BOLTON HOLLOWAY, AUREO ANELLO
ALIGHIERI, SWEET NEW
LATINO, DANTE ALIGHIERI, &
GEOFFREY CHAUCER || VICTORIAN:
SILENCE: FLORENCE'S 'ENGLISH'
CEMETERY || ELIZABETH
BARRETT BROWNING || WALTER
SAVAGE LANDOR || FRANCES
TROLLOPE || || HIRAM POWERS
OF SLAVERY || FLORENCE IN
SEPIA || CITY
AND BOOK CONFERENCE PROCEEDINGS
I, II, III, IV, V, VI,
'FIORETTA MAZZEI' || EDITRICE
WEBSITE || UMILTA
WEBSITE || RINGOFGOLD
WEBSITE || LINGUE/LANGUAGES:
New: Dante vivo || White Silence
AND ADVENTURES OF
SCENES ON THE MISSISSIPPI
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?'
'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
'A school? - I thought you told us you come from the
'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
'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
'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
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
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
'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
'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
'It's difficult to know. - Gals are unaccountable plagues. -
What would she ask, too, over and above her board and
'She would be happy to come to you for a trial, madam, on very
reasonable terms, - just enough to enable her to dress with
'Well, I expect I may try her. - Where does she bide?'
'She has been living with me in the country, and she is there
'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
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
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
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.
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
'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
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
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
'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
'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
'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
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
'Miss Lucy! Oh, blessed Miss Lucy! Beautiful, blessed Miss
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
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.
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
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
Steinmark listened with the most earnest attention; the
tale had for the present effectually cured his absence
'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
'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.
'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
'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
'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
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
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
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
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
'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
'I perceive her enthusiasm', replied Lucy gravely; then
added with a sigh, 'But why should we call it wild,
'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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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:
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,
counsel there -
On me their wondrous
gifts to send,
All mortals must before
Kneel lowly then upon the
And kiss repentant my
Obey! and love and joy
Rebel! and vengenace deep
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
'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
'Ay - ay - ay', replied the sybil, nodding her head
myteriously three times, and then bursting out in a tone
done it shall be!
And fear not that she
Shall dare wrestle with
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
'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
'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
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
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
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,
'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
'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
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
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',
'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
'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
'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
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
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
'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,
'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
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
'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
'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
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
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
'You're to sleep with me, Miss Bligh', exclaimed the
pretty little Talbot eagerly; 'so I will show you the
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
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
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
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
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
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
'I fear, sir, that I have intruded on you very
Steinmark raised his eyes, and instantly perceived an
expression of wounded feeling in the countenance of his
'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, 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
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
'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
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
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
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:
to the strain!
Let me hear it again -
a spell that can waft me o'er land and o'er sea;
hark to the strain!
Is it pleasure or pain,
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.
what is the strain
We would gladly hear
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!'
hark to this strain!
Let us hear it again -
a spell that can waft us o'er land and o'er sea;
hark to the strain!
Be it pleasure or pain,
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
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
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
'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
'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.
'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
'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
'Sugar and cream, Whitlaw! D-n your eyes! can't you be
me the sugar and cream?'
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, -
too are nigh, high!
But methinks I can spy,
That ere yet you die,
You will mount still, and
'Twixt the earth and the
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
'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
'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!
Now they're far - now
They have tidings to
Newly whisper'd in hell!
Ay! - I hear what you
But I am by weak clay,
And msut pause ere I dare
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
'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.'
BOLTON HOLLOWAY, AUREO ANELLO
ALIGHIERI, SWEET NEW
LATINO, DANTE ALIGHIERI, &
GEOFFREY CHAUCER || VICTORIAN:
SILENCE: FLORENCE'S 'ENGLISH'
CEMETERY || ELIZABETH
BARRETT BROWNING || WALTER
SAVAGE LANDOR || FRANCES
TROLLOPE || || HIRAM POWERS
OF SLAVERY || FLORENCE IN
SEPIA || CITY
AND BOOK CONFERENCE PROCEEDINGS
I, II, III, IV, V, VI,
'FIORETTA MAZZEI' || EDITRICE
WEBSITE || UMILTA
WEBSITE || RINGOFGOLD
WEBSITE || LINGUE/LANGUAGES:
New: Dante vivo || White Silence
rest of Jonathan
Jefferson Whitlaw see Harvard University's copy in