|NOTE: GIF files containing reproductions of the original Atlantic Monthly pages can be found at Making of America.|
THE record of any one American who has grown up in the nurture of Abolitionism has but little value by itself considered; but as a representative experience, capable of explaining all enthusiasms for liberty which have created "fanatics" and martyrs in our time, let me recall how I myself came to hate Slavery.
The training began while I was a babe unborn. A few months before I saw the light, my father, mother, and sister were driven from their house in New York by a furious mob. When they came cautiously back, their home was quiet as a fortress the day after it has been blown up. The front-parlor was full of paving-stones; the carpets were cut to pieces; the pictures, the furniture, and the chandelier lay in one common wreck; and the walls were covered with inscriptions of mingled insult and glory. Over the mantel-piece had been charcoaled "Rascal"; over the pier-table, "Abolitionist." We did not fare as badly as several others who rejoiced in the spoiling of their goods. Mr. Tappan, in Rose Street, saw a bonfire made of all he had in the world that could make a home or ornament it.
Among the earliest stories which were told me in the nursery, I recollect the martyrdom of Nat Turner, - how Lovejoy, by night, but in light, was sent quite beyond the reach of human pelting, - and all the things which Toussaint did, with no white man, but with the whitest spirit of all, to help him. As to minor sufferers for the cause of Freedom, I should know that we must have entertained Abolitionists at our house largely, since even at this day I find it hard to rid myself of an instinctive impression that the common way of testifying disapprobation of a lecturer in a small country-town is to bombard him with obsolete eggs, carried by the audience for that purpose. I saw many at my father's table who had enjoyed the honors of that ovation.
I was four years old when I learned that my father combined the two functions of preaching in a New England college town and ticket-agency on the Underground Railroad. Four years old has a sort of literal-mindedness about it. Most little boys that I knew had an idea that professors of religion and professors in college were the same, and that a real Christian always had to wear black and speak Greek. So I could be pardoned for going down cellar and watching behind old hogsheads by the hour to see where to cars came in.
A year after that I casually saw my first passenger, but regretted not also to have seen whether he came up by the coal-bin or the meat-safe. His name was Isidore Smith; so, to protect him from Smith, my father, being a conscientious man, baptized him into a liberty to say that his name was John Peterson. I held the blue bowl which served for font. To this day I feel a sort of semi-accountability for John Peterson. I have asked after him every time I have crossed the Suspension Bridge since I grew up. In holding that baptismal bowl I suppose I am, in a sense, his godfather. Half a godfather is better than none, and in spite of my size I was a very earnest one.
There are few godchildren for whom I should have had to renounce fewer sins than for thee, brave John Peterson!
John Peterson had been baptized before. No sprinkling that, but an immersion in hell! He had to strip to show it to us. All down his back were welts in which my father might lay his finger; and one gash healed with a scar into which I could put my small, boyish fist. The former were made by the whip and branding-irons of a Virginia planter, - the latter by the teeth of his bloodhounds. When I saw that black back, I cried; and my father might have chosen the place to baptize in, even as John Baptist did Ænon, "because there was much water there."
John stayed with us three or four weeks and then got moody. Nobody in the town twitted him as a runaway. He was inexhaustibly strong in health, and never tired of doing us service as gardener, porter, errand-boy, and, on occasion, cook. In few places could his hard-won freedom be less imperiled than with us. At last the secret of his melancholy came out. He burst into tears, one morning, as he stood with the fresh-polished boots at the door of my father's study, and sobbed -
"Massa, I 's got to go an' fetch dat yer gal 'n' little Pompey, 'r I 's be done dead afore de yeah 's out!"
As always, a woman in the case!
Had it been his own case, I think I know my father well enough to believe that he would have started directly South for "dat yer gal 'n' little Pompey," though he had to face a frowning world. But being John's counsellor, his rôle was to counsel moderation, and his duty to put before him the immense improbability of his ever making a second passage of the Red Sea, if he now returned. If he were caught and whipped to death, of what benefit could he be to his wife and child? Why not stay North and buy them?
But the marital and the parental are also the automatic and the immediate. Reason with love! As well as with orange-boughs for bearing orange-buds, or water upon its boiling-point! When John's earnestness made my father realize that this is the truth, he gave John all the available funds in the underground till, and started him off at six in the morning. I was not awake when he went, and felt that my luck was down on me. I never should see that hole where the black came up.
For six months the Care-Taker of Ravens had under His sole keeping a brave head as black as theirs, and a heart like that of the pious negro, who, in a Southern revival-hymn is thus referred to: -(The most Southern slaves, who had never travelled and seen snow, found greater reality in the image of "cotton wool," and used to sing the hymn with that variation.) At the end of that time, contrary to our most sanguine expectations, John Peterson appeared. Nor John Peterson alone, for when he rang our door-bell he put into the arms of a nice-looking mulatto woman of thirty a little youngster about two years old.
Him hab face jus' like de crow,
But de Lor' gib him heart like snow."
A new servant, with some trepidation, showed them up to "Massa's" study. We had weeded John's dialect of that word before he went away, but he had been six months since then in a servile atmosphere. He stood at the open study-door. My father stopped shaving, and let the lather dry on his face, as he shielded with his hand the eyes he in vain tried to believe. Yes, veritably, John Peterson!
But John Peterson could not speak. He choked visibly; and then, pointing to the two beside him, blurted out, -
"I 's done did it, Massa!" and broke entirely down.
Again it was Ænon generally, and there was more baptizing done.
John had made a march somewhat like Sherman's. He had crossed the entire States of Virginia and Maryland, carrying two non-combatants, and no weapon of his own but a knife, - subsisting his army on the enemy all the way, - using negro guides freely, but never sending them back to their masters, - and terminating his brilliant campaign with an act of bold, unconstitutional confiscation. He could n't have found a Chief-Justice in the world to uphold him in it at that time.
Hiding by day and walking by night, with his boy strapped to his back and his wife by his side, he had come within thirty miles of the Maryland line, when one night the full moon flashed its Judas lantern full upon him, and, being in the high-road, he naturally enough "tuk a scar'." Freedom only thirty miles off, - that vast territory behind him, three times traversed for her dear sake and Love's, - a slave-owner's stable close by, - a wife and a baby crouching in the thicket, - God above saying, "The laborer is worthy of his hire." No Chief-Justice in the world could have convinced that man.
With an inspired touch, - the tactus eruditus of a bitter memory and a glorious hope, - John felt for and found the best horse in the stable, saddled him, led him out without awakening a soul, and, mounting, took his wife before him with the baby in her arms. A pack of deerhounds came snuffing about him as he rode off; but, for a wonder, they never howled.
"Oh, Massa!" said John, "when I see dat, I knowed we was safe anyhow. Dat Lor' dat stop de moufs of dem dogs was jus' de same as Him dat shut de mofs of de lions in Dannelindeliensden." (I write it as he pronounced it. I think he thought it was a place in the Holy Land.) "When I knowed dat was de same Lor', an' He come down dar to help me, I rode along jus' as quiet as little Pompey dar, an' neber feared no moon."
When he reached the Pennsylvania border he turned back the horse, and proceeded on his way though a land where as yet there was no Fugitive-Slave Law, and those who sought to obstruct the progress of the negro-hunter were, as they ever have been, many.
After that I got by accident into a Northern school with Southern principals.
Æsthetically it was a good school. We wore kid gloves when we went to meeting, and sat in a gallery like a sort of steamer over the boiler, in which deacons and other large good people were stewing, through long, hot Sunday afternoons. If we went to sleep, or ate cloves not to go to sleep, we were punched in the back with a real gold-headed cane. The cane we felt proud of, because it had been presented by the boys, and it was a perpetual compliment to us to see that cane go down the street with our principal after it; but nothing could have exceeded our mortification at being punched with it in full sight of the girls'-school gallery opposite, we having our kid gloves on at the time, and in some instances coats with tails, like men.
When I say "Southern" principals, I do not mean to indicate their nativity; for I suppose no Southerner ever taught a Northerner anything until Bull Run, when the lesson was, not to despise one's enemy, but to beat him. Nor do I intend to call them pro-slavery men in the obnoxious sense. Like many good men of the day, they depended largely on Southern patronage, and opposed all discussion of what they called "political differences." At that day, in most famous schools, "Liberty" used to be cut out of a boy's composition, if it meant anything more than an exhibition-day splurge with reference to the eagle and the banner in the immediate context.
Among the large crowd of young Southerners sent to this school, I began preaching emancipation in my pinafore. Mounted upon a window-seat in an alcove of the great play-hall, I passed recess after recess in haranguing a multitude upon the subject of Freedom, with as little success as most apostles, and with only less than their crown of martyrdom, because, though small boys are more malicious than men, they cannot hit so hard.
On one occasion, brought to bay by a sophism, I answered unwisely, but made a good friend. A little Southerner (as often since a large one) turned on me fiercely and said, -
"Would you marry a nigger?"
Resolved to die by my premises, I gave a great gulp and said, -
Of course one general shout of derision ascended from the throng. Nothing but the ringing of the bell prevented me from accepting on the spot the challenge to a fist-fight of a boy whom Lee has since cashiered from his colonelcy for selling the commissions in his regiment. After school I was taken in hand by a gentleman, then one of our belles-lettres teachers, but now a well-known and eloquent divine in New York city, who for the first time showed me how to beat an antagonist by avoiding his deductions.
"Tell G. the next time," said the present Rev. Dr. W., "that, if you saw a poor beggar-woman dying of cold and hunger, you would do all in your power to help her, though you might be far enough from wanting to marry her."
How many a non-sequitur of people who did n't sit in the boys' gallery has this simple little formula of Dr. W.'s helped me to shed aside since then!
Just after the John Brown raid, I went to Florida. I remained in the State from the first of January till the first week of the May following. I found there the climate of Utopia, the scenery of Paradise, and the social system of Hell.
I am inclined to think that the author of the pamphlet which last spring advocated amalgamation was a Floridian. The most open relations of concubinage existed between white chevaliers and black servants in the town of Jacksonville. I was not surprised at the fact, but was surprised at its openness. The particular friend of one family belonging to the cream of Florida society was a gentleman in thriving business who had for his mistress the waiting-maid of the daughters. He used to sit composedly with the young ladies of an evening, - one of them playing on the piano to him, the other smiling upon him over a bouquet, - while the woman he had afflicted with the burdens, without giving her the blessings, of marriage, came in curtsying humbly with a tea-tray. Everybody understood the relation perfectly; but not even the pious shrugged their shoulders or seemed to care. One day, a lank Virginian, wintering South in the same hotel with myself, began pitching into me on the subject of "Northern amalgamators." I called to me a pretty little boy with the faintest tinge of umber in his skin, and pointed him to the lank Virginian without a word. The lank Virginian understood the answer, and sat down to read Bledsoe on the Soul. Bledsoe, as a slave-labor growth in metaphysics, (indeed, the only Southern metaphysician, if we except Governor Wise,) is much coddled at the South. I believe, besides, that he proves the divine right of Slavery a priori. If he begins with the "Everlasting Me," he must be just the kind of reading for a slave aristocrat.
It is very amusing to hear the Southerners talk of arming their slaves. I often heard them do it in Florida. I have read such Richmond Congress debates as have transpired upon the subject. I do not believe that any important steps will be taken in the matter, I have known a master mad with fear, when he saw an old gun-stock protruding from beneath one of those dog-heaps of straw and sacking called beds, in the negro-quarters. The fact that it had been thrown away by himself, had no barrel attached to it, and was picked up by a colored boy who had a passion for carving, hardly prevented the man from giving the innocent author of his fright a round "nine-and-thirty." When I was in Florida, a peculiar set of marks, like the technical "blaze," were found on certain trees in that and the adjoining State westward. The people were alive in an instant. There were editorials and meetings. The Southern heart was fired, and fired off. There was every indication of a negro uprising, and those marks pointed the way to the various rendezvous. When they were discovered to be the work of some insignificant rodent, who had put himself on bark-tonic to a degree which had never chanced to be observed before, nobody seemed ashamed, for everybody said, - "Well, it was best to be on the safe side; the thing might have happened just as well as not." I do not believe that one thinking Southern man (if any such there be in the closing hours of a desperate conspiracy) has any more idea of arming his negroes than of translating San Domingo to the threshold of his home. I should like to see the negroes whom I knew most thoroughly intrusted with blockade-run rifles, just by way of experiment. Let me recall a couple of these acquaintances.
The St. John's River is one of the most picturesque and beautiful streams in the world. Its bluffs never rise higher than fifty or sixty feet; it has no abrupt precipices; the whole formation about it is tertiary and drift or modern terrace; but its first eighty miles from its mouth are broad as a bay of the sea, and its narrow upper course above Pilatka, where current supersedes tide, is all one dream of Eden, - an infinitely tortuous avenue, peopled with myriads of beautiful wild-birds, roofed by over-hanging branches of oak, magnolia, and cypress, draped with the moss that tones down those solitudes into a sort of day-moonlight, and, in the greatest contrast with this, festooned by the lavish clusters of odorous yellow jasmine and many-hued morning-glory, - the latter making a pillar heavy with triumphal wreaths of every old stump along the plashy brink, - the former swinging from tree-top to tree-top to knit the whole tropic wilderness into a tangle of emerald chains, drooping lamps of golden fire, and censers of bewildering fragrance.
To the hunting, fishing, and exploration of such a river I was never sorry that I had brought my own boat. It was one of the chefs-d'oeuvres of my old schoolmate Ingersoll, - a copper-fastened, clinker-built pleasure-boat, pulling two pairs of sculls, fifteen feet long, comfortably accommodating six persons, and adorned by the builder with a complimentary blue and gilt backboard of mahogany and a pair of presentation tiller-ropes twisted from white and crimson silk.
In this boat I and the companion of my exile took much comfort. When we intended only a short row, - some trifle of ten or twelve miles, - we always pulled for ourselves; but on long tours, where the faculties of observation would have been impaired by the fatigue of action, we employed as our oarsman a black man whom I shall call Sol Cutter, - not knowing on which side of the lines he may be at present.
Sol, when we first discovered him, was hovering around the Jacksonville wharves, looking for a job. It is so novel to see that kind of thing in the South, that I asked him if he was a free negro. He replied, that he was the slave of a gentleman who allowed him to buy his time. He said "allowed"; but I suspect that the truer, though less delivate, way of putting it would have been to say "obliged" him to, for the sake of a living. Sol's "Mossa Cutter" had remaining to him none of the paternal acres; and it never having occurred to him, that, when lands and houses all are spent, then learning is most excellent, he possessed none of that nous which would have enabled a Northern man to outflank embarrassments by directing his forces into new channels. Having worked a plantation, when he had no longer any plantation to work he was compelled to send his negroes into the street to earn an eleëmosynary living for him. This was no obloquy. How many such men has every Southern traveller seen, - "sons of the first South Carolina families," - parodying the Caryatides against the sunny wall of some low grog-shop during a whole winter afternoon, - their eyes listless, their hands in their pockets, their legs outstretched, their backs bent, their conversation a languid mixture of Cracker dialect and overseer slang, their negroes' earnings running down their throats at intervals, as they change their outside for a temporary inside position, - and all the well-dressed citizens addressing them cheerfully as "Colonel" and "Major," without a blush of shame, as they go by! Goldwin Smith was right in pointing at such men as one of the former palliations for the social invectives of the foreign tourist, - though any such tourist with brains need not have mistaken them for sample Americans, having already been in Boston, New York, and Philadelphia. The trouble is, that foreign tourists, as a rule, do not have brains. At any rate, they may say to us, as Artemus Ward of his gifts of eloquence, - "I have them, but - I have n't got them with me."
Sol Cutter paid his master eight dollars a week. As he had to keep himself out of his remainder earnings, he was naturally more enterprising than most slaves; and I took a fancy to him immediately. From the day I found him, he always went out with me on my long rows.
The middle of a river six miles wide is the safest place that can be found at the South for insurrectionary conversation. Even there I used to wonder whether the Southerners had not given secret-service money to the allegators who occasionally stuck their knobby noses above the flood to scent our colloquies.
Sol was pulling away steadily, having "got his second wind" at the end of the first mile. I was sitting with tiller-ropes in hand, and studying his strong-featured, but utterly expressionless face, with deep curiosity. His face was one over which the hot roller of a great agony has passed, smoothing out all its meaning.
"So your master sells you your time?"
"Yess, Mossa." (Always "Mossa," never "Massa," so far South as this.)
"Do you support your wife and children as well as yourself?"
A convulsive gulp on the part of Sol, but no reply.
"Have you never been married?"
"Is your wife dead?"
"I hope so, - to de good God, I hope so, Mossa!"
Sol leaned forward on his oars and stopped rowing. He panted, he gnashed his teeth, he frothed at the mouth, and when I thought he must be an epileptic, he lifted himself up with one strong shudder, and turning on me a face stern as Cato's, -
"Nebber, nebber, NEBBER, shall I see wife or chil' agin!"
I then said openly that I was an Abolitionist, - that I believed in every man's right to freedom, - and that, as to the safest friend in the world, he might tell me his story, - which he thereupon did, and which was afterward abundantly corroborated by pro-slavery testimony on shore.
"Mossa Cutter" had fallen heir in South Carolina to a good plantation and thirty likely "niggers." At the age of twenty-five he sold out the former and emigrated to Florida with the latter. The price of the plantation rapidly disappeared at horse-races, poker-parties, cock-fights, and rum-shops. If Mossa Cutter speculated, he was always unsuccessful, because he was always hot-headed and always drunk.
In process of time "debts of honor" and the sheriff's hammer had dissipated his entire clientage of blacks, with the exception of Sol, a pretty yellow woman with a nice baby, who were respectively Sol's wife and child, and a handsome quadroon boy of seventeen, who was Mossa Cutter's body-servant.
Sol came to the quarters one night and found his wife and child gone. They were on their way to Tallahassee in a coffle which had been made up as a sudden speculation on the cheerful Bourse of Jacksonville. Four doors away Mossa Cutter could be seen between the flaunting red curtains of a bar-room window, drinking Sol's heart's blood at sixpence the tumblerful.
Sol, I hear they are going to put an English musket in your hands!
Sol fel paralyzed to the ground. A moment after, he was up on his feet again, and, without thought of nine o'clock, pass, patrol, or whipping-house, rushing on the road likely to be taken by chain-gangs to Tallahassee. He reached the "Piny Woods" timber on the outskirts of the town. No one had noticed him, and he struck madly through the sand that floors those forests, knowing no weariness, for his heart-strings pulled that way. He travelled all night without overtaking them; but just as the first gray dawn glimmered between the piny plumes behind him, he heard the coarse shout of drivers close ahead, and cound himself by the fence of a log-hut where the gang had huddled down for its short sleep. It was now light enough to travel, and the drivers were "geeing" up their human cattle.
Sol rushed to his wife and baby. As the man and woman clasped each other in frantic caress, the driver came up, and, kicking them, bade them with an oath to have done.
"Whose nigger are you?" (to Sol.)
"I belong to Mossa Cutter. I 's come to be taken along."
"Did he send you?"
"He did so, Sah. He tol' me partic'lar. I done run hard to catch up wid you gemplemen, Mossa. Mossa Cutter he sell me to-day to be sol' in de same lot wid Nancy."
The drivers went aside and talked for a while, then took him on with them, and, for a wonder, did sell Sol and Nancy in the same lot. Nancy's and the baby's price had one good use to Sol, for it kept Mossa Cutter for a week too drunk to know of his loss or care for his recovery.
Sol was the coachman, Nancy the laundress, of a gentleman residing at the capital. Their master had the happy eccentricity of getting more amiable with every rum-toddy; and as he never for any length of time discontinued rum-toddies, the days of Sol and Nancy at Judge Q.'s were halcyon.
They had not counted on one of the drivers going back to Jacksonville, meeting Mossa Cutter over his libations, and confidentially confessing to him, -
"I tuk a likely boy o' yourn over to Tallahassee in that gang month afore last."
Sol, if they had put a British gun in your hands then!
Mossa Cutter swooped down on them in the midst of their happiness, - refused to let Judge Q. ransom Sol at twice his value, - and tore him from his wife and child. Returning with him to Jacksonville, he beat him almost to death, - after which, he sent him out on the wharves to earn their common living.
A few nights after the return of Sol, Mossa Cutter came home with mania a potu. His handsome quadroon body-servant was sitting up for him. Mossa Cutter said to him, -
"You have the sideboard-keys, - bring me that decanter of brandy."
The boy replied, -
"Oh, don't, dear Mossa! you surely kill you'self!"
Upon this, his master, damning him for a "saucy, disobedient nigger," drew his bowie-knife and inflicted on him a frightful wound across the abdomen, from which he died next day. A Jacksonville jury brought in a verdict of accidental death.
That might have been another good occasion to hand Sol a musket!
Not having any, he remained in the proud and notorious position of "Mossa Cutter's Larst Niggah."
In a certain part of Florida (obvious reasons will show themselves for leaving it indefinite) I enjoyed the acquaintance of two Southern gentlemen, - gentlemen, however, of widely different kinds. One was a general, a lawyer, a rake, a drunkard, and white; the other was a body-servant, a menial, an educated man, a fine man-of-business, a Sir Roger in his manners, and black. The two had been brought up together, the black having been given to the white gentleman during the latter's second year. "They had played marbles in the same hole," the General said. I know that Jim was unceasing in his attentions to his master, and that his master could not have lived without them. A sort of attachment of fidelity certainly did exist on Jim's side; and the most selfish man must feel an attachment of need for the servant who could manage his bank-account and superintend his entire interests much more successfully than himself, - who could tend him without complaint through a week's sleeplessness, when he had the horrors, - who was in fact, to all intents and purposes, his only responsible manifestation to the world.
Jim's wife was dead, but had left him two sons and a daughter. When I first saw him, none of them had been sold from him. The boys were respectively eighteen and twenty years old. Their sister had just turned sixteen, and was a nice-looking, modest, mulatto girl, whom her father idolized because she was looking more and more every day "like de oder Sally dat's gone, Mossa."
A week after he said that to me, Sally on earth might well have prayed to Sally in heaven to take her, for she was sold away into the horrors of concubinage to one of the wickedest men on the river.
To describe the result of this act upon Jim is beyond my power, if indeed my heart would allow me to repeat such sorrow. It was not violent, - but, O South, South, lying on a volcano, if all your negroes had been violent, how much better for you!
Jim, I hear they intend to give you a rifle!
Well, as to that, I remember Jim had heard of such things.
Boarding at the same hotel with the General, I sat also at the same table. When he was well enough to come down to his meals, he occupied the third chair below me on the opposite side.
One night, when all the boarders but ourselves had left the tea-room, the General, being confidentially sober, (I say sober, for when he reached the confidential he was on the rising scale,) began talking politics with me.
"I see in the 'Mercury,'" said the General, "that some of your Northern scum are making preparations for another John Brown raid into Virginia."
"Oh, no, I fancy not. That 's sensation."
"Well, now, you just look h'y'ere! If they do come, d' ye know what I 'm gwine to do! If I 'm too feeble to walk or ride a hoss, I 'll crawl on my knees to the banks of the Potomac, and" -
"What, with those new Northern-made pantaloons on?"
"D' interrupt me, Sir. I 'll crawl on my knees to the bank of the Potomac and defend Old Virginny to the last gasp. She 's my sister, Sir! So 'll all the negroes fight for her. Talk about our not trusting 'em! Here 's Jim. He 's got all the money I have in the world; takes care of me when I 'm sick; comes after me to the Gem when I 'm - a little not myself, you know; sees me home; puts me to bed, and never leaves me. Faithful as a hound, by Heavens! Why, I 'd trust him with my life in a minute, Sir! Yes, Sir, and - Oh, yes! we 'll just arm our niggers, and put 'em in the front ranks to make 'em shoot their brothers, Sir!"
I said, "Ah?" and the General went out to take a drink, leaving Jim and myself alone together at the table.
The remaining five minutes, before I finished my tea, Jim seemed very restless. Just as I rose to go, he said to me, -
"Mossa, could you hab de great kin'ness to come out to de quarters to see Peter?" (his eldest boy,) - "he done catch bery bad col', Sah."
I was physician in ordinary to the servants in that hotel. In every distress they called on me. I told Jim that I would gladly accompany him. When we got to a considerable distance from the main houses, Jim stopped under an immense magnolia, and, drawing me inside to its shade, said, after a sweeping glance in all directions, -
"Oh, Mossa! is dat true, dat dem dere Abolitionists is a-comin' down here to save us, - to redeem us, Mosssa? Is dey a-comin' to take pity on us, Mossa, an' take dis people out of hell? Oh, is dey, is dey, Mossa?"
I told Jim that they were very weak and few in number just now; but that in a few years there would be nobody but them at the North, and then they'd come down a hundred thousand strong. (I said one hundred thousand, the modern army not yet having been dreamed of.) I told him to bide the Lord's time.
He cast a fainting glance over to that window in the negro quarters, dark now, where his little Sally used to ply her skilful needle. Then he tossed his hands wildly into the air, and cried out, -
"Lord's time! Oh, is der any Lord?"
I clasped him by the hand and said, -
"Yes, my poor, broken-hearted - brother!"
That word fell on his ear for the first time from a white man's lips, and the stupification of it was a countercheck to his grief.
He became perfectly calm, and clasped me by the hands gently, like a child.
"Mossa, you mean dat? To me, Mossa? Dead Mossa, den I will try for to bide de Lord's time! But," (here his face grew black in the growing moonlight, with a deeper blackness than complexion,) - "but, if de Mossas only do put de guns into our han's, oh, dey 'll find out which side we 'll turn 'em on!"
Jim, I hope you have arms in your hands long ere this, and hove done good work with them! I hope Sol has also. Either of you has enough of the vis ab intra to make a good soldier. As you won't know what that means, Him and Sol, I 'll tell you, - it 's a broken heart.
But whether Sol and Jim have arms in their hands or not, by all means arm the rest.
Wanted, two hundred thousand British muskets to arm as many likely niggers, - all warranted equal to samples, Sol and Jim, - same make, same temper. Blockade-runners had better apply immediately.
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