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THE reader will remember that we left Nicholas seeking his way to Mr. Grabguy’s workshop, situated in the outskirts of the city. And we must here inform him that considerable change in the social position of the younger Grabguy family has taken place since we left them, which is some years ago. The elder Grabguy, who, it will be remembered, was very distinguished as his Worship the Mayor of the City (that also was some years ago), has departed this life, leaving the present principal of the Grabguy family a large portion of his estate, which, being mostly of “nigger property,” requires some little transforming before it can be made to suit his more extended business arrangements. This material addition to the already well- reputed estate of Mr. Grabguy warrants his admittance into very respectable, and, some say, rather distinguished society. Indeed, it is more than whispered, that when the question of admitting Mr. and Mrs. Grabguy to the membership of a very select circle, the saintly cognomen of which is as indefinable as its system of selecting members, or the angles presented by the nasal organs of a few ladies when anything short of the very first families are proposed, there were seven very fashionable ladies for, and only three against. The greatest antagonist the Grabguys have to getting into the embrace of this very select circle is Mrs. Chief Justice Pimpkins, a matronly body of some fifty summers, who declares there can be no judge in the world so clever as her own dear Pimpkins, and that society was becoming so vulgar and coarse, and so many low people-whose English was as hopefully bad as could be, and who never spoke when they didn’t impugn her risible nerves-were intruding themselves upon its polished sanctity, that she felt more and more every day the necessity of withdrawing entirely from it, and enjoying her own exclusively distinguished self. In the case of Grabguy’s admittance to the St. Cecilia, my Lady Pimpkins-she is commonly called Lady Chief Justice Pimpkins-had two most formidable black balls; the first because Mrs. Grabguy’s father was a bread-baker, and the second that the present Grabguy could not be considered a gentleman while he continued in mechanical business. Another serious objection Mrs. Pimpkins would merely suggest as a preventive;–such people were ill suited to mix with titled and other distinguished society! But, Grabguy, to make up for the vexatious rejection, has got to be an alderman, which is a step upward in the scale of his father’s attained distinction. There is nothing more natural, then, than that Grabguy should seek his way up in the world, with the best means at his hands; it is a worthy trait of human nature, and is as natural to the slave. In this instance-when master and slave are both incited to a noble purpose-Grabguy is a wealthy alderman, and Nicholas-the whiter of the two-his abject slave. The master, a man of meagre mind, and exceedingly avaricious, would make himself distinguished in society; the slave, a mercurial being of impassioned temper, whose mind is quickened by a sense of the injustice that robs him of his rights, seeks only freedom and what may follow in its order.
Let us again introduce the reader to Nicholas, as his manly figure, marked with impressive features, stands before us, in Grabguy’s workshop. Tall, and finely formed, he has grown to manhood, retaining all the quick fiery impulses of his race. Those black eyes wandering irresistibly, that curl of contempt that sits upon his lip, that stare of revenge that scowls beneath those heavy eyebrows, and that hate of wrong that ever and anon pervades the whole, tell how burns in his heart the elements of a will that would brave death for its rights-that would bear unmoved the oppressor’s lash-that would embrace death rather than yield to perfidy. He tells us-“I came here, sold-so they said-by God’s will. Well. I thought to myself, isn’t this strange, that a curious God-they tell me he loves everybody-should sell me? It all seemed like a misty waste to me. I remembered home-I learned to read, myself-I remembered mother, I loved her, but she left me, and I have never seen her since. I loved her, dear mother! I did love her; but they said she was gone far away, and I musn’t mind if I never see’d her again. It seemed hard and strange, but I had to put up with it, for they said I never had a father, and my mother had no right to me” (his piercing black eyes glare, as fervently he says, mother!). “I thought, at last, it was true, for everybody had a right to call me nigger,–a blasted white nigger, a nigger as wouldn’t be worth nothing. And then they used to kick me, and cuff me, and lash me; and if nigger was nigger I was worse than a nigger, because every black nigger was laughing at me, and telling me what a fool of a white nigger I was;–that white niggers was nobody, could be nobody, and was never intended for nobody, as nobody knew where white niggers come from. But I didn’t believe all this; it warn’t sensible. Something said-Nicholas! you’re just as good as anybody: learn to read, write, and cypher, and you’ll be something yet. And this something-I couldn’t tell what it was, nor could I describe it-seemed irresistible in its power to carry me to be that somebody it prompted in my feelings. I was white, and when I looked at myself I knew I wasn’t a nigger; and feeling that everybody could be somebody, I began to look forward to the time when I should rise above the burden of misfortune that seemed bearing me down into the earth. And then, Franconia, like a sister, used to come to me, and say so many kind things to me that I felt relieved, and resolved to go forward. Then I lost sight of Franconia, and saw nobody I knew but Annette; and she seemed so pretty, and loved me so affectionately. How long it seems since I have seen her! She dressed me so nicely, and parted my hair, and kissed me so kindly; and said good-by, when I left her, so in regret, I never can forget it. And it was then they said I was sold. Mr. Graspum said he owned me, and owning me was equal to doing what he pleased with me. Then I went home to Mr. Grabguy’s; and they said Mr. Grabguy owned me just as he owned his great big dog they called a democratic bull-dog, the foreman said he paid a democratic ten-dollar gold piece for. They used to say the only difference between me and the dog was, that the dog could go where he pleased without being lashed, and I couldn’t. And the dog always got enough to eat, and seemed a great favourite with everybody, whereas I got only more kicks than cucumbers, didn’t seem liked by anybody, and if I got enough to eat I had nobody to thank but good old Margery, the cook, who was kind to me now and then, and used to say-“I like you, Nicholas!” And that used to make me feel so happy! Old Margery was coal-black; but I didn’t care for that, air max 1 –the knowledge of somebody loving you is enough to light up the happy of life, and make the heart feel contented. In this manner my thoughts went here and there and everywhere; and the truth is, I had so many thoughts, that I got completely bewildered in thinking how I was to better myself, and be like other folks. Mr. Grabguy seemed kind to me at first,–said he would make a great mechanic of me, and give me a chance to buy myself. I didn’t know what this ” nike air max 1 grey buy myself” meant, at first. But I soon found out-he tells us he must speak with caution-that I must pay so many hundred dollars afore I could be like other folks. The kindness Mr. Grabguy at first exhibited for me didn’t last long; he soon began to kick me, and cuff me, and swear at me. And it ‘pear’d to me as if I never could please anybody, and so my feelings got so embittered I didn’t know what to do. I was put into the shop among the men, and one said Nigger, here! and another said, Nigger, get there!-and they all seemed not to be inclined to help me along. And then I would get in a passion: but that never made things better. The foreman now and then said a kind word to me; and whenever he did, it made my heart feel so good that I seemed a new being with brighter hopes. Well, Mr. Grabguy put me to turning the grindstone, first; and from turning the grindstone-the men used to throw water in my face when they nike air max 1 ebay ground their chisels, and their plane irons, and axes and adzes-I was learned to saw, and to plain boards, and then to mortice and frame, and make mouldings, and window-sashes, and door-frames. When I could do all these, master used to say I was bound to make a great workman, and, laughingly, would say I was the most valuable property he ever owned. About this time I began to find out how it was that the other white folks owned themselves and master owned me; but then, if I said anything about it, master might tie me up and lash me as he used to do; and so I remained quiet, but kept up a thinking. By and by I got perfect at the carpenter’s trade, and I learned engineering; and when I had got engineering perfect, I took a fancy for making stucco work and images. And people said I learned wondrously fast, and was the best workman far or near. Seeing these things, people used to be coming to me, and talking to me about my value, and then end by wanting me to make them specimens of stucco. I seemed liked by everybody who came to see me, and good people had a kind word for me; but Mr. Grabguy was very strict, and wouldn’t allow me to do anything without his permission. People said my work was perfect, and master said I was a perfect piece of property; and it used to pain deep into my heart when master spoke so. Well! I got to be a man, and when the foreman got drunk nike air max 1 leopard master used to put me in his place. And after a while I got to be foreman altogether: but I was a slave, they said, and men wouldn’t follow my directions when master was away; they all acknowledged that I was a good workman, but said a nigger never should be allowed to direct and order white people. That made my very blood boil, as I grew older, because I was whiter than many of them. However, submit was the word; and I bore up and trusted to heaven for deliverance, hoping the day would come soon when its will would be carried out. With my knowledge of mechanics increased a love of learning, which almost amounted to a passion. They said it was against the law for a nigger to read; but I was raised so far above black nig nike air max 1 gers that I didn’t mind what the law said: so I got ‘Pilgrim’s Progress,’ and the Bible, and ‘Young’s Night Thoughts,’ and from them I learned great truths: they gave me new hopes, refreshed my weary soul, and made me like a new-clothed being ready to soar above the injustice of this life. Oh, how I read them at night, and re-read them in the morning, and every time found something new in them, something that suited my case! Through the sentiments imbibed from them I saw freedom hanging out its light of love, fascinating me, and inciting me to make a death struggle to gain it.
“One day, as I was thinking of my hard fat air max 1 e, and how I did all the work and master got all the money for it-and how I had to live and how he lived, master came in-looking good-natured. He approached me, shook hands with me, said I was worth my weight in gold; and then asked me how I would like to be free. I told him I would jump for joy, would sing praises, and be glad all the day long.
“‘Aint you contented where you are, Nicholas?’ he enquired. I told him I didn’t dislike him; but freedom was sweetest. ‘G nike air max 1 ive me a chance of my freedom, master, and yet you may know me as a man,’ says I, feeling that to be free was to be among the living; to be a slave was to be among the moving dead. To this he said, he always had liked me, was proud of me, had unbounded confidence in my directions over the men, and always felt safe when he went from home leaving things in my charge. ‘In this view of the case, Nicholas,’ he says, ‘I have come to the conclusion,–and it’s Mrs. Grabguy’s conclusion, too,–to let you work evenings, on overtime, for yourself. You can earn a deal of money that way, if you please; just save it up, and let me keep it for you, and in consideration of your faithfulness I will set you free whenever you get a thousand dollars to put into my hands. Now that’s generous-I want to do the straight thing, and so Mrs. Grabguy wants to do the straight thing; and what money you sa nike air max 1 red ve you can put in Mrs. Grabguy’s hands for safe keeping. She’s a noble-minded woman, and ‘ll take good care of it.’ This was to me like entering upon a new life of hope and joy. How my heart yearned for the coming day, when I should be free like other folks! I worked and struggled by night and day; and good Mr. Simons befriended me, and procured me many little orders, which I executed, and for which I got good pay. All my own earnings I put into Mrs. Grabguy’s hands; and she told me she would keep it for me, safe, till I got enough to buy my freedom. My confidence in these assurances was undivided. I looked upon Mrs. Grabguy as a friend and mother; and good Mr. Simons, who was poor but honest, did many kind things to help me out. When I got one hundred dollars in missus’ hands I jumped for joy; with it I seemed to have got over the first difficult step in the great mountain. Then missus said I must take Jerushe for my wife. I cheap nike air max 1 didn’t like Jerushe at first–she was almost black; but missus said we were both slaves; hence, that could be no objection. As missus’s order was equally as positive as master’s, there was no alternative but to obey it, and Jerushe became my wife. We were lawfully married, and missus made a nice little party for us, and Jerushe loved me, and was kind to me, and her solicitude for my welfare soon made me repay her love. I pitied her condition, and she seemed to pity mine; and I soon forgot that she was black, and we lived happily together, and had two children, which missus said were hers. It was hard to reconcile this, and yet it was so, by law as well as social right. But then missus was kind to Jerushe, and let her buy her time at four dollars a week, which, having learned to make dresses, she could pay and have a small surplus to lay by every week. Jerushe knew I was struggling for freedom, and she would help me to buy that freedom, knowing that, if I was free, I would return her kindness, and struggle to make her free, and nike air max 1 sale our children free.
“Years rolled on,–we had placed nearly five hundred dollars in missus’s hands: but how vain were the hopes that had borne us through so many privations for the accumulation of this portion of our price of freedom! Master has sold my children,–yes, sold them! He will not tell me where nor to whom. Missus will neither see nor hear me; and master threatens to sell me to New Orleans if I resent hi nike air max 1 premium s act. To what tribunal can I appeal for justice? Shut from the laws of my native land, what justice is there for the slave where injustice makes its law oppression? Master may sell me, but he cannot vanquish the spirit God has given me; never, never, will I yield to his nefarious designs. I have but one life to yield up a sacrifice for right-I care not to live for wrong!” Thus he speaks, as his frenzied soul burns with indignation. His soul’s love was freedom; he asked but justice to achieve it. Sick at heart he has thrown up that zeal for his master’s welfare which bore him onward, summoned his determination to resist to the last-to die rather than again confront the dreary waste of a slave’s life. Grabguy has forfeited the amount deposited by Nicholas as part of the price of his freedom,–betrayed his confidence.
He tell nike air max 1 black s us his simple story, as the workmen, with fear on their countenances, move heedlessly about the room. As he concludes, Grabguy, with sullen countenance, enters the great door at the end of the building; he is followed by three men in official garbs, two of whom bear manacles in their hands. Nicholas’s dark eye flashes upon them, and with an instinctive knowledge of their errand, he seizes a broad axe, salutes them, and, defiantly, cautions their advance. Grabguy heeds not; and as the aggrieved man slowly retreats backward to protect himself with the wall, still keeping his eye set on Grabguy, two negroes make a sudden spring upon him from behind, fetter his arms as the officers rush forward, bind him hand and foot, and drag him to the door, regardless of his cries for mercy: they bind him to a dray, and drive through the cheap air max 1 streets to the slave pen of Graspum. We hear his pleading voice, as his ruffian captors, their prey secure, disappear among the busy crowd. ③

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