“He is a large slave-owner, I believe,” said Madame de Thoux, with a manner which seemed to betray more interest than she was exactly willing to show.
“He is,” said George, looking rather surprised at her manner.
“Did you ever know of his having—perhaps, you may have heard of his having a mulatto boy, named George?”
“O, certainly,—George Harris,—I know him well; he married a servant of my mother’s, but has escaped, now, to Canada.”
“He has?” said Madame de Thoux, quickly. “Thank God!”
George looked a surprised inquiry, but said nothing.
Madame de Thoux leaned her head on her hand, and burst into tears.
“He is my brother,” she said.
“Madame!” said George, with a strong accent of surprise.
“Yes,” said Madame de Thoux, lifting her head, proudly, and wiping her tears, “Mr. Shelby, George Harris is my brother!”
“I am perfectly astonished,” said George, pushing back his chair a pace or two, and looking at Madame de Thoux.
“I was sold to the South when he was a boy,” said she. “I was bought by a good and generous man. He took me with him to the West Indies, set me free, and married me. It is but lately that he died; and I was going up to Kentucky, to see if I could find and redeem my brother.”
“I heard him speak of a sister Emily, that was sold South,” said George.
“Yes, indeed! I am the one,” said Madame de Thoux;—“tell me what sort of a—”
“A very fine young man,” said George, “notwithstanding the curse of slavery that lay on him. He sustained a first rate character, both for intelligence and principle. I know, you see,” he said; “because he married in our family.”
“What sort of a girl?” said Madame de Thoux, eagerly.
“A treasure,” said George; “a beautiful, intelligent, amiable girl. Very pious. My mother had brought her up, and trained her as carefully, almost, as a daughter. She could read and write, embroider and sew, beautifully; and was a beautiful singer.”
“Was she born in your house?” said Madame de Thoux.
“No. Father bought her once, in one of his trips to New Orleans, and brought her up as a present to mother. She was about eight or nine years old, then. Father would never tell mother what he gave for her; but, the other day, in looking over his old papers, we came across the bill of sale. He paid an extravagant sum for her, to be sure. I suppose, on account of her extraordinary beauty.”
George sat with his back to Cassy, and did not see the absorbed expression of her countenance, as he was giving these details.
At this point in the story, she touched his arm, and, with a face perfectly white with interest, said, “Do you know the names of the people he bought her of?”
“A man of the name of Simmons, I think, was the principal in the transaction. At least, I think that was the name on the bill of sale.”