Dunn kept one of the worst and most notorious drinking-shops in Charleston, but, to reconcile his office with that strict requirement which never allowed any thing “contrary to law” in Charleston, he made his wife a “free trader.” This special set of South Carolina may in effect be classed among its many singular laws. It has an exceedingly accommodating effect among bankrupt husbands, and acts as a masked battery for innumerable sins in a business or official line. It so happens, once in a while, that one of the “fair free dealers” gets into limbo through the force of some ruthless creditor; and the “Prison Bounds Act,” being very delicate in its bearings, frequently taxes the gallantry of the chivalrous gentlemen of the Charleston bar. that you are to go unpunished. And you, Drydez,” said he, turning to the Dutchman, “I shall enter you upon the information docket, as soon as I go down into the city.”
“Zeu may tu vat zeu plas mit me-te mayor bees my friend, an’ he knowz vot me ams. Yuz sees zel no bronty, no zin! Vot yu to mit de fine, ah?” * * *
“I’d like to see you do that same agin Mr.—. It wouldn’t be savin’ yerself a pace-warrant, and another for assault and battery! Sure magistrate Gyles is a first-rate friend of me own, and he’d not suffer me imposed on. The d—d nigger was obstinate and wouldn’t go to jail,” said Dunn in a cowardly, whimpering manner.
“Oh yez, me heard mit ’im swore, vat he no go to zale!” rejoined the Dutchman anxiously.
“Tell me none of your lies,” said he; “you are both the biggest rascals in town, and carry on your concerted villany as boldly as if you had the control of the city in your hands.” Manuel was trembling under the emotions of grief and revenge. His Portuguese blood would have revenged itself at the poniard’s point, but fortunately he had left it in his chest. He saw that he had a friend at his hand, and with the earnestness of a child, resigned himself to his charge.
In a few minutes quiet was produced, and the gentleman expressing a desire to know how the trouble originated, inquired of Manuel how it was brought about. But no sooner had he commenced his story, than he was interrupted by Dunn asserting his right, according to the laws of South Carolina, to make his declaration, which could not be refuted by the negro’s statement, or even testimony at law; and in another moment jumped up, and taking Manuel by the collar, commanded him to come along to jail; and turning to the gentleman, dared him to interfere with his duty.
“I know how you take people to jail, very well. I’ll now see that you perform that duty properly, and not torture prisoners from place to place before you get there. You inflict a worse punishment in taking poor, helpless people to jail, than they suffer after they get there!” said he; and immediately joined Manuel and walked to the jail with him.