In which the fate of Franconia is seen.
The reader may remember that in a former chapter we left Annette and Franconia, in company of the stranger, on board the steamer for Wilmington, swiftly gliding on her course. Four bells struck as the surging craft cleared the headlands and shaped her course. The slender invalid, so neat of figure, and whose dress exhibited so much good taste, has been suddenly transformed into a delicate girl of some seventeen summers. As night spreads its shadows over the briny scene, and the steaming craft surges onward over rolling swells, this delicate girl may be seen emerging from her cabin confines, leaning on Franconia’s arm as she approaches the promenade deck. Her fawn-coloured dress, setting as neatly as it is chastefully cut, displays a rounded form nicely compact; and, together with a drawn bonnet of green silk, simply arranged, and adding to her fair oval face an air of peculiar delicacy, present her with personal attractions of no ordinary character. And then her soft blue eyes, and her almost golden hair, hanging in thick wavy folds over her carnatic cheeks, add to the symmetry of her features that sweetness which makes modesty more fascinating. And though she has been but a slave, there is a glow of gentleness pervading her countenance, over which a playful smile now sheds a glow of vivacity, as if awakening within her bosom new hopes of the future.
The suddenness with which they embarked served to confuse and dispel all traces of recognition; and even the stranger, as they advanced toward him, hesitated ere he greeted Annette and extended his hand. But they soon joined in conversation, promenaded and mingled with the passengers. Cautious not to enter the main cabin, they remained, supperless, on the upper deck, until near midnight. That social prejudice which acts like a crushing weight upon the slave’s mind was no longer to deaden her faculties; no, she seemed like a new being, as, with childish simplicity, her soul bounded forth in rhapsody of praise and thankfulness. Holding Franconia by the hand, she would kiss her, fondle her head on her bosom, and continue to recount the pleasure she anticipated when meeting her long-lost mother. “They’ll sell me no more, Franconia, will they?” she would exclaim, looking enquiringly in her face.