“Rachel, one of the very best wenches in the County; has had charge of the Manor for several years, is very motherly and well disposed, and fully capable of taking charge of a plantation.”
The description of the negro property continues until it reaches the last and most touching point, which Marston reads with tears coursing down his cheeks. But, it is only trade, and it is refreshing to see how much talent the auctionee-himself a distinguished politician,—exhibits in displaying his bill. It is that which has worked itself so deep into Marston’s feelings.
“Clotilda, a white negro, and her child Annette; together with Nicholas—a bright boy,” remarkably intelligent-six years old. “These last,” adds the list, “have been well brought up, with great care, and are extremely promising and pleasant when speaking. The woman has superior looks, is sometimes called beautiful, has finely developed features, and is considered to be the handsomest bright woman in the county.”
We acknowledge the italics to be ours. The list, displaying great competency in the trade of human beings, concludes with warranting them sound and healthy, informing all those in want of such property of the wonderful opportunity of purchasing, and offering to guarantee its qualities. The above being “levied on to satisfy three fi fas,” &c. &c.
Poor Clotilda! her beauty has betrayed her: her mother was made a slave, and she has inherited the sin which the enlightened of the western world say shall be handed down from generation to generation until time itself has an end. She is within the damp walls of a narrow cell; the cold stones give forth their moisture to chill her bleeding heart; the rust of oppression cuts into her very soul. The warm sunlight of heaven, once so cheering, has now turned black and cold to her. She sits in that cold confine, filled with sorrow, hope, and expectation, awaiting her doom, like a culprit who measures the chances of escape between him and the gallows. She thinks of Marston. “He was a kind friend to me-he was a good master,” she says, little thinking that at that very moment he sits in the saloon reading that southern death-warrant which dooms so many to a life of woe. In it fathers were not mentioned-Marston’s feelings were spared that pain; mothers’ tears, too, were omitted, lest the sensitiveness of the fashionable world should be touched. Pained, and sick at heart-stung by remorse at finding himself without power to relieve Clotilda-he rises from his seat, and makes arrangement to return to his plantation.
A scene of many lights.
We must leave Marston wending his way for the old plantation, and pass to another phase of this complicated affair. In doing this, we must leave the reader to draw from his own imagination much that must have transpired previous to the present incidents.