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“Got rich at it!” Mrs. Rosebrook interrupts, as a sagacious looking cat bounds on the table, much to the discomfiture of the Elder, who jumps up in a great fright,–“What irresistible natures we have; may heaven save us from the cravings of avarice!”
The Elder very methodically puts the interrupting cat upon the floor, and resumes his seat. “Why, bless us, good madam, we must have something to keep our consciences clear; cheap nike air max trainers there’s nothing like living a straightforward life.”
“What a horrible inconsistency! Buying the sick and the dying. May the dead not come in for a portion of your singular generosity? If you can speculate in the dying why exclude the dead? the principle would serve the same faith in Christianity. The heart that can purchase the dying must be full of sad coldness, dragging the woes and pains of mortality down to a tortuous death. Save us from the feelings of speculation,–call them Christian, if you will,–that makes man look upon a dying mortal, valuing but the dollars and cents that are passing away with his life,” she interrupts, giving vent to her pent-up feelings.
Mr. Praiseworthy suggests that the good lady does not comprehend the virtue lying beneath his motives; that it takes a philosophical mind to analyse the goo cheap nike air max 90 d that can be done to human nature, especially poor black human nature. And he asserts, with great sincerity, that saving the lives of those about to die miserable deaths is a wonderful thing for the cause of humanity. Buying them saves their hopeless lives; and if that isn’t praiseworthy nothing can be, and when the act is good the motive should not be questioned.
“Do you save their lives for a Christian purpose, or is it lucre you seek, Mr. Praiseworthy?” she enquires, giving the Elder a significant look, and waiting for a reply.
The Elder rises sedately, and walks across the room, considering his reply. “The question’s so kind of round about,” he mutters, as she continues:–
“Sick when you purchase, your Christianity consists in the art of healing; but you sell them, and consequently save their lives for a profit. There is no cholera in our plantation, thank God! you nike air max 1 cannot speculate on our sick. You outshine the London street Jews; they deal in old clothes, you deal in human oddities, tottering infirmity, sick negroes.” Mrs. Rosebrook suggests that such a business in a great and happy country should be consigned to its grave-digger and executioner, or made to pay a killing income tax.
The humane Elder views his clothes; they have become somewhat threadbare since he entered upon his new profession. He, as may be supposed, feels the force of the lady’s remarks, and yet cannot bring his mind to believe himself actuated by anything but a love to do good. Kindness, he contends, was always the most inherent thing in his nature: it is an insult to insinuate anything degrading connected with his calling. And, too, there is another consolation which soars above all,–it is legal, and there is a respectability connected with all legal call nike air max 95 ings.
“To be upright is my motto, madam,” the Elder says, drawing his hand modestly over his mouth, and again adjusting the tie of his white neck-cloth. “I’m trying to save them, and a penny with them. You see-the Lord forgive him!-my dear madam, Marston didn’t do the clean thing with me; and, the worst of all was, he made a preacher of that nigger of his. The principle is a very bad one for nigger property to contend for; and when their masters permit it, our profession is upset; for, whenever a nigger becomes a preacher, he’s sure to be a profitable investment for his owner. There is where it injures us; and we have no redress, because the nigger preacher is his master’s property, and his master can make him preach, or do what he pleases with him,” says Mr. Praiseworthy, becoming extremely serious.
“Ah! yes,–self pinches the principles; I see where it is, Elder,” says the lady. “But you were indiscreet, given to ta nike air max king at times; and the boy Harry, proving himself quite as good at preaching, destroyed your practice. I wish every negro knew as much of the Bible as that boy Harry. There would be no fear of insurrections; it would be the greatest blessing that ever befell the South. It would make some of your Christians blush,–perhaps ashamed.”
“Ashamed! ashamed! a thing little used the way times are,” he mutters, fretting his fingers through his bristly hair, until it stands erect like quills on a porcupine’s back. This done, he measuredly adjusts his glasses on the tip of his nose, giving his tawny visage an appearance at once strange and indicative of all the peculiarities of his peculiar character. “It wasn’t that,” he says, “Marston did’nt get dissatisfied with my spiritual conditions; it was the saving made by the negro’s preaching. But, to my new business, which so touches your sensitive feelings. If you will honour me, my dear madam, with a visit at my hospital, I am certain your impressions will change, and you will do justice to my motives.”
“Indeed!” interrupts the lady, quickly, “nothing would give me more gratification,–I esteem any person engaged in a laudable pursuit; but if philanthropy be expressed through the frailties of speculation,–especially where it is carried out in the buying and selling of afflicted men and women,–I am willing to admit the age of progress to have got ahead of me. However, Elder, I suppose you go upon the principle of what is not lost to sin being gained to the Lord: and if your sick property die pious, the knowledge of it is a sufficient recompense for the loss.” Thus saying, she readily accepted the Elder’s kind invitation, and, ordering a basket of prepared nourishment, which, together with the carriage, was soon ready, she accompanied him to his infirmary. They drove through narrow lanes and streets lined with small dilapidated cottages, and reached a wooden tenement near the suburb of the city of C–. It was surrounded by a lattice fence, the approach being through a gate, on which was inscribed, “Mr. Praiseworthy’s Infirmary;” and immediately below this, in small letters, was the significant notice, “Planters having the cholera and other prevailing diseases upon their plantations will please take notice that I am prepared to pay the highest price for the infirm and other negroes attacked with the disease. Offers will be made for the most doubtful cases!”
“Elder Praiseworthy!” ejaculates the lady, starting back, and stopping to read the strange sign. “‘Offers will be made for the most doubtful cases!'” she mutters, turning towards him with a look of melancholy. “What thoughts, feelings, sentiments! That means, that unto death you have a pecuniary interest in their bodies; and, for a price, you will interpose between their owners and death. The mind so grotesque as to conceive such a purpose should be restrained, lest it trifle with life unconsciously.”
“You see,” interrupts Mr. Praiseworthy, looking more serious than ever, “It’s the life saved to the nigger; he’s grateful for it; and if they ain’t pious just then, it gives them time to consider, to prepare themselves. My little per centage is small-it’s a mean commission; and if it were not for the satisfaction of knowing how much good I do, it wouldn’t begin to pay a professional gentleman.” As the Elder concludes his remarks, melancholy sounds are breaking forth in frightful discord. From strange murmurings it rises into loud wailings and implorings. “Take me, good Lord, to a world of peace!” sounds in her ears, as they approach through a garden and enter a door that opens into a long room, a store-house of human infirmity, where moans, cries, and groans are made a medium of traffic. The room, about thirty feet long and twenty wide, air max 90 sale is rough-boarded, contains three tiers of narrow berths, one above the other, encircling its walls. Here and there on the floor are cots, which Mr. Praiseworthy informs us are for those whose cases he would not give much for. Black nurses are busily attending the sick property; some are carrying bowls of gruel, others rubbing limbs and quieting the cries of the frantic, and again supplying water to quench thirst. On a round table that stands in the centre of the room is a large medicine-chest, disclosing papers, pills, powders, phials, and plasters, strewn about in great disorder. A bedlam of ghastly faces presents itself,–dark, haggard, and frantic with the pains of the malady preying upon the victims. One poor wretch springs from his couch, crying, “Oh, death! death! come soon!” and his features glare with terror. Again he utters a wild shriek, and bounds round the room, looking madly at one and another, as if chased by some furious animal. The figure of a female, whose elongated body seems ready to sink under its disease, sits on a little box in the corner, humming a dolorous air, and looking with glassy eyes pensively around the room at those stretched in their berths. For a few seconds she is quiet; then, contorting her face into a deep scowl, she gives vent to the most violent bursts of nike air max 90 passion,–holds her long black hair above her head, assumes a tragic attitude, threatens to distort it from the scalp. “That one’s lost her mind-she’s fitty; but I think the devil has something to do with her fits. And, though you wouldn’t think it, she’s just as harmless as can be,” Mr. Praiseworthy coolly remarks, looking at Mrs. Rosebrook, hoping she will say cheap nike air max something encouraging in reply. The lady only replies by asking him if he purchased her from her owner?
Mr. Praiseworthy responds in the affirmative, adding that she doesn’t seem to like it much. He, however, has strong hopes of curing her mind, getting it “in fix” again, and making a good penny on her. “She’s a’most white, and, unfortunately, took a liking to a young man down town. Marston owned her then, and, being a friend of hers, wouldn’t allow it, and it took away her senses; he thought her malady incurable, and sold her to me for a little or nothing,” he continues, with great complacency.
This poor broken flower of misfortune holds down her head as the lady approaches, gives a look of melancholy expressive of sha air max 90 me and remorse. “She’s sensitive for a nigger, and the only one that has said anything about being put among men,” Mr. Praiseworthy remarks, advancing a few steps, and then going from berth to berth, descanting on the prospects of his sick, explaining their various diseases, their improvements, and his doubts of the dying. The lady watches all his movements, as if more intently interested in Mr. Praiseworthy’s strange character. “And here’s one,” he says, “I fear I shall lose; and if I do, there’s fifty dollars gone, slap!” and he points to an emaciated yellow man, whose body is literally a crust of sores, and whose p nike air max classic ainful implorings for water and nourishment are deep and touching.
“Poor wretch!” Mr. Praiseworthy exclaims, “I wish I’d never bought him-it’s pained my feelings so; but I did it to save his life when he was most dead with the rheumatics, and was drawn up as crooked as branch cord-wood. And then, after I had got the cinques out of him- after nearly getting him straight for a ‘prime fellow’ (good care did the thin nike air max sale g), he took the water on the chest, and is grown out like that.” He points coolly to the sufferer’s breast, which is fearfully distended with disease; saying that, “as if that wasn’t enough, he took the lepors, and it’s a squeak if they don’t end him.” He pities the “crittur,” but has done all he can for him, which he would have done if he hadn’t expected a copper for selling him when cured. “So you see, madam,” he reiterates, “it isn’t all profit. I paid a good price for the poor skeleton, have had all ny trouble, and shall have no gain-except the recompense of feeling. There was a time when I might have shared one hundred and fifty dollars by him, but I felt humane towards him; didn’t want him to slide until he was a No. 1.” Thus the Elder sets forth his own goodness of heart.
“Pray, what do you pay a head for them, Mr. cheap nike air max Praiseworthy?” enquires the lady, smoothing her hand over the feverish head of the poor victim, as the carnatic of her cheek changed to pallid languor. Pursuing her object with calmness, she determined not to display her emotions until fully satisfied how far the Elder would go.
“That, madam, depends on cases; cripples are not worth much. But, now and then, we get a legless fellow what’s sound in body, can get round sprightly, and such like; and, seeing how we can make him answer a sight of purposes, he’ll bring something,” he sedately replies, with muscles unmoved. “Cases what doctors give up as ‘done gone,’ we gets for ten and twenty dollars; cases not hanging under other diseases, we give from thirty to fifty-and so on! Remember, however, you must deduct thirty per cent. for death. At times, where you would make two or nike air max 90 sale three hundred dollars by curing one, and saving his life, you lose three, sometimes half-a-dozen head.” The Elder consoles his feelings with the fact that it is not all profit, looks highly gratified, puts a large cut of tobacco in his mouth, thanks God that the common school-bill didn’t pass in the legislature, and that his business is more humane than people generally admit.
“How many have you in all?” ③

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