New: Opere Brunetto Latino || Dante vivo || White Silence







n pursuance of the advice he had received, Edward Bligh proceeded to the market-place of Natchez; and there in truth he found, stuck conspicuously upon every point of vantage, unnumbered advertisements of the sale of negroes, singly, in couples, in families, and in gangs. But it appeared to him that there was not one which included Phebe.

While earnestly occupied in this examination he was addressed by a voice quite unknown to him.

You're looking for a bargain, are ye? - Yet somehow I calculate that you have no great notion neither about furnishing yourself with negroes. Maybe, mister, you are one of them what thinks slavery an abomination? Such folks are very plentiful, I hear, up the country now-a-days'.

Edward turned to look at the person who spoke, and instantly recognised the hateful countenance of the man who from his lofty station in Vandumper's store had offered the last parting insult ot the poor negro-boy.

A feeling of antipathy induced Bligh to turn away without answering; but immediately recollecting the purpose for which he was at Natchez, he stepped back, after looking at an advertisement a few feet distant and replied civilly, -

'It certainly is not on my account, sir, that I am looking out - My father owned many slaves, but he died a bankrupt, and I am too poor to own one'.

The stranger eyed him with evident curiosity.

You are a stranger in Natchez, I think?'

'Yes, sir'.

'In what State was your father's plantation?'

'My father's farm was in Kentucky'.

'Kentucky? - They don't know overmuch about managing niggers in Kentucky. - You are a farmer's son, are you? - and your father died a bankrupt, did he^ That must be inconvenient enough, no doubt. - And so you do a little in the agent way like, - is that it?'

'No, sir; the commission was quite accidental, because I was just coming to Natchez. My business now is keeping a day-school'.

'A school? - I thought you told us you come from the backwoods?'

'So I do, sir, though from no great distance; and there are many of the settlers round about who are glad to pay a few dollars to have their children kept out of mischief and taught to read'.

'Have you any negro-schools in Kentucky, my lad?'

'I believe not, sir'.

'But some of the niggers are uncommon knowing there, I am told. Did you father find it so with his?'

'I think not, sir. They most of them appeared profoundly ignorant'.

'And first-rate beastly stupid too, I take it. But maybe that's not your notion concerning them? Maybe you expect they might be made into human creaturs contrary to nature, if they had but a young saint or two to help 'em?'

There was something in the man's manner from the first which led Edward to suspect that he had some sinister object in addressing him; and these last words not only confirmed this idea, but indicated plainly enough what the object was which the questioner had in view. This man had in truth, while seated aloft in the store, narrowly watched the speaking countenance of Bligh during the savage scene that passed there; and when at length he saw one whose dress was hardly above that of a labourer give money to extricate the negro-boy from his embarrassment, very little doubt remained on his mind that the pale but strikingly handsome young man who called himself a back-woods-man was neither more nor less than one of those who dared to enter a land of slavery with the gospel in his hand. That many such had left behind them, as they quietly passed through that land, some traces of knowledge and of truth concerning both this world and that which is to come, was a fact of which Louisiana, in common with the inhabitants of all other slave-holding State, had recently become very painfully aware.

When first this danger threatened the legislatures of most of these States contented themselves by framing laws, brief, peremptory, and severe, against all such as should be found engaged in teaching slaves the unlawful arts of reading and writing. But this slow, difficult, and, under these laws, dangerous process, was not the only one resorted to by bold men who ventured to grapple with the slaveholders for the souls of their victims, though they had no power to redeem their bodies.

The sort of phrenetic rage which the discovery of this plot, as it was called, excited among the slave-holders, is now pretty generally known to the world but the acts to which it has led, and might really lead one to believe that the religious creed of these persons taught them to expect their rights over the negro race were not to be forfeited like other mortal tenures by death, but would hold good to all eternity in the life to come, provided that no emancipation was obtained there for their slaves by the interferences of meddling Christians while on earth.

Not very long before the period of which I write, some of the wealthiest planters in the neighbourhood of New Orleans met together in secret conclave to consult on the means most likely to check the growing evil. Some among them are said to have gone the length of proposing that State laws should be enacted, making the being caught in the fact of giving religious instruction to a slave a capital offence, in all cases to be punishable by death. But it was suggested that American citizens of the free States might possibily object to such power being given to any jurisdiction, for offences not recognised by the national law, over white men born in the Union, and under the protection of its stars and stripes.

'What then was to be done? Were the landholders and merchants of the wealthiest part of the Union to have their dearest interests continually endangered by illegal efforts to make their slaves Christians? The canting, busy, mischief-making English, whose African association was for ever at work to stir up a ruinous strife in a prosperous and rival country, might pretend to be better and more philanthropic than their transatlantic offspring; but let some newly-invented process be set in action that should cause the horse, the ox, and the ass of Britain to turn and reason with his master for making him toil, what would the fierce Islanders say then? - Would they not rise and tear to atoms the agents in such a plot?'

Such were the reasonings, it is said, upon which many among the influential part of the slave-holding population of the United States acted, when it was tacitly resolved amongst them not to interfere whenever individual vengeance should be taken upon those suspected of holding religious intercourse with slaves, let that vengeance go what lengths it might.

The knowledge and belief that such a resolution had been secretly entered into by many possessing great power and influence was gradually gaining ground, producing consequences such as might easily have been predicted, and such in fact as it was intended they should produce.

The appetite for this species of chartered vengeance very naturally increased by what it fed on, and very many planters besides Mr Giles Hogstown, who had now fixed himself on Edward Bligh, felt as much gratification in getting scent of a missionary, or tracking a Christian traveller, as a bloodhound shows when he comes upon the trace of his prey.

Though by no means fully aware of the extent to which this system of licensed outrage was carried, Edward knew enough of it to feel certain that this man's questions boded him no good; but as in this case no present danger threatened either Lucy or any of his sable flock, his spirit rose to meet and baffle it, and to Hogstown's allusion to 'saints' he replied with a smile, and looking him full in the face -

'But where are the young saints to come from, sir? I don't fancy we can expect any more saints on earth jest at present'.

'You hail from Kentucky, my lad, don't you?' replied Hogstown, twisting the quid in his mouth, and at the same time squirting forth its juice with an expressive jerk.

'Yes, sir,' replied Edward, preserving his steady unembarrassed air; 'and a very fine country it is. - Do you happen to know it, sir?'

'I know enough of it to say that no whey-faced canting vagabonds had ought to come therefrom. They most generally rises very unaccountable fine fellows there, who are most times up to a thing or two; but it's likely enough that, with all their gouging and fun, they may learn something new if they send out some strolling Natchez way. We aren't to be beat, nor scared, nor bamboozled by any that stands between earth and heaven, - mind that, my lad'.

So saying, he turned down a street at the corner of which they were standing, leaving Edward considerably at a loss to comprehend the meaning of his parting address.

He suspected in deed that he was threatened, but he knew not with what; and more determined than ever to separate himself from Lucy, he crossed the market to a store that exhibited in its window ready-made caps, hats, and sundry garments for children.

'Do you happen to want a very handy young wman for needlework?' said he as he entered, and almost before he had seen the face of the person he addressed.

This was an extremely beautiful young woman who stood behind the counter, and whose delicate complexion had the slight shade of that peculiar tings which marks the quadroon in Louisana, but which would have gained her in Europe the reputation of being the most beautiful brunette in the world.

'Yes, sir, we do', was the reply; 'we want several'.

Edward's blood mounted to his temples as he looked at her. Beautiful, graceful, elegant, and gentle as she was, he dared not place his sister near her. Let her moral character be what it might, disgrace must of necessity be coupled with her name. Her remarkable beauty made it certain that she must be addressed with the most brutal and unchecked licentiousness by every dissolute fellow that approached her. From this no possible degree of purity and discretion could secure her, for she was of the race whom all men are permitted to insult. Lucy's present situation, perilous as it might soon become, was still infinitely better than any protection this unfortunate being could bestow; and Edward stood silent and embarrassed before her, at a loss how to leave the shop after such an opening without betraying the reason for it.

But the poor quadroon understood him without his entering into any explanation.

'Is the young lady a relation of yours, sir? said she.

'She is my sister'.

'Then I think, sir, you had better inquire at Mrs Shepherd's, three doors below. She has a great deal of work, and there would be no objection to your sister's being with her'.

A bright blush mounted to her eyes as she spoke; but she smiled as she returned his parting bow. It was that soft, melancholy smile, howwoever, which seems peculiar to her race, and it brought tears into Edward's eyes.

He followed her instructions, and entering the shop of Mrs Shepherd, repeated his inquiry.

'A handy young woman? - why yes, may I do', was the satisfactory reply, but uttered by lips which nature had denied the power to smile, and in a voice that was in harsh discordance with the sweet tones of the quadroon.

Edward felt all this strongly enough, poor fellow; but it was no time to dwell on smiles or silver sounds; and feeling this more strongly still, he civilly proceeded to state the merits and qualifications of his sister.

'Is she a beauty, young man?' gruffly inquired the grim high priestess of this temple of fashion, fixing her rude eyes on Edward's handsome features. 'If she favours you, I don't think she'll suit me; I don't approve of beauties'.

Again Edward's blood mounted to his forehead, but with a feeling widely different from that which last propelled it there. He conquered the rebellion, however, that was rising at his heart, and replied meekly.

'My sister, madam, is a very quiet, modest-looking young woman, and would, I am sure, endeavour in all ways to give you satisfaction'.

'It's difficult to know. - Gals are unaccountable plagues. - What would she ask, too, over and above her board and lodging?'

'She would be happy to come to you for a trial, madam, on very reasonable terms, - just enough to enable her to dress with propriety'.

'Well, I expect I may try her. - Where does she bide?'

'She has been living with me in the country, and she is there still'.

'Living with you? - Has she no parents? How am I to know that she is not your miss?'

This was too much, and Edward turned to leave the store. But probably there was something in the ad libitum nature of the arrangement proposed agreeable to the pecuniary taste of Mrs Shepherd, for she prevented his departure by saying sharply -

'You'd better stop, young man; - you may go farther and fare worse. If you're a brother, and a good brother, you won't think the worse of the place because I am careful who I takes into it'.

There was truth in this, though the manner of it was detestable; so once more subduing his feelings, he turned back and said calmly,

'I am indeed a brother, madam, and one that would die rather than expose my sister to danger of any kind; but I have not been used to hear her suspected; and -

'Well, well, no harm's done; I'm willing to give your sister a trial. - What's her name?'

'Bligh, - Miss Lucy Bligh'.

'And when is she to come? She isn't to stump it, I suppose? - have you any waggons your way?'

'Oh yes; there will be no difficulty about that. I can bring her to you next market-day, if that will suit you?'

'Next market.day? - why that's four days, and we stifled with work here. However the waggons will accommodate then maybe, and she will have to wash and stitch a spell, I expect, to fix herself. - So market-day let it be, - and that's all said'.

Edward took the hint and disappeared. He was comforted - certainly he was greatly comforted at having thus succeeded in the object next to his heart; but it was with a pang he could scarcely conquer that he thought of his meek, gentle Lucy, who through all her troubles had never yet received a harsh word from any human being, given up to the power and the temper of the woman he had left.

The sight of Mr Giles Hogstown, whom at this moment he saw on the opposite side of the market-place evidently watching him, went farther perhaps to reconcile him to the deed he had done than anything else he could have encountered. Once more he felt certain he was right and immediately turned all his thoughts to the little details necessary to prepare Lucy for the change in her position.

Mrs Shepherd's hint about 'stitching and fixing' was not lost on the thoughtful brother, and he immediately determined to dedicate the money he had brought with him to the purchase of a gown, et caetera for his Lucy.

He remembered of old that in the days of his Lexington splendour the finest shops were ever accounted the dearest; he therefore prudently determined to quit the gayer part of the town and to penetrate into the humbler quarter, where he might hope to find bargains that should suit his purse.

Fate seemed to favour him. A low-browed door admitted him to a well-filled little store, from among the treasure of which he easily selected what he flattered himself would answer the purpose required.

While making his purchases, he observed that the magazine he had selected for them was sufficiently humble to receive negro customers, for more than one entered for a cent's worth of snuff or tobacco while he was there. Perceiving that the woman of the shop condescended also to gossip with them as she took their money, he ventured to join the conversation by asking if they could tell him whether a handsome young negro girl called Phebe had been sold at Natchez within the last few days?

The question was one which immediately commanded the attention of his auditors.

'Phebe?' said one. 'No, massa - no Phebe sold this week at market. I have the cat cause I bede see 'em all don sold. No Phebe 'monst 'em, massa'.

'Handsome?' cried another; 'der have not bin a handsome nigger gal sold in Natchez market since my Sylvia. No, massa, no handsome gal this week'.

This latter testimony might have had but little weight without the former; but both together, joined with the absence of everything resembling an advertisement of her on the walls of the market-house, convinced him that the poor girl had not been sold.

Edward now turned his thoughts homeward; but, despite his nearly exhausted purse, he entered a baker's store to purchase a roll before he set off towards the forest. Though pressed by hunger at the moment he did so, he would not eat the morsel then, for he remembered a clear brook that he should pass in his way, beside which he could rest himself, quench his ardent thirst, and, in short, double the luxury of his banquet.

As he quitted the baker's store, he was somewhat startled to meet again the deep-set eyes of Hogstown glaring at him from the door of a whisky-store opposite. He remembered, however, that a few days would see his sister in safety; and solaced by this conviction, he walked out of the town little mindful whether Mr Giles Hogstown watched him or not.


'oor Lucy! how will she bear it?' was an exclamation that escaped Edward Bligh's lips almost as soon as he had fairly quitted the busy suburbs of Natchez, and found himself alone in the wide forest that surrounds it.

It was a question which had never occurred to him as long as the separation was doubtful; but now, now that it was all fixed and settled, - now that he had spent almost their last dollar in obtaining a dress in which to send her from him, the fear that he should have to witness very bitter sorrow on her part, weighted heavily on his spirits, and his pace slackened and his step moved languidly as he thought of it.

He had quite forgotten his little loaf, and the repose he had promised himself to take while he ate it, when he at length reached the pretty spot he had fixed upon for the purpose. The sight of it reminded him both of his need of refreshment, and of the means of taking it, which were within his reach; and though no longer feeling as light-hearted as when he projected the repast, he sat down on a bright white stone beside the little brook as he intended, and having first refreshed himself by a copious draught of its fresh and delicious water, he proposed to eat his loaf, when he was started by the apparition of a negro head looking earnestly at him from the tick bush of cane-brake on the other side of the stream.

At first, the glance that regarded him seemed a furtive one, and some caution was taken to conceal the person from whom it came; but in the next moment a tall young negro burst from the covert, and springing by a strong effort across the brook, fell trembling and exhausted at Edward's feet.

He was dreadfuly emaciated, and appeared so reduced in strength that when Edward stretched out his hand and attempted to raise him, the poor fellow, though he evidently endeavoured to second the effort, was utterly unable to do so, and remained prostrate and panting on the earth.

Edward dipped his hand in the running water and sprinkled him freely with it. The negro opened his eyes, which had closed heavily as he fell, and looking up in the face that was gazing on him with an expression of tender pity, but with no symptom of recognition, he exclaimed,

'Oh, Master Edward! do you not know me?'

Famine and fatigue had changed the voice less than the features, for he was now known in an instant.

'Caesar! my poor Caesar!' cried Edward, wringing his attenuated hand, 'what can have happened to bring you to this miserable condition?'

'I am a runaway slave, Master Edward', replied the young man, shuddering as he spoke the fearful words, 'and I have eaten nothing but wild berries for the last five days'.

The first impulse was naturally to give him the bread that lay on the moss at his side. This was done most cautiously and tenderly by Edward, who fed him with little morsels dipped in the stream as carefully as a mother would have ministered to her babe. But, this first and most imperious call answered, the next movement was that of terror at the dreadful risk of discovery that both were exposed to. The sun was not yet set, and within a quarter of a mile of the spot where they stood was the dwelling of a hunter well known to Edward, whose fortune would be made at a single stroke could he only see and give notice at Natchez of the vicinity of the poor exhausted Caesar.

For the present, nothing better could be divised by either of them, than for the negro to creep on his belly beneath the almost impervious covert of the bushes at a hundred yards' distance from the path. His renovated strength sufficed for this, and there Edward left him, assuring him that he might go to sleep in safety, as the spot was too near a human habitation to leave any fear of wolves, and promising to return at midnight with the best nourishment he could procure, that his activity might be sufficiently restored to enable him to search a hiding-place of great safety.

Edward Bligh pursued his way home in a state of the most painful anxiety. During the few moment's conversation they held together, he had learned from Caesar that he was one of the slaves escaped from Oglevie's factory; and the suspicion which had glanced across his mind when he heard of the tracts, that the delinquent might possibly be his own valued and faithful Caesar, was thus unhappily confirmed.

Among the many pressing causes of uneasiness, the difficulty of concealing this unfortunate young man, and saving him from the fate that inevitably awaited him if discovered, now became the most urgent; but weary and wayworn, he reached his home before his invention had suggested anything that promised even probable success.

He found Lucy anxiously awaiting him, and a supper of such comfortable aspect provided, that his first idea was that he would return immediately to convey it to his starving protegé.

A young farmer who passed whistling before the door at this moment reminded him, however, that the hour of darkness and silence had not yet come; so setting apart, to the great surprise of the wondering Lucy, considerably more than half the tempting steaks she had provided, he sat down beside her to partake the remainder.

How much, how very much he had to tell her! - and where should he begin? The condition of poor Caesar was the thing most freshly impressed upon his memory, and examining cautiously on all sides that none were near enough to overhear him, he related it to her exactly as it had become known to him.

She was greatly agitated. Caesar had been valued by the whole family for his many excellent qualities; but Lucy loved him for Phebe's sake still more than for his own; and when she remembered the tender and innocent affection which had existed between them from early childhood, and the agony the poor girl would feel when she learned his situation, she wept bitterly.

It was immediately agreed between the brother and sister, that he should every night be supplied with the means of sustenance by them. This part of the arrangement was easy enough: but where should they conceal him? How could they hope to find means of eluding the search which would most assuredly be made for him, and in which every white inhabitant of the country except themselves would join heart and hand?

Some moments of silent meditation followed the fair statement of these very difficult questions by Edward, and then Lucy broke the silence by saying,

'Edward! a thought has come into my head that may be worth nothing; yet the case seems so desperate, that I had better tell you what it is, in case by possibility you may turn it to account. You set off this morning, dear brother, in the hope of doing some important business by means of the town gossip, while I, staying home, had a huge packet of country gossip brought me, quite unsought on my part, I assure you, but from which I think it is just possible we may extract something profitable to our poor Caesar'.

'Indeed! - That is the last thing I should expect, Lucy, from any gossip within reach of Fox's clearing. Fox's wife's brother owns a slave; and the instant the abomination comes within the limits of a man's kindred, if it be only to a cousin's cousin, you are sure to hear them all join the hoop and cry after every runaway negro mentioned in their presence, as if the property of the whole family were at stake. - But tell me what you have heard'.

'Nothing certainly to disprove the truth of your observations. I should be sorry to trust the safety of Caesar to the tender mercies of Mrs Fox, who seldom misses an opportunity of offering her testimony to the "unaccountable ignorance of them stupid niggers what genteel people is forced to have wait upon 'em". But my gossip did not come from her: it was that decent body Mrs Martin, little Rosa's mother, who gave me the information that I wish to turn to Caesar's profit. She brought the child to school this morning, that she might explain something about the work she was about; and of course I made her sit down, and so forth. She asked me, by way of making conversation, I suppose, if I knew the German family called Steinmark, who own the large farm known by the name of Reichland. I told her I had heard them named as very rich people, but knew nothing about them. 'My!' she exclaimed, 'I wonder you nhever heard tell of their beautiful daughter! - why, she's the talk of the country, but so proud that she won't deign to speak a word to anybody. The brothers, at least the miller, is a very clever free-spoken man, and rich, too, they do say, unaccountable; and now they are all mad with joy because the eldest son is come back from Philadelphy richer than all the rest. But the thing I was going to speak of was, the unaccountable wonder that, with all the dollars that's talked of among 'em, there is not one of the whole kit what owns a slave! - This, Edward, as nearly as I can recollect it, was Mrs Martin's harangue; and it created a feeling of satisfaction at knowing that there was at least one household near us composed of right-thinking Christians. Do you think it possible that you could introduce yourself to this family, lead them to talk of the besetting sin of the beautiful country in which they have fixed themselves, and, if encouraged by their sentiments and manner of speaking, trust them at once with poor Caesar's secret, and implore their help to conceal him? Do you think it would be possible to do this?'

'Lucy, I do', was Edward's prompt reply; and after meditating a moment he added, - 'It appears to me almost certain that a wealthy family in Louisiana, carrying on extensive concerns without slaves, must do so upon principle; and if this be the case, they will help us. - Do not doubt it, love! - let us thank Heaven for this most timely accident!'

Lucy did thank Heaven; and so delighted did she feel at the idea of Caesar's probable escape, and the exceeding happiness she should convey to Phebe by telling her that he was safe and well, that she almost forgot how completely the fate of the unfortunate girl was still enveloped in mystery. Her first words on seeing Edward had been to ask if Phebe were sold, and his almost positive negative suggested the idea that she must be still near them.

'My poor dear Phebe!' exclaimed the tender-hearted Lucy, who, though still fancy-free herself, appeared quite able to understand the effect of love on others; 'she did so dearly love him! I must see him, Edward, if only to tell Phebe that I have done so. It is quite dark now - may we not go to him?'

There was one piece of intelligence which Edward had to communicate that he had not yet touched upon, and it was of a nature which, though pregnant with satisfaction to himself, he almost feared to mention; but Lucy must hear it, and that directly, or how would the 'stitching and fixing' be accomplished? He thought that he should be less of a coward if Lucy's sweet face were concealed by darkness as she listened to him, and he therefore readily acceded to her offer of accompanying him to the spot where he had left Caesar.

He persuaded her, however, to wait for another hour or two, that no belated loiterer might be likely to cross their path; and then, furnished with a small basket containing every comfort their scanty means could furnish, they set forth.

The moon was now very nearly at the full, and gave them perhaps a clearer light than they desired; but this trifling addition to a danger which at this hour they thought could not be great, occasioned them but little uneasiness. An exclamation from Lucy as they quitted their dark room, upon the glorious brightness that greeted them, was answered by her thoughtful brother with an observation that the deepest darkness would perhaps suit them better; but after this they alluded to the danger no more, and perhaps almost unconsciously 'blessed the useful light' which rendered this walk so unlike many which they had taken during the last fortnite to Peggy's hut.

One must have seen the effect of moonlight in a half-cleared forest-path in this southern climate, to conceive any idea of its beauty. The striking illustration of 'ebon and ivory' that has been so beautifully applied to this species of light, is hardly strong enough to convey an idea of its strength and power there. The flood of silver that bathes every object where trees are not, and the solemn darkness that dwells unconquerable where they are, surpasses anything that more temperate latitudes can show.

Lucy seemed inclined to bask in the moonshine, and chose the centre of the open glad by which their walk commenced, as if to enjoy its brilliance more fully; but this suited not the tone of poor Edward's feelings, and drawing her arm within his, he led her gently into the shade.

'Dearest Lucy!' he said, 'do you remember that I was once stern enough to say that it was your duty to obey me? And do you remember, too, how sweetly you answered that you knew it, and would never cease to remember it?'

'Well, Edward! and suppose I do? Have you any very terrible proof of my sincerity to propose to me?'

'I fear I have, my love; - but you must not blame me, Lucy; and do not, for God's sake, dearest, - do not increase the difficulties which surround us, by showing disinclination to adopt the measure I have decided on for you'.

The heart of the poor girl at once divined that he was about to propose they should separate.

'Edward! Edward!' she exclaimed, 'think well before you decide upon leaving me; - think well whether I shall have strength to support the life I now lead without you'.

'What I have arranged for you is nothing like this, dearest Lucy; but, to speak to you at once with the frankness you so well deserve, I must say that our remaining together at this very critical moment would be fatal to the great object to which I have solemnly consecrated my existence. I cannot do what I ought to so while you are with me. But think not that I am therefore less exposed to danger. On the contrary, I am persuaded that did I feel myself perfectly a free agent, and had the power of moving from one quarter to another, I might live amongt these unhappy people for years, of which no week, no day should pass unmarked by the approach of some of them towards their God, while I might remain unchallenged and unknown even in the centre of New Orleans'.

'New Orleans! Are you going to New Orleans, Edward? - and at this season!'

'Oh, no, Lucy! I have no such idea, I assure you. On the contrary, my intention is to remain at our present quarters, and to pursue the same occupation; while you, at the distance of a few miles only, shall be safely pursuing an employment less fatiguing, I hope, but certainly more profitable, and which will afford you the power of meeting me every Sabbath morning at sunrise on the road from Natchez, when I will lead you home to breakfast, and we will pass the holy day in prayer and peace'.

'Ah, my poor Edward!' replied Lucy, weeping, 'you have thought more of me than of yourself in this. How will your evenings pass without me?'

'Delightfully, peacefully, fearlessly, Lucy; for I shall have done my duty. But you do not ask to what labour I have pledged my little girl? - Are you not anxious to know whether you are to be governess in the family of some magnificent creole, with the task of imparting activity to all her offspring? or to superintend the agreeable establishment of a Natchez boarding-house'

'I do not much think,' replied Lucy, almost recovering her smiles, 'that you have pledged to either one or the other. But tell me, cruel Edward! what is it I shall have to occupy me when I can plan and plot for your comfort no longer?'

Edward then gave her a detailed account of the engagement he had entered into, confessed that the aspect of Mrs Shepherd was not very inviting, but endeavoured to console himself and her by the talking of the future, and dwelling upon a hope he had often before mentioned, that he might some day find means to take her with him to the coast of Liberia.

Lucy answered only by a heavy sigh; but she made no farther attempt at remonstrance, and listened with gratitude to the account he gave of his thoughtful purchases for her.

By the time this theme was fully discussed, they had reached the spot where Edward had left the weary and exhausted negro. He had taken the bearings of the thicket which concealed him too accurately to feel any doubt about the place; but the signals he gave of their approach remained unanswered, nor could they penetrate sufficiently into the matted covert to enable them to decide whether the object of their search were concealed there or not.

Caesar had made his entry into it much as a snake might have done - a mode of conveying the person that neither of his friends had yet acquired; so that having walked around and into the thicket as nearly as possible, and used their voices fully as loud as was safe to do, they began to fear either that he had been surprised and takne away, or that for some reason or other he had sought another place of concealment.

Fro a moment after this fear was expressed by Edward, they both stood perfectly still as if meditating what course to pursue; and then in the perfect silence Lucy fancied that she distinguished a sound like the heavy breathing of one asleep. Her brother listened at her bidding, and soon became convinced that she was right; but how to penetrate to the asylum the sleeper had chosen, or even to guess exactly where it was, he knew not.

At length it was decided between them to cut a long stout branch from a tree, and by the aid of this to set to work on poor Caesar as it is usual to do when endeavouring to dislodge a rat from a hole. The experiment happily succeeded, and a gleam of moonlight that shot through a lucky aperture in the trees was caught, and reflected so vividly by Caesar's eyes as he slowly emerged from his lair, that an European might have been strangely startled at the effect produced.

The next moment was one of rapture to poor Caesar. The sight of Lucy was an unexpected joy, and he testified his devotion to her rather like an Eastern than a Western slave, for he literally kissed the hem of her garment again and again, and spite of the weakness of his famished stated, wearied not of repeating -

'Miss Lucy! Oh, blessed Miss Lucy! Beautiful, blessed Miss Lucy!'

Tears flowed plentifully from the eyes of both; but Edward interfered to stop the excess of enervating feeling, for he knew that the poor fellow would have need of courage and energy to escape the perils that surrounded him.

The restorative contents of the basket were produced, and the gay enjoyment with which the poor negro despatched them was a painful contrast to the anxiety of his more thoughtful friends.

Timidly and tenderly he inquired for Phebe; and so needful did Edward think it to sustain, and not depress his spirits, that he only told him that they often saw her, without hinting at her recent disappearance, or at any of the peculiar miseries of her situation.

After an hour passed in thus comforting the poor runaway, Edward and Lucy prepared to depart; and as the thicket had proved a safe hiding-place, and contained as Caesar assured them, a very soft bed of leaves to sleep on, they strongly recommended his patiently remaining within it, promising that the following night shold replenish the little store they left with him, and that the interval should be passed in endeavouring to learn what would be the safest course for him to pursue. Having seen him ensconced, they took their departure; and their homeward walk was beguiled by the discussion of various plans for becoming acquainted with the rich German family who employed no slaves.


otwithstanding the many ingenious devices suggested and canvassed that night, when the following morning came, Edward Bligh told his sister that he had determined upon using none of them, but intended simply to present himself to their wealthy neighbour, and, unless he saw something in his manner that was discouraging, to state the case of Caesar at once, and ask his assistance in concealing him till the first heat of pursuit should be over.

Edward set forth accordingly; and the day being Sunday, Lucy consented to accompany him for a part of the way. The distance did not exceed three miles; and rather than lose the pleasure of his company on the return,- a pleasure, as she said, that would soon become very rare, - she placed herself under a tree at no great distance, though perfectly concealed, from the house, and there awaited his return.

Edward boldly entered the premises, and requesting to see 'the master,' was ushered int the common sitting-room of the Steinmark family, which has been before described.

Frederick Steinmark was, as usual occupied at the upper end of the apartment with a book; and, as usual too on this day of rest, his still beautiful wife was surrounded by her sons; the circle being now augmented by Fritz, and a young friend and countryman, who hd accompanied him from Philadelphia.

It was impossible to mistake the figure of the master. The high forehead, now nearly deserted by the light curls that formerly covered it - the slight contraction of the brow, which denoted at once age and thought, distinguished him sufficiently from the bright young faces which occupied the other end of the apartment.

Edward approached him and said -

- 'Mr Steinmark, I believe?'

It must, I suppose, be allowed as a defect, or a weakness, or, at any rate, as a peculiarity in Frederick Steinmark, that his first impulse since his arrival in America upon the approach of any stranger, was to look towards such members of his family as were present with him as a hint that they should come forward to relieve him from what indeed he never was heard to complain of, but which they all knew was the greatest annoyance that could beset him.

Upon this occasion, as usual, the same summons that caused him to raise his eyes from his book, directed them to towards his sons; but this glance of warning given, he next turned his eyes upon his guest, and immediately laid aside the volume on a table near him.

Hermann, with his usual promptitude, had already obeyed the look, and was by his side; but Edward, who had perceived the joyous party from which he came, took courage for the sake of Caesar's secret, and, almost unconscious of Hermann's civil salutation, continued to address his father.

'May I take the liberty, Mr Steinmark, of begging to speak to you alone?'

Such a request would in general have fallen more heavily on the ear of Frederick Steinmark than the announcement of the visit of a wolf or hurricane; but, somewhat to Hermann's surprise, he now rose with alacrity from his chair, and led the way to a small room on the opposite side of the entrance, followed by Edward.

Could their historian do justice to the character of Frederick Steinmark, or to the countenance of Edward Bligh, this deviation from usual habits of the former would create no surprise, for never did features more speakingly proclaim gentleness, intelligence, and refinement that those of Edward.

When the door of the little room was closed upon them, and they were both seated, the young American once more raised his eyes to the face of his host; and if any doubt remained on his mind as in the security with which he might tell him ALL, that glance removed it.

'When you know my business, sir,' said Edward, - 'I think you will forgive the freedom I have taken, and am about to take.'

'I am quite sure of it, sir, let that freedom be what it may', replied the German.

'You have a large estate here', resumed Edward, - 'and I am told that you own no slave. May I not believe this is a proof of your condemning slavery?'

'I would have it a proof to all men, that I abhor it with my soul', replied Frederick Steinmark with energy.

'Thank God!' replied poor Edward fervently. 'It is long since I have heard such words'.

'But why should they affect you so strongly, my young friend?' demanded Steinmark.

'I will tell you, sir. If you abhor slavery, you must be touched with compassion for those who are its victims. One of these, a young man of my own age, and whom I have known familiarly from my birth, - one of the most guiltless, faithful, and affectionate of human beings, - is at this moment exposed to all the fearful danger that threatens a slave who has run from his master. The reasons for his doing so, I could explain much to his honour did I not fear to intrude on your kind patience. But I have no means whatever of concealing him: he is at present lying hid in the forest at a few miles' distance, and unless I can discover some shelter for him soon, I cannot hope that he will escape the pursuit which will, before it ceases, leave no thicket unexplored'.

Steinmark listened with the most earnest attention; the tale had for the present effectually cured his absence of mind.

'If my premises can afford protection to the poor fellow, be very sure he shall have it. But may I, without your believing impertinent curiosity to be my motive, ask you, sir, how it happens that you, an Aamerican, an inhabitant of Louisiana, and, if I mistook you not, formerly the owner of this young negro, should feel thus keenly the misery and the sin produced by this dreadful system? I have been fifteen years in the country, and you are the first man from whom I have heard such sentiments'.

Edward hesitated a moment, not from any averseness to disclose his situation and the circumstances which led to it to the man before him, but rather from a fear of being beguiled by the interest expressed in the gentle eye that rested on him into becoming too tediously his own biographer.

'Let me not distress you', said Steinmark hastily, remarking this hesitation, and believing from it that there were circumstances it might be painful to disclose. 'I feel that my question was unauthorised. Let us rather revert'.

'Mr Steinmark!' interrupted Edward with vivacity, 'it is long, very long, since I have had the gratification of speaking to any one, except my young sister, to whom I could venture to express my feelings. If I now hesitate to answer you, it is because I fear that I may be led to speak of myself too much. Without this fear, it would indeed be a comfort and consolation to tell you what I am, and why I am no better'.

'We seem, my young friend', returned Steinmark, with his own peculiar smile of irresistatable sweetness, 'to have more than one peculiarity in common, It is long, very long too, since I have encountered a human being out of my own family to whom I could speak with freedom; and now we have met, I should be sorry to think the acquaintance was likely to end'.

Edward held out his hand without speaking. At that moment, his voice could not have served to express his feelings so well as his action. He was fully understood, however; and these two very shy men, of different ages and of different nations, felt mutually that they were far advanced towards intimacy and friendship.

'May I then come to you again?' said Edward cheerfully: 'I cannot indulge myself now; - I have left my sister waiting for me in the forest, and she will be most painfully anxious to hear the result of my petition for shelter in behalf of poor Caesar. Shall I tell her that you have promised to conceal him?'

'You may, indeed. But shall we not see your sister? - why not request her to join us?'

From this, however, Edward excused himself. He had as yet made no acquaintance with the kind Mary and her lovely daughter; and the group of gay-looking young men he had caught sight of would he thought, positively frighten Lucy. It was therefore settled that Edward should now take his leave, and return about midnight with Caesar, leaving to the morrow the renewal of the conversation which had so much interested both.

'And your name, my friend?, said Frederick Steinmark, holding out his hand.

'Edward Bligh'.

'Farewell, then, till to-night. I will myself, and myself alone, await you at the gate through which you passed in coming to the house. When you know us all, perhaps you may increase the number of your confidants'.

Edward took his leave, and carried with him such a degree of love, admiration, and reverence for the man he left, as only the young, unworn, and pure of heart can feel upon an acquaintance of half-an-hour's standing. Nevertheless, not all the ripened wisdom of a Nestor could have enabled him to form a truer judgment. Such beings as Frederick STeinmark are not given lavishly to the world; yet many may exist, perhaps, who do not bear so legible an index on their brow of the treasure within. Happy are those who, if destined to encounter one such in their passage through the world, meet it in the first glow of youthful feeling, when no misdoubtings of the delightful impulse, which renders up the heart, checks and chills the offering!

This happiness was Edward's, and he enjoyed it too with the keenness of one to whom happiness is rare; yet there was a moisture in his eye as he turned from the threshold which might have been mistaken for the symbol of sorrow. The first half of the distance which divided him from Lucy was traversed in a sort of trance: new hopes, new affections, were awakened in his bosom, and all the heavy care that pressed upon him were for those few delicious moments totally forgotten. Then came the idea of his sister, and the pleasure of relating his success: but with this came also the remembrance of t teir approaching separation, and the melancholy thought that poor Lucy, toiling with her needle in Mrs Shepherd's store at Natchez, would be as forlorn and miserable as if no such being as Frederick Steinmark existed in the world.

His pace slackened as he thought of this; and his last steps were taken so languidly, and the expression of his countenance as he approached her was so sad, that as she rose to meet him she exclaimed,

'Alas! Edward, I see that you have failed! God help him, poor fellow! - his fate in this world is sealed'.

This was uttered with such rapid vehemence, that the 'No! no! no!' of Edward was unheeded, and the poor girl burst into tears.

'Why, what a kill-joy face must mine be, Lucy, that the sight of me, even when I bring you the most happy tidings, should throw you into such complete despair! I have not failed, Lucy: on the contrary, I have found a safe asylum for Caesar - if any can be safe, - and for myself a friend such as I never hoped to meet on earth. This Frederick Steinmark, Lucy, is a man that one might fancy was creted to make a link between earth and heaven!'

'Edward!', ejaculated his sister with a feeling almost like dismay at a burst of such unwonted vehemence from one so calm - at least on all themes but one; 'how strongly wild that sounds, when speaking of a man whom you have known perhaps for forty minutes!' But, if he will save Caesar, I too will love and honour him, - though scarcely with such high-flown ecstacy as yours'.

Edward answered her reproof with a bright and happy smile -

'You know not what you talk of, my dear child. You can have no idea of the being that lives yonder, enshrined in the forest, and hid as it should seem from all the world: his eye, his smile, his voice, his words - '

As he thus vividly brought the image of his new acquaintance before his mind's eye, hsi memory suddenly recalled to him the looks, words, and actions he had witnessed the day before in Mr Monrow Vandumper's store.

'God of the universe', he exclaimed with awe, 'inscrutable are thy ways! All, all have immortal souls! - All in thine own image! - Oh! how defaced, deformed! Can they be recognised? - Can we believe them of the same race? - What is the tincture of the skin, compared to this deep-dyed deformity? - deep to the centre, to the inmost soul!'.

Lucy walked beside him, her arm locked in his; but she felt that these words were not addressed to her. It was not the first time that she had heard her brother break forth thus in soliloquy, as if his mind started aside from the theme on which they were conversing; and whenever this happened, a vague terror, lest sorrow might at last shake his noble understanding, shot through her heart. But the fear was as transitory as the cause of it, and left no trace of which she was conscious on her mind, except perhaps a sort of quiet firmness that she cherished there, as a fund of strength in time of need, that might make stand against the rash enthusiasm that he often manifested.

Having thus given vent, perhaps unconsciously, to the thoughts that were at work within him, Edward walked on in silence. Lucy had no courage to interrupt his meditation, but she sighed deeply.

'Forgive me, dearest love!' he exclaimed, 'for suffering my thoughts to wander from Steinmark and from you, to Natchez, and some of the vile beings that inhabit it. Shall I tell you, Lucy, why it was that when I approached you laden with good news, I looked as if I were the hearer of all that was dismal?'

'I wish you would; - I cannot understand it'.

'It was because I have found a blessing that you cannot share with me if you keep the engagement I have made for you at Natchez'.

'God bless you, dearest Edward! - but do not always let your thoughts and cares be fixed on. I shall do very well; and should I find it otherwise, you know we have already settled that I should return to you. Meanwhile, I trust that this good German who has so enchanted you will prove a useful friend to you as well as to Caesar'.

'Ay, Lucy, that's the point. Not for myself, however; - I want no man's aid: - but you, Lucy; - might I not hope to gain his friendship and protection for you?'

'In what way, Edward?'

'Nay, I hardly know. He seems to have many sons; and if they all live at home, it would be unseemly to ask an abode for you with them'.

'Ask an abode for me, and with total strangers, Edward? - Indeed, I shall prefer your former plan. Your sour Mrs Shepherd has not terrors for me. I sew with great rapidity; and that will win me favour in her sight. All this I can agree to readily: but I pray you, Edward, do not consign me to the charity of strangers'.

'Strangers! - Steinmark is no stranger to me, Lucy'.

'But my dear Edward', she replied anxiously, 'remember how much you have already asked of him. Though his ample premises and the respect always shown to wealth may enable him for a while to conceal Caesar, it is not the less certain that he runs great risk at New Orleans against a native creole, as wealthy probably as your new German friend, and for a less offensive act than concealing a runaway slave. Mr Steinmark braves all this at your request; - pray do not tax this new-made friendship any farther'.

'I feel that you are right - at least for the present, Lucy. But I wish that you had seen him: your accent, if not your words, would, I am sure, be different'.

Lucy would not dispute this point with him; and their conversation during the rest of the day turned chiefly upon the manner of life she would be likely to lead at Natchez. The visit to Reichland had produced effects exactly opposite on the minds of the brother and sister respecting the new scheme. Her dread of being dependent upon strangers reconciled her perfectly to that which a few hours before she had shrunk from with distaste and fear; while the bare possibility that the protection of Steinmark might be obtained for her, made Edward deepy regret the measure, in the success of which he had so recently rejoiced.


s soon as the night closed in, Edward set off, accompanied by his sister, for a certain point in the thickest part of the forest between Fox's clearing and the plantation of Colonel Dart. It was here that for some weeks past, at the same dark hour of every Sabbath night, he had met such of the Negroes as had courage to creep from their beds and assemble around him to pray, to listen to a portion of the Scriptures, and to such an exhortation from him as their peculiar circumstances called for.

The eloquence of Edward Bligh was of no mean order. His copious reading had enriched his style; and his strong feelings and enthusiastic piety lent a fervour and a force to all he uttered that could not fail of producing great effect, though unconscious of the cause that produced it. Their souls were roused from apathy, and in many cases elevated to hopes as pure, as well-founded, and as sublime as those which inspired the young preacher who addressed them.

The first time they met to keep holy the Sabbath night, the only mode of obeying the commandments within their reach, Peggy, Phebe, one man, and three other women, formed the congregation; but the number had gradually increased, and on the preceding Sunday amounted to near fifty. Each individual approached the spot as nearly as might be alone, and no sound was heard, no human voice presumed to pierce the solemn stillness till the low clear tones of Edward were heard to pronounce . . . 'Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest'.

As it was considered essential to the safety of the meeting that the persons who composed it should arrive singly, Edward and Lucy did not join them till it was supposed they had all assembled; and it is difficult to conceive anything more wild and impressive than the scene which had hitherto greeted them when they reached the ground.

Seated in dusky groups, sometimes by dimly visible, still as the solid earth on which they reposed, and silent as the stars that gleamed above them, the humble people waited to hear the word of God.

A less exalted spirit that that of Edward Bligh might have been warmed into enthusiasm by this spectacle; and he never took his place amongst them without silently renewing the vow he had made to Heaven that no earthly consideration should ever induce him to abandon the attempt of leading these suffering spirits to seek for consolation before the throne of God.

On the night which followed Edward's visit to Reichland, he and his sister reached the ground a little earlier than usual, that no time should be lost in waiting for them. They knew how impatiently Caesar must be expecting them, and were anxious that the delay necessarily occasioned by the meeting should be as short as possible.

They were not therefore greatly surprised, on entering the small and closely-sheltered space selected for the meeting, to find it untenanted. They sat down in silence on the moss-covered root of an old plane-tree, and remained for about a quarter of an hour patiently waiting the arrival of their sable friends.

Edward looked at that portion of the sky which the opening gave to his view, and perceived by the position of the stars that the usual hour of meeting was past.

'Something must have happened at the plantation, Lucy, to prevent the people from coming to-night', said Edward in a whisper.

'Poor Phebe! this then accounts for her absence', replied Lucy in the same still tone. 'But we must wait no longer, Edward, or you may be too late for your appointment with Mr Steinmark'.

Edward rose without answering, and taking the arm of his sister, was about to traverse the opening in the direction of Caesar's retreat, when the moonlight made distinctly visible the diminutive and decrepit figure of old Juno, who at that moment issued from behind a palmetto that grew beside their path.

'The favour of the Most High shield and protect you, blessed children!' she said, as they approached. 'Marvel not that your poor people are not here to receive the balm you bring them. It is at Juno's bidding that they are absent; and you will not believe that it was for nothing she forbad those who hunger and thirst to come where only they could find the nourishment they lack'.

'Wherefore, then, Juno, have you prevented their coming?' said Edward.

'Shall I tell you now?' said the old woman. 'See', she continued, pointing with her bamboo towards the heavens, 'it is late, and my tale may wax long: - must I indeed tell you all now?'

'No, no', said Lucy eagerly. 'Juno, be here to-morrow night'.

'Not so, sweet one', replied the old woman mournfully.

'The night after, then?'

'Not so', she repeated, in the same accents.

'On Wednesday, then?'

Juno shook her head, saying -

'When you may see Juno safely, you shall see her, chosen of Heaven! But you must be patient. It grows late', she continued, looking again towards the sky: 'do not force me t remain longer with you now'.

'No, no', said Edward hastily, and drawing his sister onward; 'we will not stay to hear you now, Juno: - another time. Good night!'

'The blessings of the suffering wrap you round like incense, and hide you from every wicked eye', said the aged woman, stepping out of their way, and dropping on he knees beside the path. She then raised her clasped hands to heaven, and her lips moved in prayer.

'One word, one single word, dearest Edward!' said Lucy eagerly; and withdrawing her arms from his, she stepped back to the old woman, and laying her hand upon her shoulder, uttered the name of 'Phebe!' but without adding a word to it.

'Safe!' was the equally laconic reply; and Lucy darted after her brother, repeating the word on account of the most heartfelt joy.

'Alas! my love', said Edward gravely, 'do you really place any confidence in the words of that poor maniac?'

'And you still will have it, Edward, that Juno is not in her right senses? How strange that seems to me'.

'My doubts of her sanity cannot seem more strange to you, Lucy, than your belief in it does to me'.

'And what are the grounds, Edward, upon which you found the idea that has lost her reason? Surely, not because she is old, and speaks in a language that shows more instruction than can be met with in those around her? - And yet, if it be not on these grounds, I see not any other for the suspicion'.

'Is it possible, Lucy, that you do not perceive her wild enthusiasm?'

'I perceive her enthusiasm', replied Lucy gravely; then added with a sigh, 'But why should we call it wild, Edward?'

'Because it evidently betrays her into excess, not of faith - that is impossible! - but into unreasonable excess of fervour in the expression of it'.

A painful feeling oppressed the heart of Lucy as she listened to him. She had conversed much and often with old Juno; but, in her estimation, enthusiasm often took a shade of greater wildness than in her. She drove the idea from her with an effort, and replied -

'You have no faith, then, in that delightful word pronounced so confidently? You do not believe that Phebe is in safety?'

'I confess, Lucy, that Juno's saying it goes not for much with me. - It may be true, or it may not. It may be true in some mystical sense of her own, in explaining which she might keep the word of promise to the ear, and break it to the sense. I am greatly grieved that this poor crazy soul should have such influence among our people as to prevent their meeting us'.

Lucy feared to push the discussion further; there was a vexed tone in her brother's voice very unusual with him, and she began talking of Caesar, and of the probably security of the asylum promised him.

Earnestly and cheerfully he entered on this theme, assuring her that he conceived the situation more secure than any other could possibly be, as from the circumstances of Mr Steinmark's having no negroes in his employ, there could be no presence to search among his labourers; a process which was often the means of betraying an unfortunate wetch into the savage hands from which he had escaped.

On arriving at Caesar's lair, the found the poor fellow eagerly looking out for them. His body was completely concealed; but his black head proturuded beyond the bush, and was most distinctly visible in the moonlight.

Lucy chid him for this imprudence; but Caesar seemed too happy to listen to her, and crawling briskly from his hiding place, he actually began to gambol round them in the very ectasy of joy at their return.

There was, however, no time to be lost - not even sufficient to explain the success of their exertions to the gay object of them. 'Follow me, Caesar', said Edward hastily; 'we must be quick, or the friend that waits fr us may give us up and be off his post'.

This hint was abundantly sufficient; there was no forther need to urge Caesar onward, and he set off with all the recovered power of his active limbs.

'Do we walk too fast for you, Lucy?' said Edward, pausing for a moment.

'You can take a shorter cut,' she replied, 'than that which leads by our door. Fear not for me, dear Edward; even without this glorious moon I should not fear to find my way alone. Adieu, good Caesar! We shall meet again; and now go on with all the speed you can'.

So saying, she dropped quietly behind them, and in a few minutes they were out of sight.

Another moonlit mile, traversed without encountering a single living object, unless the ceaseless note of the wakeful bull-frog which accompanied her the whole way, be considered as giving evidence of an exception, brought Lucy in safety to her dwelling; but she was too anxious to hear that Caesar was in safety also, to permit her going to bed till Edward returned. She had not long, however, to wait for him. Frederick Steinmark, faithful to his word, was found at the appointed spot. A cordial shake of the hand being exchanged between him and Edward, and a promise asked and given that he would speedily return to Reichland, they parted. Steinmark led Caesar to a luxurious bed of straw and a substantial supper in a loft used only for the stowage of spare planks; and Edward returned to his sister, bidding her sleep as 'doubtless and secure' as he was quite sure the object of her anxiety was about to do.


he lean and withered Juno, on leaving the hut of Peggy with young Whitlaw, continued her strange hobbling pace till she reached the running stream at the back of it. There she stopped and awaited him; for although he could easily have passed with one step the space which she painfully conquered by three, he lagged behind her. The effects this old woman and her grimaces produced on him were, in truth, complicated and contradictory in the extreme. He loathed her age and ugliness; he scorned her helpless, slavish poverty; he hated her assumption of licence, and even power, above her fellows; but stronger than all was, nevertheless, the sentiment which made him shrink from her mockings and mysteries, and yet bend and servilely crawl before them.

Juno pretty well knew that 'such and so great' was her power; and many a good time and oft had the wily old woman indulged her abhorrence and revenge towards him and his occupation, by playing upon the terrors which ever lie crouching in the mind of a bad man, ready to torment him whenever some influence from without can be made to rouse and set the imps in action.

A metaphysician might have understood all this wonderfully well, and yet have been puzzled to work the machinery of such a mind as skilfully as Juno did. In truth, she knew to a nicety how far she might carry her tricks with every individual with whom she had to deal; and if all who undertook to rule their fellows studied the ins and outs of human feelings as patiently as did Juno, power as gigantic as Napoleon's might perhaps be seen to sweep over the earth oftener than once in half a dozen centuries.

The history of this whimsical being, half saint, half sorceress, as she was, may be given in few words. She was born in the family of a French creole, the mistress of which chose her out of a number of new-born blackies submitted to her inspection, much as a young lady might select a kitten from among a litter for her own particular amusement.

The hateful position which gave Madame Briot the power of doing this was not of her own seeking, nor in consequences her own choice; but the steady, gentle kindness with which the helpless being she had thus drawn near her, was fostered as long as she lived, was indeed all her own. It was, however, with more amiability of feeling than correctness of judgment that the little negress was permitted not only to be in attendance during all the lessons received by Madame Briot's children, but to read the books they read, and to emulate their progress in every branch of education through which white teachers could be prevailed upon to lead her. The dancing and music masters luckily both declared that they could by no means consent to such unwonted degradation; and thus Juno escaped the danger of becoming 'elegantly accomplished'. But even so, the hours devoted to the fine arts by her young mistress were not passed without danger by her; for she spent them wholly in reading and that reading was of the miscellaneous kind furnished by a New Orleans circulating library.

The yellow-fever carried off her kind-hearted but thoughtless patroness just as Juno reached the age of sixteen. M. Briot having European connections, immediately decided upon placing his young family under their care. His New Orleans establishment was accordingly broken up, and his slaves sold.

Juno next became the property of an English settler; and thence the misery of her long and suffering life began. This man, struck by her unusual acquirements, amused himself by making her his companion and his mistress. He conversed with her as with a being of intellectual faculties equal to his own; furnished her with all the most stirring poetry of his country, for the gratification of seeing how it would work on her wild imagination; and having thus given her a glimpse of happiness not easily conceived by beings under ordinary circumstances, he too departed for Europe, taking with him a little yellow girl of eighteen months old, on whom he determined to bestow an education which should atone by its expense for the cruelty he considered himself obliged to practise by abandoning her mother. In a paroxysm of sentimental generosity, he determined however, not to sell, but to give Juno to a friend he left behind him.

The unfortunate was not the less a slave for the manner of the transfer; and when she recovered from the frenzy that fell upon her on seeing her child borne away in the arms of its father, she found herself again installed as the mistress of a white man.

To him she bore many children; but her apathetic indifference to them and their father, though only manifested by an external tranquillity of demeanour alike undisturbed by love or hate, was in strange contrast to the wild fervour of her first affections.

After ten years of cohabitation, this man died, leaving her and her eight children still slaves. His executors sold them all to the highest bidders; and it was said that Juno never inquired to whose hands fate had consigned her offspring. For the third time, she herself became the favourite of her owner, and again bore children; but she performed this task, as she did all others assigned to her, much more like a well-regulated machine than a human being, never giving any outward indication whatever of either will, wish or affection. On the marriage of this man, she was again sold; and having the good fortune to be now purchased by a widow lady, who, though a slave-holder, was nevertheless a very charitable and well-disposed Christian, the unhappy woman seemed in some degree to awake from the unnatural state of torpidity into which the detested degradation of the last fifteen years of her existence had plunged her. With this mistress she remained above twenty years, during which time her manner of life was irreproachable; and she so evidently possessed the good lady's esteem, that everybody who knew the parties considered it as certain, that when the old lady died, she would leave Juno the legacy of her freedom.

Poor Juno thought so too; and in the deep silence of her unopened heart she had resolved to what use that freedom should be turned. During the years which succeeded the departure of her first child for England, this miserable but favoured slave contrived to learn from time to time, from some who still maintained a correspondence with the one only object of her idolatry, that her child was still alive, and still fondly cherished by its father; then that she had married an Englishman of good fortune; and then, that she had died, leaving one little girl.

The turmoil of hidden emotion into which these different tidings threw the forgotten mother need not be traced here. With care and pains that defeated every difficulty, she contrived to hear of the welfare of this grandchild, on whom her heart continued to fix all its burning fondness. She heard that the girl was beautiful, beyond even the far-famed beauty of the fair race among whom she dwelt; and the fancy of the poor negress sketched her image, and then clung to it as to an idol.

The liberality of those with whom Juno lived had made her mistress of some scores of dollars, and she had never expended a cent from the day on which her first child was taken from her. This sum, though not amounting to half that which the purchase of her freedom would require, was quite sufficient to pay a passage to England; and to England she determined to go, there to behold her glorious grand-daughter, and there to die, as soon as her old mistress shoold have winged her way to heaven, and left her in possession of her freedom.

Her old mistress died at length. Bureaus, caskets, writing-desks, and chests were all searched to find her will, but searched in vain; and Juno, at the age of fifty, was still a slave.

She was now again sold, and transferred to the estate known by the name of Paradise Plantation, near Natchez. This last frightful disappointment of the patient steadfast hope of many weary years for a time unsettled the wits of the unfortunate woman; but she had herself a strange consciousness that her mind was shaken and took refuge in almost total silence, from the observations she dreaded to excite. She had now fallen into the hands of a planter who had bought her cheap, with many others of equally advanced age, merely for the drudgery of hoeing and weeding; an employment which, be keeping her entirely in the open air, certainly contributed to her recovery; and in about eighteen months after the death of her old mistress, Juno was so nearly well as to believe herself completely restored to mental health, and that without the overseers having ever suspected that it was a lunatic who performed her allotted tasks with so much more rapidity than any other in the gang.

As soon as these daily tasks were over, it was her habit to steal forth into the forest that skirted the estate, where she found the greatest delight in recalling verses which she had committed to memory during the days of her happiness, and reciting them aloud. Even after her reason was in a great degree restored, this exercise continued to be her chief solace; and though she usually chose her time and place so well, that 'her spirits', as she chose to call the small green parrots that abound in that region, were for the most part her only auditors, yet it sometimes happened that she was overheard uttering these very unaccountable sounds; and the idea which had now become universal in the neighbourhood, that old Juno held intercourse with supernatural beings, had its origins in this.

Three times had she been sold with the other live stock without being removed from the estate, when Edward and Lucy Bligh established themselves in the forest near it. She was then rather more than seventy years old; but it was easy to persuade all such as were much younger, especially as most of those employed on Colonel Dart's property came there as strangers, that she was greatly more. She had quite ceased to think of freedom, or of England; and all that remained of her early affections was the idea, yearly becoming more vague, to whom she should be reunited after death, provided that the days she had still to pass on earth were spent in doing all the good she could to the virtuous, and thwarting and tormenting the wicked to the utmost of her power.

The consciousness that this power was very considerable, was certainly a source of no trifling pride and pleasure to old Juno; but if she sometimes used it rather wantonly in vexing and confounding the spirits she deemed sinful, she never relaxed in her efforts to aid and sustain those she believed to be good. Phebe had not been on the estate a week before old Juno discovered the difference between her and her fellow-labourers, and a farther knowledge of her and her mother had revived a greater feeling of affection in the heart of the poor old woman than she had felt since her sufferings began. She had become also one of the earliest and most devoted of Edward's flock. Lucy's delicate beauty recalled the visionary form she had so long cherished as that of her descendants; and her love and reverence to her, as well as to the cause in which she was engaged, was certainly sometimes expressed with a degree of vehemence that justified Edward's doubts as to her sanity.

Of Colonel Dart she had early conceived the very worst opinion; and that, amongst others, for three especial reasons. First, he liked to watch the flogging of his slaves; and notice was regularly given him by the various overseers when anything of the kind worth looking at was going on.

Secondly, he was the most suspicious man alive; often dreaming of plots, and then acting much as if they had been discovered and proved. And thirdly, he never went to church.

However wandering and wild the cause on which the wits of old Juno might occasionally have rambled, their acuteness was in no degree blunted by the exercise; for when she called them home again to the scenes passing around her, they not only penetrated to the motives and feelings of those among whom she lived, but enabled her to influence them in a manner that certainly made her one of the most important persons at Paradise Plantation.

For Whitlaw she conceived an aversion if possible more vehement than that inspired by his patron; and it is certain that many, many years had passed over her head since Juno experienced a degree of satisfaction so lively as that produced by the discovery that he too, while treating with ribald scorn the prophecies and revelations on which hand the hopes of the world, trembled before the mumbled incantations of an old woman.

She had hitherto used her power over him with little other object than his torment and her own amusement; but while idly lying about, as was her wont, now under the shelter of a ditch, and now of a furrow, she had heard more than one hint that Phebe was likely to become the 'favourite' of the confidential clerk. Her first interference in the affair was to ascertain whether the poor girl herself was likely to be a willing party to the arrangement; but when she had discovered the truth on that point, her determination was at once taken that Whitlaw should never obtain possession of her, and she set to work in her own peculiar manner to prevent it, with the most perfect confidence of success.

It would be tedious to recount the glidings and slidings, the creeping and the crawlings, the unseen exits and the unsuspected entrances, by which Juno learned all she wanted to know, and by aid of which she appeared wherever she wanted to be found: the effect of  her agency may be easily traced without following all the intricacies of the machinery she employed.

Having given this sketch of the origin of Juno and her diablerie, we may henceforward venture to describe her acts, without being suspected of any intention to mystify the reader.

On reaching the little brook behind Peggy's hut, the old woman stopped short, drawing figures in the air between her and it with her bamboo, which served her alternately as a crutch to sustain her failing strength on earth, and a wand with which to exercise power over the spirits of the air.

As Whitlaw with uncertain and reluctant steps approached her, his eyes were fixed on this instrument, and something like a smile of contempt curled his lip. The old woman saw it, and, as was usual with her upon all occasions when she wished to be particularly cabalistic and impressive, she addressed him in doggerel rhyme.

Of human weakness, and of strength divine,
A symbol see in this charm'd rod of mine!
With this I stay my feeble steps on earth,
With this I give to airy spirits birth.
Beware! - lest in its twofold use you see
Aught that should make you scorn my power or me.

These words were accompanied with some of Juno's most effective grimaces. She opened wide her large prominent eyes, and glared upon him till the bold sceptic trembled; then fixing them on the earth, with her brows knit and her left hand supporting her chin, she stood as if meditating what she should do to punish him for the irreverent smile she had detected.

'What would you say to me, good Juno?' said Whitlaw, in an accent of respect and kindness, which nothing but terror could have drawn from him, when addressing one of her race.

Nobody could know this better than the old woman herself, and feeling that she had hold of his dastard spirit, she determined to give it a gripe before he escaped; therefore, again raising her very terrible- looking eyes to his face, and extending her bamboo towards him, she said:

What would Juno say to you?
Unsmile that smile, or you shall rue!
A negro and a slave am I; -
But if it please the powers on high -
Those fearful powers that fill the air,
Holding mysterious counsel there -
On me their wondrous gifts to send,
All mortals must before me bend,
Kneel lowly then upon the mossy sod,
And kiss repentant my avenging rod.
Obey! and love and joy are thine!
Rebel! and vengenace deep is mine!

Upon this awful summons, the nominal freeman knelt down before the nominal slave, and did in sober earnest most literally kiss the can she extended to him, while the old woman chuckled inwardly; nay, an observant and tranquil-minded spectator might have perceived that outwardly, too, she evinced somewhat of the malicious triumph which so agreeably tickled her spirit. Her queer mouth twisted and contracted itself in a very remarkable manner, and there was a comical movement in her head that would have infinitely amused any lover of fun who had seen and understood it.

Whitlaw, however, neither saw nor understood anything, but that he was in the power of a hateful sorceress, leagued with the devil, and in some sort his vicegerent here on earth, whose power and activity in the particular spot he inhabited was the necessary consequence of 'wealth of niggers' on Paradise Plantation; an evil which he inwardly swore should be atoned for by the sufferings of this accursed race. Meanwhile, self-preservation and self-gratification were of course his principal objects; and urged by the feeling which these dictated, he framed his features into a look of very meek obedience as he rose from his humble position, and repeated his question -

'Now, good Juno, what would you say to me?'

One of the old woman's favurite tricks to produce effect was to change her dialect, from the English she had learned but too well during her days of happiness, to the negro gibberish usually spoken by her race; declaring that, when using the former, she was 'under a power', and could not help it.

She now replied to Whitlaw without the aid of inspiration.

'I'se right-down flad, massa, 'dential clerk, you dutiful to the spirits. I 'spect June speak civil, 'cause of her spirits - One - two - three. O! there they are, skimmering and dipping over your head. Speak civil, Massa Whitlaw, 'cause else they'll be on me 'gen, and that works Juno'.

'Civil!' muttered Whitlaw between his teeth. 'D - '

'Oh . . . h! Oh . . . h!' cried Juno, shuddering, and raising her bamboo towards the heavens. 'Oh . . . h! They are coming, they are coming - '

'Well, then', said Whitlaw, turning pale, 'there's money for ye. And harkye - '

Here he bent down to the level of Juno's ear, and, as if fearing that the spirits she talked of should overhear him, whispered the commssion he wished to entrust to her.

'Ay - ay - ay', replied the sybil, nodding her head myteriously three times, and then bursting out in a tone of triumph:

Done! done it shall be!
And fear not that she
Shall dare wrestle with me,
Or much longer continue rebellious in thee.

She then made a sign that he should again lower his head to a level with hers; and having in her turn whispered something to him, she started back towards the hut, then paused, and seeing that he still remained where she left him, her wand was raised into the air, and the word 'Awat!' uttered in a loud, shrill, shrieking accent, that seemed preternaturally prolonged till it had reached the craven heart of Whitlaw; when he too started off, and departed from the spot as fast as his long legs could carry him.


hatever might have been the whispered compact between Whitlaw and his inspired agent, the immediate consequence of it was the disappearance of Phebe from her mother's hut. Several days passed, and Peggy had no tidings of her; but in the interval Edward Bligh paid her another midnight visit, to inform her of the reasons he had for believing that her daughter had not been sold at Natchez.

'Thank God for that, Master Edward!' she exclaimed. 'Anything is better than to have her sold away off the place. - But do you think, sir', she continued, 'that the clerk has put her into prison?'

Tears of deep but patient suffering rolled, almost unconsciously to herself, down Peggy's cheeks as she spoke. Edward's heart was wrung as he looked at her sunken, melancholy features; and though he certainly has no great faith in the circumstance himself he related the manner in which Juno had replied to the inquiry of Lucy, by pronouncing the word 'Safe'.

'She did! she did!' cried Peggy in an ecstasy. 'Then safe she is, Master Edward, as surely as I now hear your voice'.

'Is it possible, Peggy', replied the young man almost reproachfully, 'that you, who are a Christian, can place such confidence in a word uttered by that poor crazed cripple?'

'Crazed, Master Edward! - Oh! Juno is not crazed - unless crazed folks know more than uncrazed ones'.

'How should she know more, Peggy? What means of knowledge can she possibly have beyond the rest of ye? I hope she is crazy, poor soul! For it not, she is unquestionably an imposter'.

'I may not say so, when you say yes, Master Edward', replied Peggy respectfully: 'but the master himself knows, and all of the overseers as well, that there is no use in not believing Juno. All she speaks comes true'.

Edward wisely avoided any discussion on the subject, and proceeded to inquire the reason of the people's having absented themselves from worship on the night of the Sabbath; to which Peggy replied that she would willingly tell him all she had heard. 'But then again, Master Edward', she said, 'you will find that Juno knew more than any other body'.

She then proceeded to relate, that on the Saturday night, Juno entered her hut long after she and the children were in bed, and having awakened her, very gravely whispered in her ear -

'Pray to the great God of the white man and the negro, kneeling on your own floor, to-morrow night, if you would save from destruction those who have mercifully spoken to you in the name of the Lord'.

A similar visit, Peggy said, accompanied by the same admonition, had been made in the course of that night to every hut on the estate inhabited by any of the congregation; said 'wonderful to tell', she added, 'in two instances in which poor unconverted souls were lodged in the same chamber with the faithful, old Juno contrived to do her errand without their knowing that she had entered among them at all'.

The old woman's manner of effecting her object upon this occasion was certainly extraordinary, and her step must have been as rapid as it was silent, for it appeared that between the setting and the rising of the sun she had traversed the grounds in all directions.

'At any rate, Peggy', observed Edward, as he prepared to take his leave, 'Ahe has not improved my opinion of her by preventing my habitual flock from meeting me in the forest. Should she repeat this, I shall deeply regret that our meetings were ever made known to her'.

So saying, he departed, leaving a degree of peace and hope with Peggy, respecting the fate of her child, which he was himself very far from sharing.

Edward had refused to let his sister accompany him on this midnight expedition, in consideration of the early hour at which the waggon would pass on the morrow which was to convey her to Natchez; and it was in truth not long after his return that the indescribable rumble of a huge American market-waggon, over corduroy roads, was heard approaching Fox's clearing. The first vibration of this sound gave Lucy warning to descend from her little low-roofed chamber, which now seemed to wear an aspect a thousand times more endearing than it had ever done before; but she had time to linger, and even to mount the ladder-like stair again, to bid it another farewell, before the far-resounding machine entered in sight.

Edward would willingly have disbursed double the number of cents charged for Lucy's fare to Natchez, for the comfort of escorting her to her strange home; but he felt strongly persuaded that nothing would so much contribute to her safety, in case danger fell upon him, as their never having been seen together there. The only person who knew him by name in the town was Mrs Shepherd; and from her he thought there could be little to fear, even should she hear from him as the woodland apostle of the negroes, provided he avoided as effectually as it was possible the identifying himself as the brother of her work-woman.

Without fully entering with Lucy into all his reasons for this, - for not for worlds would he have told her how darkly the shadows of events that were to come rested upon the path he had to tread, - Edward made her understand that, in his opinion, it would be better for them to meet only every Sunday in the forest, and pass that day together in the quiet, peaceful manner they were wont to do, than for him to be ever seen with her at Natchez.

Neither the employment he had chosen for her, not the wild and precarious existence he had marked out for himself, appeared to Lucy at all likely to contribute to the happiness of either. A thousand times would she have preferred continuing the drudgery of their teaching together as they had hitherto done, to the certain separation and very doubtful advantages of this new scheme: but Edward had made her feel that it was her duty to obey him, and she determined to do so, - unless, as a terrible idea which often came across her made her think possible - unless a more obvious duty still should oblige her to substitute her own judgment for his.

It was therefore with a feeling of depression almost equal to what it might have cost her in better days to have quitted a far different home, that Lucy mounted the waggon that was to convey her from Fox's clearing to the gay and beautiful-looking Natchez.

There are few congregations of houses in any land that offer a fairer aspect to the eye than this of Natchez. The sudden and isolated elevation of its position, commanding, as it does, an unbroken expanse of forest and enormous extent, through which the gigantic Mississippi rolls its majestic stream, brightly visible at intervals for many miles both up and down its course, is of itself, in that region of level sameness, a very exhilarating feature.

The town, though it has no architectural graces to embellish it, is nevertheless gay-looking and pretty in no common degree. Nothing seems to suggest ideas of greater enjoyment in the external appearance of dwelling-houses than those contrivances for obtaining air and shade which are found in all warm countries. Whether the same effect be produced by this on the imaginations of those who are to 'the manner born', I know not; but I believe no native of a somewhat northern climate ever looks upon these preparations for shade in the midst of sunshine, without feeling that they promise a very enviable sort of enjoyment.

Natchez abounds in verandas, balconies, and awnings; in addition to which, abundance of fine orange-trees fill the air with their perfume. The vegetation is universally bright and abundant, and the whole scene animated by the variety of its living groups; among which, creoles, quadroons, and negroes are found in nearly equal proportions; while not infrequently a party of Indians, more picturesque than any of them, may be seen sadly and silently gazing upon the wide expanse that was once their own, but which they now traverse with the timid step of the intruder.

On the whole, therefore, the spectacle that meets the eye on emerging from the forest behind Natchez is sufficiently beautiful to enliven any spirit less profoundly sad than that of poor Lucy; but, in truth, she saw it not. Seated in a corner of the waggon, her close bonnet pulled low over her face, and her eyes shut, - in the hope of stopping the national catechism to which she was exposed from the driver, as to whence she came, where she was going to stop, et caetera - by feigning to be asleep - the melancholy girl saw nothing till the vehicle drove up to the brick pavement before Mrs Shepherd's door; and perhaps she would willingly have closed her eyes again, when they showed her the grim, sharp, sour features of the stiff mistress of the establishment to which she was about to belong.

'Soh! here you be, then', was the first salutation that greeted her. 'Well, I didn't need have been in a pucker about your beauty, nohow! why, you're as pale as new whitewash. I calculate you can't stand much steady work, Miss?'

'Humph! I expect that you calculate early-rising to be bad for the health then: but that's not a notion that will be approbated here; so it's not over and above lucky'.

'I am never late in bed', replied Lucy gently. It required an effort to pronounce these few words without tears. The observation of Mrs Shepherd unluckily touched a chord that suddenly took her memory back to the time, little more than one short year ago, when Phebe used to enter her pretty, nicely-curtained apartment on tiptoe, and before she let in a sunbeam upon her young mistress, watched cautiously to see if her fine eyes were open to receive it.

Poor Lucy felt much more angry at her own weakness for suffering such a thought to affect her, than at the harshness of the words which gave rise to it. But some of her mental reproaches ought to have fallen upon her uncalculating thoughtlessness in leaving her breakfast untasted. The waggon-road to Natchez, from the necessity of going round a very wide, unfordable creek, was somewhat more than twelve miles; and deliberate as that motion must have been which carried her over it at the rate of two miles an hour, it is nevertheless certain that the continuance of it for six hours, when fasting, did make Lucy feel very painfully exhausted; a weakness which may be the more readily excused, when the depressed state of her spirits at parting for the first time in her life from her brother is taken into consideration.

Her slight and delicate frame, however, was animated by a mind that would not have disgraced one promising greater strength; and her tearful propensities were chased by a genuine smile when Mrs Shepherd continued the conversation by saying, 'I expect you'll be for beginning your boarding at once, Miss Bligh?'

'I should indeed be very glad of some breakfast', replied Lucy.

'I guess so; and I'll be setting the work you are to start with while you eat it; that's tit for tat, you know. Dido!' screamed the mistress of the house, without moving from her place behind the counter.

A little negress of about ten years old answered the call.

'Take a cup of coffee and a rpll for the new lady into the keeping-room; and tell Miss Clarinda Butterworth to come to me'.

Miss Clarinda Butterworth appeared accordingly.

'Here's the new Miss for the plain-work, Miss Clary. Show her in; and then step back to me for the frock skirts she's to begin with. She'll be after eating her breakfast while I fix 'em'.

The young person thus addressed was far from ill-looking; but there was a little air of pretension and hauteur about her, particularly observable as she ran her eyes over the attire of the humble personage committed to her charge, which might have been very disagreeable to one who had in any degree aspired to competition with the elegance of a young Natchez sempstress of unmixed white blood. Luckily, this was a presumption that Lucy dreamed not of; and consequently the little toss of the head, and the lazy, reluctant sort of step, with which Miss Clary preceded her to the keeping-room,  were as harmless as the chirpings of a gay-plumed bird.

The keeping-room was a good-sized parlour behind the shop; and Lucy found assembled there four young women, who, with herself and her conductor, formed the whole company of Mrs Shepherd's very thriving needlework establishment.

'How d'ye do, Miss Lucy Bligh?' exclaimed a bright-faced, black-eyed firl as she entered, whose countenance expressed, in pretty equal proportions, boldness and good-humour: 'we have been looking for you this half-hour'.

You behave yourself, Miss Arabella Tomkins', said a damsel at least a dozen years her senior, who, from her situation at the head oa long work-table, a careful frown upon her brow, and an air of precision over her whole person, was evidently the deputy commander-in-chief: 'that's no way to receive a new-comer'.

Lucy paused a moment after she entered, to see if she should be invited to any particular place in the apartment: but this was not being the case, she placed herself at a little table near one of the windows, which being open, tempted her, both from the fresh air and fine prospect which it offered.

'Bey your pardon, but that's my place, if you please', said the haughty Miss Clarinda, placing her hand upon the back of the chair thus unintentionally usurped. Lucy quitted it instantly; when her conductor, putting the middle finger of her right hand in her mouth, and then ensconcing it in her thimble, sat herself down to work, without uttering a single syllable more, either of introduction or welcome.

'Will you please sit here?' said a girl, the sweetness of whose voice and accent caused Lucy involuntarily to hasten her step as she approached to accept the offered chair. this welcome overture came from the youngest and the prettiest girl in the room: but her large eyes, as she raised them to give the stranger a glance of welcome, had an expression of shyness that made Lucy feel the more grateful to her for the effort she had made to relieve her from her awkward position.

'Thank you very much', said Lucy, 'but I am afraid I shall be in your way; don't let me derange all this beautiful lace'.

'Oh no!', replied the little beauty; 'Here is quite room, and to spare, for you and me too'.

'Mind your work, Miss Talbot', was uttered from the top of the table.

A girl on the other side of Lucy laughed aloud, and then said, in a tone that hardly effected to be a whisper, 'Cross old maids are a plague everywhere, a'n't they, Miss Bligh?'

'You think you may say anything to-day, 'case of the pine-apple, Miss Olivia; but Mrs Shepherd must look for another fore-woman if your tongue's to run that rate'.

Miss Olivia hummed a tune.

At this moment the little Dido entered, with a tray bearing a large cup of coffee and a very delicate-looking white roll. Wherever there are slaves, all white persons who are hired to work at any employment are sure to be delicately fed; as the difference made between the two races is always as marked as possible in this particular, as well as in all others.

Mrs Shepherd's Work-Room

I suppose you are half starved, Miss Lucy Bligh?' said the laughing-eyed Arabella, in a tone that seemed to hover between quizzing and kindness. Lucy wisely chose to answer to the latter only, and replied with a very sweet smile, 'It is very true, indeed. I have eaten nothing today, and have been travelling ever since four o'clock'.

'My! - responded Arabella, the good-humoured division of her piebald character coming forward; 'what's one cup of coffee after that? I say, black devil, - you, Dido, you - bring another cup of coffee, hot, hot, hot, and another roll, this instant, or I'll roll you in no time'.

'You are very kind', said Lucy, really enjoying her repast, and cheered to think that neither Mrs Shepherd, her prim deputy, not even the sublime Clarinda were to be her only companions: 'but I am afraid Mrs Shepherd will think me absolutely voracious'.

'Never mind her if she does', said Arabella: 'she's bound to board, as you know, and we're not to be treated like niggers'.

Miss Clarinda Butterworth left the room while this was passing, and presently returned with an armful of little white dresses, which, with a fitting accompaniment of threads and needles, she delivered over to Lucy 'to begin', who hastily concluding her breakfast, set herself with a most willing spirit to her task.

'Three on one side the table, and one on the other, ladies, is the way to have room for - for nothing but just to run your needles into each other's eyes; so you'll please to walk over, Miss Lucy Bligh, and seat yourself by Miss Arabella Tomkins'.

Lucy obeyed; but it was not without reluctance, that she quitted the side of the pretty creature who had been addressed by the fore-woman as Miss Talbot. It is true that she had not again addressed her; but her first friendly words, and sundry little kind attentions during her breakfast, made her feel as if she were leaving a friend.

Before Lucy again seated herself, she proposed to lay aside her shawl and bonnet, which Miss Talbot had taken from her and laid upon the table.

'These things will be in the way here, ma'am,', said she, addressing the superior; 'shall I take them to my room?'

'You're to sleep with me, Miss Bligh', exclaimed the pretty little Talbot eagerly; 'so I will show you the way'.

The two girls left the room together, but not without a word of admonition from their chief, intimating that they were not to stay too long.

In the short interview which they allowed themselves after mounting to the little attic allotted for their use, Lucy was pleased to observe that her companion uttered no phrase against any of the party they had left, or even the sour Mrs Shepherd herself, but pointed out with pretty eagerness all the little preparations she had made for her comfort, and then said, 'Now let us make haste down stairs; it is much better to please Miss Frampton if we can'.

Lucy's judgment as well as her temper led her to agree very heartily in this opinion, and she followed her new friend down stairs with more lightness of heart than she had felt since Edward first announced her new vocation. 'It's eleven o'clock, ladies', was uttered by Miss Frampton as they entered. The two girls separated, each taking her allotted place; and we must now leave Lucy sedulously engaged in propitiating the favour of her employer by the rapid and skillful movement of her delicate fingers.


or some hours after Lucy's departure, her brother again fell into that wavering state of mind which had already nearly shaken his reason. He had sent from him the only earthly object in which he heart clung; he had consigned to another the precious charge which his dying father bequeathed to his care; he had left himself alone, surrounded by ignorance and sin, while the one bright spirit that God had given to cheer and sustain him in his thorny path was by his own act banished from the place that Nature assigned her by his side, to buffet alone with the rude encounters inevitable in the position in which he had placed her.

'Lucy! my pretty Lucy!' he exclaimed, while tears of anguish rolled down his pale cheeks, 'how wilt though bear "the spurns that patient merit of the unworthy takes", when thou hast no fond brother close at hand to love and comfort thee?'

And then his imagination, active to an excess that too surely indicated disease, placed his gentle sister before him in a hundred different situations in which she was exposed to vulgar insolence, or still more offensive admiration.

He started up, determined at all risks to follow and reclaim her; but ere he had walked a quarter of a mile from his door, another set of images seized upon his fancy with equal distinctness. He heard the mingled accounts of penitence and hope rising amidst the midnight silence of the forest from the race oppressed in body and in soul, whom God had called upon him to succour; he saw them clinging to him and the faith he taught, in defiance of stripes and bonds. Should he forsake them? No! not even if by so doing he could place his beloved sister on the throne of the world. No! he would share their bonds - he would partake their stripes - he would follow and exhort them to lift their tearful eyes to God, till the bloody death that threatened him should close his lips for ever.

And Lucy? - must her spotless life be offered up with his? Edward's souls shrunk from the needless sacrifice, and after pausing on his way for many minutes with clasped hands and downcast yees in earnest meditation, he turned back, once more relieved by the conviction that it was his duty to send his sister from him.

Never was there a human soul on which virtue had a stronger hold than that of Edward Bligh. Once more persuaded that he was doing right, his serenity returned, his mind recovered its wonted power, and he again believed himself capable of great and glorious actions.

He now determined upon once more seeking Frederick Steinmark. He had already made a second visit to Reichland; but the father of the family was in his fields, and he would not enter. With a spirit invigorated by renewed confidence in himself, Edward proceeded to the happy dwelling of his new friend. He was again ushered into the common sitting-room, and again stood before the noble German forester; but not, as before, was Frederick Steinmark the only object upon whom his eye now rested. Standing beside him as he sat in his accustomed chair, with one hand resting on its high back, and the other lovingly caressing the scanty locks of her father, stood Lotte, certainly much fairer than the daughters of man if taken at their usual standard, and with a look at once so innocent and so brightly beaming with intelligence and joy, that it is impossible to conceive anything more likely to seize upon such an imagination as that of Edward, than was her figure as thus presented to him. He gazed for one short moment only, but her image thenceforward became the idol of his fancy, till every throbbing pulse was hushed for ever.

Lotte was engaged, when young Bligh approached, in pleading earnestly for some favour about which her smiling father seemed to hesitate. She stopped short however in her eager speech as soon as she saw him, and somewhat abashed by the ardent but involuntary gaze of the young man, curtsied slightly and prepared to depart.

Lotte knew perfectly well, however, who he was; for her father, though he carefully kept Caesar's secret, had given so animated and faithful a description of the forest schoolmaster that she could not mistake him; and had he looked at her with less evident wonder and admiration, she would have greatly wished to become acquainted with a person who had so deeply interested her father. As it was, perhaps she was not sorry when Frederick Steinmark, while he held out one hand to welcome Edward, retained her with the other.

'You must not run away, Lottchen', said he. 'Mr Bligh, this is my only daughter; and there', pointing to the open portico before the windows, 'are four idle sons of mine, as much bent upon a thriftless frolic as if they were in the fatherland, where gentles eat the corn they do not reap. Your coming is a godsend for them. I really believe I shall now grant their petition, - which is for us to go, one and all, to eat our dinner and pick strawberries in a meadow behind Karl's mill, - that I may have the pleasure of introducing you to my whole family with as little delay as possible'.
Edward answered with as much grace as any man could be expected to do who was in the very act of falling desperately in love for the first time in his life.

'That is well, then', said Steinmark, in reply to Edward's timid acceptance of the invitation; 'and you may now go, Lotte, and announce to your mother, and the noisy party she has got round her, that it is my patriarchal will and pleasure this wild-goose scheme should take place; whereby we shall lose the decent comforts of my farmhouse board, in order to gain the extraordinary gratification of eating a meal like so many houseless Bohemains. Away with ye!'

Lotte bounded across the long room and through the window, whereupon the arrival of her and her news at the portico was announced by a discharge of hurrahs that seemed to make the welkin ring; and the instant after, some in another, in order to collect the multitudinous articles of which the luxury of a dinner on the grass must be composed. Lotte darted off to the garden to seek lettuces, tomatoes, cucumbers, and all the other solid delicacies with which the metropolis of the vegetable garden abounds.

Even in the transient glance which Edward caught of her figure as she glided past the other windows, he perceived that she went not alone. He perceived too, in his sudden and unspeakable torment, that the stately figure which accompanied her seemed bending to converse with her with a sourt of courtly assiduity, that, highly as he rated brother's love among earthly affections, could not proceed from one who stood in that relation.

'Now, my friend, we are alone', said Steinmaek, 'my wild flock are on the wing, and I may venture to tell you that our poor runaway is perfectly restored to health and strength after his weary travel and long fast; but I think it would be as well for you not to attempt seeing him at present'.

Such were the words of Frederick Steinmark, addressed to the man who, a few days before, had spoken on this subject with a degree of feeling and agititation that it was almost painful to witness. And how did he listen to it now? His eyes fixed upon the spot at which he had seen Lotte disappear, his ears insensible of the sounds that reached them, and his whole person having the air of a man sleeping rather than waking, he stood before Steinmark heart-struck, silent, and immoveable.

The kind-tempered German smiled as he watched a fit of absence more completely absorbing to the faculties than any, as he believed, that he had ever himself indulged in. But sympathising with the malady, and feeling that it deserved all indulgence, he treated Edward exactly as he would have wished to be treated himself on all similar occasions; that is to say, he left him unmolested to recover his wits, while he pursued the lecture which the petition of Lotte had interrupted.

The pang which had transfixed Edward, though it left a wringing anguish at his heart which his after-life was not long enough to cure, kept not his senses enchained beyond one or two dreamy moments; and he then started with a mixture of astonishment and offended pride at seeing Steinmark reading composedly in his easy chair, while stood unnoticed before him.

Edward turned to go; but before he had taken a second step, the recollection of the party about to set off for the meadow, the invitation he had received to join it, and the gratitude he owed for the important kindess already bestowed, made him turn again, and in a voice which many conflicting feelings caused to trembled, he said:

'I fear, sir, that I have intruded on you very inconveniently'.

Steinmark raised his eyes, and instantly perceived an expression of wounded feeling in the countenance of his interesting guest.

'Intruded, Mr Blight? No, no|! But, do you know, I suspect that, over and above the points of resemblance which we mutually discovered in each other when last we met, I may now shake hands with you on the discovery of another. My saucy children tell me that I am the most absent man alive, but I think you beat me. Now, tell me, did you hear one word of all I said to you about Caesar?'

'Caesar, sir!' repeated Edward, while a tingling consciousness of the cause of his strange inattention crimsoned his cheeks. 'I beg your pardon: certainly I did not hear you name Caesar. How is he, sir!?

You could not have indulged in a fit of absence before any one more bound to forgive it than myself', replied Steinmark, laughing; 'and therefore I will repeat my assurances that your project is as well as if he had never missed a meal or feared a flogging. But what are we to do with him next, my good friend?'

Once more awakened to thoughts of earth, Edward entered eagerly and with more anxious feeling into the subject. He stated the reasons he had for believing that the slave-holders throughout the country were more on the alert than ever to discover and punish all delinquencies among their slaves, and hinted his serious apprehensions that Mr Steinmark himself might suffer for the pitying kindness he had extended to the poor runaway.

'I do not think that, even were the thing discovered, they could punish me', replied the German composedly; 'but tell me, Mr Bligh, has anything occurred to you since we met last to suggest the idea that these bloodhounds are more vindictive than formerly?'

Edward hesitated. 'Before my answer to this question can be intelligible, my dear sir', he said, 'I think I must become for a short space my own biographer'.

'You could not please me better', replied his host, with a look and accent that might have given courage and confidence to the most modest spirit that ever shrunk from such a task: 'and indeed', he added, 'you stand partly bound to this by promise. The preparations for our rural feasting will occupy the projectors of it for a full hour, I doubt not; and I will lead you to a spot where they will be sure to seek me, but less liable to interruption than this, where I can meanwhile enjoy the gratification I so greatly wish for, of knowing something more about a man so singularly unlike those amongst whom fate has thrown to him'.

He led the way to the open window as he spoke, and having left the room, proceeded across the lawn to a bank of turf raised under the shelter of a noble tulip-tree. A semicircle of fine orange-trees nearly enclosed it in the front, but leaving an opening to a small flower-garden, so evidently of feminine arrangement, that Edward, as he took his seat upon the bank, felt almost as if he was again in the presence of the wondrous creature who had flashed across his sight more, as he thought, like a vision of light than a reality.

It was indeed a lovely nook - sheltered, cool, fragrant ad sequestered, well-suited both for confidence and repose; and here Edward Bligh recounted the sad incidents of his life, and the singular position in which they had left him and his young sister, with a simple pathos that went to the very heart of the good German, and created a feeling of admiration and attachment to both the orphans which he was far from attempting or intending to express in words.

'But why, in the name of kind feeling and good fellowship, Edward, is not your dear Lucy with us here? If our situations had been reversed - if you had had the home and I the sister, she would not have been now in Mrs Shepherd's store at Natchez. So there is not such perfect sympathy between us, Bligh, after all'.

But there was a moisture in the eye of Steinmark as he spoke; and as he uttered this reproach, he held out his hand to the object of it. Edward grasped that friendly hand with deep emotion, and replied with perfect frankness:

'Nor do I think I could have had the heart to place her there after seeing you, had it not been for Caesar, and for the weight of obligation I had already taken on myself for his sake. To have thrown another upon your bounty, even though that other was my sister, merely because I read your generous heart in your eyes, would have been like extortion - I could not do it'.

'Surely you blundered egregiously, my young friend, in placing two such acts, as hiding a runaway negro in a country where murder has been repeatedly committed to punish those who would befriend the race, and receiving your glorious sister Lucy as a friend and inmate upon the same footing. In the first case, I freely confess that I do think I showed myself to be a very good-natured fellow, and that you ought to make me you best bow for receiving so dangerous a guest as Caesar; but for the second, I most truly believe that the obligation would be much more on our side than yours. You may partly guess, Edward, how profound must be the retirement in which we live; and would it be a slight good, think you, for my Lotte to have, for the first time in her life, such a companion as your gentle, patient, and accomplished Lucy?'

There was something most deliciously soothing to the feelings of Edward in the idea that it was possible his sister might become the favoured and favourite friend of Lotte Steinmark. He murmured some few words expressive of grateful feelings, and his countenance spoke more eloquently than his tongue; but Frederick Steinmark was far from guessing what a rush of unspeakable gratitude his words had produced: that the society of such a girl as the Lucy of Edward's narrative would be an inestimable blessing to his daughter.

'This day', resumed Steinmark, 'will make you in some degree acquainted with my family. But there is also a young stranger with us, a countryman, who has wandered thus far from the fatherland solely for the gratification of a wandering fancy. My eldest son made acquaintance with him in Philadelphia, and has brought him to his forest home; and this Sigismond von Hochland really seems to deserve all the fine things our Fritz says of him. Nevertheless, I cannot allude to your touching story, Edward, before him, till you shall yourself know him sufficiently to admit him to your friendship; but my wife must hear it, and her invitation will then be joined to mine for the speedy arrival of your dear sister among us. And yet,' continued Steinmark thoughtfully after a moment's silence, 'Eager as I am for this, I do believe it will be more prudent to get Caesar off the premises before she arrives. Should he unhappily be discovered here, I fear that both you and your Lucy might suffers uch inconveniences were your share in the transaction be traced. I suspect that, even now, you are in some degree a marked man among these abominable slave-drivers, Edward. The absence of your woodland congregation on Sunday night most decidedly indicates alarm amongst them; and I think, therefore, that I must counsel you, contrary as it is to my wishes, to let your sweet sister remain where she is a few days. You are quite right not to be seen with her at Natchez; but perhaps on the Sabbath, if she meets you in the forest, as you talk of, we might arrange our idle Sunday ramble so as to effect an introduction without bringing her to Reichland. It may be some consolation for her to know that she has friends near her'.

This conversation respecting Lucy, her situation, and her feelings, did more towards restoring Edward entirely to himself than anything else could have possibly done. He most entirely agreed with Steinmark that there was the greatest necessity, for all their sakes, that the utmost caution should at this moment be used in everything with which they were mutually concerned: and this being admitted, they set to scheming and planning, proposing and rejecting, a number of devices for the disposal of Caesar.

But their consultations were soon interrupted, their privacy invaded, and all thoughts for the future put to flight, by the appearance of the party which approached them from the house.


ar in advance of the rest was Hermann. It was he who, as usual, undertook to find his father and, more difficult far, to rouse him from whatever occupation or reverie might have thrown its chains over him, and to bring him to join the joyous set who were starting off for Karl's Erdberre Feld, as the not far-distant place of their destination was constantly called by all the family; though the young miller very gravely declared, that if it produced no crop more valuable than the erdberres from which they chose to name it, he would plough it up in spite of them all. Notwithstanding this assumption of prudence in the lord of the land to which they were going, there was not one of the set who appeared to enter into the strawberry field with more zeal than himself. With his mother on one arm, and a huge basket on the other, Karl came next in order, the very emblem of youth, health, and cheerfulness. His large straw hat had seemed rather to be suspended upon some sturdy bunch of his thick sunny curls, than to be fixed in the ordinary mode upon his head; while he laughing blue eyes looked out from under as if to challenge the anticipated exclamation its extraordinary position might elicit.

Mary, who looked, as her husband often told her, a great deal too pretty and too young to be the mother of so stalwart a youth, walked beside him, looking up into his bright young face with an eye almost as mirthdul as his own, though in sage and sober accents she repeated over and over again -

'Karl! Karl! what will your countryman - a baron, too! - think of your wild ways? Remember, Karl, or, upon my word, I must fall back upon the squadron behind. What a very queer boy you are! Whenever you are more than commonly disposed to be whimsical, it seems to me that you always select me for your companion. I am afraid I have vey little dignity, Karl'.

'Not the very least bit in the world, mother. Now, if you were only in the slightest degree like my ever reverenced, honoured, and honourable aunt Karoline, born Baroness Von Uberkümpher, how differently would all your children treat you! But take on, mother, - it can't be helped now; so you may as well bring down your spirit to your condition, and submit to be loved and adored by your republican children, just as if there was no such thing as dignity in the world'.

Behind the mother and son followed the unrustic figure of Fritz, very carefully and consciously driving a wheelbarrow containing all the wieghtier matters necessary to the feast; and the procession closed by a trio, consisting of Lotte, Sigismund Von Hochland, and Henrich.

When they first started, Henrich was as usual at Lotte's side; but ere they reached the orange trees, the description von Hochland was giving her of the scenery near his own residence in Westphalia won him from it, and the stranger was now walking between them. The gay and animated young man spoke in his native tongue, which though native also to his companions, was no longer their ordinary language, and it had for both of them a charm, which certainly increased the pleasure with which they listened to him. Lotte, though her gayer spirits prevented her pining for the land of her birth with the intense longing after it which embittered the existence of her brother, had nevertheless drunk in its poetry, and revelled in the descriptions of its scenery, till she was as devotedly a child of Germany in her heart as himself; and loved its voice, and its music, its storied castles, and its sunny hills, as it she remembered the early days she had passed among them. The arrival of Sigismond was certainly the most animating event that had ever broken the monotony of their peaceful lives; and perhaps it was some consciousness of the pleasure he gave which inspired the animated expression his handsome countenance wore, as he rapidly poured forth his recollections and his feelings to the willing ears of the brother and sister.

But though earnestly engaged in conversation, they were nevertheless as actively assisting as the rest of the party in the business of the day. Henrich bore in each hand a basket of something, he knew not what, which Karl had committed to his charge; Sigismond had swung over his shoulder with very reverend care a delicate frail, filled with salad, entrusted to him by Lotte; while the fair maiden herself very daintily balanced between her two hands, at first setting out, a little basket without a handle, packed by herself, wherein, womanlike, she had mixed utility with elegance; for it contained cream from her own pretty dairy, enough, according to Hermann's instructions, to drown all Karl's strawberries, together with abundance of sweet-scented flowers to strew around the spot they should select for the scene of their repast. But as Sigismond grew more animated, this double-handed caution became more embarrassing, for she could not look towards him without endangering the balance; so at length she stopped, saying, 'Henrich, do you not think we could contrive to envelop my cream and flowers in a napking and then swing it over a stick, as Herr Sigismond has done his frail?'

It was exactly as the trio stopped to make this proposed alteration in the arrangement of the baggage, that Steinmark and Edward, obeying the call of Hermann, came forth from the shelter of the orange-trees and joined the party. Steinmark felt that he had perhaps enlisted his new friend in a party too gaily light-hearted to be agreeable to one who had so many heavy cares upon his mind; but it was done, and could not be recalled; so the next thought that crossed his benevolent mind was how to make the day pass pleasantly with him. He perceived at a glance that the gay young baron was enlisted into the playful service of the hour, and perceiving some unfinished arrangement about the packages which surrounded Lotte, he put his arm through Edward's, and leading him up to her, said,

'Here, Lottchen, I bring you a very valuable recruit, able and willing to help you in all the vagaries you may choose to perform. Herr Hochland, give me leave to introduce to you my valued frind, Mr Edward Bligh'.

If Frederick Steinmark's object was to put Edward at his ease, he failed completely: it was not ease he felt, - every faculty was on the stretch, every sense was strained. But if, thoughtless of his ease, his purpose was to make him happy, he succeeded perfectly: happiness unfelt, unknown, unimagined till that moment, throbbed in his breast and bounded through his veins.

He was close to Lotte. Lotte was speaking to him; she smiled too, smiled on him as she placed the light burthen she allotted him on his arm; and with the exception of some ecstatic intervals, when a rapt enthusiasm had seemed to raise him altogether above the joys or sorrows of this mortal state, this moment was decidedly the happiest of his life.

Joyously then did the troop march onward towards the mill. But though the distance was short, the way - on this occasion at least - was long. Fritz overturned the wheelbarrow at one spot, and Sigismond's frail slipped off his stick at another. Lottchen stumbled as the Herr Hochland was talking to her of fatherland; but Edward was close behind, and his hand prevented her basket, if not herself, from falling. Steinmark ad Hermann amused themselves with finding out cross nooks in the short bit of forest they had to pass, and then trying who could best recover them, - an exercise at which the senior beat the junior hollow. Mary and Karl continued together, and pursued their way with as much steadiness as the gambols of the young miller would permit; and Henrich still hung on the skirts of his countryman, enjoying from time to time such renewal of their former conversations as the desultory nature of their progress would permit.

But it was astonishing to observe the multitude of unforeseen accidents which detained them. Soemtimes it was a very harmless snake which darted from bush to brake before them, but which Karl in the superfluity of his activity, declared must be chased and put out of harm's way; which means, as he explained it, to be placed byond the power of giving or receiving injury for evermore. Then Lott's eyes were accidentally raised to a marvellous cluster of wild grapes that hung over their heads, and the baskets must be placed on the ground, and the grapes must be won, before another step forward could be taken. At another time a whole bevy of butterflies seemed to spring up, as it were, from the ground, and showed themselves so brightly beautiful to the unaccustomed eyes of the gay Sigismond, that he must perforce catch some of them. then followed laughter at his want of skill, accompanied by conslatory assurances that what he mistook for marvels were in truth the most ordinary insects that Louisiana produced. In short, so much time was expended in this ramble over a plain path of a mile and a half long, that by the time they reached the Erdbeere Feld, Karl, who proclaimed himself master of the revels, as one of his manorial rights, declared that if they did not all and every one of them set about gathering the strawberries forthwich, and that steadily and perseveringly, without gossip, sport, or idleness of any kind, they might as well set off again to return as they came, for the purpose of the expedition would be defeated, inasmuch as it would be found impossible to complete the work in reasonable tiem for dinner.

This solemn remonstrance produced the desired effect - in a moment the whole party were to be seen scattered singly over the field; and though before the commanded quantity was fully furnished, some alteration in this disposition of the gleaners took place, and Sigismond had approached Lotte on one side, and Edward on the other, the business was on the whole well and punctually accomplished. And then the riot and the din of unpacking the wheelbarrow, and disposing with all imaginable inconvience and enjoyment its contents upon the grass, followed; and that sort of happy, noisy confusion took place, which those only can conceive who have shared in the very delightful but very unaccountable enjoyment of preparing a dinner upon the grass.

A few short hours before, any one who well knew Edward Bligh would have declared that no scene would have less charm for him than the one in which he was now engaed. Mirth in his best and happiest days had but little attraction fr him; and though he lpved to wander for hours amid the beautiful scenery of his native State, the contemplative temper of his mind communicated a pensive, quiet composure to his set, as unlike as possible to the noisy, bounding progress which at one moment sent his present companions forward at the rate of five miles an hour, which at another they all stopped short as if spellbound, to find subject for mirth in they knew not what, and an excuse for tarrying, they knew not why. Still less, perhaps, was the scene which followed such as he would have heretofore joined in with pleasure; but now his eyes short forth glances of young joy, as he found himself seated on the grass beside Lotte Steinmark. Could he have looked into her heart, he might perhaps have lost a portion of the intoxicating pleasure he now for the first time tasted. He might have seen that the ready ear, the gentle smile, the courteous reply she lent him, were rather the result of what she believed to be her father's wishes than of her own. He might have discovered, that even while her beautiful eyes were turned on him, she was unconsciously listening to every word pronounced, whether to her or to another, on the other side, where sat Sigsimond. But he saw, he knew nothing but that he was seated in dear familiar, friendly intercourse beside the only woman who had ever charmed his sense, and taught him to know what poets mean by 'Love'.

In truth, it was a pleasant banquet to all. The jocund laughter went round, and so did the bright light goblet of their native wine - a luxury furnished by the good Baron Steinmark in greater abundance than his rustic brethren wished or approved; but on occasions like the present the forest family drank to their distant kinsman's health with cordial gratitude. Then followed some of their still fondly cherished native airs. Lotte sang with the wild untutored sweetness of a bird. Her ear was excellent, and Henrich taught her by his flageolet all the most popular tunes of Germany, a large collection of which had been sent him by his uncle. The words too which she sang were generally of Henrich's composition, and for the most part expressed his clinging love for the soil that gave him birth.

It was perhaps in compliment to Sigismond that Lotte on this occasion selected a ballad in which Henrich had poured forth, on a well-known German air, and in his native tongue, all the glowing patriotic feelings which more than warmed - which in truth gave sufficient evidence that every word found its echo in her own heart. Frederick and Mary exchanged a glance and sighed: they well knew Heinrich's ardent love of the country that was no longer his, but till now they had neither of them been fully aware how deeply Lotte sympathised in this feeling.

The effect of the ballad and Lotte's manner of singing it was sufficiently powerful on all present. Edward, who understood quite enough of the language to catch the feeling it inspired, would have joyfully given all the existence remaining to him on earth could he thereby have become a native German. The eyes of Henrich overflowed; and even his gay brothers, now so firmly rooted in the soil to which they had been transplanted, looked sad and thoughtful. Young Sigismond alone enjoyed the whole thing - melody, words and the deep feeling which accompanied them - with unmixed delight. 'Charming! charming! charming!' he exclaimed, with clasped hands and glistening eyes. 'How little did I expect to hear such sounds in a Louisiana forest!'

'And now Sigsmond', said Fritz, 'it is your turn. Lotte's words I never heard before; but she sang them to the same air, if I mistake not, on which you composed your own patriotic rhapsody. The tune is good enough to hear twice. We have had, as I guess, the Steinmark version - now let us have the Hochland'.

A vivid blush dyed the cheeks of the young baron at this address, but it passed in an instant, and with eqaul frankness and good humour he drew a flute from his pocket, and having skilfully played the beautiful national air which Lotte had jsut sung, he laid the isntrument aside, and sang to the same notes, and in his own musical language, some verses which he had written a few weeks before at Philadelphia, and performed for the benefit of his friend Fritz. The thoughs when put into English might be rendered as follows:

Hark to the strain!
Let me hear it again -
'Tis a spell that can waft me o'er land and o'er sea;
Oh! hark to the strain!
Is it pleasure or pain,
That sends my heart, Father! throbbing to thee?

It is glorious, when Fancy has taken the helm,
To mount the gay bark that shall bear us along,
And to bound at her touch to some newly-found realm.
There to wander with her, its strange children among.
And what is the strain
We would gladly hear then?
'Tis the cheering yo! yo! and the favouring gale,
That should sing through our rigging and tighten our sail.

And 'tis more glorious still when, with light-hearted glee,
We in truth start to wander o'er land and o'er sea;
When the eye of the body roams, hoping to find
Things as fair as they seem'd to the eye of the mind.

And all may seem fair - and the eye may explore
With gladness what ne'er met its glances before;
But the heart aches to feel that the further we roam,
The more sadly will Echo repeat the word 'home!'
Then hark to this strain!
Let us hear it again -
'Tis a spell that can waft us o'er land and o'er sea;
O! hark to the strain!
Be it pleasure or pain,
That sends our hearts, Fatherland! throbbing to thee.

As a translation never fails to mar the original, it is but fair to beleive that the young Steinmark's verses deserved, in part at least, the applause he received; but when they were ended, and that, resuming his flute, he again drew from it the sweet familiar notes so well known to every individual present except our Edward, no word of praise followed them, but a tear stood trembling in every eye.

Karl dashed the foolish tale-tale from his cheek, exclaiming, as he filled his glass with Rhenish wine.

'Here's a health to our Fatherland! and a health to thee, too, though dangerous minstrel of 'Home'; but remember that at the next feast I give upon this 'bit' - this only bit that I can ever hope to call mine, I will not invite you to share it unless you promise and make oath, before you take your place at the banquet, that you will sing no strain that shall send our hearts aching back to the land which our eyes can never see more'.

Henrich had buried his face in his hands as they rested on his knees. Lotte's eyes seemed rooted in the earth, but her fair face bore no doubtful meaning. Steinmark's head sank upon his bosom; but it was an attitude not unusual with him when indulging the thick-coming fancies drawn from all things known and unknown in heaven and on earth. Hermann, however, as usual, sat very near him, and was aware that that noble and gentle bosom heaved with sme painful emotion. Fritz caught the expression of his brother's eye, and understood in a moment that the impression made by his friend's song was becoming painful to nearly the whole party. Moved probably more by the wish to put a stop to this than from any sensation of vehement gaiety, he exclaimed, 'We have sung our songs - now let us dance our dance, and Mr Bligh may fancy himself in Fatherland at once. Mother, you shall waltz with me! Lotte shall take Henrich for her partner, and Karl must make the best he can of Hermann; Sigismond shall play to us; and my father and Mr Bligh sit in judgment on the performances of the whole party'.

Fritz suited the action to the word, and springing on his feet, he bounded in a genuine waltzing step to the place where his mother sat. But she shook her head, saying 'No, no! Fritz, we can none of us waltz now. But come, boys, let us gather up the fragments of the feast and move homeward. Come, Lottle, love! The sun is getting low, and Americans though we be, we may get a chill if we sit here much longer'.

The whole party was immediately put in action, and the bustle which ensued did much toward chasing the gloom that appeared to threaten them; but the young baron was by no means insensible to the effect his song had produced, and as they strolled slowly homeward, he could not resist the inclination he felt to ask Lotte if he were right in thinking that she had betrayed a more tender recollection of her native country than was likely to make her quite happy in her adopted one.

'I hope you are quite wrong', she replied with a smile, which was, however, followed by a sigh as she added: 'It is Henrich who has infected me with this vain longing for a home that can never again be mine. But this is folly, if it be not worse. I fear even that my father remarked the unreasonable feeling your song produced. Indeed, Her Hochland, you must sing no more such songs to us'.

'Yet I would sing for ever', thought the young man, 'could I so lure this matchless creature back to my native land'. But he did not speak the thought, and the return of the party was much more silent and much less gay than their setting out. Frederick especially seemed to have lost his gentle, placid cheerfulness; and though he continued to converse with Edward with the same warmth of kindness as before, the spirit of his conversation was fled. The delicate-minded and sensitive Edward, though his knowledge of German was very imperfect, had caught and understood the feeling which had touched the hearts of the exiles while listening to the minstrelsy of their countryman; but he was far from conceiving how deeply the witnessing this feeling in his children had affected the heart of Frederick.

Steinmark had brought his family from Germany to America because he believed it to be the best thing he could do for them; and though some natural yearnings towards his native land had occasionally thrown a shade of melancholy over his solitary musings, he had never conceived the idea that such meditatins were shared by his light-hearted children. Still less did he imagine that these recollections which he had never permitted himself to allude to, should, notwithstanding his caution, be the subject of deep and enduring regret to them all. Though Frederick Steinmark was more capable than most men of combating his own feelings, he had no such power when encountering those of his children, and the discovery he had just made oppressed him heavily, and he longed to be alone. Nevertheless, he remembered that it was some days since Edward had ventured to visit the poor prisoner, and he therefore detained him till, having seen the whole family safely established in the common sitting-room, he could take him safely to the loft in which he was concealed.

With cautious steps they threaded their way behind the outbuildings of the farm, and having entered an empty barn and secured the door behind them, they mounted the ladder that led to the little chamber above; but when they entered and looked round it, its sable tenant was no longer visible. Every hole and corner was examined, but in vain. However strange the fact appeared, it could not be doubted - Caesar was gone.

'This is very strange, Bligh', said Steinmark; 'so devotely attached as this poor fellow appeared to you, is it possible that he should thus leave the asylum in which you have placed him without letting you know his intention?'

'It is not possible', replied Edward in a voice of great emotion. 'The poor fellow has been traced and seized. Unhappy boy! his fate will be creadful!'

'But surely, if this were the case, some of the people aout the farm must have known it, Edward? - Remember that though it is just possible he might have been traced to the premises, it is not so that his pursuers should so exactly know where to find him as to render all search needless'.

'But did they not choose their time well? Your whole fmaily absent - your servants occupied at their mid-day meal perhaps. Alas! Mr Steinmark, I have a shadow of hope or doubt but that he is in the hands of his ferocious and remorseless enemies - my poor Caesar!'

Steinmark answered not, but carefully examined the rough chamber in which they stood.

'It was here', he said at length, 'that I always found him seated when I made my nightly visit to him: it was here I left him last night, a little after ten o'clock. He was in the habit, remember, of constantly employing the hours of captivity either in reading the books I left with him, or in making the little wicker-baskets for which he cut and prepared the materials with his knife. Had he been so employed when taken, should we not find some symptoms of the sudden interruption? But observe - here are the four volumes that I lent him, put carefully together upon this rafter; and there is neither knife, basket, chip, nor stik of any kind to indicate that he was broken in upon during the hours of light and occupation. Observe, too, that there is no remnant of the food I brought thim; and there was more than he would have eaten till the twenty-four hours were past. In short, improbably as it may appear, I am persuaded that Caesar took his voluntary departure in the course of last night; and that, unless he encounters some mischance, we shall probably find him here again as unexpectedly as we have lost him'.

'He is most madly rash, then', replied Edward, who, while almost convinced by the reasonings of Steinmark, found but little to console him in admitting the result. 'They tell me that dogs are used to hunt down the unhappy runaways; and if so, the poor fellow's power of gliding on his belly, like a snake among the bushes, will not long avail him. But it is useless to meditate upon the dangers into which he may have thrown himself. I cannot thank you, sir, - I cannot thank you as I ought to do, for all your generous kindness to him - and to me. Let me not longer detain you from your family. Farewell!'

'Stay, Edward!' exclaimed Steinmark, retaining the hand extended to him. 'Why should you leave us? Caesar is gone, and therefore my roof is no longer a dangerous one to you. Return with me to the house, and after supper we will give you a gayer song that that with which the young traveller regaled us to-day'.

Nothing could so soon have restored the usually even spirits of Frederick Steinmark to their tone, as perceiving that Edward had need of cheering kindness to support him under the anxiety he felt for Caesar; but though poor Bligh felt to his heart's core the sincerity and benevolence of the invitation, and though there was something more at his heart, perhaps stronger still, which prompted him to accept it, he was conscious that such heavy sadness rested upon him as must render him more a burden than an acquisition to his new friends. There was not one of them, not excepting the young baron, who had not repeatedly during the day demonstrated the most cordial desire to make it pleasant to him; and not an accent, not a movement, which testified this good-will, but had been felt and appreciated by its object: but poor Edward's very soul had been shaken by the emotions of this eventful day. He knew not what to make of the strange battling of contradictory impulses within him. Never till this day had he been addressed in a voice of kindness to which his own voice had not responded cheerfully: but when young Sigismond had courteously attempted to drawn him into conversation, a something within him seemed to make him shrink from the frank and graceful young man almost with loathing. When Lotte spoke to him, and with her gentle, kindly smile sought to draw him into the family circle, the effect was stranger still. When she spoke to another, his life seemed to hang upon her accents; when she looked at another, the light appeared to have passed from his eyes, and a deep shadow to overcast the spot on which he stood; but no sooner was he himself the object either of her words or her glances, than his presence of mind utterly failed him, and he no longer clearly knew what he did, nor what he said. It have been a day of torment and of pleasure such as he had never known; but he had no strength to renew these overwhelming emotions, and after the hesitation of a moment, he answered:

'God bless you, Mr Steinmark, for all your godness! - but not now, not to-night; another time, if you do not grow weary of me and my troubles, I will venture to come amongst you, - though I fear I can be but a kill-joy at any time'.

'You do not do us justice, Edward', returned Steinmark warmly. 'If you esteemed me and mine as perfectly as we esteem you, it would be impossible for you to think that your sorrows were a burden that we would not one and all gladly aid you to bear and to cure'.

'Nor do I doubt it, my dear and honoured friend; but there is a weakness of spirit almost too tender to bear the touch of kindness. Forgive my wayward folly, and - think me not ungrateful!'

'Do not fear it, Edward - You are hardly fit for this working-day world, my friend; but could I shape your destiny, trust me, it should be such as to soothe, and not wound your nature. Good night! and remember, the sooner we see you again, the more welcome you will be'.

Frederick Steinmakr then returned into the house, and Edward Bligh took the winding path through the forest that led towards his home.


he day after old Juno had succeeded in rescuing Phebe from the immediate vengeance of Whitlaw, it happened, while he and his patron Colonel Dart were comfortably seated at breakfast, amicably discoursing upon the number of stripes that a female slave might safely receive without permanent injury to herself or her future progeny, they were startled by the sudden appearance of the old woman and her bamboo, standing under the flowery portico, within a foot of the window at which they sat.

'What the devil brings her here!' muttered the colonel to his confidential clerk. But at the same instant he rose from his chair, and presenting her with a fresh-buttered roll delicately spread with the honey - a morsel just prepared for his own eating - he addressed her coaxingly with. 'Well now, good Juno, you know that you are always welcome, come when you will. What news stirring, Juno? - what news?'

This queer mixture of fraud, fun and feeling, never enjoyed herself more than when she saw the savage, blood-thirsty Colonel Dart fawning upon her as gently as a lamb when bleating to its mother for food. She knew - for her comfort - that she had been his torment and his torture for the fifteen years that he had possessed the estate, making him dream by night and meditate by day on plots, poisonings, and assassinations without end.

'May the pretty spirits that are chirping round old Juno keep the master from all harm!' she replied, accepting the dainty morsel; and seating herself deliberately on the wooden pediment of the iron column which supported the roof of the protico, she began to eat it without appearing to pay the least attention to the still standing colonel or his confidential clerk, who had also arisen from his chair with considerable anxiety to hear what she had to say.

The more mysteriously impertinent old Juno was, the more submissive and tractable did the colonel invariably become; and when having about half eaten her roll, she raised her eyes and her bamboo, and said, as if addressing some object above her ear, 'Coffee! coffee! coffe!' the zealous believer seized hastily on the silver biggen, exclaiming as he began to pour out the fragrant contents:

'Sugar and cream, Whitlaw! D-n your eyes! can't you be me the sugar and cream?'

Voice of truth
The heart of ruth
Deserves to hear
Distinct and clear

said Juno, solemnly and complacently, as she received her cup of coffee; and having drunk it without any symptom of haste, and finished eating her roll with the same steady equanimity, she rose from her seat, and standing in her ordinary attitude, with her two hands crossed, and resting on the top of her bamboo, she said: 'Now, master of many slaves, and faithful servant of the powers of air, listen to Juno. Deep and terrible are the thoughts that are rolling at this moment through the souls of Louisianian slaves, - dark as their skin, and frightful as their chains. Juno knows all; and had you met her with a surly oath, as once in days of yore, when she came to show you that the bright fountain which rose and sparkled as if proud to meet your wants - when she came in the darkness of night to tell you that fountain was poisoned, - had you met her now as you did then, a dozen negro fists should be playing on your windpipe ere Juno would have told you one word of the matter.

Colonel Dart turned very pale, and Jonathan Jefferson Whitlaw found out a glass of rum and swallowed it.

'Ay, ay, young master', said Juno, with a smile that came direct from her heart, where her spirit was laughing merrily, 'that rum is cheering, but the cane that gave it is watered, if the poet says true, with negro tears. - What then?' she continued, pointing her wand towards the sky, and appearing to aim it first at one and then at another of the airy beings she always appeared to see about her. - 'What then? - Power is power, and strength is strength; and the low must fall high, Colonel Dart - you are very high, powerful, mighty, and greatly to be considered by slaves and freemen both. And you!' she cautioned wildly, fixing her eyes with a look of phrenzy at Whitlaw, and then bursting forth into croaking song, -

You too are nigh, high!
But methinks I can spy,
That ere yet you die,
You will mount still, and fly
'Twixt the earth and the sky,
Till the voices shall ring merrily, merrily

What does she mean, Whitlaw?' said the colonel, in an accent that denoted both a puzzled state of mind and an anxious spirit.

'It's hard to say justly, colonel', answered his confidential clerk, 'She's so unaccountable queer; but I guess', he continued, as the bumper of rum strengthened and cheered the pulsations of his heart, - 'I guess that she means I shall come to riches and power before I die'.

'I don't know', said the colonel doubtingly: 'I expect there's two -

'Whew! whew|', whistled the old woman shrilly through a hole that was pierced in her bamboo. 'Hist, hist, hist! - here they come, here they come!

Could you see them - and hear!
Now they're far - now they're near!
They have tidings to tell,
Newly whisper'd in hell!
Ay! - I hear what you say;
But I am by weak clay,
And msut pause ere I dare
These dire horrors declare'.

Her voice sunk as she pronounced the last words, and she appeared completely exhausted.

'Give her rum, Whitlaw!' cried the colonel, trembling too violently to do it himself. 'Why the devil, sir, can't you give her a glass of rum?'

Whitlaw obeyed, and the old woman eagerly swallowed the cordial.

'It is well!' she cried, apparently reviving. 'That was a lucky thought; or Juno might have perished ere her noble master got his warning'.

'What warning, Juno?' said the colonel in very gentle accents, and evidently relieved at hearing his tormentor speak in tones of less immediate inspiration. 'Come in and sit down comfortably, Juno; and, in God's name, tell me what you have got to say.'

New: Opere Brunetto Latino || Dante vivo || White Silence

For the rest of Jonathan Jefferson Whitlaw see Harvard University's copy in Google Books:

We have published the book with the Trollope Society and it can be purchased from the Web or from us at the English Cemetery

Frances Trollope. Jonathan Jefferson Whitlaw. Preface, Julia Bolton Holloway. Illustrations, Auguste Hervieu, F.R.A. 469 pp. ISBN 9798615560989.

To donate to the restoration by Roma of Florence's formerly abandoned English Cemetery and to its Library click on our Aureo Anello Associazione's PayPal button: