With a wild shriek, the noble woman rushes to the side of his prison cot, seizes his blanched hand that hangs carelessly over the iron frame, grasps his head frantically, and draws it to her bosom, as the last gurgle of life bids adieu to the prostrate body. He is dead!
The old slave has watched over him, shared his sorrows and his crust, has sung a last song to his departing spirit. How truthful was that picture of the dying master and his slave! The old man, struggling against the infirmities of age, had escaped the hands of the man-seller, served his master with but one object-his soul’s love-and relieved his necessities, until death, ending his troubles, left no more to relieve. Now, distracted between joy at meeting Harry, and sorrow for the death of master, the poor old man is lost in the confusion of his feelings. After saluting Franconia, he turned to Harry, threw his arms around his neck, buried his head in his bosom, and wept like a child. “Home-home again,—my Harry! but too late to see mas’r,” he says, as the fountains of his soul give out their streams.
“We must all go where master has gone,” returns Harry, as he, more calm, fondles the old man, and endeavours to reconcile his feelings. “Sit there, my old friend-sit there; and remember that God called master away. I must go to his bed-side,” whispers Harry, seating the old man on a block of wood near the foot of the cot, where he pours forth the earnest of his grief.
An item in the common calendar.
Thus painfully has Marston paid his debtors. Around his lifeless body may spring to life those sympathies which were dead while he lived; but deplorings fall useless on dead men. There is one consideration, however, which must always be taken into account; it is, that while sympathy for the living may cost something, sympathy for the dead is cheap indeed, and always to be had. How simply plain is the dead man’s cell! In this humid space, ten by sixteen feet, and arched over-head, is a bucket of water, with a tin cup at the side, a prison tub in one corner, two wooden chairs, a little deal stand, (off which the prisoner ate his meals), and his trunk of clothing. The sheriff, insisting that it was his rule to make no distinction of persons, allowed prison cot and prison matress to which, by the kind permission of the warden, Franconia added sheets and a coverlit.