« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
he'd give me a ride in his cart, and then he set me far back on a box, and he whipped his creatur, and druv and druv, and jolted me so that I tumbled all down among the tins. And then he picked me up, and tied me fast with his handkercher to one of the back posts of the cart to keep me steady, he said. And then, for all I was steady, I couldn't help crying, and I wanted him to take me home to daddy and mammy. But he only sniggered at me, and said he wouldn't, and bid me hush; and then he got mad, and because I couldn't hush up just in a minute, he whipped me quite smart.
Orphy. Poor little thing!
Dinah. And then I got frightened, for he put on a wicked look, and said he'd kill me dead if I cried any more or made the least bit of noise. And so he has been carrying me along in his cart for two days and two nights, and he makes me hide away all the time, and he won't let nobody see me. And I hate him, and yesterday, when I know'd he didn't see me, I spit on the crown of his hat.
Amy. Hush !-thee must never say thee hates anybody.
Dinah. At night I sleeps upon the bag of feathers; and when he stops any where to eat, he comes sneaking to the back of the cart and pokes in victuals (he has just now brung me some), and he tells me he wants me to be fat and good-looking. I was afeard he was going to sell me to the butcher, as Nace Willet did his fat calf, and I thought I'd ax him about it, and he laughed and told me he was going to sell me sure enough, but not to a butcher. And I'm almost all the time very sorry, only sometimes I'm not, and then I should like to play with the tins, only he won't let me. I don't dare to cry out loud, for fear the naughty man would whip me; but I always moan when we're going through woods, and there's nobody in sight to hear me. He never lets me look out of the back of the cart, only when there's nobody to see me, and he won't let me sing even when I want to. And I moan most when I think of my daddy and mammy, and how they are wondering what has become of me; and I think moaning does me good, only he stops me short.
Amy. Now, Orphy, what's to be done ? The tin-man has, of course, kidnapped this black child to take her into Maryland, where he can sell her for a good price; as she is a fat, healthy-looking thing, and that is a slave state. Does thee think we ought to let him take her off ?
Orphy. No, indeed! I think I could feel free to fight for her myself—that is, if fighting were not forbidden by Friends. Yonder's Israel coming to turn the cows into the clover-field. Little girl, lie quiet, and don't offer to show thyself.
Israel now advanced "Well, girls,” said he, “what's thee doing at the tin-man's cart? Not meddling among his tins, I hope? Oh! the curiosity of women-folks!”
“Israel,” said Amy, “step softly-We have something to shew thee."
The girls then lifted up the corner of the cart cover, and displayed the little negro girl, crouched upon the bag of feathers—a part of his merchandize which the Yankee had not thought it expedient to produce, after hearing Mrs. Warner's anecdote of one of his predecessors.
The young man was much amazed, and his two sisters began both at once to relate to him the story of the black child. Israel looked almost indignant. His sisters said to him, “To be sure we wo'nt let the Yankee carry this child off with him.”
“I judge we wo'nt,” answered Israel.
“Then,” said Amy, “let us take her out of the cart, and hide her in the barn or somewhere, till he has gone."
"No," replied Israel, “I can't say I feel free to do that. It would be too much like stealing her over again ; and I've no notion of evening myself to a Yankee in any of his ways. Put her down in the cart and let her alone. I'll have no underhanded work about her. Let's all go back to the house; mother has got down all the broken crockery from the top shelf in the corner cupboard, and the Yankee's mending it with a sort of stuff like sticks of sealing-wax, that he carries about with him ; and I dare say he'll get her to pay him more for it than the things are worth. But say nothing.”
The girls cautioned Dinah not to let the tin-man know that they had discovered her, and to keep herself perfectly quiet; and they then accompanied their brother to the house, feeling very fidgetty and uneasy.
They found the table covered with old bowls, old tea-pots, old sugar-dishes, and old pitchers; whose fractures the Yankee was cementing together, while Mrs. Warner held the candle, and her husband viewed the operation with great curiosity.
“Israel," said his mother, as he entered, " this friend is making the china as good as new, only that we can't help seeing the join; and we are going to give all the mended things to thee."
* The Yankee, having finished his work and been paid for it, said it was high time for him to be about starting, and he must go and look after his cart. He accordingly left the house for that purpose; and Israel, looking out at the end window, exclaimed, “I see he's not coming round to the house again, but he's going to try the short cut into the back road. I'll go and see that he puts up the bars after
Israel went out, and his sisters followed him to see the tin-man off.
The Yankee came to the bars, leading his horse with the cart, and found Israel there before him.
" Are you going to let down the bars for me?» said the tin-man.
"No," replied Israel, “I'm not going to be so polite; but I intend to see that thee carries off nothing more than belongs to thee."
" What do you mean ?" exclaimed the Yankee, changing colour.
"I expect I can shew thee," answered Israel. Then, stepping up to the back of the cart, and putting in his hands, he pulled out the black child and held her up before him, saying, “Now, if thee offers to touch this girl, I think we shall be apt to differ.”