Simon rode on, however, apparently well pleased, occasionally pulling away at a flask of spirit, which he kept in his pocket.
“I say, you!” he said, as he turned back and caught a glance at the dispirited faces behind him. “Strike up a song, boys,—come!”
The men looked at each other, and the “come” was repeated, with a smart crack of the whip which the driver carried in his hands. Tom began a Methodist hymn.
Name ever dear to me!
When shall my sorrows have an end,
Thy joys when shall—“*
* “Jerusalem, my happy home,” anonymous hymn dating from the latter part of the sixteenth century, sung to the tune of “St. Stephen.” Words derive from St. Augustine’s Meditations.
“Shut up, you black cuss!” roared Legree; “did ye think I wanted any o’ yer infernal old Methodism? I say, tune up, now, something real rowdy,—quick!”
One of the other men struck up one of those unmeaning songs, common among the slaves.
me cotch a coon,
High boys, high!
He laughed to split,—d’ye see the moon,
Ho! ho! ho! boys, ho!
Ho! yo! hi—e! oh!"
The singer appeared to make up the song to his own pleasure, generally hitting on rhyme, without much attempt at reason; and the party took up the chorus, at intervals,
“Ho! ho! ho! boys,
It was sung very boisterouly, and with a forced attempt at merriment; but no wail of despair, no words of impassioned prayer, could have had such a depth of woe in them as the wild notes of the chorus. As if the poor, dumb heart, threatened,—prisoned,—took refuge in that inarticulate sanctuary of music, and found there a language in which to breathe its prayer to God! There was a prayer in it, which Simon could not hear. He only heard the boys singing noisily, and was well pleased; he was making them “keep up their spirits.”
“Well, my little dear,” said he, turning to Emmeline, and laying his hand on her shoulder, “we’re almost home!”
When Legree scolded and stormed, Emmeline was terrified; but when he laid his hand on her, and spoke as he now did, she felt as if she had rather he would strike her. The expression of his eyes made her soul sick, and her flesh creep. Involuntarily she clung closer to the mulatto woman by her side, as if she were her mother.
“You didn’t ever wear ear-rings,” he said, taking hold of her small ear with his coarse fingers.
“No, Mas’r!” said Emmeline, trembling and looking down.
“Well, I’ll give you a pair, when we get home, if you’re a good girl. You needn’t be so frightened; I don’t mean to make you work very hard. You’ll have fine times with me, and live like a lady,—only be a good girl.”