Our World, or, The Slaveholders Daughter
F. Colburn Adams

Part 1 out of 12

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OR, The Slaveholder's Daughter.

"An honest tale speeds best being plainly told."




IN presenting this work to the public, we are fully conscious of the
grave charges of misrepresenting society, and misconstruing facts,
which will be made by our friends of the South, and its very
peculiar institution; but earnestly do we enjoin all such champions
of "things as they are," to read and well digest what is here set
before them, believing that they will find the TRUTH even "stranger
than fiction." And, as an incentive to the noble exertions of those,
either North or South, who would rid our country of its "darkest,
foulest blot," we would say, that our attempt has been to give a
true picture of Southern society in its various aspects, and that,
in our judgment, the institution of Slavery is directly chargeable
with the various moral, social and political evils detailed in OUR



I. Marston's Plantation,
II. How a Night was spent on Marston's Plantation
III. Things not so bright as they seem
IV. An Unexpected Confession
V. The Marooning Party
VI. Another Scene in Southern Life
VII. "Buckra-Man very Uncertain,"
VIII. A Cloud of Misfortune hangs over the Plantation
IX. Who is Safe against the Power?
X. Another Shade of the Picture,
XI. Mrs. Rosebrook's Project,
XII. Elder Pemberton Praiseworthy Changes his Business,
XIII. A Father tries to be a Father,
XIV. In which Extremes are Presented,
XV. A Scene of Many Lights,
XVI. Another Phase of the Picture,
XVII. Pleasant Dealings with Human Property,
XVIII. A not uncommon Scene slightly changed,
XIX. They are going to be Sold,
XX. Let us follow poor Human Nature to the Man Shambles,
XXI. A Father's Trials,
XXII. We Change with Fortune,
XXIII. The Vicissitudes of a Preacher,
XXIV. How we Manufacture Political Faith,
XXV. Mr. M'Fadden sees Shadows of the Future,
XXVI. How they stole the Preacher,
XXVII. Competition in Human Things,
XXVIII. The Pretty Children are to be Sold,
XXIX. Nature Shames Itself,
XXX. The Vision of Death is Past,
XXXI. A Friend is Woman,
XXXII. Marston in Prison,
XXXIII. Venders of Human Property are not Responsible for its
Mental Caprices,
XXXIV. A Common Incident shortly told,
XXXV. The Children are Improving,
XXXVI. Workings of the Slave System,
XXXVII. An Item in the Common Calendar,
XXXVIII. In which Regrets are shown of little Worth,
XXXIX. How we should all be Forgiving,
XL. Containing Various Matters,
XLI. Nicholas's Simple Story,
XLII. He would Deliver her from Bondage,
XLIII. Other Phases of the Subject,
XLIV. How Daddy Bob Departed,
XLV. How Slaveholders Fear each other,
XLVI. Southern Administration of Justice,
XLVII. Prosperity the Result of Justice,
XLVIII. In which the Fate of Franconia is seen,
XLIX. In which is a Sad Recognition,
L. In which a Dangerous Principle is Illustrated,
LI. A Continuation of the Last Chapter,
LII. In which are Pleasures and Disappointments,
LIII. A Familiar Scene, in which Pringle Blowers has Business,
LIV. In which are Discoveries and Pleasant Scenes,
LV. In which is a Happy Meeting, some Curious Facts Developed,
and Clotild History Disclosed,
LVI. In which a Plot is Disclosed, and the Man-Seller made to
Pay the Penalty of his Crimes,




ON the left bank of the Ashly River, in the State of South Carolina,
and a few miles from its principal city, is a plantation once the
property of Hugh Marston. It was near this spot, the brave
Huguenots, fleeing religious and political persecution, founded
their first American colony-invoked Heaven to guard their
liberties-sought a refuge in a new world! And it was here the pious
Huguenot forgot his appeals to high heaven-forgot what had driven
him from his fatherland, and-unlike the pilgrim fathers who planted
their standard on "New England's happy shore,"-became the first to
oppress. It was here, against a fierce tyranny, the gallant

A tribe of faithful and heroic Indians. loyal to his professed
friend, struggled and died for his liberty. It was here the last
remnant of his tribe fought the fierce battle of right over might!
It was here, in this domain, destined to be the great and powerful
of nations-the asylum of an old world's shelter seeking poor, and
the proud embodiment of a people's sovereignty,-liberty was first
betrayed! It was here men deceived themselves, and freedom
proclaimers became freedom destroyers. And, too, it was here Spanish
cupidity, murderous in its search for gold, turned a deaf ear to
humanity's cries, slaughtered the friendly Indian, and drenched the
soil with his innocent blood. And it is here, at this moment,
slavery-fierce monster, threatening the peace of a happy people-runs
riot in all its savage vicissitudes, denying man his commonest

If history did but record the barbarous scenes yet enacted on the
banks of this lovely stream, the contrast with its calm surface
sweeping gently onward to mingle its waters with the great deep,
would be strange indeed. How mellowed by the calm beauty of a summer
evening, the one!-how stained with scenes of misery, torment, and
death, the other!

Let us beg the reader to follow us back to the time when Marston is
found in possession of the plantation, and view it as it is when his
friends gather round him to enjoy his bounteous hospitality.

We have ascended the Ashly on a bright spring morning, and are at a
jut covered with dark jungle, where the river, about twenty rods
wide, sweeps slowly round ;-flowering brakes, waving their tops to
and fro in the breeze, bedeck the river banks, and far in the
distance, on the left, opens the broad area of the plantation. As we
near it, a beautifully undulating slope presents itself, bounded on
its upper edge by a long line of sombre-looking pines. Again we
emerge beneath clustering foliage overhanging the river; and from
out this-sovereign of a southern clime-the wild azalia and fair
magnolia diffuse their fragrance to perfume the air. From the pine
ridge the slope recedes till it reaches a line of jungle, or hedge,
that separates it from the marshy bottom, extending to the river,
against which it is protected by a dyke. Most of the slope is under
a high state of cultivation, and on its upper edge is a newly
cleared patch of ground, which negroes are preparing for the

Smoking piles burn here and there, burned stumps and trees point
their black peaks upward in the murky atmosphere, half-clad negroes
in coarse osnaburgs are busy among the smoke and fire: the scene
presents a smouldering volcano inhabited by semi-devils. Among the
sombre denizens are women, their only clothing being osnaburg
frocks, made loose at the neck and tied about the waist with a
string: with hoes they work upon the "top surface," gather charred
wood into piles, and waddle along as if time were a drug upon life.

Far away to the right the young corn shoots its green sprouts in a
square plat, where a few negroes are quietly engaged at the first
hoeing. Being tasked, they work with system, and expect, if they
never receive, a share of the fruits. All love and respect Marston,
for he is generous and kind to them; but system in business is at
variance with his nature. His overseer, however, is just the
reverse: he is a sharp fellow, has an unbending will, is proud of
his office, and has long been reckoned among the very best in the
county. Full well he knows what sort of negro makes the best driver;
and where nature is ignorant of itself, the accomplishment is
valuable. That he watches Marston's welfare, no one doubts; that he
never forgets his own, is equally certain. From near mid-distance of
the slope we see him approaching on a bay-coloured horse. The sun's
rays are fiercely hot, and, though his features are browned and
haggard, he holds a huge umbrella in one hand and the inseparable
whip in the other. The former is his protector; the latter, his
sceptre. John Ryan, for such is his name, is a tall, athletic man,
whose very look excites terror. Some say he was born in Limerick, on
the Emerald Isle, and only left it because his proud spirit would
not succumb to the unbending rod England held over his poor bleeding

Running along the centre of the slope is a line of cotton-fields, in
which the young plants, sickly in spots, have reached a stage when
they require much nursing. Among them are men, women, and children,
crouched on the ground like so many sable spectres, picking and
pulling at the roots to give them strength. John Ryan has been
keeping a sharp eye on them. He will salute you with an air of
independence, tell you how he hated oppression and loved freedom,
and how, at the present day, he is a great democrat. Now, whether
John left his country for his country's good, is a question; but
certain it is he dearly delights to ply the lash,-to whip mankind
merely for amusement's sake. In a word, John has a good Irish heart
within him, and he always lays particular emphasis on the good, when
he tells us of its qualities; but let us rather charge to the State
that spare use he makes of its gentler parts.

John Ryan, his face indicating tyranny stereotyped, has just been
placing drivers over each gang of workmen. How careful he was to
select a trustworthy negro, whose vanity he has excited, and who
views his position as dearly important. Our driver not unfrequently
is the monster tyrant of his circle; but whether from inclination to
serve the interests of his master, or a knowledge of the fierce
system that holds him alike abject, we know not. At times he is more
than obedient to his master's will.

Excuse, reader, this distant view of the plantation at early spring,
and follow us back to the Ashly. Here we will still continue along
the river-bank, pass borders of thick jungle, flowering vines, and
rows of stately pines, their tops moaning in the wind,-and soon find
we have reached Marston's landing. This is situated at the
termination of an elevated plat extending from thence to the
mansion, nearly a mile distant. Three negroes lay basking on the
bank; they were sent to wait our coming. Tonio! Murel! Pompe!-they
ejaculate, calling one another, as we surprise them. They are
cheerful and polite, are dressed in striped shirts and trousers,
receive us with great suavity of manner, present master's
compliments, tell us with an air of welcome that master will be
"right glad" to see us, and conclude by making sundry inquiries
about our passage and our "Missuses." Pompe, the "most important
nigger" of the three, expresses great solicitude lest we get our
feet in the mud. Black as Afric's purest, and with a face of great
good nature, Pompe, in curious jargon, apologises for the bad state
of the landing, tells us he often reminds Mas'r how necessary it is
to have it look genteel. Pompe, more than master, is deeply
concerned lest the dignity of the plantation suffer.

Planks and slabs are lain from the water's edge to the high ground
on the ridge, upon which we ascend to the crown, a piece of natural
soil rising into a beautiful convex of about six rods wide,
extending to the garden gate. We wend our way to the mansion,
leaving Pompe and his assistants in charge of our luggage, which
they will see safely landed. The ridge forms a level walk,
sequestered by long lines of huge oaks, their massive branches
forming an arch of foliage, with long trailing moss hanging like
mourning drapery to enhance its rural beauty. At the extreme of this
festooned walk the mansion is seen dwindling into an almost
imperceptible perspective. There is something grand and impressive
in the still arch above us-something which revives our sense of the
beauty of nature. Through the trunks of the trees, on our right and
left, extensive rice fields are seen stretching far into the
distance. The young blades are shooting above the surface of the
water, giving it the appearance of a frozen sheet clothed with
green, and protected from the river by a serpentine embankment. How
beautiful the expanse viewed from beneath these hoary-headed oaks!

On the surface and along the banks of the river aligators are
sporting; moccason snakes twist their way along, and scouring
kingfishers croak in the balmy air. If a venerable rattlesnake warn
us we need not fear-being an honourable snake partaking of the old
southerner's affected chivalry;-he will not approach disguised;-no!
he will politely give us warning. But we have emerged from the mossy
walk and reached a slab fence, dilapidated and broken, which
encloses an area of an acre of ground, in the centre of which stands
the mansion: the area seems to have been a garden, which, in former
days, may have been cultivated with great care. At present it only
presents a few beds rank with weeds. We are told the gardener has
been dismissed in consideration of his more lucrative services in
the corn-field. That the place is not entirely neglected, we have
only to add that Marston's hogs are exercising an independent right
to till the soil according to their own system. The mansion is a
quadrangular building, about sixty feet long by fifty wide, built of
wood, two stories high, having upper and lower verandas.

We pass the dilapidated gate, and reach it by a narrow passage
through the garden, on each side of which is a piece of antique
statuary, broken and defaced. Entering the lower veranda, we pace
the quadrangle, viewing innumerable cuttings and carvings upon the
posts: they are initials and full names, cut to please the vanity of
those anxious to leave the Marston family a memento. Again we arrive
at the back of the mansion where the quadrangle opens a courtyard
filled with broken vines, blackened cedars, and venerable-looking
leaks;-they were once much valued by the ancient and very
respectable Marston family. A few yards from the left wing of the
mansion are the "yard houses"-little, comely cabins, about twelve
feet by twenty, and proportionately high. One is the kitchen: it has
a dingy look, the smoke issuing from its chinks regardless of the
chimney; while from its door, sable denizens, ragged and greasy, and
straining their curious faces, issue forth. The polished black cook,
with her ample figure, is foaming with excitement, lest the feast
she is preparing for master's guests may fail to sustain her
celebrity. Conspicuous among these cabins are two presenting a much
neater appearance: they are brightly whitewashed, and the little
windows are decorated with flowering plants. Within them there is an
air of simple neatness and freshness we have seldom seen surpassed;
the meagre furniture seems to have been arranged by some careful
hand, and presents an air of cheerfulness in strange contrast with
the dingy cabins around. In each there is a neatly arranged bed,
spread over with a white cover, and by its side a piece of soft
carpet. It is from these we shall draw forth the principal
characters of our story.

Upon a brick foundation, about twenty rods from the right wing of
the mansion, stands a wood cottage, occupied by the overseer. Mr.
John Ryan not being blessed with family, when Marston is not
honoured with company takes his meals at the mansion. In the
distance, to the left, is seen a long line of humble huts, standing
upon piles, and occupied by promiscuous negro families:--we say
promiscuous, for the marriage-tie is of little value to the master,
nor does it give forth specific claim to parentage. The sable
occupants are beings of uncertainty; their toil is for a life-time-a
weary waste of hope and disappointment. Yes! their dreary life is a
heritage, the conditions of which no man would share willingly.
Victors of husbandry, they share not of the spoils; nor is the sweat
of their brows repaid with justice.

Near these cabins, mere specks in the distance, are two large sheds,
under which are primitive mills, wherein negroes grind corn for
their humble meal. Returning from the field at night, hungry and
fatigued, he who gets a turn at the mill first is the luckiest
fellow. Now that the workpeople are busily engaged on the
plantation, the cabins are in charge of two nurses, matronly-looking
old bodies, who are vainly endeavouring to keep in order numerous
growing specimens of the race too young to destroy a grub at the
root of a cotton plant. The task is indeed a difficult one, they
being as unruly as an excited Congress. They gambol round the door,
make pert faces at old mamma, and seem as happy as snakes in the
spring sun. Some are in a nude state, others have bits of frocks
covering hapless portions of their bodies; they are imps of mischief
personified, yet our heart bounds with sympathy for them. Alive with
comicality, they move us, almost unconsciously, to fondle them. And
yet we know not why we would fondle the sable "rascals." One knot is
larking on the grass, running, toddling, yelling, and hooting;
another, ankle-deep in mud, clench together and roll among the
ducks, work their clawy fingers through the tufts of each other's
crispy hair, and enjoy their childish sports with an air of genial
happiness; while a third sit in a circle beside an oak tree, playing
with "Dash," whose tail they pull without stint. "Dash" is the
faithful and favourite dog; he rather likes a saucy young "nigger,"
and, while feeling himself equal to the very best in the clan, will
permit the small fry, without resenting the injury, to pull his

It being "ration day," we must describe the serving, that being an
interesting phase of plantation life. Negroes have gathered into
motley groups around two weatherbeaten store-houses--the overseer
has retired to his apartment-when they wait the signal from the head
driver, who figures as master of ceremonies. One sings:---"Jim Crack
corn, an' I don't care, Fo'h mas'r's gone away! way! way!" Another
is croaking over the time he saved on his task, a third is trying to
play a trick with the driver (come the possum over him), and a third
unfolds the scheme by which the extra for whiskey and molasses was
raised. Presenting a sable pot pourri, they jibber and croak among
themselves, laugh and whistle, go through the antics of the
"break-down" dance, make the very air echo with the music of their
incomprehensible jargon. We are well nigh deafened by it, and yet it
excites our joy. We are amused and instructed; we laugh because they
laugh, our feelings vibrate with theirs, their quaint humour forces
itself into our very soul, and our sympathy glows with their happy
anticipations. The philosophy of their jargon is catching to our
senses; we listen that we may know their natures, and learn good
from their simplicity. He is a strange mortal who cannot learn
something from a fool!

The happy moment has arrived: "Ho, boys!" is sounded,-the doors
open, the negroes stop their antics and their jargon; stores are
exposed, and with one dinning mutter all press into a half-circle at
the doors, in one of which stands the huge figure of Balam, the head
driver. He gives a scanning look at the circle of anxious faces; he
would have us think the importance of the plantation centred in his
glowing black face. There he stands-a measure in his hand-while
another driver, with an air of less dignity, cries out, with a
stentorian voice, the names of the heads of families, and the number
of children belonging thereto. Thus, one by one, the name being
announced in muddled accents, they step forward, and receive their
corn, or rice, as may be. In pans and pails they receive it, pass it
to the younger members of the family; with running and scampering,
they carry the coarse allotment to their cabin with seeming
cheerfulness. Marston, esteemed a good master, always gives bacon,
and to receive this the negroes will gather round the store a second
time. In this, the all-fascinating bacon is concealed, for which the
children evince more concern; their eyes begin to shine brighter,
their watchfulness becomes more intent. Presently a negro begins to
withdraw the meat, and as he commences action the jargon gets
louder, until we are deafened, and would fain move beyond it. Just
then, the important driver, with hand extended, commands,-"Order!"
at the very top of his loud voice. All is again still; the man
returns to his duty. The meat is somewhat oily and rancid, but Balam
cuts it as if it were choice and scarce. Another driver weighs it in
a pair of scales he holds in his hands; while still another, cutting
the same as before, throws it upon some chaff at the door, as if it
were a bone thrown to a hungry dog. How humbly the recipient picks
it up and carries it to his or her cabin! Not unfrequently the young
"imps" will scramble for it, string it upon skewers, and with great
nonchalance throw it over their shoulders, and walk off. If it bathe
their backs with grease so much more the comfort. Those little
necessaries which add so much to the negro's comfort, and of which
he is so fond, must be purchased with the result of his extra
energy. Even this allowance may serve the boasted hospitality; but
the impression that there is a pennyworth of generosity for every
pound of parsimony, forces itself upon us. On his little spot, by
moonlight or starlight, the negro must cultivate for himself, that
his family may enjoy a few of those fruits of which master has many.
How miserable is the man without a spark of generosity in his soul;
and how much more miserable the man who will not return good for
good's worth! To the negro, kindness is a mite inspiring the
impulses of a simple heart, and bringing forth great good.

Let us again beg the reader to return with us to those conspicuous
cottages near the court-yard, and in which we will find several of
our characters.

We cross the threshold of one, and are accosted by a female who,
speaking in musical accents, invites us to sit down. She has none of
Afric's blood in her veins;-no! her features are beautifully olive,
and the intonation of her voice discovers a different origin. Her
figure is tall and well-formed; she has delicately-formed hands and
feet, long, tapering fingers, well-rounded limbs, and an oval face,
shaded with melancholy. How reserved she seems, and yet how quickly
she moves her graceful figure! Now she places her right hand upon
her finely-arched forehead, parts the heavy folds of glossy hair
that hang carelessly over her brown shoulders, and with a
half-suppressed smile answers our salutation. We are welcome in her
humble cabin; but her dark, languishing eyes, so full of intensity,
watch us with irresistible suspicion. They are the symbols of her
inward soul; they speak through that melancholy pervading her
countenance! The deep purple of her cheek is softened by it, while
it adds to her face that calm beauty which moves the gentle of our
nature. How like a woman born to fill a loftier sphere than that to
which a cruel law subjects her, she seems!

Neither a field nor a house servant, the uninitiated may be at a
loss to know what sphere on the plantation is her's? She is the
mother of Annette, a little girl of remarkable beauty, sitting at
her side, playing with her left hand. Annette is fair, has light
auburn hair-not the first tinge of her mother's olive invades her
features. Her little cheerful face is lit up with a smile, and while
toying with the rings on her mother's fingers, asks questions that
person does not seem inclined to answer. Vivacious and sprightly,
she chatters and lisps until we become eager for her history. "It's
only a child's history," some would say. But the mother displays so
much fondness for it; and yet we become more and more excited by the
strange manner in which she tries to suppress an outward display of
her feelings. At times she pats it gently on the head, runs her
hands through its hair, and twists the ends into tiny ringlets.

In the next cabin we meet the shortish figure of a tawny female,
whose Indian features stand boldly out. Her high cheek bones, long
glossy black hair, and flashing eyes, are the indexes of her
pedigree. "My master says I am a slave:" in broken accents she
answers our question. As she sits in her chair near the fire-place
of bricks, a male issue of the mixed blood toddles round and round
her, tossing her long coarse hair every time he makes a circut. The
little boy is much fairer than the brawny daughter who seems his
mother. Playful, and even mischievous, he delights in pulling the
hair which curls over his head; and when the woman calls him he
answers with a childish heedlessness, and runs for the door. Reader!
this woman's name is Ellen Juvarna; she has youth on her side, and
though she retains the name of her ancient sire, is proud of being
master's mistress. She tells us how comfortable she is; how
Nicholas, for such is his name, resembles his father, how he loves
him, but how he fails to acknowledge him. A feud, with its
consequences, is kept up between the two cabins; and while she makes
many insinuations about her rival, tells us she knows her features
have few charms. Meanwhile, she assures us that neither good looks
nor sweet smiles make good mothers. "Nicholas!" she exclaims, "come
here; the gentlemen want to know all about papa." And, as she
extends her hand, the child answers the summons, runs across the
room, fondles his head in his mother's lap,-seems ashamed!



EARTH is mantled with richest verdure; far away to the west and
south of the mansion the scene stretches out in calm grandeur. The
sun sinks beneath glowing clouds that crimson the horizon and spread
refulgent shadows on the distant hills, as darkness slowly steals
its way on the mellow landscape.

Motley groups of negroes are returned from the field, fires are
lighted in and about the cabins, and men mutter their curious jargon
while moving to prepare the coarse meal. Their anxious countenances
form a picture wild and deeply interesting.

Entering Marston's mansion, we find its interior neater than its
weather-stained and paintless sides portended. Through the centre
runs a broad passage, and on the left and right are large parlours,
comfortably furnished, divided by folding doors of carved walnut. We
are ushered into the one on the right by a yellow servant, who,
neatly dressed in black, has prepared his politeness for the
occasion. With great suavity, accompanied by a figurative grin, he
informs us that master will pay his respects presently. Pieces of
singularly antique furniture are arranged round the room, of which,
he adds, master is proud indeed. Two plaster figures, standing in
dingy niches, he tells us are wonders of the white man's genius. In
his own random style he gives us an essay on the arts, adding a word
here and there to remind us of master's exquisite taste, and
anxiously waits our confirmation of what he says.

A large open fire-place, with fancifully carved framework and
mantel-pieces, in Italian marble of polished blackness, upon which
stood massive silver candlesticks, in chased work, denotes the
ancient character of the mansion. It has many years been the home of
the ever-hospitable Marston family.

In another part of the room is a mahogany side-board of antique
pattern, upon which stand sundry bottles and glasses, indicative of
Marston having entertained company in the morning. While we are
contemplating the furniture around us, and somewhat disappointed at
the want of taste displayed in its arrangement, the door opens, and
Sam, the yellow servant, bows Marston in with a gracious smile. It
is in the south where the polite part is played by the negro. Deacon
Rosebrook and Elder Pemberton Praiseworthy, a man of the world,
follow Marston into the room. Marston is rather tall of figure,
robust, and frank of countenance. A florid face, and an extremely
large nose bordering on the red, at times give him an aldermanic
air. He rubs his fingers through the short, sandy-coloured hair that
bristles over a low forehead (Tom, the barber, has just fritted it)
smiles, and introduces us to his friends. He is vain-vanity belongs
to the slave world-is sorry his eyes are grey, but adds an assurance
every now and then that his blood is of the very best stock. Lest a
doubt should hang upon our mind, he asserts, with great confidence,
that grey eyes indicate pure Norman birth. As for phrenology! he
never believed in a single bump, and cites his own contracted
forehead as the very strongest proof against the theory. Indeed,
there is nothing remarkable in our host's countenance, if we except
its floridness; but a blunt nose protruding over a wide mouth and
flat chin gives the contour of his face an expression not the most
prepossessing. He has been heard to say, "A man who didn't love
himself wasn't worth loving:" and, to show his belief in this
principle of nature, he adorns his face with thick red whiskers, not
the most pleasing to those unaccustomed to the hairy follies of a
fashionable southron.

Times are prosperous; the plantation puts forth its bounties, and
Marston withholds nothing that can make time pass pleasantly with
those who honour him with a visit. He is dressed in an elaborately
cut black coat, with sweeping skirts, a white vest, fancy-coloured
pantaloons, and bright boots. About his neck is an enormous shirt
collar, turned carelessly over, and secured with a plain black
ribbon. Elder Praiseworthy is of lean figure, with sharp, craven
features. The people of the parish have a doubtful opinion of him.
Some say he will preach sermons setting forth the divine right of
slavery, or any other institution that has freedom for its foe,
provided always there is no lack of pay. As a divine, he is
particularly sensitive lest anything should be said disparagingly
against the institution he lends his aid to protect. That all
institutions founded in patriarchal usage are of God's creation, he
holds to be indisputable; and that working for their overthrow is a
great crime, as well as an unpardonable sin, he never had the
slightest doubt. He is careful of his clerical dress, which is of
smoothest black; and remembering how essential are gold-framed
spectacles, arranges and re-arranges his with greatest care. He is a
great admirer of large books with gilt edges and very expensive
bindings. They show to best advantage in the southern parlour
library, where books are rarely opened. To say the Elder is not a
man of great parts, is to circulate a libel of the first magnitude.
Indeed, he liked big books for their solidity; they reminded him of
great thoughts well preserved, and sound principles more firmly
established. At times he had thought they were like modern
democratic rights, linked to huge comprehending faculties, such as
was his good fortune to use when expounding state rights and federal

Deacon Rosebrook is a comely, fair-faced man, a moderate thinker, a
charitable Christian, a very good man, who lets his deeds of
kindness speak of him. He is not a politician-no! he is a better
quality of man, has filled higher stations. Nor is he of the
modernly pious-that is, as piety professes itself in our democratic
world, where men use it more as a necessary appliance to subdue the
mind than a means to improve civilization. But he was always
cautious in giving expression to his sentiments, knowing the
delicate sensibilities of those he had to deal with, and fearing
lest he might spring a democratic mine of very illiberal

"Come, gentlemen guests, you are as welcome as the showers," says
Marston, in a stentorious voice: "Be seated; you are at home under
my roof. Yes, the hospitality of my plantation is at your service."
The yellow man removes a table that stood in the centre of the room,
places chairs around it, and each takes his seat.

"Pardon me, my dear Marston, you live with the comfort of a nabob.
Wealth seems to spring up on all sides," returns the Deacon,

"And so I think," joins the Elder: "the pleasures of the plantation
are manifold, swimming along from day to day; but I fear there is
one thing our friend has not yet considered."

"Pray what is that? Let us hear it; let us hear it. Perhaps it is
the very piety of nonsense," rejoined Marston, quickly. "Dead men
and devils are always haunting us." The Elder draws his spectacles
from his pocket, wipes them with his silk handkerchief, adjusts them
on his nose, and replies with some effort, "The Future."

"Nothing more?" Marston inquires, quaintly: "Never contented; riches
all around us, favourable prospects for the next crop, prices stiff,
markets good, advices from abroad exciting. Let the future take care
of itself; you are like all preachers, Elder, borrowing darkness
when you can't see light."

"The Elder, so full of allegory!" whispers the Deacon. "He means a
moral condition, which we all esteem as a source of riches laid up
in store for the future."

"I discover; but it never troubles me while I take care of others. I
pray for my negro property-pray loudly and long. And then, their
piety is a charge of great magnitude; but when I need your
assistance in looking after it, be assured you will receive an extra

"That's personal-personal, decidedly personal."

"Quite the reverse," returns Marston, suddenly smiling, and, placing
his elbows on the table, rests his face on his hands. "Religion is
well in its place, good on simple minds; just the thing to keep
vassals in their places: that's why I pay to have it talked to my
property. Elder, I get the worth of my money in seeing the
excitement my fellows get into by hearing you preach that old
worn-out sermon. You've preached it to them so long, they have got
it by heart. Only impress the rascals that it's God's will they
should labour for a life, and they'll stick to it like Trojans: they
are just like pigs, sir."

"You don't comprehend me, my friend Marston: I mean that you should
prepare-it's a rule applicable to all-to meet the terrible that may
come upon us at any moment." The Elder is fearful that he is not
quite explicit enough. He continues: "Well, there is something to be
considered;"-he is not quite certain that we should curtail the
pleasures of this life by binding ourselves with the dread of what
is to come. "Seems as if we owed a common duty to ourselves," he

The conversation became more exciting, Marston facetiously
attempting to be humorous at the Elder's expense: "It isn't the
pleasure, my dear fellow, it's the contentment. We were all born to
an end; and if that end be to labour through life for others, it
must be right. Everything is right that custom has established

"Marston, give us your hand, my friend. 'Twould do to plead so if we
had no enemies, but enemies are upon us, watching our movements
through partizans' eyes, full of fierceness, and evil to

"I care not," interrupts Marston. "My slaves are my property-I shall
do with them as it pleases me; no insinuations about morality, or I
shall mark you on an old score. Do you sound? Good Elders should be
good men; but they, as well as planters, have their frailties; it
would not do to tell them all, lest high heaven should cry out."
Marston points his finger, and laughs heartily. "I wish we had seven
lives to live, and they were all as happy as most of our planters
could desire to make them."

The Elder understood the delicate hint, but desiring to avoid
placing himself in an awkward position before the Deacon, began to
change the conversation, criticising the merits of several old
pictures hung upon the walls. They were much valued by Marston, as
mementoes of his ancestry: of this the Elder attempted in vain to
make a point. During this conversation, so disguised in meaning, the
mulatto servant stood at the door waiting Marston's commands. Soon,
wine and refreshments were brought in, and spread out in old
plantation style. The company had scarcely filled glasses, when a
rap sounded at the hall door: a servant hastened to announce a
carriage; and in another minute was ushered into the room the
graceful figure of a young lady whose sweet and joyous countenance
bespoke the absence of care. She was followed by a genteelly-dressed
young man of straight person and placid features.

"Oh! Franconia," said Marston, rising from his seat, grasping her
hand affectionately, and bestowing a kiss on her fair cheek, for it
was fair indeed.

Taking her right hand in his left, he added, "My niece, gentlemen;
my brother's only daughter, and nearly spoiled with attentions." A
pleasant smile stole over her face, as gracefully she acknowledged
the compliment. In another minute three or four old negroes, moved
by the exuberance of their affection for her, gathered about her,
contending with anxious faces for the honour of seeing her

"I love her!" continued Marston; "and, as well as she could a
father, she loves me, making time pass pleasantly with her
cheerfulness." She was the child of his affections; and as he spoke
his face glowed with animation. Scarce seventeen summers had bloomed
upon his fair niece, who, though well developed in form, was of a
delicate constitution, and had inherited that sensitiveness so
peculiar to the child of the South, especially she who has been
cradled in the nursery of ease and refinement. As she spoke, smiled,
and raised her jewelled fingers, the grace accompanying the words
was expressive of love and tenderness. Turning to the gentleman who
accompanied her, "My friend!" she added, simply, with a frolicsome
laugh. A dozen anxious black faces were now watching in the hall,
ready to scamper round her ere she made her appearance to say, "How
de'h!" to young Missus, and get a glimpse at her stranger friend.
After receiving a happy salute from the old servants, she re-enters
the room. "Uncle's always drinking wine when I come;-but Uncle
forgets me; he has not so much as once asked me to join him!" She
lays her hand on his arm playfully, smiles cunningly, points
reproachfully at the Elder, and takes a seat at her uncle's side.
The wine has seized the Elder's mind; he stares at her through his
spectacles, and holds his glass with his left hand.

"Come, Dandy," said Marston, addressing himself to the mulatto
attendant, "bring a glass; she shall join us." The glass is brought,
Marston fills it, she bows, they drink to her and to the buoyant
spirits of the noble southern lady. "I don't admire the habit; but I
do like to please so," she whispers, and, excusing herself, skips
into the parlour on the right, where she is again beset by the old
servants, who rush to her, shake her hand, cling playfully to her
dress: some present various new-plucked flowers others are become
noisy with their chattering jargon. At length she is so beset with
the display of their affection as to be compelled to break away from
them, and call for Clotilda. "I must have Clotilda!" she says: "Tell
her to come soon, Dandy: she alone can arrange my dress." Thus
saying, she disappeared up a winding stair leading from the hall
into the second story.

We were anxious to know who Clotilda was, and why Franconia should
summon her with so much solicitude. Presently a door opened:
Franconia appeared at the top of the stairs, her face glowing with
vivacity, her hair dishevelled waving in beautiful confusion, giving
a fascination to her person. "I do wish she would come, I do!" she
mutters, resting her hands upon the banisters, and looking intently
into the passage: "she thinks more of fussing over Annette's hair,
than she does about taking care of mine. Well, I won't get cross-I
won't! Poor Clotilda, I do like her; I can't help it; it is no more
than natural that she should evince so much solicitude for her
child: we would do the same." Scarcely had she uttered these words,
when the beautiful female we have described in the foregoing chapter
ran from her cabin, across the yard, into the mansion. "Where is
young Miss Franconia?" she inquires; looks hastily around, ascends
the stairs, greets Franconia with a fervent shake of the hand,
commences adjusting her hair. There is a marked similarity in their
countenances: it awakens our reflections. Had Clotilda exhibited
that exactness of toilet for which Franconia is become celebrated,
she would excel in her attractions. There was the same oval face,
the same arched brows; there was the same Grecian contour of
features, the same sharply lined nose; there was the same delicately
cut mouth, disclosing white, pearly teeth; the same eyes, now
glowing with sentiment, and again pensive, indicating thought and
tenderness; there was the same classically moulded bust, a shoulder
slightly converging, of beautiful olive, enriched by a dark mole.

Clotilda would fain have kissed Franconia, but she dare not.
"Clotilda, you must take good care of me while I make my visit. Only
do my hair nicely, and I will see that Uncle gets a new dress for
you when he goes to the city. If Uncle would only get married, how
much happier it would be," says Franconia, looking at Clotilda the

"And me, too,-I would be happier!" Clotilda replies, resting her
arms on the back of Franconia's lolling chair, as her eyes assumed a
melancholy glare. She heaved a sigh.

"You could not be happier than you are; you are well cared for;
Uncle will never see you want; but you must be cheerful when I come,
Clotilda,-you must! To see you unhappy makes me feel unhappy."

"Cheerful!-its better said than felt. Can he or she be cheerful who
is forced to sin against God and himself? There is little to be
cheerful with, where the nature is not its own. Why should I be the
despised wretch at your Uncle's feet: did God, the great God, make
me a slave to his licentiousness?"

"Suppress such feelings, Clotilda; do not let them get the better of
you. God ordains all things: it is well to abide by His will, for it
is sinful to be discontented, especially where everything is so well
provided. Why, Uncle has learned you to read, and even to write."

"Ah! that's just what gave me light; through it I knew that I had a
life, and a soul beyond that, as valuable to me as yours is to you."

"Be careful, Clotilda," she interrupts; "remember there is a wide
difference between us. Do not cross Uncle; he is kind, but he may
get a freak into his head, and sell you."

Clotilda's cheeks brightened; she frowned at the word, and, giving
her black hair a toss from her shoulder, muttered, "To sell me!-Had
you measured the depth of pain in that word, Franconia, your lips
had never given it utterance. To sell me!-'tis that. The difference
is wide indeed, but the point is sharpest. Was it my mother who made
that point so sharp? It could not! a mother would not entail such
misery on her offspring. That name, so full of associations dear to
me-so full of a mother's love and tenderness,-could not reflect
pain. Nay; her affections were bestowed upon me,-I love to treasure
them, I do. To tell me that a mother would entail misery without an
end, is to tell me that the spirit of love is without good!"

"Do not make yourself unhappy, Clotilda. Perhaps you are as well
with us as you would be elsewhere. Even at the free north, in happy
New England, ladies would not take the notice of you we do: many of
your class have died there, poor and wretched, among the most
miserable creatures ever born to a sad end. And you are not black-"

"All is not truth that is told for such," Clotilda interrupts
Franconia. "If I were black, my life would have but one stream: now
it is terrible with uncertainty. As I am, my hopes and affections
are blasted."

"Sit down, Clotilda," rejoins Franconia, quickly.

Clotilda, having lavished her skill on Franconia's hair, seats
herself by her side. Franconia affectionately takes her tapering
hand and presses it with her jewelled fingers. "Remember, Clotilda,"
she continues, "all the negroes on the plantation become unhappy at
seeing you fretful. It is well to seem happy, for its influence on
others. Uncle will always provide for Annette and you; and he is
kind. If he pays more attention to Ellen at times, take no notice of
it. Ellen Juvarna is Indian, moved to peculiarities by the instincts
of her race. Uncle is imprudent, I admit; but society is not with us
as it is elsewhere!"

"I care not so much for myself," speaks the woman, in a desponding
voice; "it is Annette; and when you spoke of her you touched the
chord of all my troubles. I can endure the sin forced upon myself;
but, O heavens! how can I butcher my very thoughts with the unhappy
life that is before her? My poor mother's words haunt me. I know her
feelings now, because I can judge them by my own-can see how her
broken heart was crushed into the grave! She kissed my hand, and
said, 'Clotilda, my child, you are born to a cruel death. Give me
but a heart to meet my friends in judgment!'"

The child with the flaxen hair, humming a tune, came scampering up
the stairs into the room. It recognises Franconia, and, with a
sportive laugh, runs to her and fondles in her lap; then, turning to
its mother, seems anxious to divide its affections between them. Its
features resembled Franconia's-the similarity was unmistakeable; and
although she fondled it, talked with it, and smoothed its little
locks, she resisted its attempts to climb on her knee: she was cold.

"Mother says I look like you, and so does old Aunt Rachel, Miss
Franconia-they do," whispers the child, shyly, as it twisted its
fingers round the rings on Franconia's hand. Franconia blushed,
and cast an inquiring look at Clotilda.

"You must not be naughty," she says; "those black imps you play with
around Aunt Rachel's cabin teach you wrong. You must be careful with
her, Clotilda; never allow her to such things to white people: she
may use such expressions before strangers,-which would be extremely

"It seems too plain: if there be no social sin, why fear the
degradation?" she quietly interrupts. "You cannot keep it from the
child. O, how I should like to know my strange history,
Franconia,-to know if it can be that I was born to such cruel
misfortunes, such bitter heart-achings, such gloomy forebodings. If
I were, then am I content with my lot."

Franconia listened attentively, saw the anguish that was bursting
the bounds of the unhappy woman's feelings, and interrupted by
saying, "Speak of it no more, Clotilda. Take your child; go to your
cabin. I shall stay a few days: to-morrow I will visit you there."
As she spoke, she waved her hand, bid Clotilda good night, kissing
Annette as she was led down stairs. Now alone, she begins to
contemplate the subject more deeply. "It must be wrong," she says to
herself: "but few are brought to feel it who have the power to remove
it. The poor creature seems so unhappy; and my feelings are pained
when they tell me how much she looks like me--and it must be so; for
when she sat by my side, looking in the glass the portrait of
similarity touched my feelings deeply. 'Tis not the thing for Uncle
to live in this way. Here am I, loved and beloved, with the luxury
of wealth, and friends at my pleasure; I am caressed: she is but
born a wretch to serve my Uncle's vanity; and, too, were I to
reproach him, he would laugh at what he calls our folly, our sickly
sensitiveness; he would tell me of the pleasures of southern life,
southern scenery, southern chivalry, southern refinement;--yes, he
would tell me how it were best to credit the whole to southern
liberality of custom:--so it continues! There is a principle to be
served after all: he says we are not sent into the world to
excommune ourselves from its pleasures. This may be good logic, for
I own I don't believe with those who want the world screwed up into
a religious vice; but pleasure is divided into so many different
qualities, one hardly knows which suits best now-a-days.
Philosophers say we should avoid making pleasure of that which can
give pain to others; but philosophers say so many things, and give
so much advice that we never think of following. Uncle has a
standard of his own. I do, however, wish southern society would be
more circumspect, looking upon morality in its proper light. Its all
doubtful! doubtful! doubtful! There is Elder Pemberton Praiseworthy;
he preaches, preaches, preaches!--his preaching is to live, not to
die by. I do pity those poor negroes, who, notwithstanding their
impenetrable heads, are bored to death every Sunday with that
selfsame sermon. Such preaching, such strained effort, such
machinery to make men pious,--it's as soulless as a well. I don't
wonder the world has got to be so very wicked, when the wickedness
of the slavery church has become so sublime. And there's Uncle,
too,--he's been affected just in that way; hearing pious discourses
to uphold that which in his soul he knew to be the heaviest
wickedness the world groaned under, he has come to look upon
religion as if it were a commodity too stale for him. He sees the
minister of God's Word a mere machine of task, paid to do a certain
amount of talking to negroes, endeavouring to impress their simple
minds with the belief that it is God's will they should be slaves.
And this is all for necessity's sake!" In this musing mood she sits
rocking in her chair, until at length, overcome with the heat, she
reclines her head against the cushion, resigning herself to the
soothing embrace of sweet sleep.

The moon's silver rays were playing on the calm surface of the
river, the foliage on its banks seemed bathed in quiet repose, the
gentle breeze, bearing its balmy odours, wafted through the arbour
of oaks, as if to fan her crimson cheeks; the azalia and magnolia
combined their fragrance, impregnating the dew falling over the
scene, as if to mantle it with beauty. She slept, a picture of
southern beauty; her auburn tresses in undulating richness playing
to and fro upon her swelling bosom,-how developed in all its
delicacy!-her sensitive nature made more lovely by the warmth and
generosity of her heart. Still she slept, her youthful mind
overflowing with joy and buoyancy: about her there was a ravishing
simplicity more than earthly: a blush upon her cheek became
deeper,-it was the blush of love flashing in a dream, that tells its
tale in nervous vibrations, adding enchantment to sleeping
voluptuousness;-and yet all was sacred, an envied object no rude
hand dare touch!

Franconia had been educated at the north, in a land where--God bless
the name--Puritanism is not quite extinct; and through the force of
principles there inculcated had outgrown much of that feeling which
at the south admits to be right what is basely wrong. She hesitated
to reproach Marston with the bad effect of his life, but resolved on
endeavouring to enlist Clotilda's confidence, and learn how far her
degraded condition affected her feelings. She saw her with the same
proud spirit that burned in her own bosom; the same tenderness, the
same affection for her child, the same hopes and expectations for
the future, and its rewards. The question was, what could be done
for Clotilda? Was it better to reason with her,-to, if possible,
make her happy in her condition? Custom had sanctioned many
unrighteous inconsistencies: they were southern, nothing more! She
would intercede with her Uncle, she would have him sign free papers
for Clotilda and her child; she saw a relationship which the law
could not disguise, though it might crush out the natural
affections. With these thoughts passing in her mind, her imagination
wandered until she dropped into the sleep we have described.

There she slept, the blushes suffusing her cheeks, until old Aunt
Rachel, puffing and blowing like an exhausting engine, entered the
room. Aunty is the pink of a plantation mother: she is as black as
the blackest, has a face embodying all the good-nature of the
plantation, boasts of her dimensions, which she says are six feet,
well as anybody proportioned. Her head is done up in a flashy
bandana, the points nicely crosslain, and extending an elaborate
distance beyond her ears, nearly covering the immense circular rings
that hang from them. Her gingham dress, starched just so, her
whitest white apron, never worn before missus come, sets her off to
great advantage. Aunty is a good piece of property-tells us how many
hundred dollars there is in her-feels that she has been promoted
because Mas'r told somebody he would not take a dollar less for her.
She can superintend the domestic affairs of the mansion just as well
as anybody. In one hand she bears a cup of orange-grove coffee, in
the other a fan, made of palmetto-leaves.

"Gi'h-e-you!" she exclaimed. "If young missus aint nappin' just so
nice! I likes to cotch 'em just so;" and setting her tray upon a
stand, she views Franconia intently, and in the exuberance of her
feelings seats herself in front of her chair, fanning her with the
palmetto. The inquisitive and affectionate nature of the good old
slave was here presented in its purity. Nothing can be stronger,
nothing show the existence of happy associations more forcibly. The
old servant's attachment is proverbial,-his enthusiasm knows no
bounds,-Mas'r's comfort absorbs all his thoughts. Here, Aunt
Rachel's feelings rose beyond her power of restraint: she gazed on
her young missus with admiration, laughed, fanned her more and more;
then grasping her little jewelled hand, pressed it to her spacious
mouth and kissed it. "Young Missus! Franconia, I does lub ye so!"
she whispers.

"Why, Aunt Rachel!" ejaculated Franconia, starting suddenly: "I am
glad you wakened me, for I dreamed of trouble: it made me
weak-nervous. Where is Clotilda?" And she stared vacantly round the
room, as if unconscious of her position. "Guess 'e aint 'bout
nowhere. Ye see, Miss, how she don't take no care on ye,-takes dis
child to stir up de old cook, when ye comes to see us." And stepping
to the stand she brings the salver; and in her excitement to serve
Missus, forgets that the coffee is cold. "Da'h he is; just as nice
as 'em get in de city. Rachel made 'em!"

"I want Clotilda, Rachel; you must bring her to me. I was dreaming
of her and Annette; and she can tell dreams-"

The old slave interrupts her. "If Miss Franconia hab had dream, 'e
bad, sartin. Old Mas'r spoil dat gal, Clotilda,-make her tink she
lady, anyhow. She mos' white, fo'h true; but aint no better den oder
nigger on de plantation," she returns. Franconia sips her coffee,
takes a waf from the plate as the old servant holds it before her,
and orders Dandy to summon Clotilda.



THE following morning broke forth bright and serene. Marston and his
guests, after passing a pleasant night, were early at breakfast.
When over, they joined him for a stroll over the plantation, to hear
him descant upon the prospects of the coming crop. Nothing could be
more certain, to his mind, than a bountiful harvest. The rice,
cotton, and corn grounds had been well prepared, the weather was
most favourable, he had plenty of help, a good overseer, and
faithful drivers. "We have plenty,-we live easy, you see, and our
people are contented," he says, directing his conversation to the
young Englishman, who was suspected of being Franconia's friend. "We
do things different from what you do in your country. Your
countrymen will not learn to grow cotton: they manufacture it, and
hence we are connected in firm bonds. Cotton connects many things,
even men's minds and souls. You would like to be a planter, I know
you would: who would not, seeing how we live? Here is the Elder, as
happy a fellow as you'll find in forty. He can be as jolly as an
Englishman over a good dinner: he can think with anybody, preach
with anybody!" Touching the Elder on the shoulder, he smiles, and
with an insinuating leer, smooths his beard. "I am at your service,"
replies the Elder, folding his arms.

"I pay him to preach for my nigger property,-I pay him to teach them
to be good. He preaches just as I wants him to. My boys think him a
little man, but a great divine. You would like to hear the Elder on
Sunday; he's funny then, and has a very funny sermon, which you may
get by heart without much exertion." The young man seems indifferent
to the conversation. He had not been taught to realise how easy it
was to bring religion into contempt.

"Make no grave charges against me, Marston; you carry your practical
jokes a little too far, Sir. I am a quiet man, but the feelings of
quiet men may be disturbed." The Elder speaks moodily, as if
considering whether it were best to resent Marston's trifling
sarcasm. Deacon Rosebrook now interceded by saying, with unruffled
countenance, that the Elder had but one thing funny about him,-his
dignity on Sundays: that he was, at times, half inclined to believe
it the dignity of cogniac, instead of pious sentiment.

"I preach my sermon,-who can do more?" the Elder rejoins, with
seeming concern for his honour. "I thought we came to view the

"Yes, true; but our little repartee cannot stop our sight. You
preach your sermon, Elder,--that is, you preach what there is left
of it. It is one of the best-used sermons ever manufactured. It
would serve as a model for the most stale Oxonian. Do you think you
could write another like it? It has lasted seven years, and served
the means of propitiating the gospel on seven manors. Can they beat
that in your country?" says Marston, again turning to the young
Englishmam, and laughing at the Elder, who was deliberately taking
off his glasses to wipe the perspiration from his forehead.

"Our ministers have a different way of patching up old sermons; but
I'm not quite sure about their mode of getting them," the young man
replies, takes Deacon Rosebrook's arm, and walks ahead.

"The Elder must conform to the doctrines of the South; but they say
he bets at the race-course, which is not an uncommon thing for our
divines," rejoins the Deacon, facetiously.

The Elder, becoming seriously inclined, thinks gentlemen had better
avoid personalities. Personalities are not tolerated in the South,
where gentlemen are removed far above common people, and protect
themselves by the code duello. He will expose Marston.

Marston's good capon sides are proof against jokes. He may crack on,
that individual says.

"My friend," interposed the Elder, "you desired me to preach to your
niggers in one style and for one purpose,-according to the rule of
labour and submission. Just such an one as your niggers would think
the right stripe, I preached, and it made your niggers wonder and
gape. I'll pledge you my religious faith I can preach a different-"

"Oh! oh! oh! Elder," interrupted Marston, "pledge something

"To me, my faith is the most sacred thing in the world. I will-as I
was going to say-preach to your moulding and necessities. Pay for
it, and, on my word, it shall be in the cause of the South! With the
landmarks from my planter customers, I will follow to their liking,"
continues Elder Pemberton Praiseworthy, not a smile on his hard

Deacon Rosebrook thinks it is well said. Pay is the great
desideratum in everything. The Elder, though not an uncommon
southern clergyman, is the most versatile preacher to be met with in
a day's walk. Having a wonderful opinion of nigger knowledge, he
preaches to it in accordance, receiving good pay and having no
objection to the wine.

"Well, Gentlemen," Marston remarks, coolly, "I think the Elder has
borne our jokes well; we will now go and moisten our lips. The elder
likes my old Madeira-always passes the highest compliments upon it."
Having sallied about the plantation, we return to the mansion, where
Dandy, Enoch, and Sam-three well-dressed mulattoes-their hair
frizzed and their white aprons looking so bright, meet us at the
veranda, and bow us back into the parlour, as we bear our willing
testimony of the prospects of the crop. With scraping of feet,
grins, and bows, they welcome us back, smother us with compliments,
and seem overwilling to lavish their kindness. From the parlour they
bow us into a long room in the right wing, its walls being plain
boarded, and well ventilated with open seams. A table is spread with
substantial edibles,-such as ham, bacon, mutton, and fish. These
represent the southern planter's fare, to which he seldom adds those
pastry delicacies with which the New Englander is prone to decorate
his table. The party become seated as Franconia graces the festive
board with her presence, which, being an incentive of gallantry,
preserves the nicest decorum, smooths the conversation. The wine-cup
flows freely; the Elder dips deeply-as he declares it choice.
Temperance being unpopular in the south, it is little regarded at
Marston's mansion. As for Marston himself, he is merely preparing
the way to play facetious jokes on the Elder, whose arm he touches
every few minutes, reminding him how backward he is in replenishing
his glass.

Not at all backward in such matters, the Elder fills up, asks the
pleasure of drinking his very good health, and empties the liquid
into the safest place nearest at hand. Repeated courses have their
effect; Marston is pleased, the Elder is mellow. With muddled
sensibilities his eyes glare wildly about the table, and at every
fresh invitation to drink he begs pardon for having neglected his
duty, fingers the ends of his cravat, and deposits another
glass,-certainly the very last. Franconia, perceiving her uncle's
motive, begs to be excused, and is escorted out of the room. Mr.
Praiseworthy, attempting to get a last glass of wine to his lips
without spilling, is quite surprised that the lady should leave. He
commences descanting on his own fierce enmity to infidelity and
catholicism. He would that everybody rose up and trampled them into
the dust; both are ruinous to negro property.

Marston coolly suggests that the Elder is decidedly uncatholicised.

"Elder," interrupted Deacon Rosebrook, touching him on the shoulder,
"you are modestly undone-that is, very respectably sold to your

"Yes," rejoined Marston; "I would give an extra ten dollars to hear
him preach a sermon to my niggers at this moment."

"Villainous inconsistency!" exclaimed the Elder, in an indistinct
voice, his eyes half closed, and the spectacles gradually falling
from his nose. "You are scandalising my excellent character, which
can't be replaced with gold." Making another attempt to raise a
glass of wine to his lips, as he concluded, he unconsciously let the
contents flow into his bosom, instead of his mouth.

"Well, my opinion is, Elder, that if you get my nigger property into
heaven with your preaching, there'll be a chance for the likes of
me," said Marston, watching the Elder intently. It was now evident
the party were all becoming pretty deeply tinctured. Rosebrook
thought a minister of the gospel, to get in such a condition, and
then refer to religious matters, must have a soul empty to the very
core. There could be no better proof of how easily true religion
could be brought into contempt. The Elder foreclosed with the
spirit, considered himself unsafe in the chair, and was about to
relieve it, when Dandy caught him in his arms like a lifeless mass,
and carried him to a settee, upon which he spread him, like a
substance to be bleached in the sun.

"Gentlemen! the Elder is completely unreverenced,-he is the most
versatile individual that ever wore black cloth. I reverence him for
his qualities," says Marston: then, turning to Maxwell, he
continued, "you must excuse this little joviality; it occurs but
seldom, and the southern people take it for what it is worth,
excusing, or forgetting its effects."

"Don't speak of it-it's not unlike our English do at times-nor do
our ministers form exceptions; but they do such things under a
monster protection, without reckoning the effect," the Englishman
replied, looking round as if he missed the presence of Franconia.

The Elder, soon in a profound sleep, was beset by swarms of
mosquitoes preying upon his haggard face, as if it were good food.
"He's a pretty picture," says Marston, looking upon the sleeping
Elder with a frown, and then working his fingers through his crispy
red hair. "A hard subject for the student's knife he'll make, won't
he?" To add to the comical appearance of the reverend gentleman,
Marston, rising from his seat, approached him, drew the spectacles
from his pocket, and placed them on the tip of his nose, adding
piquancy to his already indescribable physiognomy.

"Don't you think this is carrying the joke a point too far?" asked
Deacon Rosebrook, who had been some time silently watching the
prostrate condition of Elder Pemberton Praiseworthy.

Marston shrugs his shoulders, whispers a word or two in the ear of
his friend Maxwell, twirls his glass upon the table. He is somewhat
cautious how he gives an opinion on such matters, having previously
read one or two law books; but believes it does'nt portray all
things just right. He has studied ideal good-at least he tells us
so-if he never practises it; finally, he is constrained to admit
that this 'ere's all very well once in a while, but becomes
tiresome--especially when kept up as strong as the Elder does it. He
is free to confess that southern mankind is curiously constituted,
too often giving license to revelries, but condemning those who fall
by them. He feels quite right about the Elder's preaching being just
the chime for his nigger property; but, were he a professing
Christian, it would'nt suit him by fifty per cent. There is
something between the mind of a "nigger" and the mind of a white
man,--something he can't exactly analyse, though he is certain it is
wonderfully different; and though such preaching can do niggers no
harm, he would just as soon think of listening to Infidelity.
Painful as it was to acknowledge the fact, he only appeared at the
"Meet'n House" on Sundays for the looks of the thing, and in the
hope that it might have some influence with his nigger property.
Several times he had been heard to say it was mere
machine-preaching-made according to pattern, delivered according to
price, by persons whose heads and hearts had no sympathy with the

"There's my prime fellow Harry; a right good fellow, worth nine
hundred, nothing short, and he is a Christian in conscience. He has
got a kind of a notion into his head about being a divine. He
thinks, in the consequence of his black noddle, that he can preach
just as well as anybody; and, believe me, he can't read a letter in
the book,--at least, I don't see how he can. True, he has heard the
Elder's sermon so often that he has committed every word of it to
memory,--can say it off like a plantation song, and no mistake." Thus
Marston discoursed. And yet he declared that nobody could fool him
with the idea of "niggers" having souls: they were only mortal,--he
would produce abundant proof, if required.

Deacon Rosebrook listened attentively to this part of Marston's
discourse. "The task of proving your theory would be rendered
difficult if you were to transcend upon the scale of blood," he
replied, getting up and spreading his handkerchief over the Elder's
face, to keep off the mosquitoes.

"When our most learned divines and philosophers are the stringent
supporters of the principle, what should make the task difficult?
Nevertheless, I admit, if my fellow Harry could do the preaching for
our plantation, no objections would be interposed by me; on the
contrary, I could make a good speculation by it. Harry would be
worth two common niggers then. Nigger property, christianised, is
the most valuable of property. You may distinguish a christianised
nigger in a moment; and piety takes the stubborn out of their
composition better than all the cowhides you can employ; and, too,
it's a saving of time, considering that it subdues so much quicker,"
says Marston, stretching back in his chair, as he orders Dandy to
bring Harry into his presence. He will tell them what he knows about
preaching, the Elder's sermon, and the Bible!

Maxwell smiles at such singularly out of place remarks on religion.
They are not uncommon in the south, notwithstanding.

A few minutes elapsed, when Dandy opened the door, and entered the
room, followed by a creature-a piece of property!-in which the right
of a soul had been disputed, not alone by Marston, but by southern
ministers and southern philosophers. The thing was very good-
looking, very black;-it had straight features, differing from the
common African, and stood very erect. We have said he differed from
the common African-we mean, as he is recognised through our
prejudices. His forehead was bold and well-developed-his hair short,
thick and crispy, eyes keen and piercing, cheeks regularly declining
into a well-shaped mouth and chin. Dejected and forlorn, the wretch
of chance stood before them, the fires of a burning soul glaring
forth from his quick, wandering eyes. "There!" exclaimed Marston.
"See that," pointing at his extremes; "he has foot enough for a
brick-maker, and a head equal to a deacon-no insinuation, my
friend," bowing to Deacon Rosebrook. "They say it takes a big head
to get into Congress; but I'm afraid, Harry, I'd never get there."

The door again opened, and another clever-looking old negro, anxious
to say "how de do" to mas'r and his visitors, made his appearance,
bowing, and keeping time with his foot. "Oh, here's my old daddy-old
Daddy Bob, one of the best old niggers on the plantation; Harry and
Bob are my deacons. There,--stand there, Harry; tell these
gentlemen,--they are right glad to see you,--what you know about Elder
Praiseworthy's sermon, and what you can do in the way of preaching,"
says Marston, laughing good-naturedly.

"Rather a rough piece of property to make a preacher of," muttered

The poor fellow's feet were encrusted as hard as an alligator's
back; and there he stood, a picture upon which the sympathies of
Christendom were enlisted-a human object without the rights of man,
in a free republic. He held a red cap in his left hand, a pair of
coarse osnaburg trousers reached a few inches below his knees, and,
together with a ragged shirt of the same material, constituted his

"You might have dressed yourself before you appeared before
gentlemen from abroad-at least, put on your new jacket," said

"Why, mas'r, t'ant de clothes. God neber make Christian wid'e his
clothes on;-den, mas'r, I gin' my new jacket to Daddy Bob. But neber
mind him, mas'r-you wants I to tell you what I tinks ob de Lor. I
tink great site ob the Bible, mas'r, but me don' tink much ob
Elder's sermon, mas'r."

"How is that, Harry?" interrupted the deacon.

"Why, Mas'r Deacon, ye sees how when ye preaches de good tings ob de
Lor', ye mus'nt 'dulge in 'e wicked tings on 'arth. A'h done want
say Mas'r Elder do dem tings-but 'e seem to me t' warn't right wen
'e join de wickedness ob de world, and preach so ebery Sunday. He
may know de varse, and de chapter, but 'e done preach what de Lor'
say, nohow."

"Then you don't believe in a one-sided sermon, Harry?" returned the
deacon, while Marston and Maxwell sat enjoying the negro's simple
opinion of the Elder's sermon.

"No, mas'r. What the Bible teach me is to lob de Lor'-be good
myself, and set example fo'h oders. I an't what big white Christian
say must be good, wen 'e neber practice him,--but I good in me heart
when me tink what de Lor' say be good. Why, mas'r, Elder preach dat
sarmon so many Sundays, dat a' forgot him three times, since me know
'im ebery word," said Harry; and his face began to fill with
animation and fervency.

"Well, now, Harry, I think you are a little too severe on the
Elder's sermon; but if you know so much about it, give these
gentlemen a small portion of it, just to amuse them while the Elder
is taking a nap," said Marston.

"Ay, mas'r, be nap dat way too often for pious man what say he lobe
de Lor'," replied Harry; and drawing himself into a tragic attitude,
making sundry gesticulations, and putting his hand to his forehead,
commenced with the opening portion of the Elder's sermon. "And it
was said-Servants obey your masters, for that is right in the sight
of the Lord," and with a style of native eloquence, and rich
cantation, he continued for about ten minutes, giving every word,
seriatim, of the Elder's sermon; and would have kept it up, in word
and action, to the end, had he not been stopped by Marston. All
seemed astonished at his power of memory. Maxwell begged that he
might be allowed to proceed.

"He's a valuable fellow, that-eh?" said Marston. "He'll be worth
three-sixteenths of a rise on cotton to all the planters in the
neighbourhood, by-and-by. He's larned to read, somehow, on the
sly-isn't it so, Harry? come, talk up!"

"Yes, mas'r, I larn dat when you sleepin'; do Lor' tell me his
spirit warn't in dat sarmon what de Elder preach,--dat me must sarch
de good book, and make me own tinking valuable. Mas'r tink ignorant
nigger lob him best, but t'ant so, mas'r. Good book make heart good,
and make nigger love de Lor', and love mas'r too."

"I'll bet the rascal's got a Bible, or a Prayer-book, hid up
somewhere. He and old Daddy Bob are worse on religion than two old
coons on a fowl-yard," said Marston. Here old Aunt Rachel entered
the room to fuss around a little, and have a pleasant meeting with
mas'r's guests. Harry smiled at Marston's remark, and turned his
eyes upward, as much as to say, "a day will come when God's Word
will not thus be turned into ridicule!"

"And he's made such a good old Christian of this dark sinner, Aunt
Rachel, that I wouldn't take two thousand dollars for her. I expect
she'll be turning preacher next, and going north to join the

"Mas'r," said Rachel, "'t wouldn't do to mind what you say. Neber
mind, you get old one ob dese days; den you don't make so much fun
ob old Rachel."

"Shut up your corn-trap," Marston says, smiling; and turning to his
guests, continues-"You hear that, gentlemen; she talks just as she
pleases, directs my household as if she were governor." Again, Aunt
Rachel, summoning her dignity, retorts,

"Not so, Mas'r Deacon, (turning to Deacon Rosebrook,) "'t won't
square t' believe all old Boss tell, dat it won't! Mas'r take care
ob de two cabins in de yard yonder, while I tends de big house."
Rachel was more than a match for Marston; she could beat him in
quick retort. The party, recognising Aunt Rachel's insinuation,
joined in a hearty laugh. The conversation was a little too pointed
for Marston, who, changing the subject, turned to Harry, saying,
"now, my old boy, we'll have a little more of your wisdom on
religious matters." Harry had been standing the while like a forlorn
image, with a red cap in his hand.

"I can preach, mas'r; I can do dat, fo'h true," he replied quickly.
"But mas'r, nigger got to preach against his colour; Buckra tink
nigger preachin' ain't good, cus he black."

"Never mind that, Harry," interrupts Marston: "We'll forget the
nigger, and listen just as if it were all white. Give us the very
best specimen of it. Daddy Bob, my old patriarch, must help you; and
after you get through, he must lift out by telling us all about the
time when General Washington landed in the city; and how the people
spread carpets, at the landing, for him to walk upon." The
entertainment was, in Marston's estimation, quite a recherch‚
concern: that his guests should be the better pleased, the venerable
old Daddy Bob, his head white with goodly years of toil, and full of
genuine negro humour, steps forward to perform his part. He makes
his best bows, his best scrapes, his best laughs; and says, "Bob
ready to do anything to please mas'r." He pulls the sleeves of his
jacket, looks vacantly at Harry, is proud to be in the presence of
mas'r's guests. He tells them he is a better nigger "den" Harry,
points to his extremes, which are decorated with a pair of new
russet broghans.

"Daddy's worth his weight in gold," continues Marston, "and can do
as much work as any nigger on the plantation, if he is old."

"No, no, mas'r; I ain't so good what I was. Bob can't tote so much
wid de hoe now. I work first-rate once, mas'r, but 'a done gone

"Now, Bob, I want you to tell me the truth,--niggers will lie, but
you are an exception, Bob; and can tell the truth when there's no
bacon in the way."

"Gih! Mas'r, I do dat sartin," replied Bob, laughing heartily, and
pulling up the little piece of shirt that peeped out above the
collar of his jacket.

"How did Harry and you come by so much knowledge of the Bible? you
got one somewhere, hav'n't you?" enquired Marston, laconically.

This was rather a "poser" on Bob; and, after stammering and mumbling
for some time-looking at Harry slyly, then at Marston, and again
dropping his eyes on the floor, he ejaculated,

"Well, mas'r, 'spose I might as well own 'im. Harry and me got one,
for sartin!"

"Ah, you black rascals, I knew you had one somewhere. Where did you
get it? That's some of Miss Franconia's doings."

"Can't tell you, mas'r, whar I got him; but he don't stop my hoein'
corn, for' true."

Franconia had observed Harry's tractableness, and heard him wish for
a Bible, that he might learn to read from it,--and she had secretly
supplied him with one. Two years Harry and Daddy Bob had spent hours
of the night in communion over it; the latter had learned to read
from it, the former had imbibed its great truths. The artless girl
had given it to them in confidence, knowing its consolatory
influences and that they, with a peculiar firmness in such cases,
would never betray her trust. Bob would not have refused his master
any other request; but he would never disclose the secret of Miss
Franconia giving it.

"Well, my old faithful," said Marston, "we want you to put the sprit
into Harry; we want to hear a sample of his preaching. Now, Harry,
you can begin; give it big eloquence, none of the new fashion
preaching, give us the old plantation break-down style."

The negro's countenance assumed a look indicative of more than his
lips dare speak. Looking upward pensively, he replied,--"Can't do
dat, mas'r; he ain't what do God justice; but there is something in
de text,--where shall I take 'em from?"

"Ministers should choose their own; I always do," interrupted Deacon

Daddy Bob, touching Harry on the arm, looks up innocently,
interposes his knowledge of Scripture. "D'ar, Harry, I tells you
what text to gin 'em. Gin 'em dat one from de fourt' chapter of
Ephes: dat one whar de Lor' say:--'Great mas'r led captivity captive,
and gin gifts unto men.' And whar he say, 'Till we come unto a unity
of the faith of the knowledge of the son of God unto a perfect man,
unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ; that we be
no more children tossed to and fro, and carried about with every
wind of doctrine, by the slight of men, and cunning craftiness,
whereby they lay in wait to deceive.'"

"And you tink dat 'll do,--eh, Daddy?" Harry replies, looking at the
old man, as if to say, were he anything but a slave he would follow
the advice.

"Den, dars t' oder one, away 'long yonder, where 'e say in Isaiah,
fifty-eight chapter--'Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou
seest not? Wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no
knowledge? Behold ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with
the fist of wickedness." The old man seemed perfectly at home on
matters of Scripture; he had studied it in stolen moments.

The young Englishman seemed surprised at such a show of talent. He
saw the humble position of the old man, his want of early
instruction, and his anxiety to be enlightened. "How singular!" he
ejaculated, "to hear property preach, and know so much of the Bible,
too! People in my country would open their eyes with surprise." The
young man had been educated in an atmosphere where religion was
prized-where it was held as a sacred element for the good of man.
His feelings were tenderly susceptible; the scene before him
awakened his better nature, struck deep into his mind. He viewed it
as a cruel mockery of Christianity, a torture of innocent nature,
for which man had no shame. He saw the struggling spirit of the old
negro contending against wrong,--his yearnings for the teachings of
Christianity, his solicitude for Marston's good. And he saw how man
had cut down the unoffending image of himself-how Christian
ministers had become the tyrant's hand-fellow in the work of
oppression. It incited him to resolution; a project sprung up in his
mind, which, from that day forward, as if it had been a new
discovery in the rights of man, he determined to carry out in
future, for the freedom of his fellows.

Harry, in accordance with Bob's advice, chose the latter text. For
some minutes he expounded the power of divine inspiration, in his
simple but impressive manner, being several times interrupted by the
Deacon, who assumed the right of correcting his philosophy. At
length, Marston interrupted, reminding him that he had lost the
"plantation gauge." "You must preach according to the Elder's rule,"
said he.

With a submissive stare, Harry replied: "Mas'r, a man what lives
fo'h dis world only is a slave to himself; but God says, he dat
lives fo'h de world to come, is the light of life coming forth to
enjoy the pleasures of eternity;" and again he burst into a rhapsody
of eloquence, to the astonishment and admiration of Maxwell, and
even touching the feelings of Marston, who was seldom moved by such
displays. Seeing the man in the thing of merchandise, he inclined to
look upon him as a being worthy of immortality; and yet it seemed
next to impossible that he should bring his natural feelings to
realise the simple nobleness that stood before him,--the man beyond
the increase of dollars and cents in his person! The coloured
winter's hand leaned against the mantel-piece, watching the changes
in Marston's countenance, as Daddy stood at Harry's side, in
patriarchal muteness. A tear stealing down Maxwell's cheek told of
the sensation produced; while Marston, setting his elbow on the
table, supported his head in his hands, and listened. The Deacon,
good man that he was, filled his glass,--as if to say, "I don't stand
nigger preaching." As for the Elder, his pishes and painful
gurglings, while he slept, were a source of much annoyance. Awaking
suddenly-raising himself to a half-bent position-he rubs his little
eyes, adjusts his spectacles on his nose, stares at Harry with
surprise, and then, with quizzical demeanour, leaves us to infer
what sort of a protest he is about to enter. He, however, thinks it
better to say nothing.

"Stop, Harry," says Marston, interrupting him in a point of his
discourse: then turning to his guests, he inquired, with a look of
ridicule, "Gentlemen, what have you got to say against such
preaching? Elder, you old snoring Christian, you have lost all the
best of it. Why didn't you wake up before?"

"Verri-ly, truly! ah, indeed: you have been giving us a monkey-show
with your nigger, I suppose. I thought I'd lost nothing; you should
remember, Marston, there's a future," said the Elder, winking and
blinking sardonically.

"Yes, old boosey," Marston replies, with an air of indifference,
"and you should remember there's a present, which you may lose your
way in. That venerable sermon won't keep you straight-"

The Elder is extremely sensitive on this particular point-anything
but speak disparagingly of that sermon. It has been his stock in
trade for numerous years. He begs they will listen to him for a
minute, excuse this little trifling variation, charge it to the
susceptibility of his constitution. He is willing to admit there is
capital in his example which may be used for bad purposes, and says,
"Somehow, when I take a little, it don't seem to go right." Again he
gives a vacant look at his friends, gets up, resting his hands on
the table, endeavours to keep a perpendicular, but declares himself
so debilitated by his sleep that he must wait a little longer.
Sinking back upon the settee, he exclaims, "You had better send that
nigger to his cabin." This was carrying the amusement a little
beyond Marston's own "gauge," and it being declared time to adjourn,
preparations were made to take care of the Elder, who was soon
placed horizontally in a waggon and driven away for his home. "The
Elder is gone beyond himself, beyond everything," said Marston, as
they carried him out of the door. "You can go, Harry, I like your
preaching; bring it down to the right system for my property, and
I'll make a dollar or two out of it yet," he whispers, shaking his
head, as Harry, bowing submissively, leaves the door.

Just as they were making preparations to retire, a carriage drove to
the gate, and in the next minute a dashing young fellow came rushing
into the house, apparently in great anxiety. He was followed by a
well-dressed man, whose countenance and sharp features, full of
sternness, indicated much mechanical study. He hesitated as the
young man advanced, took Marston by the hand, nervously, led him
aside, whispered something in his ear. Taking a few steps towards a
window, the intruder, for such he seemed, stood almost motionless,
with his eyes firmly and watchfully fixed upon them, a paper in his
right hand. "It is too often, Lorenzo; these things may prove
fatal," said Marston, giving an inquiring glance at the man, still
standing at the window.

"I pledge you my honour, uncle, it shall be the last time," said the
young stranger. "Uncle, I have not forgotten your advice." Marston,
much excited, exhibited changes of countenance peculiar to a man
labouring under the effect of sudden disappointment. Apologising to
his guests, he dismissed them-with the exception of Maxwell-ordered
pen and ink, drew a chair to the table, and without asking the
stranger to be seated, signed his name to a paper. While this was
being done, the man who had waited in silence stepped to the door
and admitted two gentlemanly-looking men, who approached Marston and
authenticated the instrument. It was evident there was something of
deep importance associated with Marston's signature. No sooner had
his pen fulfilled the mission, than Lorenzo's face, which had just
before exhibited the most watchful anxiety, lighted up with joy, as
if it had dismantled its care for some new scene of worldly



HAVING executed the document, Marston ordered one of the servants to
show Maxwell his room. The persons who had acted the part of
justices, authenticating the instrument, withdrew without further
conversation; while the person who had followed Lorenzo, for such
was the young man's name, remained as if requiring some further
negotiation with Marston. He approached the table sullenly, and with
one hand resting upon it, and the other adjusted in his vest,
deliberately waited the moment to interrupt the conversation. This
man, reader, is Marco Graspum, an immense dealer in human
flesh,--great in that dealing in the flesh and blood of mankind which
brings with it all the wickedness of the demon. It is almost
impossible to conceive the suddenness with which that species of
trade changes man into a craving creature, restless for the dross of
the world. There he was, the heartless dealer in human flesh,
dressed in the garb of a gentleman, and by many would have been
taken as such. Care and anxiety sat upon his countenance; he watched
the chances of the flesh market, stood ready to ensnare the careless
youth, to take advantage of the frailer portions of a Southerner's
noble nature. "A word or two with you, Mr. Marston," said he.

"Sit down, Graspum, sit down," Marston rejoined, ordering Dandy to
give him a chair; which being done he seats himself in front of
Marston, and commences dilating upon his leniency. "You may take me
for an importune feller, in coming this time o'night, but the fact
is I've been-you know my feelings for helpin'
everybody-good-naturedly drawn into a very bad scrape with this
careless young nephew of yourn: he's a dashing devil, and you don't
know it, he is. But I've stood it so long that I was compelled to
make myself sure. This nephew of yourn," said he, turning to
Lorenzo, "thinks my money is made for his gambling propensities, and
if he has used your name improperly, you should have known of it
before." At this Lorenzo's fine open countenance assumed a glow of
indignation, and turning to his uncle, with a nervous tremor, he
said, "Uncle, he has led me into this trouble. You know not the
snares of city life; and were I to tell you him-this monster-yea, I
say monster, for he has drawn me into a snare like one who was
seeking to devour my life-that document, uncle, which he now holds
in his hand saves me from a shame and disgrace which I never could
have withstood before the world."

"Ah! you are just like all gamblers: never consider yourself in the
light of bringing yourself into trouble. Take my advice, young man;
there is a step in a gambler's life to which it is dangerous to
descend, and if you have brought your father and uncle into trouble,
blame neither me nor my money," returned Graspum.

"You do not say that there is forgery connected with this affair, do
you?" inquired Marston, grasping Lorenzo by the arm.

"I wish it were otherwise, uncle," replied Lorenzo, leaning forward
upon the table and covering his face with his hands. "It was my
folly, and the flattery of this man, which have driven me to it," he

"Oh! cursed inconsistency: and you have now fallen back upon the
last resource, to save a name that, once gone, cannot reinstate
itself. Tell me, Marco Graspum; are you not implicated in this
affair? Your name stands full of dark implications; are you not
following up one of those avenues through which you make so many
victims? What is the amount?" returned Marston.

"You will know that to-morrow. He has given paper in your name to an
uncertain extent. You should have known this before. Your nephew has
been leading a reckless gambler's life-spending whatsoever money
came into his possession, and at length giving bills purporting to
be drawn by you and his father. You must now honour them, or
dishonour him. You see, I am straightforward in business: all my
transactions are conducted with promptness; but I must have what is
due to me. I have a purpose in all my transactions, and I pursue
them to the end. You know the purport of this document, Marston;
save yourself trouble, and do not allow me to call too often." Thus
saying, he took his hat and left the room.

Uncle," said Lorenzo, as soon as Graspum had left, "I have been led
into difficulty. First led away by fashionable associations, into
the allurements with which our city is filled, from small vices I
have been hurried onward, step by step, deeper and deeper, until now
I have arrived at the dark abyss. Those who have watched me through
each sin, been my supposed friends, and hurried me onwards to this
sad climax, have proved my worst enemies. I have but just learned
the great virtue of human nature,--mistrust him who would make
pleasure of vice. I have ruined my father, and have involved you by
the very act which you have committed for my relief to-night. In my
vain struggle to relieve myself from the odium which must attach to
my transactions, I have only added to your sorrows. I cannot ask you
to forgive me, nor can I disclose all my errors-they are manifold."

"This is an unexpected blow-one which I was not prepared to meet. I
am ready to save your honour, but there is something beyond this
which the voice of rumour will soon spread. You know our society,
and the strange manner in which it countenances certain things, yet
shuts out those who fall by them. But what is to be done? Although
we may discharge the obligation with Graspum, it does not follow
that he retains the stigma in his own breast. Tell me, Lorenzo, what
is the amount?" inquired Marston, anxiously.

"My father has already discharged a secret debt of fourteen thousand
dollars for me, and there cannot be less than thirty thousand
remaining. Uncle, do not let it worry you; I will leave the country,
bear the stigma with me, and you can repudiate the obligation," said
he, pleading nervously, as he grasped his uncle's hand firmer and

Among the many vices of the south, spreading their corrupting
influence through the social body, that of gambling stands first.
Confined to no one grade of society, it may be found working ruin
among rich and poor, old and young. Labour being disreputable, one
class of men affect to consider themselves born gentlemen, while the
planter is ever ready to indulge his sons with some profession they
seldom practise, and which too often results in idleness and its
attendants. This, coupled to a want of proper society with which the
young may mix for social elevation, finds gratification in drinking
saloons, fashionable billiard rooms, and at the card table. In the
first, gentlemen of all professions meet and revel away the night in
suppers and wine. They must keep up appearances, or fall doubtful
visitors of these fashionable stepping-stones to ruin. Like a
furnace to devour its victims, the drinking saloon first opens its
gorgeous doors, and when the burning liquid has inflamed the mental
and physical man, soon hurries him onward into those fascinating
habitations where vice and voluptuousness mingle their degrading
powers. Once in these whirlpools of sin, the young man finds himself
borne away by every species of vicious allurement-his feelings
become unrestrained, until at length that last spark of filial
advice which had hovered round his consciousness dies out. When this
is gone, vice becomes the great charmer, and with its thousand
snares and resplendent workers never fails to hold out a hope with
each temptation; but while the victim now and then asks hope to be
his guardian, he seldom thinks how surely he is sinking faster and
faster to an irretrievable depth.

Through this combination of snares-all having their life-springs in
slavery-Lorenzo brought ruin upon his father, and involved his
uncle. With an excellent education, a fine person, frank and gentle
demeanour, he made his way into the city, and soon attracted the
attention of those who affect to grace polished society. Had society
laid its restraints upon character and personal worth, it would have
been well for Lorenzo; but the neglect to found this moral
conservator only serves to increase the avenues to vice, and to
bring men from high places into the lowest moral scale. This is the
lamentable fault of southern society; and through the want of that
moral bulwark, so protective of society in the New England
States-personal worth-estates are squandered, families brought to
poverty, young men degraded, and persons once happy driven from
those homes they can only look back upon with pain and regret. The
associations of birth, education, and polished society-so much
valued by the southerner-all become as nothing when poverty sets its
seal upon the victim.

And yet, among some classes in the south there exists a religious
sentiment apparently grateful; but what credit for sincerity shall
we accord to it when the result proves that no part of the
organisation itself works for the elevation of a degraded class? How
much this is to be regretted we leave to the reader's
discrimination. The want of a greater effort to make religious
influence predominant has been, and yet is, a source of great evil.
But let us continue our narrative, and beg the reader's indulgence
for having thus transgressed.

Flattered and caressed among gay assemblages, Lorenzo soon found
himself drawn beyond their social pleasantries into deeper and more
alluring excitements. His frequent visits at the saloon and
gambling-tables did not detract, for a time, from the social
position society had conferred upon him.

His parents, instead of restraining, fostered these associations,
prided themselves on his reception, providing means of maintaining
him in this style of living. Vanity and passion led him captive in
their gratifications; they were inseparable from the whirlpool of
confused society that triumphs at the south,--that leads the proud
heart writhing in the agony of its follies. He cast himself upon
this, like a frail thing upon a rapid stream, and--forgetting the
voyage was short--found his pleasures soon ended in the troubled
waters of misery and disgrace.

There is no fundamental morality in the south, nor is education
invested with the material qualities of social good; in this it
differs from the north, against which it is fast building up a
political and social organisation totally at variance. Instead of
maintaining those great principles upon which the true foundation of
the republic stands, the south allows itself to run into a hyper-
aristocratic vagueness, coupled with an arbitrary determination to
perpetuate its follies for the guidance of the whole Union. And the
effect of this becomes still more dangerous, when it is attempted to
carry it out under the name of democracy,--American democracy! In
this manner it serves the despotic ends of European despots: they
point to the freest government in the world for examples of their
own absolutism, shield their autocracy beneath its democracy, and
with it annihilate the rights of the commoner.

Heedlessly wending his way, the man of rank and station at one side,
the courtesan with his bland smiles at the other, Lorenzo had not
seen the black poniard that was to cut the cord of his downfall,--it
had remained gilded. He drank copious draughts at the house of
licentiousness, became infatuated with the soft music that leads the
way of the unwary, until at length, he, unconsciously at it were,
found himself in the midst of a clan who are forming a plot to put
the black seal upon his dishonour. Monto Graspum, his money playing
through the hands of his minions in the gambling rooms, had
professed to be his friend. He had watched his pliable nature, had
studied the resources of his parents, knew their kindness, felt sure
of his prey while abetting the downfall. Causing him to perpetrate
the crime, from time to time, he would incite him with prospects of
retrieve, guide his hand to consummate the crime again, and watch
the moment when he might reap the harvest of his own infamy. Thus,
when he had brought the young man to that last pitiless issue, where
the proud heart quickens with a sense of its wrongs-when the mind
recurs painfully to the past, imploring that forgiveness which seems
beyond the power of mankind to grant, he left him a poor outcast,
whose errors would be first condemned by his professed friends. That
which seemed worthy of praise was forgotten, his errors were
magnified; and the seducer made himself secure by crushing his
victim, compromising the respectability of his parents, making the
disgrace a forfeiture for life.

Unexpected as the shock was to Marston, he bore it with seeming
coolness, as if dreading the appearance of the man who had taken
advantage of the moment to bring him under obligations, more than he
did the amount to be discharged. Arising from the table, he took
Lorenzo by the hand, saying:--"Veil your trouble, Lorenzo! Let the
past be forgotten, bury the stigma in your own bosom; let it be an
example to your feelings and your actions. Go not upon the world to
wrestle with its ingratitude; if you do, misfortune will befall
you-you will stumble through it the remainder of your life. With me,
I fear the very presence of the man who has found means of
engrafting his avarice upon our misfortunes; he deals with those in
his grasp like one who would cut the flesh and blood of mankind into
fragments of gain. Be firm, Lorenzo; be firm! Remember, it is not
the province of youth to despair; be manly-manliness even in crime
lends its virtue to the falling." At which he bid him good night,
and retired to rest.

The young man, more pained at his uncle's kindness,--kindness
stronger in its effects than reproof,--still lingered, as if to watch
some change of expression on his uncle's countenance, as he left the
door. His face changed into pallid gloominess, and again, as if by
magic influence, filled with the impress of passion; it was despair
holding conflict with a bending spirit. He felt himself a criminal,
marked by the whispers of society; he might not hear the charges
against him, nor be within the sound of scandal's tongue, but he
would see it outlined in faces that once smiled at his seeming
prosperity. He would feel it in the cold hand that had welcomed
him,--that had warmly embraced him; his name would no longer be
respected. The circle of refined society that had kindly received
him, had made him one of its attractions, would now shun him as if
he were contagion. Beyond this he saw the fate that hovered over his
father's and his uncle's estates;-all the filial affection they had
bestowed upon him, blasted; the caresses of his beloved and
beautiful sister; the shame the exposure would bring upon her; the
knave who held him in his grasp, while dragging the last remnants of
their property away to appease dishonest demands, haunted him to
despair. And, yet, to sink under them-to leave all behind him and be
an outcast, homeless and friendless upon the world, where he could
only look back upon the familiar scenes of his boyhood with regret,
would be to carry a greater amount of anguish to his destiny. The
destroyer was upon him; his grasp was firm and painful. He might
live a life of rectitude; but his principles and affections would be
unfixed. It would be like an infectious robe encircling him,--a
disease which he never could eradicate, so that he might feel he was
not an empty vessel among honourable men. When men depicted their
villains, moving in the grateful spheres of life, he would be one of
their models; and though the thoughtlessness of youth had made him
the type haunting himself by day and night, the world never made a
distinction. Right and wrong were things that to him only murmured
in distrust; they would be blemishes exaggerated from simple error;
but the judgment of society would never overlook them. He must now
choose between a resolution to bear the consequences at home, or
turn his back upon all that had been near and dear to him,--be a
wanderer struggling with the eventful trials of life in a distant
land! Turning pale, as if frantic with the thought of what was
before him, the struggle to choose between the two extremes, and the
only seeming alternative, he grasped the candle that flickered
before him, gave a glance round the room, as if taking a last look
at each familiar object that met his eyes, and retired.



A MAROONING pic-nic had been proposed and arranged by the young
beaux and belles of the neighbouring plantations. The day proposed
for the festive event was that following the disclosure of Lorenzo's
difficulties. Every negro on the plantation was agog long before
daylight: the morning ushered forth bright and balmy, with bustle
and confusion reigning throughout the plantation,--the rendezvous
being Marston's mansion, from which the gay party would be conveyed
in a barge, overspread with an awning, to a romantic spot,
overshaded with luxuriant pines, some ten miles up the stream. Here
gay fˆtes, mirth and joy, the mingling of happy spirits, were to
make the time pass pleasantly. The night passed without producing
any decision in Lorenzo's mind; and when he made his appearance on
the veranda an unusual thoughtfulness pervaded his countenance; all
his attempts to be joyous failed to conceal his trouble. Marston,
too, was moody and reserved even to coldness; that frank, happy, and
careless expression of a genial nature, which had so long marked him
in social gatherings, was departed. When Maxwell, the young
Englishman, with quiet demeanour, attempted to draw him into
conversation about the prospects of the day, his answers were
measured, cold, beyond his power of comprehending, yet inciting.

To appreciate those pleasant scenes-those scenes so apparently
happy, at times adding a charm to plantation life-those innocent
merry-makings in spring time-one must live among them, be born to
the recreations of the soil. Not a negro on the plantation, old or
young, who does not think himself part and parcel of the scene-that
he is indispensably necessary to make Mas'r's enjoyment complete! In
this instance, the lawn, decked in resplendent verdure, the foliage
tinged by the mellow rays of the rising sun, presented a pastoral
loveliness that can only be appreciated by those who have
contemplated that soft beauty which pervades a southern landscape at
morning and evening. The arbour of old oaks, their branches twined
into a panoply of thick foliage, stretching from the mansion to the
landing, seemed like a sleeping battlement, its dark clusters
soaring above redolent brakes and spreading water-leaks. Beneath
their fretted branches hung the bedewed moss like a veil of
sparkling crystals, moving gently to and fro as if touched by some
unseen power. The rice fields, stretching far in the distance,
present the appearance of a mirror decked with shadows of fleecy
clouds, transparent and sublime. Around the cabins of the plantation
people-the human property-the dark sons and daughters of promiscuous
families-are in "heyday glee:" they laughed, chattered, contended,
and sported over the presence of the party;-the overseer had given
them an hour or two to see the party "gwine so;" and they were
overjoyed. Even the dogs, as if incited by an instinctive sense of
some gay scene in which they were to take part, joined their barking
with the jargon of the negroes, while the mules claimed a right to
do likewise. In the cabins near the mansion another scene of fixing,
fussing, toddling, chattering, running here and there with
sun-slouches, white aprons, fans, shades, baskets, and tin pans,
presented itself; any sort of vessel that would hold provender for
the day was being brought forth. Clotilda, her face more cheerful,
is dressed in a nice drab merino, a plain white stomacher, a little
collar neatly turned over: with her plain bodice, her white ruffles
round her wrists, she presents the embodiment of neatness. She is
pretty, very pretty; and yet her beauty has made her the worst
slave-a slave in the sight of Heaven and earth! Her large, meaning
eyes, glow beneath her arched brows, while her auburn hair, laid in
smooth folds over her ears and braided into a heavy circle at the
back of her head, gives her the fascinating beauty of a Norman
peasant. Annette plays around her, is dressed in her very best,--for
Marston is proud of the child's beauty, and nothing is withheld that
can gratify the ambition of the mother, so characteristic, to dress
with fantastic colours: the child gambols at her feet, views its
many-coloured dress, keeps asking various unanswerable questions
about Daddy Bob, Harry, and the pic-nic. Again it scrambles
pettishly, sings snatches of some merry plantation song, pulls its
braided hat about the floor, climbs upon the table to see what is in
the basket.


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