I WAS once upon a time—or perchance it was a dream—in a land of robbers. My mission being peaceful, I was permitted to traffic in goods, my money the while increasing, till a return to my native land was contemplated. On the morrow the vessel would expand her wings for the wind to bear me homeward! and, alone in the evening, I sat on my piazza, when a troop of bandits approached me, and the captain advancing, said:
"Merchant, we have spared and protected you: now behold that man in chains—will you buy him for a slave?"
"Never! I deal not in slaves!"
"We offered him this last chance for his life: he
believed you would buy him: you refuse. Farewell! The man dies."
"Is there no other alternative, captain?"
"I will buy him. Your price, captain?"
"All your money, except what will carry you both home to your land."
"Captain! that will ruin me!"
Here the prisoner said, "Captain! may I advance and say one word?"
"You may: be brief."
"Merchant!" said the supplicant, "save me: I will serve you forever! I am willing to work for you till the end of life; although that cannot repay you. And I know that by the laws of your land, I can never be free; but I prefer Slavery to Death!" I consented to buy and keep him. Reader, did I commit a sin?
Hark!—a rude gong-sound! Behold! a man,
wild, fierce, cruel, besotted, is offering tobacco before
a shapeless wood! While kneeling, the cry of war
comes:—ah, see! he is knocked down, bound,
hurried away and sold for a slave. One of his own
race, a superstitious and bloody king, becomes his
master. The king intends to sacrifice him, that he
may carry a message to his royal ancestors; but
suddenly changing his purpose, he sends [illegible]
coast, preferring cloth, beads, gunpowder, to a slave. After the Hell of the slave ship, he is bought by a Southern planter; and his life is not only a thousand-fold better in all respects, but he becomes a Christian with the Hope of Immortality.
Was the purchase on the white man's part wholly a sin? Was the evil wholly unmixed with good? Was the negro's soul bought? Did the owner deserve to be massacred in the deep slumbers of night?
What vessel is about to weigh anchor at midnight? Look! men are silently carrying packages and bales from yonder warehouse! Ah! ha! thieves! Police! Police! Too late! they are off! Well, they touch at Smyrna, and there the crew are seized with the plague, but crying for mercy, they recover. Deeply penitent, they resolve to sail back and make restitution. But alas! the goods are tainted with the plague! Alas! what shall be done! One sailor says, "take back the goods instantly: every hour we keep them is sin! Do your duty—leave consequences with God " "No! no!" rejoins another, "cleanse and purify the goods first! Let us not add Pestilence to Robbery!"
Reader! which was the proper course? "Pshaw!" cries one, "prepare the blacks for freedom or Liberia; but send them north to be educated!"
That sapient scheme may be tried, please your lord and lady-ship, when the South utterly and obstinately resolves never in any way to do the work themselves. As soon as all humanity and philanthropy and common sense have died out South, then may the sole surviving Philanthropists and Patriots of our land open all the North for the Great School Room.
Aye! when the South are all spiritually, morally, politically dead—let the negroes rise and take their land! That deadness will be the sign of a successful revolution, and the negroes as a nation may look to God for success!
Once more before we go to the man-auction and the episode of Hecky's receipts. What signify the turmoil and consternation in Squatterville? Writs! warrants! surveyors! lawyers by the score! Why, the ancestors some two hundred years ago settled there—or squatted—but there are defects in the titles! The present inhabitants thought all was right, and are a good, honest, industrious people. They do not well know how to live in any other place or way; and yet they have no legal right to the land! Shall ye turn them off at once? and that whatever may be the consequences to them? Or shall we give them time to make preparations and arrangements?
However, Mr. Leamington is ready and his wife looking from the piazza, cries out,
"Oh! there comes Uncle Wardloe, Edward!"
"I shall tell him at once then, Mary, that we have made up our minds to bid for Frank."
"Nephew," said Mr. W. on coming near, "take me in your boat; for by joining our gangs we shall get along faster, and it will be easier for the boys."
"Certainly, Uncle; I intended to propose that myself."
For a while the two gentlemen sat silent under the awning, the boat shooting onward like an arrow; for the negroes had learned that Frank would be saved, if possible, by the parson. The blacks never knew the truth about Tibbets; they believed he had in some way learned that mischief was brewing for himself, and that he had thrown himself on Frank's generosity to aid his escape. On the other hand, by that very act, Frank was supposed by the whites to have been in the plot just at that time in some mysterious way discovered; and that was the belief among the negroes themselves. Frank was, in their view, now become a kind of martyr to his principles; hence the whites, even those that did not believe in Frank's guilt, were compelled for the sake of example, to rid themselves of a negro thus viewed by his color; nor dared Frank's secret friends, for his own sake, do openly much in his favor. Still Frank was so much respected, that most would rejoice if Mr. Leamington succeeded in redeeming him.
"Edward," at last inquired Mr. W., in a low voice, "you have made up your mind to buy Frank?"
"You must depend on yourself."
"We have both, uncle, counted the cost."
"Frank is not a bad man, Edward; but, he could by cunning advisers, be induced to desert you."
"All men are fallible, uncle. I can trust Frank as far as I can most men."
"Take him North. He will desert you, although he will be sorry for it."
"We will hope for the best. I shall, of course, greatly need his services, and I do believe he will try and pay me."
"He will undoubtedly. I know he will; but, nephew, if Frank thought he could do that sooner by deserting you, he would. Even Tibbets had plausible arguments that I know weighed with Frank. Seeming or truly good northern men would influence Frank: a known villain he would knock down."
"I grant this; but I must run the risk. Should he even run off—I will never seek him. When he pays me, I shall set him free."
"Well!—but are you aware what price you may have to pay?"
"Perhaps as high as $2,000, uncle?"
"More like twice that figure, nephew."
Mr. L. was silent; for $3,000 would take his all!
The uncle continued—"I honor you from my soul, Leamington. But depend on it, the dealer who now expects to get the very best negro on these islands cheap, will be maddened into fury by opposition so unexpected, and he will run you to your last dollar."
"May God help us then! If Frank must go, it is the Divine will. But what sort of a dealer is this?"
"Rather ask, Edward, is he worse than the class?"
"Are they all bad, uncle?"
"I have never known one—excuse me—that was not a devil black as hell!"
"Yes! just so. I hope Frank—if he falls into this fellow's hands—may the first fair opportunity knock his brains out."
"Edward! show us any fair, open, practicable system for universal emancipation, and the South will erect you a monument, and call you Pater Patriæ."
"And must Frank be in the power of such?
Uncle, help me or not—I will bid for Frank till I am
a beggar. Uncle! and I say this solemnly, did you
know all, you would rather sacrifice your whole
estate than that negro should be sold to leave this parish."
"What could I know?"
"That this man to save your life has risked his own."
"Edward, you are deceived. But do not speak so loud. The negroes are trying to hear what we are saying. If this were true, Frank should never be hunted by that hell-hound! But I have better reasons for my distrust than you know—Hush! do not let us talk any more: they have, I fear, heard Hush!"
The effect of the parson's half revealed secret, and his solemn words were great: and may have had some influence in directing subsequent events.
Our party were among the first that reached
Cane-Brake Island; but boats were continually arriving till
2 o'clock P. M., the time of sale. Several slaves
belonging to the estate were to be sold; but these by
permission had all selected masters, and the courtesy
and humanity of the parish, by a kind of "higher"
and unwritten law, allowed arrangements to be made
and consummated at the auction; the value of the
negro being fully paid. Very often the negroes were
indifferent who of several good masters owned them;
when auctions became lively and exciting. Rarely
did good negroes fail of obtaining the masters they
wished; and families were still more rarely separated.
In fact, judicious planters well knew that if good negroes preferred them as owners, it would be advantageous to both parties; and, besides, the planters were pleased to be popular and have a good reputation among the slaves. Combination often prevented a bad white man from owning a good negro; while on the other hand, a wicked negro would be turned over to severe and cruel owners that served the community as a public whipping post. Men there were, who, like jails and stocks, are endured as a necessary evil, but never esteemed.
Our parson, on a time, fell in with such a rude dispenser of justice; and then the reverend gentleman strangely forgot his equanimity. The hero gave the account to his wife, on returning from the ecclesiastical tour. We shall condense
* * * * and he and I sat in the stern of the
sail boat, a fine breeze on the beam. The four
negro children sat with their mother on the forward
seat. Tom was in front of us and he managed the
sail. Mr. Grim wished me to steer, and so we
dashed on for about an hour, when, on approaching
the more open sea, the wind, for some time gradually
increasing, became what Mr. Grim called, at first, a
good stiff breeze. I, at sea, used to think such a high
wind; but in a small sail boat I felt more alarm. Of a sudden, Mr. Grim snatched the rudder from me; and then I found when his arm touched mine he trembled like an ash-leaf.
No word passed among us, after this, save a constant order to Tom—"Hold on! hold on!" and then "Hold on! Wrap it round your arm!" Clara, with her children, now crouched down into the bottom of the boat, while wave after wave tossed the vessel up as a speck of cork. I committed myself to God's mercy! "It is getting worse!" abruptly cried Mr. Grim. "Hold on hard!—Mr. Leamington, the next hundred yards!—aye! there they come! Hold on! hold!—" On, indeed, they came—the waves! Up—up—we rose—the foam-crest hissing in our faces! They rushed under into a yawning gulf, Others came! My head grew light while I looked down the curving valley—above, a rushing cataract! How the little boat quivered! But merciful God! —the waves had no power beyond their commission; they threatened, but could not drown! and soon the frail bark was darting beyond the wave-mountain of the centre sea—and we were safe!
"A great danger, Mr. L.," said Mr. Grim.
"Yes," I replied, "and a great deliverance! Let us thank God." After all, thought I, this is a better man than they say:—but ah! Mary! I soon changed my opinion.
We went into the gin-house where many women and children were picking cotton. In the centre of the house stood a tall, gaunt, white man. Across his shoulders hung, like a belt, a carter's whip—its horrid lash like a snake with a long thin tail, and a bloated body! It sickens me yet!
Suddenly and angrily Mr. Grim addressed this male-fury in the snaky coil:
"Why the d—— don't you make them work, Hecky?"
"Make 'em work!" answered the surprised yet humble overseer: "if, Mr. Grim, you think I don't do my duty, look at their backs!"
O God of Mercies! Mary! is the lacerated flesh of trembling women and sucklings to be the only evidence of having done work enough! Yes! yes! the opinion of our parish about this man is too true!
Not far from them sat a young negro wife, cowering and trembling, and nervously picking specks and briars from some cotton. Grim's eye at that moment saw concealed in the roof above her some rods, used perhaps by the poor creature to expedite her task and save her from Hecky's horrible receipts! These rods were forbidden, as their use hurt the staple of the cotton. In a moment, Grim snatching out the rods, and, with awful words of wrath, rushing on the slave, he yelled out:
"Take that! and that! and that!—you d—— infernal nigger."
"Mercy! massa! for lub of God!"
"'I'll mercy you!—you black b—. There's some mercy for you." (Mrs. L. here burst into tears.)
The slave, Mary, rose in her agony and fright—I saw then she would soon be a mother! And so did Grim. But still there was no mercy! Becoming furious, he ferociously kicked the supplicating woman —and in her side! (Mrs. L. here, amid her sobs, uttered something very much like an execration.)
Yes, dear Mary! I began to forget myself now! The feelings of boyhood came upon me! I felt bad—angry—maybe, revengeful! But now we all went out to the field. Good God! how different all was from ours! Oh! the cowering, shrinking creatures, with terrified looks! A devil's look was in some! Alas! alas! I fear I felt too much like a devil myself!
Hecky went ahead of us. Four negroes were
approaching. All stopped. Hecky unwound his
serpent lash! The negroes stripped off their shirts,
and each as he came up—stopped—threw up his
arms above his head! I saw
it! I heard the
accursed thong! My blood boiled—I was becoming
a tiger!—I lost my prudence! Ah! ha! and this
was Hecky's "receipt"—this showed his watchfulness
and care! I now hurried on, and with my
own eyes I beheld those receipts —raw cuts into which I might have put my finger—and scabs on healing wounds—and scars that marked the burning stings of the lash before!
Grim marked my changed manner: he saw the workings of my soul—and he attempted to apologize—to explain—to soften! But my burning words could not now be stayed! Mary! I looked him full in the face—I fear I clenched my fist—but I cried out:
"Man! if I were a negro, and my brother cut your throat, I would never lay, even for that, the lash upon him!"
He started—amazed! He answered something confusedly, I know not what; but I only earnestly and solemnly re-said my words!
Here Mrs. Leamington cried exultingly—"Noble husband! Oh! how Uncle Wardloe would applaud if he knew this! Oh! how Col. Hilson would clap his hands! Why, Edward! did you not know that Grim is a New England man—the very one they here, by way of eminence, call the Yankee?"
To which the parson had answered—"Is it possible! Well! how true, that our people do make the worst masters! However, what I said must have re-called Mr. Grim to better feelings, for even that day he offered voluntarily One Hundred Dollars to our Church Enterprise!"
But let us go on with the auction. Among many others present, were two persons with the dress and manners of gentlemen. They are evidently strong and active men; they are fine-looking and courteous. Who are they? Not planters of the parish. Who then?
Two regular slave dealers.
Beyond doubt, the insides and outsides are often corresponding. Still practical phrenology and physiognomy differ slightly from the books. Bumps and organs of charts are often fumbled after in vain, to make science accord with fact. Beautiful sepulchres hide ugly bones and rotten carcases; and a witching song is heard often where a warning cry would have done more good. A first chop phrenologist, for a "consideration," sends his neighbor an apprentice or clerk according to the developments; but the cautious philosopher, when he wants a store boy, says, in his printed advertisement—"none need apply unless they come well recommended!"
Upon the whole do not go by developments in
choosing slave dealers more than pick-pockets and
gamblers; for all may dress in fine black cloth and
look like the clergy. Down South ask—"who is
that fine-looking gentleman?" before you make his
acquaintance. However, Mr. Wardloe and the old
ones knew these; and, save for trade purposes, they
always gave them a wide berth. Most in our parish
hated a slave-dealer as much as Roanoke Randolph did. What Mr. Wardloe thought of such has been seen; the law of libel prevents the author from speaking his own sentiments.
Still, an honest man having no party to serve, nor office in view, can see an immense moral difference between the planter or farmer who lives among his family of negroes and the regular slave-dealer. All the domestic and household virtues may dwell where the blacks serve, and the whites govern and direct; where one contributes bodily labor to sustain the community, and the other care, protection, supplies, instruction. Rarely would a slave in the South be silly enough to take his freedom till the death of his friend exposed him to the claws of the dealer. The writer has seen many—very many cases in the North, and can readily imagine others, where the black, nay, the white man, might count himself happy and fortunate if he had an owner. Many men would be happier, safer, more useful to themselves, and positively more respectable and honorable under tutelage the rest of their days.
He must be an idiot or a knave who superintends
an invisible rail-way to transport North every black,
that has an ambition to be master of a swill barrel,
or lord of a rag-pole for gutter-poking! Pshaw!
"will honor set a leg?" never; nor will a nominal
freedom. If we could obtain a fellow like our
Frank by the under-ground road—the sin and meanness of stealing him away, instead of buying him off, would seem less! But to run off a poor simple fool of a negro from comfortable quarters and a bellyful! to shiver about in winter under a quaker hat with no brim! and in two odd boots begged or stolen from different legs, which torn and shabby boots slap and wallop about the thin shanks of the miserable booby! and the half-grinning creature, while he wipes his nose on the sleeve of Rev. Dr. Abolish Goodman's old shabby cast-off coat, wonders, while he crams into his nasty wallet the slabbered remnants of the pious Miss Chequerem's kitchen—if this is liberty!
Many a crime, as the grand French lady said at the guillotine, that guardian of French rights, many a crime is committed in the name of Liberty; and it may yet be found even an atrocious crime in itself and a horrible ruin to many deluded negroes; both as to soul and body, to run them under any and all circumstances into the mere name of Liberty!
But the slave-dealer!—that speculator in human
limbs and sinews!—the wretch that looks at a man's
jaw as at a horse's!—that twists a man around as a
machine for digging and hoeing!—and strips off his
shirt to know if he works without Hecky's Receipts!
and would learn his amount of activity, and strength,
and religion, and conscience, as so much labor-
prompting and trust-begetting energy!—that soul-less creature—yes, that accursed one—that thing of wrist-cuffs! and leg-bands! and voice-stiflers! to keep the purchase from running back—not to freedom—but the old home of his hoary grandfather!—to the bosom of his mother!—to the love of his wife!—to the sight of his cabin and his little ebony babes!—and to hush the song, "Oh! take me back to ole Virginnee!"—and stifle the cries of a broken heart!
I knew in the far west a man like the dealer. He caught a young wolf. He tamed him at home; and he gave him food and he gave him water; and he nourished him as a pet! Then one day—I see it all now!—he took that poor, tame, humanized wolf into the dark forest behind my house, and there he set the hounds upon him for a hunt! And the hunted wolf!—what did he? He ran home to his old box! He thought he would be safe with his owner—but that man set the hounds on that beast, there—in his home! I heard the wolf-pet moan—I saw him die!
Oh! ye noble, generous, planters of my native
south-land!—the dealer is no necessary evil. Ye
can if you will—and surely ye will!—make laws
that shall forbid your slaves from being sold away
from their homes! Let them ever remain in the
neighborhoods of their youthful days. This will
disappoint your enemies and the enemies of our
Union, and it will strengthen the hands of your friends and of freedom!
But it is two o'clock! See! the auctioneer is at his post! Under the most favorable circumstances a sale of human beings is not pleasant to the sensitive; but here so little of the disagreeable exists, that we cannot promise much of a scene, nor say,—"If you have tears, prepare to shed them now!" The whole matter of adjusting the exchanges had been satisfactorily arranged between the black and white parties; though, for form's sake and to obey the statutes, bidding and knocking off took place:—but the whole was a mere mock auction. To the negroes it was a holiday. All were done up in their best: and receiving presents from the administrators and also the selected owners; and being not only allowed by the custom, but excited by the whites, the scene instead of a tragedy, became absolutely and irresistibly merry, ludicrous, and noisy.
The scene can neither be penned nor painted; and fragments have no life. One might as well expect to excite your risibles by cutting off the leg of a black in the most alarming antic of the compound-double-shufle corn-stalk dance, and holding it forth! Still morbid appetite demands, now-a-days, soda-water after the efflorescence has subsided; and here is some:—
"I 'clare if that a' niggah ain't gwine to run off next dark night—Don't buy um, Massa Dibbles!"
"Why, Clara? How do you know?"
"Kase he says you only give four pound hornminee for brekfus, and he want six."
"Why Clara, Bill slanders me, he forgets the ten pounds of beef."
"Oh! Massa Dibbles, never mine dat black wench—she mad kase I wont tote her off to yankee plantashun and marry um——"
"Bill! you blame ugly sinnah! Massa Dibbles when you gwine for flog um, gim me two cow-skin."
Chorus of darkees.—"Oh! shaw! possum up a gum tree, nigger in the holler."
"Massa Steel! look out, don't no time hit Pete on his skull."
"It strike fire!"
This allusion to Mr. Steel's name was thought so witty that the planters echoed the laugh of the blacks; but Mr. S. replied—
"Sam! you stupid rascal, you'd better beg me to buy you——"
"Kase why, Massa Steel?"
"Because I'll whet you up till you get sharp as a corn-knife."
Poor as was the pun, yet it set the negroes into a tempest of outcries; while Pete, Bill, Sam, &c., did the most ferocious double-shuffles; during which Bill coming nearer Clara, hugged her along for a dozen yards.
"Oh! ho! oh! I'm a gone darkee! Oh! Susannah!"
"Poor Nicky! What you cry for? Want your mammy?"
"I'se sold to a very poor man! He got only two hundred niggers!"
"Poor Nicky! I kum over Chrismus—I fetch you sum sugah candy!"
When folks are determined to be merry, wit is not necessary for subject of laughter; hence, both colors having reached the giggle point, as at a fashionable party, they all roared out at anything or nothing. But some to-day were always serious, and who, the reader knows—Mr. Leamington, and the negro Frank and his mother.
Sarah was, indeed, safe with Mr. Wardloe; but that mother's breast, while thankful for herself, was disquieted in a storm of warring hope and fear. As the critical moment arrived when the auctioneer would name her son as the last to be sold, Frank standing by the sick woman, whispered, "Mother! the hour is come, but let us hope in God!"
Opposite these, stood Mr. Leamington. The intense workings of his soul played upon his countenance, and convinced Frank that no monition from himself or mortal man was needed to keep the parson to his purpose! Frank never looked upon that embodied grandeur and goodness, but he felt first awe and then determination; now he could have knelt to him and then died for him!
Beyond the auctioneer stood the two dealers.
They had bid for no negro yet; hence, as they
appeared in the parish only because some private
intelligence assured them of a great bargain, it was
plain enough that without some unforseen interference,
Frank was doomed! However individuals might secretly
believe and wish, all would respect the
secret tribunal that had condemned the suspected
negro to exile and slavery; the usage of the times.
None of the planters, who were secretly pledged,
would now dare openly to bid. All, however,
stood aloof from the dealers, and with ill-concealed
disgust; while the blacks, safe under the wing of
their masters, eyed the fellows with scorn, and often with anger. Had they not known it would not be for a moment tolerated, they would have broken into audible taunt and scoff. Two dealers travelled together for safety; their united strength, agility and courage, with the aid of weapons, made them a match for twenty men.
On Mr. Wetheril's beckoning Frank to the place assigned, the noise of the negroes was instantly hushed, and all the company crowded into a narrow space; though some, with feelings honorable to their hearts, had to retire to conceal their tears. Frank, after all, was trusted and loved! and many were secretly wishing for a redeemer!
"What is bid for this—this—fine—negro?" asked the auctioneer, very much as if he was selling his brother, and felt ashamed.
"Nine hundred dollars!" answered the principal dealer.
"Nine hundred dollars is bid!—Nine hundred dollars—is no more bid?—for the prime negro of the whole parish!—no more!"
"I bid one thousand five hundred dollars"—was
now solemnly and firmly said from an unexpected
quarter, to the left. All eyes were turned thither;
when surprise was visible in most faces—anger in
none. Indeed, some female faces suddenly lightened
up, as if a sunshine had chased away a cloud; and—"Thank God!"—was a murmur distinctly heard!
Mr. L. by his bid meant to show a war to the knife! and so the dealers understood the matter. True; they had come for a bargain, and they never cared to waste money; yet vexation, pride, revenge, and a special vindictive feeling now against Mr. L. and the negro, fixed, and immediately, their purpose.
"Two thousand dollars is bid! If that is not sufficient we can go a little higher for a first rate article!" On which both gentlemen dealers lay before them two well-stuffed pocket books.
Frank started with alarm! His mother was looking upward; she saw now, nothing on the earth, but her moving lips showed to whom she was crying!
Edward Leamington cast an imploring look towards where, a moment since, Mr. Wardloe stood. Good Heavens—he was not there!
"Two thousand dollars is bid, two thousand dollars, two thousand dollars, is no more bid? only two thousand dollars, going at two thousand dollars—go-i-n-g —at on-ly two thousand dollars!" drawled forth the auctioneer, making every letter as long as a slow and hard word—his voice trembling with fear, his eye wandering as if in a despairing hope—"for the last time, go-in-g at——"
"Never!—two thousand five hundred dollars is my bid,—"
"And three thousand dollars is mine!—fire away! Prime article! I like its looks!" cried the dealer, excited, and yet cool; for something in Mr. L.'s side glance after Mr. Wardloe, had given the fellow a belief that the parson was near the bottom of his purse.
"Three thousand do-ll-ars is bid! Three thousand do-l-l-a-r-s i-s b-i-d—on-ly three thousand dollars! Will no one bid any more?" said Mr. Auctioneer, in a supplicating, remonstrative tone; and yet no higher bid! "Go-i-n-g!-gen-tle-men!—I ca-n-n-ot wait"——
"I beseech you, Mr. Wetheril, give me only five minutes to think," interrupted Mr. L., shaking like an ague.
"Go on with the sale! Let's have fair play!" angrily cried out the dealer.
"I add to my bid," hurriedly called Mr. L., "all my library—all my wife's——"
"I am very sorry to say, Mr. Leamington, the terms of sale are cash only, or notes with approved security," replied the auctioneer.
"Go on,—then—will you?" reiterated the dealer.
A moment before Frank had stepped across to Mr.
L. and handed him a paper; then, to gain time, he
advanced towards the auctioneer, and falling on one
knee, he said in a voice that melted all but the
dealer, "Master Wetheril, for the love of mercy and
humanity,—stay!—stay! oh stay one single moment——"
"Knock the nigger down!" cried the dealer in a fury—"and go on with the sale!"
"Going, at three thousand dollars,—once— twice——"
"Four thousand dollars! four thousand dollars! stop! stay! four thousand dollars!" came convulsively from the parson.
"Unfair!" cried the dealer.
"Going at four thousand dollars," hurried on Mr. Wetheril, wonderfully improved of a sudden in elocution, only he spoke too fast now—"going, once—"
"Give us, if you can, fairly, a moment!" interrupted the dealer.
The auctioneer held his hammer! The excitement was intense! Then came from the auction table "Twice!"—when the auctioneer said, "Gentlemen, have you a higher bid? I pause one minute!"
The two dealers talked together earnestly a few seconds, but at last the principal said with a sneer,
"None!—too much religion here!"
"Three times—gone!"—then whack went the hammer and
FRANK WAS REDEEMED.
Reader! the outbursting cry of joy and thanks-giving startled the wild fowl from their sea-cradles, and they soared, screaming towards heaven; while the frantic leaps and gestures of the shouting negroes as they snatched the parson up in his chair, and bore him around the yard, amidst planters' congratulations, and the smiles and tears of planters' wives and daughters, showed how the
Heart estimates goodness and love!