His brothers and sisters had all married and had left the maternal roof. Belton would sleep in the loft from which in his childhood he tumbled down, when disturbed about the disappearing biscuits. How he longed and sighed for childhood’s happy days to come again. He felt that life was too awful for him to bear.
His feelings toward his wife were more of pity than reproach. Like the multitude, he supposed that his failure to properly support her had tempted her to ruin. He loved her still if anything, more passionately than ever. But ah! what were his feelings in those days toward the flag which he had loved so dearly, which had floated proudly and undisturbed, while color prejudice, upheld by it, sent, as he thought, cruel want with drawn sword to stab his family honor to death. Belton had now lost all hope of personal happiness in this life, and as he grew more and more composed he found himself better prepared than ever to give his life wholly to the righting of the wrongs of his people.
Tenderly he laid the image of Antoinette to rest in a grave in the very center of his heart. He covered her grave with fragrant flowers; and though he acknowledged the presence of a corpse in his heart, ’twas the corpse of one he loved.
We must leave our beautiful heroine under a cloud just here, but God is with her and will bring her forth conqueror in the sight of men and angels.
On the dissecting board.
About this time the Legislature of Louisiana passed a law designed to prevent white people from teaching in schools conducted in the interest of Negroes.
A college for Negroes had been located at Cadeville for many years, presided over by a white minister from the North. Under the operations of the law mentioned, he was forced to resign his position.
The colored people were, therefore, under the necessity of casting about for a successor. They wrote to the president of Stowe University requesting him to recommend a man competent to take charge of the college. The president decided that Belton was an ideal man for the place and recommended him to the proper authorities. Belton was duly elected.
He again bade home adieu and boarded the train for Cadeville, Louisiana. Belton’s journey was devoid of special interest until he arrived within the borders of the state. At that time the law providing separate coaches for colored and white people had not been enacted by any of the Southern States. But in some of them the whites had an unwritten but inexorable law, to the effect that no Negro should be allowed to ride in a first-class coach. Louisiana was one of these states, but Belton did not know this. So, being in a first-class coach when he entered Louisiana, he did not get up and go into a second-class coach. The train was speeding along and Belton was quietly