“Shall we take off the cloak, Mas’r?” said the negroes, when the grave was ready.
“No, no,—bury it with him! It’s all I can give you, now, poor Tom, and you shall have it.”
They laid him in; and the men shovelled away, silently. They banked it up, and laid green turf over it.
“You may go, boys,” said George, slipping a quarter into the hand of each. They lingered about, however.
“If young Mas’r would please buy us—” said one.
“We’d serve him so faithful!” said the other.
“Hard times here, Mas’r!” said the first. “Do, Mas’r, buy us, please!”
“I can’t!—I can’t!” said George, with difficulty, motioning them off; “it’s impossible!”
The poor fellows looked dejected, and walked off in silence.
“Witness, eternal God!” said George, kneeling on the grave of his poor friend; “oh, witness, that, from this hour, I will do what one man can to drive out this curse of slavery from my land!”
There is no monument to mark the last resting-place of our friend. He needs none! His Lord knows where he lies, and will raise him up, immortal, to appear with him when he shall appear in his glory.
Pity him not! Such a life and death is not for pity! Not in the riches of omnipotence is the chief glory of God; but in self-denying, suffering love! And blessed are the men whom he calls to fellowship with him, bearing their cross after him with patience. Of such it is written, “Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
An Authentic Ghost Story
For some remarkable reason, ghostly legends were uncommonly rife, about this time, among the servants on Legree’s place.
It was whisperingly asserted that footsteps, in the dead of night, had been heard descending the garret stairs, and patrolling the house. In vain the doors of the upper entry had been locked; the ghost either carried a duplicate key in its pocket, or availed itself of a ghost’s immemorial privilege of coming through the keyhole, and promenaded as before, with a freedom that was alarming.
Authorities were somewhat divided, as to the outward form of the spirit, owing to a custom quite prevalent among negroes,—and, for aught we know, among whites, too,—of invariably shutting the eyes, and covering up heads under blankets, petticoats, or whatever else might come in use for a shelter, on these occasions. Of course, as everybody knows, when the bodily eyes are thus out of the lists, the spiritual eyes are uncommonly vivacious and perspicuous; and, therefore, there were abundance of full-length portraits of the ghost, abundantly sworn and testified to, which, as if often the case with portraits, agreed with each other in no particular, except the common family peculiarity of the ghost tribe,—the wearing of a white sheet. The poor souls were not versed in ancient history, and did not know that Shakspeare had authenticated this costume, by telling how