Interior of tavern near the Ohio. Window in Flat, R.C. Enter Marks and Haley, 1 E L.
MARKS. Well, now! this is a sight for sore eyes, Mr. Haley! You're the last man I'd a thought o' meeting in Kentucky!
HAL. Why not? My bis'ness takes me up and down the river all seasons. And if it comes to that, what brings Lawyer Marks all the way from Orleans?
MARKS. He, he, he! The law 'll do very well down there without me, for once.
HAL. "Twould do a darned sight better without you altogether, I reckon.
MARKS. Eh! He, he, he! But my clients wouldn't. (Aside) I smell bis'ness. You, for instance, look kinder puckered up.
HAL. I'm in a fix.
MARKS. Are you? Well, now! This is the nighest thing to what folks call Providence that ever I see! Oh, what a blessing the law is to people in trouble! Ain't it?
HAL. I dunno! What ken you do for me?
MARKS. State the case.
HAL. Wall! I bought a young 'un of Planter Shelby, and the mother got scent of the bargain and bolted.
MARKS. No trade without delivery, ye know.
HAL. But, darn my luck, I gave Shelby a quittance in full, and now I'm eight hundred dollars on the wrong side.
MARKS. Unless we can catch the gal.
HAL. It's the young 'un I want; I
don't care a darn for the gal. Gals with young 'uns is the cuss of
our bis'ness, and the uglier the little beggars is,
the more they seems to like 'em. I got a gal, and a likely lookin' child enough, traded off on me onst, to Red River, but when I came to look at him, darn me, ef the boy warn't blind.
MARKS. Ha, ha, ha! What a lovely take in!
HAL. Hold on, they didn't fix me. I kept dark, and just passed him along to another man—ha, ha, ha,—swapped him for a keg o' whiskey.
MARKS. Ha, ha, ha! Lovely. Ha, ha, ha! (They laugh.)
HAL. But when they came to take the young 'un away from the gal, Jehu! Ef she didn't seize a knife from one of the deck hands and make things fly, till she saw it warn't no use, when she just turns round, and pitches head fust, young 'un and all, into the river; went down plump, and never riz.
MARKS. Ha, ha, ha! Why didn't you go down arter her, Mr. Haley?
HAL. Every chap to his trade, and catchin' niggers ain't mine, Mr. Marks.
MARKS. Oh, if my friend Legree was only on time.
HAL. What, Simon?
MARKS. Ay, Simon; he loves nigger huntin'. I've been expecting him here these two days, but I reckon he can't get across the Ohio. The ice broke up yesterday and the ferry's blocked.
HAL. Good! Then the gal can't get over either, that's sure. Sambo. (Sambo enters, L.) Have you seen her come along yet?
SAM. No, Massa; seed nothing like a woman yet, 'cept a brown mare wid a white stockin' on her hind leg.
HAL. None o' your nigger tricks on me, mind, or I'll scrape ye raw.
SAM. All right, Massa; golly, dat would be fun. He, he, ha.
HAL. That's one o' Shelby's darkies—lent him me to catch up the gal.
MARKS. But business, Mr. Haley, business. The gal ain't yourn?
HAL. No, I tell ye it's the boy I want.
MARKS. Leave it to me, then. Simon will be over to-night, somehow. Meantime, we can watch the river, and if we catch 'em, you take the boy, and Simon and me—why—we'll just hold on to the girl.
HAL. But she's Shelby's slave.
MARKS. Never mind that. If we catch her, we'll just take her into the next county, and I'll swear before the first Justice that she's my runaway nigger. The law 'll support me. Oh, what a glorious thing the law is, Mr. Haley; and how convenient it does come in on an emergency.
HAL. Well, you can take the risk ef you've a mind, only give me the youngster.
MARKS. It's a bargain, and as the profit is prospective, I shall only charge you ten dollars for my advice.
HAL. Ten dollars! you be darned!
MARKS. Isn't that cheap enough?
HAL. I shan't pay you a dollar.
MARKS. Then lend me five, and we'll cry quits.
( Music—Eliza appears suddenly at the window with Harry in her arms.)
ELIZA. If you are Christian men help me to cross the river! They have sold my child, and I——
HAL. Jehu! Thar she is.
ELIZA. (Recognizing Haley, screams and disappears.)
MARKS. Beautiful as a picter—she's worth two thousand dollars.
HAL. After her, Marks! E-eow! (Yells.)
MARKS. E-eow! You bet!
(They both go L., where they encounter Sambo running. Sambo falls, Haley tumbles over him, Marks over Haley.
HAL. Darn your black hide, whar are you runnin' to?
SAMBO. (stopping them) Phew! I—I—was jes' a runnin' to say dat I see'd de gal.
HAL. Darn you—git out! Run, Marks, run for your life.
MARKS. You bet! (They exeunt L.)
SAMBO. (Looking out of window.) And run for your life, Lizzy. Golly, don't she run, too! Go it, Lizzy! I've stopped de trader. Dis sight is better dan all de pies in Kintuck. Go it! Go it, Lizzy! Sambo's arter you.
(He jumps through the window.