The will of R.D. Shepherd.
MILLER versus BELMONTI.
In 1843 Frank and Eva Schuber had moved to a house on the corner of Jackson and Annunciation streets. They had brought up sons, two at least, who were now old enough to be their father’s mainstay in his enlarged business of “farming” (leasing and subletting) the Poydras market. The father and mother and their kindred and companions in long past misfortunes and sorrows had grown to wealth and standing among the German-Americans of New Orleans and Lafayette. The little girl cousin of Salome Mueller, who as a child of the same age had been her playmate on shipboard at the Helder and in crossing the Atlantic, and who looked so much like Salome, was a woman of thirty, the wife of Karl Rouff.
One summer day she was on some account down near the lower limits of New Orleans on or near the river front, where the population was almost wholly a lower class of Spanish people. Passing an open door her eye was suddenly arrested by a woman of about her own age engaged in some humble service within with her face towards the door.
Madame Karl paused in astonishment. The place was a small drinking-house, a mere cabaret; but the woman! It was as if her aunt Dorothea, who had died on the ship twenty-five years before, stood face to face with her alive and well. There were her black hair and eyes, her olive skin, and the old, familiar expression of countenance that belonged so distinctly to all the Hillsler family. Madame Karl went in.
“My name,” the woman replied to her question, “is Mary.” And to another question, “No; I am a yellow girl. I belong to Mr. Louis Belmonti, who keeps this ‘coffee-house.’ He has owned me for four or five years. Before that? Before that, I belonged to Mr. John Fitz Mueller, who has the saw-mill down here by the convent. I always belonged to him.” Her accent was the one common to English-speaking slaves.
But Madame Karl was not satisfied. “You are not rightly a slave. Your name is Mueller. You are of pure German blood. I knew your mother. I know you. We came to this country together on the same ship, twenty-five years ago.”
“No,” said the other; “you must be mistaking me for some one else that I look like.”
But Madame Karl: “Come with me. Come up into Lafayette and see if I do not show you to others who will know you the moment they look at you.”
The woman enjoyed much liberty in her place and was able to accept this invitation. Madame Karl took her to the home of Frank and Eva Schuber.