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“Buckra won’t sell dis old nigger,–will he, Miss Frankone?” he enquires, resuming his wonted simplicity.
“S cheap nike air max ell you, Bob? You’re a funny old man. Don’t think your old half-worn-out bones are going to save you. Money’s the word: they’ll sell anything that will produce it,–dried up of age are no exceptions. Keep out of Elder Pemberton Praiseworthy’s way: whenever you hear him singing, ‘I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall come,’ as he always does,–run! He lives on the sale of infirmity, and your old age would be a capital thing for the exercise of his genius. He will put you through a course of regeneration, take the wrinkles smooth out of your face, dye those old grey whiskers, and get a profit for his magic power of transposing the age of negro property,” she replied, nike air max 1 gravely, while Bob stares at her as if doubting his own security.
“Why, missus!” he interposes, his face glowing with astonishment; “Buckra don’t be nike air max so smart dat he make old nigger young, be he?”
“Traders can do anything with niggers that have got money in them, as they say. Our distinguished people are sensitive of the crime, but excuse themselves with apologies they cannot make cover the shame.”
“Franke!” interrupts Marston, “spare the negro’s feelings,–it may have a bad effect.” He touches her on the arm, and k cheap nike air max nits his brows in caution.
“How strange, to think that bad influence could come of such an inoffensive old man! Truth, I know and feel, is powerfully painful when brought home to the doors of our best people,–it cuts deep when told in broad letters; but they make the matter worse by attempting to enshrine the stains with their chivalry. We are a wondrous people, uncle, and the world is just finding it out, to our shame. We may find it out ourselves, by and by; perhaps pay the penalty with sorrow. We look upon negroes as if they were dropped down from some unaccountable origin,–intended to raise the world’s cotton, rice, and sugar, but never to get above the menial sphere we have conditioned for them. Uncle, there is a mistake somewhere,–a mistake sadly at variance with our democratic professions. Democracy needs to reclaim its all-claiming principles of right and justice for the down-trodden. And yet, while the negro generously submits to serve us, we look upon him as an auspicious innovator, who never could have been born Nike Air Max to enjoy manhood, and was subjected to bear a black face because God had marked him for servitude. Did God found an aristocracy of colour, or make men to be governed by their distinctive qualifications of colour relationship?” says Franconia, her face re cheap nike air max trainers suming a flush of agitation. Touching Marston on the arm with the fore-finger of her right hand, and giving a glance at Bob, who listens attentively to the theme nike air max 95 of conversation, she continues: “Say no more of bad influence coming of slaves, when the corruptest examples are set by those who hold them as such,–who crash their hopes, blot out their mental faculties, and turn their bodies into licentious merchandise that they may profit by its degradation! Show me the humblest slave on your plantation, and, in comparison with the slave-dealer, I will prove him a nobleman of God’s kind,–of God’s image: his simple nature will be his clean passport into heaven. The Father of Mercy will receive him there; he will forgive the crimes enforced upon him by man; and that dark body on earth will be recompensed in a world of light,–i Cheap Air Max t will shine with the brighter spirits of that realm of justice and love. Earth may bring the slavetrader bounties; but heaven will reject the foul offering.” T nike air max 90 sale he good woman unfolds the tender emotions of her heart, as only woman can.
Bob listens, as if taking a deep interest in the force and earnestness of young missus’s language. He is swayed by her pathos, and at length interposes his word.
“Nigger ain’t so good as white man” (he shakes his head, philosophically). “White man sharp; puzzle nigger to find out what ‘e don, know ven ‘e mind t’.” Thus saying, he takes a small hymn- book from his pocket, and, Franconia setting the light beside him, commences reading to himself by its dim glare.
“Well! now, uncle, it’s getting late, and I’ve a good way to go, and the night’s stormy; so I must prepare for home.” Franconia gets up, and evinces signs of withdrawing. She walks across the little chamber three or four times, looks out of the window, strains her sight into the gloomy prospect, and then, as if reluctant to leave her uncle, again takes a seat by his side. Gently laying her left hand upon his shoulder, she makes an effort at pleasantry, tells him to keep up his resolution-to be of good cheer.
“Remember, uncle,” she says, calmly, “they tell us it is no disgrace to be poor,–no shame to work to live; and yet poor people are treated as criminals. For my own part, I would rather be poor and happy than rich with a base husband; I have lived in New England, know how to appreciate its domestic happiness. It was there Puritanism founded true American liberty.–Puritanism yet lives, and may be driven to action; but we must resign ourselves to the will of an all-wise Providence.” Thus concluding, she makes another attempt to withdraw.
“You must not leave me yet!” says Marston, grasping her hand firmly in his. “Franke, I cannot part with you until I have disclosed what I have been summoning resolution to suppress. I know your attachment, Franconia; you have been more than dear to me. You have known my feelings,–what they have already had to undergo.” He pauses.
“Speak it, uncle, speak it! Keep nothing from me, nor make secrets in fear of my feelings. Speak out,–I may relieve you!” she interrupts, nervously: and again encircling her arm round his neck, waits his reply, in breathless suspense.
He falters for a moment, and then endeavours to regain his usual coolness. “To-morrow, Franconia,” he half mutters out, “to-morrow, you may find me not so well situated,” (here tears are seen trickling down his cheeks) “and in a place where it will not become your delicate nature to visit me.”
“Nay, uncle!” she stops him there; “I will visit you wherever you may be-in a castle or a prison.”
The word prison has touched the tender chord upon which all his troubles are strung. He sobs audibly; but they are only sobs of regret, for which there is no recompense in this late hour. “And would you follow me to a prison, Franconia?” he enquires, throwing his arms about her neck, kissing her pure cheek with the fondness of a father.
“Yea, and share your sorrows within its cold walls. Do not yield to melancholy, uncle,–you have friends left: if not, heaven will prepare a place of rest for you; heaven shields the unfortunate at last,” rejoins the good woman, the pearly tears brightening in mutual sympathy.
“To-morrow, my child, you will find me the unhappy tenant of those walls where man’s discomfiture is complete.”
“Nay, uncle, nay! you are only allowing your melancholy forebodings to get the better of you. Such men as Graspum-men who have stripped families of their all-might take away your property, and leave you as they have left my poor parents; but no one would be so heartless as to drive you to the extreme of imprisonment. It is a foolish result at best.” Franconia’s voice falters; she looks more and more intently in her uncle’s face, struggles to suppress her rising emotions. She knows his frankness, she feels the pain of his position; but, though the dreadful extreme seems scarcely possible, there is that in his face conveying strong evidence of the truth of his remark.
“Do not weep, Franconia; spare your tears for a more worthy object: such trials have been borne by better men than I. I am but the merchandise of my creditors. There is, however, one thing which haunts me to grief; could I have saved my children, the pain of my position had been slight indeed.”
“Speak not of them, uncle,” Franconia interrupts, “you cannot feel the bitterness of their lot more than myself. I have saved a mother, but have failed to execute my plan of saving them; and my heart throbs with pain when I think that now it is beyond my power. Let me not attempt to again excite in your bosom feelings which must ever be harassing, for the evil only can work its destruction. To clip the poisoning branches and not uproot the succouring trunk, is like casting pearls into the waste of time. My heart will ever be with the destinies of those children, my feelings bound in unison with theirs; our hopes are the same, and if fortune should smile on me in times to come I will keep my word-I will snatch them from the devouring element of slavery.”
“Stop, my child!” speaks Marston, earnestly: “Remember you can do little against the strong arm of the law, and still stronger arm of public opinion. Lay aside your hopes of rescuing those children, Franconia, and remember that while I am in prison I am the property of my creditors, subject to their falsely conceived notions of my affairs,” he continues. “I cannot now make amends to the law of nature,” he adds, burying his face in his hand, weeping a child’s tears.
Franconia looks solicitously upon her uncle, as he sorrows. She would dry her tears to save his throbbing heart. Her noble generosity and disinterestedness have carried her through many trials since her marriage, but it fails to nerve her longer. Her’s is a single-hearted sincerity, dispensing its goodness for the benefit of the needy; she suppresses her own troubles that she may administer consolation to others. “The affection that refuses to follow misfortune to its lowest step is weak indeed. If you go to prison, Franconia will follow you there,” she says, with touching pathos, her musical voice adding strength to the resolution. Blended with that soft angelic expression her eyes give forth, her calm dignity and inspiring nobleness show how firm is that principle of her nature never to abandon her old friend.
The old negro, who had seemed absorbed in his sympathetic reflections, gazes steadfastly at his old master, until his emotions spring forth in kindest solicitude. Resistance is beyond his power. “Neber mind, old mas’r,” (he speaks in a devoted tone) “dar’s better days comin, bof fo’ old Bob and mas’r. Tink ‘um sees de day when de old plantation jus so ‘t was wid mas’r and da’ old folks.” Concluding in a subdued voice, he approaches Franconia, and seats himself, book in hand, on the floor at her feet. Moved by his earnestness, she lays her hand playfully upon his head, saying: “Here is our truest friend, uncle!”
“My own heart lubs Miss Frankone more den eber,” he whispers in return. How pure, how holy, is the simple recompense! It is nature’s only offering, all the slave can give; and he gives it in the bounty of his soul.
Marston’s grief having subsided, he attempts to soothe Franconia’s feelings, by affecting an air of indifference. “What need I care, after all? my resolution should be above it,” he says, thrusting his right hand into his breast pocket, and drawing out a folded paper, which he throws upon the little table, and says, “There, Franconia, my child! that contains the climax of my unlamented misfortunes; read it: it will show you where my next abode will be-I may be at peace there; and there is consolation at being at nike air max sale peace, even in a cell.” He passes the paper into her hand.
With an expression of surprise she opens it, and glances over its contents; then reads it word by word. “Do they expect to get something from nothing?” she says, sarcastically. “It is one of those soothsayers so valuable to men whose feelings are only with money-to men who forget they cannot carry money to the graves; and that no tribute is demanded on either road leading to the last abode of man.”
“Stop there, my child! stop!” interrupts Marston. “I have given them all, ’tis true; but suspicion is my persecutor-suspicion, and trying to be a father to my own children!”
“It is, indeed, a misfortune to be a father under such circumstances, in such an atmosphere!” the good woman exclaims, clasping her hands and looking upward, as if imploring the forgiveness of Heaven. Tremblingly she held the paper in her hand, until it fell upon the floor, as she, overcome, swooned in her uncle’s arms.
She swo nike air max classic oned! yes, she swooned. That friend upon whom her affections had been concentrated was a prisoner. The paper was a bail writ, demanding the body of the accused. The officer serving had been kind enough to allow Marston his parole of honour until the next morning. He granted this in accordance with Marston’s request, that by the lenity he might see Daddy Bob and Franconia once more.
Lifting Franconia in his arms, her hair falling loosely down, Marston lays her gently on the cot, and commences bathing her temples. He has nothing but water to bathe them with,–nothing but poverty’s liquid. The old negro, frightened at the sudden change that has come over his young missus, falls to rubbing and kissing her hands,–he has no other aid to lend. Marston has drawn his chair beside her, sits down upon it, unbuttons her stomacher, and continues bathing and chafing her temples. How gently heaves that bosom so full of fondness, how marble-like those features, how pallid but touchingly beautiful that face! Love, affection, and tenderness, there repose so calmly! All that once gave out so much Cheap Nike Air Max hope, so much joy, now withers before the blighting sting of misfortune. “Poor child, how fondly she loves me!” says Marston, placing his right arm under her head, and raising it gently. The motion quickens her senses-she speaks; he kisses her pallid cheek-kisses and kisses it. “Is it you uncle?” she whispers. She has opened her eyes, stares at Marston, then wildly along the ceiling. “Yes, I’m in uncle’s arms; how good!” she continues, as if fatigued. Reclining back on the pillow, she again rests her head upon his arm. “I am at the mansion-how pleasant; let me rest, nike air max 90 uncle; let me rest. Send aunt Rachel to me.” She raises her right hand and lays her arms about Marston’s neck, as anxiously he leans over her. How dear are the associations of that old mansion! how sweet the thought of home! how uppermost in her wandering mind the remembrance of those happy days! ③

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