How A night was spent on Marston’s plantation.
Earth is mantled with richest verdure; far away to the west and south of the mansion the scene stretches out in calm grandeur. The sun sinks beneath glowing clouds that crimson the horizon and spread refulgent shadows on the distant hills, as darkness slowly steals its way on the mellow landscape.
Motley groups of negroes are returned from the field, fires are lighted in and about the cabins, and men mutter their curious jargon while moving to prepare the coarse meal. Their anxious countenances form a picture wild and deeply interesting.
Entering Marston’s mansion, we find its interior neater than its weather-stained and paintless sides portended. Through the centre runs a broad passage, and on the left and right are large parlours, comfortably furnished, divided by folding doors of carved walnut. We are ushered into the one on the right by a yellow servant, who, neatly dressed in black, has prepared his politeness for the occasion. With great suavity, accompanied by a figurative grin, he informs us that master will pay his respects presently. Pieces of singularly antique furniture are arranged round the room, of which, he adds, master is proud indeed. Two plaster figures, standing in dingy niches, he tells us are wonders of the white man’s genius. In his own random style he gives us an essay on the arts, adding a word here and there to remind us of master’s exquisite taste, and anxiously waits our confirmation of what he says.
A large open fire-place, with fancifully carved framework and mantel-pieces, in Italian marble of polished blackness, upon which stood massive silver candlesticks, in chased work, denotes the ancient character of the mansion. It has many years been the home of the ever-hospitable Marston family.
In another part of the room is a mahogany side-board of antique pattern, upon which stand sundry bottles and glasses, indicative of Marston having entertained company in the morning. While we are contemplating the furniture around us, and somewhat disappointed at the want of taste displayed in its arrangement, the door opens, and Sam, the yellow servant, bows Marston in with a gracious smile. It is in the