "here, darling, is
a birth-day present for you." Camilla took the necklace, and gazing
absently upon it said, "I can't understand it."
"What is it, my little philosopher, that you can't understand?"
"Pa, I can't understand slavery; that man made me think it was something
very bad. Do you think it can be right?"
Le Croix's face flushed suddenly, and he bit his lip, but said nothing,
and commenced reading the paper.
"Why don't you answer me, Pa?" Le Croix's brow grew darker, but he tried
to conceal his vexation, and quietly said, "Darling, never mind. Don't
puzzle your little head about matters you cannot understand, and which
our wisest statesmen cannot solve."
Camilla said no more, but a new train of thought had been awakened. She
had lived so much among the slaves, and had heard so many tales of
sorrow breathed confidentially into her ears, that she had unconsciously
imbibed their view of the matter; and without comprehending the
injustice of the system, she had learned to view it from their
standpoint of observation.
What she had seen of slavery in the South had awakened her sympathy and
compassion. What she had heard of it in the North had aroused her sense
of justice. She had seen the old system under a new light. The good seed
was planted, which was yet to yield its harvest of blessed deeds.
"What is the matter?" said St. Pierre Le Grange, as he entered suddenly
the sitting-room of his wife, Georgietta Le Grange, and saw her cutting
off the curls from the head of little girl about five years old, the
child of a favorite slave.
"Matter enough!" said the angry wife, her cheeks red with excitement and
her eyes half blinded with tears of vexation. "This child shan't stay
here; and if she does, she shall never again be taken for mine."
"Who took her for yours? What has happened that has brought about all
"Just wait a minute," said Georgietta, trying to frame her excitement
"Yesterday I invited the Le Fevres and the Le Counts, and a Northern
lady they had stopping with Mrs. Le Fevre, to dine with us. To-day I
told Ellen to have the servants all cleaned up, and looking as well as
possible; and so I distributed around more than a dozen turbans, for I
wanted Mrs. King to see how much better and happier our negroes looked
here than they do when they are free in the North, and what should Ellen
do but dress up her little minx in her best clothes, and curl her hair
and let her run around in the front yard."
"So she overdid the thing," said Le Grange, beginning to comprehend the
"Yes, she did, but she will never do it again," exclaimed Mrs. Le
Grange, her dark eyes flashing defiantly.
Le Grange bit his lip, but said nothing. He saw the storm that was
brewing, and about to fall on the head of the hapless child and mother,
and thought that he would do nothing to increase it.
"When Mrs. Le Fevre," continued Georgietta, "alighted from the carriage,
she noticed the child, and calling the attention of the whole party to
her, said, 'Oh, how beautiful she is! The very image of her father.'
'Mrs. Le Grange,' said she, after passing the compliments of the day, 'I
congratulate you on having such a beautiful child. She is the very image
of her father. And how large she is for her age.' Just then Marie came
to the door and said 'She's not my sister, that is Ellen's child.' I saw
the gentlemen exchange glances, and the young ladies screw up their
mouths to hide their merriment, while Mrs. Le Fevre, with all her
obtuseness, seemed to comprehend the blunder, and she said, 'Child, you
must excuse me, for my poor old eyes are getting so good for nothing I
can hardly tell one person from the other.' I blundered some kind of
answer, I hardly know what I said. I was almost ready to die with
vexation; but this shall never happen again."
"What are you going to do?"
"You see what I have begun to do. I am going to have all this curling
business broken up, and I am going to have her dressed in domestic, like
the other little niggers. I'll let Ellen know that I am mistress here;
and as soon as a trader comes along I mean to sell her. I want a new set
of pearls anyhow."
Le Grange made no reply. He was fond of the child, but knowing what a
termagant his wife was, he thought that silence like discretion was the
better part of valor, and hastily beat a retreat from her presence.
"Take these curls and throw them away," said Mrs. Le Grange to Sally,
her waiting-maid. "Move quick, and take this child into the kitchen, and
don't let me see her in the front yard again. Do you hear what I say?"
said Georgiette in a sharp, shrill tone. "Don't you let me see that
child in the front yard again. Here, before you go, darken this room,
and let me see if I can get any rest. I am so nervous, I am almost ready
Sally did as she was bidden; and taking the child to the kitchen,
exclaimed to Milly, the cook, "Hi! Oh! there's been high times upstairs
"What's the matter?" said Milly, wiping the dough from her hands, and
turning her face to Sally.
"Oh! Missus mad 'bout Ellen's child. She's mad as a March hare. See how
she's cut all her hair off."
"A debil," said Milly. "What did she do dat for? She is allers up to
some debilment. What did that poor innercence child do to her? I wonder
what she'll get at next!"
"I don't know, but to-day when Mrs. Le Ferre come'd here she kissed the
child, and said it was the very image of its father, and Missus just
looked mad enough to run her through."
Milly, in spite of her indignation could not help laughing. "Well,
that's a good joke. I guess Missus' high as ninety. What did Massa say?"
"He neber said a word; he looked like he'd been stealin' a sheep; and
Missus she jist cut up high, and said she was going to keep her hair cut
short, and have her dressed in domestic, and kept in the kitchen, and
when she got a good chance she meant to sell her, for she wanted a new
set of pearls anyhow. Massa neber said beans. I jist b'lieve he's
feared of her. She's sich a mity piece. I spect some night the debil
will come and fly way wid her. I hope so anyhow."
To which not very pious wish Milly replied, "I am fraid there is no such
good luck. Nothin' don't s'prise me that Miss Georgiette does 'cause
she's a chip off the old block. Her mother's poor niggers used to be cut
up and slashed all the time; for she was a horse at the mill. De debil
was in dat woman big as a sheep. Dere was Nancy, my fellow servant;
somehow she got a spite agin Nancy's husban', said he shouldn't come
dere any more. Pore Nancy, her and Andy war libing together in dar nice
little cabin, and Nancy did keep ebery ting shinin' like a new pin,
'cause she would work so hard when she was done her task for Missus. But
one day Missus got de debil in her, and sayed Andy shouldn't come der
any more, and she jist had all Nancy's tings took out de cabin and shut
it up, and made her come and sleep in de house. Pore Nancy, she cried as
if her heart would break right in two; and she says why does you take my
husban' from me? and Missus said I did it to please my own self, and den
Nancy kneeled at her feet and said, 'Missus I'll get up before day and
set up till twelve or one o'clock at night and work for you, but please
don't take me from my husban'. An' what do you think ole Missus did? Why
she jist up wid her foot and kicked Nancy in de mouf, and knocked out
two of her teef. I seed her do it wid my own blessed eyes. An' I sed to
myself de debil will never git his own till he gits you. Well she did
worry dat pore cretur almost to death. She used to make her sleep in the
room wid her chillen, and locked de door ebery night, and Sundays she'd
lebe some one to watch her, she was so fraid she'd git to see her
husban'. An' dis Miss Georgiette is de very moral of her Ma, and she's
jist as big as a spitfire."
"Hush," said Milly, "here comes Jane. Don't say no more 'bout Missus,
cause she's real white people's nigger, and tells all she knows, and
what she don't."
"I am really sorry, Ellen, but I can't help it. Georgiette has taken a
dislike to the child, and there is no living in peace with her unless I
sell the child or take it away."
"Oh! Mr. St. Pierre, you would not sell that child when it is your own
flesh and blood?" Le Grange winced under these words.
"No, Ellen, I'll never consent to sell the child, but it won't do for
her to stay here. I've made up my mind to send her North, and have her
"And then I'll never see my darling any more."
"But, Ellen, that is better than having her here to be knocked around by
Georgiette, and if I die to be sold as a slave. It is the best thing I
can do,--hang old Mrs. Le Fevre's tongue; but I guess it would have come
out some time or the other. I just tell you what I'll do, Ellen. I'll
take the child down to New Orleans, and make out to Georgiette that I am
going to sell her, but instead of that, I'll get a friend of mine who is
going to Pennsylvania to take her with him, and have her boarded there,
and educated. Nobody need know anything about her being colored. I'd
send you both, Ellen, but, to tell you the truth, the plantation is
running down, and the crops are so short this year I can't afford it;
but when times get better, I'll send you up there and tell you where you
can find her."
"Well, Mr. St. Pierre, that is better than having Missus knocking her
around or selling her to one of those old mean nigger traders, and never
having a chance to see my darling no more. But, Mr. St. Pierre, before
you take her away won't you please give me her likeness? Maybe I won't
know her when I see her again."
Le Grange consented, and when he went to the city again he told his wife
he was going to sell the child.
"I am glad of it," said Georgiette. "I would have her mother sold, but
we can't spare her; she is so handy with her needle, and does all the
cutting out on the place."
Le Grange's Plan
"The whole fact is this Joe, I am in an awkward fix. I have got myself
into a scrape, and I want you to help me out of it. You were good at
such things when we were at College, and I want you to try your hand
"Well, what's the difficulty now?"
"Well, it is rather a serious one. I have got a child on my hands, and I
don't know what to do with it."
"Whose child is it?"
"Now, that's just where the difficulty lies. It is the child of one of
my girls, but it looks so much like me, that my wife don't want it on
the place. I am too hard up just now to take the child and her mother,
North, and take care of them there. And to tell you the truth I am too
humane to have the child sold here as a slave. Now in a word do you
think that among your Abolitionist friends in the North you could find
any one who would raise the child and bring it up like a white child."
"I don't know about that St. Pierre. There are a number of our people in
the North, who do two things. They hate slavery and hate negroes. They
feel like the woman who in writing to her husband said, they say (or
don't say) that absence conquers love; for the longer you stay away the
better I love you. But then I know some who, I believe, are really
sincere, and who would do anything to help the colored people. I think I
know two or three families who would be willing to take the child, and
do a good part by her. If you say so, I will write to a friend whom I
have now in mind, and if they will consent I will take the child with me
when I go North, provided I can do it without having it discovered that
she is colored, for it would put me in an awkward fix to have it known
that I took a colored child away with me."
"Oh, never fear," said St. Pierre, slapping his friend on the shoulder.
"The child is whiter than you are, and you know you can pass for white."
True to his promise, Josiah Collins wrote to a Quaker friend, whom he
knew in Pennsylvania, and told him the particulars of the child's
history, and the wishes of her father, and the compensation he would
give. In a few days he received a favorable response in which the friend
told him he was glad to have the privilege of rescuing one of that fated
race from a doom more cruel than the grave; that the compensation was no
object; that they had lost their only child, and hoped that she would in
a measure fill the void in their hearts.
Highly gratified with the kind letter of the friend, Le Grange gave the
child into the charge of Josiah Collins, and putting a check for five
hundred dollars in his hand, parted with them at the [station].
He went back into the country, and told his wife that he had found a
trader, who thought the child so beautiful, and that he had bought her
to raise as a fancy girl, and had given him five hundred dollars for
her. "And here," said he, handing her a set of beautiful pearls, "is my
Georgette's eyes glistened as she entertwined the pearls amid the wealth
of her raven hair, and clasped them upon her beautifully rounded arms.
What mattered it to her if every jewel cost a heart throb, and if the
whole set were bought with the price of blood? They suited her style of
beauty, and she cared not what they cost. Proud, imperious, and selfish,
she knew no law but her own will; no gratification but the enjoyment of
her own desires.
Passing from the boudoir of his wife, he sought the room where Ellen
sat, busily cutting and arranging the clothing for the field hands, and
gazing furtively around he said, "here is Minnie's likeness. I have
managed all right." "Thank Heaven!" said the sad hearted mother, as she
paused to dry her tears, and then resumed her needle. "Anything is
Before I proceed any further with my story, let me tell the reader
something of the Le Granges, whom I have so unceremoniously introduced.
Le Grange, like Le Croix, was of French and Spanish descent, and his
father had also been a Haytian refugee. But there the similitude ends;
unlike Le Croix, he had grown up a gay and reckless young man, fond of
sports, and living an aimless life.
His father had on his plantation a beautiful quadroon girl, named Ellen,
whom he had bought in Richmond because she begged him to buy her when he
had bought her mother, who had been recommended to him as a first-rate
cook. They had been servants in what was called one of the first
families of Virginia, and had been treated by their mistress with more
kindness and consideration than generally fell to the lot of persons in
their condition. As long as she lived, they had been well fed and well
clothed, and except the deprivation of their freedom, had known but few
of the hardships so incident to slave life; but a reverse had fallen
Their mistress had intended to set them free, but, dying suddenly, she
had failed to carry out her intention. Her property fell into the hands
of distant heirs, who sold it all, and divided it among themselves.
Ellen and her mother were put up at auction, when a kindly looking old
Frenchman bought the mother. Ellen stood trembling by; but, when she saw
her mother's new master, she started forth, and kneeling at his feet,
she begged him to buy her. The mother joined in and said, "Do, Massa,
and I'll serve you faithful day and night; there is a heap of work in
these old bones yet."
Mr. Le Grange told her to be quiet, and he would buy her. And, true to
his word, although the bidding ran high, and the competition was fierce,
he bought her; and the next day, he started with them for his plantation
on Red River.
His son, Louis, had just graduated, and was spending the winter at home,
in just that mood of which it is said that Satan finds some mischief for
idle hands to do. Milly, who knew the wiles of the world better than
Ellen, tried to keep her as much as possible out of his way; but her
caution was all in vain. She saw her child engulfed, as thousands of her
race had been.
Mrs. Le Grange, when she became apprised of the condition of things,
grew very angry; but, instead of venting her indignation upon the head
of her offending son, she poured out the vials of her wrath upon the
defenseless girl. She made up her mind to sell her off the place, and
picked the opportunity, while her son was absent, to send her to a
trader's pen in the city. When Louis came home, he found Milly looking
very sullen and distressed, and her eyes red with weeping.
"What is the matter?" said Louis.
"Matter enough," said Milly. "Missus done gone and sold Ellen."
"Sold Ellen! Why, how did that happen?"
"Why, she found out all about her, and said she should not stay on the
place another day, and so she sent her down to Orleans to the nigger
traders, and my heart's most broke," and Milly sat down, wiping her
tears with her apron.
"Never mind, Milly," said Louis, "I'll go down to New Orleans and bring
her back. Mother sha'n't do as she pleases with me, as if I were a boy,
and must always be tied to her apron string. I've got some money of my
own, and I mean to find Ellen if I have to look all over the country."
He entered the dining room, and saw his mother seated at the tea table,
looking as bland and pleasant as a Spring morning, and asked, "Where is
The smile died from her lips, and she answered, curtly, "She is out of
_your_ reach [?]. I've sold her."
"But where have you sold her?"
"Out of your reach, and that is all I am going to tell you."
Louis, without saying another word went out to the coachman, and asked
what time the cars left the station.
"Ten minutes to nine."
"Can you take me there in time to reach the train? I want to go to the
"Dunno, massa; my best horse is lame, and what----"
"Never mind your excuse; here," said he, throwing him a dollar, "hitch
up as quick as possible, and take me there without any 'buts' or 'ifs.'"
"All right, massa," said Sam, grinning with delight. "I'll have you over
there in short order."
The carriage harnessed, Samuel found no difficulty with his horses, and
reached the depot almost a half hour before the time.
Louis arrived in the city after midnight, and the next day he devoted to
hunting for Ellen. He searched through different slave pens, inquired of
all the traders, until at last, ready to abandon his search in
hopelessness, he heard of a private jail in the suburbs of the city.
Nothing daunted by his failure, he found the place and Ellen also.
The trader eyed him keenly, and saw from his manner that he was in
earnest about having the girl.
"She is not for sale in this city. Whoever buys her must give me a
pledge to take her out of this city. That was the bargain I made with
her mistress. She made me promise her that I would sell her to no one in
the vicinity of the city. In fact, she wanted me to sell her out of the
way of her son. His mother said she had dedicated him to the Blessed
Virgin, and I reckon she wanted to keep him out of the way of
temptation. Now what will you give me for her?"
"Will you take a thousand for her?"
"Now you ain't saying nothing," said the trader, shutting one eye, and
spitting on the floor.
"How will twelve hundred do?"
"It won't do at all, not for such a fancy article as that. I'd rather
keep her for myself than sell her at such a low figure. Why, just look
at her! Why, she's pretty as a picture! Look at that neck, and her
shoulders. See how she carries her head! And look at that splendid head
of hair. Why some of our nabobs would give three thousand dollars; but
I'll tell you what I'll do, I'll let you have her for two thousand
dollars; fancy article is cheap at that."
Louis demurred, but the trader was inexorable, and rather than let the
opportunity to rescue Ellen from him escape he paid the exorbitant
price, and had her brought to his hotel. His next work was to get a
house for Ellen, and have her taken there, installed as his mistress. He
then went back to the plantation as if nothing had happened, and his
mother soon thought he was reconciled about the loss of Ellen. Only
Milly knew his secret, and she kept it as a secret thing.
"I've got some pleasant news for you, Louis," said Mrs. Le Grange, one
day to her son: "your uncle and cousin are coming down from Virginia,
and I want you to be all attention to your cousin, for she is very rich.
She has a fortune in her right, which was left her by her grandmother,
and besides she will have another one at her father's death, added, to
which they say, she is a very beautiful girl."
Great preparations were made for the expected guests. Georgiette was
Mrs. Le Grange's brother's child, and having been separated from him
for more than fifteen years she was full of joyful anticipations, when
he apprised her of his intention of visiting her in company with his
daughter. At length the welcome day arrived, and Mrs. Le Grange stood
arranging her jewels and ribbons to receive the guests.
"You are welcome to Louisiana," said she, removing Georgiette's shawl,
and tenderly kissing her, "and you too, brother," she said, as Mr.
Monteith followed his daughter. "How beautiful Georgiette has grown
since I saw her. Why darling you look charming! I'm afraid I shan't be
able to keep you long for some of the beaux will surely run away with
you." "My son," said Mrs. Le Grange, introducing Louis, who just then
entered the door.
Louis bowed very low, and expressed his pleasure in seeing them; and
hoped they would have a happy time, and that nothing should be wanting
on his part, to make it so. Very pleasantly passed the time away;
Georgiette was in high and charming spirits; and many a pleasant ride
and delightful saunter she took with her cousin through the woods, or in
visiting other plantations. She was very popular among the planters'
sons; admired by the young men, but feared and envied by the girls.
And thus the hours passed in a whirl of pleasurable excitement, until
Louis actually imagined himself in love with her, and found himself one
pleasant afternoon offering her his hand and heart.
She blushed and sighed, and referred him to her papa; and in a few weeks
they were engaged.
At length the time of their departure came; and Louis, after
accompanying them to New Orleans, returned to make ready for the
wedding. His father made him a present of a large plantation, which he
stocked from his own purse, with three hundred slaves; and installed
Ellen there as housekeeper till the arrival of the new mistress.
"Thee is welcome to S.," said the cheerful voice of Thomas Carpenter, as
Josiah Collins alighted, bringing with him his charge; "and is this the
little child thee wrote me about? I am heartily glad thee has rescued
her from that dreadful system!"
"Anna," said he, turning to his wife, who had just entered the room,
"here is our friend, Josiah Collins, and the little girl I told thee
"I am glad thee has come," said Anna, "sit down and make thyself at
home. And this is the little girl thee wrote Thomas about. She is a
beautiful child," continued Anna, gazing admiringly at the child. "I
hope she will be contented. Does she fret about her mother?"
"Not much; she would sometimes ask, 'where is mamma?' But the ladies in
the cars were very kind to her, and she was quite at home with them. I
told them I was taking her North; that I thought the North would better
agree with her; and that it was not convenient for her mother to come on
just now. I was really amused with the attention she received from the
Southern ladies; knowing how they would have shrunk from such offices if
they had known that one drop of the outcast blood ran in her veins."
"Why, Josiah," said Anna, "I have always heard that there was more
prejudice against the colored people in the North than in the South.
There is a difference in the manifestations of this feeling, but I do
not think there is as much prejudice here as there. [Here?] we have a
prejudice which is [formed from?] traditional ideas. We see in many
parts of the North a very few of the colored people, and our impressions
of them have received their coloring more or less from what the
slaveholders have said of them."
"We have been taught that they are idle, improvident, and unfitted for
freedom, and incapable of progression; and when we see them in the
cities we see them overshadowed by wealth, enterprise, and activity, so
that our unfavorable impressions are too often confirmed. Still if one
of that class rises above this low mental condition, we know that there
are many who are willing to give such a one a healthy recognition."
"I know that there are those that have great obstacles to overcome, but
I think that while Southerners may have more personal likings for
certain favorite servants, they have stronger prejudices than even we
have, or if they have no more than we have, they have more
self-restraint, and show it more virulently."
"But I [think?] they do not seem to have any horror of personal
"Of course not; constant familiarity with the race has worn away all
sense of physical repulsion but there is a prejudice which ought to be
an American feeling; it is a prejudice against their rising in the scale
of humanity. A prejudice which virtually says you are down, and I mean
to keep you down. As a servant I tolerate you; you are useful as you are
valuable, but rise one step in the scale of being, and I am ready to put
you down. I see this in the treatment that the free colored people
receive in parts of the South; they seem to me to be the outcasts of an
outcast race. They are denied the right to walk in certain public places
accessible to every class unless they go as nurses, and are forbidden to
assemble in evening meetings, and forced to be in the house unless they
have passes, by an early hour in the night, and in fact they are
hampered or hemmed in on every side; subject to insults from any rude,
coarse or brutal white, and in case of outrages, denied their testimony.
Prejudiced as we are in Pennsylvania, we do not go that far."
"But, Josiah, we have much to blush for in Pennsylvania; colored people
are denied the privilege of riding in our street cars. Only last week
when I was in Philadelphia I saw a very decent-looking colored woman
with a child, who looked too feeble to walk, and the child too heavy for
her to carry. She beckoned to a conductor, but he swept by and took no
more heed of her than if she had been a dog. There was a young lady
sitting in the car, who remarked to her mother, as a very filthy-looking
white man entered, 'See, they will let that filthy creature ride and
prohibit a decent respectable colored person!' The mother quietly
"From her dress I took her to be a Quakeress, for she had a lovely dress
of dove-colored silk. The young lady had scarcely uttered the words when
a young man who sat next the mother deliberately arose, and beckoned to
the man with the sooty clothes to take his seat; but fortunately for the
Quakeress, a lady who was sitting next her daughter arose just at that
moment, and left the seat, and the old man without noticing the
manoeuvre passed over to the other side, and thus avoided the contact. I
was amused, however, about one thing; for the young man who gave up his
seat was compelled to ride about a mile standing."
"Served him right," said Thomas Carpenter; "it was a very contemptible
action, to attempt to punish the hardihood of the young lady by
attempting to soil her mother's dress; and yet little souls who feel a
morbid satisfaction in trampling on the weak, always sink themselves in
the scale of manhood."
While this conversation was going on, the tea bell rang, and Josiah and
his little charge sat down to a well supplied table; for the Friends,
though plain and economical, are no enemies to good living.
Anna had brought the high-chair in which their own darling had sat a few
months before, when she had made gladness and sunshine around her
There was a tender light in the eye of the Quakeress as she dusted the
chair, and sat Minnie at the table.
"Do you think," said Thomas, addressing Josiah, "that we will ever
outgrow this wicked, miserable prejudice?"
"Oh, yes, but it must be the work of time. Both races have their work to
do. The colored man must outgrow his old condition of things, and thus
create around him a new class of associations. This generation has known
him as a being landless, poor, and ignorant. One of the most important
things for him to do is to acquire land. He will never gain his full
measure of strength until (like Anteus) he touches the earth. And I think
here is the great fault, or misfortune of the race; they seem to me to
readily accept their situation, and not to let their industrial aspirations
rise high enough. I wish they had more of the earth hunger that
characterizes the German, or the concentration of purpose which we see
in the Jews."
"I think," said Thomas, "that the Jews and Negroes have one thing in
common, and that is their power of endurance. They, like the negro, have
lived upon an idea, and that is the hope of a deliverer yet to come; but
I think this characteristic more strongly developed in the Jews than in
"Doubtless it is, but their origin and history have been different. The
Jews have a common ancestry and grand traditions, that have left alive
their pride of race. 'We have Abraham to our father,' they said, when
their necks were bowed beneath the Roman yoke."
"But I do not think the negro can trace with certainty his origin back
to any of the older civilizations, and here for more than two hundred
years his history has been a record of blood and tears, of ignorance,
degradation, and slavery. And when nominally free, prejudice has
assigned him the lowest positions and the humblest situations. I have
not much hope of their progress while they are enslaved in the South."
"Well, Josiah, I have faith enough in the ultimate triumph of our
principles to believe that slavery will bite the dust before long."
"I don't know, friend Carpenter; for the system is very strongly rooted
and grounded in the institutions of the land, and has entrenched itself
in the strongholds of Church and State, fashion, custom, and social
life. And yet when I was in the South, I saw on every hand a growing
differentiation towards the Government."
"Do you know, Josiah, that I have more hope from the madness and folly
of the South than I have from the wisdom and virtue of the North? I have
read too 'whom the gods would destroy they first make mad.'"
Ten years have elapsed since Minnie came to brighten the home of Thomas
Carpenter, and although within the heart of Anna there is a spot forever
green and sacred to the memory of her only child, yet Minnie holds an
undivided place in their affections.
There is only one subject which is to them a source of concern. It is
the connection of Minnie with the colored race. Not that they love her
less on account of the blood that is in her veins, but they dread the
effect its discovery would have upon the pleasant social circle with
which she is surrounded, and also the fear that the revelation would be
painful to her.
They know that she is Anti-Slavery in her principles. They have been
careful to instil into her young mind a reverence for humanity, and to
recognize beneath all externals, whether of condition or color, the
human soul all written over with the handmarks of divinity and the
common claims of humanity.
She has known for years that their home has been one of the stations of
the underground railroad. And the Anti-Slavery lecturer, whether white
or colored, has always been among the welcomed guests of her home. Still
they shrink from the effect the knowledge would have on her mind. They
know she is willing to work for the colored race; but they could not
divine what it cost her to work with them.
"It seems to me, Anna, that we ought to reveal to Minnie the fact of her
connection with the colored race. I am afraid that she will learn in
some way that will rudely shock her; whereas we might break it to her
in the tenderest manner. Every time a fugitive comes I dread that our
darling will be recognized."
"Nay, Thomas; thy fears have made thee over sensitive. Who would imagine
he saw in this bright and radiant girl of fifteen the little
five-year-old child we took to our hearts and home? I never feel any
difference between her and the whitest child in the village as far as
prejudice is concerned. And if every body in the village knew her origin
I would love her just as much as I ever did, for she is a dear good
"Well, dear, if you think it is best to keep it a secret, I will not
interfere. But we must not forget that Minnie will soon be a young lady;
that she is very beautiful, and even now she begins to attract
admiration. I do not think it would be right for us to let her marry a
white man without letting her know the prejudices of society, and giving
her a chance to explain to him the conditions of things."
"Yes," said Anna, "that is true; I have heard that traces of that blood
will sometimes reappear even in grandchildren, when it has not been
detected in the first. And to guard against difficulty which might arise
from such a course, I think it is better to apprise her of the facts in
"It is time enough for that. I want her to finish her education before
she thinks of marrying, and I am getting her ready to go to
Philadelphia, where she will find an excellent school as I have heard it
very highly spoken of. She is young and happy, trouble will come time
enough, let me not hasten its advent."
But if time has only strewed the path of Minnie with flowers, and
ripened the promised beauty of her childhood, it has borne a heavy hand
upon the destiny of the La Croix family.
La Croix is dead; but before his death he took the precaution to have
Louis emancipated, and then made him a joint heir with his daughter. The
will he entrusted to the care of Camilla; but the deed of emancipation
he placed in the hands of Miriam, saying, "Here are your free papers,
and here are Louis'. There is nothing in this world sure but death; and
it is well to be on the safe side. Some one might be curious enough to
search out his history; and if there should be no legal claim to his
freedom, he might be robbed of both his liberty and his inheritance; so
keep these papers, and if ever the hour comes when you or he should need
them, you must show me."
Miriam did as she was bidden; but her heart was lighter when she knew
that freedom had come so near her and Louis.
Le Croix, before his death, had sold the greater part of his slaves, and
invested the money in Northern bonds and good Northern securities.
Camilla had married a gentleman from the North, and is living very
happily upon the old plantation. She does not keep an overseer, and
tries to do all in her power to ameliorate the condition of her slaves;
still she is not satisfied with the system, and is trying to prepare her
slaves for freedom, by inducing them to form, as much as possible,
habits of self-reliance, and self-restraint, which they will need in the
freedom which she has determined they shall enjoy as soon as she can
arrange her affairs to that effect. But she also has to proceed with a
great deal of caution.
The South is in a state of agitation and [foment?]. The air is laden
with rumors of a [rising?] conflict between the North and the South, and
any want of allegiance to Southern opinions is punished either as a
crime if the offender is a man, or with social ostracism and insult if a
The South in the palmy days of her pride and power would never tolerate
any heresy to her creed, whose formula of statement might have been
written we believe in the divine right of the Master, to take advantage
of the weakness, ignorance, and poverty of the slave; that might makes
right, and that success belongs to the strongest arm.
Some of her former friends were beginning to eye her with coldness and
suspicion because she would not join in their fanatical hatred of the
North and because she would profess her devotion to the old flag, while
they were ready to spit upon and trample it under foot.
Her adopted brother was still in the North, and strange to say he did
not share her feelings; his sympathies were with the South, and although
he was too young to take any leading part in the events there about to
transpire, yet year after year when he spent his vacations at home, he
attended the hustings and political meetings, and there he learned to
consider the sentiment, "My country right or wrong," as a proper maxim
for political action.
This difference in their sentiments did not produce the least
estrangement between them; only Camilla regretted to see Louis ready to
raise his hand against the freedom of his mother's race, although he was
perfectly unconscious of his connection with it, for the conflict which
was then brewing between the North and the South was in fact a struggle
between despotism and idea; between freedom on one side and slavery on
"Commencement over, what are you going to do with yourself?"
"I don't know; loaf around, I suppose."
"Why don't you go to Newport?"
"Don't want to; got tired of it last year."
"A perfect bore!"
"Been there twice."
"A pedestrian tour to the White Mountains?"
"Haven't got energy enough."
"What will you do?"
"Stay at home and fight mosquitoes."
"Very pleasant employment. I don't envy you, but I can tell you
something better than that."
"What is it?" said his companion, yawning.
"Come, go home with me."
"Go home with you! Where is that, and what is the attraction?"
"Well, let me see, it is situated in one of the most beautiful valleys
of Western Pennsylvania, our village is environed by the most lovely
hills, and nestling among the trees, with its simple churches and
unpretending homes of quiet beauty and good taste, it is one of the most
pleasant and picturesque places I ever saw. And, besides, as you love to
hunt and fish, we have one of the finest streams of trout, and some of
the most excellent game in the woods."
"Is that all?"
"Why, isn't that enough? You must be rather hard to please this
"Yes, but I have not told you the crowning attraction."
"What is it?"
"Oh, one of the most beautiful girls I ever saw! We call her the lily of
"I can't. It would be like attempting to paint a sun beam or doing what
no painter has ever done, sketch a rainbow."
"You are very poetical this morning, but I want you to do as our
President sometimes tells us, proceed from the abstract to the
"Well, let me begin: she has the most beautiful little feet. I never see
her stepping along without thinking of Cinderella and the glass slipper.
As to eyes, they are either dark brown or black, I don't know which; but
I do know they are beautiful; and her hair, well, she generally wears
that plain in deference to the wishes of her Quaker friends, but
sometimes in the most beautiful ripples of golden brown I ever saw."
"That will do, now tell me who she is? You spoke of her Quaker friends.
Is she not their daughter?"
"No, there seems to be some mystery about her history. About ten years
ago, my father brought her to Josiah Carpenter's but he's always been
reticent about her, in fact I never took the pains to inquire. She's a
great favorite in the village, and everybody says she is as beautiful as
she is good, and vice versa."
"Well, I'd like to see this paragon of yours. I believe I'll go."
"Well, let us get ready."
"When do you start?"
"All right. I'll be on hand." And with these words the two friends
parted to meet again the next day at the railroad station.
The first of the speakers is the son of Josiah Collins, and his friend
is Louis Le Croix, Camilla's adopted brother. He is somewhat changed
within the last ten years. Time has touched the golden wealth of his
curls with a beautiful deep auburn, and the rich full tones of his voice
tell that departed is written upon his childhood.
He is strongly Southern in his feelings, but having been educated in the
North, whilst he is an enthusiast in defense of his section, as he calls
the South, he is neither coarse and brutal in actions, nor fanatical in
his devotion to slavery. He thinks the Negroes are doing well enough in
slavery, if the Abolitionists would only let matters rest, and he feels
a sense of honor in defending the South. She is his mother, he says, and
that man is an ingrate who will not stand by his mother and defend her
when she is in peril.
He and Charles Collins are fast friends, but [on the subject of slavery
they are entirely opposed?]. And so on that point they have agreed to
disagree. They often have animated and exciting discussions, but they
[pass?] and Josiah and Louis are just as friendly as they were before.
There were two arrivals the next evening in the [quiet?] village of S.
One was Charles Collins, the other his Southern friend, who was received
with the warmest welcome, and soon found himself at home in the pleasant
society of his friend's family. The evening was enlivened with social
chat and music, until ten o'clock, when Josiah gathered his children and
having read the Bible in a deeply impressive manner, breathed one of the
most simple and fervent prayers he had ever heard.
While they were bending at prayer in this pleasant home, a shabby
looking man came walking slowly and wearily into the village. He gazed
cautiously around and looked anxiously in the street as though he were
looking for some one, but did not like to trust his business to every
At length he saw an elderly man, dressed in plain clothes, and a broad
brim hat, and drawing near he spoke to him in a low and hesitating
voice, and asked if he knew a Mr. Thomas Carpenter.
"My name is Carpenter," said the friend, "come with me."
There was something in the voice, and manner of the friend that
_assured_ the stranger. His whole manner changed. A peaceful expression
stole over his dark, sad face, and the drooping limbs seemed to be
aroused by a new infusion of energy.
"Come in," said Thomas, as he reached his door, "come in, thee's welcome
to stop and rest with us."
"Anna," said Thomas, his face beaming with kindness, "I've brought
thee a guest. Here is another passenger by the Underground Railroad."
"I'm sure thee's welcome," said Anna, handing him a chair, "sit down,
thee looks very tired. Where did thee come from?"
Moses, that was the fugitive's name, hesitated a moment.
"Oh, never fear, thee's among friends; thee need not be afraid to tell
all about thyself."
Moses then told them that he had come from Kentucky.
"And how did thee escape?"
He said, "I walked from Lexington to Covington."
"Why, that was almost one hundred miles, and did thee walk all that
"Yes, sir," said he, "I hid by day, and walked by night."
"Did no one interrupt?"
"Yes, one man said to me, 'Where's your pass?' I suppose I must have
grown desperate, for I raised my fists and said dem's my passes; and he
let me alone. I don't know whether he was friendly or scared, but he let
"And how then?"
"When I come to Covington I found that I could not come across the river
without a pass, but I watched my chance, and hid myself on a boat, and I
got across. I'd heard of you down home."
"How did you?"
"Oh, we's got some few friends dere, but we allers promise not to tell."
Anna and Thomas smiled at his reticence, which had grown into a
"Were you badly treated?"
"Not so bad as some, but I allers wanted my freedom, I did."
"Well, we will not talk about thee any more; if thee walked all that
distance thee must be very tired and we'll let thee rest. There's thy
bed. I hope thee'll have a good night's rest, and feel better in the
"Thankee marm," said Moses, "you's mighty good."
"Oh no, but I always like to do my duty by my fellow men! Now, be quiet,
and get a good night's sleep. Thee looks excited. Thee mustn't be
uneasy. Thee's among friends."
A flood of emotions crept over the bosom of Moses when his kind friends
left the room. Was this freedom, and was this the long wished for North?
and were these the Abolitionists of whom he had heard so much in the
South? They who would allure the colored people from their homes in the
South and then leave them to freeze and starve in the North? He had
heard all his life that the slaveholders were the friends of the South,
and the language of his soul had been, "If these are my friends, save me
from my foes." He had lived all his life among the white people of the
South, and had been owned by several masters, but he did not know that
there was so much kindness among the white race, till he had rested in a
Northern home, and among Northern people.
Here kindness encouraged his path, and in that peaceful home every voice
that fell upon his ear was full of tenderness and sympathy. True, there
were rough, coarse, brutal men even in that village, who for a few
dollars or to prove their devotion to the South, would have readily
remanded him to his master, but he was not aware of that. And so when he
sank to his rest a sense of peace and safety stole over him, and his
sleep was as calm and peaceful as the slumber of a child.
The next morning he looked refreshed, but still his strength was wasted
by his great physical exertion and mental excitement; and Thomas
thought he had better rest a few days till he grew stronger and better
prepared to travel; for Thomas noticed that he was nervous, starting
at the sound of every noise, and often turning his head to the door with
an anxious, frightened look.
Thomas would have gladly given him shelter and work, and given him just
wages, but he dared not do so. He was an American citizen it is true,
but at that time slavery reigned over the North and ruled over the
South, and he had not the power under the law of the land to give
domicile, and break his bread to that poor, hunted and flying man; for
even then they were hunting in the South and sending out their human
bloodhounds to search for him in the North.
Throughout the length and breadth of the land, from the summit of the
rainbow-crowned Niagara to the swollen waters of the Mexican Gulf; from
the golden gates of sunrise to the gorgeous portals of departing day,
there was not a hill so high, a forest so secluded, a glen so
sequestered, nor mountain so steep, that he knew he could not be tracked
and hailed in the name of the general government.
"What's the news, friend Carpenter? any new arrivals?" said Josiah
Collins in a low voice to Thomas.
"Yes, a very interesting case; can't you come over?"
"Yes, after breakfast. By the way, you must be a little more cautious
than usual. Charley came home last night, and brought a young friend
with him from college. I think from his conversation that he is either a
Southerner himself, or in deep sympathy with the South."
Both men spoke in low tones, for although they were Northerners, they
were talking about a subject on which they were compelled to speak with
After breakfast Josiah came over, but Moses seemed so heavy and over
wearied that they did not care to disturb him. There was a look of
dejection and intense sadness on the thin worn face, and a hungry look
in the mournful eyes, as if his soul had been starving for kindness and
sympathy. Sometimes he would forget his situation, and speak hopefully
of the future, but still there was a weariness that he could not shake
off, a languor that seemed to pervade every nerve and muscle.
Thomas thought it was the natural reaction of the deep excitement,
through which he just passed, that the tension of his nerves had been
too great, but that a few days rest and quiet would restore him to his
normal condition; but that hope soon died away.
The tension, excitement, and consequent exhaustion had been too much.
Reason tottered on its throne, and he became a raving maniac; in his
moments of delirium he would imagine that he was escaping from slavery;
that the pursuers were upon his back; that they had caught him, and were
rebinding him about to take him back to slavery, and then it was
heartrending to hear him beg, and plead to be carried to Thomas
He would reach out his emaciated hands, and say "Carry me to Mr.
Carpenter's, that good man's house," for that name which had become more
precious to him than a household to his soul, still lingered amid
shattered cells. But the delirium spent its force, and through the
tempests of his bosom the light of reason came back.
One night he slept more soundly than usual; and on the next morning his
faithful friends saw from the expression of his countenance and the
light in his eyes that his reason had returned. They sent for their
family physician, a man in whose honor they could confide. All that
careful nursing and medical skill could do was done, but it was in vain;
his strength was wasted; the silver cord was loosed, and the golden bowl
was broken; his life was fast ebbing away. Like a tempest tossed mariner
dying in sight of land, so he passing away from earth, found the
precious, longed for, and dearly bought prize was just before, but his
hand was too feeble to grasp, his arms too powerless to hold it.
His friends saw from the expression of his face that he had something to
say; and they bent down to catch the last words of the departing spirit.
"I am dying," he said, "but I am thankful that I have come this near to
He attempted to say no more, the death rattles sounded in his throat;
the shadows that never deceive flitted o'er his face, and he was dead.
His spirit gone back to God, another witness against the giant crime of
Josiah came again to see him, and entered the room just as the released
spirit winged its flight. Silently he uncovered him as if paying that
reverence to the broken casket which death exacts for his meanest
subjects. With tenderness and respect they prepared the body for the
grave, followed him to the silent tomb, and left him to his dreamless
"Friend Carpenter, I have brought a friend to see you. He is a real
hot-headed Southerner, and I have been trying to convert him, but have
been almost ready to give it up as a hopeless task. I thought as you are
so much better posted than I am on the subject, _you_ might be able to
convert him from the error of his ways. He is a first-rate fellow, my
College chum. He has only one fault, he will defend Slavery. Cure him of
that, and I think he will be as near perfect as young men generally
Friend Carpenter smiled at this good-natured rally, and said, "It takes
time for all things. Perhaps your friend is not so incorrigible as you
think he is."
"I don't know," said Charley, "but here he is; he can speak for
"Oh the system is well enough of itself, but like other things, it is
liable to abuse."
"I think, my young friend," said Thomas, "thee has never examined the
system by the rule of impartial justice, which tells us to do to all men
as we would have them do to us. If thee had, thee would not talk of the
abuses of Slavery, when the system is an abuse itself. I am afraid thee
has never gauged the depth of its wickedness. Thy face looks too honest
and frank to defend this system from conviction. Has thee ever examined
"Why, no, I have always been used to it."
Louis, who liked the honest bluntness of the Quaker, would have
willingly prolonged the conversation, simply for the sake of the
argument, but just then Minnie entered, holding in her hand a bunch of
flowers, and started to show them to her father, before she perceived
that any company was in the room.
"Oh father," said she, "see what I have brought you!" when her eye fell
upon the visitors, and a bright flush overspread her cheek, lending it
Charles immediately arose, and giving her his hand, introduced her to
"I am glad to see you, Minnie; you are looking so well this summer,"
said Charles, gazing on her with unfeigned admiration.
"I am glad you think so," said she, with charming frankness.
Some business having called friend Carpenter from the room, the young
people had a pleasant time to themselves, talking of books, poetry, and
the current literature of the day, although being students, their
acquaintance with these things was somewhat limited. By the time they
were ready to go, Thomas had re-entered the room and bidding them
good-bye, cordially invited them to return again.
"What do you think of her?" said Charles to his friend.
"Beautiful as a dream. The half had not been told. Her _acquaintance_
pays me for my trip; yes, I would like to become better acquainted with
her; there was such a charming simplicity about her, and such unaffected
grace that I am really delighted with her. How is it that you have never
fallen in love with her?"
"Oh, I have left that for you; but in fact we have almost grown
together, played with each other when we were children, until she
appears like one of our family, and to marry her would be like marrying
my own sister."
"How does thee like Charles' friend?" said Minnie, to her adopted
Thomas spoke slowly and deliberately, and said, "He impresses me rather
favorably. I think there's the making of a man in him. But I hear that
he is pro-slavery."
"Yes, he is, but I think that is simply the result of former
associations and surroundings. I do not believe that he has looked
deeper than the surface of Slavery; he is quite young yet; his
reflective faculties are hardly fully awakened. I believe the time will
come, when he will see it in its true light, and if he joins our ranks
he will be an important accession to our cause. I have great hopes of
him. He seems to be generous, kind-hearted, and full of good impulses,
and I believe there are grand possibilities in his nature. How do you
"Oh, I was much pleased with him. We had a very pleasant time together."
In a few days, Charles and Louis called again. Minnie was crocheting,
and her adopted mother was occupied with sewing; while Thomas engaged
them in conversation, the subject being the impending conflict; Louis,
taking a decided stand in favor of the South, and Thomas being equally
strong in his defense of the North.
The conversation was very animated, but temperate; and when they parted,
each felt confident of the rightfulness of his position.
"Come, again," said Thomas, as they were leaving; "we can't see eye to
eye, but I like to have thee come."
Louis was very much pleased with the invitation, for it gave him
opportunity to see Minnie, and sometimes she would smile, or say a word
or two when the discussion was beginning to verge on the borders of
The time to return to College was drawing near, and Louis longed to tell
her how dear she was to him, but he never met her alone. She was so
young he did not like to ask the privilege of writing to her; and yet he
felt when he left the village, that it would afford him great
satisfaction to hear from her. He once hinted to Friend Carpenter that
he would like to hear from his family, and that if he was too busy
perhaps Miss Minnie might find time to drop a line, but Thomas did not
take the hint, so the matter ended; he hoping in the meantime to meet
her again, and renew their very pleasant acquaintance.
"Is Minnie not well?" said Thomas Carpenter, entering one morning, the
pleasant room, where Anna was labelling some preserves. "She seems to be
so drooping, and scarcely eats anything."
"I don't know. I have not heard her complain; perhaps she is a little
tired and jaded from her journey; and then I think she studies too much.
She spends most of her time in her room, and since I think of it, she
does appear more quiet than usual; but I have been so busy about my
preserves that I have not noticed her particularly."
"Anna," said Thomas suddenly, after a moment's pause, "does thee think
that there is any attachment between Louis and Minnie? He was very
attentive to her when we were in Boston."
"Why, Thomas, I have never thought anything about it. Minnie always
seems so much like a child that I never get her associated in my mind
with courtship and marriage. I suppose I ought to though," said Anna,
with the faintest sigh.
"Anna, I think that something is preying on that child's mind, and
mother, thee knows that you women understand how to manage these things
better than we men do, and I wish thee would find out what is the matter
with the child. Try to find out if there is anything between her and
Louis, and if there is, by all means we must let her know about herself;
it is a duty we owe her and him."
"Well, Thomas, if we must we must; but I shrink from it. Here she comes.
Now I'll leave in a few minutes, and then thee can tell her; perhaps
thee can do it better than I can."
"What makes thee look so serious?" said Thomas, as Minnie entered the
"Do I, father?"
"Yes, thee looks sober as a Judge. What has happened to disturb thee?"
"Nothing in particular; only I was down to Mr. Hickman's this morning,
and they have a colored woman stopping with them. She is a very
interesting and intelligent woman, and she was telling us part of her
history, and it was very interesting, but, mother, I do think it is a
dreadful thing to be a colored person in this country; how I should
suffer if I knew that I was hated and despised for what I couldn't help.
Oh, it must be dreadful to be colored."
"Oh, don't talk so, Minnie, God never makes any mistakes."
"I know that, mother; but, mother, it must be hard to be forced to ride
in smoking cars; to be insulted in the different thoroughfares of
travel; to be denied access to public resorts in some places,--such as
lectures, theatres, concerts, and even have a particular seat assigned
in the churches, and sometimes feel you were an object of pity even to
your best friends. I know that Mrs. Heston felt so when she was telling
her story, for when Mrs. Hickman said, 'Well, Sarah, I really pity you,'
I saw her dark eyes flash, and she has really beautiful eyes, as she
said, 'it is not pity we want, it is justice.'"
"In the first place, mother, she is a widow, with five children. She had
six. One died in the army,--and she had some business in Washington
connected with him. She says she was born in Virginia, and had one
little girl there, but as she could not bear the idea of her child
growing up in ignorance, she left the South and went to Albany. Her
husband was a barber, and was doing a good business there. She was
living in a very good neighborhood, and sent her child to the nearest
"After her little girl had been there awhile, her teacher told her she
must go home and not come there any more, and sent her mother a note;
the child did not know what she had done; she had been attentive to her
lessons, and had not behaved amiss, and she was puzzled to know why she
was turned out of school.
"'Oh! I hated to tell Mrs. Heston,' said the teacher; 'but the child
insisted, and I knew that it must come sooner or later. And so, said
she, I told her it was because she was colored.'
"'Is that all.' Poor child, she didn't know, that, in that fact lay
whole volumes of insult, outrage, and violence. I made up my mind, she
continued, that I would leave the place, and when my husband came home,
I said, 'Heston, let us leave this place; let us go farther west. I hear
that we can have our child educated there, just the same as any other
child.' At first my husband demurred, for we were doing a good business;
but I said, let us go, if we have to live on potatoes and salt.
"True, it was some pecuniary loss; but I never regretted it, although I
have been pretty near the potatoes and salt. My husband died, but I kept
my children together, and stood over the wash-tub day after day to keep
them at school. My oldest daughter graduated at the High School, and was
quite a favorite with the teachers. One term there was a vacancy in her
room, caused by the resignation of one of the assistant teachers, and
the first teacher had the privilege of selecting her assistants from the
graduates of the High School, their appointment, of course, being
subject to the decision of the Commissioner of Public Schools.
"'Her teacher having heard that she was connected by blood with one of
the first families of Virginia, told the Commissioner that she had
chosen an Assistant, a young lady of high qualifications, and as she
understood, a descendant of Patrick Henry.
"'Ah, indeed,' said the Commissioner, 'I didn't know that we had one of
that family among us. By all means employ her;' but as she was about to
leave, she said: 'I forgot to tell you one thing, she is colored.'
"A sudden change came over him, and he said: 'Do you think I would have
you walk down the street with a colored woman? Of course not. I'll never
give my consent to _that_.' And there the matter ended. And then she
made us feel so indignant when she told us that on her way to Washington
to get her son's pension, she stopped in Philadelphia, and the conductor
tried to make her leave the car, and because she would not, he ran the
car off the track."
"Oh, father," said she, turning to Thomas, "how wicked and cruel this
prejudice. Oh, how I should hate to be colored!"
Anna and Thomas exchanged mournful glances. Their hearts were too full;
and as Minnie left the room, Thomas said, "Not now, Anna. Not just yet."
And so Minnie was permitted to return again to school with the secret
* * * * *
"Minnie, darling, what are you doing? moping as usual over your books?
Come, it is Saturday morning, and you have worked hard enough for one
week; got all good marks; so now just put up that Virgil, and come go
out with me."
"Where do you wish to go?" said Minnie, to her light-hearted friend,
"I want to go out shopping. Pa has just sent me twenty dollars, and you
know a girl and her money are soon parted."
"What do you wish to get?"
"Well, I want a pair of gloves, some worsted to match this fringe, and a
lot of things. Come, won't you go?"
"Oh, I don't know, I didn't intend going out this morning."
"Well, never mind if you didn't, just say you will go. Where's your hat
and mantle?" said Carrie, going to her wardrobe.
"Well, just wait till I fix my hair; it won't take long."
"Oh, Minnie, do let me fix it for you! If ever I have to work for my
living, I shall be a hair-dresser. I believe it is the only thing that I
have any talent for."
"What an idea! But do, Minnie, won't you, let me arrange your hair? You
always wear it so plain, and I do believe it would curl beautifully. May
So Carrie sat down, and in a short time, she had beautifully arranged
Minnie's hair with a profusion of curls.
"Do you know what I was thinking?" said Carrie, gazing admiringly upon
her friend. "You look so much like a picture I have seen of yours in
your father's album. He was showing me a number of pictures which
represent you at different ages, and the one I refer to, he said was our
Minnie when she was five years old. Now let me put on your hat. And let
me kiss you for you look so pretty?"
"Oh, Carrie, what an idea! You are so full of nonsense. Which way will
we go first?"
"First down to Carruther's. I saw a beautiful collar there I liked so
much; and then let us go down to Mrs. Barguay's. I want to show you a
love of a bonnet, one of the sweetest little things in ribbon, lace, and
flowers I ever saw."
Equipped for the journey the two friends sauntered down the street; as
they were coming out of a store, Carrie stopped for a moment to speak to
a very dear friend of her mother's, and Minnie passed on.
As she went slowly on, loitering for her friend, she saw a woman
approaching her from the opposite side of the street. There was
something in her look and manner which arrested the attention of Minnie.
She was a tall, slender woman about thirty five years old, with a pale,
care-worn face--a face which told that sorrow had pressed her more than
years. A few threads of silver mingled with the wealth of her raven
hair, and her face, though wearing a sad and weary expression, still
showed traces of great beauty.
As soon as her eyes fell on Minnie, she raised her hands in sudden
wonder, and clasping her in her arms, exclaimed: "Heaven is merciful! I
have found you, at last, my dear, darling, long-lost child. Minnie, is
this you, and have I found you at last?"
Minnie trembled from head to foot; a deadly pallor overspread her cheek,
and she stood still as if rooted to the ground in silent amazement,
while the woman stood anxiously watching her as if her future were
hanging on the decision of her lips.
"Who are you? and where did you come from?" said Minnie, as soon as she
gained her breath.
"I came from Louisiana. Oh, I can't be mistaken. I have longed for you,
and prayed for you, and now I have found you."
Just then, Carrie, who had finished speaking with her friend, seeing
Minnie and the strange woman talking together, exclaimed, "What is the
Noticing the agitation of her friend, "Who is this woman, and what has
she said to you?"
"She says that she is my mother, my long-lost mother."
"Why, Minnie, what nonsense! She can't be your mother. Why don't you see
she is colored?"
"Where do you live?" said Minnie, without appearing to notice the words
"I don't live anywhere. I just came here yesterday with some of the
"Come with me then, and I will show you a place to stop."
"Why, Minnie, you are not going to walk down the street with that
Nig--colored woman; if you are, please excuse me. My business calls me
And without any more ceremony Carrie and Minnie parted. Silently she
walked by the side of the stranger, a thousand thoughts revolving in her
mind. Was this the solution of the mystery which enshrouded her young
life? Did she indeed belong to that doomed and hated race, and must she
share the cruel treatment which bitter, relentless prejudice had
Thomas Carpenter and Anna were stopping in P., at the house of relatives
who knew Minnie's history, but who had never made any difference in
their treatment of her on that account.
"Is father and mother at home?" said Minnie to the servant, who opened
the door. She answered in the affirmative.
"Tell them to come into the parlor, they are wanted immediately."
"Sit down," said Minnie to the stranger, handing her a chair, "and wait
till father comes."
Anna and Thomas soon entered the room, and Minnie approaching them said,
"Father, this woman met me on the street to-day, and says she is my
mother. You know all about my history. Tell me if there is any truth in
"I don't know, Minnie, I never saw thy mother."
"But question her, father, and see if there is any truth in what she
says; but tell me first, father, am I white or colored?"
"Minnie, I believe there is a small portion of colored blood in thy
"It is enough," said Minnie, drawing closer to the strange woman. "What
makes you think that I am your child?"
"By this," said she, taking a miniature from her bosom. "By this, which
I carried next to my heart for more than twelve years, and never have
been without it a single day or night."
Thomas looked upon the miniature; it was an exact likeness of Minnie
when she first came to them, and although she had grown and changed
since the likeness was taken, there was too close a resemblance between
it and one which had been taken soon after she came, for him to doubt
that Minnie was the original of that likeness.
Thomas questioned the woman very closely, but her history and narrative
corresponded so well with what he had heard of Minnie's mother, that he
could not for a moment doubt that this was she, and as such he was
willing to give her the shelter of his home, till he could make other
"But why," said Anna, somewhat grieved at the shock, that Minnie had
received, "did thee startle her by so suddenly claiming her in the
street? Would it not have been better for thee to have waited and found
out where she lived, and then discovered thyself to her?"
"I'spect it would, 'Mam," said Ellen, very meekly and sorrowfully, "but
when I saw her and heard the young lady say, Minnie, wait a minute, I
forgot everything but that this was my long-lost child. I am sorry if I
did any harm, but I was so glad I could not help it. My heart was so
hungry for my child."
"Yes, yes," said Anna sadly, "I understand thee; it was the voice of
Minnie was too nervous and excited to return to her school that day; the
next morning she had a very high fever, and Thomas concluded it would be
better to take her home and have her mother accompany her.
And so on Monday morning Anna and Thomas left P., taking Minnie and her
Once again in her pleasant home, surrounded by the tenderest care (for
her mother watched over her with the utmost solicitude) the violence of
her fever abated, but it was succeeded by a low nervous affection which
while it produced no pain yet it slowly unstrung her vitality.
Ellen hovered around her pillow as if she begrudged every moment that
called her from her daughter's side, and never seemed so well contented
as when she was performing for her some office of love and tenderness. A
skilful nurse, she knew how to prepare the most delicate viands to tempt
the failing appetite, and she had the exquisite pleasure of seeing her
care and attention rewarded by the returning health and strength of her
One morning as she grew stronger, and was able to sit in her chair, she
turned her eyes tenderly towards Ellen and said, "Mother, come and sit
near me and let me hold your hand."
"Mother," Oh how welcome was that word. Ellen's eyes filled with sudden
"Mother," she said, "It comes back to me like a dream. I have a faint
recollection of having seen you before, but it is so long I can scarcely
remember it. Tell me all about myself and how I came to leave you. I
always thought that there was some mystery about me, but I never knew
what it was before, but now I understand it."
"Darling," said the mother, "you had better wait till you get a little
stronger, and then I will tell you all."
"Very well," said Minnie, "you have been so good to me and I am
beginning to love you so much."
It was touching to see the ripening love between those two
long-suffering ones. Ellen would comb Minnie's hair, and do for her
every office in her power. Still Minnie continued feeble. The suffering
occasioned by her refusal of Louis; the hard study and deep excitement
through which she had passed told sadly upon her constitution; but she
was young, and having a large share of recuperative power she slowly
came back to health and strength, and when the spring opened Thomas
decided that she should return again to her school in P.
Let us now return to Carrie Wise, whom we left parting with Minnie.
"Where is Minnie?" said two of her schoolmates, who observed that
Carrie had come home alone.
"Oh," said she, "one of the strangest things I ever heard of happened!"
"Well, what was it?" said the girls; and by this time they had joined
another group of girls.
"Why this morning, Minnie and I walked out shopping, and just as I came
out of Carruthers' I met an old friend of mother's, and stopped to speak
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