“Is he there? is he there?” inquired Manuel in a low tone. At the same time a low, gurgling noise sounded in his ears. The nurse started to her feet as if to inquire for what he came. “He is my companion-my companion,” said Manuel.
It was enough. The woman recognised the object of the little sufferer’s anxiety. “Ah! it is Manuel. How often he has called that name for the last week!” said she.
He ran to the bedside and grasped his little fleshless hand as it lay upon the white sheet, bathing his cold brow with kisses of grief. Life was gone-the spirit had winged its way to the God who gave it. Thus closed the life of poor Tommy Ward. He died as one resting in a calm sleep, far from the boisterous sound of the ocean’s tempest, with God’s love to shield his spirit in another and brighter world.
In a preceding chapter, we left the poor boy on the plantation of Colonel Whaley, affected by a pulmonary disease, the seeds of which were planted on the night he was confined in the guard-house, and the signs of gradual decay evinced their symptoms. After Captain Williams—for such was the name of the captain of the Three Sisters—left the plantation, no person appeared to care for him, and on the second day he was attacked with a fever, and sent to one of the negro cabins, where an old mulatto woman took care of him and nursed him as well as her scanty means would admit. The fever continued for seven days, when he became convalescent and able to walk out; but feeling that he was an incumbrance to those around him, he packed his clothes into a little bundle and started for Charleston on foot. He reached that city after four days’ travelling over a heavy, sandy road, subsisting upon the charity of poor negroes, whom he found much more ready to supply his wants than the opulent planters. One night he, was compelled to make a pillow of his little bundle, and lay down in a corn-shed, where the planter, aroused by the noise of his dogs, which were confined in a kennel, came with a lantern and two negroes and discovered him. At first he ordered him off, and threatened to set the dogs upon him if he did not instantly comply with the order; but his miserable appearance affected the planter, and before he had gone twenty rods one of the negroes overtook him, and said his master had sent him to bring him back. He returned, and the negro made him a coarse bed in his cabin, and gave him some homony and milk.
His hopes to see Manuel had buoyed him up through every fatigue, but when he arrived, and was informed at the jail that Manuel had left three days before, his disappointment was extreme. A few days after he shipped as cabin-boy on board a ship ready for sea and bound to Liverpool. Scarcely half-way across, he was compelled to resign himself to the sick-list. The disease had struck deep into his system, and was rapidly wasting him away. The sailors, one by one in turns, watched over him with tenderness and care. As soon as the ship arrived, he was sent to the hospital, and there he breathed his last as Manuel entered the sick-chamber. We leave Manuel and a few of his shipmates following his remains to the last resting-place of man.