The Devil's Own eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 283 pages of information about The Devil's Own.

“Two daughters!” he sneered.  “According to my information that strains the relationship a trifle, friend Knox—­at least the late Judge never took the trouble to acknowledge the fact.  Permit me to correct your statement.  I happen to know more about Beaucaire’s private affairs than you do.  He leaves one daughter only.  I have never met the young lady, but I understand from excellent authority that she possesses independent means through the death some years ago of her mother.  I shall therefore not worry about her loss—­and, indeed, she need meet with none, for if she only prove equal to all I have heard I may yet be induced to make her a proposition.”

“A proposition?”

“To remain on the plantation as its mistress—­plainly an offer of marriage, if you please.  Not such a bad idea, is it?”

I stood speechless, held motionless only by the pressing muzzle of his pistol, the cold-blooded villainy of the man striking me dumb.  This then had probably been his real purpose from the start.  He had followed Beaucaire deliberately with this final end in view—­of ruining him, and thus compelling the daughter to yield herself.  He had egged the man on, playing on the weakness of his nature, baiting him to finally risk all on a game of chance, the real stake not the money on the table, but the future of this young girl.

“You—­you have never seen her?”

“No, but I have met those who have.  She is reported to be beautiful, and, better still, worth fifty thousand dollars.”

“And you actually mean that you propose now to force Judge Beaucaire’s daughter to marry you?”

“Well hardly that, although I shall use whatever means I possess.  I intend to win her if I can, fair means, or foul.”

I drew a deep breath, comprehending now the full iniquity of his plot, and bracing myself to fight it.

“And what about the other girl, Kirby? for there is another girl.”

“Yes,” rather indifferently, “there is another.”

“Of course you know who she is?”

“Certainly—­a nigger, a white nigger; the supposed illegitimate daughter of Adelbert Beaucaire, and a slave woman.  There is no reason why I should fret about her, is there?  She is my property already by law.”  He laughed again, the same ugly sneering laugh of triumph, “That was why I was so particular about the wording of that bill of sale—­I would rather have her than the whole bunch of field hands.”

“You believe then the girl has never been freed—­either she, or her mother?”

“Believe?  I know.  I tell you I never play any game with my eyes shut.”

“And you actually intend to—­to hold her as a slave?”

“Well, I’ll look her over first before I decide—­she would be worth a pot full of money down the river.”

CHAPTER VI

INTO THE BLACK WATER

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The Devil's Own from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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