Romescos, Bengal, and Nimrod, soon after descended into the vaults below, followed by a negro bearing a lantern. Here they unbolted one of the cells, dragged forth a dejected-looking mulatto woman, her rags scarcely covering her nakedness. The poor wretch, a child born to degradation and torture, whose cries were heard in heaven, heaved a deep sigh, then gave vent to a flood of tears. They told how deep was her anguish, how she struggled against injustice, how sorrow was burning her very soul. The outpourings of her feelings might have aroused the sympathies of savage hearts; but the slave monsters were unmoved. Humbleness, despair, and even death, sat upon her very countenance; hope had fled her, left her a wreck for whom man had no pity. And though her prayers ascended to heaven, the God of mercy seemed to have abandoned her to her tormentors. She came forward trembling and reluctantly, her countenance changed; she gave a frowning look at her tormentors, wild and gloomy, shrank back into the cell, the folds of straight, black hair hanging about her shoulders.
“Come out here!” Nimrod commands in an angry tone; then, seizing her by the arm, dragged her forth, and jerked her prostrate on the ground. Here, like as many fiends in human form, the rest fell upon her, held her flat to the floor by the hands and feet, her face downwards, while Nimrod, with a raw hide, inflicted thirty lashes on her bare back. Her cries and groans, as she lay writhing, the flesh hanging in quivering shreds, and lifting with the lash,—her appeals for mercy, her prayers to heaven, her fainting moans as the agony of her torture stung into her very soul, would have touched a heart of stone. But, though her skin had not defiled her in the eyes of the righteous, there was none to take pity on her, nor to break the galling chains; no! the punishment was inflicted with the measured coolness of men engaged in an every-day vocation. It was simply the right which a democratic law gave men to become lawless, fierce in the conspiracy of wrong, and where the legal excitement of trafficking in the flesh and blood of one another sinks them unconsciously into demons.
“Buckra-man very uncertain.”
The caption, a common saying among negroes at the south, had its origin in a consciousness, on the part of the negro, of the many liabilities to which his master’s affairs are subject, and his own dependence on the ulterior consequences. It carries with it a deep significance, opens a field for reflection, comprehends the negro’s knowledge of his own uncertain state, his being a piece of property the good or evil of which is effected by his master’s caprices, the binding force of the law that makes him merchandise. Nevertheless, while the negro feels them in all their force, the master values them only in an abstract light. Ask the negro whose