“Oh, no, not jet black—but she’s dark enough. She is as dark as that Sarah we employed as cook some time ago.”
“You don’t say so! Wonders will never cease—and he such a gentleman, too!” resumed her husband.
“Yes; and it’s completely sickening,” continued Mrs. Stevens, “to see them together; he calls her my dear, and is as tender and affectionate to her as if she was a Circassian—and she nothing but a nigger—faugh! it’s disgusting.”
Little Clarence had been standing near, unnoticed by either of them during this conversation, and they were therefore greatly surprised when he exclaimed, with a burst of tears, “My mother is not a nigger any more than you are! How dare you call her such a bad name? I’ll tell my father!”
Mr. Stevens gave a low whistle, and looking at his wife, pointed to the door. Mrs. Stevens laid her hand on the shoulder of Clarence, and led him to the door, saying, as she did so, “Don’t come in here any more—I don’t wish you to come into my house;” and then closing it, returned to her husband.
“You know, George,” said she, “that I went in to pay her a short visit. I hadn’t the remotest idea that she was a coloured woman, and I commenced giving my opinion respecting niggers very freely, when suddenly her husband called for a light, and I then saw to whom I had been talking. You may imagine my astonishment—I was completely dumb—and it would have done you good to have seen the air with which she left the room, after as good as telling me to leave the house.”
“Well,” said Mr. Stevens, “this is what may be safely termed an unexpected event. But, Jule,” he continued, “you had better pack these young folks off to bed, and then you can tell me the rest of it.”
Clarence stood for some time on the steps of the house from which he had been so unkindly ejected, with his little heart swelling with indignation. He had often heard the term nigger used in its reproachful sense, but never before had it been applied to him or his, at least in his presence. It was the first blow the child received from the prejudice whose relentless hand was destined to crush him in after-years.
It was his custom, when any little grief pressed upon his childish heart, to go and pour out his troubles on the breast of his mother; but he instinctively shrunk from confiding this to her; for, child as he was, he knew it would make her very unhappy. He therefore gently stole into the house, crept quietly up to his room, lay down, and sobbed himself to sleep.
To Emily Winston we have always accorded the title of Mrs. Garie; whilst, in reality, she had no legal claim to it whatever.
Previous to their emigration from Georgia, Mr. Garie had, on one or two occasions, attempted, but without success, to make her legally his wife.
He ascertained that, even if he could have found a clergyman willing to expose himself to persecution by marrying them, the ceremony itself would have no legal weight, as a marriage between a white and a mulatto was not recognized as valid by the laws of the state; and he had, therefore, been compelled to dismiss the matter from his mind, until an opportunity should offer for the accomplishment of their wishes.