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“He is not dead?” enquires the physician, suddenly interrupting. He had seen Mr. M’Fadden’s courage fail at the approach of death, and again recover quickly when the distance widened between that monitor and himself, and could not suppress the smile nike air max 1 stealing over his countenance.
“Dead! no indeed. Worse-he has run away!” Mr. M’Fadden quickly retorted, clenching his right hand, and scowling. In another minute he turns back the sheets, and, with returned strength, makes a successful attempt to sit up in bed. “I don’t know whether I’m better or worse; but I think it would be all right if I warn’t worried so much about the loss of that preacher. I paid a tremendous sum for him. And the worst of it is, my cousin d cheap air max 1 eacon Stoner, of a down-east church, holds a mortgage on my nigger stock, and he may feel streaked when he hears of the loss;” Mr. M’Fadden concludes, holding his side to the physician, who commences examining the wound, which the enfeebled man says is very sore and must be dressed cautiously, so that he may be enabled to get out and see to his property.
To the great surprise of all, the wound turns out to be merely a slight cut, with no appearance of inflammation, and every prospect of being cured through a further application of a very small bit of dressing plaster.
The physician smiled, mine host smiled; it was impossible to suppress the risible faculties. The poor invalid is overpowered with disappointment. His imagination had betrayed him into one of those desperate, fearful, and indubitable brinks of death, upon which it seems the first law of nature reminds us what is necessary to die by. They laughed, and laughed, and nike air max 1 grey laughed, till Mr. M’Fadden suddenly changed countenance, and said it was no laughing affair,–such things were not to be trifled with; men should be thinking of more important matters. And he looked at the wound, run his fingers over it gently, and rubbed it as if doubting the depth.
“A little more whiskey would’nt hurt me, Doctor?” he enquires, complacently, looking round the room distrustfully at those who were enjoying the joke, more at his expense than he held to be in accordance with strict rules of etiquette.
“I’ll admit, my worthy citizen, your case seemed to baffle my skill, last night,” the physician replies, jocosely. “Had I taken your political enthusiasm into consideration,–and your readiness to instruct an assemblage in the holy democracy of our south,–and your hopes of making strong draughts do strong political work, I might have saved my opiate, and administered to your case more in accordance with the skilfully administered prescriptions of our politicians. Notwithstanding, I am glad you are all right, and trus nike air max 1 ebay t that whenever you get your enthusiasm fired with bad brandy, or the candidates’ bad whiskey, you will not tax other people’s feelings with your own dying affairs; nor send for a ‘nigger’ preacher to redeem your soul, who will run away when he thinks the job completed.”
Mr. M’Fadden seemed not to comprehend the nature of his physician’s language, and after a few minutes pause he must needs enquire about the weath nike air max 1 premium er? if a coroner’s inquest has been held over the dead men? what was its decision? was there any decision at all? and have they been buried? Satisfied on all these points, he gets up, himself again, complaining only of a little muddled giddiness about the head, and a hip so sore that he scarcely could reconcile his mind to place confidence in it.
“Good by! good by!” says the physician, shaking him by the hand. “Measure the stimulant carefully; and take good care of dumplin dep“t No. 1, and you’ll be all right very soon. You’re a good democrat, and you’ll make as good a stump orator as ever took the field.”
The man of medicine, laughing heartily within himself, descends the stairs and reaches the bar-room, where are concentrated sundry of the party we have before described. They make anxious enquiries about Mr. M’Fadden,–ho cheap nike air max 1 w he seemed to “take it;” did he evince want of pluck? had he courage enough to fight a duel? and could his vote be taken afore he died? These, and many other questions of a like nature, were put to the physician so fast, and with so many invitations to drink “somethin’,” that he gave a sweeping answer by saying Mac had been more frightened than hurt; that the fear of death having passed from before his eyes his mind had now centered on the loss of his nigger preacher-a valuable piece of property that had cost him no less than fifteen hundred dollars. And the worst of it was, that the nigger had aggravatingly prayed for him when he thought he was going to sink out into the arms of father death.
So pressing were the invitations to drink, that our man of medicine advanced to the counter, like a true gentleman of the south, an cheap air max 1 d with his glass filled with an aristocratic mixture, made one of his politest bows, toasted the health of all free citizens, adding his hope for the success of the favourite candidate.
“Drink it with three cheers, standin’!” shouted a formidably mustached figure, leaning against the counter with his left hand, while his right was grasping the jug from which he was attempting in vain to water his whiskey. To this the physic gentleman bows assent; and they are given to the very echo. Taking his departure for the city, as the sounds of cheering die away, he emerged from the front door, as Mr. M’Fadden, unexpectedly as a ghost rising from the tomb, made his entrance from the old staircase in the back. The citizens-for of such is our assembly composed-are astonished and perplexed. “Such a set of scapegoats as you are!” grumbles nike air max 1 out the debutant, as he stands before them like a disentombed spectre. With open arms they approach him, congratulate him on his recovery, and shower upon him many good wishes, and long and strong drinks.
A few drinks more, and our hero is quite satisfied with his welcome. His desire being intimated, mine host conducts himself to the corn-shed, where he satisfies himself that his faithful property (the preacher excepted) is all snugly safe. Happy property in the hands of a prodigious democrat! happy republicanism that makes freedom but a privilege! that makes a mockery of itself, and enslaves the noblest blood of noble freemen! They were happy, the victims of ignorance, contented with the freedom their country had given them, bowing beneath the enslaving yoke of justice-boasting democracy, and ready to be sold and shipped, nike air max 1 black with an invoice of freight, at the beckon of an owner.
Mr. M’Fadden questions the people concerning Harry’s departure; but they are as ignorant of his whereabouts as himself. They only remember that he came to the shed at midnight, whispered some words of consolation, and of his plain fare gave them to eat;–nothing more.
“Poor recompense for my goodness!” says Mr. M’Fadden, muttering some indistinct words as he returns to the tavern, followed by a humorous negro, making grimaces in satisfaction of “mas’r’s” disappointment. Now friends are gathered together, chuckling in great glee over the large reward offered for the lost parson, for the capture of which absconding article they have numerous horses, dogs, confidential negroes, and a large supply of whiskey, with which very necessary liquid they will themselves become dogs of one kine. The game to be played is purely a dem air max 1 ocratic one; hence the clansmen are ready to loosen their souls’ love for the service. M’Fadden never before witnessed such satisfactory proofs of his popularity; his tenderest emotions are excited; he cannot express the fullness of his heart; he bows, puts his hand to his heart, orders the balance of his invoice sent to his plantation, mounts his horse, and rides off at full gallop, followed by his friends.
Chapter 31
A Friend Is Woman
THE reader will again accompany us to the time when we find Annette and Nicholas in the hands of Graspum, who will nurture them for their increasing value.
Merciless creditors have driven Marston from that home of so many happy and hospitable associations, to seek shelter in the obscure and humble chamber of a wretched building in the outskirts of the city. Fortune can afford him but a small cot, two or three broken chairs, an ordinary deal t nike air max 1 red able, a large chest, which stands near the fire-place, and a dressing-stand, for furniture. Here, obscured from the society he had so long mingled with, he spends most of his time, seldom venturing in public lest he may encounter those indomitable gentlemen who would seem to love the following misfortune into its last stage of distress. His worst enemy, however, is that source of his misfortunes he cannot disclose; over it hangs the mystery he must not solve! It enshrines him with guilt before public opinion; by it his integrity lies dead; it is that which gives to mother rumour the weapons with which to wield her keenest slanders.
Having seized Marston’s real estate, Graspum had no scruples about swearing to the equity of his claim; nor were any of the creditors willing to challenge an investigation; and thus, through fear of such a formidable abettor, Marston laboured under the strongest, and perhaps the most unjust imputati ons. But there was no limit to Graspum’s mercenary proceedings; for beyond involving Marston through Lorenzo, he had secretly purchased many claims of the creditors, and secured his money by a dexterous movement, with which he reduced the innocent children to slavery.
Reports have spread among the professedly knowing that Marston can never have made away with all his property in so few years. And the manner being so invisible, the charge becomes stronger. Thus, labouring between the pain of misfortune and the want of means to resent suspicion, his cheerless chamber is all he can now call his home. But he has two good friends left-Franconia, and the old negro Bob. Franconia has procured a municipal badge for Daddy; and, through it (disguised) he seeks and obtains work at stowing cotton on the wharfs. His earnings are small, but his soul is large, and embued with attachment for his old master, with whom he will share them. Day by day the old slave seems to share the feelings of his master,–to exhibit a solicitous concern for his comfort. Earning his dollars and twenty-five cents a day, he will return when the week has ended, full of exultation, spread out his earnings with childlike simplicity, take thirty cents a day for himself, and slip the remainder into Marston’s pocket. How happy he seems, as he watches the changes of Marston’s countenance, and restrains the gushing forth of his feelings!
It was on one of those nights upon which Daddy had received his earnings, that Marston sat in his cheerless chamber, crouched over the faint blaze of a few pieces of wood burning on the bricks of his narrow fire-place, contemplating the eventful scenes of the few years just passed. The more he contemplated the more it seemed like a dream; his very head wearied with the interminable maze of his difficulties. Further and further, as he contemplated, did it open to his thoughts the strange social and political mystery of that more strange institution for reducing mankind to the level of brutes. And yet, democracy, apparently honest, held such inviolable and just to its creed; which creed it would defend with a cordon of steel. The dejected gentleman sighs, rests his head on his left hand, and his elbow on the little table at his side. Without, the weather is cold and damp; an incessant rain had pattered upon the roof throughout the day, wild and murky clouds hang their dreary festoons along the heavens, and swift scudding fleeces, driven by fierce, murmuring winds, bespread the prospect with gloom that finds its way into the recesses of the heart.
“Who is worse than a slave!” sighs the rejected man, getting up and looking out of his window into the dreary recesses of the narrow lane. “If it be not a ruined planter I mistake the policy by which we govern our institution! As the slave is born a subject being, so is the planter a dependent being. We planters live in disappointment, in fear, in unhappy uncertainty; and yet we make no preparations for the result. Nay, we even content ourselves with pleasantly contemplating what may come through the eventful issue of political discord; and when it comes in earnest, we find ourselves the most hapless of unfortunates. For myself, bereft of all I had once,–even friends, I am but a forlorn object in the scale of weak mankind! No man will trust me with his confidence,–scarce one knows me but to harass me; I can give them no more, and yet I am suspected of having more. It is so, and ever will be so. Such are the phases of man’s downfall, that few follow them to the facts, while rumour rules supreme over misfortune. There may be a fountain of human pain concealed beneath it; but few extend the hand to stay its quickening. Nay, when all is gone, mammon cries, more! until body and soul are crushed beneath the “more” of relentless self.
“Few know the intricacies of our system; perhaps ’twere well, lest our souls should not be safe within us. But, ah! my conscience chides me here. And betwixt those feelings which once saw all things right, but now through necessity beholds their grossest wrongs, comes the pain of self-condemnation. It is a condemnation haunting me unto death. Had I been ignorant of Clotilda’s history, the fiendish deed of those who wronged her in her childhood had not now hung like a loathsome pestilence around my very garments. That which the heart rebukes cannot be concealed; but we must be obedient to the will that directs all things;–and if it be that we remain blind in despotism until misfortune opens our eyes, let the cause of the calamity be charged to those it belongs to,” he concludes; and then, after a few minutes’ silence, he lights his taper, and sets it upon the table. His care-worn countenance pales with melancholy; his hair has whitened with tribulation; his demeanour denotes a man of tender sensibility fast sinking into a physical wreck. A well-soiled book lies on the table, beside which he takes his seat; he turns its pages over and over carelessly, as if it were an indifferent amusement to wile away the time. “They cannot enslave affection, nor can they confine it within prison walls,” he mutters. He has proof in the faithfulness of Daddy, his old slave. And as he contemplates, the words “she will be more than welcome to-night,” escape his lips. Simultaneously a gentle tapping is heard at the door. Slowly it opens, and the figure of an old negro, bearing a basket on his arm, enters. He is followed by the slender and graceful form of Franconia, who approaches her uncle, hand extended, salutes him with a kiss, seats herself at his side, says he must not be sad. Then she silently gazes upon him for a few moments, as if touched by his troubles, while the negro, having spread the contents of the basket upon the chest, makes a humble bow, wishes mas’r and missus good night, and withdraws. “There, uncle,” she says, laying her hand gently on his arm, “I didn’t forget you, did I?” She couples the word with a smile-a smile so sweet, so expressive of her soul’s goodness. ” nike air max 1 sale You are dear to me, uncle; yes, as dear as a father. How could I forget that you have been a father to me? I have brought these little things to make you comfortable,”-she points to the edibles on the chest-“and I wish I were not tied to a slave, uncle, for then I could do more. Twice, since my marriage to M’Carstrow, have I had to protect myself from his ruffianism.”
“From his ruffianism!” interrupts Marston, quickly: “Can it be, my child, that even a ruffian would dare exhibit his vileness toward you?”
“Even toward me, uncle. nike air max 1 leopard With reluctance I married him, and my only regret is, that a slave’s fate had not been mine ere the fruits of that day fell upon me. Women like me make a feeble defence in the world; and bad husbands are the shame of their sex,” she returns, her eyes brightening with animation, as she endeavours to calm the excitement her remarks have given rise to: “Don’t, pray don’t mind it, uncle,” she concludes.
“Such news had been anticipated; but I was cautious not to”– ③

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