Ellen returns to the house. Harry will remain, and have a few words more with the boys. A few minutes pass, and Ellen returns with an armful of blankets, with which she covers the people carefully and kindly. How full of goodness-how touching is the act! She has done her part, and she returns to the house in advance of Harry, who stops to take a parting good-night, and whisper a word of consolation in their ears. He looks upon them as dear brothers in distress, objects for whom he has a fellow sympathy. He leaves them for the night; closes the door after him; locks it. He will return to Ellen, and enjoy a mutual exchange of feeling.
Scarcely has he left the door, when three persons, disguised, rush upon him, muffle his head with a blanket, bind his hands and feet, throw him bodily into a waggon, and drive away at a rapid speed.
Competition in human things.
It is enough to inform the reader that Romescos and Mr. M’Fadden were not only rival bidders for this very desirable piece of preaching property, but, being near neighbours, had become inveterate enemies and fierce political opponents. The former, a reckless trader in men, women, and children, was a daring, unprincipled, and revengeful man, whose occupation seldom called him to his plantation; while the latter was notorious as a hard master and a cruel tyrant, who exacted a larger amount of labour from his negroes than his fellow planters, and gave them less to eat. His opinion was, that a peck of corn a week was quite enough for a negro; and this was his systematic allowance;—but he otherwise tempted the appetites of his property, by driving them, famished, to the utmost verge of necessity. Thus driven to predatory acts in order to sustain life, the advantages offered by Romescos’ swamp-generally well sprinkled with swine-were readily appropriated to a very good use.
Under covert of Romescos’ absence, Mr. M’Fadden had no very scrupulous objection to his negroes foraging the amply provided swamp,—provided, however, they did the thing on the sly, were careful whose porker they dispatched, and said nothing to him about the eating. In fact, it was simply a matter of economy with Mr. M’Fadden; and as Romescos had a great number of the obstinate brutes, it saved the trouble of raising such undignified stock. Finding, however, that neighbour M’Fadden, or his predatory negroes-such they were called-were laying claim to more than a generous share of their porkships, Romescos thought it high time to put the thing down by a summary process. But what particularly “riled” Romescos in this affair of the hogs was, that M’Fadden’s negroes were not content with catching them in an honourable way, but would do it through the agency of nasty cur-dogs, which he always had despised, and held as unfit even to hunt niggers with. Several times had he expressed