Read CHAPTER VI of Among the Pines / South in Secession Time, free online book, by James R. Gilmore, on ReadCentral.com.

THE PLANTER’S “FAMILY.”

A quarter of a mile through the woods brought me to the cabin of the old negress where Scip lodged. I rapped at the door, and was admitted by the old woman. Scip, nearly asleep, was lying on a pile of blankets in the corner.

“Are you mad?” I said to him. “The Colonel is frantic with rage, and swears he will kill you. You must be off at once.”

“No, no, massa; neber fear; I knows him. He’d keep his word, ef he loss his life by it. I’m gwine afore sunrise; till den I’m safe.”

“Der ye tink Massa Davy wud broke his word, sar?” said the old negress, bridling up her bent form, and speaking in a tone in which indignation mingled with wounded dignity; “p’raps gemmen do dat at de Norf dey neber does it har.”

“Excuse me, Aunty; I know your master is a man of honor; but he’s very much excited, and very angry with Scip.”

“No matter for dat, sar; Massa Davy neber done a mean ting sense he war born.”

“Massa K tinks a heap ob de Cunnel, Aunty; but he reckon he’m sort o’ crazy now; dat make him afeard,” said Scip, in an apologetic tone.

“What ef he am crazy? You’se safe har,” rejoined the old woman, dropping her aged limbs into a chair, and rocking away with much the air which ancient white ladies occasionally assume.

“Wont you ax Massa K to a cheer?” said Scip; “he hab ben bery kine to me.”

The negress then offered me a seat; but it was some minutes before I rendered myself sufficiently agreeable to thaw out the icy dignity of her manner. Meanwhile I glanced around the apartment.

Though the exterior of the cabin was like the others on the plantation, the interior had a rude, grotesque elegance about it far in advance of any negro hut I had ever seen. The logs were chinked with clay, and the one window, though destitute of glass, and ornamented with the inevitable board-shutter, had a green moreen curtain, which kept out the wind and the rain. A worn but neat and well swept carpet partly covered the floor, and on the low bed was spread a patch-work counter-pane. Against the side of the room opposite the door stood an antique, brass-handled bureau, and an old-fashioned table, covered with a faded woollen cloth, occupied the centre of the apartment. In the corner near the fire was a curiously-contrived sideboard, made of narrow strips of yellow pine, tongued and grooved together, and oiled so as to bring out the beautiful grain of the wood. On it were several broken and cracked glasses, and an array of irregular crockery. The rocking chair, in which the old negress passed the most of her time, was of mahogany, wadded and covered with chintz, and the arm-seat I occupied, though old and patched in many places, had evidently moved in good society.

The mistress of this second-hand furniture establishment was arrayed in a mass of cast-off finery, whose gay colors were in striking contrast with her jet-black skin and bent, decrepit form. Her gown, which was very short, was of flaming red and yellow worsted stuff, and the enormous turban that graced her head and hid all but a few tufts of her frizzled, “pepper-and-salt” locks, was evidently a contribution from the family stock of worn-out pillow-cases. She was very aged upward of seventy and so thin that, had she not been endowed with speech and motion, she might have passed for a bundle of whalebone thrown into human shape, and covered with a coating of gutta-percha. It was evident she had been a valued house-servant, whose few remaining years were being soothed and solaced by the kind and indulgent care of a grateful master.

Scip, I soon saw, was a favorite with the old negress, and the marked respect he showed me quickly dispelled the angry feeling my doubts of “Massa Davy” had excited, and opened her heart and her mouth at the same moment. She was terribly garrulous; her tongue, as soon as it got under way, ran on as if propelled by machinery and acquainted with the secret of perpetual motion; but she was an interesting study. The single-hearted attachment she showed for her master and his family gave me a new insight into the practical working of “the peculiar institution,” and convinced me that even slavery, in some of its aspects, is not so black as it is painted.

When we were seated, I said to Scip, “What induced you to lay hands on the Colonel? It is death, you know, if he enforces the law.”

“I knows dat, massa; I knows dat; but I had to do it. Dat Moye am de olé debble, but de folks round har wud hab turned on de Cunnel, shore, ef he’d killed him. Dey don’t like de Cunnel; dey say he’m a stuck-up seshener.”

“The Colonel, then, has befriended you at some time?”

“No, no, sar; ’twarn’t dat; dough I’se know’d him a long w’ile eber sense my olé massa fotched me from Habana but ’twarn’t dat.”

“Then why did you do it?”

The black hesitated a moment, and glanced at the old negress, then said:

“You see, massa, w’en I fuss come to Charles’n, a pore little ting, wid no friend in all de worle, dis olé aunty war a mudder to me. She nussed de Cunnel; he am jess like her own chile, and I know’d ’twud kill her ef he got hissef enter trubble.”

I noticed certain convulsive twitchings about the corners of the old woman’s mouth as she rose from her seat, threw her arms around Scip, and, in words broken by sobs, faltered out:

You am my chile; I loves you better dan Massa Davy better dan all de worle.”

The scene, had they not been black, would have been one for a painter.

“You were the Colonel’s nurse, Aunty,” I said, when she had regained her composure. “Have you always lived with him?”

“Yas, sar, allers; I nussed him, and den de chil’ren all ob ’em.”

All the children? I thought the Colonel had but one Miss Clara.”

“Wal, he habn’t, massa, only de boys.”

“What boys? I never heard he had sons.”

“Neber heerd of young Massa Davy, nor Massa Tommy! Haint you seed Massa Tommy, sar?”

“Tommy! I was told he was Madam P ’s son.”

“So he am; Massa Davy had her long afore he had missus.”

The truth flashed upon me; but could it be possible? Was I in South Carolina or in Utah?

“Who is Madam P ?” I asked.

The old woman hesitated a moment as if in doubt whether she had not said too much; but Scip quietly replied:

“She’m jess what aunty am de Cunnel’s slave!

“His slave! it can’t be possible; she is white!”

“No, massa; she am brack, and de Cunnel’s slave!”

Not to weary the reader with a long repetition of negro-English, I will tell in brief what I gleaned from an hour’s conversation with the two blacks.

Madam P was the daughter of Ex-Gov. , of Virginia, by a quarteron woman. She was born a slave, but was acknowledged as her father’s child, and reared in his family with his legitimate children. When she was ten years old her father died, and his estate proving insolvent, the land and negroes were brought under the hammer. His daughter, never having been manumitted, was inventoried and sold with the other property. The Colonel, then just of age, and a young man of fortune, bought her and took her to the residence of his mother in Charleston. A governess was provided for her, and a year or two afterward she was taken to the North to be educated. There she was frequently visited by the Colonel; and when fifteen her condition became such that she was obliged to return home. He conveyed her to the plantation, where her elder son, David, was soon after born, “Aunt Lucy” officiating on the occasion. When the child was two years old, leaving it in charge of the aged negress, she accompanied the Colonel to Europe, where they remained for a year. Subsequently she passed another year at a Northern seminary; and then, returning to the homestead, was duly installed as its mistress, and had ever since presided over its domestic affairs. She was kind and good to the negroes, who were greatly attached to her, and much of the Colonel’s wealth was due to her excellent management of the plantation.

Six years after the birth of “young Massa Davy,” the Colonel married his present wife, that lady having full knowledge of his left-handed connection with Madam P , and consenting that the “bond-woman” should remain on the plantation, as its mistress. The legitimate wife resided, during most of the year, in Charleston, and when at the homestead took little interest in domestic matters. On one of her visits to the plantation, twelve years before, her daughter, Miss Clara, was born, and within a week, under the same roof, Madam P presented the Colonel with a son the lad Thomas, of whom I have spoken. As the mother was slave, the children were so also at birth, but they had been manumitted by their father. One of them was being educated in Germany; and it was intended that both should spend their lives in that country, the taint in their blood being an insuperable bar to their ever acquiring social position at the South.

As she finished the story, the old woman said, “Massa Davy am bery kind to the missus, sar, but he love de ma’am; an’ he can’t help it, ’cause she’m jess so good as de angels."

In conversation with a well-known Southern gentleman, not long since, I mentioned these two cases, and commented on them as a man educated with New England ideas might be supposed to do. The gentleman admitted that he knew of twenty such instances, and gravely defended the practice as being infinitely more moral and respectable than the more common relation existing between masters and slaves.

I looked at my watch it was nearly ten o’clock, and I rose to go. As I did so the old negress said:

“Don’t yer gwo, massa, ’fore you hab sum ob aunty’s wine; you’m good friends wid Scip, and I knows you’se not too proud to drink wid brack folks, ef you am from de Norf.”

Being curious to know what quality of wine a plantation slave indulged in, I accepted the invitation. She went to the side-board, and brought out a cut-glass decanter, and three cracked tumblers, which she placed on the table. Filling the glasses to the brim, she passed one to Scip, and one to me, and, with the other in her hand, resumed her seat. Wishing her a good many happy years, and Scip a pleasant journey home, I emptied my glass. It was Scuppernong, and the pure juice of the grape!

“Aunty,” I said, “this wine is as fine as I ever tasted.”

“Oh, yas, massa, it am de raal stuff. I growed de grapes myseff.”

“You grew them?”

“Yas, sar, an’ Massa Davy make de wine. He do it ebery yar for de olé nuss.”

“The Colonel is very good. Do you raise any thing else?”

“Yas, I hab collards and taters, a little corn, and most ebery ting.”

“But who does your work? You certainly can’t do it?”

“Oh, de ma’am looks arter dat, sar; she’m bery good to de olé aunty.”

Shaking hands with both the negroes, I left the cabin, fully convinced that all the happiness in this world is not found within plastered apartments.

The door of the mansion was bolted and barred; but, rapping for admission, I soon heard the Colonel’s voice asking, “Who is there?” Giving a satisfactory answer, I was admitted. Explaining that he supposed I had retired to my room, he led the way to the library.

That apartment was much more elegantly furnished than the drawing-rooms. Three of its sides were lined with books, and on the centre-table, papers, pamphlets, and manuscripts were scattered in promiscuous confusion. In an arm-chair near the fire, Madame P was seated, reading. The Colonel’s manner was as composed as if nothing had disturbed the usual routine of the plantation; no trace of the recent terrible excitement was visible; in fact, had I not been a witness to the late tragedy, I should have thought it incredible that he, within two hours, had been an actor in a scene which had cost a human being his life.

“Where in creation have you been, my dear fellow?” he asked, as we took our seats.

“At old Lucy’s cabin, with Scip,” I replied.

“Indeed. I supposed the darky had gone.”

“No, he doesn’t go till the morning.”

“I told you he wouldn’t, David,” said Madame P ; “now, send for him make friends with him before he goes.”

“No, Alice, it wont do. I bear him no ill-will, but it wont do. It would be all over the plantation in an hour.”

“No matter for that; our people would like you the better for it.”

“No, no. I can’t do it. I mean him no harm, but I can’t do that.”

“He told me why he interfered between you and Moye,” I remarked.

“Why did he?”

“He says old Lucy, years ago, was a mother to him; that she is greatly attached to you, and it would kill her if any harm happened to you; and that your neighbors bear you no good-will, and would have enforced the law had you killed Moye.”

“It is true, David; you would have had to answer for it.”

“Nonsense! what influence could this North County scum have against me?”

“Perhaps none. But that makes no difference; Scipio did right, and you should tell him you forgive him.”

The Colonel then rang a small bell, and a negro woman soon appeared. “Sue,” he said, “go to Aunt Lucy’s, and ask Scip to come here. Bring him in at the front door, and, mind, let no one know he comes.”

The woman in a short time returned with Scip. There was not a trace of fear or embarrassment in the negro’s manner as he entered the room. Making a respectful bow, he bade us “good evening.”

“Good evening, Scip,” said the Colonel, rising and giving the black his hand; “let us be friends. Madam tells me I should forgive you, and I do.”

“Aunt Lucy say ma’am am an angel, sar, and it am tru it am tru, sar,” replied the negro with considerable feeling.

The lady rose, also, and took Scip’s hand, saying, “I not only forgive you, but I thank you for what you have done. I shall never forget it.”

“You’se too good, ma’am; you’se too good to say dat,” replied the darky, the moisture coming to his eyes; “but I meant nuffin’ wrong I meant nuffin’ dis’specful to de Cunnel.”

“I know you didn’t, Scip; but we’ll say no more about it; good-by,” said the Colonel.

Shaking hands with each one of us, the darky left the apartment.

One who does not know that the high-bred Southern gentleman considers the black as far below him as the horse he drives, or the dog he kicks, cannot realize the amazing sacrifice of pride which the Colonel made in seeking a reconciliation with Scip. It was the cutting off of his right hand. The circumstance showed the powerful influence held over him by the octoroon woman. Strange that she, his slave, cast out from society by her blood and her life, despised, no doubt, by all the world, save by him and a few ignorant blacks, should thus control a proud, self-willed, passionate man, and control him, too, only for good.

After the black had gone, I said to the Colonel, “I was much interested in old Lucy. A few more such instances of cheerful and contented old age, might lead me to think better of slavery.”

“Such cases are not rare, sir. They show the paternal character of our ‘institution.’ We are forced to care for our servants in their old age.”

“But have your other aged slaves the same comforts that Aunt Lucy has?”

“No; they don’t need them. She has been accustomed to live in my house, and to fare better than the plantation hands; she therefore requires better treatment.”

“Is not the support of that class a heavy tax upon you?”

“Yes, it is heavy. We have, of course, to deduct it from the labor of the able-bodied hands.”

“What is the usual proportion of sick and infirm on your plantation?”

“Counting in the child-bearing women, I reckon about twenty per cent.”

“And what does it cost you to support each hand?”

“Well, it costs me, for children and all, about seventy-five dollars a year. In some places it costs less. I have to buy all my provisions.”

“What proportion of your slaves are able-bodied hands?”

“Somewhere about sixty per cent. I have, all told, old and young men, women, and children two hundred and seventy. Out of that number I have now equal to a hundred and fifty-four full hands. You understand that we classify them: some do only half tasks, some three-quarters. I have more than a hundred and fifty-four working-men and women, but they do only that number of full tasks.”

“What does the labor of a full hand yield?”

“At the present price of turpentine, my calculation is about two hundred dollars a year.”

“Then your crop brings you about thirty-one thousand dollars, and the support of your negroes costs you twenty thousand.”

“Yes.”

“If that’s the case, my friend, let me advise you to sell your plantation, free your niggers, and go North.”

“Why so, my dear fellow?” asked the Colonel laughing.

“Because you’d make money by the operation.”

“I never was good at arithmetic; go into the figures,” he replied, still laughing, while Madam P , who had laid aside her book, listened very attentively.

“Well, you have two hundred and seventy negroes, whom you value, we’ll say, with your mules, ‘stills,’ and movable property, at two hundred thousand dollars; and twenty thousand acres of land, worth about three dollars and a half an acre; all told, two hundred and seventy thousand dollars. A hundred and fifty-four able-bodied hands produce you a yearly profit of eleven thousand dollars, which, saying nothing about the cost of keeping your live stock, the wear and tear of your mules and machinery, and the yearly loss of your slaves by death, is only four per cent. on your capital. Now, with only the price of your land, say seventy thousand dollars, invested in safe stocks at the North, you could realize eight per cent. five thousand six hundred dollars and live at ease; and that, I judge, if you have many runaways, or many die on your hands, is as much as you really clear now. Besides, if you should invest seventy thousand dollars in almost any legitimate business at the North, and should add to it, as you now do, your time and labor, you would realize far more than you do at present from your entire capital.”

“I never looked at the matter in that light. But I have given you my profits as they now are; some years I make more; six years ago I made twenty-five thousand dollars.”

“Yes; and six years hence you may make nothing.”

“That’s true. But it would cost me more to live at the North.”

“There you are mistaken. What do you pay for your corn, your pork, and your hay, for instance?”

“Well, my corn I have to bring round by vessel from Washington (North Carolina), and it costs me high when it gets here about ten bits (a dollar and twenty-five cents), I think.”

“And in New York you could buy it now at sixty to seventy cents. What does your hay cost?”

“Thirty-five dollars. I pay twenty for it in New York the balance is freight and hauling.”

“Your pork costs you two or three dollars, I suppose, for freight and hauling.”

“Yes; about that.”

“Then in those items you might save nearly a hundred per cent.; and they are the principal articles you consume.”

“Yes; there’s no denying that. But another thing is just as certain: it costs less to support one of my niggers than one of your laboring men.”

“That may be true. But it only shows that our laborers fare better than your slaves.”

“I am not sure of that. I am sure, however, that our slaves are more contented than the run of laboring men at the North.”

“That proves nothing. Your blacks have no hope, no chance to rise; and they submit though I judge not cheerfully to an iron necessity. The Northern laborer, if very poor, may be discontented; but discontent urges him to effort, and leads to the bettering of his condition. I tell you, my friend, slavery is an expensive luxury. You Southern nabobs will have it; and you have to pay for it.”

“Well, we don’t complain. But, seriously, my good fellow, I feel that I am carrying out the design of the Almighty in holding my niggers. I think he made the black to serve the white.”

I think,” I replied, “that whatever He designs works perfectly. Your institution certainly does not. It keeps the producer, who, in every society, is the really valuable citizen, in the lowest poverty, while it allows those who do nothing to be ’clad in fine linen, and to fare sumptuously every day.’”

“It does more than that, sir,” said Madam P , with animation; “it brutalizes and degrades the master and the slave; it separates husband and wife, parent and child; it sacrifices virtuous women to the lust of brutal men; and it shuts millions out from the knowledge of their duty and their destiny. A good and just God could not have designed it; and it must come to an end.”

If lightning had struck in the room I could not have been more startled than I was by the abrupt utterance of such language in a planter’s house, in his very presence, and by his slave. The Colonel, however, expressed no surprise and no disapprobation. It was evidently no new thing to him.

“It is rare, madam,” I said, “to hear such sentiments from a Southern lady one reared among slaves.”

Before she could reply, the Colonel laughingly said:

“Bless you, Mr. K , madam is an out-and-out abolitionist, worse by fifty per cent. than Garrison or Wendell Phillips. If she were at the North she would take to pantaloons, and ‘stump’ the entire free States; wouldn’t you, Alice?”

“I have no doubt of it,” rejoined the lady, smiling. “But I fear I should have poor success. I’ve tried for ten years to convert you, and Mr. K can see the result.”

It had grown late; and with my head full of working niggers and white slave-women, I went to my apartment.

The next day was Sunday. It was near the close of December, yet the air was as mild and the sun as warm as in our Northern October. It was arranged at the breakfast-table that we all should attend service at “the meeting-house,” a church of the Methodist persuasion, located some eight miles away; but as it wanted some hours of the time for religious exercises to commence, I strolled out after breakfast, with the Colonel, to inspect the stables of the plantation. “Massa Tommy” accompanied us, without invitation; and in the Colonel’s intercourse with him I observed as much freedom and familiarity as he would have shown to an acknowledged son. The youth’s manners and conversation showed that great attention had been given to his education and training, and made it evident that the mother whose influence was forming his character, whatever a false system of society had made her life, possessed some of the best traits of her sex.

The stables, a collection of one-story framed buildings, about a hundred rods from the house, were well lighted and ventilated, and contained all “the modern improvements.” They were better built, warmer, more commodious, and in every way more comfortable than the shanties occupied by the human cattle of the plantation. I remarked as much to the Colonel, adding that one who did not know would infer that he valued his horses more than his slaves.

“That may be true,” he replied, laughing. “Two of my horses are worth more than any eight of my slaves;” at the same time calling my attention to two magnificent thorough-breds, one of which had made “2.32” on the Charleston course. The establishment of a Southern gentleman is not complete until it includes one or two of these useless appendages. I had an argument with my host as to their value compared with that of the steam-engine, in which I forced him to admit that the iron horse is the better of the two, because it performs more work, eats less, has greater speed, and is not liable to the spavin or the heaves; but he wound up by saying, “After all, I go for the thorough-breds. You Yankees have but one test of value use.”

A ramble through the negro-quarters, which followed our visit to the stables, gave me some further glimpses of plantation life. Many of the hands were still away in pursuit of Moye, but enough remained to make it evident that Sunday is the happiest day in the darky calendar. Groups of all ages and colors were gathered in front of several of the cabins, some singing, some dancing, and others chatting quietly together, but all enjoying themselves as heartily as so many young animals let loose in a pasture. They saluted the Colonel and me respectfully, but each one had a free, good-natured word for “Massa Tommy,” who seemed an especial favorite with them. The lad took their greetings in good part, but preserved an easy, unconscious dignity of manner that plainly showed he did not know that he too was of their despised, degraded race.

The Colonel, in a rapid way, gave me the character and peculiarities of nearly every one we met. The titles of some of them amused me greatly. At every step we encountered individuals whose names have become household words in every civilized country. Julius Cæsar, slightly stouter than when he swam the Tiber, and somewhat tanned from long exposure to a Southern sun, was seated on a wood-pile, quietly smoking a pipe; while near him, Washington, divested of regimentals, and clad in a modest suit of reddish-gray, his thin locks frosted by time, and his fleshless visage showing great age, was gazing, in rapt admiration, at a group of dancers in front of old Lucy’s cabin.

In this group about thirty men and women were making the ground quake and the woods ring with their unrestrained jollity. Marc Antony was rattling away at the bones, Nero fiddling as if Rome were burning, and Hannibal clawing at a banjo as if the fate of Carthage hung on its strings. Napoleon, as young and as lean as when he mounted the bridge of Lodi, with the battle-smoke still on his face, was moving his legs even faster than in the Russian retreat; and Wesley was using his heels in a way that showed they didn’t belong to the Methodist church. But the central figures of the group were Cato and Victoria. The lady had a face like a thunder-cloud, and a form that, if whitewashed, would have outsold the “Greek Slave.” She was built on springs, and “floated in the dance” like a feather in a high wind. Cato’s mouth was like an alligator’s, but when it opened, it issued notes that would draw the specie even in this time of general suspension. As we approached he was singing a song, but he paused on perceiving us, when the Colonel, tossing a handful of coin among them, called out, “Go on, boys; let the gentleman have some music; and you, Vic, show your heels like a beauty.”

A general scramble followed, in which “Vic’s” sense of decorum forbade her to join, and she consequently got nothing. Seeing that, I tossed her a silver piece, which she caught. Grinning her thanks, she shouted, “Now, clar de track, you nigs; start de music. I’se gwine to gib de gemman de breakdown.”

And she did; and such a breakdown! “We w’ite folks,” though it was no new thing to the Colonel or Tommy, almost burst with laughter.

In a few minutes nearly every negro on the plantation, attracted by the presence of the Colonel and myself, gathered around the performers; and a shrill voice at my elbow called out, “Look har, ye lazy, good-for-nuffin’ niggers, carn’t ye fotch a cheer for Massa Davy and de strange gemman?”

“Is that you, Aunty?” said the Colonel. “How d’ye do?”

“Sort o’ smart, Massa Davy; sort o’ smart; how is ye?”

“Pretty well, Aunty; pretty well. Have a seat.” And the Colonel helped her to one of the chairs that were brought for us, with as much tenderness as he would have shown to an aged white lady.

The “exercises,” which had been suspended for a moment, recommenced, and the old negress entered into them as heartily as the youngest present. A song from Cato followed the dance, and then about twenty “gentleman and lady” darkies joined, two at a time, in a half “walk-round” half breakdown, which the Colonel told me was the original of the well-known dance and song of Lucy Long. Other performances succeeded, and the whole formed a scene impossible to describe. Such uproarious jollity, such full and perfect enjoyment, I had never seen in humanity, black or white. The little nigs, only four or five years old, would rush into the ring and shuffle away at the breakdowns till I feared their short legs would come off; while all the darkies joined in the songs, till the branches of the old pines above shook as if they too had caught the spirit of the music. In the midst of it, the Colonel said to me, in an exultant tone:

“Well, my friend, what do you think of slavery now?”

“About the same that I thought yesterday. I see nothing to change my views.”

“Why, are not these people happy? Is not this perfect enjoyment?”

“Yes; just the same enjoyment that aunty’s pigs are having; don’t you hear them singing to the music? I’ll wager they are the happier of the two.”

“No; you are wrong. The higher faculties of the darkies are being brought out here.”

“I don’t know that,” I replied. “Within the sound of their voices, two of their fellows victims to the inhumanity of slavery are lying dead, and yet they make Sunday “hideous” with wild jollity, while Sam’s fate may be theirs to-morrow.”

Spite of his genuine courtesy and high breeding, a shade of displeasure passed over the Colonel’s face as I made this remark. Rising to go, he said, a little impatiently, “Ah, I see how it is; that d Garrison’s sentiments have impregnated even you. How can the North and the South hold together when moderate men like you and me are so far apart?”

“But you,” I rejoined, good-humoredly, “are not a moderate man. You and Garrison are of the same stripe, both extremists. You have mounted one hobby, he another; that is all the difference.”

“I should be sorry,” he replied, recovering his good nature, “to think myself like Garrison. I consider him the scoundrel unhung.”

“No; I think he means well. But you are both fanatics, both ‘bricks’ of the same material; we conservatives, like mortar, will hold you together and yet keep you apart.”

“I, for one, won’t be held. If I can’t get out of this cursed Union in any other way, I’ll emigrate to Cuba.”

I laughed, and just then, looking up, caught a glimpse of Jim, who stood, hat in hand, waiting to speak to the Colonel, but not daring to interrupt a white conversation.

“Hallo, Jim,” I said; “have you got back?”

“Yas, sar,” replied Jim, grinning all over as if he had some agreeable thing to communicate.

“Where is Moye?” asked the Colonel.

“Kotched, massa; I’se got de padlocks on him.”

“Kotched,” echoed half a dozen darkies, who stood near enough to hear; “Olé Moye is kotched,” ran through the crowd, till the music ceased, and a shout went up from two hundred black throats that made the old trees tremble.

“Now gib him de lashes, Massa Davy,” cried the old nurse. “Gib him what he gabe pore Sam; but mine dat you keeps widin de law.”

“Never fear, Aunty,” said the Colonel; “I’ll give him .”

How the Colonel kept his word will be told in another chapter.