The Flower of the Chapdelaines eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 160 pages of information about The Flower of the Chapdelaines.

On the schooner we found a kind welcome, amid a throng of friends and strangers, and a chaos of boxes, bundles, and trunks.  Children were crying to go home, or viewing with babbling delight the wide roadstead dotted with boats still bringing the fugitives to every anchored vessel.  Women were calling farewells and cautions to the men in the returning boats, and meeting friends were telling in many tongues the droll or sad distresses of the hour.

A friend, with his wife and little daughter, gave us a thrilling story.  Except their house-keeper, a young English girl, they three were the only white persons on their beautiful “North End” estate when on Sunday night their slaves came to them in force demanding “freedom papers.”

“Not under compulsion, never!”

“Den obbe set eb’ryt’ing on fiah!  Wen yo’ house bu’n up we try t’ink w’at too do wid you and de missie!” They rushed away to the sugar-works, yelling:  “Git bagasse foo bu’n him out!”

The household loaded all the firearms in the house, filled all vessels with water, and piled blankets here and there to fight fire.  Then they made merry.  The wife played her piano till after midnight.  Whether moved by this show or not, the blacks failed to return, and next day the family escaped to the schooner.

To grandmamma and the wife of the American consul, the oldest ladies on the vessel, was given, at nightfall, the only sofa on board.  The rest dropped asleep on boxes and bundles anywhere.  For my couch the boatswain lent me his locker, and for a pillow a bag of something that felt like rope ends, and for three successive mornings I was wakened with: 

“Sorry to disturb you, little miss, but I must get to my locker.”

XXXIII

(AUTHORITY, ORDER, PEACE)

Three days of heat, glare, hubbub, and anxious suspense dragged away, and Thursday’s gorgeous sunset brought a change.  The Danish frigate, bright with flags and swarming with sailors, swept in, dropped anchor, and wrapped herself in thunder and white smoke.  Soon she lowered a boat, a glittering officer took its tiller-ropes, its long oars flashed, and it bore away to the fort.  But evening fell, a starry silence reigned, and when a late moon rose we slept.

Next morning we knew that Captain Erminger, of the frigate, had assumed command over the whole island, declared martial law, landed his marines, and begun operations.  Soon the harbor was populous again, with refugees returning home.  Tom came with his boat.  Just as we started landward a schooner came round the bluffs bringing the Spaniards.  At early twilight these landed and marched with much clatter through the vacant streets to the town’s various points of entrance, there to mount guard, the Danes having gone to scatter the insurgents.

The pursuing forces, in two bodies, were to move toward each other from opposite ends of the island, spanning it from sea to sea and meeting in the centre, thus entirely breaking up the bands of aimless pillagers into which the insurrection had already dispersed.  This took but a few days.  Buddoe was almost at once trapped by the baldest flatteries of two leading Danish residents and, finding himself without even the honor of armed capture, betrayed his confederates and disappeared.

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The Flower of the Chapdelaines from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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