With the strongest love,
Your affectionate Aunt.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS.
“The sages say dame Truth delights
Strange mansion! in the bottom of a well.
Questions are, then, the windlass and the rope
That pull the grave old gentlewoman up.”
My friend, Mr. North, having read the foregoing letters, wrote me a note requesting me to come and spend an evening with him and his wife, and answer some questions occasioned by these letters. The lady was earnest that I should do so.
After being seated before a cheerful fire in my friend’s house, while it was raining violently, so that we felt defended from all interruption, my friend said,—
“Here, first of all, is the Southern lady’s letter to her father, which, I suppose, belongs to him, and which you may wish to send back.”
“I do,” said I.
“But, please,” said Mrs. North, “let it be published. Add to it the incident of the Southern lady nursing the sick babe of a slave.”
“O my dear,” said her husband, “that would create a false impression. It would be a pro-slavery tract. It would abate Northern zeal against the ‘sum of all villanies.’ Something should go forth with such representations to correct their influence in the Free States. What would become of the cause of freedom should such stories make their impression upon the minds of our people?”
“You might,” said I, “make a heading of an auction-block, or slave-coffle; add the last pattern of a slave-driver’s whip; picture a panting fugitive on his way to the North; give us a ship’s hold, with a black boy just detected among the stowage. You would thus, perhaps, keep these beautiful, touching illustrations of loving-kindness in slave-holders from having the least effect.”
“It is very important,” said he, seriously, “to keep up a just abhorrence of slavery here at the North, because”—
“Excuse me,” said I, “but what do you mean by an abhorrence of slavery?”
“Why,” said he, “is not the Christian world agreed that ’slavery is the sum of all villanies’?”
“By no means, in the United States,” said I; “you might with as real truth say that here slavery is the sum of all the loving-kindnesses.”
“Is not that letter of the Southern lady to her father,” said he, “as rare a thing almost as a white crow?”
“O husband,” said Mrs. North, “what an opinion you must have of Southern society!”
“Is not Gustavus,” said I, “a perfect representative of the North, on the subject of slavery? Does not ultra anti-slavery find or make everybody, as the Aunt says, either fierce or flat?”
“You do not believe so,” said he.
“Neither do you believe,” said I, “that where Christianity has exerted the same influence on the hearts of men and women as on yours, and all the humanizing and elevating influences of society prevail, that letter is a rare product.”