Read CHAPTER XL of The Hindered Hand / The Reign of the Repressionist, free online book, by Sutton E. Griggs, on ReadCentral.com.

Sorrow and Gladness.

In the parlor of the sanitarium Earl sat awaiting the coming of Eunice, his face telling of the hopes now alive within his heart.

With an exclamation of joy Eunice ran and threw herself into his arms. During her whole stay in the sanitarium the Negro question had not been broached to her and her mind seemed almost normal. Earl now sought to complete the work by letting her know that things had at last been set right and that the color of a man’s skin was to no longer be in his way. Standing over her he whispered:

“Eunice, the American people have decreed that the door of hope shall not be closed to any of their citizens because of the accident of birth.”

A strange glow came into Eunice’s eyes.

“When will the duly authorized power see to it that the states live according to this decree and apply one test to voters of both races,” asked Eunice so quietly, so intelligently, that hopes sprang up in Earl’s breast.

Stooping, he kissed his wife, saying:

“I can’t say, my darling; but it will surely come in time.”

“Time!” shrieked Eunice. “Same old thing! Time! Bah! We shall all die in ‘time.’ Earl, are you turning against me, coming to me with that old word ‘time?’ Ah! Earl, are you a Southerner? Time! Earl, can’t you persuade the people to let justice do now what they are waiting for ‘time’ to do?”

Jumping up she whirled round and round until from sheer exhaustion she fell into her weeping husband’s arms.

“O thou of little faith, counterpart of my own darker days, Eunice, awake! Awake! The currents are forming that will sweep the caste spirit out of the political life of the nation. Awake, my Eunice! Awake!” plaintively spoke the grief-stricken husband to the unheeding ears of his wife.

While hope thus wrestles with despair, we visit another parlor.

In the parlor of Tiara’s home Ensal sat awaiting the coming of the girl that he had loved so long and so ardently, on whom he had now called for the purpose of asking her to link her destiny with his.

Ensal had delivered many speeches in the course of his lifetime, but he could hardly recall one that had given him as much trouble as the short speech which he had sought to prepare for Tiara. Form after form of approach came to him, but they were all rejected as being inadequate to the occasion, so that when the beautiful Tiara appeared in the parlor door Ensal was absolutely and literally speechless.

With love-lit eyes Tiara walked unfalteringly in his direction and, with a smile for which Ensal the great altruist, mark you, fancied he would have been willing to return from a thousand Africas, she extended her hand to him in greeting.

There is a saying among the Negroes to the effect that “If you give a Negro an inch he will take an ell.” Whatever may be the meaning of that expression, this we do know, that when Tiara gave Ensal one hand, he deliberately no, we won’t make the offense one of premeditation he, without deliberating the matter at all, hastily took not only more of the hand than what Tiara offered, but the other one as well.

For the sake of Ensal’s reputation for poise, already a little shaken, we fear, we fain would draw the curtain just here; but as we have all along sought to tell the whole truth about matters herein discussed, we will have to allow our hero’s reputation to take care of itself the best way it can. Without obtaining any more consent than that which was plainly written in Tiara’s eyes, and without any pretense at delivering any one of the many thousand little preliminary speeches framed for the occasion, Ensal bent forward and kissed Tiara!

Now that he has by this act lost favor with you, dear reader, we shall expose him to the utmost!

Dropping one of Tiara’s hands, an arm stole around her waist, and Ensal kissed her again and, sad to say, again, and, vexing thought, again. And to cap the climax, the two were joyfully married that night, and on the next day set out for Africa, to provide a home for the American Negro, should the demented Eunice prove to be a wiser prophet than the hopeful, irrepressible Earl; should the good people of America, North and South, grow busy, confused or irresolute and fail, to the subversion of their ideals, to firmly entrench the Negro in his political rights, the denial of which, and the blight incident thereto, more than all other factors, cause the Ethiopian in America to feel that his is indeed “The Hindered Hand.”