TIME passed, and with it martial law. Once more civil government was restored. Restored on a black and white basis! Yes, black and white!
What God had put asunder the Federal government determined to join together! Caucasian blood, labeled pure and superior by the Creator, was to be forced on political equality with a coarse African race, incapable of self-government!
And yet "Uncle Sam" pointed his bony index finger at his brother
Anglo-Saxon and said: "Be still, while I
fasten this handcuff of negro suffrage upon you! Be still, while I fasten Cuffy so tight around your necks, you will sink in a political maelstrom!" And you Anglo Saxons of Europe, of America, sit still and see it done!
"Might is right!" Oh, yes, "All men are free and equal!" Fling wide your ports "Uncle Sam!" Let the United States be the dumping ground of all nations! Come anarchy! Come isms! Mix your mongrel race and defy God in purity of breed.
Suppose Harriet Beecher Stowe delineated truly and faithfully the "cruelties of slavery." Suppose the means were sometimes harsh, and horrible in isolated and exceptional cases, did not the end justify the means?
Does not nature use earthquakes and upheavals of the most destructive kind to accomplish her geological formation? Do you think of grumbling at the forces of nature in a thunder storm?
Then why have the Anglo-Saxons of the South to be snarled at as slave drivers?
God works in mysterious ways, and the African race is not to be evolved from barbarism in a day! Special means have to work that evolution.
Does Europe think she can stop the Arabs from seizing those black savages and forcing them into the light of civilization while Stanley explores the dark continent as a pioneer of science and progress?
Out upon you, narrow-minded fanatics! There is a Great Architect shaping and forming this planet.
Unfortunately for the South she seems to have been the means so far towards accomplishing this evolution, while the North stands off and screams at the cruelty of the process.
Was there ever a soul born without pain? Was there ever a soul released without pain?
What other power could have accomplished civilizing as many Africans as slavery has? Send out your missionaries and see how many will be devoured by the cannibals!
The South has accomplished her work, and would if let alone, have
rounded it off and finished it more completely,
but she was interfered with, and now has this mixture of races, social and political, staring her in the face—a sequel to fanaticism, to Uncle Tom's Cabin.
It was twilight at Fern Brook. Oizelle sat on the back steps reading. Minnie was seated below her, busily sewing on a garment she seemed bent on finishing before the daylight was gone.
Mrs. Carrington was in the back yard, counting her chickens as they went to roost. Eggs and poultry were their main support now.
A little black negro romped with the baby, now a dimpled little beauty, up to all sorts of tricks.
Oizelle closed her book and watched at the baby throw herself into the nurse's arms, clapping her little hands and rolling from side to side, while the little negro laughed and screamed, "Shout! Sister, shout!"
Minnie smiled at the comical little thing, imitating the negroes so perfectly, but Oizelle looked troubled and said:
"Minnie, I would not let the baby play that way!"
"Why? It amuses her and keeps her out of my way until I can finish my work!"
"That is the worst of it. I hate to see that little monkey teach her such outlandish plays and songs! Come, Pearl! Come to aunty!" Laying down her book, Oizelle held out her arms, but baby held on to the little negro.
"Me play wid Susan!"
"But Susan must go home now! Come with aunty! It is getting dark, and grandma is going to turn Lion loose; he will bite Susan!"
"No; me love Susan!"
"Then let her run home. Come! Aunty will tell you about your pretty papa!"
"Me papa! Me pretty papa!" And the little thing toddled instantly to her aunt.
Mrs. Carrington made sure of the number of her chickens, locked the hen house door, then turned to unchain a large mastiff, their only protection in those troublesome times, when a voice called:
"Mother! Don't untie the dog! Mother, don't you know your son?"
George Carrington had stood some time at the corner of the house, watching his baby and his mother. His voice brought his little wife, and sister, all to him. But mother, wife, and sister looked and looked again, trying to recognize the baby's "pretty papa" in that worn, seedy looking individual that stood there calling himself George Carrington.
"Don't you know me, mother!"
"Oh! My son! It can't be you! What has happened?"
"Never mind now! Enough that it is me, and I am with you all again!"
The old hat was removed, hoping the pretty curly head would declare his identity, but George Carrington was prematurely old, gray, careworn. His family must learn to know him though other than their outward senses.
If the dog had been turned loose he would have torn him into pieces for a tramp.
The baby stood afar off, and no coaxing could convince her that was her pretty papa she had been taught to think of so lovingly.
Oizelle got a light and proceeded to prepare him a cup of coffee, while mother and wife strove to realize it was indeed their loved one.
After the coffee was drunk and the excitement somewhat subsided, he sat with his baby on his knee, answering their many questions.
"How was it we received such encouraging letters from you all the time, and yet you look as if you had been at death's door?"
"It was no use letting you know of trouble you couldn't prevent.
It was hard enough for me to endure it. When I parted with Uncle Tom
I was sure I could make my escape, and did, but reaching Red River I
sold my horse, badly as I hated to part with him—he was my only
source of revenue—and was preparing to take passage on a boat when I
was arrested and thrown into prison
at Alexandria. Some negroes from here, following close upon my heels, recognized the horse, traced me up, informed against me, and again I was in their clutches! God knows what would have become of me if Vernon Terrill had not heard of my trouble and come to my aid. As it was, for months and months I lay in jail. He and Captain Buckner helped me to keep you deceived as to my welfare, and when you sent Captain Buckner the power of attorney to sell the land it seemed a special providence, for nothing else would have effected my release. As it was, the land went for a pittance, compared to its value, and all had to go, every dollar of it, to save me from the penitentiary for simply knocking a negro down that deserved killing! And I would think of you sitting here in this log house all alone, with no one to protect you and care for you, and poor Mrs. Gordon, widowed on my account, it was more than I could bear.
"Well, it can't be helped; I will do all I can for you with these two hands, but before high heaven, I am done with negroes!"
"Don't say so, my son; we are sunk in the midst of them. What can we do? And besides the negroes are not so much to blame when you consider the evil influences brought to bear on them. Slavery kept all the animal in their natures under subjection, and they were docile and kind, but the release was so sudden they are incapable of governing themselves, and are hardly accountable for their animal propensities!"
"And I hardly accountable for my perfect antipathy to them. They don't seem like the same people I used to love and play with, and this evening as I stood and watched my baby, my Pearl, under the influence of that little monkey, I felt like throttling her, actually strangling her as I would an adder."
"Poor baby! how you have suffered!" exclaimed Oizelle, in full sympathy with her brother, while Minnie wept on his shoulder.
"Where is Vernon Terrill?" asked Mrs. Carrington. "I must certainly write and thank him for his very great kindness to my son."
"I expect he is now in California, as he was making all arrangements to go there when my case detained him."
"And you have not been in Baton Rouge?" asked 'Zelle.
"No, no; when I was released—but I don't know much about it. I was sick a long time—Vernon Terrill took me home with him, and I have been in Eastern Mississippi most of the time, sick and disheartened. Times are very hard there—people too poor to live. Who's there?" George started as he heard a step at the door.
"You are in no further danger, are you, my dear?" asked his wife, seeing his startled look.
"I suppose not, but I have acquired a nervous habit of being uneasy. Who is it?"
"Me, Mistiss; Susan told Chloe she saw you all talking to a strange man as she went off this evening, and I thought—why bless my soul, Mas' George! I thought maybe it was you!"
Before George could say another word, Uncle Tom had him in his arms. "What they been doing to you, my boy? Old Tom aint had one easy minute since you been gone. Something went wrong with you, didn't it? I knowed it. These is strange times, Mas' George, strange times; I never 'spected to see the country in such a fix! No, sir. I must go let Chloe know it's you. Aint no danger, you reckon, Mas' George?"
"No, I think not, Uncle Tom. The negro got well, didn't he?"
"Got well? Umph! Shucks! I wish you had a' laid him out, being's you had to suffer so much about the black rascal!"
"Well, Uncle Tom, you make me feel like old times. They haven't made a white man out of you yet, have they?"
"You mean they haven't made a low down nigger out of me yet. No, sir; no sir."
George was tired and overcome by the excitement of getting home, and his mother, uneasy at his extreme nervousness, suggested he retire early.
But before he could get to bed dear old Aunt Chloe had come to see Mas' George. "She couldn't get her rest till morning without seeing him."
The devotion of those two old negroes had a good effect upon George; it soothed him, and seemed to renew his confidence somewhat in the negro.
"You see," his mother said, "we can't condemn the whole race while Tom and Chloe live."
George recuperated rapidly under the loving kindness of home folk, though he stuck to his resolution to have nothing more to do with negroes.
He wrote to Colonel Harlan, asking him to build comfortable tenant houses at Fern Brook and he would fill them with white families and undertake to cultivate all the land. Under this suggestion, several nice frame houses were built. The old log house was now so full of cracks and the floors so uncomfortable, the Carringtons moved into one of the houses and Mrs. Gordon into another.
Richard Gordon was now a bright, energetic boy, and took his twenty acres of land and made very good crops with little assistance.
A great many families were now moving in from Mississippi, Florida and Alabama, so George soon got the houses filled and land taken by good people, though very, very poor. But they worked together in harmony, and all made a living.