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And yet, among some classes in the south there exists a religious sentiment apparently grateful; but what credit for sincerity shall we accord to it when the result proves that no part of the organisation itself works for the elevation of a degraded class? How much this is to be regretted we leave to the reader’s discrimination. The want of a greater effort to make religious influence predominant has been, and yet is, a source of great evil. But let us continue our narrative, and beg the reader’s indulgence for having thus transgressed.
Flattered and caressed among gay assemblages, nike air max classic Lorenzo soon found himself drawn beyond their social pleasantries into deeper and more alluring excitements. His frequent visits at the saloon and gambling-tables did not detract, for a time, from the social position society had conferred upon him.
His parents, instead of restraining, fostered these associations, prided themselves on his reception, providing means of maintaining him in this style of living. Vanit Cheap Nike Air Max y and passion led him captive in their gratifications; they were inseparable from the whirlpool of confused society that triumphs at the south,–that leads the proud heart writhing in the agony of its follies. He cast himself upon this, like a frail thing upon a rapid stream, and–forgetting the voyage was short–found his pleasures soon ended in the troubled waters of misery and disgrace.
There is no fundamental morality in the south, nor is education invested with the material qualities of social good; in this it differs from the north, against which it is fast building up a political and social organisation totally at variance. Instead of maintaining those great principles upon which the true foundation of the republic stands, the south allows itself to run into a hyper- aristocratic vagueness, coupled with an arbitrary determination to perpetuate its follies for the gui nike air max 90 sale dance of the whole Union. And the effect of this becomes still more dangerous, when it is attempted to carry it out under the name of democracy,–American democracy! In this manner it serves the despotic ends of European despots: they point to the freest government in the world for examples of their own absolutism, shield their autocracy beneath its democracy, and with it annihilate the rights of the commoner.
Heedlessly wending his way, the man of rank and station at one side, the courtesan with his bland smiles at the other, Lorenzo had not seen the black poniard that was to cut the cord of his downfall,–it had remained gilded. He drank copious draughts at the house of licentiousness, became infatuated with the soft music that leads the way of the unwary, until at length, he, unconsciously at it were, found himself in the midst of a clan who are forming a plot to put the Cheap Air Max black seal upon his dishonour. Monto Graspum, his money playing through the hands of his minions in the gambling rooms, had professed to be his friend. He had watched his pliable nature, had studied the resources of his parents, knew their kindness, felt sure of his prey while abetting the downfall. Causing him to perpetrate the crime, from time to time, he would incite him with prospects of retrieve, guide his hand to consummate the crime again, and watch the moment when he might reap the harvest of his own infamy. Thus, when he had brought the young man to that last pitiless issue, where the proud heart quickens with a sense of its wrongs-when the mind recurs painfully to the past, imploring that forgiveness which seems beyond the power of mankind to grant, he left him a poor outcast, whose errors would be first condemned by his professed friends. That which seemed worthy of praise was forgotten, his errors were magnified; and the seducer made himself secure by crushing his victim, compromising the respectability of his parents, making the disgrace a forfeiture for life.
Unexpected as the shock was to Marston, he bore it with seeming coolness, as if dreading the appearance of the man who had taken advantage of the moment to bring him under obligations, more than he did the amount to be discharged. Arising from the table, he took Lorenzo by the hand, saying:–“Veil your trouble, Lorenzo! Let the past be forgotten, bury the stigma in your own bosom; let it be an example to your feelings and your actions. Go not upon the world to wrestle with its ingratitude; if you do, misfortune will befall you-you will stumble through it the remainder of your life. With me, I fear the very presence of the man who has found means of engrafting his avarice upon our misfortunes; he deals with those in his grasp like one who would cut the flesh and blood of mankind into fragments of gain. Be firm, Lorenzo; be firm! Remember, it is not the province of youth to despai nike air max sale r; be manly-manliness even in crime lends its virtue to the falling.” At which he bid him good night, and retired to rest.
The young man, more pained at his uncle’s kindness,–kindness stronger in its effects than reproof,–still lingered, as if to watch some change of expression on his uncle’s countenance, as he left the door. His face changed into pallid gloominess, and again, as if by magic influence, filled w cheap nike air max trainers ith the impress of passion; it was despair holding conflict with a bending spirit. He felt himself a criminal, marked by the whispers of society; he might not hear the charges against him, nor be within the sound of scandal’s tongue, but he would see it outlined in faces that once smiled at his seeming prosperity. He would feel it in the cold hand that had welcomed him,–that had warmly embraced him; his name would no longer be respected. The circle of refined society that had kindly received him, had made him one of its attractions, would now shun him as if he were contagion. Beyond this he saw the fate that hovered over his father’s and his uncle’s estates;-all the filial affection they had bestowed upon him, blasted; the caresses of his beloved and beautiful sister; the shame the exposure would bring upon her; the knave nike air max who held him in his grasp, while dragging the last remnants of their property away to appease dishonest demands, haunted him to despair. And, yet, to sink under them-to leave all behind him and be an outcast, homeless and friendless upon the world, where he could only look back upon the familiar scenes of his boyhood with regret, would be to carry a greater amount of anguish to his destiny. The destroyer was upon him; his grasp was firm and painful. He might live a life of rectitude; but his principles and affections would be unfixed. It would be like an infectious robe encircling him,–a disease which he never could eradicate, so that he might feel he was not an empty vessel among honourable men. When men depicted their villains, moving in the grateful spheres of life, he would be one of their models; and though the thou nike air max 90 ghtlessness of youth had made him the type haunting himself by day and night, the world never made a distinction. Right and wrong were things that to him only murmured in distrust; they would be blemishes exaggerated from simple error; but the judgment of society would never overlook them. He must now choose between a resolution to bear the consequences at home, or turn his back upon all that had been near and dear to him,–be a wanderer struggling with the eventful trials of life in a distant land! Turning pale, as if frantic with the thought of what was before him, the struggle to choose between the two extremes, and the only seeming alternative, he grasped the candle that flickered before him, gave a glance round the room, as if taking a last look at each familiar object that met his eyes, and retired.
Chapter 5
The Mar cheap nike air max ooning Party
A MAROONING pic-nic had been proposed and arranged by the young beaux and belles of the neighbouring plantations. The day proposed for the festive event was that following the disclosure of Lorenzo’s difficulties. Every negro on the plantation was agog long before daylight: the morning ushered forth bright and balmy, with bustle and confusion reigning throughout the plantation,–the rendezvous being Marston’s mansion, from which the gay party would be conveyed in a barge, overspread with an awning, to a romantic spot, overshaded with luxuriant pines, some ten miles up the stream. Here gay fetes, mirth and joy, the mingling of happy spirits, were to make the time pass pleasantly. The night passed without producing any decision in Lorenzo’s mind; and when he made his appearance on the veranda an unusual thoughtfulness pervaded his countenance; all his attempts to be joyous failed to conceal his trouble. Marston, too, was moody and reserved even to coldness; that frank, happy, and careless expression of a genial nature, which had so long marked him in social gatherings, was departed. When Maxwell, the young Englishman, with quiet demeanour, attempted to draw him into conversation about the prospects of the day, his answers were measured, cold, beyond his power of comprehending, yet inciting.
To appreciate those pleasant scenes-those scenes so apparently happy, at times adding a charm to plantation life-those innocent merry-makings in spring time-one must live among them, be born to the recreations of the soil. Not a negro on the plantation, old or young, who does not think himself part and parcel of the scene-that he is indispensably necessary to make Mas’r’s enjoyment complete! In this instance, the lawn, decked in resplendent verdure, the foliage tinged by the mellow rays of the rising sun, presented a pastoral loveliness that can only be appreciated by those who have contemplated that soft beauty which pervades a southern landscape at morning and evening. The arbour of old oaks, their branches twined into a panoply of thick foliage, stretching from the mansion to the landing, seemed like a sleeping battlement, its dark clusters soaring above redolent brakes and spreading water-leaks. Beneath their fretted branches hung the bedewed moss like a veil of sparkling crystals, moving gently to and fro as if touched by some unseen power. The rice fields, stretching far in the distance, present the appearance of a mirror decked with shadows of fleecy clouds, transparent and sublime. Around the cabins of the plantation people-the human property-the dark sons and daughters of promiscuous families-are in “heyday glee:” they laughed, chattered, contended, and sported over the presence of the party;-the overseer had given them an hour or two to see the party “gwine so;” and they were overjoyed. Even the dogs, as if incited by an instinctive sense of some gay scene in which they were to take part, joined their barking with the jargon of the negroes, while the mules claimed a right to do likewise. In the cabins near the mansion another scene of fixing, fussing, toddling, chattering, running here and there with sun-slouches, white aprons, fans, shades, baskets, and tin pans, presented itself; any sort of vessel that would hold provender for the day was being brought forth. Clotilda, her face more cheerful, is dressed in a nice drab merino, a plain white stomacher, a little collar neatly turned over: with her plain bodice, her white ruffles round her wrists, she presents the embodiment of neatness. She is pretty, very pretty; and yet her beauty has made her the worst slave-a slave in the sight of Heaven and earth! Her large, meaning eyes, glow beneath her arched brows, while her auburn hair, laid in smooth folds over her ears and braided into a heavy circle at the back of her head, gives her the fascinating beauty of a Norman peasant. Annette plays around her, is dressed in her very best,–for Marston is proud of the child’s beauty, and nothing is withheld that can gratify the ambition of the mother, so characteristic, to dress with fantastic colours: the child gambols at her feet, views its many-coloured dress, keeps asking various unanswerable questions about Daddy Bob, Harry, and the pic-nic. Again it scrambles pettishly, sings snatches of some merry plantation song, pulls its braided hat about the floor, climbs upon the table to see what is in the basket.
Passing to the cabin of Ellen Juvarna, we see her in the same confusion which seems to have beset the plantation: her dark, piercing eyes, display more of that melancholy which marks Clotilda’s; nor does thoughtfulness pervade her countenance, and yet there is the restlessness of an Indian about her,–she is Indian by blood and birth; her look calls up all the sad associations of her forefathers; her black glossy hair, in heavy folds, hangs carelessly about her olive shoulders, contrasting strangely with the other.
“And you, Nicholas! remember what your father will say: but you must not call him such,” she says, taking by the hand a child we have described, who is impatient to join the gay group.
“That ain’t no harm, mother! Father always is fondling about me when nobody’s lookin’,” the child answers, with a pertness indicating a knowledge of his parentage rather in advance of his years.
We pass to the kitchen,–a little, dingy cabin, presenting the most indescribable portion of the scene, the smoke issuing from every crevice. Here old Peggy, the cook,–an enveloped representative of smoke and grease,–as if emerging from the regions of Vulcan, moves her fat sides with the independence of a sovereign. In this miniature smoke-pit she sweats and frets, runs to the door every few minutes, adjusts the points of her flashy bandana, and takes a wistful look at the movements without. Sal, Suke, Rose, and Beck, young members of Peggy’s family, are working at the top of their energy among stew-pans, griddles, pots and pails, baskets, bottles and jugs. Wafs, fritters, donjohns and hominy flap-jacks, fine doused hams, savoury meats, ices, and fruit-cakes, are being prepared and packed up for the occasion. Negro faces of every shade seem full of interest and freshness, newly brightened for the pleasures of the day. Now and then broke upon our ear that plaintive melody with the words, “Down on the Old Plantation;” and again, “Jim crack corn, an’ I don’t care, for Mas’r’s gone away.” Then came Aunt Rachel, always persisting in her right to be master of ceremonies, dressed in her Sunday bombazine, puffed and flounced, her gingham apron so clean, her head “did up” with the flashiest bandana in her wardrobe; it’s just the colour for her taste-real yellow, red, and blue, tied with that knot which is the height of plantation toilet: there is as little restraint in her familiarity with the gentry of the mansion as there is in her control over the denizens of the kitchen. Even Dandy and Enoch, dressed in their best black coats, white pantaloons, ruffled shirts, with collars endangering their ears, hair crisped with an extra nicety, stand aside at her bidding. The height of her ambition is to direct the affairs of the mansion: sometimes she extends it to the overseer. The trait is amiably exercised: she is the best nigger on the plantation, and Marston allows her to indulge her feelings, while his guests laugh at her native pomposity, so generously carried out in all her commands. She is preparing an elegant breakfast, which “her friends” must partake of before starting. Everything must be in her nicest: she runs from the ante-room to the hall, and from thence to the yard, gathering plates and dishes; she hurries Old Peggy the cook, and again scolds the waiters.
Daddy Bob and Harry have come into the yard to ask Marston’s permission to join the party as boatmen. They are in Aunt Rachel’s way, and she rushes past them, pushing them aside, and calling Mas’r to come and attend to their wants. Marston comes forward, greets them with a familiar shake of the hand, granting their request without further ceremony. Breakfast is ready; but, anxious for the amusement of the day, their appetites are despoiled. Franconia, more lovely than ever, presenting that ease, elegance, and reserve of the southern lady, makes her appearance in the hall, is escorted to the table leaning on the arm of Maxwell. Delicacy, sensitiveness, womanly character full of genial goodness, are traits with which the true southern lady is blessed:–would she were blessed with another, an energy to work for the good of the enslaved! Could she add that to the poetry of her nature, how much greater would be her charm-how much more fascinating that quiet current of thought with which she seems blessed! There is a gentleness in her impulses–a pensiveness in her smile–a softness in her emotions–a grace in her movements–an ardent soul in her love! She is gay and lightsome in her youth; she values her beauty, is capricious with her admirers, and yet becomes the most affectionate mother; she can level her frowns, play with the feelings, make her mercurial sympathy touching, knows the power of her smiles: but once her feelings are enlisted, she is sincere and ardent in her responses. If she cannot boast of the bright carnatic cheek, she can swell the painter’s ideal with her fine features, her classic face, the glow of her impassioned eyes. But she seldom carries this fresh picture into the ordinary years of womanhood: the bloom enlivening her face is but transient; she loses the freshness of girlhood, and in riper years, fades like a sensitive flower, withering, unhappy with herself, unadmired by others.
Franconia sat at the table, a pensiveness pervading her countenance that bespoke melancholy: as she glanced inquiringly round, her eyes rested upon Lorenzo fixedly, as if she detected something in his manner at variance with his natural deportment. She addressed him; but his cold reply only excited her more: she resolved upon knowing the cause ere they embarked. Breakfast was scarcely over before the guests of the party from the neighbouring plantations began to assemble in the veranda, leaving their servants in charge of the viands grouped together upon the grass, under a clump of oaks a few rods from the mansion. Soon the merry-makers, about forty in number, old and young, their servants following, repaired to the landing, where a long barge, surrounded by brakes and water-lilies, presented another picture.
“Him all straight, Mas’r-him all straight, jus so!” said Daddy Bob, as he strode off ahead, singing “Dis is de way to de jim crack corn.”
Servants of all ages and colour, mammies and daddies, young ‘uns and prime fellows,–“wenches” that had just become hand-maids,–brought up the train, dancing, singing, hopping, laughing, and sporting: some discuss the looks of their young mistresses, others are criticising their dress. Arrived at the landing, Daddy Bob and Harry, full of cares, are hurrying several prime fellows, giving orders to subordinate boatmen about getting the substantial on board,–the baskets of champagne, the demijohns, the sparkling nectar. The young beaux and belles, mingling with their dark sons and daughters of servitude, present a motley group indeed-a scene from which the different issues of southern life may be faithfully drawn.
A band of five musicians, engaged to enliven the sports of the day with their music, announce, “All on board!” and give the signal for starting by striking up “Life on the Ocean Wave.” Away they speed, drawn by horses on the bank, amidst the waving of handkerchiefs, the soft notes of the music reverberating over the pine-clad hills. Smoothly and gently, onward they speed upon the still bosom of the Ashly;-the deep, dark stream, its banks bedecked with blossoms and richest verdure, is indeed enough to excite the romantic of one’s nature. Wild, yet serene with rural beauty, if ever sensations of love steal upon us, it is while mingling in the simple convivialities so expressive of southern life. On, on, the barge moved, as lovers gathered together, the music dancing upon the waters. Another party sing the waterman’s merry song, still another trail for lilies, and a third gather into the prow to test champagne and ice, or regale with choice Havannas. Marston, and a few of the older members, seated at midships, discuss the all-absorbing question of State-rights; while the negroes are as merry as larks in May, their deep jargon sounding high above the clarion notes of the music. Now it subsides into stillness, broken only by the splashing of an alligator, whose sports call forth a rapturous shout.
After some three hours’ sailing the barge nears a jut of rising ground on the left bank. Close by it is a grove of noble old pines, in the centre of which stands a dilapidated brick building, deserted for some cause not set forth on the door: it is a pretty, shaded retreat-a spot breathing of romance. To the right are broad lagoons stretching far into the distance; their dark waters, beneath thick cypress, presenting the appearance of an inundated grove. The cypress-trees hang their tufted tops over the water’s surface, opening an area beneath studded with their trunks, like rude columns supporting a panoply of foliage.
The barge stops, the party land; the shrill music, still dancing through the thick forest, re-echoes in soft chimes as it steals back upon the scene. Another minute, and we hear the voices of Daddy Bob and Harry, Dandy and Enoch: they are exchanging merry laughs, shouting in great good-nature, directing the smaller fry, who are fagging away at the larder, sucking the ice, and pocketing the lemons. “Dat ain’t just straight, nohow: got de tings ashore, an’ ye get ‘e share whin de white folk done! Don’ make ‘e nigger ob yourse’f, now, old Boss, doing the ting up so nice,” Daddy says, frowning on his minions. A vanguard have proceeded in advance to take possession of the deserted house; while Aunt Rachel, with her cortege of feminines, is fussing over “young missus.” Here, a group are adjusting their sun-shades; there, another are preparing their fans and nets. Then they follow the train, Clotilda and Ellen leading their young representatives by the hand, bringing up the rear among a cluster of smaller fry. Taking peaceable possession of the house, they commence to clear the rooms, the back ones being reserved for the sumptuous collation which Rachel and her juniors are preparing. The musicians are mustered,–the young belles and beaux, and not a few old bachelors, gather into the front room, commence the fetes with country dances, and conclude with the polka and schottische.
Rachel’s department presents a bustling picture; she is master of ceremonies, making her sombre minions move at her bidding, adjusting the various dishes upon the table. None, not even the most favoured guests, dare intrude cheap nike air max themselves into her apartments until she announces the completion of her tables, her readiness to receive friends. And yet, amidst all this interest of character, this happy pleasantry, this seeming contentment, there is one group pauses ere it arrives at the house,–dare not enter. The distinction seems undefinable to us; but they, poor wretches, feel it deeply. Shame rankles deep, to t Nike Air Max heir very heart’s core. They doubt their position, hesitate at the door, and, after several nervous attempts to enter, fall back,–gather round a pine-tree, where they enjoy the day, separated from the rest. There is a simplicity-a forlornness, about this little group, which attracts our attention, excites our sympathies, unbends our curiosity: we would relieve the burden it labours under. They are Ellen Juvarna, Clotilda, and their children. Socially, they are disowned; they are not allowed to join the festivities with those in the dance, and their feelings revolt at being compelled to associate with the negroes. They are as white as many of the whitest, have the same outlines of interest upon their faces; but their lives are sealed with the black seal of slavery. Sensib nike air max 95 le of the injustice that has stripped them of their rights, they value their whiteness; the blood of birth tinges their face, and through it they find themselves mere dregs of human kind,–objects of sensualism in its vilest associations.
Maxwell has taken a deep interest in Clotilda; and the solicitude she manifests for her child has drawn him still further in her favour; he is determined to solve the mystery that shrouds her history. Drawing near to them, he seats himself upon the ground at their side, inquires why they did not come into the house. “There’s no place there for us,–none for me,” Clotilda modestly replies, holding down her head, placing her arm around Annette’s waist.
“You would enjoy it much better, and nike air max 1 there is no restraint upon anyone.” ③

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