SCENE I.—SLAVE MARKET IN NEW ORLEANS.
Jackson seen through the arcade of pillars. Negro pen with door square at back. A busy scene. Venders offering their wares and fruit. Placards on the columns.
VEN. Water melons!
ANOTHER. O-ranges! Sweet oranges!
MARKS. Well, cut me up into law cap, and rule me, but this is hard, sale day, and not a single commission. (Reads.) "Estate of Jeremiah Crook, 14 field hands. By order of Madame Marie St. Clair, household servants, the property of her late husband. Wednesday, 4th of June." That's to-day. Augustine St. Clair, who was stabbed at the St. Charles by my old friend Simon Legree three weeks ago, and the widow's selling off the property. She aint losing any time. If something don't turn up soon, I shall have to put myself up to auction.
(Marks disappears through the arches as Haley enters with Emmeline and her mother chained together.)
HAL. Now, let's have no whimpering—humanity's my motto—and them as does well by me, I does well by them.
EM. But you won't let them part mother and me, Mas'r?
HAL. I'll do my best; only smile and look pleasant. Hello! Whar's all your nice curls gone to?
EM. Mother told me to brush them out; it looks more 'spectable, Mas'r.
HAL. That be darned! Them curls 'll bring another hundred dollars! Aunty, take her into the caboose, and curl her up. Skeggs! (A man appears at the door of the negro pen.) Lock up this pair o' gals till the sale begins.
HAL. Marks, by jingo!
HAL. What's up?
MARKS. Nothing. Everything's down, Mr. Haley—down, derry down.
HAL. How's the law?
MARKS. Languishing. I'm afraid the world's getting honest.
HAL. Glad on it; for I'm thinking o' turning over a new leaf myself.
MARKS. Oh, Mr. Haley, don't, that would be dreadful. I shouldn't have a friend left in the world.
HAL. Where's Simon Legree, then?
MARKS. I ain't seen him since that little affair of the stabbing of St. Clair—at the St. Charles Hotel.
HAL. What's that?
MARKS. Haven't you heard?
MARKS. Why three weeks ago—Simon went into the St. Charles, drunk—pushed past a party of gentlemen at the bar—words led to blows—and St. Clair fell with a knife in his heart.
HAL. And did Simon strike him?
MARKS. Well, that's a little secret the Judge can't get hold on; but if the family offer a reward, I'm afeerd I shall be obliged to give my evidence in the interests of the law, Mr. Haley.
(Music. Legree appears with Cassy, from the negro pen at back.)
LEG. Look yar, Cassy! I'll just give you one hour, for I shall get aboard as soon as this sale's over.
CAS. One hour is all I want.
(Exit Cassy as Legree advances.)
MARKS. There is Simon. I'll jest step aside. (Marks hides behind Column.)
HAL. Hello, Simon!
LEG. Hello, Haley! Aint seen you in twelve months.
HAL. Ditto, Mr. Legree.
LEG. Thar's a little quadroon in that pen I've took a mighty fancy to. Do you know whose lot she b'longs to?
HAL. Mine, Mr. Legree.
LEG. What 'll ye take for her? I want a housekeeper bad.
HAL. Ha, ha, aint you got one?
LEG. Wall, yes, but I'm tired of her. Cass's temper is all fired tough, and she scares me, Haley. I shall buy something young to put over her, and while I am buying, I'd better buy something handsome too.
HAL. That's your sort, then. (He retires to pen.)
MARKS. Oh, Mr. Legree!
MARKS. Oh, Simon, I wonder you aint afeard to hang around the streets! Don't you know they've offered a reward for proof of the murder?
LEG. What murder?
MARKS. Oh!—he, he, he! You don't know!—of course not—oh no!
LEG. It was a fair fight. He took the chances; and he got a knife into him. That's all.
MARKS. And I know whose knife it was, Mr. Legree! But I shan't tell though. I wish you'd lend me fifty dollars; I'm desperate hard up, Mr. Legree.
LEG. So you want to blackmail me, do ye, Marks? But look ye! I don't stand one cent!
MARKS. You really are running a great risk for fifty dollars, Mr. Legree; you are indeed!
LEG. Wall, then, I'll run it. I'm here to buy some of St. Clair's hands; and when I've bought 'em, I'll take 'em aboard, for my plantation up river, spite o' you and all the informers in Louisiana. So do your darndest, Marks!
MARKS. Pleasant journey to you, Mr. Legree! (Exit Marks.)
(Music. The pen is opened. The negros file out, singing "Massa's gwine to sell us." Uncle Tom, Adolph, Emmeline and other slaves, drivers, purchasers. Enter Auctioneer; takes his place on the stand.)
LEG. (To Adolph.) You're a sweet scented cuss; a nigger with polished boots. (Spits. To Tom.) Where was you raised?
TOM. Kintuck, Massa.
LEG. One of St. Clair's boys, eh?
TOM. Yes, massa. Bress him!
1st GENT. Who is that ruffian?
2nd GENT. Thank my stars, don't know! (Bell rings. Auctioneer raps and calls attention.)
AUC. Now gentlemen, I am commissioned to offer to-day, a splendid lot of household servants and field hands, the property of the late Mr. St. Clair and others. The unfortunate gentleman was too well known for me to dilate upon the excellence of his slaves.
LEG. (Interrupting.) Then git on with the sale, Major, time's short.
AUC. 'Twill be long enough to buy all you want, Mr. —— Mr. ——?
LEG. Legree. Simon Legree, of Red River.
(Legree sits immediately under the auctioneer. Purchasers whisper.)
AUC. Well, Mr. Legree, whatever's considered good manners on Red River aint the mode in New Orleans, Mr. Legree.
LEG. Ha, ha, ha! Go ahead, Squire, you can't riz my dander.
AUC. The first lot is Cleopatra, first-class fancy cook, and her two children, Mark Anthony and Julius Caesar.
SWELL. Can't you split the lot, Colonel?
AUC. It was the owner's wish they should not be parted.
SWELL. But I'm a bachelor, and I only want the cook.
AUC. Then buy the lot, sir, and then you'll be a family man. (Laughter.)
SWELL. Thank you, Colonel, they aint my color. I'll give five hundred dollars for the girl.
AUC. Five hundred for the girl, is there no offer for the lot? Five hundred! Five hundred! If there is no other bid I must sell 'em separate.
SLAVE. Oh genl'man, buy de chil'n, splendid chil'n, fine speck'lation, when dey is grow'd up.
OLD GENT. Well, sooner than break up the family, I'll go another fifty.
SWELL. Then you may have 'em, sir.
AUC. Going for five fifty. Is there any other advance? Sir, your sentiments are an honor to humanity, and Cleopatra and the two noble young Romans are yours, for five hundred and fifty dollars.
OLD GENT. I suppose they'll eat my head off, but it can't be helped now.
AUC. Step up thar, my boy, (to Tom) now here's a valuable article, (Tom gets on the stand,) coachman in the late Mr. St. Clair's family, and a trusted servant in many capacities.
VORIE. Five hundred for him.
1 V. Nine—
AUC. Ten hundred bid; he's cheap at fifteen; shall I have any more?
1 V. Eleven—
AUC. Twelve hundred, second, third and last time, twelve hundred. I shall knock him down, yours, Mr. ——?
AUC. Of Red River; I beg your pardon.
LEG. I forgive you, Colonel. Come here, you Tom, you're knocked down to me, understand that, or I'll knock you down again myself!
1 V. The fellow's a ruffian!
2nd. A blackguard!
3rd. A national disgrace!
LEG. (Suddenly threatening.) How's that?
AUC. (Rapping.) Now, gentlemen, the next lot is exceedingly choice. Emmeline, a quadroon, rising 16 years. Any one requiring a lady's maid or a seamstress will get a treasure in this girl.
LEG. One thousand dollars!
1ST GENT. Eleven hundred!
2ND GENT. Thirteen!
1ST GENT. Fourteen!
2ND GENT. And fifty!
LEG. Fifteen hundred dollars!
AUC. Fifteen hundred bid! Is there any advance? The gal's a bargain at two thousand. Fifteen hundred! Will you give me any more? Going at fifteen! Going! Gone! Mr. ——?
AUC. Of Red River; I beg your pardon.
LEG. I forgive you again. And thar's your money. (Hands up a roll of notes.) Now come! I've got all I want.
(He seizes Emmeline, and takes out shackles to chain them together. Music.)
MARKS. Excuse me, Simon; but cast your eye over this.
LEG. What is it?
MARKS. A copy of my affidavit in the St. Clair case, accusing you of the murder—
LEG. Then, this is how I treat it. (Tears up the paper) And that's how I treat you! (Knocks Marks down.)
MARKS. Arrest him! Arrest him!
LEG. Try it? Stand off, all of ye!
(He flings Tom and Emmeline into one corner, and drawing a revolver covers their retreat and his own.)